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  • #16
    One thing I was thinking about with this is, say for instance you are buying a piece of equipment like a backhoe. Or some piece of excavation equipment where you are charging the customer $x per hour for it's use and for an operator. You know that without that piece of machinery, you couldn't get that job done.

    But when you talk about mowers. If you are charging $30 a lawn, how much of that is money is necessarily being made by that mower?

    You might also include in the price trimming and blowing off the lawn. So maybe for a half hour mowing job, the mower is only being used 15 minutes?

    Should the lawn care business owner keep this in mind or is this too nit-picky?

    Also, a lot of average sized lawns can be mowed with a wide variety of mowers. Just because one can potentially earn back that investment within 6 months for a high dollar mower, the question is should they? Could they do it with a walk behind instead of a ztr?
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    • #17
      One thing I was thinking about with this is, say for instance you are buying a piece of equipment like a backhoe. Or some piece of excavation equipment where you are charging the customer $x per hour for it's use and for an operator. You know that without that piece of machinery, you couldn't get that job done.

      But when you talk about mowers. If you are charging $30 a lawn, how much of that is money is necessarily being made by that mower?

      You might also include in the price trimming and blowing off the lawn. So maybe for a half hour mowing job, the mower is only being used 15 minutes?

      Should the lawn care business owner keep this in mind or is this too nit-picky?

      Also, a lot of average sized lawns can be mowed with a wide variety of mowers. Just because one can potentially earn back that investment within 6 months for a high dollar mower, the question is should they? Could they do it with a walk behind instead of a ztr?
      I think that is breaking it down too far, if I were still a lender I would look at the bigger picture, this guy has potential because he has the accounts and he can generate enough revenue in 6 months to pay it off three times over so I will cut him a brake and finance it over three years to help him grow even more as he will be back in a few months wanting to expand again. I worked outside the box as a banker and at first had my knuckles wrapped a few times but that did not stop me, finally they backed off and let me loose and I blew their numbers out of the water, that got their attention.

      But then things changed and banks started going back to being just banks and I was being put back in a box so I walked.

      Steve, I will be straight up, I don't think there is a lot of money to be made in just mowing which is why I am dumping our ZTR and buying another tractor. The money is in what fewer guys are doing, Organic spraying, pressure washing, leaf mulching things like this, maybe garden tilling which is why I will take a tractor over a ZTR any day and the ride is night and day. My 749 on rough terrain is like riding on air.
      Andy
      Halifax, Nova Scotia

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      • #18
        Steve, I will be straight up, I don't think there is a lot of money to be made in just mowing which is why I am dumping our ZTR and buying another tractor. The money is in what fewer guys are doing
        I can totally see your point on this. What's your view on why it seems to be the starting point for so many new businesses we see on here? Is it simply because of this forum's niche or is it more because most new business owners just don't know any better and they see all these folks out there mowing so they figure there must be money in it and they jump in too?
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        • #19
          I can totally see your point on this. What's your view on why it seems to be the starting point for so many new businesses we see on here? Is it simply because of this forum's niche or is it more because most new business owners just don't know any better and they see all these folks out there mowing so they figure there must be money in it and they jump in too?
          Generally speaking pretty much every poster I have seen starting out had the same attitude as I did back in February, buy a mower, trimmer, blower and we are off to the races, put the flyer's out and look out.

          But then I started reading and researching, why do I want to focus 100% of my energy on what everyone else is doing, that was when the company switched gears or I would be dead in the water today. And it was pretty clear flyer's and door hangers were not working, networking, website, local newspaper ad's were that is the direction I went and thank god I did.

          I checked out the five largest yard care companies in our city and thought about what I have hired done over the years, asked my network of friends and business people I have met what they thought about some of my offerings, some were no go's and some the feedback was yes, yes, yes.....that is when I knew I was onto something.

          From there is when I started asking clients what other services they wished we could do or offer or they were planning to have done, if it made sense, I would advertise on the website we could do it, an email to everyone we had done work for and if they did not need the service we would really appreciate the referral and on Kijiji which is something like Craigs List, once again some had no response, some lit up the Christmas Tree.

          The one new service that shocked me the most as I would not have believed there was much of a market for it is Post Hole digging, OMG I bet we drilled 1,500 holes last summer, we now have three augers, two for tractors and one for the small excavator for the tough jobs, man the money in this is amazing, we average around $240.00 an hour while on a site as we charge by the hole and this service only requipres one employee, $20.00 a hole and the average hole takes about 4 min but you have to move to the next hole location etc. It's so simple to do I can train a new employee in less than an hour. And guess what I found, not one company in my city offers this service unless they build the fence, I am not interested in building fences so it is a win win. So now I have small fence companies calling asking for the excavator service as it can drill just about anything and it's super fast, massive power it will just not stop, but this was a very expensive investment and I worked up to it as the sticker shock blew me away when we first started.

          Now you can rent these machines but, do you as a home owner want to take the time to go get it, do the work, return it etc. and can you actually tow one of these units (that is all they rent around here), once you get it home how do you move it around? Yes some people do have the ability, most would rather just pay us and be done with it as it costs $160.00 a day to rent the units that our tractors will do, same idea and power but the rentals are on a trailer, our attach to the back of the tractor and run of the hydraulics on the tractor and $350.00 to $500.00 a day if you want the unit the mini excavator runs. If you want the mini excavator unit rental, they have to deliver it to you and you must be trained, add another $200.00 for float (transposrtation) fee to the rental cost, you see the homeowner is thinking this doesn't make sense for me to do.

          We were late in the season offering this service like many of our services, this year is different, we are going into April with all the gear in place, staff are ready and fully trained so it's going to be one heck of a ride.

          The training really slowed me down in 2009 however because of the way I treat the staff and I pay them a lot more than they can make elsewhere and I am super easy to work for, every one wants to come back as soon as this semister is out which is mid April, perfect timing and I have enough work to keep 16 of them going for 6 to 7 weeks already.
          Andy
          Halifax, Nova Scotia

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          • #20
            Generally speaking pretty much every poster I have seen starting out had the same attitude as I did back in February, buy a mower, trimmer, blower and we are off to the races, put the flyer's out and look out.

            But then I started reading and researching, why do I want to focus 100% of my energy on what everyone else is doing, that was when the company switched gears or I would be dead in the water today. And it was pretty clear flyer's and door hangers were not working, networking, website, local newspaper ad's were that is the direction I went and thank god I did.
            This got me thinking of a Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares episode I was watching the other night. A French business owner had opened this Japanese restaurant along the French coast and it was failing.

            When Gordon walks in there, he looks out the window and say why isn't this a seafood restaurant? The chef knew how to cook seafood but had no idea how to cook Japanese food.

            The owner was in love with the idea of owning a Japanese restaurant but that is not what the public wanted and it was failing miserably.

            How often do business owners start a business and find that they are in love with the idea of __________ (fill in the blank). Whether it be cutting lawns, building retaining walls, working in gardens.

            That is all fine and good but what if that idea just isn't going to work in your area for a multitude of reasons. What if there is too much competition? What if the service isn't needed?

            Are you willing to let the ship sink because your initial idea didn't work? Or as Andy said, are you willing to ask your customers what they really like or need? Are you willing to take that feedback and alter your game plan?

            It's very possible a majority of new business owners feel like, this is my idea and if it don't work, then I will keep trying it until I run out of time, energy, or money. We all have a tendency to get thick headed and to get focused on our one goal.

            I think this kind of also falls into the category of why us guys tend to not ask for directions when we are lost. We get in our own way of success.
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            • #21
              If Microsoft stayed with DOS and Mr. Gates said no Windows, MAC would have blown them out of the water by now. I am not a big Windows fan but I can tell you Windows 7 is friggin amazing.

              Why is McDonald's the largest food chain in the world when A & W has been around longer.....McDonald's was the first with drive through, I remember as a kid when it happened and people thought they were nuts, people would never go for fast food....that was the thought and feedback when I was a kid.

              It doesn't matter what big company I look at, the CEO always had people below him or her that was smarter or brought a skill to the table they did not have.

              As a CEO I have been in meetings where I thought my management team had learned a foreign language, my job.....did it make sense and if it did you better listen to your staff and do it, almost every time the new product offering worked, man I learned a lot from the last team I had.

              I hired a guy for our marketing that took the oldest but smallest beer company in Canada to one of the largest in about two years, his ideas were off the wall but I remember the first trade show we did, I didn't care for or think what he was going to do would work, OMG it took us a year of busting our butt's to catch up with the business from that one show, it was in the millions. My thoughts were old school, he was fresh and full of amazing ideas.

              So once again if what we are doing isn't keeping us going out straight and growing, then what we are doing is not what the market wants, so the question is what does the market want??? Pretty simple, ask them.
              Andy
              Halifax, Nova Scotia

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