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View Full Version : My situation.. It never ends


XtreemGreen
06-09-2009, 06:35 PM
I dont post here much, but alot fo you seem to have your business under control..
This is what my life is like currently..


From October of 08, my life has been nothing but ****..Well part of it.. My wife and I are alot happier but thats about it(We wre going to get a divorce)..
My step daughter is now living with her dad(alot of **** happened there)..
Ive been looking for a job for 6 months and have found nothing but a bunch of sales and marketing crap(my father in law is in the same boat)..
My truck blew the tranny out of it.. Bought another and found the cab was shot(huge rust hole hidden under bondo)..Ended up replacing the entire cab..truck runs and drives great though..Sold the wifes car to a trusting co-worker of her... Signed title over and all.. We got screwed out of that..Wander why people dont do favors on trust these days..
Im losing customers by the month(either sold homes, doing it them selves, found someone cheaper)..
i use to love the area Im in, but the lawn industry really sucks.. Ive put out 2000 fliers with 2 starting prices(dropped my monthly price A TON).
Monthly starting at $60 a month and per cuts starting at $20<<<<Both are going rate's for this area..Not one friggin phone call...
Now I hate this area..
worst of all... we are behind 2 months rent.. but now the landlord wants us out so she can remodel and sell the house..
the places we have found that we can afford want $1000+ up front to move in..I dont know of too many lower income famlies that have $1000 just laying around..

Right now Im am soo lost in life, I dont know what to do..where have I gone wrong? Im a loving father and husband and Im good at what I do.I still enjoy what I do as well. Im 38 yrs old and Im not getting any younger..I know go out and hustle, but with low money coming in and gas going up agan.. I cant just go and drive around all day..Ive went on craigslist advertising to sub contract to bigger lco's trying to make a measly $200 a week..
I work with my dad(when he has the work) for $60 a day digging trenches.. But its maybe 1 day here 1 day there..
A few years ago ill admit I was lazy and slept in till noon.. But I was trying to make a career with web design..That kept me up till early morning hours alot.. But everyone wants yrs of experience or a dagree..My wife got her associates in teaching.. That got her a lousy $.25 raise. She needs a bachlors dagree in order to get into the school system..She will do that when we can settle down again(if ever)..

Whats left.. I have 3 accounts that pays $400 a month...2000 fliers in the same area=0 calls..

Sorry for the depressing thread...Please dont be to harsh on me..

andyjoneslawncare
06-09-2009, 08:39 PM
Hang in there bud, I'm in the same boat, I just never brought myself to confess it publicly. 36 years old, love my kids to death. Thats the reason I'm in this game, so I can have time with them, which is my #1 priority. Problem is, being divorced, you also have to provide for them financially. Sometimes it seems like everytime there's a light at the end of the tunnel, something happens to crush you. Keep coming up with new ideas. Try Steve's organic pesticide advice. I've been looking for a job too so I can scrape together enough for a nice trailer, truck, and some productive advertising (yellow pages, pay per click web advertising, etc). You know, to take the next step. I just posted a thread about marketing to realtors, and I just started today but it was free and I'm getting replies. Check out the thread and see how I did it and if you have any questions let me know. I'm just trying anything I can think of and hoping something works. I'm done with the flier thing for a while. When I had had my Real Estate License, I remember walking and putting football schedule magnets with my name on it on 250 doors, and not even a single call. We all go through these times, but those of us with kids can't afford to give up. Someday you'll see how far you've come, and don't forget to help people on your way. "Then what you had in the past will seem small compared with the great prosperity you'll have in the future." Job 8:7 I usually don't quote the bible but I opened it randomly in church on sunday and it just jumped out at me. In the meantime, ask a realtor friend to send you a list of short sales, vacants, and other bank owned properties and start emailing the realtors! Its free so you've nothing to lose. Who knows which idea is going to give you that little boost you need to get to the next level. Balancing money and family is a tough thing, and I'm sure money plays no small role in your divorce. I know it had plenty to do with mine, whether she admits it or not. Trust me, I'm the last one thats going to tell you to just keep knocking on doors, because I know how frustrated you can get sometimes without a few accounts to keep your spirits up. But, keep making sure everyone you meet knows what you do, and my advice (whatever its worth) would be to take any account, even if its $20 a mow, just to keep you going, then, when you have plenty accounts, start being selective and weed out the lowballers, keeping your number of yards the same, but getting paid more. 20 $20 accounts is $1600/month right now, and thats only 4 yards a day for 5 days a week. I know, but its a start and it might help your ego. Where do you live? I'm in FL so there's tons of competition which keeps prices down here too. Talk to friends, do some free yards for charity (for elderly/ disabled or Green Care for Troops). These people will advertise for you. Green Care actually sends you a free cd and instructions for press releases, radio PSA's etc. There are tons of good lawn people but not enough good people. Yes, you'd be mowing for free, but you have the time and it sure beats sending fliers, don't you think? Maybe talk to your local Meals on Wheels for an account. Do it to help someone, and if you don't get any paid accounts from it, you made someone's life better, and not just wasted a bunch of paper on postcards. Take all this advice from someone that relates to you, and not someone that has "made it" or should really be giving advice on the lawn business. My point is that there are different ideas out there and I know what its like to lose hope but sometimes a fresh approach can give you a more positive outlook, and sometimes just 1 or 2 accounts is all you need to start turning the corner. Hang in there man. In a couple years we can look back at this thread and laugh about how far you've come.

Steve
06-09-2009, 09:07 PM
Great posts.

Two things come to mind. What would you ideally like to do? What would be the ideal goal? Where would you like to be and what would you like to be doing?

The other thought it have you been asking your customers or your friends, family or neighbors if they need other services around their property to be performed?

One of our very successful members on the forum here got started with his lawn care business and then found there to be too much competition, driving down the prices so he asked his customers what other services they needed. He wrote it all down and started offering those services. He is now doing light excavation work. Tree clearing. Power washing. And a whole bunch of other services that seem to keep him super busy.

What's your view on all this?

picframer
06-09-2009, 09:29 PM
Well bud I feel for you, it's a tough place to be in.

Two years ago I was in St. Louis on a business trip, mother called from New Brunswick, step father had passed away, tried desperately to get a flight home, finally did, from there I flew home to Halifax to discover my wife at the time was moving out, found someone in her church she fell in Love with, left me with our two teenage children, they would have never gone with her anyhow, took a week off work, started putting a roof on a shed I was building, staging let go, serious fracture to my ankle, spent close to a week in the hospital, work calls tax audit and they need me, man I can barely move, had to sell four of my 8 acre property on the lake as part of the divorce, man it was hell.

The one thing I didn't do was give up, life will throw us all a curve ball, just keep swinging, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

I understand the market can be the pits, go to your current customers and try one thing and see how it works, say "I really appreciate your business and I am looking at expanding. I was wondering if you could help me out, what other services do you think might appeal to people like yourself? (just for example lets say pressure washing driveways) That is an excellent idea and I thank you for your feedback, is that something you would be interested in? You will receive an affirmative response. Now what I do is get a few sales for a new service then get the equipment.

I suspect money is tight so try to get into services that will not cost you a lot, bank some of that money away so that you can offer other services.

What I have found is if you can get to a point where you have purchased equipment to eliminate competition or at least go head on and offer better service, man it can be a wild ride. It may take you weeks, months or a few years, doesn't really matter as long as you have a plan.

By the way, I really like your website and images, very well done!!!

I assume you did this yourself, consider doing it for others and make a few bucks, look at everything you like to do and do it for others and get paid for it.

All the best bud

Andy

picframer
06-09-2009, 09:44 PM
I was just thinking about my post, I have a very close lawyer friend who said to me when I was going through all this crap "Andy, if it doesn't kill you it will only make you stronger" I clung to that for quite a few months and you know he was right, life for me has never been better.

XtreemGreen
06-09-2009, 11:19 PM
Thanks for all the replies.. It is helpful..
Andy, I hear where your coming from..20 homes for $20 a cut..I havent done per cut's in years (Maybe thats my problem..lol).. Ive thought about doing that, and thats as far as I got.. I mainly do only upscale home(St.Aug grass).. I guess I need to take a day and drive around and try to make a quick $100 or more..

Steve, I love this industry and its pretty much the only thing I know like the back of my hand...Ive been doing it for so long, but but cant seem to keep the customer base up where I need to be..
My Goal? I would like to be making around $3000 a month.. We would live comfortably with that income..We are use to living on the cheap side..In my head it sounds easy to go out and go door knocking to make a quick $100.. but when I visualize it, it isnt so easy..
I send emails out every month asking about refferals and extra work.. But havent had one call..
the organic stuff Ive never read up on..

picframer: Thanks for the reply.. My wife and I almost divorced last year, but I refused to give up on us..I made alot of personal changes and we are alot happier..

The website, yes I did myself.. I enjoy doing basic website and have had a few other lco's interested, but thats as far as they ever got..I also enjoy doing graphics, but Im no pro YET!!

I think I covered everyone...

Steve
06-09-2009, 11:24 PM
I also enjoy doing graphics, but Im no pro YET!!

If you can make marketing material, there is a constant supply of business owners on here looking for that kind of service too.

XtreemGreen
06-09-2009, 11:35 PM
If you can make marketing material, there is a constant supply of business owners on here looking for that kind of service too.

My brain is off right now from all the worries.. Can you give me some ideas?

XtreemGreen
06-09-2009, 11:44 PM
I have to add one more thing here... All of my equipment is paid for.. I have o ZERO overhead other then gas and insurance..

swstout
06-09-2009, 11:56 PM
My brain is off right now from all the worries.. Can you give me some ideas?

Nitch markets:
pressure washing
Organic lawn care
Insect repellants - Chemical free
Soil conditioning - Organic
Living fences and hedges
Organic insect control - nematodes
Weed control (organic)
Gutter cleaning
Roto tilling

Ask for needs and supply them

Steve

XtreemGreen
06-10-2009, 12:02 AM
Nitch markets:
pressure washing**We are on Harsh water restrictions.. You need to supply the water now a days..
Organic lawn care
Insect repellants - Chemical free
Soil conditioning - Organic
Living fences and hedges
Organic insect control - nematodes
Weed control (organic)
Gutter cleaning
Roto tilling** I have yet to see a home down here with a garden...



Ask for needs and supply them

Steve

I replied in bold in your quote...

The rest I have never looked into..I may look into the organic weed and pest control..

swstout
06-10-2009, 12:09 AM
I replied in bold in your quote...

The rest I have never looked into..I may look into the organic weed and pest control..

I have not done a garden yet! I rototill poor lawns and re-seed or sod lawns. Synthetuc fertilizers nave made the soil sterile, Tilling aerates, builds humus and sets the lawns for new health. I use Nature's Lawn products to make the lawns display sites. If you get one such job, you will get many more after only a month. I did one 3 weks ago and now have 3 contracts for neighbors.

Steve

XtreemGreen
06-10-2009, 12:20 AM
I have not done a garden yet! I rototill poor lawns and re-seed or sod lawns. Synthetuc fertilizers nave made the soil sterile, Tilling aerates, builds humus and sets the lawns for new health. I use Nature's Lawn products to make the lawns display sites. If you get one such job, you will get many more after only a month. I did one 3 weks ago and now have 3 contracts for neighbors.

Steve

Sounds interesting.. What type of sod do you guys use up there... Ours is either St. Augstein or bahia mainly..
I did my sisters yard a couple years ago... I tilled it using my edger..

swstout
06-10-2009, 12:40 AM
Sounds interesting.. What type of sod do you guys use up there... Ours is either St. Augstein or bahia mainly..
I did my sisters yard a couple years ago... I tilled it using my edger..

Here, I get calls for Centipede and Burmuda. Centipede for lawn with pH of less than 6.0 (mostly in lawns with many pine trees) and Bermuda because it takes over pushing weeds out. Centipede really must be a sod installation because it is so slow growing. Bermuda can have a lush lawn in 4 - 5 weeks.

I used to rent a commercial tiller and had no problem getting the $500 per day cost. I now have a RD tow behind tiller that has seeding attachments and roling functionallity. 3 jobs paid for it.

Steve

CHEESE2009
06-10-2009, 09:41 AM
There is a situation down here where big lawn service companies from 3 cities over have now pushed there services in my city.

The company I used to work for controlled this area, they have several customers.

I got a phone call from them (the company I worked for) & we talked about all these guys coming into the area & harming our business.

Just the other day going to one of my customers I passed by 3 fully loaded trucks from this other company who is based HOURS away, one every 2 blocks. They are really picking up. I'm sure it'll get pretty heated soon. Their prices are low, & they are doing really well.

Not only that, my aunts company is now in my area & she's based several hours away, & she's expanded into my area. It's pissing a lot of owners off. They are coming in to clean out the place.

The worst part is, because I left the company I worked for, they are down 20% also because of other problems. Instead of their plans to grow x2, they decreased to square one, almost where I'm at. So basically the west island based companies are screwed, & others are coming in.

Next time I advertise, I'm going to make a deal with home owners who live in dead end streets. I'll give them my fairest price, if ALL or a lot of them hire my services. It'll keep me secure, save on gas, etc. My stable sections. I'll look pretty bad @ss with my lawn signs on all of the houses too.

XtreemGreen
06-10-2009, 10:27 AM
I think alot of lco's are out for QUANTITY instead of QUALITY now a days..

andyjoneslawncare
06-10-2009, 04:33 PM
One thing to help narrow down opportunities that hasn't been mentioned. You can't seed St Augustine (which every high end home has) and we don't have soil. We have sand with a half inch of sod on top. There's no clay or soil compaction, etc. I'm not sure that leaves a market for aeration OR seeding, or am I wrong? Maybe look into resodding? Look for burnt out yards or large patches of brown from bugs or whatever, go to the nearest landscape supply place, load up the trailer or truck with sod, and turn average yards into perfect yards. I resodded only about 400 square feet (100 16"x20" pieces of sod I think. You do the math, I'm too tired) but it was a piece of cake. I used a square shovel but I think an edger would've worked to. The old stuff lifted right off the sand "soil" and I just laid the new stuff down. I'm not sure what the going rate is but now is a good time since we're getting more rain to help it get started.

swstout
06-10-2009, 08:01 PM
One thing to help narrow down opportunities that hasn't been mentioned. You can't seed St Augustine (which every high end home has) and we don't have soil. We have sand with a half inch of sod on top. There's no clay or soil compaction, etc. I'm not sure that leaves a market for aeration OR seeding, or am I wrong? Maybe look into resodding? Look for burnt out yards or large patches of brown from bugs or whatever, go to the nearest landscape supply place, load up the trailer or truck with sod, and turn average yards into perfect yards. I resodded only about 400 square feet (100 16"x20" pieces of sod I think. You do the math, I'm too tired) but it was a piece of cake. I used a square shovel but I think an edger would've worked to. The old stuff lifted right off the sand "soil" and I just laid the new stuff down. I'm not sure what the going rate is but now is a good time since we're getting more rain to help it get started.

You probably wouldn't need aeration but the bio-enhanced de thatcher would help the lawns. It has the natural microbes and fungi the lawns need for robust growth. It also builds humus if you mulch your cuttings. I had St Augustine at my home in Jacksonville. After three years I had about 4" of humus, not just the 1/2" from the sod. Roots well established.

I would have it here but we are at the very top limit for the grass here (Northern South Carolina).

I do sod also, in fact I bid on a housing project with 21 homes under construction on 125 x 200 lots this afternoon. Most homeowners won't go for the more expensive sod, so I offer new lawns, over seeding, etc.

Steve

andyjoneslawncare
06-11-2009, 02:53 AM
Xtreem, have you read this thread? http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=9245 I'm just figuring this out so it could be a disaster, but I sent around 60 emails a couple days ago and have gotten several responses and today a new account without spending a dime! Even though I haven't seen any money yet, it really helps the positive attitude to at least have something going on instead of being frustrated and losing hope. Even if my payment method doesn't work out, if you can find a realtor to send you a list of distressed properties you can email all the realtors and let them know how you can help. Give them a solution to a problem and try to make it seem personal and not just more spam. Realtors get a lot of spam and are quickly ready to delete. Also, in the "subject" line, just put in the address of the property. Then, they HAVE TO open it and read it, because it could be someone interested in buying the property. Promise me you'll give it a try and we'll compare notes and see what works and what doesn't. Oh, yeah, doesn't cost a dime. Lets turn the corner!