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Ducke
11-21-2010, 10:56 AM
Hi
My name is Graham but I go By Ducke (pronounced Ducky).
I have been in the lawn care biz for 5 years now full time working for someone else.(Weed Man ).
I have decided it is time to make some Money for myself and not for someone else.
So I welcome any imput that anyone has to make about starting out and I'm sorry now if I seem to ask too mant questions :)

fieroboi
11-21-2010, 09:14 PM
Welcome Ducke,

I'm sure you will find things here very helpful. I certainly did and continue to do so. Steve and so many others are very knowledgeable and insightful.

You ask about start up costs. My biggest piece of advice would be to stay away from any debt getting started. I struggled at first, but it sure has paid off.

Wishing you well with your endeavor.

Lloyd
Blue's YardFX
Camrose, Alberta

Steve
11-22-2010, 06:53 AM
Hi Ducke,

Welcome to our forum!

Working with that company for 5 years must have been quite an experience. How involved did you have to get in acquiring new customers?

Did they provide you with much training on that topic or no?

Ducke
11-22-2010, 03:58 PM
Hi Ducke,

Welcome to our forum!

Working with that company for 5 years must have been quite an experience. How involved did you have to get in acquiring new customers?

Did they provide you with much training on that topic or no?

In my time with them I have done sales as well as Teching.
I have had quite a bit of training with the application side as well as small equipment repair, I have Fertalized Limed Pestiside and herbicide applications
Aeration's Lawn renos as well as Top Dress and over seed.

Local Edge Lawn Care
11-22-2010, 04:52 PM
Welcome ducke, You found an awesome lawn care forum for sure.. Some of the conversations can be a lot of fun and great advice.. steve has done a great job putting this together for sure..


Whats the population where your at? what kind of competition? are you looking to just start up lawn fertilization or lawn care as well?

Ducke
11-22-2010, 06:31 PM
Welcome ducke, You found an awesome lawn care forum for sure.. Some of the conversations can be a lot of fun and great advice.. steve has done a great job putting this together for sure..


Whats the population where your at? what kind of competition? are you looking to just start up lawn fertilization or lawn care as well?



Where I'm located Dartmouth Nova Scotia the Population is approx 101,500
and we are part of the Municipality of Halifax Region which has a Population of approx 398,000. As for competition there are a few Big Guns in town Nutra Lawn, Weed Man, Lawn Ranger etc. plus there are a few big Landscape companies But as for small lawn care individuals the local yellow pages list 45 companies The Registry of Joint Stock has a list of 500 companies of which only 52 are active.
There is a demand for the services the major companies here have to turn down little jobs as they just don't have the manpower to do them, I even know some of the owners and they have told me that if i get thing up and going they will send some of their over flow my way.

Steve
11-23-2010, 07:25 AM
In my time with them I have done sales as well as Teching.

With all of your sales experience, do you have 5 top tips lawn care business owners should do to improve their sales?

Or maybe even 5 things you should avoid doing when putting on your sales presentation?

Ducke
11-23-2010, 09:40 AM
With all of your sales experience, do you have 5 top tips lawn care business owners should do to improve their sales?

Or maybe even 5 things you should avoid doing when putting on your sales presentation?


Well In my Opinion and its only my Opinion 5 Things you should Do/not do are.

1) Appearance No one wants to hire someone who looks like a street bum. Take a few minutes and dust your self off You don't need to wear a suit and tie but you should show Pride in you appearance it shows you care.
Customers will pick up on the fact that you care about your appearance and that of your truck or car then you will care about your work and how their lawn looks.

2) Be on time and if you are going to be late call and let them know.
Nothing will turn a customer off if your late and they don't know why They will wonder if you will show up to mow their lawn on time or miss weeks etc.

3) Be pleasant listen to what the customer wants let them show you around
compliment them on their gardens etc. People will be more open to a friendly
fun person then a rude rushed sales person.

4) Don't use Trade Jargon (Fert , App, etc.) This just makes the customer feel dumb because they don't know what you are talking about be precise and clear with your lawn care terms.use terms everyone knows Fertilizer, Application, Spreader etc.

5) Know your Products and Services Don't over or under sell them. Most customers know more then they let on or can look up what you tell them on the Internet You do not want to get caught in a lie. You also don't want to look inept on a lawn when you can't tell them what it is that your putting on their lawn Ah ah ah ah is NOT a intelligent answer.

Sales are easy Be yourself neat clean pleasant and knowledgeable.
have fun and your business will grow.

Graham
Ducke's Yard Services

picframer
11-23-2010, 01:13 PM
Where I'm located Dartmouth Nova Scotia the Population is approx 101,500
and we are part of the Municipality of Halifax Region which has a Population of approx 398,000. As for competition there are a few Big Guns in town Nutra Lawn, Weed Man, Lawn Ranger etc. plus there are a few big Landscape companies But as for small lawn care individuals the local yellow pages list 45 companies The Registry of Joint Stock has a list of 500 companies of which only 52 are active.
There is a demand for the services the major companies here have to turn down little jobs as they just don't have the manpower to do them, I even know some of the owners and they have told me that if i get thing up and going they will send some of their over flow my way.

I would encourage you to test the market to find business before you start buying equipment, I am located about 15 min from you and we do a fair amount of excavation/landscaping in Dartmouth/Cole Harbour. While we do spray Organics in your area it can be tough to market starting out (we have around 97 residential in Dartmouth), lawn mowing - you will discover more unregistered companies than registered and they work for next to nothing, good money in Silviculture and wood chipping, start up cost for this service about $30,000, pressure washing is a very busy part of our business and not a large start up cost, excavation and landscaping are the biggest for me.

Ducke
11-23-2010, 01:48 PM
I would encourage you to test the market to find business before you start buying equipment, I am located about 15 min from you and we do a fair amount of excavation/landscaping in Dartmouth/Cole Harbour. While we do spray Organics in your area it can be tough to market starting out (we have around 97 residential in Dartmouth), lawn mowing - you will discover more unregistered companies than registered and they work for next to nothing, good money in Silviculture and wood chipping, start up cost for this service about $30,000, pressure washing is a very busy part of our business and not a large start up cost, excavation and landscaping are the biggest for me.

Thanks for the heads up one thing for sure I do not want to step on anyone's toes.
As for equipment I have most everything I need to start out and then I would add as needed, I'm not looking to get into the heavy stuff like excavation or big landscaping. I kind of plan to start small and then go from there. Mow some lawns trim some hedges weed flower beds edge, trim do a little pruning, Yard clean up, snow blowing service, leaf vac etc...

picframer
11-23-2010, 03:40 PM
Thanks for the heads up one thing for sure I do not want to step on anyone's toes.
As for equipment I have most everything I need to start out and then I would add as needed, I'm not looking to get into the heavy stuff like excavation or big landscaping. I kind of plan to start small and then go from there. Mow some lawns trim some hedges weed flower beds edge, trim do a little pruning, Yard clean up, snow blowing service, leaf vac etc...

Not stepping on my toes bud.

I started this company in the spring of 2009 after a lot of research, the target market was the South End as I have tremendous contacts there from my banking days, we would offer Clean Up's, Mowing not only of their homes but their summer homes which are mainly in St. Margarets Bay (90% of our work is in St. Margarets Bay) offer Organic solutions to lawn problems, hedge trimming etc. that was the business plan and I bought the equipment outright.

Within two weeks I knew if I didn't change things the company would fall flat, it wasn't for lack of contacts or the fact that we had higher end equipment, I simply would not match low ball quotes, the spraying was fine as no one else had the products we did.

So I bought three excavators and five tractors with loaders, an 8 & 10" Commercial Diesel wood chippers, commercial lawn vac's, wood splitters, 7 chain saws, two industrial pressure washers, changed my focus and went down a different path, by May of last year I had 12 employees, it has continued to grow, we were at 15 employees this summer.

I sold all the mowing accounts (96) in August to a group of staff, I only kept the very large private communities we look after in St. Margarets Bay. Mowing in the South End was a pain, people were far to fussy (don't even think of missing a blade of grass trimming around a tree) there never seemed to be parking, our city police will nail you is you back a lawn tractor or ZTR off a trailer and it does not have a plate, in short it was a major headache.

If you want to find your unregistered companies, check Kijiji, many are located in Dartmouth, there is one group from Mexico and I have seen them around they are pretty large and one group from South Africa.

Just trying to save you some frustration, start marketing and see what happens.

Ducke
11-23-2010, 08:05 PM
Not stepping on my toes bud.

I started this company in the spring of 2009 after a lot of research, the target market was the South End as I have tremendous contacts there from my banking days, we would offer Clean Up's, Mowing not only of their homes but their summer homes which are mainly in St. Margarets Bay (90% of our work is in St. Margarets Bay) offer Organic solutions to lawn problems, hedge trimming etc. that was the business plan and I bought the equipment outright.

Within two weeks I knew if I didn't change things the company would fall flat, it wasn't for lack of contacts or the fact that we had higher end equipment, I simply would not match low ball quotes, the spraying was fine as no one else had the products we did.

So I bought three excavators and five tractors with loaders, an 8 & 10" Commercial Diesel wood chippers, commercial lawn vac's, wood splitters, 7 chain saws, two industrial pressure washers, changed my focus and went down a different path, by May of last year I had 12 employees, it has continued to grow, we were at 15 employees this summer.

I sold all the mowing accounts (96) in August to a group of staff, I only kept the very large private communities we look after in St. Margaret's Bay. Mowing in the South End was a pain, people were far to fussy (don't even think of missing a blade of grass trimming around a tree) there never seemed to be parking, our city police will nail you is you back a lawn tractor or ZTR off a trailer and it does not have a plate, in short it was a major headache.

If you want to find your unregistered companies, check Kijiji, many are located in Dartmouth, there is one group from Mexico and I have seen them around they are pretty large and one group from South Africa.

Just trying to save you some frustration, start marketing and see what happens.

I really appreciate the Advice its a big step leaving the comfort of working for someone else for 20+ years to working for yourself.
I know what you mean about South end Halifax I have serviced lawns there for the past 5 years and know all about the headaches that come with it.
My territory was Hammond's Plains Road to South End Halifax, Lower Water St to Hubbard's. and all point in between :)
I am going to market my services to local seniors I all ready have a half doze or so that I do on the side and they (seniors) are a tight knit community so word of good work at good priced helps a lot. I have done my home work and I think I can make a go at if not next year I can go back to work for someone else again, I'm not going to invest any great amount of money into this venture at first, Hey maybe we could get together some day and have a coffee at Timmies ?

Graham

picframer
11-23-2010, 08:43 PM
Hey maybe we could get together some day and have a coffee at Timmies ?

Graham

Sure thing, I am going out straight at the moment in my woodworking and I have a rock wall to build in St. Margaret's bay starting Thursday. I am down to one staff until April, most have returned to University the rest headed west for the winter so I am stretched thin:) however the week before Christmas is open, or drop out to the shop, I live in Brookside, 10 min past Exhibition park, back side of Hatchet Lake......it looks somewhat like a John Deere dealership at the moment as most of the gear is home for the winter

Steve
11-24-2010, 09:29 AM
Graham,

Was there a tipping point that made you decide to finally go off on your own? Did you always want to do this or was this something that just came about relatively quickly?

It seems a lot of people dream about getting their own business started but very few of them ever actually do it.

Ducke
11-24-2010, 01:15 PM
Graham,

Was there a tipping point that made you decide to finally go off on your own? Did you always want to do this or was this something that just came about relatively quickly?

It seems a lot of people dream about getting their own business started but very few of them ever actually do it.

I have always wanted to run my own company but was just never really sure,
Should I open a Computer Store or a Dollar Store and once I almost opened a Odd Jobs company but none of them felt right, well the Odd Job one felt pretty good but I just had a Gut Feeling about it so I stopped it in its tracks.
I still have the Business proposal in the filing cabinet. It would have taken a sizable sum as start up and the economy was just starting to look shaky in 2007. I would always day dream about having my own Lawn Care company while driving my weed man truck and with the new ownership and all the unnecessary changes he is making to the company at the expense of the tech, Production rate changes (Down in %) without any notice It wasn't till we got our pay stubs every two weeks that we would see the changes. I can tell you now that I made $2000.00 less in 2010 then in 2009 and actually worked five weeks longer. So now felt like the right time to do it, even my wife supports the idea:eek: so I must be headed in the right direction or she would not be on board.

Ducke
11-24-2010, 01:17 PM
Sure thing, I am going out straight at the moment in my woodworking and I have a rock wall to build in St. Margaret's bay starting Thursday. I am down to one staff until April, most have returned to University the rest headed west for the winter so I am stretched thin:) however the week before Christmas is open, or drop out to the shop, I live in Brookside, 10 min past Exhibition park, back side of Hatchet Lake......it looks somewhat like a John Deere dealership at the moment as most of the gear is home for the winter

Ok I know the area I do some lawns out that way.

Steve
11-25-2010, 08:42 AM
I can tell you now that I made $2000.00 less in 2010 then in 2009 and actually worked five weeks longer.

Reflecting now on their operations, why do you feel the pay was less?

What policies or changes did they institute that effected the business in such a negative manner?

Have you found as that business grew, it's management didn't keep up? Or did it start to collapse a bit upon itself?

All these lessons can help you and many readers as you find future growth and look for the best ways to manage it.

Ducke
11-25-2010, 08:42 PM
for some reason the message posted twice
So forget you saw this one and read the next one :D

Ducke
11-25-2010, 08:47 PM
To be Honest with you Steve I really don't feel comfortable talking about it on the Forum.
For all their faults I still consider them friends and would kind of like to keep it that way.

I hope you understand.