Should I bother?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by LAWNS AND MOWER, Dec 18, 2001.


    LAWNS AND MOWER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,129

    I've been tossing around the idea of starting up a local lawn care association in my area. I can think of at least 30 lco's that might be interested. What worries me is that some ego's might be so large they won't fit through the door. Instead of informative, networking meetings, I can see it coming down to 'why don't you charge more?' kind of thing? Has anyone ever attempted to form a association and if so with what success??? Any input would be nice!!!!

  2. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 870

    If there isn't any in your area, I think it would be beneficial.

    Start now with buddies to form a core and build from there with invitations to build your group.

    MATTHEW LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 665

    Its great for us to share things here, but watch out trying to unite local Lco's. I can name several in my area who buddied up and ended up losing business. You should know that some will join merely to get access to accounts and numbers. I've seen it.
  4. chicks-dig-lawn-guys

    chicks-dig-lawn-guys LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    What would the point be in attending a LCO meeting? Just sounds like a way to find out how people price so you can price just under them to take business....I wouldnt join one.
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I am with the Chick,

    I don't see anything necessarily beneficial coming out of something like this - namely because it's local competition.

    It's all well and good that we volunteer stuff to one another here in this forum but if this were a local thing I wouldn't say a word. I don't want my competition knowing the first thing about how I run things. There are a lot of things relating to this business that I have refined and perfected. Half of my competition is still out there with their head in the sand. I like to keep it that way :cool: The last thing I want to do is give them some clues or tips on how to run things.

    Furthermore, there's not a lot you would learn from them that you aren't learning here. The only exception being what they charge. And you can find that out easy enough. If you don't know how to figure that out, email me.

    Suppose you did start such an association. What would be the end result? If they didn't all fight, the end result might be that everyone invloved ended up getting a lot of good ideas from one another and learned how to operate their business' more effeciently, etc. Is that what you want? A more educated and knowledgeable competition?
  6. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    A more educated and knowledgeable competition? Actually, yes. That's eXACTly what we're shooting for. We have a local organization that is county wide right now, but this is more suited to the landscapers and nurseries. I am currently working on one at this time that is going to be more suited for the grounds maintenance. As far as fighting and what not, it just doesn't happen. There is a charter that will be followed as well as a code of ethics, that entails some subject such as employee coercion (of one another's employees to leave and go work for someone else). Some of the ideas that are discussed in the current organizations meetings are newer contractor projects that are coming up for bids, landscape contractors looking to sub out fot certain projects, certain management companies that may be slow on pay or other related problems, charity and other benefit functions of differnt types, and other various things. This is the same type of things that I want to discuss. Not what we charge, or tips and techniques. These things aren't really discussed. I just want to be able to raise the standards, and have a higher esteemed organization of integrity and reputation. I feel that much great comradery can and will come from this. I know I have nothing to hide, as I am a well known, well respected contractor in this area.
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Well to each their own I guess. But a lot of my competition are dorks with rakes. No professionalism at all. And although it maybe lowers the standard for the industry as a whole maybe, I prefer it that way because when we show up with our act together and looking sharp, people are blown away. It sets us appart from the rest. And that's my company's biggest asset.

    I prefer to keep my competition as ignorant and uneducated as can be. Maybe that's just me.

    And I can't believe that conversations, at least in the parking lot, wouldn't turn to talk about suppliers, fertilizers, employees, marketing techniques, etc. It's just natural to want to ask other guys about this stuff. So again, this sort of organization would be helping my competitors learn tricks of the trade from me or others. And that's not something I want.

    I want them to keep buying fertilizer and sprinkler heads at home depot for 3 times what I pay. I want them to hire the deadbeats I fired, I want them to keep the lettering off their trucks, I want them to think flyers really don't produce results, and I don't want them knowing about jobs coming up that I know about.

    Sorry, I guess that's just me. But again, I can't believe stuff like this NEVER gets talked about.
  8. chicks-dig-lawn-guys

    chicks-dig-lawn-guys LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    I think Jimmy here is a smart guy!

    If you want to make money you have to have an edge on the competition. You get your edge by making mistakes and learning from them. The last thing you want to do is give away your hard earned knowledge of the field. You want others to pay more for equipment and mistakes so you can charge less to do a job and still get a higher overhead because you know the cheaper way out. If you tell others what you know, all them hard times for you, just made another person one step ahead of you.
  9. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    I'm with Jim. If I am going to do this, it is going to be on my own. There is an endless amount of resources already available for one to learn the proper practices of running this business, in all the aspects required. If you want to really put forth the effort and make a go of it, it can be done all by your lonesome self. Nothing in life is easy and hopefully ones hard work will payoff in the long run.
  10. lbmd1

    lbmd1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Lawns & Mower,
    I was tossing around the idea last year sometime about forming an association as well but something that happened here on this site made me re-think my decision in helping out other LCO's. We started a specialized seperate organic fertilizer company last year that did extremely well it's first year out and through one of the organic discussionson this site, one of the posters looking for information (a lurker with a location field not filled in) asked me for help, acting like a newbie who was genuinely interested in getting into the field. Knowing I was from the NH coastline (only 18 miles long) he asked for info on it's acceptance, product type and rates and how I marketed it. I shared my info with him to "educate him" and a day later, this lurker emailed me back with some negativeness, sarcassm and MORE questions. He was a local LCO who also owns a large chemical fert biz in my area. He had told me how he had tried to introduce organic apps to his program without success, who then criticized me for my marketing concepts, etc.. Needless to say I was quite pissed off that by trying to help someone out, it would come back to bite my face off. I was recently talking to another owner of a large LC operation, a very nice older man, who also shared a story of this guy as well. He subbed out some very lucrative accounts to this lurker for chemical apps who right to his face told the older guy that he would give the older guy a 2 year non compete on these accounts he was getting from the older LCO. Imagine, giving this guy income and the guy tells you to his face that he will steal these accounts from him!!! Needless to say, this lurker lco now has a red flag attached to him. These are the type of so called " professionals" that some of the guys above are talking about. I'm sorry for the long post or to be a little off the subject but I would like to forewarn those who might try to help out others that this sort of thing can happen to you. So I'm with Jim and the others. It's too bad that by trying to help make this industry more professional, you still have large LCO's with narrow minds trying to line their own pockets instead of educating others to further enhance business down the line for everyone.


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