Poor year...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Indiana, Nov 19, 2003.

  1. Indiana

    Indiana LawnSite Member
    Messages: 246

    Just wondering if this year has burried some older LCO's.

    I have been in business for twelve years and feel like I have gone into an uncontrollable backslide this year. I have totalled the accounts I have lost monthly and figure this year will be down about $30K from last.

    I am licensed and insured, do quality work and operate good commercial equipment. Like I said been in business since 1991, and have maintained a good attitude through-out the year. Talked with many of the customers that I have and all seems fine. The customers that have dropped service has been harder to reach, but most are not truthfull at that point. I am convinced that most do it to try to save money... I know what you're thinking... "if you offer good service the lower quality work will show up" You're right! the places look like crap with the cut-throats, still 1.5 years later no apology calls and returned customers.

    I will probably be hanging it up after this year. I have a few more contracts that will linger, but who knows what's in store. Winter is a dull, stressfull time.. time to think and ponder.
  2. Davo

    Davo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    Sorry to hear about the fall of in business.
    Sounds like you have a quality operation going. Was it just this year, or a steady decline. Hate to see a pro go out of biz at the hands of scrubs, maybe cut overhead, payroll, etc. till things get better.
    You know your situation better than anyone, so you'll do what you need to.
    Anyway, good luck to you.
  3. debris2500

    debris2500 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Dont give up bro.......lots of ham & eggers doin work for cheap..cheap they wont last and when the other guys stuff breaks and he has no mooola to fix it they will be callin you back and then you can say......well maam you get what you pay for.
  4. packerbacker

    packerbacker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,433

    Cant say that i blame you, i go through the same thing every year, all i do is look at all my friends getting up every morning and putting a tie on and sitting in a cubicle all day never seeing the light of day and thats what keep me going!
  5. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    don't give up so easy. I had a great 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Quarter, but the early drop of leaves and windy conditions really has hurt me so far this 4th Quarter. And it only gets worse because December for me is my worst grossing monthly during the year. Always has been.
  6. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,332

    Indiana-Winter is the time I use to set a new stategy for the next year.Looking over P&L statements , etc. can help make decisions for the next year, but one thing I have found is you have to maintain enough "face time" with clients. I try to see each client at least once a month or more. I have found retention of customers has stablized for us by doing this. We have had some large residentials(4-6K per year) leave over $ 50.00 less per month to another LCO, and there is nothing you can do about it. We expected some to come back after seeing how crappy their places looked after they switched, but no calls.That just helped us really define our ideal customer.The customer we want to work for is the one who will pay a premium price for the dependability and customer servcie we provide.Build customer loyalty through incentives, watching your overhead and OT can help some. Don't give up after 12 years, man.Hang in there, something else is always around the bend, lose four or five accounts, and the next thing ya know you have one nice commercial account that pays more and cuts out four or five headaches per month.Just my two cents worth.Hang in there!
  7. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,194

    Indiana may not be giving up easy. Sounds like he's having a rough time and may be sweating blood to keep his head above water now.

    Dang Indiana, it sounds rough up there. Are you aware of any big LCO's coming into your area recently or are you being flooded with scrubs, or is economy cutting everyone's throats in your area?

    Wouldn't it be worthwhile to ferret out the main source of your down turn? You might be able to load up with some different ammo and reclaim some territory. Maybe not your old customers, but increase your client list enough to improve your bottom line.

    Best wishes
  8. Aren't you trying to make your living with two 48" mowers?
    It's time to get that 60" ZTR and a faster hydro WB with a sulkey.

    Nothing motivates like knowing that payment is coming due.:D

    Or maybe you have better options. I didn't three years ago when I was in a slump like you are now. I bought the mower of my dreams, and now it's paid off. I couldn't be happier.

  9. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    I doubt that any big companies have invaded Indiana's area. More likely it's the effect of the economy. Murphy isn't exactly known as the hotbed of finance in North Carolina. Most likely unemployment is soaring there and people just don't have the disposable income to spend on luxuries like lawn care, landscaping and new cars.

    A check of Realtor.com shows 4,903 homes for sale in his area and that is extremely high given the population.

    In contrast there are 7477 homes for sale in Charlotte and they have a much, much larger population.

    Until the economy strengthens and it trickles down to where he lives there is not much he can do about the loss of business.
  10. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,194

    Well Richard, considering your signature line, aren't you the bearer of glad tidings. Here, pile some more rocks on.

    Sometimes, opportunity doesn't knock, it answers the door. If Indiana will consider 'thinking outside his box' (I really hate that term, but it fits) he just may be able to pull in enough new biz to shine some light on the horizon.

    Just trying to give the guy some positive feed back to maybe inspire some creative juices for his biz, I don't think he needs help painting dark clouds.

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