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View Full Version : A bunch of questions


stew6371
04-08-2010, 08:17 PM
Hey all, I have a bunch of questions and would appreciate any responses I get. These are probably stupid questions as I tend to overthink things, but I'm just trying to make educated decisions. Well here goes:
1)How many of you started out or are still doing just mow & go.

2)Trailers- enclosed or open and why.

3)Have any of you bought any of these "how to" programs off the internet?
If so, which ones were helpful.

4)How far from your base do you usually limit your travel for jobs?

5)How receptive are customers to prepaying a month at a time. I'm thinking of offering a 10% discount to prepay and a 10% discount for the first month of a new season for signing up for the next season early.

6) How bout this. I read where a guy makes up postcards and puts them in a ziplock sandwich baggie with a couple rocks. He then drives around and throws them onto potential customers driveways much like a paperboy. It is much faster than doorhangers.

CHEESE2009
04-08-2010, 08:36 PM
Hey now! Your questions are perfect!!!


1)How many of you started out or are still doing just mow & go.
I am not, it's more profitable to have customers scheduled for the complete season. This avoids customers letting their grass grow a few feet, & wearing down your equipment.


2)Trailers- enclosed or open and why.
Closed, It takes a little more time to grab your equipment, but only by a second. Other than that, the advertising space on a closed trailer is superior. You don't have to unload this trailer at the end of the day either, & no one will steal your equipment. It is safer, & better for business for a higher cost.

3)Have any of you bought any of these "how to" programs off the internet?
If so, which ones were helpful.
No idea what you mean, though how to videos off of youtube are nice little reminders. This site beats any how to-anything.

4)How far from your base do you usually limit your travel for jobs?
I don't like to travel more than 30-40 minutes away, especially if I'm not strong in a certain area. No point in driving for an hour only for a few bucks.

5)How receptive are customers to prepaying a month at a time. I'm thinking of offering a 10% discount to prepay and a 10% discount for the first month of a new season for signing up for the next season early.

Many customers prefer this, because your not grabbing all of their money right away. Payments are THAT much easier than paying in full. You also get to greet your customers (most of the time) & catch up on what he/she is feeling about your services. Though if a customer has a problem with it, they usually tell you right off the bat that they want to just pay you in full right away. Other than that, I wouldn't lower it. Do not say, "payment is due every week/two weeks" that would get annoying. You also don't want to charge your customers every 2 months either, because them letting go such a big wad of money at one time will really turn them into your companies biggest critic!

6) How bout this. I read where a guy makes up postcards and puts them in a ziplock sandwich baggie with a couple rocks. He then drives around and throws them onto potential customers driveways much like a paperboy. It is much faster than doorhangers.

DON'T do that, lol. As someone else said, it's just preparing the ad for the garbage bin. Ziploc bags aren't that cheap either, hahaha!

I would be pretty angry with whoever had me walk onto my lawn to pick up their mess/ad. Unfortunately I would consider them very LAZY rather than clever. I'd say, "why couldn't they just put their ad in my damn mail box? Right to the garbage without a peek, that's it.

picframer
04-08-2010, 08:40 PM
1) Mow and go as you put it was the business plan in March of last year, I changed it in April and again in May to offer a host of other services, had I not changed we would be out of business. We now have a lawn care side that supports 6 f/t employees but it took some time to get it there.

2) Trailers - we use both and they both have advantages over the other, I like cargo as you can keep the gear locked up but Cargo will not haul a lot of our gear.

3) No, I have run to many companies, have my MBA and a host of other credentials so buying a program offered nothing to me.

4) Our limit is 25 kilometers, about 15 miles

5) Never asked a customer to do this, generally a sign of poor cash flow by the company offering the service, how many people pay for cable, telephone etc a month in advance. On Landscaping/excavation a 50% deposit is required, everything else as soon as we are finished.

6) Tacky, for our target market this type of approach would be shooting yourself in the foot, I am not afraid of cold calling and it has taken my company from two employees in April of last year to 22 employees in May of this year.

mark123
04-08-2010, 09:35 PM
1)How many of you started out or are still doing just mow & go.Mowing is just to make some cash until I can fill up a fert and squirt route.

2)Trailers- enclosed or open and why. Neither. I prefer to not use a trailer.

3)Have any of you bought any of these "how to" programs off the internet?
If so, which ones were helpful. I don't know what this means.

4)How far from your base do you usually limit your travel for jobs? Local calling area.

5)How receptive are customers to prepaying a month at a time. I'm thinking of offering a 10% discount to prepay and a 10% discount for the first month of a new season for signing up for the next season early. Some like paying up front. Some refuse. If I were to ask for prepay and offer a steep discount like that I'd want more than one month in advance.

6) How bout this. I read where a guy makes up postcards and puts them in a ziplock sandwich baggie with a couple rocks. He then drives around and throws them onto potential customers driveways much like a paperboy. It is much faster than doorhangers. No. You'd get in big trouble around these parts. Imagine the $300 fine for littering times how many postcards you make. It's really tacky. I wouldn't hire anyone that would market like that or by putting anything in my windscreen wiper.

Don't throw crap in my driveway. I'll make you miserable.

stew6371
04-08-2010, 09:39 PM
Thanks for the quit replies. When I said mow and go I was meaning just mow,trim and blow. No additional services. This may be the way I have to start out. So do your customers pay when service is done or do you bill them? Also, I was talking to my local dealer about equipment and he basically told me to stick with a 21" commercial mower since my target market right now is residential. I was looking at a 36" walk behind, but it didnt have a mulching deck and some people dont want the grass clippings thrown on there lawn. Plus I wasnt sure if it would fit through most gates. Once again thanks.

mark123
04-08-2010, 10:00 PM
... Also, I was talking to my local dealer about equipment and he basically told me to stick with a 21" commercial mower since my target market right now is residential. I was looking at a 36" walk behind, but it didnt have a mulching deck and some people dont want the grass clippings thrown on there lawn. Plus I wasnt sure if it would fit through most gates. Once again thanks.
Your local dealer probably has a 21" mower that he's paying interest on and he has to move. :p (Yeah, I'm suspicious of everyone). My 36" will fit through most gates but not usually through a chain-link fence gate. Actually, you'll eventually want both. The 36" will make you more money than the 21".

Another point about making stuff to throw in people's driveways. If you look around you'll notice that the only people that encourage this sort of marketing are the people that offer printing services for such things as items to throw into driveways. Seriously!

stew6371
04-08-2010, 10:27 PM
Your local dealer probably has a 21" mower that he's paying interest on and he has to move. :p (Yeah, I'm suspicious of everyone). My 36" will fit through most gates but not usually through a chain-link fence gate. Actually, you'll eventually want both. The 36" will make you more money than the 21".

Another point about making stuff to throw in people's driveways. If you look around you'll notice that the only people that encourage this sort of marketing are the people that offer printing services for such things as items to throw into driveways. Seriously!

I'm pretty suspicious myself, but he didnt try to sell me any one particular mower, but who knows. Do you have the mulching deck on your 36"?

mark123
04-08-2010, 10:38 PM
I'm pretty suspicious myself, but he didnt try to sell me any one particular mower, but who knows. I'm just used to dealing with my local goofballs. Every time I go in and ask for something they always say "this is the one you really want".

"Yeah, but that's a snow blower and I asked for a mower." http://members.verizon.net/vze47msr/smiles/scratchhead.gif


Do you have the mulching deck on your 36"?
No, I side discharge. I'd never make it through the fertilized lawns in the spring with a mulching deck. If I don't get 8" of growth per week on some lawns I'd be surprised.

stew6371
04-08-2010, 11:40 PM
I'm just used to dealing with my local goofballs. Every time I go in and ask for something they always say "this is the one you really want".

"Yeah, but that's a snow blower and I asked for a mower." http://members.verizon.net/vze47msr/smiles/scratchhead.gif
lol.



No, I side discharge. I'd never make it through the fertilized lawns in the spring with a mulching deck. If I don't get 8" of growth per week on some lawns I'd be surprised.
Wow. The clippings dont leave a big mess? Also, what do you wear jeans, shorts, or some other type of uniform?

stew6371
04-09-2010, 11:06 PM
Ok, this is my plan as of now. Please give me all the feedback you can from your own experiences on why this will/will not work and so forth.

I plan to start with a new stihl trimmer and edger(I'm not good enough to edge with a trimmer yet), a stihl blower and my 21" personal push mower. I plan on doing this part time until I have enough accounts to do it fulltime. At that time I will upgrade to a 34" ZTR, probably either exmark or toro. Most of the yards here will be fenced so I need the smaller deck and this will be alot more efficient than the 21". I think hedge trimming and gutter cleanouts will be my first add-on services. I would like to make up a flyer and send it out in the newspaper, but I only want to target certain areas and I haven't checked to see if this is possible and the cost of doing so. I will get business cards and signs for my truck. I also plan on getting yard signs and place them at certain intersections. I'm still trying to figuere out how to price my work. I will stop there for now and take in your feedback. Thanks for all the help.

mark123
04-10-2010, 12:40 PM
Wow. The clippings dont leave a big mess? Also, what do you wear jeans, shorts, or some other type of uniform?
Sometimes, in the spring, you'll have to go over a section again to clean up the clippings but no, it doesn't leave a mess. You may think that recutting a section is a waste of time but if you use a mulch kit you'll either have to go really slow or cut half-width swaths.

stew6371
04-12-2010, 12:51 AM
What do you all think about these mower to start with? http://www.craftsman.com/shc/s/p_10155_12602_07188998000P?vName=Lawn+%26+Garden&cName=Lawn+Mowers+%26+Tractors&sName=Lawn+Mowers#custReviewsWrapper

picframer
04-12-2010, 03:35 AM
What do you all think about these mower to start with? http://www.craftsman.com/shc/s/p_10155_12602_07188998000P?vName=Lawn+%26+Garden&cName=Lawn+Mowers+%26+Tractors&sName=Lawn+Mowers#custReviewsWrapper

To me the availability of fast quality service is as important as the machine itself. Where I live Sears has really taken a wrap on service in a timely manner. I tilled a garden for a client yesterday, we have to go back and chip trees in a couple of weeks.

The husband asked if I knew anything about chainsaws and I replied a little, long story short he is on his third Craftsman saw in two months, he took the current one to service twice and they told him the engine dying has to due with where the saw was manufactured and the difference in altitude from there to here and they had adjusted the carburetor settings to match, if it needed to be done again they would have to charge him, I replied that I have herd this line from other clients with various engines and it's a line of crap, once set properly on pre delivery the saw or any engine will run perfectly here, I suggested he return the saw and buy a brand that has a service dept to back it up.

I see more Craftsman machines at Deere for service than any other brand, where I live the dealership will service all makes, I hear more complaints from clients that have purchased motor driven products from them than any other.

So in short check out the service you have locally, it's critical our down time be very short, although new gear should be trouble free, things happen and when they get the hours that we all put on them, it probably will happen regardless of the brand.

stew6371
04-12-2010, 06:48 AM
Thanks picframer. My main concern was the fact this mower is half the cost of the same size exmark I looked at. This will be my first upgrade. I plan on getting a good trimmer and blower to start and use my 21" push mower until I can buy a bigger mower.

stew6371
04-15-2010, 06:48 PM
What do you all think about these mower to start with? http://www.craftsman.com/shc/s/p_10155_12602_07188998000P?vName=Lawn+%26+Garden&cName=Lawn+Mowers+%26+Tractors&sName=Lawn+Mowers#custReviewsWrapper

Picframer already informed me about sears poor service, but anyone have any idea why this mower would be half the cost of the equivilent exmark machine? I'm thinking of getting this to start with.

bruces
04-15-2010, 07:37 PM
sears doesnt always have poor service,each service department ,;ike any garage, sears service is only as good as the tech working on the machine ,the local service department I have is truly awesome .Anyways,the price of the machine varies by number of purchased units [sears has huge buying power] ,the quality of the components [most personel use mowers dont have wheel bearings for instance,yet pretty much every true comercial mower will have them along with better handles,bigger bags,larger fuel tanks,metal drive gears instead of plastic ] ,warranty ,country of origin,and product mark-up .There are so many reasons a machine can cost more ,I barely touched the surface .

stew6371
04-15-2010, 08:55 PM
sears doesnt always have poor service,each service department ,;ike any garage, sears service is only as good as the tech working on the machine ,the local service department I have is truly awesome .Anyways,the price of the machine varies by number of purchased units [sears has huge buying power] ,the quality of the components [most personel use mowers dont have wheel bearings for instance,yet pretty much every true comercial mower will have them along with better handles,bigger bags,larger fuel tanks,metal drive gears instead of plastic ] ,warranty ,country of origin,and product mark-up .There are so many reasons a machine can cost more ,I barely touched the surface .

That makes sense. Does anyone know who makes craftsman mowers? Would you buy this one instead of an exmark or other brand?

bruces
04-15-2010, 10:28 PM
electrolux makes most of their mowers,unfortunately we dont get that mower in canada ,but I have my wife checking for me [she works @ sears]

Yard Elements
05-01-2010, 11:28 PM
What do you all think about these mower to start with? http://www.craftsman.com/shc/s/p_10155_12602_07188998000P?vName=Lawn+%26+Garden&cName=Lawn+Mowers+%26+Tractors&sName=Lawn+Mowers#custReviewsWrapper

I'm just jumping in on an old post but I just bought a honda and it works great, super nice, seem to be built nice Started out of box one half pull no joke a half pull cold!