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TiedemanLLC
01-08-2012, 08:16 PM
So I am just about all done putting together all of my tax stuff for my accountant, and this year was not a great year for us compared to last year.

So it got me thinking, what do you guys think is a bad year when it comes to crunching the numbers? Down 10%, 15%, 30%? When you say to yourself "Holy crap! What happened!?!?"

SECTLANDSCAPING
01-08-2012, 08:42 PM
With the economy the way it is and homeowners tightening their wallets its expected right now. So I wouldnt beat myself up about it. If you still make a profit then your doing better then most. If you made good profit margins then you just need more work.

Every week I see a few more people trying to break in our business. So we're constantly getting undercut because of the unemployment rates. This guys come and go but can do short term damage to our bottom lines.

mark123
01-08-2012, 08:43 PM
I'm up 38% from 2010 to 2011.

ringahding1
01-08-2012, 10:43 PM
Every year is different. I do stand by my own motto which is: "You can always start over"....

The off-season is the greatest opportunity we have to come up with new ideas of how to get more customers or new services we could offer.

I will not go on & on about my success but will tell you now is the time to get a new strategy in order before spring.

The main two things that have worked for me is FLYERS (http://stcroixsigns.com[/SIZE]/postcards.htm) and my website. We are not in the phone book and we do not need to advertise in the local papers.

Steve
01-09-2012, 02:54 PM
So I am just about all done putting together all of my tax stuff for my accountant, and this year was not a great year for us compared to last year.

Have you figured out why? Were there certain trends in the industry, economy, or maybe in your specific area that factored into creating this? As you look ahead do you feel those factor(s) will improve or no? And if not, what can be done about it?

stevef1201
01-09-2012, 06:13 PM
Wow, I just did my taxes, and because of a few purchases I had to make I lost 978 bucks last year. I thought that I was the only one with a poor year

CHEESE2009
01-09-2012, 06:18 PM
We've all had a crappy year.

ALL OF US.

:(

TiedemanLLC
01-09-2012, 06:26 PM
Have you figured out why? Were there certain trends in the industry, economy, or maybe in your specific area that factored into creating this? As you look ahead do you feel those factor(s) will improve or no? And if not, what can be done about it?

Well I should first start off by saying this, I am comparing 2011 to my 2010 season, in which was my best year ever. 2011 was still an above average year, but compared to 2010 we are down (I am not kidding when I say this) around 40% when comparing both years.

We had high hopes going into the 2011 season. We had a late start for Spring, which hurt our sales, but we recovered a bit for May and June. However, around July is when we first started to notice the die off.

Clients were calling to cancel because they were getting laid off, or were cutting back on services or had an unexpected bill/repair for their house happen. We worked with as many as we could to figure out a budget plan. About the time everything was said and done we lost around 20 clients, while other clients reduced their services too. It was like watching everything in slow motion unfold before our eyes. We had some major installation projects lined up, that fell through the cracks at the last minute. Some of these projects already had deposits down too, but backed out because they wanted to wait a little bit longer. They were afraid of where the economy was going. It was nuts trying to figure out things.

The contracts we have returned, and the work we have lined up is "okay" for the upcoming 2012 season. We don't have any major projects set yet, it just seems like everyone is still watching their pocket book. We have noticed that installation work is falling off more, and people just want the bare minimum to maintain their properties without going crazy.

Who knows, things may rebound.

mark123
01-09-2012, 06:44 PM
... We had high hopes going into the 2011 season. We had a late start for Spring, which hurt our sales, but we recovered a bit for May and June. However, around July is when we first started to notice the die off. ...

Yes, I also had a very late start. April 1 is my normal starting date but it was just too wet. I wasn't up to full speed until the first week in May. I was still up though. Last year was the first year I made more working for myself than I did at my old job.

justin_time
01-09-2012, 08:59 PM
2011 is so far my best year yet for record Gross Income. My profits aren't as high though but still made a profit considering I payed off my Zero turn mower, payed off my lawn vacuum (both were loans from the bank) and I just recently purchased myself a truck which I can employ myself in winter time and run all year long pretty much.

2012 is going to be my 6th year in business and my 1st year full time. I am excited and can't wait

Steve
01-10-2012, 03:39 PM
Clients were calling to cancel because they were getting laid off, or were cutting back on services or had an unexpected bill/repair for their house happen.

This is fascinating because when you look at the issue and you see it's something that you can't make immediate changes to fix, you gotta wonder, what is the best way to deal with it?

This isn't an issue of poor customer service. Or poor service in general. This is a bigger problem of a slowing economy.

So when one finds themselves in such a situation, what do you do? I would venture to guess more small business owners than not are dealing with this exact same issue.

Should different services be offered? She different upsells be added? Or should one just try and hunker down to make it through the slow economy and be ready when the economy picks up to jump on opportunities that present themselves?

TiedemanLLC
01-10-2012, 06:00 PM
This is fascinating because when you look at the issue and you see it's something that you can't make immediate changes to fix, you gotta wonder, what is the best way to deal with it?

This isn't an issue of poor customer service. Or poor service in general. This is a bigger problem of a slowing economy.

So when one finds themselves in such a situation, what do you do? I would venture to guess more small business owners than not are dealing with this exact same issue.

Should different services be offered? She different upsells be added? Or should one just try and hunker down to make it through the slow economy and be ready when the economy picks up to jump on opportunities that present themselves?


We dealt with it by trying to work with some of the clients on a better payment plan. Some jumped aboard, while still others couldn't afford it. The problem with our industry is we are a luxury. We are the one of the last bills to be paid each month, and we are the first things to be cut when money is tight.

We also did a combo of things by increasing our marketing efforts to try to reach out to newer clients, since we were already maxing out the upsells to the rest of our clients, but at the same token we cut a lot of our expenses. We saw that the year was not going to go well, so we started to cut. We were able to cut our monthly expenses by 14%.

Going into 2012 we are trying to have high hopes, but as of right now, things are not looking good. We have been reaching out trying to land new clients, reviewing our monthly expenses again, and at the same time paying off the business debt as much as possible just in case we run into another horrible year.

Steve
01-11-2012, 02:29 PM
Do you think one can look at which way the stock market is going to get an idea which way the economy will go in the upcoming year or is it more of we just don't know until spring comes?

SECTLANDSCAPING
01-11-2012, 02:42 PM
Do you think one can look at which way the stock market is going to get an idea which way the economy will go in the upcoming year or is it more of we just don't know until spring comes?
No, the economy and the stock market have nothing to do with each other.

The stock market is propped up to make rich people richer which causes a inflation effect and the cost of living to rise. In turn means everyone has less spending money. For example every time the price oil rises it benefits the few that own stock. The rest of us have price increases on everything because fuel brings goods to stores, people to work, and heat their homes.

I would look at unemployment levels and new home sales as a indicator that things will be better.