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After 12 years of having a full service company, I'm at a point where I'm really tired of the employee BS. The past couple years have been a nightmare finding employees, despite offering many benefits. As a result, I often find myself in the laborer position digging a hole, pruning bushes or running a weed eater all day. I'm not afraid of this work, as that's how I started, but I'm 43 now, have paid my dues and this does get old. I'll typically handle all of the turf & ornamental applications, which I can't do while I'm mowing because someone didn't show up that day. Not to mention I can generate more revenue spraying in 20 minutes than I can billing for myself as a laborer for an hour.
We're a smaller outfit with about 150+ full service, residential customers. Most of them I also handle the turf & ornamentals. Seriously considering tossing mowing & the project side and just doing the chemicals & fertilizations. Maybe even irrigation work as well. I could handle this on my own with no employees. Since we've been spread thin, I've been the jack of all trades, master of not much. I'm sure we would lose some existing customers as many like one company for all needs, but I could pick up many new clients especially since we've never advertised, but could do so if this change was made.
Anyone else make this change?????
 

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Yes, I do only larger commercial mowings ,applications and a handful of residential that I will work to get rid of. Their easy because it takes the 36 or 52 stander. I do no push mowing/bagging. The application side tripled this year!

I got rid of employees 8-9 years ago. Had 12 at one point. Can’t imagine the headaches now.

I’m a fan of the work that requires some skill and research, as well as the barriers to entry are higher! My thoughts are press forward on your own.
 

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I’m guessing the employee situation will loosen up again a bit in the next couple years, but mowing will still be the least profitable and highest scheduling demand service in our industry. We took a large step in moving out of mowing this year. So far it’s been a good move for us, but only you can decide what direction makes sense for your company.
 

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Turf & ornamental management. It's what I've studied the most. Enjoy the diagnosing and problem solving aspect of it. I do like irrigation as well for the same reasons
In my opinion that's the direction I would go then.

You could have full service customers that you service solo or just pick spraying or irrigation etc as main focus

It may depend on your area what service is in the most demand

I enjoy pruning work but do the other maintenance stuff to make a season out of it
 

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Well yes, I can make more money doing xyz in less time than mowing too...
But mowing is easy, predictable and consistent.
One estimate, years of income, at least in theory...

With xyz I feel like I'm giving an estimate every job, and I do have some customers who simply tell me to do it and there are also recurring jobs (such as hedge trimming, mulch, core aeration) when it's the same from year to year... But it also involves equipment configuration load outs, I think the secret to it all is specialization.

By specializing I mean pick one and get into that heavy, that way one can become an expert because that's where the money is... And it takes years, and I mean years and years, I dare say a good decade or two to get really good at one particular thing.

My special skill, silly and simplistic as it may sound, is lawn mowing.
I've done this for close to two decades.

The loadout...
One mowing machine on the trailer, a trimmer, a blower...
Over 90% of my business is mowing.
I cut a LOT of grass.
It pays the bills.
If I had things my way I would only mow.
I'm almost there.
But I still do the other stuff because it keeps the customers happy.
I'm 55.
 

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Well yes, I can make more money doing xyz in less time than mowing too...
But mowing is easy, predictable and consistent.
One machine on the trailer, a trimmer, a blower...
Over 90% of my business is mowing.
I cut a LOT of grass.
It pays the bills.
If I had things my way I would only mow.
I'm almost there.
But I still do the other stuff because it keeps the customers happy.
I'm 55.
I’ll see your 55 and raise you 11!😆
 

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@L33, don’t get me wrong, I don’t get down on mowing, it’s just the commercial work ( for me) is more lucrative since I tie it with apps as well. Less hassle, no employee headaches. I just simply wanted to get away from residential mowing. I don’t mind dealing with residents doing the apps, I’ve got a few that are a pain, as you know comes with the territory.

but as I got older, just not as interested in that segment of it. Like you, put a lot of effort into self-study, classes, and seeking out other pros with turf/ornamental.
 

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Hopefully the labor situation gets better, but I don't foresee it. Most young Americans don't want to do this work. Most of the ones that do this work are mostly useless or they want to be paid astronomical wages for their low productivity. The only way the labor situation will improve is if the floodgates to immigration are opened.

Most of the time I feel like I am running a kindergarten. If it wasn't for a few key guys that I have that stay with me year after year I would probably downsize and go back to solo. It gets tiring dealing with folks who know nothing, have horrendous productivity, yet want to be making 25+ an hour to barely get anything done.
 

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Few years ago I changed my company name and dropped the term "landscaping" from it in order to steer customers away from the mindset that I want to trim shrubs and edge and mulch. Because I'm over it! Been there done that - no more. I do just a couple easy ones that's it. Heck I haven't even got my place mulched this year or last year!
 

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After 12 years of having a full service company, I'm at a point where I'm really tired of the employee BS. The past couple years have been a nightmare finding employees, despite offering many benefits. As a result, I often find myself in the laborer position digging a hole, pruning bushes or running a weed eater all day. I'm not afraid of this work, as that's how I started, but I'm 43 now, have paid my dues and this does get old. I'll typically handle all of the turf & ornamental applications, which I can't do while I'm mowing because someone didn't show up that day. Not to mention I can generate more revenue spraying in 20 minutes than I can billing for myself as a laborer for an hour.
We're a smaller outfit with about 150+ full service, residential customers. Most of them I also handle the turf & ornamentals. Seriously considering tossing mowing & the project side and just doing the chemicals & fertilizations. Maybe even irrigation work as well. I could handle this on my own with no employees. Since we've been spread thin, I've been the jack of all trades, master of not much. I'm sure we would lose some existing customers as many like one company for all needs, but I could pick up many new clients especially since we've never advertised, but could do so if this change was made.
Anyone else make this change?????
Good employees are hard to find.
The big problem today is my guess is young adults could probably make more and have more Bennies working at McDs
Finding young people who want to work physically and out doors is increasingly hard.
I would go the route of the best ROI

theres generally a reason workers dont show up.
Finding that reason is the hard part
 

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Hopefully the labor situation gets better, but I don't foresee it. Most young Americans don't want to do this work. Most of the ones that do this work are mostly useless or they want to be paid astronomical wages for their low productivity. The only way the labor situation will improve is if the floodgates to immigration are opened.

Most of the time I feel like I am running a kindergarten. If it wasn't for a few key guys that I have that stay with me year after year I would probably downsize and go back to solo. It gets tiring dealing with folks who know nothing, have horrendous productivity, yet want to be making 25+ an hour to barely get anything done.
There will always be kids looking for summer work before college starts, but that isn't enough for me since spring and fall are so busy too. I've considered gong to all Applications, but then I will need 10 times as many customers (bosses) and most companies are full service around here so that is what people are used to.
 

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There will always be kids looking for summer work before college starts, but that isn't enough for me since spring and fall are so busy too. I've considered gong to all Applications, but then I will need 10 times as many customers (bosses) and most companies are full service around here so that is what people are used to.
Interesting. In my area, I get so many calls that want just fertilization & weed control. I'm more interested in & geared for mowing (I only own backpack sprayers) so I won't take them unless they use me for mowing. I'm residential only- seems like many homeowners are comfortable with mowing on their own.
 

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Many years ago I did make the switch to all applications. It was the best move. One day we were out mowing. My guy started mowing a small lawn. at the time we were charging $35 to mow the lawn. while he was mowing the lawn I did Applications to three lawns across the street for $55 per lawn and still had to come back and help him blow the walks off it was a aha moment.
The next season I gave up all my Mowing accounts and only did applications the problematic issue I ran into was being able to acquire enough lawns to make of the difference in revenue. I tried to get help with my marketing but all the help I got was actually no help at all it was all generic one-size-fits-all type of marketing that everybody sends out. I decided to make a change I decided to study and learn how to do marketing the way that it’s supposed to be done and marketing to customers that are not price shopping. many years have passed and I have been quite successful at marketing and promoting my small company. It would be too difficult in this form to explain the different marketing techniques that I use but if anybody’s ever interested in getting more information feel free to contact me
 

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Interesting. In my area, I get so many calls that want just fertilization & weed control. I'm more interested in & geared for mowing (I only own backpack sprayers) so I won't take them unless they use me for mowing. I'm residential only- seems like many homeowners are comfortable with mowing on their own.
Yeah, there are several fert & squirt only large operations around here so it definitely can work. Right now I use a backpack and a tank-mounted sprayer on a lawn tractor.
 

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Here's another thought. Around me some of the mowing only guys sub out fertilization/weed control since they don't have the gear, don't know much about it, or are not interested in it. Can you sell your lawn mowing customers & equipment to an interested employee? Could be a win/win for both of you...
 

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Well yes, I can make more money doing xyz in less time than mowing too...
But mowing is easy, predictable and consistent.
One machine on the trailer, a trimmer, a blower...
Over 90% of my business is mowing.
I cut a LOT of grass.
It pays the bills.
If I had things my way I would only mow.
I'm almost there.
But I still do the other stuff because it keeps the customers happy.
I'm 55.
I pretty much do all mowing other than fall cleanups and some weeding, and the occasional shrub trimming job (none this year yet). No fertilization or weed control although I might start doing a little bit of that at some point to extend the season a little longer, since we only mow for 6-7 months in Oklahoma city if we're lucky. We don't get much snow but it's nonstop freezing for 4-5+ months every year. I still love mowing lawns, though, and want to keep it as my primary service, but I'm gonna start including more services to extend the season a bit, to keep from going crazy. Plus, a little extra money never hurt anyone, right?
 

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Interesting. In my area, I get so many calls that want just fertilization & weed control. I'm more interested in & geared for mowing (I only own backpack sprayers) so I won't take them unless they use me for mowing. I'm residential only- seems like many homeowners are comfortable with mowing on their own.
Mowing is pretty straight forward .
Lots of people cant be bothered picking up and then applying “products”
I was one of those.
I paid for fert and weed control for 10 years as the price differential was low enough it was a not worth me doing it myself. Fast forward …. The cost of the lawn care service has doubled since I started it , my pay has not kept up . So now its “worth” it to do myself again.
 
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