The farthest Distance for work

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by hickory, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. hickory

    hickory LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    Just curious, what is the maximum distance that a company should go for work? Do most of your stay in one particular area or do most of you find that since competition is tough that it only makes sense to take on jobs that are a little bit farther out?
  2. Charlie Sierra

    Charlie Sierra LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    Hi Hickory,

    My $.02:

    How far I drive depends upon the type of service and the margins involved.

    For instance, for mowing, I tend to stay in a particular "service area" as it would be unprofitable to stray to far.

    If a clean up is big enough, I am willing to drive a bit further as it is worth my time.

    For hauling, I will go further. Green waste hauling and materials delivery tends to be in the same neighborhoods where the mowing takes place as these services are often provided to regular clients.

    When it comes to junk hauling for the real estate agents, I will go anywhere in a three county area because the labor is at market premium and I have a mileage charge they are willing to pay. Too, the treasures and tools that I get for free when cleaning out a house have add at least one zero to the net on every job.

    Ditto on tree work. If the job is bid right and my schedule is not tight, I will travel the distance required. I contract out ground services and hauling to arborists and they are excellent clients because their rates are high enough to pay the sub contractors nicely.

    One thing that keeps me very competitive and allows me to travel further than alot of other guys are willing to is that I searched around when I bought my truck and found the lowest operating cost per mile with the GVW I thought I required: 3/4 ton with 5.8 liter gas engine and a 3.55 axle. I tow only light trailers and seldom approach maximum load so this is working out really nicely (though pulling a chipper up a steep hill can be slow going!)

    Anyway, that is how I approach your problem. I have only been at it for a year and am getting a much better feel for business. As my business model and range of services gels a little better, I will probably change my habits, though.
  3. hickory

    hickory LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    Thanks for the reply. That helps a lot.

    I actually left the corporate world this past May and joined my fathers 26 year old landscaping firm. Our revenue is pretty good, but I think to get to the next level we're going to have to travel a little bit. I agree on the lawn service end of it. Most of the time it's just too far to 35 to 50 dollar cut. We live close to NYC so there is a lot of competition in our area. The cost of housing is very high so a lot of people are moving out farther. This means their commute is longer and they just don't have to time to do any maintenance or landscaping projects around the house. A lot of corporations are moving farther north as well. So, this is why I asked the question of traveling. Thanks for the advice.

  4. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    You gota get in the truck every morning and go somewhere!
  5. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Messages: 1,557

    If the money is right and the customer is willing to pay me for travel time, fuel , etc then i will go pretty far off. I have gone up to 120 miles away for a job and i have one for next year thats close to 200 miles away.
  6. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    I'm from the Ottawa area and in 1988 I packed up my dually with tools and headed to Thunder bay. We installed an interlock driveway and 2 walkways for my friends father. Also some regrading of his rather large lot. One way distance was 1500 kms or about 950 miles. Gone for 13 days. I was just 25 at the time and loved every minute of it.
    At this time in my career I try to stay within a 50mile radius. All depends on who its for and how they pay.

  7. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 621

    Being in Arizona, we travel the entire state. However, we make sure it is profitable. Here it is nothing to drive 1 1/2- 2 hours each way just in the phoenix area. New Mexico and California are also part of our market.


  8. Katwalk

    Katwalk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    How do you pay your help when you have an hour and a half drive to and from the job?? Just curious because right now we have a job about an hour and 15 minutes away and I have been paying for the drive to the job....they are on there own for the ride home.
  9. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 621

    No glass time. They get paid from the time we arrive at the site untill the time we leave.


  10. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    This almost calls for another subject.

    I always pay from when they arrive at the shop in the morning till they get back there after work. Even if the work is 1/2 hour or one hour away, I think it is only fair that they get paid for it. My guys have to do their circle check in the morning and almost always have something to load up before they leave. I know I would have better things to do than sit and wait till I got to the site.


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