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racerdude711
01-09-2010, 09:11 PM
Hey, I'm 16 years old and have been in the lawn business for 4 years. Just thought I would share some of my stripes. My stripes have been a MAJOR marketing technique in the more wealthy areas. I made my own striper for my ztr by the way. Sorry, a couple of the pics were taken in the dark. I have a few other pics as well, but for some reason they won't upload.

CHEESE2009
01-10-2010, 03:10 AM
Those are really nice lines!

What's your deck height set to usually?

3"+ ?


Mulch or bag????

racerdude711
01-10-2010, 04:12 AM
My deck is usually set at 3"-3.5", sometimes 4". And the grass is always side discharged. My mower deck doesn't mulch, and I would never bag.

Steve
01-10-2010, 11:48 AM
I have a few other pics as well, but for some reason they won't upload.

Try making the images a little smaller, usually that is the reason why they won't upload.

clean_cut
01-20-2010, 09:39 PM
Hey, I'm 16 years old and have been in the lawn business for 4 years. Just thought I would share some of my stripes. My stripes have been a MAJOR marketing technique in the more wealthy areas. I made my own striper for my ztr by the way. Sorry, a couple of the pics were taken in the dark. I have a few other pics as well, but for some reason they won't upload.

Great Job man, that one with the tree is very unique, I like it.

What kind of stripe kit did you make and how?

racerdude711
01-21-2010, 09:08 AM
I used a think piece of rubber that was about 8 inches tall and 42 inches wide. I bolted it to the backside of my deck, therefore when the deck is at a regular mow height, it will drag along the grass therefore creating the stripes. Cheap way to go, cost about $35-40.

Steve
01-21-2010, 02:08 PM
They look fantastic! Did you have any more pics you wanted to show us?


My stripes have been a MAJOR marketing technique in the more wealthy areas.

Can you tell us a little about this? How have the stripes helped you with your marketing?

racerdude711
01-22-2010, 04:27 PM
I will have to figure out how to transfer my other pics off my phone to the computer to upload them.

Marketing with stripes has been a very successful way to gain me business. Last summer I had one high end account in a very nice neighborhood. This person is my neighbors dad, he owns a lot of commercial real estate. Anyway, he has a pretty good sized front yard, and is actually one of my easier lawns to mow. Have any of you found that mowing high end lawns are easier then lawns that aren't kept up well by the home owner??? They always have nice edging to mow around, and open areas. Anyway, back to what I was talking about. So this guy has a big front yard, and like I do on all of my yards, I like to make it look good. One of the main reasons is because when a lot of people receive a flyer at their door for lawn mowing and you say that your 16, I think that most people think I am going to do a crappy job just because I'm 16. So, when I mow this guys property, I try my hardest to make it look better and more professional than the actual "professionals" that a lot of people in that neighborhood higher. Yes the "professionals" have stripes, but they hurry through, and there lines aren't always straight, and aren't quite as defined. Also, they always do the normal straight lines that intersect each other. When I do this guys yard, my stripes are very define, very straight, and very different. After 1 month of mowing (4 mows) I got two more people in this neighborhood. When I asked them how they found out about me, they said they saw me mowing at that guys house, and saw the number on my truck. They love the stripes, and love the fact that it's DIFFERENT. One of the houses that I got after mowing for a month has a curving driveway and again, a really big front yard. Just mowing with the curve of the driveway makes the yard really stand out. And it's extremely easy! Little things that you can do to be different really help. So as the saying goes, "Be a leader, not a follower." It works!!!

Steve
01-22-2010, 05:03 PM
How do you come up with the designs? The one picture of the circles around the tree is amazing!

Where do these designs come from?

How many mows does it take for these designs to really start standing out?

racerdude711
01-22-2010, 05:16 PM
I usually come up with the designs off the top of my head while at the property. I also got some ideas form a book I ordered called, "Picture Perfect", by David R. Mellor. It focuses on mowing techniques for lawns, landscapes, and sports fields.

The design will usually stand out very good right after the mow. Like I said, I made my own striper and it puts down quite a bit a pressure on the grass. I personally think the stripes look better a day or two after I mowed it. One of the big things that bug me is when the striper doesn't push hard enough, and you can see the stripes the tires leave. In my pics, you can see the tire marks, but I solved that problem. Now I have a steady stripe, instead of a stripe with two skinny darker stripes on each side.

Steve
01-22-2010, 05:49 PM
How much extra time does it take to make a lawn look like this vs cutting it as basic as possible?

racerdude711
01-22-2010, 06:01 PM
I guess it depends on the size of yard, but the extra time spent (which isn't much) obviously pays off. Make yourself stand out, even if it means spending a couple minutes longer on a lawn, it will pay off in the long run.

Steve
01-22-2010, 07:17 PM
I am sure many are interested in knowing this, do you think customers will pay a premium to have their lawns looked like this or do the prices still have to be kept very competitive whether the lawn is striped or not?

racerdude711
01-24-2010, 12:21 AM
I don't think I charge much more than the other companies in my area, in fact, i may be a little cheaper. As far as people paying for the stripes, yes they will. I had one person contact me about doing a stripe pattern in their backyard for a graduation party, and another person had me do one for the 4th of july. Those two i did definitely charge more for. But the main point in the stripes is to make yourself noticeable, get more customers, do a professional job, and make more money!

Steve
01-24-2010, 04:05 PM
You do such great work! Do you have any future marketing plans to really highlight your talents? Doing such things as door hangers or flyers with pictures of your lawns? Or what is the best way to take it from here?

racerdude711
01-25-2010, 03:17 PM
Last year, when I was looking for a couple more accounts, I took a flyer and business cards to a local oil change business. I know the man who owns it, and asked him if I could advertise in his waiting room. He has a bulletin board in there where I posted the flyer, and put my business cards on the table. I got two customers this way within the first 9 days. About a week later, I took my flyer and business cards down because I was to busy and wouldn't be able to take on anymore business. (When I think back on this, I probably should have left the flyer up just to get my name out!) Anyway, I think I will do that again, as well as flyers in some neighborhoods. I contacted all of my weekly lawn clients from last summer about a week ago, and they all want me back, so that really helps. Its kind of hard trying to handle running a lawn business and school at the same time, so I have to make sure I don't take on to much work. Its also frustrating at the same time because when school gets out, I have all the time in the world for more work, but when school starts up again towards the fall, and day light gets shorter, i'm kinda outta luck. So, to make up for extra time in the summer, I advertise for delivering and putting down mulch. VERY VERY VERY EASY!!! (if you have a truck) I started doing this last summer and it's a great way to make extra money, and it's kinda nice to do something other than mow. For advertising, I usually ask my current lawn clients if they want any. Also helps if I say things like, "I noticed you could use some more mulch around your flowers and trees, would you be interested in having that done?" I can fit about 1.5 yards of mulch in my truck, so I like the small jobs, but if I do have a bigger job to do, I can count on my mulch supplier to deliver. I have developed a great relationship with the owner. I mentioned him in one of my previous posts. Also, mulch has a HUGE markup! If you buy bulk, (not bags), you can save a ton, and in return make a higher profit. I charge about $75 per yard of mulch installed. Very easy work for the most part.

Steve
01-25-2010, 05:53 PM
Have you ever thought about sending a press release to the local paper? I bet if they saw some of the lawns you have created, they would love to do a story on a high school student who creates art on lawns.

That could really help get even more people to be aware of you.

racerdude711
01-31-2010, 12:14 AM
I haven't really thought about the newspaper, but yes, that would be great for getting the word out.

I talked to my counselor on Friday about my class schedule for my senior year at high school (next year). I'm a junior now, and we were registering for classes this whole week. Anyway, I was talking to him about trying to get my schedule adjusted around so that I could get out earlier in the day, as opposed to going in later and getting out later. I think if I can get into school early, and get out early, I would have time to get some work done. When I was talking to him, I found out that he used to do some lawn care as well with a friend of his, so he was very understanding when it came to my schedule. It turns out that I only need to take 4 classes per semester, which is the minimum for any student, and I'll have met all my high school credits, and have the classes that the University looks at me having. I will most likely go to UNO. (University of Nebraska at Omaha) I think I will be a business major. Luckily for me, because I go to the largest high school in Nebraska, they offer a TON of business classes. Right now I'm in Business Law, Law Studies, International Business, and Accounting 1. Next year, I will be in Accounting 2, Business Procedures and Technologies, and Marketing. I feel that the Accounting classes and the Marketing class will be very beneficial to me.

Its getting to be that time where I'm going to be making flyers. I've been browsing the forum, and have found a lot of good ones. Not sure what I'm going to use. Also, I've been trying to figure out what neighborhoods I want to target. I then I deciding whether or not I want to take a big step and higher help.

That's an area I'm a little uncomfortable with. Obviously I know that no matter who I higher to help me, they aren't going to care about the business as much as me; just not going to happen. Now I do think that there is good help out there, it's just finding it.

Also, I have no idea how to do the whole insurance, licensing, and so on. I've heard that if I do decide to get help, I should have the person work for me as an "Independent Contractor", so that I'm personally not reliable. Do you feel that is the best way to go about things, or is there a more professional way to look at it.

Also, how to I get my business name to be MINE. I'm not quite sure how to do that, but I think I have to go down to the court house to fill out the paper work to do so. Any info on this would be great.

Also, as far as insurance goes, what is the cheapest way, and what exactly does it cover. I am extremely careful on the job, so I don't feel that I need a million dollar policy. (Although I know accidents do happen)

Mainly, I just need help getting my business "official". I'm not sure about all that sort of stuff yet, but would really appreciate help from you guys. Also, does my age put a damper on things? I'll be 17 in March. Thanks.

Steve
01-31-2010, 09:36 PM
These are all great questions and concerns.

Let me start off by saying. Your school comes first. You can't let your business get in the way of school. You have all of your life to work on your business, but remember you do not want to screw up school.

Also, I've been trying to figure out what neighborhoods I want to target. I then I deciding whether or not I want to take a big step and higher help.

Why not target the most expensive areas you can service and still do a good job, that are close enough to get too?

Also, I have no idea how to do the whole insurance, licensing, and so on.

This is easy, it's just another bill. Call around to some insurance offices, maybe Nationwide? Ask for some quotes. Licensing, I don't know what you will need in your area. When you register your business name, you should be able to find out more through the office that handles this at the county court house.

Your town may also want you to have a contractor license, you can check with the town hall.

That's an area I'm a little uncomfortable with. Obviously I know that no matter who I higher to help me, they aren't going to care about the business as much as me; just not going to happen. Now I do think that there is good help out there, it's just finding it.

This is why you will need to develop your management skills which will come over time and watch over everything. Check it when it's done and make sure it meets your standards.

I've heard that if I do decide to get help, I should have the person work for me as an "Independent Contractor", so that I'm personally not reliable. Do you feel that is the best way to go about things, or is there a more professional way to look at it.

We talk about this quite often and I bet 99.9% of the time, the way it is done, is not allowed under I.R.S. rules.

Read here. Want quick IRS trouble? Give your lawn care employee a 1099 form. (http://lawnchat.com/?p=1560)

Ultimately, if you need an employee, just follow the procedures to hire one and learn to do it all the right way.

Also, how to I get my business name to be MINE. I'm not quite sure how to do that, but I think I have to go down to the court house to fill out the paper work to do so. Any info on this would be great.
Yea go to the court hows and file to create a sole proprietorship business, or a D.B.A. ( doing business as )

Keep us posted.

racerdude711
02-04-2010, 10:54 AM
Steve-

Thanks a lot for the help. Gives me a good idea for what I need to do to become "official". I definetly agree with you on just hiring an employee the right way. I will most likely have to do it the right way further up the road, but I might as well start now. I feel that a well rounded way of doing business will end up resulting more succesful then a business that was run by cutting corners all the time. There are sooo many other ways to save money besides cutting corners on the legal stuff.

Anyway, we are supposed to get about 5 inches of snow here in Omaha tonight, so I'll be getting my snowblowers ready to go. (I'm in school right now! ;) )

Can't wait to see the sun and the grass again, the snow is getting old. Thanks again for your help.

Steve
02-04-2010, 11:29 PM
Keep us posted on how it all goes.

janetyayo812
04-03-2012, 03:00 PM
where did you get the piece of rubber?

I used a think piece of rubber that was about 8 inches tall and 42 inches wide. I bolted it to the backside of my deck, therefore when the deck is at a regular mow height, it will drag along the grass therefore creating the stripes. Cheap way to go, cost about $35-40.