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jmlawncare
09-02-2010, 12:52 AM
Hello to everyone,

This is my first post even though I have been a member for a few months we have just been so busy I have not had time to do much on the computer except making up bills.

Any way my company is a small company (only myself and my oldest son who is 24 now). We have had a very busy season this year, we started in April with 10 customers and as of today we have 42 regular customers (10 of which are commercial accounts) and plus we are also doing HUD properties in a 4 county area on a bi-weekly schedule ( I guess those would be considered as commercial accounts as well.) Right now we are taking care of 15 properties for HUD.

This is our second year in business although last year was cut short due to the fact that my Father had a heart attack in May, and I ended up having to turn my accounts over to another Lawn Care Company for the rest of the season.

Any way, just wanted to say hello to everyone and I will try to spend a little mor time keeping up on here now!

jmlawncare

Steve
09-02-2010, 01:00 PM
Welcome to our forum!

WOW you sound like you are doing great this year!

How did you get started with 10 customers just like that in the beginning?

What business lessons do you feel this year has taught you so far?

jmlawncare
09-03-2010, 01:01 AM
Hi Steve,

The 10 customers that we started out in April with were customers from last year. They called and wanted to know if we were going to be doing Lawn Care this year (and of course they all ask how my Dad was doing). Most of them are friends of mine or people that work with my wife.

Believe it or not almost all of our other customers came from us keeping fliers up around town at the grocery stores and about 70% came from us keeping and add on CraigsList every week. We did run ads in our local papers but I think that we only got 2 customers that said they saw our ad in the paper. (I ALWAYS ASK HOW THEY FOUND OUT ABOUT US).

Business lessons that I have learned so far:

1. You do not need brand new equipment.

We started the year with a 42" Cut 22 HP Husquvarna mower and a 42" Cut 20 HP Craftsman. (I already had the Husquvarna rider and we purchased the Craftsman rider from a friend of mine who works at our locale Stihl Dealership here. It was traded in by a lady who bought it new and she wanted a ZTR mower.
We did purchase 2 new FS45 trimmers and a FS80 Brush Cutter.
I already had a Stihl Hand Held Blower and a Craftsman Back Pack Blower.

2. DO NOT UNDER BID!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have a lot of competition here in the Lawn Mowing season. We advertise that we don't just MOW YOUR YARD "WE CARE FOR YOUR YARD". We do a lot more than just mow grass. As far as I am concerned the name of the game is SERVICE.

3. Watch how far you travel to do jobs.

If you have to travel 30 miles to do one job, you are probably going to loose money (unless it is a big commercial job), having said that if you can pick up more work in that same area on the same day it makes it worth while.

I love doing this kind of work and so does my son, and we are already planning ahead for next year. I already have my ads out for Fall Lawn Cleaning and for booking customers for next year. We have already got bid sheets from three big commercial jobs for next year (bids have to be turned in by November 1, 2010 for all three of these and I think we have a really good shot at getting 2 of them. If we get these commercial jobs I will expand over the winter and probably set up another 2 man crew to help us.

I am looking forward to next year, but am also keeping focused on the rest of this year as well. We have had a GREAT 2010 so far, and we are expecting 2011 to be even better.

Steve
09-03-2010, 12:09 PM
2. DO NOT UNDER BID!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have a lot of competition here in the Lawn Mowing season. We advertise that we don't just MOW YOUR YARD "WE CARE FOR YOUR YARD". We do a lot more than just mow grass. As far as I am concerned the name of the game is SERVICE.

Can you tell us how advertising 'we care for your yard' helps you to not underbid? I think a lot of newer lawn care business owners are going to have a tough time understanding this.

[QUOTE]If you have to travel 30 miles to do one job, you are probably going to loose money[/QUOTE

What have you found to be the best way to get jobs in your area? When a lawn care business is hurting for cash, what should they do if calls come in from outside their immediate service area?