Avoid These 4 Costly Mistakes Landscape Business Owners Make!

Fellow business owner,

There’s a number of highly educated people who do not want me to share this information with you.  They’d rather keep you in the dark or charge you $250 per hour to get this information.  That’s why it’s critical that you read every word that follows.  I’m about to give you step-by-step instructions to help you put more money in your own pocket and less in the fat bank account of the bureaucracy known as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Before I share these step-by-step instructions, I must provide a clear disclosure.  I’m not an accountant.  I don’t provide tax advice for hire.  My goal in writing this letter is to simply inform you of your options as a business owner.  You should consult a tax advisor before using any of these tactics.  By writing you today I am fulfilling part of my goal to teach 10,000 landscape business owners how to double their profits or double their sales in 12 to 24 months.  The best news is each of these techniques puts CASH in your pocket very fast!  In fact, use tactics 1, 2 and 3 to lower your taxes $22,014.63 (or more) in 2016… then do the same thing year after year… as long as you run your business!

Hello. I’m Tony Bass.  I’m a consulting advisor and coach to the landscape industries top business owners.  If you and I have not met personally, this letter may come as a total shock.   You might ask yourself, “Why would Tony provide the exact details of how you can immediately lower your tax bill by $22,014.63 (or more) and not charge me one red cent?  There must be a catch.”  Well, I suggest you read this entire letter without putting it down and judge for yourself.

And by the time you get to page 2 you’ll probably say, “Why hasn’t my accountant explained this to me?”

Many of my most loyal clients (my clients are owners of lawn & landscape companies) had this question in the past. Once they learn these strategies from me, they manage their accountant relationship more effectively.  They have learned (like you are learning now) to pay careful attention to important details in the tax code.   Master these details! It pays handsome dividends year after year!

Now…If we have met… and you have been a student of mine for a few years, consider this communication as a courtesy reminder of past education.  Make certain you are using all four of these tax reduction strategies in 2016 & 2017.

Mistake #1 – Failure to Claim Your Pre-Paid Tax Credits

The IRS owes you a refund!  But it’s up to you to claim it!  If you own a lawn mower, weedeater, skid steer, tractor, dingo, back-pack blower or a stand on spreader/sprayer, it’s highly likely you can lower your taxes with this strategy.  It’s called the Off-Road Fuel Tax Credit.  One simple form and correct record keeping could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars each and every year for the rest of your life (or until this tax loophole is changed)!

It works like this.  Each time you buy a gallon of gasoline at the retail pump, your company pays a federal highway tax.  If you use this gasoline in a lawn mower, weedeater, skid steer, tractor, dingo, back-pack blower, or stand-on sprayer/spreader, it’s highly likely you did not drive this equipment on the highway. Therefore by using IRS form #4136 you can claim your pre-paid tax credit.  Heck, even if your company lost money this year, you can claim your tax refund with this strategy!

Understand this important definition…a TAX CREDIT is a dollar for dollar reduction on ANY INCOME TAXES you may owe.  Again, I’m not a CPA.  But if you’re not claiming this refund every year, you’re definitely overpaying your taxes.  The question becomes, “How much are you overpaying your taxes each year?”  Keep reading…I’ll show you…

Example 1: Let me share a simple example of how this works.  Let’s say that you own a 60 inch zero turn lawn mower.  You track your hours of use for each year.  In 2016 your company put 500 hours on the machine.  You track your fuel consumption and you learn this machine burns 1.5 gallons of gasoline per hour.  Here’s the math:

500 hours x 1.5 gallons/hour = 750 gallons of gasoline

750 gallons x .183 cents/gallon = $137.25 Is Your Tax Credit Per Lawn Mower Per Year!

If you have 10 similar lawn mowers, the tax credit becomes $1,372.50.  Over-paying your taxes is like a kick in the teeth.  It hurts most AFTER it happens.  Stop overpaying the IRS! This works for large or small companies.   If you have just one lawn mower but use this tactic for the next ten years, you just added $1,372.50 to your checking account.   You get a pay raise without an ounce of more work!

Example 2: Let’s consider the impact of this strategy if you own and operate a diesel powered skid steer. You know the one I’m talking about? It’s super fun to operate, does a ton of work and makes landscaping and hardscaping a lot of fun!  Well, diesel fuel you buy at the pump also has road-use taxes.   Let’s look at the math for a skid steer:

500 hours x 2.5 gallons/hour = 1250 gallons of diesel fuel

               1250 gallons x .243 cents/gallon = $303.75 Tax Credit

Example 3: Do you think this idea might help you lower your tax bill for 2016?  You bet it will.  And the more you track your fuel use, the more money you save on your taxes.  I’ve got one more example for you.  Consider the impact of fuel use in a back-pack blower.  Here’s the math:

500 hours x .75 gallons/hour = 375 gallons of fuel

            375 gallons x .183 cents/gallon = $68.63 Tax Credit

How many blowers, weedeaters, hedge trimmers, chain saws and gas powered two cycle equipment do you own?  Hopefully you see that these numbers can really add up in a growing landscaping company.  So do yourself a favor.  Consult with your tax pro.  If they tell you the tax credit is a bad idea, go get a second opinion.  Many of my clients gladly claim $1500 to $3500 per year as a fuel tax credit!  That’s enough extra money to take your family on vacation…year after year after year after year!

I’d hate to know you made the same mistake one of my past clients made.  He had access to this tax-saving information.  He took it to his accountant.  The accountant told him the special record keeping was not worth the tax credit.  That’s simply not true.  The more your company grows, the bigger the tax refund!  If you find road blocks in getting this tax credit for your company, call me.  I’ll refer you to an accounting firm that can coach you on a streamlined record keeping process that will make this tax credit as easy as pie.  Don’t overpay your taxes!  Here comes mistake #2.

Mistake #2 – Failure to Fund Your Personal IRA, Simple IRA, 401-K or SEP

ALWAYS PAY YOURSELF BEFORE YOU PAY THE IRS! For those of you who run a really profitable business, this may sound like a very elementary tax reduction strategy.  But just because you are aware of these tax-reduction techniques, it doesn’t mean you maximize their impact on reducing your taxes.  Let me give you a very simple illustration.

Johnny owns a contracting company.  He works hard everyday to provide his customers with top-quality workmanship and excellent customer service.  His company is profitable at year end.  He understands that he has a responsibility to plan for his family’s financial future.  Therefore, he opens an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).  Johnny makes certain that he places the maximum allowable contribution to his IRA account of $5500.  Paying yourself first is a terrific wealth strategy!  This becomes a tax-deductible expense reducing his taxable income by $5500.

Turn the page to see the examples.


Here’s the math:

$5,500 x 35% federal tax = $1925 federal tax reduction

Depending on your personal income, your federal tax could be higher or lower.  The higher your income, the more you save!  If you have a state income tax like we do here in Georgia (6%) where I live, funding your IRA will lower your state tax liability as well.  Here’s the math:

$5,500 x 6% state tax = $330 state tax reduction

Advanced business owners learn that by implementing a Simple IRA, 401-K or a SEP inside your company, can drastically lower your taxes by a factor of 2x to 4x on the numbers above.  There are countless rules, regulations and requirements for company sponsored retirement accounts, so consult with your tax professional regarding this strategy.  It’s silly to overpay your taxes.  As a business owner, the government gives you tools to lower your taxes.  Failure to use tools like these is just bad business.  You and your family can make much better use of YOUR money than the federal or state government.

Funding your personal IRA account for 10 years puts $55,000 into your retirement account and saves you $19,250 in federal income taxes along the way!  PAY YOUSELF FIRST EVERY YEAR!  And yes, if you live in a state with income taxes like Georgia’s 6% income tax rate, you save an additional $3300 in state taxes over that 10-year period!

If you’re a business owner like me (and my loyal clients), you know it’s tough to build up cash when you’re re-investing profits into growing your company.  But when you LOWER your tax bill, you can easily afford to pay yourself first! If you’d like help on advanced tax reduction strategies, contact me.  I recently brought in the number 1 tax reduction CPA/Tax Attorney in the entire USA to teach these and many other tax reduction strategies to a small group of business owners.   And the good news is every single minute of these tax strategies were captured in HD video.  We can provide you immediate access to advanced tax reduction strategies.  Now…get ready for mistake #3.

Mistake #3 – Failure to Maximize Your Section 179 Deduction

Essentially, Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the tax year. That means that if you buy (or lease) a piece of qualifying equipment, you can deduct the FULL PURCHASE PRICE from your gross income. It’s an incentive created by the U.S. government to encourage businesses to buy equipment and invest in themselves.  So use this!  Invest in YOUR COMPANY GROWTH and lower your taxes!

The section 179 depreciation deduction is currently set at $500,000.  You can thank President Obama and the Congress for making this permanent in 2015!  There’s a number of details and limits regarding proper use of section 179, but failure to use this deduction means you may be overpaying your taxes.  Let’s look at an example of the math regarding a section 179 depreciation deduction below.

Johnny decides he needs to replace an old truck in his company.  He buys the new truck for $55,000 using attractive financing to keep his payments as low as possible.  By buying at year end (Dec), he spends little to nothing in 2016.  Payments begin in 2017.  Johnny is ready for the 2017 season and he enjoys a huge tax deduction on his 2016 tax return.  Here’s the math:

Purchase Price of Truck/Equipment – $55,000

Section 179 Deduction – $55,000  (check with your accountant to verify your situation)

Total First Year Deduction – $55,000

Cash Savings Year One @ 35% Federal Rate  – $19,250

Actual Cost of the Truck/Equipment – $35,750

Profitable businesses can use the section 179 tax deduction to legally pay Zero Dollars in taxes!

This special tax incentive is designed to encourage you to re-invest in your business.  I love this tax loophole!  It allows you to avoid paying taxes on up to $500,000 of profits every single year! Check with your accountant.  Section 179 is only available to BUSINESSES who purchase equipment for BUSINESS purposes!

I’d like to point out two important mistakes business owners make regarding equipment purchases.  First, equipment doesn’t last forever.  Failure to update or replace your equipment leads to downtime in the field.  Downtime (labor cost) is MUCH more expensive than equipment payments.  Just look at your payroll each month and compare that to your equipment payments.  Labor is your biggest expense.  It always will be.

Speaking of labor cost…updating your equipment can lead to increases in productivity, employee retention or better positioning in your target markets.  I’ve often been quoted as saying, “If your equipment is broke…you’re probably broke too!”

So… don’t think keeping an old truck will increase your profits.  Paying cash for major repairs like engines, transmissions, rear ends and paint jobs suck cash out of your company in large chunks .  This negatively affects your cash position.   And it often seems like these expensive repairs come at the worst possible times – right in your busy season!  Ughh!!

Fact: you’ll rarely recover the cost of a replacement engine or transmission when you sell old equipment.  Further, many banks will not finance equipment repairs.  And understand this.  Banks don’t like to finance USED trucks that are over 10 years old.  When equipment gets beyond ten years old, the market for that equipment gets dramatically smaller because the only buyers are CASH buyers.  And cash buyers don’t pay top dollar!

Here’s a winning strategy to maximize your tax deductions & lower your equipment costs. Sell your old trucks in year 8 or year 9 to maximize sales price.  Don’t hold them for more than 10 years and you maximize your exit price.  Use part of the proceeds from the sale for a down payment on the new equipment or stuff the cash from the sale in your pocket.  But… buy new equipment and take full advantage of the tax loophole known as section 179 depreciation… as long as you operate a profitable company!

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If you have an interest in replacing, upgrading or expanding your company fleet, my team and I would like to help you.  There are 3 simple steps to purchase or lease your Super Lawn Truck:

  1. Simply circle & sign your name on the model you’d like to order
  2. Complete the credit application on the backside of the DEMO model sheet and fax both pages to 478-822-9707 or scan & email to tony@superlawntrucks.com.
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Go to page 5 for Mistake #4


Mistake #4 – Failure to Continue Your Education

I started my career in business as a lawn and landscape contractor in 1987.  I built that little lawn company to three locations and revenues in the millions.  As a young business owner, I began to recognize the fact that my academic education in public schools and even my university degree, did little (or nothing) to help me understand the laws of money!  The whole tax return and financial accounting process was confusing.  I never had a “tax reduction class” in high school or college.  I developed a suspicious feeling I was overpaying my taxes.

I’ll never forget asking my accountant (after facing a huge yearend tax bill), “What are you NOT telling me?”  I didn’t know what questions to ask for crying out loud!  My limited turfgrass and horticulture education did not teach me to ask about fuel tax credits, IRA deductions or section 179 strategies.  And truthfully, she didn’t know how to teach me what questions to ask!  It was like the blind and dumb leading the blind and dumb!  And ignorance is expensive!

Look, there’s 73,000 pages of tax code (or more).   That’s almost impossible for one person to learn. And at tax time the accountant was so backed up with OTHER bigger accounts, I couldn’t hardly get a meeting with her to review my situation.  Think about it.  How much motivation does your accountant have to try to lower your tax bill $1500 or $15,000?  Not much!

I learned that business owners have to take full responsibility for their education.  And, as I grew my company, I could afford advisors with specific expertise inside my career field.  Over the years, with an army of the best advisors in the world, I’ve unlocked dozens of additional tax-reduction strategies.  There’s no way I can go into all of them in this letter.

This brief report is a generous gift to help you reduce taxes even if we never work together.  But if you’d like advanced tax reduction training, I’ve got a terrific advanced tax reduction training program ready for you.  More on this later.

If Your Company Is NOT Super Profitable, You Don’t Need Tax Reduction Training…YET!

Your #1 responsibility as a business owner is to “Create and keep a customer… while making a desired profit.”  That’s right.  Taxes will become your #1 personal expense IF you operate an exceptionally profitable company.  You don’t pay taxes if you don’t make money!  Believe me… business is much more fun when you make money!  Lots of money!

So, if you are not satisfied with your personal income, your business profits, your company benefits package, your ability to attract and keep good employees…well there’s a reason for these problems.  You need a well thought out financial plan for your future.  You need more education!  You need a money plan.  A money plan that will:

  • Identify ALL of your costs to open and operate your company for 12 solid months in a written organized manner
  • Set a reasonable salary for you (and your spouse or partner)
  • Establish an appropriate benefits package for YOU (and your employees if you like)
  • Discover the correct hourly rates for the type of jobs you sell
  • Correctly set the hourly rates for each and every piece of equipment you own, lease or rent
  • Teach you how to apply fat, juicy profits to each and every job you bid
  • Project the exact amount of money you need to retire comfortably at the time you choose
  • Show you how to pay your employees fair wages, plan for pay increases and retain of your best workers
  • Reduce the chances that you over-price your bids, quotes or proposals on every job that you pursue
  • Clearly establish your 12-month sales goal that will help you meet your personal income goals once and for all
  • Set a clear profit goal for your company
  • Help you identify the bad jobs and avoid them like poison ivy in the summer time
  • Protect you from over-paying taxes and making poor business decisions
  • Improve your insurance plans and LOWER the costs of your commercial insurance policies!

I’ll help you build this money plan when you attend one of my live Profit Builder Training events.  It’s 100% true that I have personally taught over 300 owners of lawn and landscape companies how to double profits or double sales in 12 to 24 months using this “money plan” process.  And, I’m ready to teach YOU…or you and your partner, spouse or business unit manager how to double your profits too.

Do You Really Need Advanced Financial Training?

You be the judge.  I have two types of business owners attend my training. Keep reading.

First, those business owners like I have described above…they want more money!  They want a more predictable future.  They want a company that works FOR them…rather than BECAUSE of them.  They want to get BETTER.  They are tired of having a sore back and a small bank account.  They know the physical demands of outside lawn and landscape work will become a burden as they get older and they want a plan to get OUT OF THE FIELD one day.  These folks have limited or no financial/accounting, estimating or bidding formal training.  They love working…they LOVE being outside….they love the idea of being their own boss…but they tend to HATE paperwork!  I love these types of students!  I can turn their business profits and their lives around quickly!

If can relate to any of these descriptions above, I want you to join me soon.  Your future has more potential than you can possibly imagine!

The second group of students are quite different.  They already make a healthy profit in their company.  They already have accounting training.  They already have good financial records and they pay taxes every year.  But the reasons these students attend my training classes include: they are always investing in their training & personal development – they believe they can get better – they want a second opinion – they want to make certain they haven’t made some small mistake in their current process that’s costing them a fortune over time – and they love the chance to meet other non-competitive business owners who share their secrets when the doors are locked and competition is not around.  And one day…these successful business owners want to exit their company with a significant payday, like selling their business for maximum profit or structuring their business for transition to the next generation.

If you can relate to any of these descriptions above, I want you to join me soon.  I’m prepared to help you uncover the missing details in your current systems and help you discover your full potential.

And yes….Your tuition to attend the next Profit Builder Training event is a tax deductible expense!  So the government is picking up 35% or more of the costs of you attending the training!

Double Profits?  Is It Really Possible?

Yes! It is! Statistically in contracting, 20% of your work COSTS you money. That is, 20% (1 in 5 jobs) of your work is underpriced to the point it takes cash out of your company checking account or it adds to your company debts. We must identify the 1 in 5 bad jobs you currently serve and eliminate them from your workload.

It’s almost mathematical certainty that you will double your profits if you follow this process. In order to double your profits, you must make a commitment to Replace 1 in 5 Bad Jobs (jobs that cost you money) that have found their way into your company workload with Good Jobs that produce healthy profits.  It’s not back breaking work like digging a ditch.  But it does require mental focus.

I explain exactly how to do this at the live Profit Builder seminars I hold in Atlanta, GA. In a 2 ½ day weekend event, we will teach you how to build a written budget (money plan) that pays you respectable salary, provides you a generous benefit plan, a tax-saving retirement plan, correct hourly rates for your labor, accurate hourly rates for your equipment and provides you a detailed production rate based estimating process that prevents estimating errors and avoids bad jobs!  I want you there!

Profit Builder is a small group training event (no more than 12 companies are allowed). I have designed it this way so that I can interact with everyone in the room, make sure that everyone completes their calculations, establishes their correct man hour rate, sales goal & complete understanding of SUPER important numbers when they walk out the door.

If you are like many of my other clients and keep wondering WHERE your money is going, and why you don’t seem to be making as much as you’d like, then Profit Builder training is for you!

Past attendees have made these comments:

“Knowing my numbers is so empowering.”

“I’ve never had so much confidence in my estimating and bidding. Now, when I give a client a bid, I KNOW that it’s right and I’m not afraid that it will cost me money.”

“If you want to be successful and profitable, you need to sign up and do this class.”

We currently have just over 50 company owners who shared their video testimonials about their experience attending my live training events here: www.superlawntoolkit.com/profit-builder.   A recent attendee admitted to watching all 50.

YOU are the reason that I do what I do. I LOVE landscape business owners, and I want to help you become MORE PROFITABLE and a HUGE SUCCESS.  It’s my passion… it’s my calling… and I love it. Helping business owners is what makes ME feel like a success.

So… get signed up… be my next success story! I’ll help you along the way.

To Your Future Profit and Success,

Tony Bass, Founder

Super Lawn Technologies & Tony Bass Consulting


PS – I know you’re busy… all of us are… but how important is your company’s success to you? If you don’t PUT IN THE TIME… to WORK ON your business… you will remain in the cycle of working IN it and seeing little to no progress. You MUST step back, take the time to get away from your company, join other landscape contractors in the same place as you and get your financial plan FIGURED OUT!

All you need to do is select a date. Here’s what’s coming up… the classes fill up soon so, choose a date and sign up quick!

December, 2018 * January, 2019 * February, 2019 *

You can register online here:


You can tell me which date you want, and what accommodations you will need… we make those reservations for you too and get great pricing for our group.  The web form above makes it easy. Select the date that works for you!

All Profit Builder courses will be at the Hilton Atlanta Airport Hotel in Atlanta, GA… there is a free shuttle. You won’t need a rental car, and there are several dining options right in the hotel.  This keeps your travel cost low!

If you have any questions, Tabitha Lovell is our Profit Builder Event Coordinator. Here’s her contact info:

tabitha@superlawntoolkit.com, 678-943-4856  Or if you prefer to fax in an order form, you can do that too. It’s below.

Looking forward to working with you very soon!

Profit Builder Training Event – Order Form   (Download it here! 2016-4 Mistakes Letter)

The PROFIT BUILDER Training Program is designed for company owners who would like to grow revenues or bottom-line line profits.  If you are not satisfied with the amount of money you earn, the benefits you receive, or the yearly profits of your firm, you should enroll in this training right away.  Participants will receive world-class training from an SLT landscape industry expert.

What’s included?

*2 ½ day budgeting & estimating workshop with Tony Bass                          $5,000

*26 weeks – Two Minutes with Tony e-mail training program                      $1,200

*Pre-workshop questionnaire and private business analysis                       $247

*Budgeting and Estimating Business Manual Book                                            $75

*Total Value                                                                                                                       $6,522

Discounted Registration for 2 people from 1 company                                   $2,495                                                  

Plus Tony’s 100% Satisfaction Guarantee – Re-take the course for FREE within 12 months


Here’s how you can join us at your Profit Builder!



*Call Tabitha Lovell at 678-943-4856 or email her at talovell@gmail.com if you have any questions or need more information on private consulting services. See you soon!