Watching them fall

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by dkeisala, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    Every Sunday I go through the classifieds in the newspaper. Just about every week someone is selling a trailer and commercial equipment. Yesterdays paper including a 6.5 x 16 trailer ($1,800) and a 52" Grasshopper (you don't see a lot of Grasshoppers used around here) w/ liquid cooled 25 hp motor & 100 hrs ($10,000).

    My best guess is these are people that thought they could make some easy, quick cash, went out and shot their wad on the best of the best, only to find out it just ain't that easy to make a living mowing grass, especially when they started out w/ top of the line stuff before they had a sustainable client base.

    One would think this is good news for those of us having to deal with the numerous newbies that enter the market, their loss being our gain and all that. But one has to wonder, is the lowballing competition being weeded out or, for every one that falls do two start up?
  2. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,075

    As sad is it is to say…. One man’s misfortune is another man’s treasure. It is very true you can find many deals out there where people got in over their heads and now they have a lot of commercial equipment to sell.

  3. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    for every 20 that start up, 19 fail, one makes it, and 20 more start up, 19 fail, one makes it, and 20 more start up........either way u look at it, the end is near
  4. mbricker

    mbricker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    Yes the lowball competition gets continually weeded out.

    The bad part (for those of us who are trying to maintain a sustainable level of income,) every lowballer has influenced several (maybe a lot) of customers to think that cheap price is the CORRECT price to pay for their lawn care.

    And I've noticed, a lot of my customers think I am making a great living (I'm not) because they all seem to know of someone--relative, in-law, friend-of-a-friend--who was in the lawn biz and "made a ton of money!" But that person isn't in lawn biz anymore. Why not?

    Well, the guy's back went out, or he got bad allergies, or he got heat stroke and never could take the heat anymore, or... A multitude of excuses, but NEVER does anyone seem to admit he got out because he just wasn't making as good a living as he wanted. Again, why not?

    Well, if it's so easy to "make a ton of money" in the lawn biz, then it would stand to reason, a guy who doesn't make that ton of money must be lazy or a poor manager or have some other fault. Which no one ever wants to admit, so when they quit they blame their health or some other reason.

    And a good reason for all this confusion about making such good money as an lco in this area--ignorant people who think when they gross $40 for an hour job, they have "made" $40 an hour. And ignorant customers with no business experience who think the same thing.

    And yes I was just as stupid when I started, and was nothing but a scrub lowballer. Almost everything I have learned, I had to learn the hard way, not by listening to smarter more experienced people.

    IF I had run onto Lawnsite 6 years ago, I probably would have refused to take the good advice offered.

    Moral of the story--don't be like that!
  5. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,381


    Well said! It's really hard to believe how many people jump into this business with both feet and then find out it isn't all that great. Many think they can invest 15k-20k in equipment and make 100k the first year in the business. The customer is just as bad. Many think that grass cutters are making tons of cash simply because they pay $20-$25 for a 30 minute lawn manicure. Most of them are not smart enough to figure out there are costs involved. I had one customer tell me that it couldn't cost me more than $2 to cut his lawn and that charging him $20 was theft. I dropped him after 3 cuts. I couldn't deal with his complaining about the price and I didn't feel like taking the time to explain to him that equipment, fuel, insurance, maintenance, etc are all costs to the business.

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