Western PA Landscapers!

Discussion in 'Network: North' started by 93Chevy, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 41,957

    I love the Laurel highlands area...I know Altoona is a tad on the outskirts technically, but it's beautiful country out there. I don't know much about the economy or business viability, but I really enjoy the scenery
  2. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    Stopped in my local tire shop to price new trailer tires. (little 4.80-12 tires on a cheapo Carry On trailer)
    Mine look like racing slicks, so I need to replace them and figured I'd start local before looking online.
    His price was $33 each. (Carlisle brand? and I think that included mounting)

    As I was leaving he said "Hey, check out 380 Auction - I think they had them for close to that price already mounted on a wheel!"
    I thanked him and made a mental note to give him my business when it came time to replace my truck tires.

    I called them up today and yes, they had them - $39.95 each mounted on a white, "8-spoke" rim.
    They're "Dexstar" brand and have a "Made in USA" sticker. The tires have "H188" in large lettering and I'm not really sure where they are manufactured.

    Either way, they seem to be in the same level of "quality" as the Load Star's that came with the trailer. Lowes and Tractor Supply want $70 for their "Carry On" replacement tires mounted on wheels by the way.

    I found these same tires (mounted) online for between $40-$45 each PLUS shipping, so I just went ahead and got two - all it took was my time to go pick them up. They stock a bunch of other sizes to.

    I'll let you know if they blow out on me. :D
  3. Pressedun

    Pressedun LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 44,983

    Never get non radial trailer tires. Pay more to get radials, ride better and last longer.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. JimsLocalLawn

    JimsLocalLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 903

  5. cmos123

    cmos123 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 77

    What is the average length of cutting season in western Pa, from when to when? Do customers seem to go weekly in the spring and then drop to bi-weekly in the summer? This was what happened a lot in Tx. But we had summers in the triple digits with no rain.
    Thanks for all the help so far.
  6. Pressedun

    Pressedun LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 44,983

    About 30 weeks, give or take a few depending on snowfall.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. Bumpmaster

    Bumpmaster LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 22,128

    Some times we just mow like a mow fo an hope to get out ahead!
  8. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    cmos ... did you read (scan?) the information in the link that OakNut posted about "city-data ...?" There is lots of good infromation in that link -- salaries, housing prices, education levels, industries, worker's employment, etc. Some of these are good markers of whether or not there is a market.

    Not to be a downer, but there is lots of information in there that would point to a dismal lawn service market. Looking at the housing prices, median income levels, there isn't much extra money floating around. When a high percentage of the workforce is truck drivers, these people are not going to hiring somebody to mow their lawn (casting no aspersions on truck drivers, but compare income levels to a workforce made up of professional folks, such as lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc).

    Compare this information to other markets in the Pittsburgh area - Upper St Clair, Mt Lebanon, Peters in the south. Some of you other folks can offer places in your area that represent good markets (e.g. Wexford, Monroeville). Help out with some comparative geographical areas that would help clarify the Altoona marketplace.
  9. cmos123

    cmos123 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 77

    Roger, yes, I read a lot of info from that link, as well as Altoona Pa city-data which gives a LOT of information on cities. I know the income and homes are lower than the Pa average. That is what worries me, and why I was asking if anyone had any clue if this area would sustain a small lawn company. But at the same time I am looking for a lower cost of living so I can afford to live myself.
    Thanks for the help.
  10. TuffTurfLawnCare

    TuffTurfLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 667

    I agree with everything Roger said. Him and I cut in the same area, and all but three of my customers are proffesionals (doctors, lawyers, business owners, CEO's, etc) with a lot of expendable income and/or little time to do their own work. Median home values in my area are over $300k, I have 2 that break 1 million. The majority are 400k plus. We are in a very good market down here, but looking at the figures for altoona, I wouldn't expect that. I would have to guess that you would be able to cut a lot of $20-$30 lawns, bi weekly with few upsells.

    As for mowing schedules, I only do weekly cuts, and skip when I decide it doesn't need it, usually.a couple times in July/August. Spring growth is rapid, and many of.my.lawns should be done 5 days, but its tough to schedule and sell. Seeding is/should be done in the fall, remember your dealing with cool season grasses up here and the cut heights are vastly different from what your used to as is the effectiveness of mulching clippings during rapid spring growth.

    I imagine it.could be done in altoona, but it may take longer and at lower prices per cut.

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