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View Full Version : Another Black Tuesday


swstout
07-01-2009, 09:59 AM
I lost my biggest residential job yesterday to lay-offs. Not of the homeowner - his son. This was a job that I roto-tilled over 17,000 sq. ft of lawn, flattened the lawn, roller and seeded. I put in 2 large flower beds with mulch. I planted a 60 foot run of Sand Cherry hedge that I also mulched.

I sprayed twice with Nature's Magic, Aerify, and fertilizer (half dose before seeding and a half dose after seeding. I had the full maintenance contract for the season (a little over $200.00 per week).

Yesterday I was supposed to mow for the first time and maintain the flower beds. When I got there, the owner gave me the bad news. His son with 4 kids was layed off and that he was going to pay him for the lawn work. This was my 5th. contract I lost do to lay-offs, with 3 new jobs canceled or put on hold. Jobs that I purchased additional equipment and supplies for with 2 new workers.

I tried to make the best of a bad situation. I went over all the particulars (mowing height, watering, weeding, etc. with his son giving him some tips as I went along. I then completed the mowing and maintenance with him.
The owner said, "You didn't have to be so nice". I said, jokingly, "When he goes back to work, you'll call me back, and I want it done right so I won't have to do a lot of corrections". He said he would certainly keep me in mind.
Things are getting worse here every day. We are on our 14th day of high, hot weather. 12 of which were over 100. Calling for 98 today. Lawns are not growing and the phone is not ringing!

Only one new call in the last two weeks and I stepped up my advertising. I hope to maintain (get by) the rest of this season and start planning for next season. Today, I am contacting all the Real Estate companies, banks, and credit unions for their winterizing jobs. I have 5 months expenses saved to get me by with no income with an austerity budget, but I can't keep all my help going.

I'm hoping for rain to get it growing again (lawns and business).

Steve

turfmaster
07-01-2009, 10:32 AM
I feel your pain Steve. I too lost 2 customers last week due to the economy.
1 was a residential and 1 was a commercial.
The residential customers son got laid off so he will maintain the property.
My commercial account was a machine shop that went out of business as of last Friday.

swstout
07-01-2009, 10:54 AM
One of the largest employeres here went from 3 shifts 7 days a week to 1 shift M-F. Laying off 65% of the workforce. about 600 people.

People who still have good paying jobs are scarred. Not spending, cutting back even on groceries. Planning on streatch meals. Even the Fast Food places are slow.

I stopped in at Applebees last night to pick up a check (I service them) and they only had 4 customers. Employees out numbered the customers. The manager said he has lost about 75% of his business even with the specials they are offering.

It's getting scarry!

Steve

picframer
07-01-2009, 03:28 PM
The economy is like a roller coaster, always has been always will be, there are going to be the peaks and the valley's, some valley's run a lot deeper than others representing locations, we have been fortunate where I live, our economy is very diversified and very stable, we have more Universities and Colleges here than any other city in Canada, that generates massive employment, we are the regional health care centre for four provinces and have four massive hospitals.

The forestry industry here has taken a massive blow, many mills some employing hundreds and open for 20 plus years have closed.

If it's any word of comfort just hang in there and keep the chin up, what you did by explaining to the son how to care for the lawn will give you major payback and another sign of a quality company with business ethics in the right place.

jds2381
07-02-2009, 12:27 AM
It sucks for sure! I am not going to say it doesn't. Please keep your head up. Despite the present situation, people still need lawn care. It is tough sometimes yes but please keep a positive attitude. Negativity spreads like cancer. You don't want to be cancer. Cancer sucks imo. ;) We all hit 'hard spots'. It's the nature of the beast! Keep your head up. Keep advertising. Keep up the 'good' work. Business will come!

Steve
07-02-2009, 05:41 AM
What kinds of things should lawn care business owners be doing when large employers in the area lay off workers? Or when there is high unemployment in their area?

Any thoughts or suggestions?

swstout
07-02-2009, 07:19 AM
What kinds of things should lawn care business owners be doing when large employers in the area lay off workers? Or when there is high unemployment in their area?

Any thoughts or suggestions?

I wish I knew! The population of Hartsville is 7,435. A small city and a layoff of 600 people in the last 2 weeks is 8.07% of the population. Our unemployment rate was over 12% before this.

I am contacting all the political leaders (state and federal) and demanding the "stimulus plan farce" be changed to one that has a criteria where every part of the "plan" be eliminated that doesn't create full time, perminant, private sector jobs. The 11,000 page plan would be reduces to about 100 pages, save the taxpayers billions and actually do something.

Steve

Steve
07-02-2009, 09:47 AM
I am contacting all the political leaders (state and federal) and demanding the "stimulus plan farce" be changed to one that has a criteria where every part of the "plan" be eliminated that doesn't create full time, perminant, private sector jobs. The 11,000 page plan would be reduces to about 100 pages, save the taxpayers billions and actually do something.

Do you think something like this could help get you media attention? Could you contact the local media and maybe talk about passing around a local petition to get residents to sign that would ask the stimulus plan be changed?

Would such an issue bring a lot of attention to you and your business and then increase the number of calls coming in?

turfmaster
07-02-2009, 10:28 AM
Do you think something like this could help get you media attention? Could you contact the local media and maybe talk about passing around a local petition to get residents to sign that would ask the stimulus plan be changed?

Would such an issue bring a lot of attention to you and your business and then increase the number of calls coming in?

We the working people need as much media attention about this as possible.

What really has me concerned is if this CAP AND TRADE bill passes in the senate.

We have to derail that bill or the majority of businesses in this country are doomed.

China doesn't give a crap about the environment. They will gladly take more
manufacturing jobs from us. :eek:

swstout
07-02-2009, 11:04 AM
We the working people need as much media attention about this as possible.

What really has me concerned is if this CAP AND TRADE bill passes in the senate.

We have to derail that bill or the majority of businesses in this country are doomed.

China doesn't give a crap about the environment. They will gladly take more
manufacturing jobs from us. :eek:

1/3 of the Senate is up for re-election. Ask if your Senators are for this bill and who is running against them if they are not. We are a representative government (not a Democracy) and our elected officials are supposed to represent their constituents (not their party). This is how our government was set up by the founding father's and this is how it should be run. If you are not being represented by the will of the people, the representatives should be voted out of office.

Steve