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cody_lick
01-31-2010, 01:53 PM
I am going on my second year of cutting grass. I only do residential. I am 15 so i cant drive yet but i want to expand and make more cash.(who doesnt) My problem is i dont no how i should go about expanding with out being able to drive. Any help on how i should do this would be great


Cody

psparaco
01-31-2010, 08:02 PM
I was in the same boat when I was your age. I started my own lawn care business then with a buddy of mine. He used his mower and i used mine. We split the profits down the middle. I used to use my little red radio flyer wagon to transport 200 foot of electric cord, a trimmer, a blower and hedge trimmer. I also rigged a skateboard to suport a mower to allow me to haul the mower on it so i could save the mower wheels from excess wear from pushing it around from client to client. the skateboard has a piece of wood nailed to it that was the length and width of the mower minus the wheels which hung over the sides. After the first year, my friend did not continue since he moved to another state. Then i did the business alone for the next 5 years. all toll I think i had 12 customers from year to year. I never tried to expand due to being under 16. After i got my license i still didnt drive since most of the properties were within walking distance of each other and my mom wouldnt let me use the car cause she always said she might need it. I think i was making like 180 a week. Most lawns i did this day in age i charge double than what i did then. So as you can see. I was in the same boat you were kinda.

this day in age, I have only been in business a year and have about 20 clients. and looking to triple my customer base through massive door to door flyers. But without a car or truck. it makes it very difficult to expand. good luck. hope i gave ya some ideas.

Steve
02-01-2010, 12:51 AM
My problem is i dont no how i should go about expanding with out being able to drive. Any help on how i should do this would be great

Are you marketing to all your neighbors within walking distance? What have you been doing to attract them so far?

cody_lick
02-01-2010, 03:02 PM
Well my bro n his buddy did it for a year.n stopped. So I have the one guy that still wanted it done n I got 2 myself due to someone moving out of 2 houses so I got those. In conclusion I didn't have to do anything. I am thinking of making flyers up to give to some neighbors who I dont have. I have a total of 3 houses not counting mine. This is typed on cell phone so any mistakes Im sorry

Steve
02-01-2010, 11:21 PM
It sounds like you are doing great so far! You have to give yourself a lot of credit for getting into the game. Now just keep getting the word out. Business cards, flyers, get some tshirts too. Let everyone know what you are up to.

cody_lick
02-02-2010, 11:09 AM
I will Def do that. Still would like more advice anything at all woukd be awesome

CHEESE2009
02-02-2010, 11:26 AM
Getting your license is the easy part, getting a vehicle is the hard part.

Running a business without either of them, will drive you insane.

Though it is GREAT because now you have a goal.

I suppose you are still in school? Which probably leaves you only the weekend to cut lawns.

So studying & all that boring stuff, you have about 18 hours to run your business.

What can you get done in 18 hours? 9 hours (8-5) Saturday & the same on Sunday.

If I get up at 7AM, I make sure to get on my first lawn by 8AM.

I usually take around 30 minutes per lawn give or take, add the fact you are using an electric mower & have to haul around wire +30 minutes minimum (wires, unloading, loading) w/o trimming & blowing. So maybe an hour to an hour & 20 minutes per lawn.

Now I am not able to figure out how many lawns you can do per day, because I do not know your route. Without a vehicle, getting to each lawn might take 10 minutes or more. You could get maximum 8 lawns done during the day with a tight route.

If you have a vehicle, & are like me (I consider most stop signs fake) & with a commercial mower, you could manage 17-18 lawns a day. Though I am too lazy to manage 18 lawns a day & like to finish working at 2-3pm, so I only manage 15 lawns a day.


Here is an idea, you will be more efficient with a gas mower, though you'd have to pay for gas, which is not a real problem because the extra work you do you will just be making more of a profit.

Now you can get a great commercial grade mower for $1,500.00 & only spend $7.00 a day on gas.

So to make your business worth it all, you have to make more than $1,500.00, which to me is 3 1/2 customers for the entire season.

#####

To get your license do you have to be 15 or 16 years old? I don't remember.

I suggest you get into the habit of studying for your test. I wouldn't worry about taking lessons, just another way to throw away money.

Go purchase the latest driving study book & glue yourself to it every night.

I believe in Ontario you take a written multiple choice test & if you pass, an appointment is made for your driving exam.

In Montreal, it's a computerized multiple choice test with goofy pictures. If you pass your appointment is booked for a driving exam.

The tests are really simple, in fact they are so simple you might get it wrong.

On this site http://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/driver_licence/index.php

if you can find it by clicking ROAD SAFETY, & under "Online Services SAAQclic"

Click on, "Check your knowledge online" or "Road Safety Quiz"

there is the exact test I had to take & you can practice with it. The real test is very similar regardless of what they say. (For Montreal)

Wherever you are, laws & such may be different... Especially if you are in England & drive like a mailman (steering wheel on the right) lol.

The reason I believe you should focus on getting your license above all, is because it is just THAT important. Having a license enables you endless opportunity to expand your business. Without it, you will not be able to expand & be kicking yourself for not getting it earlier.

In later time, the best purchase you can make would be in a truck. Forget about cars. Trucks = even more opportunity & the ability to grow, you can get so much space, 6-8 ft bed for equipment, not even including a trailer!

And don't forget about the drive type, you want a vehicle that can perform well in winter so you can get more business doing snow removal.

Plan for the future. We all want stability, plan for a future wife, kids, & house. Total it all up & figure out how much you have to do to get there.

If you have a woman in your life already, forget it. Your money is as good as gone. GOOD LUCK! :p

cody_lick
02-03-2010, 09:11 AM
Thanks long detailed plan haha. I can do my residential in us with a push mower. This august when I turn 16 I m going for permit here I have to be on it for 6 months. N the girl part well its confusing rite now idk If we r together or not

CHEESE2009
02-04-2010, 04:49 AM
N the girl part well its confusing rite now idk If we r together or not

If she makes you happy, never answer the phone when she calls & say, "I'm mowing!" & hangup. Girls don't like that. lol.

If you get your permit, run your own business & do physical labor, you are 100 steps ahead of the other guys.

Lawn service separates the boys from the men.


If you need any relationship advice, I recommend talking to "Just In Time" on the forum. :D

StartALawnCareBusiness
02-06-2010, 12:34 PM
You can expand without increasing your customer count by offering additional services to your existing customers.

Travel time is one of the most draining activities of your lawn care business...especially since you are not yet driving. Since you are already visiting your existing customers, offering additional services will be pure profit without additional travel time.

Here's an example: We getting close to springtime. Start asking your customers if they need their flowerbeds weeded and remulched. If they agree to mulching, next time your mom is at a retail store, ask her to pickup a few bags of mulch that you can sell to your customers with a remulching service. Additional services to existing customers is a great way to exand without the need to add customers to your roster.

Good luck:
Keith

CHEESE2009
02-06-2010, 01:19 PM
You can expand without increasing your customer count by offering additional services to your existing customers.

I totally agree with you Keith! Up-sells can be worth triple what the customer is paying for lawn maintenance.

If they agree to mulching, next time your mom is at a retail store, ask her to pickup a few bags of mulch that you can sell to your customers with a remulching service. Additional services to existing customers is a great way to exand without the need to add customers to your roster.

The reason I started my business was so I wouldn't have to rely on anybody but myself, the better I can do myself, the more I expect in the people trying to help me.

I agree with Keith that you could ask your mother to do the odd errand, she should be PROUD enough to help you out. Fact is, if you rely on her & she lets you down you are screwed. If your company grows because you are relying on someone else to always be willing to help you out, there is a higher chance of failure.

Imagine the next argument, your mother could simply shatter your dreams & quit assisting you. The point is, try to be as independent as possible.

You never want to rely on someone, because then they become more of a boss than yourself. What they give, can be taken away.

When I was flooded with work, even with my license & truck, I had to ask my mother for assistance to do the odd errand WITH PAY.

It kinda caught on & she did help me, I appreciated it a lot. Though every now & then, her not being able to be around due to last minute things she had to get done, it really messed me up.

I wanted to book all of my work together one day because I was certain my mother would help, she said she was free the entire day & wouldn't mind at all $10.00/hr + gas, though suddenly she was not able to. This really sucked & was embarrassing for me.

Not only did my day get screwed, my worker was waiting for materials at a job site. Nothing came, & I lost money.


I have a bad habit of relying on family, & gaining nothing from it but stress.

If they don't keep their word, it's like a shock wave that effects your entire month.

Not all parents are the same, but my advice is to do what YOU can do, & do alone. This will teach you a lot of things & help you become a stronger person.

Cleaning gutters is a simple task. Tell your customers you can do it if they provide the ladder, & are willing to keep the bag of debris with them.

All you need is a pair of rubber gloves, a screwdriver, & a blower.. Sometimes a rake is necessary.

cody_lick
02-08-2010, 11:31 AM
Thanks for everything keep It coming. My Town is supposed to get hit with 6 to 12 of snow tues into wed

Steve
02-09-2010, 04:43 AM
Thanks for everything keep It coming. My Town is supposed to get hit with 6 to 12 of snow tues into wed

Are you gonna be out there shoveling?

cody_lick
02-10-2010, 10:01 AM
Not the 12 18 they callin fir now...... snow blower

racerdude711
02-10-2010, 11:36 AM
Cody-

I started out just like you. I'm 16 now, and have been mowing for 4 years. I started mowing for my handicapped neighbor when I was 12, mainly for the money. Over the next two years I picked up a couple more accounts. I also found that not only was I doing it for the money, but I also enjoyed mowing to some degree. Also, I enjoyed working for myself, and in some ways, having my "own business".

Since I wasn't 16 yet, I was stuck with just the lawns that were close enough to get too. What I did, was created a good relationship with the people, and now that my business has grown, I can go to them for advice on where I need to improve, ask them what I should do differently, get their opinion on a flyer to hand out, and so on. I feel that is the biggest advantage to having clients close to home. I don't know how many times I have made a flyer, asked the clients that I have created a good relationship with about what they thought about the flyer. They have helped a ton. One of the biggest things you can do when making a flyer is to get as many opinions on it as possible. Even if you think it is perfect, you will find someone that has a suggestion. Anyway, do a good job on your clients yards that you have now, develop a good relationship with them, and I'm sure you will be mowing for them for a long time.

Also, with all the snow your getting, just an easy way to pick up more business is to find people out shoveling, approach the house with your snowblower, and tell them you'll finish it for $(how ever much you charge)$. I used to use an ATV with a plow to do snow, and would drive it around the neighborhood to pick up customers.

As for growing your business, you're kinda stuck right now. When you turn 16 and get your license, doors open up dramatically. I went from about 5 accounts when I was 15, to 14 accounts when I was 16, and picked up two more that year, for a total of 16 lawns a week to mow.

Anymore questions you've got, just hit me up. There's not to many young people on this forum (haha, i mean like teenagers) so it's kinda cool to talk to someone my age with the same interest.

ProCut TM
02-10-2010, 11:48 AM
I saw a guy in my old neighborhood with weedeater strapped to his bike pulling a push mower behind him. you could expand your coverage area this way.

also when I was your age a friend and I used his riding mower and had a small trailer to tote all our other equipment and supplies.

Steve
02-10-2010, 05:38 PM
I can go to them for advice on where I need to improve, ask them what I should do differently, get their opinion on a flyer to hand out, and so on.

What kinds of advice have you found they offered you? And what did you do with that advice?

racerdude711
02-11-2010, 08:17 AM
They have given me advice on my flyers a lot. Every time I make one, I go to them to see what they think. Sometimes it's a grammar error, sometimes they recommend something I should add, or something that needs to be taken out. Also, one of my customers was the one that said I should consider billing people every month, or two weeks, instead of waiting for payment on the spot. Works well so far, I just dread the day when I have a customer that can't, or doesn't want to pay the bill for the month. But, most of all, they have supported me and business. If they see that I've had a hard day, and I'm still really busy, they will tell me not to worry about mowing their yard that day, and to come back when it works better for me. These customers are great to have, but you have to build up that relationship with them. This may take a good year or so. I also do a lot of "favors" (aka, free stuff) for these customers, and the smallest things can really make a difference. Such as, if you their mowing, and the newspaper is on the driveway, I'll go bring it to their door. Just little stuff like that can make a world of difference.

Steve
02-11-2010, 12:51 PM
Oh that is really interesting! Good job!