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DeckerLC
01-24-2010, 07:46 PM
I am about to launch a lawn care business this spring in Ohio. I have been looking forward to it for a while now. Nice site, I have been browsing it for information for a couple of months, but have not had much to say.
I have most of the legal stuff taken care of, but now I am trying to gather the rest of the equipment that I will need, and start advertising, trying to get some customers for the upcoming mowing season, I know I am behind the curve, but I think that a slow start will be good for me.
Anybody from Ohio? or a nearby state? What month do you begin and end your mowing season. I have been mowing for 20+ years but not as a business, and I don't really remember what week of what month I normally start. I was thinking the first week of April and Ending the last week of October?
I have my website up, not fully developed yet. I need to get my logo put on it, should be ready this week, and put up some pictures of my family, and rethink some of the wording. Essentially redo it, but I like the template.
Any feedback would be appreciated.
http://deckerlc.com

Steve
01-24-2010, 08:11 PM
Hi Mike,

Welcome to our forum!

Good start on your website!

What got you to decide to start your lawn care business this year?

DeckerLC
01-24-2010, 09:25 PM
Thanks Steve, I am leaving my current job in April and like to work outside. I am really looking forward to it.

Steve
01-24-2010, 09:29 PM
What kinds of things have you been doing or do you plan on doing to promote your new business?

legendlawn
01-24-2010, 09:37 PM
I am going into my third season.... My first season I was a little late getting everything going and did not start until the third week in March. Last year I sent a letter out mid February letting all my clients know that we would be starting the first Monday in March weather permitting. I found that some of my customers were not ready to start that early, so this year I am going to start them in 2 waves. Some the first week of March, and the others the 3rd. week, sending them letters half way through february and the beginning of March respectively. You might not be able to start this early being further North, but regardless, you should try to get 16 mowings out of your bi weeklys and 32 mowings out of your weeklys each season, so this year my season will end for some clients the first of November, and mid November. The last couple mowings are usually leaf cleanups for alot of my clients, and some select clients also continue to get leaf service all the way up to Christmas

Steve
01-24-2010, 09:49 PM
Last year I sent a letter out mid February letting all my clients know that we would be starting the first Monday in March weather permitting. I found that some of my customers were not ready to start that early, so this year I am going to start them in 2 waves. Some the first week of March, and the others the 3rd. week, sending them letters half way through february and the beginning of March respectively.

Do you have them on contract or are they simply customers you serviced last year?

Do you wait for them to respond or do you simply show up after you send that letter and start mowing?

DeckerLC
01-24-2010, 10:03 PM
My current marketing has been all online. I have been trying to get my name out on, google, yahoo, yellow pages ect.. But I have not had a lot of success with that.
I should be getting my business cards, and flyers soon (ordered). I will start going into communities door to door in February, I'm also planning on setting up a booth at a mall during a home and hearth show in mid Feb, then another show, small business, in late March.
I live between two cities, about 25 miles apart, but I have not found any shows to attend in one of them, so I need to find a way to market that city, other than door hangers.

I just counted the weeks, April to October will give me exactly 32 weeks of mowing.
Do many people offer different mowing schedules? For instance, for me, in the months of May and June I will need to mow my own grass twice a week, but in August I'll cut back to every 10 days or sometimes 2 weeks, depending on the weather.

psparaco
01-24-2010, 10:45 PM
I myself just started my business last year around mid april. Now with 20 clients under my belt. Most of them are in a rental community and our landlord inspects our lawns every monday and if your lawn is too high according to their specs. then they send out their crews 2 days later. I bought in on that with lower rates. They are really anal with thigns. if your lawn dont need to be mowed but just trimmed. its a $60 fee. either way its $60 for mow/trim or one or the other. and i have seen the crews. their equipment doesnt fit thru our gates so they literally weedwack the backyards. a really sloppy half butt job. I bought in that and created my business and offer competitive rates which includes trimming, edging, mowing and cleanup for a flat rate. now bear in mind these are all townhomes. i can usually knock out 1 property in 15 min and i am doing this alone. if i have my fiance's help. we knock it out in 5-10 min. anyway back to the question at hand. people around here wont want thier lawns cut until demanded by the landlord, which wont be until around early to mid april. some who actually care what their lawn looks like. will want me to start mid march. i intend to start putting out door flyers(hangers) the same week the landlord passes out the letter about lawn inspections which as they stated to me on the phone would be the end of february into mid march. the community i live in currently has over 1000 residents. imagine if i had all of them omg i'd be rich. wishful thinking but one can dream.

but continuing to market ur company year round is best. like flyers in any store who allows it on their bulletin boards. then so you dont waste ur money putting out flyers too early knowing those who receive wont throw it out cause its too early. try to monitor when homedepot or lowes does their spring advertisment paper. then send out ur flyers then. thats always good too.

Steve
01-24-2010, 11:02 PM
I'm also planning on setting up a booth at a mall during a home and hearth show in mid Feb, then another show, small business, in late March.

This sounds exciting! I have never seen a home show in a mall. Have you seen it there in the past? How was it?

I bet you could meet a lot of customers there.

DeckerLC
01-25-2010, 05:36 AM
I have seen it before, not a real big show, but the people are always there. Though I doubt that many of them go there just for the show.

legendlawn
01-25-2010, 12:45 PM
My residentials are not on contract, and yes I just begin service at the date noted in the letter, but I make sure to have the letters out 2 weeks before the start date, that way the customer has a chance to respond, and let me know if they want to wait, or if something else is going on etc.

Steve
01-25-2010, 06:40 PM
Do you ever run into any problems where you will mow and then afterwards the customer will say something like 'I didnt want you to start mowing yet, so I won't be paying for that mow.'

Or something like that?

DeckerLC
01-25-2010, 07:18 PM
Updated my website with my new logo, and put a mission statement in there. I feel pretty good about it, I do want to add some personal photos in there of my equipment and my family, but I wait for greener pastures before I do that I think.
http://deckerlc.com
Any thoughts?

Steve
01-25-2010, 07:44 PM
That is very sweet! I would change the title of the page to say instead of HOME PAGE to something like Your Town Lawn Care. That would help with search engine rankings.

DeckerLC
01-25-2010, 08:06 PM
Cool tip, Done thanks!

Steve
01-26-2010, 12:16 AM
There are a lot more SEO (search engine optimization) tips on the forum here. Do a quick search for them and try applying them step by step.

Let us know what you do to tweak your site and if it is giving you positive results on your search engine rankings.

legendlawn
01-26-2010, 11:58 AM
No ive never ran into any problems like that, and I think its because I give them an oppurtunity to contact me before we start. I have had a couple of my weekly mowing customers say lets do bi-weekly for this first month after the first mow or, something like that. I've never had a problem with a customer saying they werent going to pay, because we started too early. I do give all of my clients cleanups, and I did have one lady who refused to pay for her cleanup, because she didn't request it two years ago. I didn't even charge her any more than her regular mowing. Anyways, she was a real problem of a customer, so I was glad to let her $35 dollars go to not have to deal with her anymore

Steve
01-26-2010, 06:46 PM
I do give all of my clients cleanups, and I did have one lady who refused to pay for her cleanup, because she didn't request it two years ago. I didn't even charge her any more than her regular mowing. Anyways, she was a real problem of a customer, so I was glad to let her $35 dollars go to not have to deal with her anymore

When it comes time for the cleanups, what is your view on how best to handle this? Should a call be given before hand or do you try and keep the price for all of them, the same price as the weekly mowing so it's not something that will really stand out in their bill.

legendlawn
01-27-2010, 10:31 AM
After the situation with the client I mentioned above. I put a bulletin regarding the cleanups in our startup letter last year explaining that all of our customers will receive cleanups and there may be a small extra charge for the disposal of the leaves. I also let all of them know that they are getting a discounted rate on this service. My disposal charge is ususally $15. So, for a regular mowing customer who's price is 37.50 their charge would be 52.50, but for a client who just calls me once a year for a cleanup it would be significantly more, like $105. Also, on the regular customers I put how much time we were at their property for the cleanup, and once they see how much time we spent on their leaves for the price they get that alleviates all their concerns

Steve
01-27-2010, 08:07 PM
I guess the theory behind that might be that because you are there at the customers property weekly, there is less to cleanup?

Also do you wait until all the leaves are off the trees to do your final cleanup of the year or do you at times have to come back to touch it up?

legendlawn
01-28-2010, 08:16 PM
Yea, we try to stay on our weekly-biweekly, schedule throughout the leaf season, so everybody gets several cleanups, but there are a few who request that we wait until all the leaves fall. We charge them the full cleanup price.