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View Full Version : Hey Everybody! How Ya Been??


musician/lawnman
02-10-2010, 08:21 PM
I've been off the forum here for a few months. Business is good & time is pretty limited. All said & done I closed out 09 strong. Was a pretty good year for us. I hope you all did just as well.

XtreemGreen
02-10-2010, 08:42 PM
Welcome back Chuck... Glad you had a good 09...

justin_time
02-10-2010, 09:28 PM
Omg your back, i didn't know if you changed planet, it's been so long since i've seen you on this forum

Welcome back :D

musician/lawnman
02-10-2010, 10:02 PM
Yeah Justin, I found the lawns on mars grow better & the martians pay better :p
How have you been dude?

justin_time
02-10-2010, 10:08 PM
Yeah Justin, I found the lawns on mars grow better & the martians pay better :p
How have you been dude?

I'm doing fine, doing part time work at an outdoor rink. It pays the bills. If i wouldn't have this job, i would be having it rough so it ain't so bad even though I have to travel 1 hr there and back.

I am getting anxious to fire up my ZTR for spring...

That's about it...

Little's
02-10-2010, 10:12 PM
Hey Guys. Been off for a few months too. Just decided to check by today. Finished 09 better than 08, so thats a good sign!

ProCut TM
02-10-2010, 11:46 PM
09 was good 2010 should be even better

Steve
02-11-2010, 08:40 AM
Hi! Oh this is fantastic to see everyone :)

What do you all feel made last year different from previous years? It's great to see when you can get traction and push things forwards in a positive direction.

So many business owners seem to never get traction no matter how hard they try.

Why is this the case?

musician/lawnman
02-12-2010, 01:24 PM
In 09 I lost a ton of vacant rentals I was maintaining in 08 through a couple property management companies, not because I lost the account but because most of the rentals had tenants. That kinda sucked.
However, I gained a bunch of new year round clients on agreements. I did more landscape design & install work, More trimming/pruning, & added fertilization as a service.

I actually was cutting a few less lawns per week than in 08' but was doing more volume of work from each existing customer. So by taping into my current client base I was able to increase revenues significantly over my 2008figures.


I think some guys fail to get off the ground because of poor business management & going about their business the wrong way. If you try to be the cheap "budget" service provider, you'll go broke. there is always somebody cheaper, customer loyalty sucks that way. You (hopefully) realize your not making money so you speed up & quality suffers. Customers are mad that the quality stinks, your mad cause the money stinks, nobodys happy & the neigbors certainly aren't going to hire you. They often figure they need more clients & since people aren't hiring their lousy service at $20 bucks a cut they need to drop it to $15 a cut right? WRONG! Yer an idiot & you'll be working at Mcdonalds by mid August. Thanks for stopping by the industry! Don't come back.

Provide quality at a fair rate.... be reliable. Business will grow.

Steve
02-13-2010, 05:55 AM
I did more landscape design & install work, More trimming/pruning, & added fertilization as a service.

I actually was cutting a few less lawns per week than in 08' but was doing more volume of work from each existing customer. So by taping into my current client base I was able to increase revenues significantly over my 2008figures.

I think this is brilliant! What led to offering this? Was it just that your customers were asking for more or were you looking for it and promoting them as upsells?

I think a lot of newer lawn care businesses arent going to see this, but do you feel that there is a higher profit margin in offering these add on or upsell services than there is in mowing? So in a sense does offering the mowing services, open the door to selling more services to your clients?

musician/lawnman
02-14-2010, 10:00 PM
Well I did actively work at upselling these add on services to existing clientel.
Yes, almost anything is more profitable than just mowing, however it is what keeps you in front of your clients all the time. A nessesary lose leader.


Yes, once you serve a client for a while, answer their questions & inform them of any problems with the lawn, or plants, & trees... They tend to trust you more when you recommend another service should be performed. It all adds up even little trim & prune jobs... $25 for that tree, $30 for those bushes etc. adds up to another $100/day = an extra $2,000 + for the month. Now add a couple little landscape jobs in each month, a couple ferts & your adding $3-5k each month on top of your lawn revenues. Not counting the occasional (rare in this economy) complete landscape overhaul.

Steve
02-15-2010, 06:09 AM
Yes, almost anything is more profitable than just mowing, however it is what keeps you in front of your clients all the time. A nessesary lose leader.

Because lawn care is highly competitive, is it ever worthwhile taking on a customer if you feel that the mowing end of it will break even at best? In hopes they can be upsold to?

Do you find all customers can be upsold or should you only keep customers that you can upsell to and get rid of the others?

musician/lawnman
02-15-2010, 09:41 PM
Steve, I am not interested in doing anything at a break even rate. I really don't need the practice at this point. Not everyone will buy the upsell type services & that's ok. No I dot drop customers for not buying other services.
My point was that lawn care can keep you in business & keep you from starving day to day, the other services turn better profit typically.

ProCut TM
02-15-2010, 10:26 PM
Steve, I am not interested in doing anything at a break even rate. I really don't need the practice at this point.

Right on m/l

I can't even justify starting my truck for under $30 an hour. This is not easy work in the FL sun, and our equipment is not cheap. There is no reason in the world to work for free, EVER!

musician/lawnman
03-30-2010, 08:59 PM
1st time in a while checking back in.....
Busy as hell already. It's going to be a long season. We've had a mutant amount of rain for march for this area... some clients wanting weekly service already but of course they are monthly folks for whom weekly services as early as march is not worked into the annual rate. It's been fun... New clients are signing on, I am dropping the slow payers & PITA clients from last year (so if your in the area & are just dying for a headache give me a call, they're all yours). Business is good. I am sunburnt brown already, like I said, it's gonna be a long season. Here we grow boys !

ProCut TM
03-30-2010, 09:34 PM
good stuff Chuck
slammed here in St Pete too
Life is good

swstout
03-30-2010, 10:15 PM
Welcome back.

I came out a little better than break even in 09 business wise. This was after paying myself a $500.00 per week salary. My wife makes good money so we can keep up with our bills nicely.

I plan on spending about $25k this spring on equipment upgrades. A John Deere X749 PTO tractor with tiller, box blade, and a bigger sprayer. I have orders that will pay it off this season. I picked up 5 sod jobs so far this week (till, level, spray and sod). I will not be doing any mowing this year other than current customers. I refer to another who pays me 7.5% for the work. Concentrating this year on organic soil upgrading.

I also started internet sale of organic products to homeowners. Pre-mixed organic chemicals in quart, half gallon and gallon quantities. Starting to take off (not as well as I hoped, but the orders are starting to come in. http://organiclawncarestore.web.officelive.com/default.aspx (http://organiclawncarestore.web.officelive.com/default.aspx)

Steve

musician/lawnman
03-31-2010, 06:34 AM
John, Glad to hear you are busy too. It's nice ain't it?

Steve, That's great to hear your other ventures (service & product lines) are starting to take off, I know it can be slow at 1st but things tend to gain momentum. I never did get into organics...? I remember you recommending that I do, I don't really know where, but I guess that idea went by the wayside somewhere. I should look into it further.

I have 1 renovation next week that the back yard lawn was Xerscaped about 13 yrs ago, now it's overgrown with weeds, bushes & trees, some areas are rock, some shell some mulch etc. It's all coming out, I am bringing in about 23 Cu yds of top soil, regrading it, then an irrigation company will replace the irrigation system (which I will inevitably destroy in the process), & then we'll lay the new sod. It's a pretty good size job for us. Looking forward to it... (we'll kinda).

Steve
03-31-2010, 10:33 PM
Chuck,

You always have so much going on down there. How many crews are you looking to run this year? Do you forsee a certain employee goal by the end of this season? Or is that not a big issue?


I also started internet sale of organic products to homeowners. Pre-mixed organic chemicals in quart, half gallon and gallon quantities. Starting to take off (not as well as I hoped, but the orders are starting to come in. http://organiclawncarestore.web.officelive.com/default.aspx

Would putting a link to this in your signature help?

musician/lawnman
03-31-2010, 10:59 PM
Not sure Steve, I may keep it to the 1 truck/3 guys as I have in years past, I may blow it up. Expanding is a commitment I am having trouble making. Business is still growing & I want to expand it, but 1) I can't help but be a little nervouse about a shakey economy 2) I lack that key trustworthy, reliable, responsible employee to head the 2nd crew.
This mental battle has been going on for over a year now, I hate it.

Steve
04-01-2010, 04:25 AM
I lack that key trustworthy, reliable, responsible employee to head the 2nd crew.

Have you thought about options you may have to build a better bond with your employees?

Do you ever consider enacting certain policies that would build their desire to be productive and want to possibly take over a route? Or do you feel it's always going to be a battle in this industry where as soon as someone learns enough, they will jump ship and start their own business?