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State of the Industry - What's Next?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by tremor, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. tremor

    tremor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    For me it's been more than 20 years of shlepping fert. Some of us here at LawnSite have known each other the entire while. Others since before August '01 when I joined here. Some meaningful friendships have come of this. I am grateful.

    What a long strange trip it's been. (Truckin' playing in the background)

    We've witnessed the rise & fall of the once great Leviathan (laughter) which I once helped build but now take great pride in disassembling. It was against the rules to admit you worked for Leviathan in 2000. Now the newbs flaunt it & receive praise. Whatever.

    20 years ago the average 4000 sf lawn was $40 per app. hmmmm

    2001 - 9-11 (nuff said)

    2000 - Gasoline averaged $1.60. Today (laughter) what's it now $4.60?

    2000 - I'd sell 28-5-12 all day for less than $10 & be happy. Today if I sold for $20 I'd LOSE money.

    2000 - Average 4000 sf lawn = $40. Today - still $40

    Dursban went the way of DDT. Ironically DDT was safer (and more effective) but like the victims of a smooth shyster politician we bow in humble defeat & pretend it's OK.

    It's now illegal to call a pesticide "SAFE" in New York...even if it is. (hysterical laughter).

    So what? Outside of a new revolution we can't change what's been done. We might prevent more damage....but at the end of the day our JOBS are to make satisfied clients who pay your bills (and mine) on time at a fair profit. <Tall order?>

    What are we going to do differently now that everything is...different?

    Please let's be grown up & not complain about what everything costs. We know that already.

    What are we going to DO about all this to make more money?

    Steve (now with Valley Green)
  2. tremor

    tremor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    58 Views & no one has a single idea to share?

    Complaining hasn't worked so far. A customer called me today. One of his condos wants 2009 numbers to start their budgeting process.

    $16 was good for R1 this year.
    $22 was our best guess but it could be more.

    If he leaves his labor & margin alone, captures his fuel & other expenses he'll automatically gross more revenue.

    Is anyone else thinking ahead?
  3. Mscotrid

    Mscotrid LawnSite Bronze Member
    from USA
    Messages: 1,456

    I know for myself I've negotiated long term rental space and loading up on overstocked pre-e from my vendor. He needs the warehouse space and I figure if the product goes up I'll come out ahead. If for some reason pricing drops next year I'll bite the bullet and get thru it. I have also recommened this to some friends/competitors. As I do every year I will review my accounts and decide on slow payers or pain in the A$$ customers if I will retain them or increase them to a higher margin level.
  4. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    One thing I have not seen that is being done in other industries is bundling.

    All of the cable and telephone companies bundle their services you can buy just telephone or just cable but you get a better price for the bundle of phone, internet and TV. I don't know if it makes sense in this industry, just an observation

    The other thing that surprises me about this industry is its lack of advertising for the industry as a whole, you see advertisements for Milk producers "got milk", you see it for the petroleum industry I do not believe I have ever seen a lawn and landscape "industry" wide campaign, showing why professionals are used to do the job

    On another thread folks were talking about scotts water saver product, when you actually look at the label, it says things like mow high, adjust your sprinklers but that is not what is in the bag. How do you fit "mow high" in a bag. It brings up how a product or service is marketed though. You can make a very big deal out of very mundane things. "Licensed professional" may seem mundane but it divides you from the crowd. "Bonded and insured" makes people feel good, "professional grade products" make folks comfortable.

    I'll noodle on it and maybe come up with some others
  5. Harley-D

    Harley-D LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 508

    Gotta try and stay positive. Prepare yourself for next year now. Even if fuel goes down, food and everything else is going up as we speak. I'm not saying put money away because it'll be worth less when you decide to get it back out. Can't invest, why not go to vegas and put it all on a couple hands of poker. Maybe invest in gold?

    Rambling...point is, if your not doing anything right now then you are losing ground. I'm not talking about physically working, i'm talking about planning and doing something wise with your company, money and investments. I'm not a finincial advisor but i know right now is not the time to be sitting on a bunch of money. It's not making any interest which in turn means it's worth less because of inflation. (We're now even with canada, jeesh) I'm sorry to say i wish the gov't would step in and do something about our energy issue.
  6. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 724

    Good points Bill

    I try to do this by offering as close to a full service landscape maintenance program as I can. Quite a few of my customers were paying Scotts $40/treatment for the lawn, $40/week for a guy to come cut the grass, a gardener to deal with the shrubs and flowers 1x/month, etc. I offer to do the whole thing for the same price and it's an easy sell because usually there's always at least one of the service people that they aren't happy with but don't have time to deal with them and want to simplify the whole operation anyway.
  7. cod8825

    cod8825 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    We are ramping up and actually really trying to specialize in aspect of the fert business and trying to get into a niche market outside of fert prices. Are prices haven't shoot through the roof like some people have.

  8. group501

    group501 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 174

    We are going to continue to up sell our existing customers with added custom care services. Seeding letters will be dropping soon. We will also continue to try to set ourself apart from the competition by experimenting with new products and services (such as moisture mgr, perimeter pest, Thermal blue seed, etc). If something works as claimed we then market it to our client base as a guaranteed service. Also, I think that it is important to try and have at least 2 billable services performed per visit. This makes for a much more profitable day and many times does not really require much more time to complete.

    This year we also had a price reduction on our basic lawn maintenance packages. This did not result in any increase in sales. Next season will see a price increase for both new and existing customers. We are a premium service and are going to charge accordingly.
  9. Fert33

    Fert33 LawnSite Member
    Male, from Central Pa
    Messages: 133

    companies have been offering all services around here for years. It seems to be a good thing to do. Especially on commercial sites. People don't want 10 different companies on their properties. They want one company or person to deal with on a daily basis. There is definately alot of business around here that is untapped in that area.
  10. tlg

    tlg LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 651

    JDL - LESCO called us last week. They want us to look at pest control as an add on service. It might just be the right thing to increase our sales and reduce our dependence on our lawn applications. I've thought about it before. We will really check into it now as increased fert cost are killing our margins for lawn care.

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