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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by coolluv, Jan 27, 2011.

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  1. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 4,443

    Here are a couple of post that I just love from Pro Cut. These are from the how to fail in the lawn business thread.

    I cant count how many times Ive been accused of bashing or "talking down" on this site.
    Or how I come across as "arrogant" or I think Im better than anyone else.

    I made this post to clear that up.

    When someone makes a post about how they are quitting their job in a recession with benefits and a family.....And in the same post is asking how to bid a job......That to me is scary.

    He will get 2 pages of congratulations and "charge a dollar a minute and you be fine"

    Then that arrogant bastard Procut throws his negative attitude in there and pees on everyone party. Usually posting a link to a thread like this that dies within an hour of me posting it.

    Most of you see a guy thats going for the dream. Hes heading out on his own. Hes doing what youre dreaming of doing while youre at your regular job dealing with a boss.

    Thats what many of you see.

    I see a guy that has no idea that in 6 months he wont be able to pay his mortgage, bills through the roof, no health insurance, and a wife that is ready to leave him for quitting a steady job for some "be your own boss" dream.

    I see a guy that will be wondering what went wrong. He used to make great money cutting grass.

    A guy thats going to be floored when he sees that health insurance for his family costs as much per month as his mortgage. It only cost him a few bucks a week in a payroll deduction before.

    A guy that sees just how much his regular job hid and supplemented the expenses of owning your own business.

    A guy that quits his job, takes his retirement money, buys equipment, then a month later the grass is all burnt out for the rest of the summer.

    He never cared about that before. Burnt grass just meant he stayed home after work and made less money that week.

    Now that burnt grass means he makes NO money. The mortgage is still there. His family still needs to eat. The bills keep coming.

    Thats what I see when I see those posts. I see guys that have so little knowledge about business that are about to make a drastic decision that will almost certainly lead to failure.

    Here's another good one.

    People dont like bad news.

    If theyre daydreaming the last thing they want is to hear all the bad stuff. Its a real mood killer.

    My pet peeve on this site is "How much do i charge" threads.

    And people laugh at me how I respond to them. They think im an A-hole or just being a jerk.

    My response is usually something like......

    Post a copy of last years tax returns, a current balance sheet, and a current profit and loss statement along with an equipment list and then I can start to help you.

    People read that and either pass it over or wonder what the heck Im asking for that info for.


    What good is you telling me a dollar a minute if my business expenses are 2 dollars a minute?

    What good is me telling you I charge $40 an acre? Can you make money at that? I dont know....YOU DONT KNOW.

    Pricing is THE EASIEST part of the entire business. It is about as basic as you get.

    I posted a very detailed but boring thread about how you come up with your price the right way.

    That thread lasted about half a day before it was bumped off the board never to arise again.

    Guys dont want to hear the tough answers.

    You start talking about overhead percentages, margins, operating hours, billable hours vs. non billable, production times.......Their heads start spinning.

    They dont want to learn how to calculate all that complicated stuff out.

    They want to hear "The going rate is X"

    They want to hear 5 guys all list a similar price for the job.

    Then he will put his bid in.

    He has no idea if hes making money. The 5 guys that gave him the price have no idea. They heard "the going rate" from 5 other guys....and so on

    And if you go by the statistics, 4 out of those 5 guys that you are asking for business advice are a couple years away from going out of business themselves.

    Meanwhile theyre laughing at me for asking for vital business information that is required to even think about coming up with a price.

    I know nothing about building a patio.
    But give me a little information about your business and production times and I can sure as hell price the job for you.

    I dont know a geogrid from a cactus, and I dont need to. But ill price that job so you cover your costs and hit your profit.

    The real reason for failure in this simple simple business, is lack of business basics.

    Most on this board think they know.......They dont.

    I thought I knew.....I didnt.

    Thanks Pro Cut


    SNAPPER MAN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    Agreed 100%. We need more threads like this. I agree that people don't want to hear the reality. They just dream that they can quit their real job and by years end be driving a new f250 and have $30k in equipment that they don't need. To many people care too much what others think about their equipment and think customers care. The customer could care less as long as you do a good job at a fair price, they don't care if your equipment is worth $80k or $10k. I also agree that people truly do not know how to price jobs. Someone elses costs are not going to be equal to yours.

    Great thread and maybe some people will actually read it.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. SouthSide Cutter

    SouthSide Cutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,331

    In this business and your area it doesn't matter what you think you need. It may be 75 dollars an hour. To pay for everything and make a good living. Wanting to make that and getting it is the tuff part. If people wont pay it your going to go broke and starve to death. And listening to some people on here will only get you in trouble, because it just might not work in your area.
  4. ShooterK2

    ShooterK2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 815

    Here's a link to the entire thread. It's a great read, whether you agree with Procut or not.


    There are MANY good discussion points contained in this thread. It is up to each individual to decide if it applies to them or not, but if you don't take Procut's advice, and then you fail, you will only have yourself to blame.

    I, personally, run a much smaller business. One which thrives on keeping costs VERY LOW, therefore maximizing profits. I may not get quite as many yards cut in a day as the bigger outfits, but I know my costs, and can cut a decent amount of grass for a fair (not cheap, however) price, and still make a profit.

    Once those costs start rising, then Procut's advice applies much more directly. And, because of this thread and the multiple times I have read it, I now know a lot more about what to do to avoid problems. Thanks to Procut, and all the other participants of that thread.
  5. Michael J. Donovan

    Michael J. Donovan Head Moderator, Online Communities Staff Member
    Messages: 3,883

    we don't need two threads on basically the same topic
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