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picframer
01-21-2010, 04:20 PM
I am down a staff member who does snow removal as he is away for a week so I decided to do his route today which is very close to home (big storm last night), it is a beautiful day here lots of sun which brings folks out.

One lake over from me was undeveloped until last year, it is a 10 min drive on the tractor which is fine.

I was heading home after finishing his route when I was pulled over by a taxi driver who owned a home in this new area, as many of you know as I have posted I do very few jobs close to home, no real reason other than it hasn't been my target market, anyhow it was almost noon, I had been out for 5 hours but he said he needed his driveway cleared, no problem, gave him a quote based on what he told me, took his credit card info and headed into this new area.

As I drove there I saw pile of homes that needed to be plowed, I did his home first then I thought forget the plowing, this is a new area, what an opportunity for landscaping, so as I started back I stopped at every house that needed to be plowed, many had headed to work so I left a card however many had a spouse at home that said yes and please put me on your list, I wasn't turned down by one which I found interesting.

I took the time to explain we are a neighborhood company and offer landscaping also, I was amazed at the interest and yes I had all our cards on me, if all comes through I bet I picked up an easy twenty grand in work for later in the spring.

I have to go back out as people are getting home and I now have three calls but as I was heading down our street earlier I thought of the phrase or song " I overlooked an Orchid while searching for a Rose" point being, our business expansion could be in our back yard, something to ponder.

Steve
01-21-2010, 05:00 PM
I thought of the phrase or song " I overlooked an Orchid while searching for a Rose" point being, our business expansion could be in our back yard, something to ponder.

Isn't that always the case? We tend to focus on only what we are looking for. There are so many opportunities around us that if we don't stop to consider them, we will miss them all.

I stopped at every house that needed to be plowed, many had headed to work so I left a card however many had a spouse at home that said yes and please put me on your list, I wasn't turned down by one which I found interesting.

Were you knocking on the doors and if they didn't answer, leave one of your postcards in their door?

I am guessing they could easily see your snow plow from their house so that probably let them know even before they answered their door, who it was?

picframer
01-22-2010, 05:51 AM
Isn't that always the case?

Were you knocking on the doors and if they didn't answer, leave one of your postcards in their door?

I am guessing they could easily see your snow plow from their house so that probably let them know even before they answered their door, who it was?

I think sometimes in life based on my experience we can make things lot harder at times then they have to be, I knew this new subdivision was going in, it's about 1 mile from my home, I was by a few times back in the spring teaching my daughter how to drive a standard but it never really dawned on me we should be knocking on doors, we had lots of work in the area where most of our business is and I guess I just wasn't thinking at the time to go after this area.

After being stopped by this fellow yesterday and driving to the area I noticed a few things, people were not plowed, some that were their driveways really needed to be widened, we had a few storms then rain then it turned cold so a regular truck is having a hard time with the ice and frozen snow however the tractors play with this stuff, they might look small but the power they have and traction is crazy, they even shock me at times, I sometimes tell people they may be a small looking tractor but they have a big tractor attitude and they never let me down, anyhow some people were out shoveling and I could tell from the expression on their face some were not enjoying the task, after finishing this new client, I just stopped at pretty much every driveway on my way back, all but one that was home said yes please plow me out so when I was done and collecting payment I went on to explain what our company does, some homes I could see trees that needed to be cut and chipped so I put the sales hat in full gear, I was amazed at how receptive people were. For people not home I have that sticky tack stuff you get at the dollar store, I stuck our post card for snow removal on their door.

I honestly believe some people saw me driving by on my way to the new customer and decided or thought I had to drive back so some came out to stop me and those that were inside knew why I was knocking on the door as I drove the tractor right in their driveway through the deep snow.

It was a fun day, operating costs are really low, I can plow 37 driveways on one tank of diesel, that is about $30.00 in expense plus my time.

I doubt I will pick up any mowing but spraying, excavation and tree work, no question.

We were hit by a Hurricane in 2003, we have dense woods but the majority is what we call Black Spruce, it does not have a deep root system and our area was in this storms direct path, millions of dollars in damage, it flattened my back yard for the most part, 2+ acres of trees came down, anyhow this new area, they only cut trees they had to in order to build these homes/driveways so picture a new house worth $350,000+ with dozens of trees down along your driveway, front and back yard.

I know once we start and people/neighbours see our equipment and work, we will be there for a long time which is great as the price of fuel here is crazy at the moment so I have to increase my float fees so it's going to be expensive for transportation. So the closer to home the better.

Steve
01-22-2010, 04:45 PM
I think sometimes in life based on my experience we can make things lot harder at times then they have to be

Very true and I think that is why it's always good to bounce ideas off of others because each one of us can get tunnel vision towards the point we think is initially right.

I doubt I will pick up any mowing but spraying, excavation and tree work, no question.

This has to be one of your great keys to success. When a business owner only offers one service, they really limit themselves. By offering more services, you can pick up customers at times when they may not need one of your services but may need another.

I have to increase my float fees so it's going to be expensive for transportation. So the closer to home the better.

If you have a bunch of jobs in the same area on one day, how do you figure who pays the float fee or is it spread out among all the customers of the day?

lawncrafter56
01-22-2010, 06:03 PM
Great post Andy. I hope you grow your company 10 fold next year. best wishes, wolfy

FloridaBoy
01-22-2010, 10:48 PM
It sounds like you didn't have any problems, but have you ever run into a homeowner complaining about solicitation.

Down here in florida every neighborhood is a HOA's and has signs stating no soliciting, some or most of homeowners will let you know that.

That brings up another question, one of my comercial clients, an HOA, the homeowners have actually mentioned to me, we thought your company was to big to do my yard.

That sucks, atleast ask me, i will give a quote for just about anything, you may not except it, bbut i will sure give you one.

Steve
01-22-2010, 10:56 PM
That brings up another question, one of my comercial clients, an HOA, the homeowners have actually mentioned to me, we thought your company was to big to do my yard.

Did you ask them why they thought that?

How did you handle that?

FloridaBoy
01-22-2010, 11:48 PM
Did you ask them why they thought that?
How did you handle that?

Yes i did, they commented that seeing me with more than just one mower, and handeling alot of the neighborhoods needs beyond lawn maint. ( ex. Tree work, landscaping, pressure cleaning, concrete work ), that i didnt have time or didnt mess with residential yards.


Told them that i provide services from $35 a month mobile home lot that takes me about 10 min. to commercial work that takes 8 hours.

I am not cheap, and i am not expensive, just ask me and spread the word.

picframer
01-23-2010, 06:27 AM
If you have a bunch of jobs in the same area on one day, how do you figure who pays the float fee or is it spread out among all the customers of the day?

Generally speaking float fees should be equal to the one hour rate for the machine however I wave them in certain cases. Lets say I am doing an excavation job and you live across the street and want a few mocks removed from your lawn or stumps etc. In this case I would not charge you a float fee and I try to line up jobs that are close to each other so that we can eliminate any additional charges.

picframer
01-23-2010, 06:28 AM
It sounds like you didn't have any problems, but have you ever run into a homeowner complaining about solicitation.

Down here in florida every neighborhood is a HOA's and has signs stating no soliciting, some or most of homeowners will let you know that.

That brings up another question, one of my comercial clients, an HOA, the homeowners have actually mentioned to me, we thought your company was to big to do my yard.

That sucks, atleast ask me, i will give a quote for just about anything, you may not except it, bbut i will sure give you one.

What I do may not work in many areas, what I have going for me is no one to the best of my knowledge or feedback is doing it.

Steve
01-23-2010, 05:22 PM
Generally speaking float fees should be equal to the one hour rate for the machine however I wave them in certain cases. Lets say I am doing an excavation job and you live across the street and want a few mocks removed from your lawn or stumps etc. In this case I would not charge you a float fee and I try to line up jobs that are close to each other so that we can eliminate any additional charges.

So I guess it's not a good idea to split the float fee among the two customers then? It's just better to waive it when you have two customers nearby?

picframer
01-24-2010, 06:53 AM
So I guess it's not a good idea to split the float fee among the two customers then? It's just better to waive it when you have two customers nearby?

Yes, because in short I never know that the neighbour will call us over and i have to cover my expenses.

Steve
01-24-2010, 05:10 PM
That makes sense.

Any plans on getting a cab for your tractor so you don't have to be out in the elements while plowing? Or is it just not worth it?