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Thoughts on the Business and Competition

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mtdman, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    I was doing leaf cleanups in a neighborhood today that when I started out, I was very big in. It's an older neighborhood, big trees, small lawns, expensive houses. Lots of families and kids, nice little area in the middle of town. I noticed that another lco had lawn signs up, just about everywhere. Seems like they are pretty much taking over that neighborhood. I only have about 2 customers left in that area anymore. I stopped taking customers around there a few years ago because the yards aren't the easiest, the biggest, or most profitable. Lots of fenced in back yards, small yards, crappy yards that don't grow and aren't irrigated. I have been trying to move out toward the area I live, which have easier, bigger, more profitable lawns, and aren't so far away.

    But I was kinda bumming about the fact that the neighborhood really used to be mine. At one point we had about 30 lawns in that neighborhood, and spent a couple days working there. Even though I know I have been consciously moving away from there, it still kinda bummed me out. It kinda feels like I slipped and let my competition get over on me. Sometimes I get obssessed about things like that, and want to be the main man. But I know that I am scheduled to capacity, and that moving to a different area is the better strategy for me. It's hard to let go of being competitive though.

    But then, as I was doing my leaf cleanups, I ran into rude people, parking problems, moms with strollers walking up behind me and giving me dirty looks, and just about every other problem that comes along with that area, and I wasn't so bummed out anymore. I forget how rude and stupid some people can be.

  2. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,565

    I occasionally get the same nostalgic bile when I think about my now-defunct writing career. Wordsmithing really is an amazing process, but I found out that writing commercial copy for government agencies is really just regurgitaing material that has been stripped of meaningful content by the dozen or so bureaucrats who have left their fingerprints on the material.

    If you invested much of yourself in this area, a little emotional reaction is inevitable. Same thing with divorce. You're never really quite the same, but after a time, you're not worse off, just smarter.

    If you had no reaction at all, it would mean that it all meant nothing to you. Not the case? Well, then, the diagnosis is...

    1) You're human: and
    2) You invest yourself in what you're doing.

    Sounds like you're on track to me. Congratulations on being a human who cares. There's never a shortage of that in the world.
    Littleriver1 likes this.
  3. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 1,796

    You're doing the right thing by realingning yourself closer to home w/ less windshield time from the sound of it. The area used to work for you but no longer fits your needs so let someone else have it and work their way up. By the time they are moving in where you are now you will most likely have already moved up again, be retired or willing to sell and retire. It still bothers me when I see my old school in disrepair and I haven't worked there for almost 3 years. Someone who cares will always care. It is part of what makes you a professional
  4. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    I have the same thoughts when I see some of the jobs I have had and let go for one reason or another. I try to keep it in perspective by thinking that I can't have ALL of the work so I might as well be happy with what I got.
    I lost a couple accounts at the beginning of this year for different reasons and each one gave me a different reaction but it is always one of loss. You put your work into these places like it was your lawn and not you aren't there anymore. Probably for the better but either way it shows that you are passionate about your work. Thats not such a bad thing. Point your energy forward and get what you want, you have the tools to do it.
  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    Yep, it's always this way.

    Whether it's a yard that you lost to competition, a yard that you gave up because of profit, or side jobs that you did, it's in the back of my mind "Oh crap, there's more money I could have had".

    BUT, then I realize there's a reason I'm not doing it, that it's most likely the people were jerks or cheap, and then I just drive on. :)
  6. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,075

    Well you had me thinking you made a big mistake until the last few sentences. It sounds like you have moved on to bigger and better lawns. Nice to have a reminder every now and again that you made the correct moves.

  7. JustMowIt

    JustMowIt LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 367

    You did the right thing! Most guys have a hard time saying no & continuing to focus.
    So, they end up with jobs that they really dont want.
  8. lawnworker

    lawnworker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 897

    In my area,the moms pushing strollers are always smiling at me. Must be the Lawn man-- mom at home fantasy they are thinking about. :)
  9. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,565

    Well, someone finally worked sex into this thread. Alriiiiiiight.
  10. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    In that area, they walk by you with a baby stroller with a very young child in it, no matter what you are doing. Edging, mowing, blowing, trimming. They even walk up from behind. Never realizing it's dangerous, that I'm throwing grass and debris everywhere, and that their kid can be potentially injured. And even though there is a much safer sidewalk on the other side of the street with no lawn care guy. Then give ME the dirty look.

    That, and the moms always have a dog with them and the stroller. And I don't even wanna know what that's about.

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