What is it with fly by nighters

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Gravel Rat, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    I don't know what is happening but I think I will have a tough time compeeting with the haywire people. The economy still isn't doing that well and now we are getting people jumping into the landscaping and mini excavating thinking they are going to strike it rich.

    A couple guys they are buying this old junk and trying to get in the mini excavating business. Their hoe is okay but its the trucks they are buying to haul with and trailers. The market is flooded with mini excavators for hire what makes these people think they are going to get work.

    People are jumping on the being self-employeed bandwagon so they are getting into landscaping or mini excavating etc. Heard today another guy getting into the junk removal business and his truck is a real POS.

    The worst part is these guys will be working for cheap to get work and end up driving the rates down and there will be no profit. Once these fly by night haywire people end up going broke then the long term guys are fighting to get the rates back up.
  2. curtisfarmer

    curtisfarmer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 511

    The mini excavating market is going to hell. Rental stores and every 6pack conttactor has it on thier front burner. I am discouraged being in the same market...too much iron....to few customers.:cry:
  3. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,792

    there isn't much barrier to entrance anymore. Any hack can rent a machine, put a sign on his truck, buy a prepaid cell phone and go into business. No corporate sales tax, no franchise taxes, no sales tax permits, no insurance, no experience, no reason to do it right, and most likely a drinking problem. yes, I am exaggerating a bit but not much! I have enough trouble competing against guys with serious machines and experience so I don't worry too much about the hacks. If I know they are fly by night and not following the rules, don't see their names, dba's etc., on the county's render list, I'll turn them in for failure to render. A $1000 lean against their property will wake them up. I also turn in landscapers that don't charge sales tax for things like stump grinding, tree trimming, and of course landscaping. I'll do whatever is legal and moral to feed my family and keep the playing field level. Yes, there is a lot of rental iron, cheap machines, etc., but I also get to go in and fix up the other guy's mess. Personally, if you worry too much about the hacks, you will never get any sleep. Do you want those customers anyway? If they are that cheap, then you can't make a living doing it the right way...besides, when the hack is out of business or in jail for DUI, then you can charge what you want. :)
  4. ioilyouin

    ioilyouin LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 710

    We recently had the reemergence of a crew that did some time in the pen. Needless to say I threw up a couple extra locks when I saw them. I don't understand how you can be in the "Asphalt" business and stay clean, but these guys look like they came off the cast of Jersey Shore. There's plenty of hobbyist also out there, giving all of us a rough go.

    And I agree with the drinking thing.
  5. wanabe

    wanabe LawnSite Senior Member
    from So. IL
    Messages: 943

    GR, im not taking sides here, but I would rather see someone try and work for a living rather than let the welfare system suport them. We have a whole bunch of lasy @ss people in this country who do not want to work. If you are doing eveything the right way and taking care of your customers you will be ok. I am never the low bidder on any job I do. Selling yourself and your services is what I always try to do, not sit arround and worry others in the biz.
  6. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    These people that are trying to become self-employeed are people that have been laid off from their job usually not related whatsoever to what they are trying now. The mini excavating market is overloaded with equipment don't these people see this. There is already the guys that have been in the business for 5-10 years are starving to death with this recession. Now you have a fly by nighter coming in and under bidding a job making very little to no profit and driving the rates down. Once a homeowner starts paying a lower rate they are not going to pay anymore than they have to.

    The landscaping industry is flooded aswell I guess people buy some tools and think they are a landscaper.

    My guess is people are sick of putting resumes out looking for a job they are turning to self-employment and industries that already have enough people doing the work for the amount of work that is out there.

    There is another guy in the area he bought a mini excavator and has access to a smaller full size and he is undercutting the rates down to get work. It is pizzing off the other excavation contractors that have more expenses that can't work for a cut rate that barely covers fuel and expenses.
  7. mow king

    mow king LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 571

    In my opinion there will always be fly by nighters and I think it was a bigger problem in the better economy. Everyone saw the landscapers busy working 7 days a week especially on new construction and jumped on the band wagon...

    People are lot more hesitant to get into a bunch of debt or spending their savings on exacavtors, trucks, etc without the promise of steady work.

    You have to focus on setting yourself apart with quality, doing more advanced hard-scapes, finding a niche, etc. Once you try to compete just on price especially in this industry...you're setting yourself up for failure.
  8. queen of spades

    queen of spades LawnSite Member
    Messages: 219

    I started this 3 years ago, I'm incorporated and always bid at least 65/hr on jobs, sometimes more if I think they customer can afford and is willing to pay. God knows there are no shortage of cheapskates looking to hire someone to dig a 100' x 5' trench for $100. Sadly, there will be desperate people willing to take on a job at that rate in this economy.

    Anyway. I don't apologize for getting my business started. I'm small and will probably never compete with any of you guys. My market is small and the jobs I take on small. But one thing I do not undersell my services. Have great reviews and plan on keeping it that way.
  9. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,792

    Having a thirsty bobcat, chipper, and a couple of diesel trucks I spend a lot of time at our one and only local gas station. I see the contractors in the am load ice, sodas, and a case of beer into their coolers. I see some of the same guys, the SAME day but later in the evening, loading ice and MORE beer into their coolers or carrying a couple of 12 packs to the single cab f150 with 4 or 5 exchange students crammed into it. It's just plain sad. I'm not a goodie goodie.. I even had a beer tonight but I can't see how these guys drink so much beer and actually make it home much less make it to work the next day.. For the ones with kids or a wife at home..shame on them. Go home and take care of your families and leave the 14 or 15 bucks for the gas station 12 pack in your pocket so your wife doesn't have put the kids on the free lunch... :nono: OK, that's a soapbox but why the heck are so many contractors drunks? I've come close to decking a few myself...belligerent drunks at the end of the day!
  10. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,792

    I've actually seen it.. pick, shovel, and case of beer given to an exchange student instead of getting a trencher, hoe, or rocksaw.. real sad.
    Maybe we should go after Western Union. A lot of the cheap guys and fly by nights send their tax-free earnings off to God knows where.

    I also personally know of a guy who hasn't filed a tax return in years. Has his tree company in his wife's name (she has a full time job elsewhere) and the guy only takes cash. He doesn't have the required sales tax permit either. he doesn't compete against me...thank God. :hammerhead: but it annoys the heck out of me.

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