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Mattcrump
10-27-2010, 12:16 AM
I know what you all are thinking and it is probably all true.

Hey guys, I'm Matt. And yes I am an alcoh... I mean firefighter. Ha, I know it's played out but I've got bills to pay, I'm a hard worker, relatively intelligent and I love being outside. That being said, I have just started my lawn care company called Fire and Lawn Rescue (www.FireandLawnRescue.com). I am based out of Birmingham, Alabama. I may be searching for a lot of answers right now but I am excited, driven and hard working. If I decide to start something I do it to the best of my abilities. I plan to be very successful with this company. I know that if people know I am a hard worker, honest and a firefighter I will have no problem getting business. Sorry for playing that card but why not use it to my advantage, right?

I have two partners who are also firefighters and we are all on different shifts so it helps to spread the work out pretty evenly. At the moment we have 6 residential accounts and are picking up side jobs almost on a daily basis. Everything from pressure washing to gutters to irrigation installs. Today I may have hit the jackpot with a property manager and I will find out by the end of the week if I have 13 commercial properties in the area. I let him know that if he had the work, I would have the insurance, workmans comp, w9, as well as the man power and equipment to do anything he needs. God has blessed us so far and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if He continues to do so.

Collectively we have about 12 years experience in the lawn care/landscape arena. I happened to stumble upon this site by chance and it has helped a ton. I am starting my first business so coming here has answered many of my questions and continues to do so. Everybody on here seems very helpful and very knowledgable. I thank you guys for sharing your experiences and I look forward to getting to know some of you and possibly even networking off of each other in the future. Please do not hesitate to say hey.

Sincerely,

Matt Crump

turfmaster
10-27-2010, 02:36 AM
Welcome to the forum. One of my employees is a fireman. Lawn care business is definitely a nice side gig for fireman.

The Cleaning Doctor
10-27-2010, 12:41 PM
Are the partners true partners or employees?

If they are true partners then be sure to get every agreement in writing.

Partnership agreement with an exit strategy is the big one.

Also be aware, if running as a partnership and not an LLC then if one of you decides to buy a snow plow with a new truck for the business, then all of you are liable.

Sounds like you are getting along, just don't want you to fall in a ditch later.

Congrats and welcome to the forum.

Mattcrump
10-27-2010, 02:16 PM
Ok, all 3 of us are equal partners. The trust is there but just to cover all of our butts I have had my attorney draw up an LLC for us and as soon as I have time I will take it to the probate judge to activate it. Also we do not have any employees as of yet. We would like to do most of the work ourselves if at all possible. At least for now until we are forced to hire help.

We are currently trying to figure out which licensing we need as well as what the best and most affordable insurance is going to be. Does anybody know how filing taxes will work under an LLC? We were told that we would have to file every quarter but then also told that we could file under an S-Corp? and do it only once a year.

This is the first time I have started a company so some of these issues leave me clueless as of right now. I am thinking an accountant would help answer a lot but at the moment I do not have the accounts to afford one. We are designing tshirts to sell to try and raise money for the insurance and licensing so its not a ton of money out of our pockets.

The Cleaning Doctor
10-27-2010, 05:33 PM
Taxes for an LLC can be 2 ways

1. Tax as a corporate entity
2. Pass through to each owner as personal income

Quarterly taxes are required by all business types. This is at the federal level. Income tax, FICA etc.

Might want to talk to an accountant that can do those for you.

MAKLawnCutter
10-27-2010, 05:55 PM
Welcome to the forum, first round is on me.

Matt

Steve
10-27-2010, 07:13 PM
Welcome to our forum Matt!

Lawn care & firefighting seem to work well together.

What kinds of things have you been doing in your marketing so far to promote that you are all firemen? Do you find that doing so has been helpful in landing jobs?

Mattcrump
10-28-2010, 12:58 AM
Taxes for an LLC can be 2 ways

1. Tax as a corporate entity
2. Pass through to each owner as personal income

Quarterly taxes are required by all business types. This is at the federal level. Income tax, FICA etc.

Might want to talk to an accountant that can do those for you.

Thanks for the information, I will definitely let the accountant know that these are some of my questions.

Mattcrump
10-28-2010, 01:05 AM
Welcome to our forum Matt!

Lawn care & firefighting seem to work well together.

What kinds of things have you been doing in your marketing so far to promote that you are all firemen? Do you find that doing so has been helpful in landing jobs?

Thanks for welcoming me guys!

Steve,

So far we have our name (Fire and Lawn Rescue). We have our mowers all labeled after Rescue or Engines. People find it humorous. We have a FB page and we are in the process of having t-shirts made. We printed up a few hundred flyers and hit the streets two days ago which have gotten us no business to this point.

My big marketing idea is to host a big fund raiser and invite all of the local fire departments to participate with us. We can find a worthy charity such as the childrens burn center or something of that nature and have our company who is run by three firefighters host a huge Firefighter Crossfit Fundraiser. With our connections we could raise a bunch of money for a great cause and very deserving kids as well as get our company name in the news, radio and paper. We would take no money from the event but it would be great press for the company.

So far those have been the ideas I have come up with aside from word of mouth.

Any pointers or suggestions?

Mattcrump
10-28-2010, 01:08 AM
By the way, I was searching the site today and stumbled upon the Lawn Business School. Great idea and very helpful. In fact it was so helpful that I have called a meeting for tomorrow morning with the other two partners to go over some of the information in the first 4 lessons. I plan on finishing them all.

I am encouraging my guys to do a lot of reading as well as some other things that will help us grow as a company. I am making it a point to take at least one successful business owner out to lunch every week and pick their brains. Ask them questions that will help guide my decision making. I have also suggested to the other guys that they join this forum. There is so much useful information on here from all of you guys and it is very much appreciated and needed.

Steve
10-28-2010, 07:37 PM
We have our mowers all labeled after Rescue or Engines.

I would love to see pictures of this.

You have something that could be worked on to make it so the kids really love it and you all stand out.

For instance, say you painted your mowers to look like fire trucks. What if you put a revolving red or blue light on the mower that was on as you cut? That would be real eye catchy! I wouldn't think you would run afoul with any laws as this wouldn't be used on the road.

You could have plastic fire helmets that had a sticker on it with your business name and hand them out to the kids.

You could go to the local schools, even elementary schools and teach outdoor power equipment safety. Maybe first aid safety and maybe some fire safety too.

All of these things would help you reach out into your community.

You spoke of fund raisers. What about doing some good deeds in your area. Helping clean up some poor looking properties. Help improve a local park. Anything that can help you get more attention and position your business to be a bunch of good guys that the local homeowners would want to hire.

Mattcrump
10-29-2010, 12:04 AM
Great Ideas! I will definitely look in to that charity as well.

Sat down and had a meeting with the owner of the largest chemical lawn company in the state of Alabama today. It was very productive! He's got thousands of customers and many of them call him asking if they do turf management as well. He want's to send that business to us just because he likes what we are doing and likes that we are young and energetic.

I am excited about this company a little more every day. God is good!

Steve
10-29-2010, 06:25 PM
That is great! How did you pull such a meeting together? Did you know him previously or did you simply make a cold call to see if you could set up a meeting?

You are really inspiring others reading this!

Mattcrump
10-30-2010, 12:12 AM
Nope... crazy thing was that he saw a little FB fan page that I made and he saw that we were firefighters and just sent me an email and asked if he could take me to lunch. I responded and asked if the three of us could instead take him to lunch and pick his brain. I guess we just kind of hit it off and struck up a friendship. I also offered to do some landscaping in his yard for the cost of materials.

On a side note, today went great. I was at the station and had some down time so I went to VistaPrint.com and had 250 nice business cards made. I also scheduled a walk through with a property manager of some apartment complexes in the are for tomorrow morning before I go and gutters that need to be cleaned. I told him I wasn't going to undercut the prices of the company that they have working now and I didn't want to know what they were paying them. I want to go in and draw my own conclusions of what things will cost and what will be included in the estimate and submit it. That way if he likes what I can do for him more than the other guys then that is not because of me being shady. It is just me running my company. I refuse to undercut other companys to try and take their business. I hear firefighters can be bad at doing that.

Hope all of you had as much of a productive day as I did.

God Bless

Steve
10-30-2010, 08:06 PM
That is fascinating the meeting with that business owner all came about due to your facebook fan page.

We have talked in the past about whether or not a facebook page was important at all, but so far it seems you have proved to all of us it is.

Have you had any other interesting situations pop up because of your facebook marketing?

Mattcrump
10-31-2010, 12:08 AM
Well I picked up a new account today and got two other side jobs off of it in the last day. I also am FB friends with a guy who turns out to be a property manager of 13 different apartment locations in Birmingham. We do not really know each other but are FB friends with a bunch of mutual friends.

I knew he worked for an apartment building so I FB messaged him. That led to me putting a bid on one of their properties this morning for $2500/month.

FB is definitely working for me so far.

Steve
10-31-2010, 06:41 PM
That is just outstanding!

I bet if you ask him if he knows any more property managers, he would know. Maybe that could help you reach out further.

Mattcrump
11-01-2010, 12:32 AM
Yes he does!

He is in charge of 13 locations and is working on getting us at least one or two of those as well as introducing me to the head of the Birmingham apartment association manager.

Steve
11-01-2010, 05:04 PM
You are going to be so busy soon, you may have to rethink your fire fighting career!