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Dugann
02-08-2010, 07:41 PM
Hello,
My name is Randall I own Dugan Lawn care & Landscaping LLC, here in Mena Arkansas. We are a lawn care and landscaping company here in Western Arkansas. We have 80 residential properties, 25 commercial properties, and do all of the lawn care for the US Forest service in this ranger district. Lawn care maintenance is what we are best know for, however we are getting more and more into the landscape maintenance and construction. We run three, two man crews one landscape maintenance, and what I call spin off jobs (sales from existing customers, and one time an done jobs), and 2 crews for lawn care maintenance. When we do our USFS obligation all crews come together and complete it. I am looking forward to getting to know people here and sharing information and war stories.

Randall

Steve
02-09-2010, 05:18 AM
Hi Randall,

Welcome to our forum!

You sound like you are doing great! If you were to sit down and talk with a new start up lawn care business owner, what 5 pieces of advice would you suggest that you see so many just mess up at or fail on. Why do so many businesses fail?

Dugann
02-11-2010, 06:29 AM
Thank you Steve for the welcome aboard reply. I love the site, you have put together a site with a world of information and helpful resources.

To answer your question If I was to sit down with a new lawn care business owner what 5 pieces of advice that I would suggest that I see so many just mess up or fail at, and why do I think so many business fail. I would say that:

1) Lack of commitment. At the start of every mowing season you see so many people with trailers, and mowers in the back of their truck. So many hopeful lawn care business especially young people. As the spring/summer goes on you see less and less of them. By the end of the mowing season only the committed are left standing, and even fewer make it to the start of the next season. If you are going to start it, then be committed and build it.

2) Lack of preparation. There is a lot of work that goes into running an effective business. I spend hours of work preparing every year. Preparing for the coming season months before the grass is even green and our mowers get started. You have to build your foundation and prepare. Develop a plan, know where your going, and at least a idea on how you might get there.

3) No structure. Too many start up LCO's don't have structure, they don't take the time to get an accounting system in place, they don't get permits, don't research laws and ordinances, they don't set up accounts, they don't schedule right, they don't get the proper insurance/coverage, and most of all they work when they feel like it. No lawns to mow today, well I'll take off. Instead of no lawns to mow today, well I'll go find one to mow. No structure not only means IMO, setting up you business to have structure but you must have structure your self as a business owner.

4) I want it all right now attitude. Too many new start up LCO's want the big trailer, new truck, new ZTR mowers, the back pack blowers, the big walk behinds. They over spend, get huge loans, put them self in a hole to start out with, and then more time then not fail. Start out slow, used equipment, older truck, older trailer, etc, etc is just fine. Get the jobs, do the jobs, get paid for the jobs, save from the jobs, and buy as you can when you can to reinvest back into your company. You don't have to have it all right now.

5) Professionalism. New equipment, uniforms, all the prep work, all the office management skills, and all they advertising dollars you want to spend will not help you be successful if you don't conduct your self and business in a professional manner. Be polite, be on time, be helpful, call people back, be clean/neat, and most of all conduct your self in a professional manner. Image and reputation is everything. A reputation takes years to build and 1 day to tear it down. If you all ways conduct your self in a professional manner you will do well IMO.

Why do so many business fail, well I feel like it internal things mainly office management things leads to many business fail. Lack of accounting and paperwork system, not taking care of your accounting and paperwork. Not keeping up with and paying your bills. Not keeping good records, not keeping up with expenses. Office management is a must. Some get so wrapped up in doing the jobs, but put off doing the paper work to keep up with everything. I can remember at first mowing all day till dark, coming home and doing the paper work till I went to bed. There was years of that. Even though now I don't do as much mowing my self, it is still the paper work that keeps me up at night long after the mowing crews go home. Do YOUR paper work and keep up with your records. I know this was a long reply but it just the way I see it.

Steve
02-11-2010, 09:50 AM
Randall,

That is very insightful!

Lack of commitment. At the start of every mowing season you see so many people with trailers, and mowers in the back of their truck. So many hopeful lawn care business especially young people. As the spring/summer goes on you see less and less of them. By the end of the mowing season only the committed are left standing, and even fewer make it to the start of the next season. If you are going to start it, then be committed and build it.

When you talk about a lack of commitment, what do you think causes this? How can this be explained? Does it come down to a person thinks they want to drive around in a truck and say they have their own business but don't want to do the work that is necessary to actually make it a business? To go from playing it to actually doing it?

Or is it something else all together?