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jrwalker333
01-22-2008, 10:21 PM
Hello to all, My name is Rich With Dreamscapes Unlimited out of Cincinnati, Ohio I was referred to this web-site by a friend. *I am not sure really how to use this site it seems a bit confusing. *I am a member of Lawn And Landscape message board occasional poster there ,and recently joined the ******** forum another friend referred me to, it seems this site has alot of marketing forms etc and valuable information to use. *I have been in the industry for 28 years have worked for the small landscape companies (mom & Pop) to the industry giants in sales, technical, and management positions. *I have had 3 other lawn care companies I have started all with some success and with some issues like divorce, bad partner etc, and basically hit the 500,000 annual mark with all three and closed all due to issues beyond my control. *I am really just looking to improve my current company I have owned now for 11 years our retention rate exceeds 96% annually and we are small, but I strive to not sacrifice quality. *We are trying to aggresively grow this year have attended marketing seminars etc department of agriculture recert courses and am focusing on my first web-site currently in process of develpoment and seriously working on marketing plan to achieve my goals. *Sorry to ramble just trying to introduce myself and little past history by the way married and have 5 boys. *Yes I said 5 boys. *Any information would be helpful. *Again sorry to ramble. *Your site is definetely informative alot to try to see.

Steve
01-22-2008, 10:32 PM
Hi Rich,

Welcome to our forum. I agree it's very cluttered and I am always experimenting with it.

When you look back at all the businesses you have been involved with, what do you think you would have done differently if you were to start over from scratch?

pmblair
01-22-2008, 11:03 PM
Hi Rich! Welcome!

Wow, that's an impressive story! You've surpassed the $500,000/year mark and you currently have better than a 96% retention rate? Seems that we may learn a good bit from you, as well!

If you need anything, feel free to ask... we've got some pretty knowledgeable people here that are more than willing to help others out when they ask for it......and if you need any website help or graphic work (logos, etc), let me know... I'll help you personally! =)

Again, welcome!

jrwalker333
01-23-2008, 06:11 PM
Steve, hopefully this post correctly? About site I am not really good with determing any web-site this one just seems very packed full of things, not bad, when I used to be in retail management this would be considered very useful as far as working your selling space comparable maximizing space for overall profitability.

The question you asked about starting from scratch? All 4 lawn companies I have started from scratch with no capital Just big dreams. The first in 80's closed due to divorce lost 250,000k liquid assets started from scratch. Cut a tree down used money to buy push mower etc developed that to 500,000k in sales 14 commercial mowers 6 trucks in 3 years and gone over night. Second started over again just an idea in West Palm Beach 2-3 years 500+k walked away due to on going custody battle left company with a friend ,and asked for nothing. Moved back to Cincinnati to get my son started again with no capital ,bad decision took on a business partner built that in 3 years to almost 500k then he filed personal Bankruptcy and that wiped us out. So I tried Retail Management ,then decided running multi million dollar businesses I was good at but bored to death especially in Spring, when I would see the lawn people out side working IT WAS IN MY BLOOD I had to be back outside gave up that career and continueed with my dream that I was only doing part time and went back to work for myself 11 years later I am still plugging away at it and never want to go back to the miserable way of life I had in 80 hour weeks in corporate management jobs. Dreamscapes was started as my first business was out of the trunk of a car and with a push mower, 11 years ago. To answer Patricks ? question we have not hit the 500K with this one yet sales low six figure averages but yes 96+ retention rate. Started all with just a burning desire to do what I have enjoyed since I was a young kid. Sorry again to Ramble.
Rich

ritchiem
01-23-2008, 06:20 PM
Welcome Rich...great name btw.

Steve
01-23-2008, 07:25 PM
Hi Rich,

No matter who you are or where you go it seems we are all going to have these ups and downs in life.

It's good to have you here.

What do you feel is the toughest part of running a business? What part do you feel you know the least about or do you feel you just haven't got it right yet, or the way you want it yet?

jrwalker333
01-24-2008, 10:39 AM
Hi Steve, some good points you brought up, you are right everyone has there ups and downs. ( it seems I have alot of downs, but no quit in me either I refuse!!) To answer your first question I know my worst problem is having TRUSTING RELIABE AND DEPENDABLE workers not having people just for a paycheck. However throughout my career I have learned that it seems to be every companies biggest down fall quality dedicated trusted employees are a desperate, and not so often found necessity for all of us. The other part of your question I will have to give some serious thought?? I think I am pretty good and well organized at most things but I am sure there is alot of areas for serious improvement or at least I think, or I would be where I wan't to be in this venture.02.













By the way after being on site a few times now it seems a little easier to navigate then I thought it was. More elaborate then then L&L site though especially the topic layout.

Have you or do you own a lawn business??

Steve
01-24-2008, 07:59 PM
You know it is kind of a fascinating topic.

Quote[/b] ]To answer your first question I know my worst problem is having TRUSTING RELIABLE AND DEPENDABLE workers not having people just for a paycheck. However throughout my career I have learned that it seems to be every companies biggest down fall quality dedicated trusted employees are a desperate, and not so often found necessity for all of us.

I agree. This seems to be a big problem for most lawn care business owners. But maybe for a lot of other industries as well. I can't remember the exact turnover rate of fast food restaurants but I think it is like 80% annual turnover rate. Which is just huge.

The way they seem to make it work is to have all the jobs very specific. Easily trainable and everyone is continually supervised.

Some lawn care businesses are able to break through and get larger while most seem to be under a two truck crew.

No I don't run a lawn care business, I just like to talk about and explore business.

I did change around the site a little to try and make it less cluttered.

You also brought up another great point. As we go through life, the common thing we bring through all of our experiences is us. Do you ever wonder if we all at times get tripped up on the same thing over and over again and we just can't see it? I think that has got to be one of the toughest things to reflect on because none of us ever want to be told what we are doing wrong. Or that we are doing anything wrong for that matter.

Maybe that's why so often you hear from those who have become successful, to find a business mentor. So then at least if you don't want to hear from others what you might be doing wrong, you can see by example of how others do things when they are doing things successfully and re-create it without having to think about it.

Your story is very fascinating because it's like you hit a home run each time you were up to bat. You seem to have a lot going for you. A lot of knowledge and strength. You have a gift to really bounce back.

So what's my take on this so far? If you find yourself getting flustered or frustrated at a certain point, take a moment. Take a break. Maybe a vacation if possible and just reflect on it all. Maybe that's all you need then to clear your head and push even farther further than ever before.

Did that help at all?

jrwalker333
01-24-2008, 10:21 PM
Hi Steve, I appreciate your input . You speak words of wisdom especially the reflecting etc. Something my wife always says figure it she has an MA Degree in religious studies and Ba Arts Etc. Always telling me to be grateful for what you have and to reflect and take a momment etc. You seem to have very good insight with the business world etc. I guess in alot of ways you really can not judge success because to some you will always seem to have achieved it and to many you never will,or maybe it is the standards and goals you set for yourself that make you feel that you can't never achieve your true purpose or intent. like you said kind of running in circles and never working out of the loop, I have had a few people that I have looked up to in the past successful friends examples multi-millionaires etc. However even they have there own flaws I guess that is just human nature. Really is there a way to measure true success?? I would think not just having a family a home and enough for the next day could be considered success for me I just wan't to be able some day to say I really achieved my original goal since I was about 14 years old. And then who knows what the next day would bring. Thanks again great advice.

Steve
01-25-2008, 06:28 AM
Hi Rich,

Great thoughts!

I was wondering if you could tell us your view on this.

Quote[/b] ]I really achieved my original goal since I was about 14 years old.

What is that original goal?

Quote[/b] ]We are trying to aggresively grow this year have attended marketing seminars etc department of agriculture recert courses and am focusing on my first web-site currently in process of develpoment and seriously working on marketing plan to achieve my goals.

Also, you don't have to say if you don't want to, but I was wondering why is there a drive now to aggressively grow?

Here you are running this current business 11 years and you have grown over time. What things do you feel you did differently in the other businesses that allowed you to grow more than you have grown with the current business? Or what factors would you say were different between then and now?

jrwalker333
01-25-2008, 08:43 AM
Hi Steve, *To answer your questions. *The first partial quote from me you missed the sentence prior to what was blocked. *Was that someday I would like to say I achieved my original goal since 14.

My original goal even back then was to someday Have family and a home (accomplished) and also to have a million dollar company of my own someday. *As I had said in previous post even in my early teen years I had over 30 lawns I mowed in neighborhood and also started working at that time for a full service professional company so back then my vision would to some day make the million dollar company.

Several prior aquaintances of mine all successful business owners *when we were in our early twenties had all predicted that I would be the first and only one in group to become a multi million dollar operation (hence they all blame my divorce) and loss of all liquid assets I had accumulated to my dimise. *They had all succeeded and I failed in their eyes. *That is why I discontinued those friendships bacause I did not feel that friends like that are worth having and even after my first business they could not believe the drive I had to start again I had heard numerous times through mutual friends I should just give up they would have.

Sorry so long just trying to answer your questions etc. *The other thing is why now? *
I guess my answer to that is I have always been trying but just satisified with our growth taking things slow maybe a little to slow being overly cautious, *and I am not getting any younger so it is time to really try harder and also I think going to the last marketing seminar I went to and personally talking briefly with the owner of (I feel very successful) companies. *The fifteen minutes I had spoke with him about myself and company he summarized it for me in a nutshell I guess something I already knew and it kind of pumped me up again. *The seminar Director and business owner is Joe Kusick with Real Green software company and he has started 4 different fert companies all with sales surpassing muti-million in sales now that to me he has achieved great success, or at least from my point of view however maybe not his.?

Lastly most of my other companies have been more less full service and mainly marketed for such. *The business I have now we *are still full service but 80-90% of our marketing is directed towards mainly only a fertilizing company. *With everything I had learned through years at Chemlawn, years with Scotts, short time with Weed-Man *all tech, management positions. *I feel like them, the average revenue per employes in total sales is approximately 4 times more per year then you will typically gross with a mow and or maintenance company so ( in theory) less overhead less manpower, more sales = more profits higher margins etc. *I am not saying landscape install and also irrigation also have great margins but typically the comanies that provide full services usually have a net profit margin around 10%. Still great compared to average retail etc. *Fert companies some of the big companies average between 20-40% profit now that is earning some dough. *

I am basically just trying to build a 90% revenue fert company
maybe 10% install and or maintenance.

Larry's Lawns
01-25-2008, 10:14 AM
Hi Rich. I'll join the others in being impressed that you 'hit a home run every time at bat'.
In considering my perception of your posts and your wife's advice, it may be that hearing from your past could be helpful. I'm just entering this new phase of my life and may remind you of what was at the top of the priority list for you when you left the corporate misery behind.

Two analogies come to mind;

I recently listened to an interview with Tom Brady. One thing he said left me thinking he will retire soon. In essence it was – I have had a great football career including some Superbowl wins and I imagine most would say I’ve accomplished a lot in my life. But it all has come so easy, it is hard to appreciate. I really find myself feeling more like – Is this all there is, there’s got to be more.

And – When I left that miserable corporate atmosphere what really mattered was things like;

. income to live reasonably comfortable
. never again hating to go to work each day
. enjoying what I do
. providing for retirement

It seems like we tend to shrink those accomplishments once they’re behind us and submit to the stimulation of ‘more, more, more’. (I do this repeatedly) *It could be your wife is trying to remind you of where the bar was once set and suggest you both could be happy there.

I’ll even go so far to suggest that defining success with a number is fundamentally never going to be achieved.

But I suggest this knowing it sounds like you have answers to many of my future questions about what to expect and what may work in my start up mowing adventure. One just has to respect your past peaks I think.

C’mon spring !! *;p

Larry Puckette
Larry’s Lawns
Seguin Texas

Steve
01-25-2008, 09:21 PM
Great posts!

Quote[/b] ]Several prior aquaintances of mine all successful business owners when we were in our early twenties had all predicted that I would be the first and only one in group to become a multi million dollar operation (hence they all blame my divorce) and loss of all liquid assets I had accumulated to my dimise. They had all succeeded and I failed in their eyes. That is why I discontinued those friendships bacause I did not feel that friends like that are worth having and even after my first business they could not believe the drive I had to start again I had heard numerous times through mutual friends I should just give up they would have.

This is very fascinating. It makes me wonder if any of them had to deal with any serious issues in their lives. I am guessing they haven't.

I am thinking it's the lack of dealing with such strife in their lives that didn't allow them to see life from a broader perspective. Sure some people hit it big right away and make it look like nothing. I think more often than not, we find more bumps in the road of life. The more we realize it's going to be a constant battle the more we appreciate and feel inspired by seeing others get up when they fall down.

It's like a kid on a bicycle as they are learning to ride. They fall and fall but one point they stay on. Then once they get riding, they want to jump curbs and they fall and fall but then start landing their jumps and go on to bigger jumps http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

I think we can all be so critical of ourselves that if we have others around us being critical, it can be too much. I think we would all prefer more supportive people in our lives and I don't blame you one bit for cutting them loose.


Could you see yourself one day running your own marketing seminars? Would you enjoy that?

jrwalker333
01-26-2008, 03:24 PM
Larry and Steve thanks for advice, very good thoughts from both of you.

To answer Steves questions :

First as far as friends that became millionaires, not to my knowledge did any of them have the tough road I walked maybe minor bumps but no severe rutts.

Question (2) Would I consider conducting a marketing seminar someday?

My answer to that would be absolutely when I figure it out I would love to share ideas and save others the heartache and problems that I have indured. Also I believe I would really enjoy it as I am always happy to help others.

Also Larry if I can offer you any advise feel free to contact me.

Steve
01-26-2008, 09:10 PM
Hi Rich,

Do you have any pictures from your older operations? It would be great to see!

jrwalker333
01-27-2008, 09:00 AM
Hi Steve, I may have some of the pictures of some jobs and some equipment most of the pictures I would of had from first ventur my x would have and I don't talk to her for obvious reasons. Pictures are old though and not digital so I would not even know how to load up I will ask one of my boys?