Texas Roll Call

Discussion in 'Network: South' started by PlantscapeSolutions, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. ToddH

    ToddH LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,192

    I gather you are solo then.
    I do not think residental is real profitable for me either but it helps round out the guys schedule. I can tuck in house or two along the commerical routes.
    And while it not as profitable it does cover OH thus making my other jobs more profitable.

    I also pick up some decent side jobs like clean up, bed maintenance, plantings and stuff that can be very profitable.
  2. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,012

    Higher and residential is where the best money is at. It also often leads to landscape jobs. Everyone has irrigation so the mowing is consistent and the properties often require a lot of winter cleanup upkeep. Mulching alone can often be a $1000 (or more) project. The landscape applications can also be very profitable and add up to be $1000 a year for a decent property. My only advice is stay away from contacts if you can.

    I bill almost all my customers monthly for all services rendered. If you do start a contract only do it in the fall from about October thru January. This way your customer will be paid ahead on their contract and you don't get screwed if they cancel.

    My luck with most contacts is people expect the world and you will often end up getting screwed. Contracts are a real gamble too much of the time. Out of about 70 properties I only do two contracts.
  3. ToddH

    ToddH LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,192

    LOL, else where on lawn site people are pushing contracts. I have mixed feelings on them but actually decided to pursue the contracts.

    The reason I decided to do this is one it spells out the terms and gives you a legal leg up to collect late fees and cancellation clauses.

    It seems every year a pick up a couple mowing account and things roll around doing well and they just do not pay the last month of service. :dizzy:

    I have good clients for sure and many have been with me for years.

    This year I am going after service agreements. Many of the clients just want a nice lawn and landscape. We put it under a blanket agreement for beds, shrubs, mulch, mowing, fert, seasonal, flowers and you now have a client generating 140 to 170 a month year round.

    That is for the typical postage stamp 1/7 to 1/4 ac lot
  4. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,012

    The benefit to contracts is less billing info to keep up with. The downside is with most contracts it's not worth the time or money to hire an attorney to take someone to court if they owe you money. If they have a much better attorney you could end up being in the hole much more then the value of the money you were hoping to recoup.

    I find the type of people who demand a contract tend to be problematic. I have done four residential contracts and three of them were money losers. I have had one HOA contract for about five years.
  5. ToddH

    ToddH LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,192

    There has to be a way to collect. Unless they have a reason to cancel they owe the money.
  6. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,719

    I am solo, to a extent, part of the season because my son helps me when he is out of school. This should be his last semester then he should have his associates. I am trying to get him set more into irrigation and he has his irrigation tech license. He was actually supposed to be the one getting the irrigation license, but at that time he had a conflict between his school and the course, so I took the course and received mine.

    Trust me, I have tried having employees to the point that is was going to ruin me. At one time I had 3 trucks and with the work force around here that was just a money pit. I am actually the longest full time landscaper in my area [that offers mowing]. There are a couple that just do some part time that might have a couple of years on me. All the other ones try and have employees and last a few years and then sell. One of my buddies just sold his in Dec and another one a few months before that. There is one around here that is in its fourth ownership. Trust me, in this area you are not going to make it running employees on there own.

    I am really wanting to phase out most of the mowing and just do pesticide and irrigation work but that keeps getting pushed back. 2011 was a killer.

    My town has around 16,000 people and is know for its assisted living housing. Not a very high income area :laugh:. Our number of HOA's would be zero. Not every area has plenty of people with good paying jobs and disposable income for lawn care, landscaping, irrigation, Christmas lights, ect...

    The main reason I am just doing the commercial mowing is because of the year long payments. The only way that changes is if you loose one, and that does not happen very often. Actually I was contacted a couple of months ago from the housing authority hoping I could give them a bid and take over but I do not have the time. If the commercial places want license, insurance, workmans comp, ect..... they pretty much have two choices, call me or call someone from out of town.

    Trust me, I would love to have several trucks on the road but unless something changes that is not going to happen for several years.
  7. ToddH

    ToddH LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,192

    Many moons ago I made a service call to Gainsville to do some irrigation repair at the Walmart. I suppose you are correct, there is a limit to the labor pool and the clientele.

    I was surprised when called me and asked me to travel that far but they paid the travel time from south Dallas county. Almost 4 hours round trip.
  8. Totally agree. There are so many extra billables on these properties. Low-working class homes is not where I would want to build a business.
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  9. ToddH

    ToddH LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,192

    Sadly, even some people with nice homes are struggling. Loss of jobs and such. I think things are turning around but some people are house rich these days because last 5 years.
  10. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,012

    I'm just starting to top dress for the season. My GCWR Friday was 40,152 pounds. Here a link to my thread with the info

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