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What Is Your Plan?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Sean Adams, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    A few months ago if someone wrote and mentioned the recession they were either perceived as a visionary or just another "gloom and doomer". Now, I am not sure if it is even possible to turn on the TV or open a magazine or newspaper without everyone starting off with how horrible things are and how the economy is one flush away from joining the rest of the sewage.

    So I am curious - what about you? Is the economy hitting home with you? Is it affecting your family? Your business? Are your customers acting differently? Are you cutting back on things? Are you finding it necessary to be more creative with your marketing?

    I am not blind and I am certainly not an idiot, well, I don't think I'm an idiot all the time. So I am not going to sit here and tell you that everyone talking about the recession or impending depression is crazy.

    I like to think of myself as an optimist. In fact, I really do think that there is always opportunity when things seem to be at their worst. If you are savvy and willing to take some risks, be creative and know that if you work harder than your competition, things can be a certain way for you.

    So tell me, honestly, how is all of this affecting you?

    Is it?

    If it is, what is your plan to turn things around for you and your business?

    Fail to plan, Plan to fail.....
  2. Green Quality

    Green Quality LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

    Hi Sean,I started a small lawn service business in 04. The year of 2008 was a great learning cruve for me.Being that gas prices where at there worst.And what a hurt did it put on me,and this country. (The Straw that broke the camel back) started at the Pump, and the greed of usa. oil companys in which know body want to blame.well in a nut shell, we are in a big lake of stagnant water. In need of getting things moving. there is only so much gov can do, which sometimes or most of the times makes things worst., but we need to stir the waters.take it day by day. is the best way to deal with times.And I know everybody and there uncle cuzin will be out cutting grass.who aren't in it for the long run. and that ok. That's the difference between me and them.I get a Pro found Joy! in doing what I do. and you can't put a price on that.
  3. Dtreefarm

    Dtreefarm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    This economy has almost pinned me in a bad spot, but I plan on reaching deeper in the green industry. Learn more, offer more products and service, meet more people. Let more of the green industry know who I am, products and services I offer. Joining lawnsite was one of the steps I took. The member count here is unreal.
  4. stroker51

    stroker51 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 819

    If you ignore what is going on around you, you are an idiot. I'm a younger player in this industry, I will be 21 in April, and have built a very reputable business in my area since 2003 when I started. I am looking at this with a lot more optimism than some people. Sure there will be more part timers, if they do good work and are legit, I have no problems with them. As for me, my marketing budget this year is unlimited almost unlimited. Getting everything lettered, several different ads, and making it a point to get out and bid every job I'm called for in a very prompt fasion, as well as not let phone calls go unreturned for whatever reason. What this economy is going to do for me, is force me to run a much tighter ship, but I also look at it as a time of opportunity, people are looking for more value for their dollar, and if they get a superior service from my company, for a comparable or slightly higher amount of money, they will go with us. This so far has been my experience. I'm just ready for things to even out economically, as I'm sure everyone is, the plus side is you hear enough bad news eventually it starts to fall on deaf ears.
  5. Flow Control

    Flow Control LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,267

    My plan is similar to Stroker.

    I am calling this years plan: "Back to the basics & Grass Roots"

    I am a irrigation provider. New Construction was the large majority of my gross revenues. My thinking is if you wait to let the economy bite you, then you have waited too long. I am in a seasonal market, if I were to wait until mid season to realize that I can't keep my workers busy then I have lost a large portion of my profits for the year just trying fill their hours. My 2009 business plan is to downsize more then I will probably need to to start just to get a feel for how things could go. Maximize my workers output instead of struggling to keep 4 guys busy you can instead backlog 2 workers with work. You will also have to keep in mind that as opposed to years past when the toughest job was finding good workers, now is the time to upgrade your work staff with higher quality workers. Most of the companies that I have talked to are reducing their staff by 20-40%, that equals more qualified people in the unemployment pool to pick from. Use your slow time to further educate yourself in the field you work in. Best of Luck to everyone this year.
  6. uniquechev

    uniquechev LawnSite Member
    Messages: 119

    "So I am curious - what about you? Is the economy hitting home with you? Is it affecting your family? Your business? Are your customers acting differently? Are you cutting back on things? Are you finding it necessary to be more creative with your marketing?"

    Last yr the economy didn't really hit me too hard. But this winter Its practically shut me down. A lot of my customers signed contracts for plowing and i have lost a lot of them or had to drop some of my pricing to keep them aboard for now. I'm really skeptical on how this spring is going to turn out and the whole yr to be honest. I tried to make the customers that i had lost happy with little incentives but they still where not having it. I'm running solo this yr, well for now unless something falls into my lap and i need to hire someone, so i have that at least going for me. I started the business 2 yrs ago and decided to go full time the start of last fall and i know its what i wanted to do but i'm not too sure that it was the smartest thing to do now that i'm not holding onto some of the accounts the were nice to have. This yr i looked into the advertising at my local bank that they offer there commercial customers, its a table in the main lobby for one month, and i have it for march right before spring gets here hopefully ! I've had people call me from yahoo and things like that but they wanted way too much money for what i could afford at the time so i've been sending out letters or post cards to different high end neighbor hoods in the area's but some people actually wrote with a black marker no and sent it back to me. I have couple commercial sites that i'm happy to have but some there still try'n to get out of paying the agreed amount we signed on. I'm offering incentives for the 55 and older and people that will be willing to sign a 3-4 season contract with a no cancellation allowed. not too sure what else i can to to try and turn peoples head to say ok i'll do that and get the job. I just hope that the economy will turn around very soon or i might be forced out of business :wall:realmad::wall
  7. THC

    THC LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,020

    Times are good here in Canada. I don't personally know ANYONE that has been affected in the slightest. Gas is cheaper, I love it.

    Turn on American News and it seems like each channel, even each anchor, are competing to see who can attract viewers with stories of doom and gloom.
  8. glaciator

    glaciator LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    Well, I picked a fine time to start a landscape design and installation company. I started it in June of 2008. I stayed somewhat busy solo last year, survived the winter and am hopeful, but not overly optimistic. I have lots of good bids out, but people are holding cash...and waiting. It's still early here in CO. For those landscape companies that didn't finish jobs last November due to the sudden December very cold snap, I'm sure that kept them busy finishing sites in the warm Jan. and Feb. I didn't have the luxury of holdover jobs. So, I'm pushing the ad/marketing campaign hard now, but really watching the bottom line. I may go solo all year, and that's hard to do...but a skidsteer doesn't require workman's comp insurance, nor does it get hurt...ususally...but they are kind of hard to have a conversation with while working....They are great at heavy lifting, but they won't hold up flagstone for you while you level underneath!!!

    They say...(they...I'm not quite sure who "they" refers to...)...that if you start a company in a recession and survive, you will come out swinging when the economy thrives....I hope "they" are right! I plan to survive this...thank god my wife works!


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