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View Full Version : With out a doubt this is the Most important thing to do when you are starting out.


elrascal
03-15-2011, 08:51 PM
Hey guy's,

What do you think is the most important thing to do when you are starting out your lawn care business?

I'll give you my two cents worth...

The number one thing to do is create some sort of business plan.

Cringe, Cringe, Cringe. I Know!!

I recon most people don't do this 'cause they crap their pants in Terror.

LOL!!

The truth is that if you do it you will grow your business like a bazillion times bigger! (Okay so thats a tiny bit of a exagration: If you believed that word for word then no doubt you belive in those magical flying unicorns too!!)

But seriously it will make a huge difference!

Here is the business model that I have used susessfully for a long time now.
http://lawnsplop.com/images/lawncarebusinessplansmall.png
(http://lawnsplop.com/lawn_care_business_plan.html)

Click her to see a larger picture (http://lawnsplop.com/lawn_care_business_plan.html)

Anyways, I'm Curious. Does the Gopher gang agree with me?

If not, then why not?

What do you think is the most important thing to do when you are starting you lawn business?

Simpkins
03-15-2011, 08:55 PM
There are several very important things but if you had to narrow it down to one, I would have to agree with you 100%. Without a plan of action nothing else you do really matters. (Not to mention if you have to borrow some money one day, you'll certainly need a business plan!)

elrascal
03-15-2011, 09:10 PM
There are several very important things but if you had to narrow it down to one, I would have to agree with you 100%. Without a plan of action nothing else you do really matters. (Not to mention if you have to borrow some money one day, you'll certainly need a business plan!)

Wow, Great!
Good to see some one agrees with me.... Make's a change from listening to my misses NAG at me, (Um, I mean "share her differing point of view with ".)

... I'm Very glad she doesn't go on this forum..
It is like my "Man Cave!"


If she did this would be my face as she chokes me to death in a fit of rage!

:eek:


P.s If you are reading this Rebecca I am 100% totally joking... Sort of!!!:cool:

950thomas
03-15-2011, 09:12 PM
I don't agree I have lots of friends with large landscaping companies and none of us ever had business plans we just put in a lot of hours to make or business suceed not saying a plan doesn't help but I did not need one

elrascal
03-15-2011, 09:21 PM
I don't agree I have lots of friends with large landscaping companies and none of us ever had business plans we just put in a lot of hours to make or business suceed not saying a plan doesn't help but I did not need one

Hi Thomas,

Cool, Cool!!

I agree with you on the "put in a lot of hours" part. Dedication and hard work are an absolute must.

I'm a bit curious though. Did you have no plan at all or did you simply not have one written down?

Like I mean, did you go to sleep at night with a million ideas running through your head?
Such as...
"tomorrow I have got to do this, this and this. Next week I have got to do this and this. And next month I need to do this."

Cheers mate.

950thomas
03-15-2011, 10:13 PM
No plan at all I still have no plan I just go with the flow and run 15 people

elrascal
03-15-2011, 10:18 PM
No plan at all I still have no plan I just go with the flow and run 15 people

Thats great stuff mate! Keep it up.

Steve
03-16-2011, 03:24 AM
It's a real great question.

The tough part about creating a business plan early on, especially if this business is your first one, is that you have no idea about nothing. You don't even know where to begin.

You have no idea on how to project what you will make.

You have no idea what your expenses will be, what you will be require to purchase or anything.

Ultimately, the most important thing I think to do when starting out, is figure out a way to make money at it and do it. Then once you got that going, you can move forwards.

But on the flip side, if someone can start with research and a business plan, they will probably hit the ground running and do great.

This might come down to a difference in methodology. Some people like to plan, and to those I say great! Do it. Others like to wing it and have more fun living their life by the seat of their pants, for those I say, do that too.

elrascal
03-16-2011, 04:13 AM
It's a real great question.

The tough part about creating a business plan early on, especially if this business is your first one, is that you have no idea about nothing. You don't even know where to begin.

You have no idea on how to project what you will make.

You have no idea what your expenses will be, what you will be require to purchase or anything.

Ultimately, the most important thing I think to do when starting out, is figure out a way to make money at it and do it. Then once you got that going, you can move forwards.

But on the flip side, if someone can start with research and a business plan, they will probably hit the ground running and do great.

This might come down to a difference in methodology. Some people like to plan, and to those I say great! Do it. Others like to wing it and have more fun living their life by the seat of their pants, for those I say, do that too.

Good points Steve. I think you need to get a good balance some where in the middle. Some people spend their whole life planning..... and never actually doing anything.

Where as others keep on moving forward with out actually realizing that they are actually walking around in circles. Balance is the key!

Petey
03-20-2011, 11:30 PM
There are several very important things but if you had to narrow it down to one, I would have to agree with you 100%. Without a plan of action nothing else you do really matters. (Not to mention if you have to borrow some money one day, you'll certainly need a business plan!)

Yep I agree with you Simpkins. Planning is the key.... But it's not like you sit down once and work every thing out in one go.

Planning should be a continual process. I actually dedicate one whole day a week to marketing and planning. Because of this my business have grown to a great size in only a year and a half.

elrascal
03-21-2011, 04:36 PM
I actually dedicate one whole day a week to marketing and planning. Because of this my business have grown to a great size in only a year and a half.

Wow, thats great Petey. One day a week is a lot. But I'm sure it is worth while for you. How many staff do you have working for you now?... If you don't mind me asking that is.

jasonw
03-22-2011, 07:23 AM
I personally think anyone who has not set up some sort of plan is on the road to failure. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon enough.

elrascal
03-22-2011, 03:48 PM
Yep I agree with you Simpkins. Planning is the key.... But it's not like you sit down once and work every thing out in one go.

Planning should be a continual process. I actually dedicate one whole day a week to marketing and planning. Because of this my business have grown to a great size in only a year and a half.

Well done mate. Good to hear an encouraging story. One day a week seems a lot but it obviously seems to have worked for you!

I guess we all could probably learn a thing or two from this.

If you don't mind me asking, how may staff have you got?

I find that the bigger your business grows the harder it is to manage everybody. I know spend most of my time managing people. Takes a lot of hard work and patience

Petey
03-22-2011, 09:52 PM
I personally think anyone who has not set up some sort of plan is on the road to failure. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon enough.

And that definitely is not a road any of us want to drive down!!

The road to success is the road I want to be drive my truck down! Sunshine every where with good music in the background and plenty of cash in the pocket. :cool:

Petey
03-27-2011, 05:46 PM
Wow, thats great Petey. One day a week is a lot. But I'm sure it is worth while for you. How many staff do you have working for you now?... If you don't mind me asking that is.

NAh that's fine. I have 5 full time staff and a office lady. So it's enough to keep me busy and out of trouble.

one day a week may seem like a lot but trust me, I would never do less.

"It is better to work On your business and not In your business"

I'm not to sure where I first heard this saying but it is totally golden. Most people who think they have a "business" are actually just self employed.

To own a real "business" it needs to be able to run without you!.

elrascal
03-28-2011, 06:50 PM
one day a week may seem like a lot but trust me, I would never do less.

"It is better to work On your business and not In your business"

I'm not to sure where I first heard this saying but it is totally golden. Most people who think they have a "business" are actually just self employed.

To own a real "business" it needs to be able to run without you!.

Very wise words of wisdom. Some times this is a lot easier said than done thats for sure. I know a lot of people who work very hard all day every day an don't seem to get very far ahead.

Johnyb
04-10-2011, 10:48 PM
It's a real great question.

The tough part about creating a business plan early on, especially if this business is your first one, is that you have no idea about nothing. You don't even know where to begin.

You have no idea on how to project what you will make.

You have no idea what your expenses will be, what you will be require to purchase or anything.



Yeah this is true and it can br rather daunting but It's still worth having an estimated guess. I time goes on you can adjust your goals if they are not attainable.

ProGreen
04-26-2011, 12:52 AM
I agree somewhat, I started out 4 years ago with no plan and I get a new call or two everyday. This was also before I graduated from college with a degree in Business haha. Nowadays I will agree, a plan would be better, but...it doesn't take a rocket science degree to mow grass. :)

wellbiz
04-26-2011, 07:05 AM
Hey guy's,

What do you think is the most important thing to do when you are starting out your lawn care business?

I think the most important thing is to know your costs.

elrascal
05-11-2011, 11:50 PM
I think the most important thing is to know your costs.

Yes I agree it is very important to know your costs. Especially when you are frst starting of and money is tight. I think a lot of people get ahead of themselves some times and go a million miles an hour... only to find that what they are doing isn't balanced.

You have got to know your costs so that you know what kind of cashflow you need in order to stay afloat. The good news is that the longer you've been in business the easier this becomes.

LawnInc
05-18-2011, 01:15 AM
This is what I have found now that I have been in lawn biz for 3 years and snow biz for 15.
1. Know your cost of doing biz.... Anyone can just toss a price out but if you are only breaking even it's not worth getting out of bed.
2. Put in the hours!!!!!!! I mow 6 days a week and install mulch on the 7th. I get out at 5:30am and get home most days around 6:00pm. Not to mention the sleepless nights in the office billing, advetising, crunching numbers, keeping up on my turf care education, looking for the best price on materials, and read, read read.....Oh and the dreams and nightmares that come with owning a biz.
3. Don't think you have to buy the latest and greatest equipment. I started with a 48"WB, 1 Trimmer, 1 Blower (handheld) My pickup and a ramp to put the mower in the back....All of it was used. I put some time and money into it to make it reliable. I have never had a client ask what I have for equipment. (that goes for residential, Commercial is a different animal).
4. Always have money in the bank. This will cover breakdowns, small overhead(fuel, belts, oil, plugs, repairs.ETC) You can also save a bit for newer equipment.
5. Pick a price and stick with it. Figure what you need to charge per square foot and stick to it. Yea you have to be competitive but don't let the lowballers hinder your price structure. I have found that the lowballers don't last very long.
6. Network with others. If you see a landscape truck at Home Depot put a card in the window. Always look for opportunities to sell your self. i.e. I was at Subway and heard a group of people saying how much they hate cutting their lawns and how thier mowers dont start ETC. I walked up and introduced myself and handed each of them a card. Guess who has 3 new clients:cool:
7. Don't get discoraged... I have found that when knocking on doors if you get 100 no's and 1 yes....... You Win!!!!!!
Best of luck to you my friend. I hope you make gazillions of dollars and remember me when you do. I would make a great life coach. LOL!!!!!

Steve
05-19-2011, 04:53 AM
Great post!

This is what I have found now that I have been in lawn biz for 3 years and snow biz for 15.

How do you feel your years in the snow plowing business helped prepare you for your lawn care business?

LawnInc
05-24-2011, 11:38 PM
Here is what I have found.
1. Know your cost!!!!!! Too many people go bid jobs blind. They have no idea what it costs them per square foot. Not just in labor but all overhead included.
2. Stick to your price. Again lowballers are everywhere and have been for years. Those are the guys that don't know the costs of running a biz. They just toss out numbers and find they are going broke. Either they just close up shop or don't pay subs or material bills.
3. Don't be afraid. There is always worry when running a biz but got out and bid as many jobs as you can. Don't shy away from the big jobs. If you have a biz sense you can service any size job. i.e. 4 years into the snow biz I had 22 smaller lots like gas staitions, small business lots, and fast food lots. I decided to bid on a major retail lot. (Target). I spent day and night figuring my costs and how much to charge. I had know idea what others were charging. I submitted my RFP and found I was right on the money with the other bids. I did get the lot. The manager told me the only reason I got the job is because "I had a good handle on my operation". Little did they know I only had 1-F350, 2-Jeep Wranglers, and an old *** Ford Loader/Tractor. Needless to say I still have that lot.

LawnInc
05-24-2011, 11:51 PM
OH..... Find a niche. Everyone offers the same service. Be sure to market yourself as to provide an extra service that nobody else thought of. My extra in the lawn biz is small engine repair. Even the folks that mow thier own grass will need thier mower or chipper fixed. Once I service thier stuff they keep me in mind when they need mulch, mailboxes, hauling etc. Just some extras that when added up can cover a business cost like insurance or a new trimmer.

Steve
05-25-2011, 04:44 AM
What advice do you have for others just getting started when it comes to bidding on snow removal? Do you find it's best to bid per storm or per push or per hour or what?

LawnInc
05-26-2011, 06:37 PM
What advice do you have for others just getting started when it comes to bidding on snow removal? Do you find it's best to bid per storm or per push or per hour or what?

It is hard to say one is best. I do it all three ways. and also add in there seasonal. It is up to the client. I do work for a few municipalities and they want it by the hour per truck and most businesses want it per push. Don't be afraid to ask. Most clients will not hold back from telling you what they want.:D

elrascal
07-05-2011, 07:08 PM
This is what I have found now that I have been in lawn biz for 3 years and snow biz for 15.
1. Know your cost of doing biz.... Anyone can just toss a price out but if you are only breaking even it's not worth getting out of bed.
2. Put in the hours!!!!!!! I mow 6 days a week and install mulch on the 7th. I get out at 5:30am and get home most days around 6:00pm. Not to mention the sleepless nights in the office billing, advetising, crunching numbers, keeping up on my turf care education, looking for the best price on materials, and read, read read.....Oh and the dreams and nightmares that come with owning a biz.
3. Don't think you have to buy the latest and greatest equipment. I started with a 48"WB, 1 Trimmer, 1 Blower (handheld) My pickup and a ramp to put the mower in the back....All of it was used. I put some time and money into it to make it reliable. I have never had a client ask what I have for equipment. (that goes for residential, Commercial is a different animal).
4. Always have money in the bank. This will cover breakdowns, small overhead(fuel, belts, oil, plugs, repairs.ETC) You can also save a bit for newer equipment.
5. Pick a price and stick with it. Figure what you need to charge per square foot and stick to it. Yea you have to be competitive but don't let the lowballers hinder your price structure. I have found that the lowballers don't last very long.
6. Network with others. If you see a landscape truck at Home Depot put a card in the window. Always look for opportunities to sell your self. i.e. I was at Subway and heard a group of people saying how much they hate cutting their lawns and how thier mowers dont start ETC. I walked up and introduced myself and handed each of them a card. Guess who has 3 new clients:cool:
7. Don't get discoraged... I have found that when knocking on doors if you get 100 no's and 1 yes....... You Win!!!!!!
Best of luck to you my friend. I hope you make gazillions of dollars and remember me when you do. I would make a great life coach. LOL!!!!!

WOW! that is some solid insights you have got there. Thanks for sharing this with everyone!

I'm sure if people follow this advise they will have a very strong Chance of increasing their business.