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Old 06-06-2008, 09:19 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,655 times
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On the rare chance that a couple months later the original poster is still watching this --

I live in Miami OK. I actually found this thread while searching for a small landscaper (just for occasional work; after nearly 5 weeks of the rainiest spring I recall in 8 years, my backyard looks like Peru) on the internet.

Miami is a small city of about 15,000 people. Most the nearby town outside Miami (such as Commerce and Afton) are only like 2-10 miles away and will be part of Miami proper eventually, when population grows and they get annexed as happens with cities.

There are a few landscaping firms, small. My aunt used to run one, and closed down not really for lack of work but so she could take a state job and get health benefits. There are a few nurseries in town and one soil company that supplies bulk stuff.

There are various businesses which hire landscapers for things like mowing and snow plowing (like on contract). Otherwise I think most the landscaping work here is with the citizenry, by which I mean, landscaping design around a house, or probably more available in terms of numbers, simple upkeep (mowing, weedeating, etc.) around homes.

The businesses in this area are often waaaaay shy of professional, as it appears most the locals have never lived in a city big enough to notice competition. My dad (who owns 3 houses) once quipped that if he found a good plumber who would return calls, not show up under the influence, not swear loudly and violently while there, not break things while there, and actually fix things while there for a decent going rate, he'd be the most popular plumber in the county. That tends to go for most other businesses too. I can't count the number of things I haven't done because I had money, paid a local business to come look at something and give me an estimate, they made an appointment and never showed. I called, they made another, and never showed. We're from so CA where business competition is very high and so the standard operating ethic is a little different... it is often frustrating to us, but it implies that someone truly competitive might stand a better chance here.

If your level of landscaping work is for larger jobs, they usually have bidding. Those range from over the border in Joplin to local. You would need substantial equipment for that, and some local refs, and insurance. If you're interested simply in working for a small landscaping firm ($7-10/hr probably), or even just marketing yourself doing small work like yard maintenance and minor planting etc., there is probably a lot more opportunity.

Rent here varies a bit because the quality of the housing varies a lot. I pay $400 for a three bedroom tract home with a front and back yard. If my dad didn't own the house I'd probably pay about 475. (Where I'm from, a studio apt can run 8-1200, so that seems amazing to me.) Because this is a fairly old area that has been growing a good deal the past ten years, there is an interesting mix of stuff, from brick minor mansions to clapboard houses that oughtta be condemned. There is a lot of property for sale here as there has been quite a bit of growth and new housing built in nearby areas like Commerce which has slightly shuffled some existing population. Let me think, my house was like 46k when my dad bought it in 2000; my neighbor's house (with jacuzzi, and a bit nicer than the others on my block) sold for about 70k three years ago; three doors down, they've had a for sale sign out for a year. There's only 5 houses on my street, between the fire station and a small grocery store. (There were several large groceries here until super Walmart came in; now there's SWM, this grocer on my street, and a tiny grocer across town.) There are often "sale with owner financing" offers that I see on signs as I drive around. It's probably easier to buy a decent house than rent one, as a lot of the rentals are HUD-based. There are areas of town with 'executive homes', and very large houses are sometimes mixed in with simple tract homes in the older neighborhoods. Nearby areas; my boyfriend just found a 3-story victorian mansion (mindblowing) for like 69K just outside joplin. Most real estate is on the internet I believe, unless it's individually sold.

Joplin MO is about a 45 minute drive away. It was voted the best city in the nation a few years ago by some magazine I forget, taking into account everything from cost of living to crime to jobs to arts etc. Some people who live here, work there, but the cost of gas is starting to make that a bit prohibitive. They have basically every 'superstore' there and I go there once a month for Sam's Club and dinner at Outback or Olive Garden. Miami has some eh-decent little mexican places, several spiceless chinese (I feel like I need to take spices in my purse almost everywhere lol), a steakhouse, and that's about it besides 101 versions of fast food. I go to Joplin if I want sushi, indian, italian, etc.

Culturally (and I'm careful here because I don't want to violate any forum policy, staff please simply edit if I do), if you're from new york, you will eventually probably feel slightly like an alien here. I'm from california which is a lot more laid back than new york (in fact, humorously, I never truly understood 'laid back' as an adjective until I went to the east coast, where they are definitely NOT, heh!) The dining palate is bizarrely bland, the most popular activity for adults is the PTA or bowling (in fact that's about the ONLY activities locally besides one new/nice movie theatre), and there are probably 30 churches but no temple-based religions and nothing metaphysical. On the bright side, it fits the mold of a small city in middle america: there are no gangs, either. There is one high school, a couple middle schools, a few grade schools. Racially, most the population is either white or native american, and most of the latter look white because they're only fractional (like my family is); there is a very small collection of 'anything-else', from latin to asian to black -- not much of those, so my friends in those groups say they definitely feel like 'minorities' in a literal sense here.

Miami has an A&M college, so to a small degree it's a college town, and as a business that has several landscaping workers as well (a relative did that for a few years). Afton, which is about 10 minutes away, has a small vo-tech night school. There's one 4-screen movie theatre, one classic (lovely) performance theatre where various small things like musicals, small bands, ballets, local performances, occasional touring artists etc. go on. There is essentially no nightlife here; it's a helluva opportunity, I'm sure a cafe with open mike and nighttime service could probably make some money with the younger set but we don't even have something like a denny's. Walmart is open 24/7 so if it's 9pm and you want anything but fast food, that's where you gotta go. Joplin has some small bars, sports bar restaurants, and a couple dance clubs.

Weather: I work on the internet so moving's easier for me, and I've lived in CA, OR, WA, TX and CT. It is cold in winter -- snow, ice -- but not as cold as TX or CT. We are zone 6 here and it's slated for -10 as the coldest in winter; I've been here 8 years, and there are cycles where it's like 8 degrees but that's around the coldest I've seen it. It is rainy in spring and fall but not as rainy as WA and OR. The rains come with storms and it's often nice in the day then rains in the evening a lot of the time, which would be great if I didn't work days, LOL! There are two rivers running through this city, and as this whole region of the country is a bit economically depressed compared to the coasts and not real populated comparatively, they don't really have storm water handling worked out real well yet. We have a large, nice park in town only because that whole area floods due to river water from upstream in other towns. We have a walking park for the same reason. And there's a few neighborhoods that flood like clockwork to 4-5' under, then FEMA comes and pays them, and nothing ever changes, it's probably the local FEMA bottomless pit; as of yet the city hasn't mandated not living in those areas. You can often find great housing prices in those areas but do be carefully aware and get info from locals and neighbors about flooding before you agree to anything.

It is hot in summer but not as hot as TX or CT. It is humid in summer. Spring and Fall are glorious when it's not storming--breezy and cool, lots of color. Landscaping work is sparse in winter for obvious reasons but probably could be supplemented with things like interior painting and snow shoveling or something; individual 'handyman' people do have work around here too. It is tornadic about 2 months a year, which usually is no big deal but if you don't have a shelter just-in-case, is inconvenient, and most the houses here were built prior to an era that thought ahead about that kind of thing I guess. I've never even heard of something hitting in this town, but about 4 miles away much of the tiny town of picher was just wiped off the map several weeks ago, so it's just a matter of luck I guess.

Miami is the center for Ottawa county, so we have a courthouse, police station and jail. (Humor: the courthouse is across the street from the tiny wedding chapel which is next door to the bail bondsman--everything you need, LOL!) There's a dojo in nearby commerce for Karate and Juijitsu and there's a couple tiny music stores here in Miami, and individuals who teach lessons at various stuff. I've had zero luck finding any kind of foreign language training.

There's enough people in Miami to be able to make it a decent home I think. Be aware that although rent is cheap compared to coastal areas, the cost of gasoline, and food, and electric-water-sewer-trash-gas, is probably not too different than most other places, yet the average income for blue collar is probably pretty low. The most popular form of advertisement here is probably benches and billboards; the newspaper is pretty small.

Hope that helped. You can send email through this forum if needed.

Best,
PJ
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:08 PM
cat
 
70 posts, read 256,496 times
Reputation: 46
Default Wonderful post

On the rare chance that a couple months later the original poster is still watching this --



Wow, this is the most interesting post I have ever read..You didn't leave anything out for questions..LOL
I live in California and trying to get moved to Miami or a surrounding area but the Real Estate market is so bad here that Im not sure what I can do now..
But if and when I do get moved all of the great information you posted about Miami will be a great help..
Thank you...
Cat
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