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View Full Version : Moving into large area mowing...


kc2006
06-26-2006, 10:14 PM
Well, I've been thinking about the mowing part of business and where I'd like to go with it and I think I have something in mind...Now all I have to do is figure out how to go about making it a reality.

After talking with people and seeing some other companies plus knowing my personal preference, I've come to realize that I'd like to get larger properties for mowing. I personally like the larger properties because your at one spot for a while instead of constant stop/go every 30 minutes and I just like being out by myself for hours at a time! Plus it cuts down costs due to being at one location longer. I talked to a couple companies that do mostly large properties and have a few smaller profitable residential accounts just to fill in time. One company in particular only does churches and that interested me. From my experience, churches are pretty laid back on requirements but they don't go looking for bids every year like commercial properties do (trying to save money), they just let them come in.

So checking out the area we have alot of churches here. On one of the main roads in my township alone theres 7. One of them is the church I attend and they're the largest but they're out because some guy underbid it and locked himself into a 3 year contract or until he folds up. Now I'm just trying to think of the best way to present myself to these churches and get my name in there in an attempt to put bids on them in the fall or whenever they will accept bids. I'm thinking a good letter with brochure that showcases the company would be a good starting point. Points of interest to them would be professional service, insured/state certified for herbicides/fertilizers, starting to specialize in larger properties, competitive rates due to being effiecent. So I'd highlight all those features in a brochure and have pictures of the equipment and me.

Another big factor in why I'd like to do this is, I'd still be able to easily turn $60 PMH gross, even with an employee, and the only other equipment I'd need is one more mower. I already have the 60" with efi engine and that thing does a heck of a workload so I'd probably add a 72" with an efi engine or a diesel when I would step up to having to hire someone.

Now I wouldn't be limiting myself to churches alone, I'd move to condo associations too and even go for commercial properties that have good sized lots. Basicly I'm trying to go for the end of mowing that requires being more of an actual company and being more professional, attempting to get away from the tons of mow & go companies basicly.

Any ideas, suggestions, comments? TG I know you'll get me thinking more on the subject http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Steve
06-27-2006, 07:55 AM
Interesting ideas! Tell me, are you still planning on doing more with your brothers in the future? Are they going to take part in this?

What's your thoughts on that?

kc2006
06-27-2006, 09:52 AM
I planned on taking it slow into that like you suggested. Instead of going head first into it I wanted to get the work first and then get them involved. I could get my one brother out with me next year probably if everything would go right. And the great thing about larger properties is it doesn't take a huge amount of jobs to fill up schedules, so I should be able to fill out a schedule fast.

Right now my other brother got a huge raise at work so it's looking like he's staying there, but he said he'd still put in time after work if he's needed.

Steve
06-27-2006, 11:03 AM
Quote[/b] ]Right now my other brother got a huge raise at work so it's looking like he's staying there, but he said he'd still put in time after work if he's needed.
These are good things. It's nice having backup especially when you get swamped at times.


I had an idea about the churches. Many times when people are down on their luck, the church will try to help them get back on their feet. What if you offered them to try and help church members work with you, maybe even mowing the church lawn at times if possible.

Would that be a selling point to land you the account? And would it be worth it to you?

kc2006
06-27-2006, 04:19 PM
That'd be alittle risky I think. Could work but theres still alot of risky variables there. Only way I'd do that is if I basicly hired the person on legit and pay workers comp and all that, this way everything is legal and in the event of an accident everything is covered.

Steve
06-28-2006, 11:49 AM
Well all in all keep your feelers out there. Find out how you would bid on these jobs. Who's the person to contact and see if you know anyone in the churches that could put in a positive word for you.

Keep getting your name out too. You want to continue to build your brand. It is easier to sell your services when a potential customer knows of you before you meet them.

If you want to take on larger properties. Go for it. Look into them as well. Give yourself as many options as you can so you can pick the best path as things come along.

kc2006
06-28-2006, 03:27 PM
I talked with a guy online yesterday that does only large properties (15 acres and up) and he makes a very good living with it. He gave me some suggestions on how to get my name in the door with the places I'm interested in. I thought about sending the letters out, but he said he's never had luck with letters and the best way to do it is go right in and ask for the property manager or the person in charge of the grounds maintenance. He said to make little binders that show all your credentials and some pictures of work/equipment, and a description of the company and it's benefits to the customer. Go in introduce yourself and give them the binder and ask to be placed on their list for bids.

So that's going to be the next project, make the binders up. I'm already starting a list of properties that I'll give them out to. When I break it down, the odds look alot better. Not many companies can or want to service larger places around here, I think theres about 5-8 companies that I see servicing all the larger properties. Then when you figure out how many properties there are compaired to those few of guys. Also when you factor in that I could fill a 6 day mowing schedule for 2 guys with about 20-25 large properties compaired to 120 residentals, that also means better odds of filling up a schedule quick.

I'll post up the binder when it's all done, probably going to take me at least a week or two to do it.

Steve
06-29-2006, 08:30 AM
Quote[/b] ]I thought about sending the letters out, but he said he's never had luck with letters and the best way to do it is go right in and ask for the property manager or the person in charge of the grounds maintenance.
I agree with this. Letters may help get your name out and potentially break the ice to make it easier in the future to schedule an appointment to meet. When people know of your company before they meet you, it makes things easier. You aren't starting from scratch then.

This is why I always support keeping your marketing going in some manner shape or form. Keep the buzz out in the street about you and your business. You never know when you will hit on something because you were in the right place in the right time, or your marketing material reached the right person at the right time.

Quote[/b] ]I'll post up the binder when it's all done, probably going to take me at least a week or two to do it.
I am looking forwards to seeing what you created.

kc2006
07-12-2006, 08:43 PM
About halfway done with the binders! First few pages are written out, going to get some pictures of equipment and jobs this week so I can start placing them in throughout the pages.

So far I've been coming up with some of the best things to include while I'm out mowing! It's amazing how much more creative I'm being with this "marketing project" than others, I think mostly because it's what I've wanted to do all along so I'm keeping positive and seeing the big picture of it all.

Steve
07-12-2006, 09:32 PM
Oh good! I am looking forwards to seeing what you created.

kc2006
07-19-2006, 10:56 PM
Alright, rough draft is made up, I emailed it on over to my brother to put it all together.

Heres the breakdown, it has a cover sheet which has the company logo and number. Then 2 pages that describes the business and it's advantages, next page has copies of fert certification, business license, proof of insurance. Then a thank you page, basicly thanking them for taking the time to read it and to keep us in mind when they're looking for bids. I'm going to have a few pictures scattered in the first page and maybe one or two in the thank you page just to help fill it out and show off alittle.

Question though. Do you feel that there is enough there? Theres a total of 5 pages there, and these will be in the clear plastic binder type deals. I don't want to have too much content and cause them to lose interest, but at the same time I want to have enough to really convince them that we're the company to be with.

Steve
07-19-2006, 11:25 PM
Quote[/b] ]I don't want to have too much content and cause them to lose interest, but at the same time I want to have enough to really convince them that we're the company to be with.

The first thing I thought of when I read this is that it would look really nice on a tri-fold brochure.

Have you ever thought of that?

It's just something to think about but it might be easier to read in such a manner versus 5 pages in a plastic binder.

What's your view on that?

kc2006
07-20-2006, 11:49 AM
I've thought of that too. I would have to skim it back to fit on a tri fold brochure. It would probably be cheaper too. What if I just go tri fold as a "feeler"? Put them out and see if I get any response from property managers as to when their accepting bids and then go back in with the larger more detailed binder? That could possibly work.

Steve
07-20-2006, 02:02 PM
Yea that sounds like a good idea. I bet it would look really good. You have plenty of information to put in it as well!

The brochure could help sell your services and could be included in a cover letter sent to local property managers in your area to break the ice for a visit from you or your brother.