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Texas Roll Call

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

  1. whaler's Mow-Town

    whaler's Mow-Town LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    That was on the news today. I think they said it is like 1/3 full...like 34% or something like that. They havent put us any rationing yet and they say if it doesn't change by april, we will go into phase 1 voluntary rationing.

    Thats cool with me. It seemed liked the drier it got last year, the more people called me to mow. I was already good with all the local dairy vendors, an old closed rehab hospital, about 8 other commercial accounts and 38 residential accounts. I have maintained most all of those for about 9 years.
  2. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,737

    Hope you Texans are getting some good rain. I hoping this rain is sign of a good season.
  3. Flatop

    Flatop LawnSite Member
    Messages: 236

    I am located in San Antonio west side. Retired military, full time college student, part work time LCO. Using business to earn extra income and works well as far as flexible work schedule goes. Speaking of schedule, have a home remodeling friend refer me to a client. Unfortunately they are 30+ miles away. Anyone here from San Antonio who works near 78261 zip code about 3 miles away form 281 and in a gated community, shoot me an email.
  4. SlowMow

    SlowMow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    Well in light of pursuing my dream of owning my own lawn and landscaping business I chose to join the Army for a consistent paycheck to provide for my family. Needless to say, here I am in good ole Fort Hood. I see that several people on here are familiar with the area. My question to you is this, what do I need to do to have an amazing looking yard on post? The grass and soil seems to be a little different than what I am used to. Thanks for any input.
  5. StihlMechanic

    StihlMechanic LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,133

    Irrigate, It doesn't rain here.
  6. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,009

    Below is an email I sent my state senator & rep. In the past I never really worried much about the illegitimate guys. But it seems like since the boom times of 08' and prior have faded away the business climate has gotten tougher. I have a past employee who has poached away several of my customers.

    The employee was working for another guy named Orlando after I fired him. The guy he worked for tried to steal some of my customers and I suspected he wasn't a legit business. I contacted the Comptrollers Office and they started an investigation which I suspect was costly for Orlando. I also reported the the Orlando guy TECQ via email for doing unlicensed irrigation repairs but they never followed up on the complaint.

    Orlando couldn't run a business to save his azz and sold sorry little company to my ex-employee last summer. My old employee is starting to be a thorn in my side so I just called the Comptrollers office again. I'm hoping he is going to get a costly reality check in the very near future.

    The comptrollers office takes complaints seriously and you guys should use this to your advantage if you seriously suspect someone is not legit. I provided the investigator with address's of where some work was performed, and the company name & number. An investigator went and talked to the owners of the properties to verify work was performed and that's all it took to get Orlando busted.

    I've never used the Texas Department of Agriculture to bust competitors who spray without a license. But considering than over 90% of the small guys probably have no license it's an easy way to bust someone who's invading your turf illegally.

    Here's the info I sent my state Rep. & Senator. If you guys think a little more regulation would help our prices from getting watered down I would bug your Reps as well.

    "My small business is Plantscape Solutions which is a landscape/maintenance company. In some states landscape contractors are regulated and it helps keep everyone on the same playing field. You don’t have to worry about there being a ton of people out there not paying unemployment tax’s or not charging and collecting sales tax like they should. In Texas there are obviously laws in place that say your legally bound to collect sales tax and unemployment taxes but they are very poorly enforced. These same business’s are not paying their annual taxes on their equipment and other taxable property.

    In the green industry there must easily be a billion dollars worth of work performed where no sales tax is collected. It doesn’t seem like it should be that hard for Texas to come up with some type of simple permit that would need to be affixed to the windshield of company vehicles to make it obvious who’s legitimate and who’s not. It could even be a simple RFID tag that could be read from a distance to run a check on a contractor to insure nobody can make fake tags.

    To get a permit landscape contractors would need to at the least be registered with the Texas Workforce Commission, and the Comptrollers office. Maintaining some form of commercial insurance and not personal insurance that is really not relevant for contractors would be a plus at some point as well. Some industries like electrical, plumbing, trucking, moving, pest control, and others already require some sort of license or permit to be displayed on work vehicles.

    It would cost Texas nothing to enforce the laws to a much higher standard. Enforcing the laws would pay for it’s self and likely put hundreds of millions of dollars of sales tax (or more) in state coffers that could be used to fund education, highway construction or other priority projects that are under funded. People like myself who are landscape business owners and vote with consistency would be in favor of this type of regulation. Similar trades such as tree trimmers/arborists would also welcome some regulation to level the playing field. I’m sure there are other trades that could benefit from shaking out the illegitimate contractors as well but I realize with government you need to take baby steps."
  7. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,719

    I am right there with you buddy.
    I also used to not worry much about the ones doing this stuff illegally, but like you stated, now there are more and more doing it. Before 2008 things were pretty much booming in my little area and I was turning down work because I just could not do it all. Now every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to be running adds and riding around pulling trailers with mowers on them while stating they offer fert and weed control to fixing sprinkler heads.
    Well, if they want to do this then they need to be paying just like I do. My wallet would be a whole lot fatter if I was not paying the county appraisal district, keeping up with the state comptroller payments, paying the TDA $180 a year, paying for the TDA CEU's, paying the state $75 for nursery and floral cert a year, paying commercial vehicle insurance, paying commercial liability insurance, ect........ . Now I am wanting to get into irrigation, so I just payed $500 for the class [does not include fuel and other misc], $100 to TEEX and $111 to TECQ so I can take the test March 9th.

    I guess the easiest way to bust someone would be to call the comptrollers office. I know with the TDA they want to see a copy of the bill they left the customer [like that is easy and anonymous]

    It still does not bother me when someone with a full time job wants to cut a few lawns for a little extra $, but it is the ones who are doing this for their income that is getting to me [and my wallet]
  8. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,009

    I hit the post button little prematurely on my post. I wasn't quite done editing it yet. With the Comptrollers office I just gave them the business name, number, and address where work was performed. There were easily able to verify the business didn't pay any taxes. Then they went to the address to verify work had been performed and they a payments had been rendered.

    It's a private matter when enforcement is taken so you never know exactly what happened. But the first investigator gave me a hint that my tip was valid. I have no doubt that my second hunch is solid as well.
  9. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,009

    Come on, Someone besides me must have something they want to BS about. I hope that 90 F day we had this past week isn't a sign of another hot spring & summer coming. Here in the Austin area we have to get Lake Travis to jump up from 630 to 635 to be able to irrigate twice a week. But we really need to get the lake up to at least 655 so we can know for sure this summer will be OK for the green industry. The lake is full at 682.
  10. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,009

    It's been a few years since I had to deal with cutter Ants. They were tearing this guys yard to pieces. Put down some Allectus and it should kick their little butts nicely. Every time I've seen people get Cutter Ants they lived next to a native area.

    For those who haven't dealt with these ants they defoliate entire landscapes quickly. They don't actually eat the foliage they take it to underground and compost it and it makes a fungus they eat.


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