View Full Version : Has your business hit a wall?

09-28-2005, 12:46 PM
Have you ever felt your business has hit a wall where you couldn't move on to a higher level? If so what did you do about it to overcome this?

09-28-2005, 12:47 PM
Avery said "Re-structure and re-focus. In the past year we have fired a foreman that had become complacent and dropped the maintenance part of our business so we could focus on installs. Fuel bills, labor, repair costs on equipment have dropped significantly and profits are up."

09-28-2005, 12:47 PM
Advanced Lawncare said "We dropped our maint side and focus on installs as well. We also focus on working with contractors making sure that the landscape, grading, and drainage meets legal requirements."

"...I really was not making much off mowing. I was not getting enough installs from maint accoutns to really keep it or use it as a loss leader. I did keep all my maint equip though. I have more work now than i ever had before and at higher margins"

09-28-2005, 12:48 PM
NCSULandscaper said "i am seeing alot of this trend here lately, drop maintenance and do installs only......i am in the process of the same thing as well

next year i am dropping ALL mowing, im done with it not worth my time, only maintenance i would think about doing is shrub bed maintenance with selective pruning, shrub bed edging, mulching etc. and pesticide apps for turf and ornamentals."

"...for the last 2 years i have mor eor less dropped mowing and since then i have gotten a surge of shrub bed maintenance only. Shrub bed maintenance is a specialty service that requires knowledge that alot of mowing companies dont have because certain shrubs require certain pruning methods"

09-28-2005, 12:49 PM
Bayfish said "If you drop your mowing, you can kiss the rest of the maintenance goodbye.
The full service companies will snatch it up just to keep you out of there.

This is our third year full time and I am seeing mowing as a losing proposition.
The prices have been driven down but the gas and equipment costs are going up.
Too many people can do mowing because it is low skill. You have to move into areas where more expertise is needed and the weekend warriors are excluded from...landscaping, landscape construction, chemical apps. spraying, irrigation, etc..."

09-28-2005, 12:50 PM
When asked "What type of work are you getting at the higher margins?"

Advanced Lawncare said "Installs - mostly doing finish grading and total lawn installs turf, trees, shrubs. We also do erosion control and drainage issues. The city is very big on erosion control and drainage so it helps there. I do some walls and hardscapes as well. I am hope to do more with walls next year, but mostly now i am doing dirt work and the lawns/landscape installs on new construction.

The next few days i am doing the common areas and right of ways for a subdivision. "

09-28-2005, 12:56 PM
Glan had this great insight "I can certainly understand the wanting to do away with maintenance.

What I found interesting in the trade magazines of the last 2 or 3 years is that many of the multi-million dollar installation companies have at some time in their past added on maintenance to the company operations.

Where I am located is and being blunt.......unique. In the distance from North Shore to South Shore of Long Island we have it all..........The filthy rich down to a lower middle class.....I wouldn't, couldn't clasify any area around me as being poverty.

There is and always has been alot of money on the Island....Back in the 80's there were many just install companies. 91 when Desert Storm ended and the fall of Communism in Russia.......the beginning of the downsizing of the military........My area took a huge hit.

Countless design/build only companies folded......the economy concerning landscaping came to a screaching halt.........Only to survive where design/build/maintenance companies and just maintenance only. Design/build couldn't even break into the market.

Local family nursery that I have known the family 25+ years.........Oldest son broke away from the family business to do his own design/build firm. This was about 97 or 98. Watched him build his business.....buy a new Sterling. Case equipment. Take on a partner.....Another truck with swap beds......doing pretty good. 2 crews working 6 days a week........Now for the last 6 weeks one crew has only had enough to work the amount of 1 week in 6.

And I am always reminded of the many articles on some the big design/build companies through out this great nation that at one time or another. Or from necessity understood the value in maintenance."

09-28-2005, 12:56 PM
Bayfish said "Installations of landscapes present you with maintenance opportunities, and maintenance presents you with install opportunities. The two go hand in hand. The larger companies like Brickman and TGCL do maintenance because it provides a steady cash flow and it's a natural transition. "we'll do the install for this price and 3 years maintenance for this price" wrapped in the deal."

09-28-2005, 02:31 PM
muddstopper said "Most certainly. I have worked two full time jobs now for almost 4 years. My regular job as well as my own business. I was to the point that I couldnot grow any larger or make anymore money than I was currently making simply because I didnt have more hours in a day. To overcome this problem I started looking at how my equipment lineup matched the work I was doing. This enabled me to make some equipment changes so as to be more efficient. this way I am actually doing more work in the same number of hours. My other big change was hireing employees. this presented a whole new set of problems but has enabled me to take on even more work that I was doing before. It also gives me a little time off instead of working 7 days a week. Profit margins went down with the hireing of employees but productivity is a lot higher as well. This means that even tho it is costing me more, as a percentage to gross, to do the work, I am making more money because of the increase in the amount of work being done.
I am still making equipment changes and adjusting my work methods but i now have the advantage of having another point of view by listening to my employees suggestions."