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:) :) :) I would just love it if anybody would tell me the in's and out's of mowing and landscaping in the Daytona Beach area. Anything will help and would be much appreciated. .::angel: :angel: :angel:

Thank you
 

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Lawn-Scapes Thats the VERY truth right there. major heat down here. Don't know what kind of grass your use to cutting but I know fronm guys that have tken on St. Augustine before they didn't know much about it. So learn a little about it. Your going to find that you will not get the same amount per cut as you did where you were. Keep your equipment clean....the sand works wonders on equipment, so keep that oil clean. Make sure you keep a hat on your head and drink LOT'S OF WATER. Don't go out and try and cut a tone of lawns on your first few weeks, break into it and get use to the heat. In fact, it's more the humidity that gets ya. One thing I'm still looking out for with the properties on a lake............GATORS...haven't come across one yet but I'm sure I will. Seen to many snakes to count.

Steve
 

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But seriously folks...

Lots of grass to cut in Florida. Be sure and bring a good set of manners with you. Far too many northerners have swooped down on Florida and brought lousy manners with them. This is the South- we all stand when Dixie is played. Robert E. Lee is still revered here.

As with the market in the rest of the country, the bucks is in mid sized commercial accounts. Although I'm sure Daytona has a large amount of pricey residentials.

Give us a yell when you're settled.

Cordially,
Sheppard
 

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I noticed that in some areas of costal florida the emphasis is as much on landscape as on lawns. Not sure about Daytona, but Boca Raton, for example, has tons of tiny lawns with maybe 3,000 ft of grass to mow, but very intricate ornamentals to maintain. So you'd better be expert at that, as well. And your equipment needs will vary by area, too . Some lawns I see there isn't a 48" wide patch of grass on the property, so big riders may not work in some neighborhoods.
 

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Originally posted by brucec32
I noticed that in some areas of costal florida the emphasis is as much on landscape as on lawns. Some lawns I see there isn't a 48" wide patch of grass on the property, so big riders may not work in some neighborhoods.
Damn, I guess I gotta stay put...smallest mower I have (1) is a 21 incher. Everything else is 52 and bigger. Guess I better go and tell the other half where we're NOT semi-retiring to...aw s***.
 

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Hahahahahaha! You gonna do what?!

First, you have to change blades one to two times per day. None of that once a week stuff. Stay away from Bahia turf. It is cow pasture grass and grows like crazy mulches like crap.

The smallest mower I have is a 36"WB

We have lots of plants and they row a bunch.
Some are grown pretty far north. Others are tropical. Know your plants and how to prune them and when.

Oh and the heat. One thing Kentucky boy did't say is that while are temps. aren't much higher than up north at times. And yes it is humid at times up north. However, our first 90 degree temp. was in March and will continue until mid Nov. Now the humidity doesn't kick in until about the end of April until the end of Oct. so it lasts a long time.

Oh and 40 degrees will feel like 20 up north! Believe it or not!


Good Luck!
 

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I was speaking from experience. I did lawn care in West Palm - Boca area for 7 years. The humidity is nasty as nelbuts said. I laugh when people complain about the heat/humidity up here and tell them.. try working in it for 6-7 months straight each year. It's DISGUSTING!

Make sure you get yourself a couple of nice hedge trimmers (40" and extended) as you will soon learn what ficus hedges are. ;)

Watch out for thorns! Rubilini's (sp?) will hurt you. :eek:
 

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I forgot! Lawn-Scapes is right everything seems to have thorns.

Canary Island Dates have thorns 8" long.
Robolinia's thorns everywhere.
Boganvilla's cut back one that is over grown and then go get your transfusion.
Crown of thorns.
Plus about 100 others.

One more thing our grass grows down here from April till November like yours does in the spring. About 1/2 to 3/4 inches per day! Sometimes faster.

BTW we had about 18" of rain for the month of August!
 

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If you like heat and humidity, you'll love Florida. Lots of St. Augustine grass and Bahia (tough knarly stuff) and plenty of hedges and shrubs to trim. The most money is in hedge and shrub work (make sure you know a lot about them). Lawn maintenance pricing is 20%- 25% lower than in the northern climes. Lots of retired folks looking for the cheapest LCO they can find. It's a extremely saturated business here in FL, but you should do well if you do high quality work and are dependable.

Good Luck and welcome to the Sunshine State!
 

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This is about the 5th thread I've seen this month about forum members moving to FL.

Honestly, what's so great about FL??? It's really getting overcrowded down here. I am fairly young, but I can remember when we didn't have 10% of the traffic we have now.

Sorry to be the neighsayer of the group, but dang....it's getting ridiculous down here. :(
 

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I will tell you, 6-7 months of 90+ heat and 90% humidity.
And its not as bad as Kentucky?:confused: Most people that come down here dont have a clue what hot is. Us crackers get some good deals on barely used equipment due to the big dreams and lack of heat tolerance!
 

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Another move to FL? Gosh, oh, well, welcome anyway...
It is ridiculously tough and crazy down here regarding crowded competition among LCO. Like somebody had said "saturation" regardless what areas you live in. Yes, so much grass to cut, but if you expect to get paid like New England price or where you have come from, you have to bite dust a lot. There are ten of thousands of licensed & insured LCO as much as unlicensed & uninsured LCO (kids from highschool and retired war veterans, or social security benefits recipients) competing one another for just as little as $ 10 a cut, so go figure?
Anyway, your quality has to be right there to stay strong regardless of how much you make though.
 

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Originally posted by MTR
Another move to FL? Gosh, oh, well, welcome anyway...
It is ridiculously tough and crazy down here regarding crowded competition among LCO. Like somebody had said "saturation" regardless what areas you live in. Yes, so much grass to cut, but if you expect to get paid like New England price or where you have come from, you have to bite dust a lot. There are ten of thousands of licensed & insured LCO as much as unlicensed & uninsured LCO (kids from highschool and retired war veterans, or social security benefits recipients) competing one another for just as little as $ 10 a cut, so go figure?
Anyway, your quality has to be right there to stay strong regardless of how much you make though.
Nothing specific against any one reply, but I find it amusing that no matter where in the country one asks about the biz, it's always "horribly competitive" and everybody is mowing lawns for $10. I suspect some of these replies come from those in good markets who want it to stay that way by shooing off newcomers with "advice" to stay out of such a downtrodden market.

Where is "down here" in florida? Many parts of Florida are genuinely economically slow and wages in general are low, so one would expect an oversupply of lawncare guys and correspondingly low rates. But that could be said about any area of the country. If you live where there aren't a lot of busy corporate people with high incomes but no time to mow their lawns, don't expect to make as much money.

But in some parts of Florida 50% of the population is too old to push a mower, and many of the others are too rich to dare be seen doing it themelves or bother with it. Stereotypes of cheap ethnic groups aside, people with money and aging bodies do spend more on lawncare than young people without money. I've done some research and in one particular area the median household income is $20,000 higher than here in the Atlanta suburbs (considered pretty upscale already) and I have had zero trouble in 12 years finding customers at good prices. As for the number of lco's....I can sit in traffic at a light here and watch 6 other guys trucks go by in the opposite lane. But I still don't have problems finding work. So one guy's personal opinion of how many is too many has to be taken with a grain of salt. My advice....ask some of these people "how many lco's are there in your area?" or "what is the population of your area?", or even "what is the median income in your area?". Unless they can answer accurately, I don't see how they can determine that there are too many lco's. Some people confuse the existence of "any" competition with "too much" competition.

So I find it hard to believe that in an area full of wealthy retirees, where the grass grows year round, where the median home price is over $200,000, where virtually every lawn I see in real estate websites is formally landscaped and well maintained, and where there isn't any place within 50 miles where a poor person could live, that there would be a "glut" of lawncare operators.

So the key is obviously to research your market using independent information, which is, admit it, far more objective than advice given by one of your prospective competitors who may not have YOUR best interests in mind when doling out the "advice".
 

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Originally posted by Red Dwarf
This is about the 5th thread I've seen this month about forum members moving to FL.

Honestly, what's so great about FL??? It's really getting overcrowded down here. I am fairly young, but I can remember when we didn't have 10% of the traffic we have now.

Sorry to be the neighsayer of the group, but dang....it's getting ridiculous down here. :(
Melrose Fl Traffic? Ha. Try driving around Atlanta sometime. We have lunch hour traffic reports here and I sit in traffic jams out here in the country while looking out the window at cows in a farmer's field.

How about we quit importing 2 million human beings a year as a way to stop the traffic problems?
 

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Originally posted by DennisF
If you like heat and humidity, you'll love Florida. Lots of St. Augustine grass and Bahia (tough knarly stuff) and plenty of hedges and shrubs to trim. The most money is in hedge and shrub work (make sure you know a lot about them). Lawn maintenance pricing is 20%- 25% lower than in the northern climes. Lots of retired folks looking for the cheapest LCO they can find. It's a extremely saturated business here in FL, but you should do well if you do high quality work and are dependable.

Good Luck and welcome to the Sunshine State!
Gonna have to challenge this one too, though I bet you're dead on on the shrub work aspect. And the humidity goes w/o saying, though it's no picnic here in Atlanta, either.

Where do you get your stats on 20-25% lower rates than "northern climes" ? Ever hear of upstate New York? Hard times up there I'm told. "northern climes" is a pretty darn wide area. Every metro area is different, north or south.

And pricing is relative. Which is better, working 26 weeks a year for $30/week, or 42 weeks a year for $24/week? There are costs involved with the extreme seasonality up North that you don't have in Florida. In my area in the south, it's very difficult to set up weekly mowing, since the grass types are all growing at vastly different rates at different times of the year. So one would expect to get a higher per-cut rate because of that. And most importantly, try hiring someone to work half a year and expect to get anyone of any quality. Those in Florida have less trouble with that aspect of the business than those up north. I'd kill to be able to offer someone a year-round job w/o having to branch into so many things to keep them working in the winter that I'm not even in lawn maintenance any more.

I work for a lot of retired folks here. Are you saying they're somehow cheaper in Florida? Most of my retiree customers weren't born here either. So I don't think it's the fact that they're not from Florida originally. Face it, AMERICANS generally want more for less. And someone who last worked in 1973 is more likely to think $20 a cut is a lot of money than someone who is more current on things. But oddly, my best paying jobs are from retirees, since their higher appreciation for a job well done and reliability negates the above.

Describing "florida" is quite different from describing your particular area of it. I doubt mansion owners at Palm Beach are paying 20% less than middle class homeowners with 1/2 acre lots in Kentucky.

No particular slam on your post. But let's keep it all in perspective.
 

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My 20-25% figure is based on prices charged for 1/2 acre lots in my home state of Michigan. Around the metro Detroit area 1/2 acre lots fetch $25-$30. Here in Homosassa, FL. (about 60 miles north of Tampa) if you try to charge $25 for a 1/2 acre lot you will not be in business long. I've quoted many customers $25 for their 1/2 acre lot and not one would agree to pay that much. Most accounts run $18-$20 and many will not pay that. I had one not so potential cutomer call me for an estimate. He said his current LCO was raising his monthly fee to $50 from $45. That was for 4 cuts including trimming and edging. I thought the old guy was feeding me a line of BS until he produced a stack of monthly invoices from his LCO and the letter informing him of the price increase. He was absolutely livid with the idea that he was going to have to pay $50 per month for lawn care. I told him that I perform the same service for $75 per month and if he was only paying $50 he better keep his current LCO. This is not an uncommon case in this area of Florida. Most of the homes in the subs that I service sell for 150-200k. I'm fairly new to Florida and I'm still learning a lot about lawn care in this area, but I am rapidly learning that the business is extremely saturated in this area compared to Detroit. I'm licensed and insured running the business as a business and that is making it difficult to compete with the low priced competition.

I have spoke with many other LCO's and all say the same thing. Many complain about the amount of competition and the effect that it has on pricing. One guy that has lived here all his life and has been cutting lawns for 25 years said he has never seen prices as low as they are this year.

As far as the Palm Beach residents go... They don't use Lawn care companies. Most of them have full time gardeners on staff. I belong to a Porsche car club here in Florida and one of the members of the club is one of these full time gardeners. He has a Masters degree from Texas A&M in Horticulture. He is employed by a well known celebrity that he will not identify for fear of losing his position. His job is to maintain the grounds of an estate near Tampa that is valued at more than 30 million dollars. He wouldn't talk about his salary, but he owns a 2002 Porsche 911 twin turbo and a 1995 911 slant nose (two very expensive toys). Being a retired autoworker from Detroit and trying to run a lawn care business, the best toy that I can afford is an original 1956 Porsche Speedster that I've owned for 27 years.
 
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