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MRK
06-29-2010, 05:21 AM
Hello everyone from a wintery Melbourne Australia - 50 degrees today and snowing on the nearby hills.
I have just finished 40 years employment in the Logistics industry. 40 Years of pressure work.
I am looking at starting a lawn care business but as I have been an office worker for 40 years I am not sure how to start and run the business. Bit worried that I don't go broke.
The Australian spring season starts in August so I want to be ready in about 6weeks time.
I live in an area with lots of retired people and large houses with very rich people (I am not one of the rich people)
Lots of competition from 'cheap' operators. I had someone doing my lawns when I was working 50 hour weeks - he was not a very good operator so I did my lawns myself.
I know all you forum members are experienced business owners in the lawn care business so I would appreciate some assistance in starting out this venture.
Also, Steve many thanks for sending monthy forum updates.
Many thanks to everyone in advance and come and visit Australia some time.
Best wishes
MRK

Steve
06-29-2010, 02:41 PM
Welcome to our forum!

There is a lot to read here and on my blog at http://www.lawnchat.com

Have you created some business cards and started to get the word out to friends and neighbors about your new business?

MRK
06-30-2010, 12:46 AM
Thank you Steve,
I am seeing printers tomorrow to design and print business cards. I will distribute them in my local area.
I am a little worried because our local area has very many long estabablished lawn mowing contractors.
Best wishes
MRK

Steve
06-30-2010, 02:29 PM
I am a little worried because our local area has very many long estabablished lawn mowing contractors.

No matter what they have, you can find a niche that they are not filling. Usually the easiest to go after when you are trying to take market share from a larger competitor is that you can be personable while they don't have the time for it.

You can play up that your business is owned and operated by you. They will have staff that may not care about the final product as much as you will.

Look at their marketing. Look at their websites. See what they are doing or not doing and fill the niche.

Keep us posted as to what you find.

tlclismore
06-30-2010, 06:37 PM
Hi MRK,
Welcome to the world of rest and relation......Wrong! hahahaha Sorry just pulling your chain us Australians tend to do that.
Now seriously, I too came from a very high pressure job as a Systems Administrator for the Government. I decided that I would rather die broke than die at 45 of a heart attack. So I decided much like you to start my own lawn mowing business. This was no mean feat because like you there are a lot of established contractors in this area (far North NSW ). I observed as many of them as I could for a couple of months and came to the conclusion that I could do a far better job of mowing, doing the edges and leaving the area neat and tidy. Most of the contractors up here just cut and leave it laying there.

We started around this time 6 years ago. It was tough going for the first few months but its soon picked up because of our quality of workmanship and our willingness to do almost anything for our clients. All I can say is anyone can CUT grass BUT not everyone can MOW a lawn properly.
Do a lot of research on the net about what types of grass is in your area and what the optimal cutting height is and stick to it.

Don't cut it lower just because the client wants it cut to the ground. It will kill it and you are the one that they blame. I have walked off jobs when a client wants it cut too low. I explain the reason for not cutting it any lower and if they don't like it them I say that I'm not prepared to ruin my reputation on one job just because you want it too low so you had better find another contractor.

I usually end up having them ring me wanting to know what I can do to fix their lawn after some other contractor has cut it low like they wanted. In one case we ended up re-turfing the whole are with $5,000.00 worth of turf plus labor.

If you keep your standards high and your equipment in top condition eg: blades sharp, oil changed regularly, equipment clean and for god's sake present yourself well. This means decide on a uniform and wear it with pride. Have it embroidered or screen printed with you logo and who you are. etc...then you will do well.

In our second and third year of operation we won the local Business Awards for the best Trade or Service and the Most Outstanding Customer Service Award.
So give it a go mate you will never become a millionaire but it is a great lifestyle.

Cheers
Rosco

MRK
07-01-2010, 12:27 AM
Thank you very much everyone for your kind advice and encouragement - I feel much better already.
I guess I need to do some research about various types of grass and how low to mow - as I mentioned previously I have been an office 'pen-pusher' for 40 years. I am having a lot of trouble doing edging with my linetrimmer/brushcutter. My lawn border is not very straight. Any advice from anyone please??
As I mentioned earlier I had a contractor cut my lawn when I was working 'crazy' hours recently and the job they did was shocking. Divets in my lawn and showing bare earth in some places - Lawn is now grown back.
By the way - My replacement to job I just left keeps ringing me for advice and assistance (I should be on commission). I did the job myself and now three people can't handle the work.
Best wishes to everyone and looking forward to any further advice.
MRK

tlclismore
07-01-2010, 10:45 AM
Hi again MRK,
If you need assistance from an Australian Contractor just PM me. First of all you need to get your self some good scheduling software and I just so happen to know the name of some...... I have been using Gopher since we started and the guy's have been great with technical support . :cool: :rolleyes: :eek: :(

Drop me a Personal Message and I'll give you my phone number.
Cheers,
Rosco