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DixieDriver
11-03-2009, 08:16 PM
Hey guys my name is dylan richards im 16 and this spring is when my business will officially start. i have a 50" Dixie chopper classic that ill be using for my "larger" yards or big businesses and all the fixings to go. I have a co-worker that works with me and goes to school with me also. were both very involved in sports so mowing during the week is limited to usually 1-2 yards per day and all day on the weekends. what im really getting at is do yall have any tips or advice on how to get yards and commercial businesses.

Thanks!

Dylan Richards

Steve
11-04-2009, 06:53 AM
Hi Dylan,

Welcome to our forum!

what im really getting at is do yall have any tips or advice on how to get yards and commercial businesses

As far as the commercial properties, you may need to present them with proof of 2 million dollar liability insurance. If you don't have that, you may prefer to stick with residential accounts now.

Have you made up business cards yet?

Do you hand them out?

What have you been doing so far to get the customers you already have?

arthur712
11-04-2009, 11:16 AM
Hey guys my name is dylan richards im 16 and this spring is when my business will officially start. i have a 50" Dixie chopper classic that ill be using for my "larger" yards or big businesses and all the fixings to go. I have a co-worker that works with me and goes to school with me also. were both very involved in sports so mowing during the week is limited to usually 1-2 yards per day and all day on the weekends. what im really getting at is do yall have any tips or advice on how to get yards and commercial businesses.

Thanks!

Dylan Richards


Welcome to the Forum Dylan!

It is great to see at 16 you are starting your own business.

Keep it up!

FINISH SCHOOL!!!! LOL

jasonw
11-04-2009, 11:26 AM
Yes yes yes #1 is school, then you can pay someone ells to figure out how to get your accounts. My best luck so far is running an add in the local paper. It comes out only once a week and cost me about $30 for the month. Your first yard should more than cover your advertising this way. I am not sure what your transportation situation is like but I am waiting on a quote for decals for my truck. I called in some favors and pulled some strings so I expect each 6X18 decal to only cost me about $20. Make up business cards and start handing them out. I have been known to leave an obscured card around on someones desk or a shelf at a store, you would be suprized at how someone sees your card somewhere and thinks at that moment they need a lawn person. I have been a business owner in my community for years so I am very much in cahoots with the other businesses in the area. I have dropped of cards that sit by cash registers and counters all over the place. You cant spend a day in the area just about without seeing the Foot Hill Lawn Care name somewhere. That being said my business is dead now, none of these things that I am or have been doing are helping and we are almost begging for business "not literally"

DixieDriver
11-04-2009, 03:41 PM
Well I've always known that Dixie is the best lawn mower and I'm definatly finishing school I do have some 4x6 cards made up I've been just handing them out where I get a new yard but sofar no bites I guess it's just getting thy time of year where it's time to make up Christmas light signs and wait until the grass grows.

Steve
11-04-2009, 05:15 PM
I guess it's just getting thy time of year where it's time to make up Christmas light signs

Can you tell us a little more about this?

DixieDriver
11-04-2009, 06:53 PM
well usually there is an off season where i live in the winter months as im sure it is the same for most of you where the grass only needs a cut every month or so.. when this happens i start putting up christmas lights in the "off season". hope that helps

Steve
11-05-2009, 06:36 AM
How do you promote that service? Do you put signs out in front of the houses you dress up with holiday lighting?

DixieDriver
11-05-2009, 07:00 PM
well you make cards or signs and hand them out and most people dont like getting up on a ladder or on the roof so they call me i charge them its all good :D

Steve
11-06-2009, 09:04 AM
That is great! Were you able to perform decoration services last year? Do you have any pictures of what you created?

DixieDriver
11-07-2009, 12:53 AM
nope i only did mine and some relatives last year so this year im venturing out

Steve
11-07-2009, 11:40 AM
That is great though! It gave you a chance to experiment and see how long it would take to perform different types of decorations!

Did you take pictures of the properties after you decorated them? You could use those pictures to help sell the service to other customers.

racerdude711
01-08-2010, 04:27 AM
Hey guys my name is dylan richards im 16 and this spring is when my business will officially start. i have a 50" Dixie chopper classic that ill be using for my "larger" yards or big businesses and all the fixings to go. I have a co-worker that works with me and goes to school with me also. were both very involved in sports so mowing during the week is limited to usually 1-2 yards per day and all day on the weekends. what im really getting at is do yall have any tips or advice on how to get yards and commercial businesses.

Thanks!

Dylan Richards


I'm 16 as well and started mowing for people in my neighborhood when I was 12.

Some words of advice from me would be to make sure you don't bite off more than you can chew.

You say that you are involved in sports, I can tell you straight up that doing 1-2 yards a day, plus school, plus practice is not manageable. You have to keep in mind that you can't mow in the rain, things come up, and pretty soon you have to play catch up and run out of time with everything else you are involved in. Also, trying to do the majority of your mowing on the weekends can lead to bad news. If it rains all weekend, then what? Not only do you have 1-2 yards scheduled during the week, but now you also have to juggle all the lawns you would usually do on the weekend.

You also said you were going to be working with a friend. I can say from experience that this can be both a good and bad idea. The good is that you can usually get things done faster. The bad is that is dramatically cuts into your income. Now I don't know if you are considering yourself to be the "head guy" or not, but if you guys are "working together as a team" and no one is "in charge", you will most likely end up splitting the pay. Mow a lawn for $30, takes you 45 minutes to do when you add in the time it takes to load and unload equipment as well as get there. In the end, your getting $15. Now you have to figure out how much it cost you to mow that yard. Gas to get there, gas in equipment, and putting a little aside in case of equipment repairs. You have basically walked away with no income. I have learned that the hard way.

As far as commercial accounts- yes they look like a good thing to get involved with, but at our age, its very very very costly. The big cost there is INSURANCE! I will also say that in the research that I have done, you can potentially make more money doing residential.

Also, in order to succeed in doing lawn care, you HAVE to like it. If you are dreading the next lawn you have to mow, you will never make it in this business.

I can also say that starting out with a zero turn is NOT the best idea. I can say this from experience. When I was 12, just starting out, I was using my parents 42" zero turn mower. A zero turn mower WILL spoil you, and you will never want to use a walk behind mower again in your life. Well, there will come times when you need a walk behind, and once you have been on a zero for a while, it becomes a pain to use a walk behind.

I don't want to seem like a downer or anything, I'm just giving you the truth in hopes that it will help you. I do believe that you can succeed in the lawn business at 16, because I am a walking example. When I say succeed, I am not trying to brag, just saying that you can do it.

Just remember to work hard, and never settle for anything less than perfect work. Also another VERY important thing that I have learned. DO NOT BE SCARED TO CHARGE PEOPLE!!!!! There are way to many times that I regret not charging enough to do a job. There is not a worse feeling. You work hard, do a good job, and not getting what you deserved.

Now a little about me.

I'm 16, started mowing for my handicapped neighbor when I was 12. Initially, I was motivated by the money, but after a couple years went by, and I picked up a few more clients around the neighborhood, I learned that I also very much enjoyed doing lawn work. At 15 I decided that the next year, (when I was 16) that I wanted to expand, especially now that I would be able to drive. So the whole summer that I mowed when I was 15, I saved almost every dollar I made. By the way, I was mowing for 6 people at the time. So, when I turned 16, I was able to get a truck, trailer, already had the zero turn and a small 21" mower and trimmer, and I bought a blower. I advertised with flyers in neighborhoods that had small yards because I found that small yards yield a higher profit. (although they are a pain sometimes) I got 5 customer right off the bat, which added to my 6 I already had from the previous year gave me a total of 11 yards a week. I was doing most of my mowing on the weekends, do to hockey. I played travel hockey during the winter, and was in summer hockey during the summer. Also, on top of that, I raced Mini Sprints on the weekends. I found out very quickly that doing all of that and mowing most lawns on the weekends was not working. I made the decision to quit hockey all together. I did like the sport, and had played for 9 years, but found myself to enjoy doing "business stuff" way more. So now that hockey was out of the way, I was able to spread out the lawns during the week days, and not just the weekend. During that year, I picked up another 4 clients through word of mouth. So I had 15 clients by the end of the year. I have been doing snow removal this winter, and with all the snow we have had, I have made more than I projected I would, and winter has just began. I like in Nebraska, and we have been getting hammered. For this upcoming spring, I hope to get about 7-8 more weekly customers and possibly more. If I do end up getting more, I will most likely get insured and higher help. I also want to focus doing more mulch jobs in the spring as well because the mark up on it provides a very good profit.

If you have any questions or comments for me just ask. I love to talk business and lawn care, so hit me up. I hope that some of my advice will help you.

Steve
01-08-2010, 01:49 PM
Welcome to our forum!

You have basically walked away with no income. I have learned that the hard way.

What way do you advise handling this situation?

racerdude711
01-09-2010, 12:03 AM
Well, like I said, you have to be sure that you charge enough. Not charging enough can be a killer. Also, when working with someone else, I would definitely recommend trying to get in the position where YOU are running the majority of the business, and not working as a team. If you are running the business, and you hire help, I personally pay my help 35% of what I make after expenses.

Also, another quick tip, if the person you plan to do business with is a good friend, I would recommend not doing so. It's never a good idea to do business with friends, unless you are in charge, and your friend realizes that, and realizes you call the shots. Your help needs to know where they stand in the business.

Steve
01-09-2010, 03:24 AM
Are there a lot of fellow teens in your area that run their own businesses while in HS or are you one of a few?

What do you feel got you to start a business when so many other teens don't even consider it?

racerdude711
01-09-2010, 09:50 PM
I can think of two kids that I am familiar with that run their own lawn services as well. They are both seniors at my school. I go to a very large high school, (largest in Nebraska, with 2,600 students) so there's only 3 of us out of 2,600 that do this.

I think what really got me into the business was the money. Like I said, I started when I was 12 with just one lawn, mowing it for $20 a week. When your 12, $20 a week seems pretty good. By the way, I still mow for that person after 4 years. Although I love the money, I know that I would not have lasted long if I didn't love lawn care, and owning and operating a business. I think most kids just aren't interested in lawn work, and have many other things to do such as sports. Also, I will honestly say, I can think of many friends of mine that I feel would just be to lazy to do this kind of work. I have found that it is the little things you can do for people that make a big difference in what your clients think of you.

Steve
01-10-2010, 12:46 PM
What kind of plans do you have for the future with this business or other businesses you may start?

racerdude711
01-11-2010, 12:09 AM
For the future, I would definitely like to hire an employee or two, and looking even further than that, get to the point where I am not doing as much of the manual labor. Although I know you can't just sit back and let people do the work for you, and expect your business to stay running smooth and satisfying customers. Just doesn't work like that.

As for my personal future, I will go to college, and then we'll see what the lawn business looks like then. If things are going well, then obviously I'll probably keep doing that for a while, and if things are not great, then I might find something else. I'm going to go to college to get a degree in Business, and will definitely start doing real estate investing after I graduate. That is something I know I will do, and have always wanted to do. My dad has a couple rental houses that he has as a side income, and I think I would really enjoy doing that as a full time job.

Steve
01-11-2010, 03:55 PM
For the future, I would definitely like to hire an employee or two, and looking even further than that, get to the point where I am not doing as much of the manual labor. Although I know you can't just sit back and let people do the work for you, and expect your business to stay running smooth and satisfying customers. Just doesn't work like that.

That is really insightful and I think most people don't realize this especially early on. Where do you feel you picked this up so that you knew that?

racerdude711
01-11-2010, 10:49 PM
I think I probably picked up on this due to the very high interest I have in running my own business. I have done a TON of research. Everything from types of grass, weeds, some chemicals, shrubs, trees, flowers, ect. I feel that in order to have a successful business, you need to know your stuff. If I am running a lawn service, it only makes sense that I not only know how to run a lawn mower, but that I also know about generic subjects that go hand in hand with a lawn service. Put it this way, if your customer comes out to ask you a question about a weed, and you had know idea what it is, you are giving off the impression that you really aren't very professional.

As for the real business part of it, I think I have learned a ton off of this forum, and many other websites as well. Also, the local nursery that is my supplier for plants, mulch, rock, ect., is also a great way for me to learn business. I was able to meet the owner this last spring. He is a very good guy, even gave me his personal cell phone number. He started just like I am, mowing grass. He now runs a multi-million dollar nursery. The one thing I notice about him is that he is a very HARD WORKER. There is no one else associated with that company that works nearly as hard as he does. Although he is not out there digging the holes and putting the trees in the ground, he is going from job to job, talking with clients, managing his crews, doing paper-work and so on. When I drive by his nursery on Sundays, even though they are not open, I see his truck parked there. He takes pride in what he does, which is probably why he is one of the biggest nursery's in the city. He works hard, and it's paying off for him. There is no better way to handle business if you ask me. As Trump would say, "The Harder I Work, The Luckier I Get." I live by that quote everyday.

Steve
01-12-2010, 01:13 PM
My dad has a couple rental houses that he has as a side income, and I think I would really enjoy doing that as a full time job.

What have you thought about the rental property business? Does your dad teach you a lot about it? Are you able to apply some of those business lessons to your lawn care business?

racerdude711
01-21-2010, 10:49 AM
One thing I have learned working with my dad on rentals is that you have to set time frames and have deadlines. The work just doesn't get done fast enough otherwise. My dad only has two rentals right now, and it took way to long to get them ready to be rented if you ask me. For one, we were doing all the work on the weekends, and all the work ourselves. But, because we didn't set deadlines, it took us longer than it should.

This has all helped me in the lawn care business mainly when it comes to scheduling. I have a months schedule I work by. Without it I would be lost. It's all to easy to mow five lawns in a day, and then forget to go send out an invoice to a client, or collect money.

Steve
01-21-2010, 04:47 PM
My dad only has two rentals right now

Do you have a bigger plan with your rentals? Would you like to get more of them or sell them and start purchasing apartment buildings? Is there a bigger plan?

racerdude711
01-22-2010, 05:03 PM
As far as rental properties go for my dad, he probably isn't looking for anymore right now just for the fact that he doesn't have the money right now. For my future I do want to get started by purchasing and selling in a short period of time. I think if you can "flip" about 5 houses in your first year, and sell all of them, that will provide a good financial foundation to start buying houses to rent out. When the market is good, and you are renting out your properties, you are not only bring in rent every month, but your property is also going up in value.

For example, you buy a house for $70,000. Put $10,000 into renovations. Now you have $80,000 invested in the property. Although you only have $80,000 invested, because you renovated the property, it will be worth more, so we'll say its now worth $100,000. Ideally, you should rent the property for 1% of the assessed value of the home. So, you would charge $1,000 for rent. (sometimes $950 will work better, even though its $50 less, but $950 seems a lot less to potential renters) So if your renting for $1,000 a month, you will accumulate $12,000 in one year on that property. Also, if the market is where it should be, your property also went up in value. So if you can get started, I would say it's a good move. Now keep in mind, I didn't include a loan payment, bills, and other things that would apply, but you get the point. There is money to be made. That was just a VERY VERY VERY SIMPLE and to the point look at what I'm talking about.

Steve
01-22-2010, 05:56 PM
Great insights! This is opening everyone here to another world where they could find another monthly revenue source.