Turning in competitors (scrubs)

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    Everyday in my area, I see LCO after LCO driving around town that I've never heard of. Many have no signage at all. I just don't see how they can do this and still get business. Heck, I've got huge lettering on the side of my truck, a yellow pages ad and I still don't have a full route after a year at this. Sometimes, they haul their equipment in the bed of their pick up trucks. The image they project is completely unprofessional. I suspect many of these guys have a very different cost structure than what I am facing because they may not be paying:

    Federal Income Tax & Social Security Tax on thier Personal Income
    Sales Tax
    Social Security Tax and Unemployment Tax on Employee Wages
    License and Insurance for Pesticide Applications

    Typically, the only thing I could turn into a goverment agency would be a license tag number. It just isn't fair if I'm paying all of these costs and a competitor isn't.

    Anyone ever try to turn someone in to a government agency? I'd guess you would need some kind of evidence or they wouldn't investigate them.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. bayoulawn

    bayoulawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    IMO I dont think it would be worth your time.
    You probably wouldnt want the properties they do anyway.
    They probably go door to door and pick up what they can.
    I doubt very seriously they have a set route month to month.
  3. Danimal

    Danimal LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    I have had the same thought. Yesterday I saw some of the same type fertilizeing lawns. I know they can't be legit because of their prices.Has anyone ever turned in someone spraying without license.
  4. Doster's L & L

    Doster's L & L LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 616

    Ditto what bayoulawn said. Live and let live. If they dont have insurance, sometime it will catch up with them. I'd concentrate on myself and then after time, will soon payoff.
  5. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Fanatic
    from zone 6
    Messages: 6,169

    Your telling me that you believe they don't pay their taxes because they don't have a sign on the truck? I think that is a rather large jump in reasoning. If you do good work and show up the same time every week you do not need a sign to stay busy. I have never had a sign on my truck and I personally think it is more professional for a gardner doing upscale residential to be low key.
  6. DJL

    DJL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    I'm someone who in my first year had no signs on the truck and would, on occasion, place the equipment in the back of my pickup truck. I didn't have the sign because it was my first year and I wanted to get a few accounts under my belt. Basically, I wanted to make sure the pool was full of water before I dove in head first. In addition, I sometimes have to travel a toll road, the cost more than triples when you are towing a trailer on this highway.

    So let me get this straight, by being cost conscious, I'm not professional? So professionalism has nothing to do with how well I accomplish the job and/or how reliable/dependable I am? tell you what, speak to your customers and ask them this:

    "If I show up every-week, provide a solid service, return your phone calls in a timely fashion, and I take the time to say hello whenever I see you, would you care (1) whether or not their was a sign on my truck and (2) whether I brought my equipment in the back of my truck or trailer."

    I will guarantee over 90% of the responses would both no to both questions as long as the previous part is met. Someone can find me on the road, turn in my plates, speak to the IRS, or whatever else they have time for. They'll find I'm registered with the state, have a FEID, I pay taxes, and I carry G/L insurance as well as commercial auto insurance. They will find I play by the rules (i.e. the law) and I'm in the business to make a profit, not to pay off my equipment or get "free" auto insurance.

    You'll find word of mouth is the best advertisement, not the yellow pages, ads, or signs on your truck. Perform good work and that will take you much farther than formal advertisments.
  7. cush

    cush LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 352

    Since you have only been in business 1 year maybe you just didn't notice everyone before. Have you ever bought car that you thought you hadn't seen many of, only to find out there are tons of them you just never noticed.
  8. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    i've had the department of environmental protection ask me if i see anyone or know of anyone who seems illigit, to give them a call. so far, i havn't reported anyone. tempting as it is, don't think i'll ever do it. although, someone did it to me 5 yrs ago.
  9. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,386

    Here is another senerio. Maybe some of these guys you see are mowing their own properties. We have alot of guys here that own multiple properties(apatments, rental houses, etc) and they do all the mowing themselves.
  10. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    If you positively know of a cheater, turn them in. If you don't, then carry on with your own business. People sure like to make presumptions about everyone that drives around with a mower.

    What would be time better spent? You pursuing other LCO's to check their legitimacy, or time spent filling your own routes?

    It may be frustrating some-days with who and what type of people do this work. Just worry about your business and the people you WANT as customers. It was stated before, if customers are looking for the part timer or illegally run business, I certainly am not the business they would pay for anyways.

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