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Hedgemaster
04-18-2011, 10:37 PM
Awesome day today.
Two for two on estimates-turned customers!

#1.
I went to talk to a lady yesterday about a mowing estimate. She gout my number from the bulletin board at a local grocery store.
Since her lawn was larger than I'm used to mowing in my own neighborhood and I was unsure how to accurately estimate the time it would take, I offered her a fist cut at $20 (this was obviously not a $20 lawn), and told her I would give her an figure after having completed the first cut.

Today I cut her lawn. In total, it took an hour, but I know I can shave at least 15 minutes off of that. I took my time with the trimmer, neatening up along the raised, brick sidewalk. I picked up a lot of twigs before mowing, and spent an extra minute or two uprighting planters that had fallen over during the winter, and cleaning/blowing debris off of the porch.

The owner wasn't home when I did the work, so I left an invoice for the $20 "Discounted First Mowing" and a note to call me to discuss my estimate.
She called, said it looked good, and asked what I came up with for a price to mow her lawn. I told her the price would be $45, and if she chose to pay cash, I would take off $5.

She agreed, and we further discussed a "schedule" of weekly mowings early spring while it is growing fast, then going to bi-weekly, as the growth slows.

Yay! My FIRST "regularly scheduled" client!




#2
I answered my phone at 5pm today and was asked about an estimate for maintaining a lawn. He got my info from my Craigslist ad. (FINALLY! After two weeks, I got a call!) I was there to give the estimate at 5:45pm. (if you snooze, you lose)

It's a very small lawn on the edge of the city. He wants someone primarily to mow the lawn so he can spend time with his family. He also is interested in repairing some dead patches in the grass.

The place is 3 miles from me, and located in a semi-affluent community. If I can pick up some nearby clients, it could turn out very well for me.

I quoted him $25 to mow. Much the same as the first client. Weekly and/or as needed. I will need to prepare a quote for the lawn reseeding/patching, but for right now, he's happy to be getting it cut later this week.

Yay! My SECOND "regularly scheduled" client!

After "the handshake" and before I left, I did ask him what it was about my ad that made him call me. He chuckled, and said, "Well, first of all, my wife said I BETTER call SOMEONE!" lol Then he started thinking and said "Well, you know, most of the larger companies don't want a lawn this small, it seems. I thought I'd look on Craigslist, and I saw your ad." He went on to say that he picked up on the fact that it said "professional" and "dependable".
"I also liked that you took the time to make the nice ad that you posted".

:) Awesome. :D I'll be there on Thursday!

Oh, and although they have two dogs, they are cleaned up after, so no land mines to worry about!
This day is just FILLED with "awesome"!

bruces
04-19-2011, 12:48 AM
congrats on the new work .

Southern Oasis
04-19-2011, 01:29 AM
Congratulations! What a great day. What time of day do you usually post your craigslist ads (or is it whenever you have a free moment)? Also, can you post a link to the ad? It might be helpful for others on this forum to see a successful craigslist ad. There are so many ads on craigslist for lawn care, you have to find a way to distinguish yourself. It sounds like you did just that. Nice work!

Hedgemaster
04-19-2011, 01:45 AM
Thanks guys.

I'm sure there's a science to when to post on Craigslist, but right now, I just do it when I have time.

If you post after midnight, you may be near the top in the morning when people browse while drinking their coffee and if you post right around 5pm, your ad will be near the top at the end of the day. Which is better? I haven't a clue. By adding the keywords at the bottom, my ad(s) come up using a variety of searches.

Here's my ad.
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/fgs/2333012138.html

I have a whole thread on it that I posted last week...
http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=13951
I wouldn't go so far as to call it "successful". One (possibly two) call in two weeks is pretty sad if you ask me.

I've tried posting with the ad(image) first, and now I have the text on top. I also ran it (once) without the image, wondering if the "polished look" may be scaring away customers who felt I would be "too expensive". (since I use a "nice ad" as opposed to a text only ad reading "I cuts grasss cheep")
I've changed the title once. It's hard to say what goes on in the reader's mind.
At least I found one person who was drawn in by my work.

Hedgemaster
04-19-2011, 10:18 AM
Got another call this morning. (I believe generated from my CL ad)
The location is only about 1 mile from the one I "signed up" yesterday. (smile)

"I'm on a fixed income and can only afford about $25 every 10 days to two weeks", she said.
Supposed to be "small, flat, and no fences". Works for me - I look at it tomorrow.

Going for three for three. :cool:

Tom53
04-19-2011, 07:11 PM
Congrats on the first two, and good luck on the third!

Steve
04-19-2011, 08:41 PM
Do you know the size of that #1 yard now? Will you be able to use what you learned from that yard to apply to other bids now?

Also, all to often, when someone is unsure of a bid, they tend to guess, and way under-estimate it. What got you to consider doing a trial run at first? I think that is fantastic and I wonder why others don't utilize that strategy more often.

Hedgemaster
04-19-2011, 09:26 PM
Do you know the size of that #1 yard now? Will you be able to use what you learned from that yard to apply to other bids now?

Also, all to often, when someone is unsure of a bid, they tend to guess, and way under-estimate it. What got you to consider doing a trial run at first? I think that is fantastic and I wonder why others don't utilize that strategy more often.

Actually, she told me the measurements of the front when I stopped for the estimate - 100'w x75' from street to the front of the house.
It will definitely be helpful going forward knowing how long it takes to mow a lawn that size.

The idea for the "Discounted First Cut" came out of frustration of simply having no idea how long it will take me to mow a property that isn't similar in size to my own. I didn't want to screw myself as I've done with some other "project" work, and I thought this may be the ideal solution.

It gives me all of the info I need to accurately bid a property and it gives the customer savings right off the bat. Will I run into someone who decides to take advantage and not call me back? Probably, but I think the benefits outweigh the risk at this point. I just need to finalize some exclusions to list in a disclaimer before I post the offer publicly.



Also, for those reading who are looking for ways to get your name out there, the guy (#2) with the small yard mentioned above suggested I place an ad in their local newsletter. It's a great idea, and if he hadn't mentioned it, I would have never known that this particular community has it's own newsletter.

cruzgardening
04-20-2011, 02:54 AM
Got another call this morning. (I believe generated from my CL ad)
The location is only about 1 mile from the one I "signed up" yesterday. (smile)

"I'm on a fixed income and can only afford about $25 every 10 days to two weeks", she said.
Supposed to be "small, flat, and no fences". Works for me - I look at it tomorrow.

Going for three for three. :cool:

hey man im so glad do you think the keywords helped a bit?

Hedgemaster
04-20-2011, 10:36 AM
hey man im so glad do you think the keywords helped a bit?

I doubt it, as I already had keywords listed - I just added more. The zip codes were part of what I added and I think they will help, but this last caller was from a zip I didn't have listed yet, so it's hard to say.

I did get one email inquiry via CL yesterday. (my first)

Hedgemaster
04-20-2011, 09:00 PM
Hedgemaster is now five for five!
All UR Lawns R Belong 2 Me! LOL


Tune in at 11 for the full story...

Hedgemaster
04-21-2011, 12:19 AM
Picked up the "I'm on a fixed income" lady today. That was number three.
That one is an "iffy" one. The lawn should probably be priced closer to $30-$35, but it's not one that will require any special attention - sort of "run down" looking property all around. Just the bare minimum is all she wants. I really only accepted it at $25 since the other job is only a mile away.

The upside is that the rest of the neighborhood is well kept, so my hope is that by being there I can pick up some others nearby. If it doesn't work out with this client, I politely explain why, and move on.


Later, I got a call from the guy who had emailed me a request to look at his property. (Number four)
He's out of state - bought a foreclosure here, and is moving here in August. We discussed mowing and a clean up. I need to finalize the cleanup estimate, but he's mailing me a money order to go cut the grass.
Property is 19,500 sq ft. I gave him a "ballpark figure" of $65. I guess I'll find out when I mow it if I screwed myself on that estimate. (21" Toro push mower)
He only wants it cut once a month, so I'm not making a lot on this one. He's going to try and make it here once a month and mow it himself, so that essentially it will be cut every two weeks by one of us. Said that if he can't make it, he'll pay me to do it.


As I was on my way to the grocery store I got a call from "Number five".
He said he got my card from the board at that same store I was at. He wanted a quote on regular lawn mowing as well as some other items. Since he was located only a mile or so from me, I stopped by on my way home.
Simple lawn, nice, laid back guy. Agreed to my $35 quote, wanted WEEKLY service, was open to having me quote a price for a clean up, and asked about having some mulching done. He even has a hillside in the back to dump debris over if needed. WIN!

Also, he and the first lady with the large lawn (that I did the discounted cut for) are located in the area that does not allow solicitation! I had mentioned elsewhere that it sucked that I couldn't distribute flyers there because it's an area CLOSE to me, and has the income to hire people to do this work. I'm REALLY hoping I can land some others there.

Oh yeah, and no dog poop on all but one of these and they take care of it prior to my arrival.

It was a good day.

cruzgardening
04-21-2011, 03:11 AM
Later, I got a call from the guy who had emailed me a request to look at his property. (Number four)
He's out of state - bought a foreclosure here, and is moving here in August. We discussed mowing and a clean up. I need to finalize the cleanup estimate, but he's mailing me a money order to go cut the grass.
Property is 19,500 sq ft. I gave him a "ballpark figure" of $65. I guess I'll find out when I mow it if I screwed myself on that estimate. (21" Toro push mower)
He only wants it cut once a month, so I'm not making a lot on this one. He's going to try and make it here once a month and mow it himself, so that essentially it will be cut every two weeks by one of us. Said that if he can't make it, he'll pay me to do it.

Awesome it seems that leaving cards on the local market works! haha i had doubts about that one :)

about the guy who called and told you he was sending you a money order, becareful i had a friend who is a Gardener get screwed by some guy claiming to be from outer state did the same thing witht he money order and never got paid! just make sure he signs a contract and you get the money upfront tell him you will rather get a personal check... I really think you should be wary about clients who you don't meet in person! haha anyhow congratulations man hope to see client number 30 pretty soon! haha

Hedgemaster
04-21-2011, 08:04 AM
I have very little firsthand experience with money orders, so I guess I'm confused as to how you "don't get paid" if you wait until you have the money order cashed before doing the job.

I was leery of taking this one due to the fact that he wasn't living here yet. That's why I told him I'd wait until I had the money order before starting.

If there's something I'm not aware of, let me know.

cruzgardening
04-21-2011, 01:27 PM
I have very little firsthand experience with money orders, so I guess I'm confused as to how you "don't get paid" if you wait until you have the money order cashed before doing the job.

I was leery of taking this one due to the fact that he wasn't living here yet. That's why I told him I'd wait until I had the money order before starting.

If there's something I'm not aware of, let me know.

is he mailing you the money order? or are you collecting it at a cashing place? if you are getting it via mail make sure its real... there are some that look real, counterfeited, but once you try to cash them they have no value check before! :)

Hedgemaster
04-21-2011, 09:31 PM
is he mailing you the money order? or are you collecting it at a cashing place? if you are getting it via mail make sure its real... there are some that look real, counterfeited, but once you try to cash them they have no value check before! :)

He is mailing it to me.

I do recall cashing one a year or two ago and the bank teller asked if it was from someone I know/trust. I wasn't sure why, and I didn't ask, as it was from someone I knew.

Hedgemaster
04-21-2011, 10:04 PM
(sizzle)

I'm on fire. seven for seven! :cool:

Or six for six - time will tell if one of them wants me to do regular maintenance.
I was finishing up one of the previous jobs today and had a call from a guy who said he emailed a reply to my CL ad, then decided to try and call me. He's unsure if he will have me do regular mowing, but he's busy and needed it done today for Easter weekend. "No problem", I said.

I gave him a ballpark figure based on what I could see on a satellite view of the property. I told him I would drive over and take a look. He said if the price I quoted works, "go ahead and cut it" - if I think it will be more, give him a call first.
After looking it over (and speaking to a neighbor who was happy to see me there to mow that yard), I felt my quote was fair, and went ahead with the job, leaving an invoice in the door when I finished.

He could use a good spring cleanup - hopefully he calls back with more good news.


NUMBER 7...

Earlier I had a call from a girl who saw my CL ad and was interested in "regular mowing service". I explained that I would try to stop today to look at it and give a quote. I almost didn't make it today because the job described above took a while and I was a good 15 miles away from her place at the end of rush hour. Fortunately I put aside the urge to go home and go see her tomorrow, because I got the job. :)

As we walked around the property, she mentioned that she had spoken to one other person, but he hadn't been by - they only spoke on the phone.*
I told her the price would be in the $35-$45 range.

I then made the following offer... "Let me throw this idea out there and you can let me know if it works for you" I said. "I can do the first cut for $35 - afterward, I can assess if that will be sufficient, or if it will need to be a few dollars more". As I explained it, "If $35 works out - great. If the price needs too be a bit more, you saved a few dollars on the first cut."

Cash payment. Weekly maintenance unless not needed when growth slows, then bi-weekly.

She was agreeable on all counts. Sweeeet.

Oh, and she asked if I was insured. I replied "Yes, I have a copy of my policy in the truck if you'd like to see it". She's the first person to say "Yes, actually, that would be great."
We ended up talking about other things though and we both forgot about the policy. It's there if she needs it though.


Another good day.
:)


* I was told by a guy in the business - "Do NOT wait to call ANYONE back. If you do, they will call someone ELSE." In this case, not only did I return her call within minutes, I went out of my way to get there TODAY, and by doing so, I got the job. (Well, unless the other guy gave her a higher quote without even seeing it)
Point is - you snooze, you lose.

psparaco
04-23-2011, 12:04 AM
You sound like your starting to have a good year. Now i am confused. Do you have 7 clients total or 7 from this year and others who carried over the contract of your services from last year?

I started the year (my 3rd year in operation) with 16 clients who were carried over from last year and all have told me from my welcome email I sent out in March to the start of the year. I distributed 443 flyers in 3 distinct areas on March 31st. Since then I have recieved 16 calls. Of thoses about 10 signed with us. 7 other new clients i have gotten came from referrals from friends, family, current clients, and 1 who searched lawn care on google in my area.

As for pricing. I dont chance it with giving a discounted 1st cut price. I may have considered doing that my first year. The way i establish pricing is this :

1. Middle of group townhomes vary from $20-25
2. end of group townhomes vary from $25-30
3. Corner lot townhomes (either it touches 2 streets or an alley and a street automatically get charged $30.

Single family homes:
Any property 10,890 square feet (1/4 acre) and under range from $30-45.
10,890 sqft (1/4 acre) to 21,780 sqft (1/2 acre) range from $45-60. Over 21,780 sqft we tend to need to come out to do an estimate as my experience with such size I have no experence yet. Amount of obstacles, gardens, trees, etc don't matter that much.

I explain that most customers who only prefer bi-weekly service are those who own the property and do not live there and only need it maintained to keep the county or city ordinance off their backs with fines. Most who live on the property who request bi-weekly i end up talking them into weekly service.

So far this year we have 33 clients, 34 after tomorrow as we are signing another one tomorrow afternoon. (the google places guy who search lawn care in my area) We did lose one client today.

I think i should elaborate on this one. I can't help but laugh about it cause you can't please everyone.

ok here goes. I put a flyer in her door on 04/01/11. She called me on 04/10/11 and signed with us that day. We cut her that week and this past week. This is where it gets funny. We cut her grass on Monday 04/18/11. It rained all day on Tuesday and then 80 degeee weather on Wednesday. she calls me about 5pm on Wednesday to complain her front is longer in length then her neighbors who cut theirs sometime Wednesday afternoon. I explained to her about the rain and hot weather on Wednesday and that we can not control the length at which her neighbor cuts their grass, the type of mower they use and when their neighbor cuts their grass. I explained if she would have called us monday saying she was not satified with the service we could have come back out and re cut it free of charge. I texted her tonight asking when we can come pick up the payment tomorrow since the contract gives her a 5 day grace period to pay, that she was canceling her service because the grass was not cut to her standard. When i asked what her standard was. She explained it did not match her neighbor's grass length lmao. So i politely explained again about the rain and heat on wed. and sorry she was canceling and would be by tomorow to pick up the payment.

Sorry i dont need clients like that. you want it super short aka scalped. Then hire the 10 yr old down the street to do it. We don't do that and never will. I explained the health of the grass about only cutting 1/3 of the grass total length and that scalping is unhealthy for her lawn but she didn't care. she claim she can't affford to pay $20.00 a week yet her landlord charges her $60 if its not cut. Be my guest fire us. We dont have time for clients like that.

Well i am off to bed. Good luck hedge with your season. Hope it gets as busy as ours is getting.

Paul

Hedgemaster
04-23-2011, 01:32 AM
LOL Interesting stuff. I have a lot to look forward to.


No. I have 7 clients total.
I just started up last summer and only had one mowing client for the summer. The rest of the work I did last season was handyman work and some mowing while working for hourly rate as a subcontractor fixing up properties to be sold.

This is my first "real" season "on my own".

So far, I've only offered the discount to one person, as the rest have been "OK" with my quote.

The one I did this morning for $35 I may need to bump up to $40 as it was a bit more work than I expected. If she's willing to stay weekly though, I may leave it at $35.
The damned gas prices are killing me. Even if I only need to go five miles, that's 10 miles round trip and getting close to $5 just to get there and back.



Here's a question for you veterans...

Do you charge MORE for the first cut of the season if they have waited too long to get it taken care of?
I mean, I've cut my own lawn three times already, and these people have got some seriously high grass now with all the rain we've had/are having.

I was going to cut Mrs. "fixed income" on Thursday, but she said "I don't get paid til Friday, and I don't have $25." The grass will be worse next week, but this one I don't trust to pay me AFTER I do the work.

I also want to get my "beater mower" out of storage for her "lawn". It's got some questionable spots that could hold hidden surprises and I'm not willing to risk damaging my brand new Toro on some "crap yard".

cruzgardening
04-23-2011, 02:31 AM
LOL Interesting stuff. I have a lot to look forward to.


No. I have 7 clients total.
I just started up last summer and only had one mowing client for the summer. The rest of the work I did last season was handyman work and some mowing while working for hourly rate as a subcontractor fixing up properties to be sold.

This is my first "real" season "on my own".

So far, I've only offered the discount to one person, as the rest have been "OK" with my quote.

The one I did this morning for $35 I may need to bump up to $40 as it was a bit more work than I expected. If she's willing to stay weekly though, I may leave it at $35.
The damned gas prices are killing me. Even if I only need to go five miles, that's 10 miles round trip and getting close to $5 just to get there and back.



Here's a question for you veterans...

Do you charge MORE for the first cut of the season if they have waited too long to get it taken care of?
I mean, I've cut my own lawn three times already, and these people have got some seriously high grass now with all the rain we've had/are having.

I was going to cut Mrs. "fixed income" on Thursday, but she said "I don't get paid til Friday, and I don't have $25." The grass will be worse next week, but this one I don't trust to pay me AFTER I do the work.

I also want to get my "beater mower" out of storage for her "lawn". It's got some questionable spots that could hold hidden surprises and I'm not willing to risk damaging my brand new Toro on some "crap yard".

hey bro from my experience working with a landscape/Lawn care company the people that have taller grass then 2 feet get charge a one time fee as if you charged them for a full month... so if you would charge that home $25 you would charge them $100 if you where to charge the home $35 you would charge them $140 even though i believe this is only for big companies i say its a good start, if you see my other post called Its a Jungle out there (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=14119) youll see what i just charged 2 clients that might bring some ideas ur way.

another thing i can imagine is that it all depends on the size of the homes :)

psparaco
04-24-2011, 01:33 AM
Here's a question for you veterans...

Do you charge MORE for the first cut of the season if they have waited too long to get it taken care of?
I mean, I've cut my own lawn three times already, and these people have got some seriously high grass now with all the rain we've had/are having.

I was going to cut Mrs. "fixed income" on Thursday, but she said "I don't get paid til Friday, and I don't have $25." The grass will be worse next week, but this one I don't trust to pay me AFTER I do the work.

I also want to get my "beater mower" out of storage for her "lawn". It's got some questionable spots that could hold hidden surprises and I'm not willing to risk damaging my brand new Toro on some "crap yard".

If for some god forsaken reason they haven't cut their grass at all since the season began on April 4th, we would charge them $10-$20 more than the normal rate depending on the actually height of the grass. Some lawns were 12-16 inches. We have cut our own lawn twice. It would have been 3 times but it rained again on Friday this week and we couldn't get to it. UGHHHHH i hate rain.

We request all clients sign a General service agreement if they want to be put on our schedule. Anyone who refuses either we dont hire them or they dont get placed on the schedule and are cut if we have the extra time. (rarely) I am attaching a copy of it if you would like to use it.

Our contract states you have 5 days to pay from completion of work.

If you do not trust her enough to pay afterwards. Change something in the contract that says she must pay for services prior to any work being performed. Most clients who i dont trust. I don't hire. PERIOD. why deal with problem customers. AVOID them. you'll thank me later.

As with worrying about damaging your mower. ALWAYS walk a new property on foot first to address any issues that may injury you, someone else or damage your mower and mark it with something so you know to pay special attention when you goto cut that area. Last thing you need is to hit a rock, it fires like a bullet and takes out a car or house window, your blade gets bent, you mess your leg up, and the list goes on.

Hope my advice has helped ya.

Paul

p.s. Stop sending all this dang rain to baltimore. I dont want no more lol. jk.

Hedgemaster
04-25-2011, 08:49 PM
psparaco,
Thanks a lot for taking the time to reply. ^^^


I picked up another weekly client today!

I should have charged more for this first cut I did, as the grass was pretty high. Live and learn.
Divorcee selling her house - called and asked if I could come over for an estimate and "cut it today", as she had potential buyers coming by.

I was able to fit her in and she also asked about trimming some of the shrubs. I sort of made up for the loss on the grass with the shrub trim, as it was pretty simple. But either way, she wants me to "do it every week".
Awesome.


I also got a call for a "one time" mow that I was able to grab while I was out doing the lady above. (wait - that didn't come out right. :o )
I gave him a price for a regular service as well - just in case, but I doubt I'll be doing his again, since he just called because his mower wasn't working.

This one was a bear to cut. I tried bagging, but two rows and it was full, so back to mulching I went. That Toro really is impressive - only a few clumps in the thickest part of the yard - the rest was great.

from now on I'm taking the advice above and charging MORE for the first cut if it's the first it has been cut this season.


A few more calls from my Craigslist ad and one email... it's about time!

A couple estimates tomorrow too.

Steve
04-26-2011, 10:48 AM
What is your view now on craigslist and why you feel you didn't get much in the way of calls previously but now it seemed to pick up. Do you think it was your message or do you think it was more of a timing issue?

Hedgemaster
04-26-2011, 11:39 AM
What is your view now on craigslist and why you feel you didn't get much in the way of calls previously but now it seemed to pick up. Do you think it was your message or do you think it was more of a timing issue?

I'm guessing it was mostly the timing. Bad weather had kept everyone indoors. Now that they have come outside, they see grass that needed cut 3 weeks ago!

Also, it seems to be a mix of people who search CL. Rich, poor, young, old...

Hedgemaster
04-27-2011, 12:32 AM
Yesterday I got my first rejection due to price.

I told him it would be about $40. He said that was higher than he was paying a company last year, so I asked how far off I was.
"I was paying them $28 - three guys came in, and were done in about 10 minutes", he said. While he acknowledged that it was hard for someone like me (using a 21" push mower) to compete with that, it didn't help HIM any that my price was higher.
Oh well - moving on...



Today I picked up two more weekly clients. One for $35 and another for $25. The funny thing is that the $35 client is a property I maintained last summer while the home was for sale. I also did some home repairs that needed done there in order to comply with "code" and while working in the house, I placed one of my cards in a kitchen drawer with a "Welcome to your new home" note indicating that I had been caring for the lawn, and that if they should need any help in that regard, to feel free to contact me. She did.
:)

elrascal
04-27-2011, 12:49 AM
Cograts mate. It's such a good feeling when things go the way you want them to. Well done and keep it up.

Hedgemaster
04-28-2011, 01:06 AM
First of all, today I got one of the best calls you can get - the next door neighbor of a client wanting to have their lawn cut too!
(happy dance!)
The original client is just a $25 yard - very small, and this one will be much the same, but the fact that I only have to unload ONCE is priceless. The fact that they have a GATE connecting the two back yards is icing on the cake!


Also, back to the pricing for "too high" grass...
I stopped to give an estimate for a "one time" mow to get them started for the season. Hectic schedules have kept them from mowing, and now it's higher than even my Toro can probably handle. I actually mentioned to the guy that he may want to consider getting a price from someone with a zero turn, as I'd hate to do the job "half-assed", leaving a mess behind, because I'm not equipped for that large of a job.

I realize it's not the best marketing strategy to point out your weaknesses to a potential client, but truthfully, I've always had good results with being honest, and this was no exception. He said something to the effect of "I appreciate your honesty", and went on talking about how long it normally takes him to mow which was helpful, as I've never cut a lawn of this size, and wasn't really sure how long it would take. I said I would probably charge around $60-$65 for a "normal" cut. He mentioned "cutting it twice" and I said I could do that. He must have liked something about what I was "selling", because he said I could think it over and give a call with a quote.

I texted them a quote of $100 and the reply was essentially "OK - When can you come and do it?" LOL
I told them I will do it on Saturday.


Five estimates to do tomorrow! Two are for rental properties. I don't know what to expect there. Either they will want it for nothing, or they won't care, and just want it "done".

Wish me luck.

Oh yeah... psparaco - thanks again for that agreement. I utilized it and made some slight modifications to a few items. (see attachment)
I really appreciate you sharing that - it was very kind of you and this new guy truly appreciates the help! Sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference.

ToastedToad
04-28-2011, 01:28 AM
I am finding that most folks this time of year will say yes to the "One Time/First Mows" as long as it's not too high of a quote. I've only had one person say no so far. They just really need to have it done and don't want to deal with it, or can't.

It's great that you are turning these into weeklies too. Way to go!

Just got a call from a woman who lives just around the corner from me, she wanted a weekly service, signed her up, her Mom needed some serious mowing/weed eating done (which looks like it is going to turn permanent, 52,000 sq ft baby!) and her grandma also wants an estimate...whohoooo 3 potential jobs from one doorhanger!

Keep it up Hedge!

Hedgemaster
04-28-2011, 11:59 PM
Man. I'm so tired I don't even know what to type.

I did estimates all day today with the exception of one cut.

I think I picked up two or three more today, binging my total of regular clients to ELEVEN (11) :)

There are also two "one-time" jobs, one of which has the potential for biweekly service and the other is a rental who just requested two specific dates for cuts... maybe she has other properties and will like what I do when I fill in on those dates?

I'm waiting to hear back from about five others...
Damn. I went from ZERO accounts to "all this" in less than two weeks!



On a side note, I finally calculated my gas mileage for my truck today... just a hair over 11 MPG. Ugh.

Hedgemaster
05-10-2011, 12:32 AM
Sheesh. I don't even know how many clients I have now... I seem to pick up one or two every other day. Have to go through my paperwork when I get a minute.


THIS one was the freakiest one yet. The other day I was on my way to mow two client's lawns in the same area. When I turn onto the road that gets me there, I noticed a home with a lawn that has obviously not been cut this season.
I drive on and complete my jobs.

Today, as I drove to the same area for another client, and an estimate, I noted that the lawn at this same home still has not had it's lawn cut. "Hmmm...", I thought. "I wonder if I should stop there and leave a card on my way back through?" It is obvious that the lawn needed cut - maybe I would get lucky?

I stopped and did my scheduled estimate and proceeded to the first cut of the day. As I turned off the ignition and wrote down my mileage my phone rang.
"Hi, I saw your ad on Craigslist, and I need an estimate to have my lawn mowed", says the voice on the other end. "I live in (town name) and I'm right across from the high school."

I'm thinking "No - freaking - way" LOL!
"You wouldn't happen to be the first house on the right when you turn onto (name of road) would you?", I asked curiously.
"YES! that's me, the one that hasn't been cut yet!"

Honest to God. The owner of the house that I was going to drop of a card at CALLED ME 15 minutes after I drove by.

FREAKY!!!

She asked when I could cut it if the price was agreeable - said some other people never showed up as promised. "I can cut it today if you'd like", was my reply.
"I love you!" she said! Hahaha! Too funny!

I told her about the whole "was going to drop off a card" thing. "It must be fate" she said.


I ended up stopping by to look at it, and she happened to pull in at the same time. (more "freaky") I told her it would be $45 for a regular cut, but for the first cut I'd have to charge $60 and that I'd need to cut the front yard twice, as it was SO high. She agreed, asked me for a quote on hedge trimming, and I went to work on that beast of a job.

psparaco
05-10-2011, 01:48 AM
Hedge....
If you haven't gotten the gopher software. GET IT!!!. you will be able to manage all your clients, scheduling, billing, etc. I have been using it over a year now and I gotta tell ya. I have 33 current clients. I've had a total of 107clients over the course of since i got the software in spring of 2010. Just a little FYI

Ryans Custom mowing
05-10-2011, 02:05 AM
That is good news to hear when some one gets new clients.

Hedgemaster
05-10-2011, 05:54 PM
Hedge....
If you haven't gotten the gopher software. GET IT!!!. you will be able to manage all your clients, scheduling, billing, etc. I have been using it over a year now and I gotta tell ya. I have 33 current clients. I've had a total of 107clients over the course of since i got the software in spring of 2010. Just a little FYI

Going to do that. At least I have some income now to cover the purchase. :)

Hedgemaster
05-10-2011, 06:27 PM
That is good news to hear when some one gets new clients.

How about when someone gets someone else's clients?

:eek:


I had a call about mulching "and give us a price for mowing too - our current guy is getting sloppy".

Apparently the guy who does their lawn has all but stopped using the trimmer, leaving tufts of tall grass along edges and walks. The guy said he also "leaves strips of grass that he missed".

My price was $5 more than the other guy, "but I'd rather pay someone more to do the job right", said the homeowner.

They are going to talk it over and let me know if they want to use me. Hopefully it doesn't piss someone off to the point of... well, you know what I mean... some people don't handle being "let go" very well - even when they are to blame.



Turned one down today too. Steps - I don't do steps. ;)

Steve
05-10-2011, 08:22 PM
Keep us posted on how that customer goes.

cruzgardening
05-11-2011, 12:21 AM
How about when someone gets someone else's clients?

:eek:


I had a call about mulching "and give us a price for mowing too - our current guy is getting sloppy".

Apparently the guy who does their lawn has all but stopped using the trimmer, leaving tufts of tall grass along edges and walks. The guy said he also "leaves strips of grass that he missed".

My price was $5 more than the other guy, "but I'd rather pay someone more to do the job right", said the homeowner.

They are going to talk it over and let me know if they want to use me. Hopefully it doesn't piss someone off to the point of... well, you know what I mean... some people don't handle being "let go" very well - even when they are to blame.



Turned one down today too. Steps - I don't do steps. ;)


im sure you wont have a problem. I mean here in the LA area we always get called to do the job that the other guy did not take care of and we never have problems do not be afraid of that and congrats on this seasons success man :)

Hedgemaster
05-12-2011, 12:14 AM
Small victory...

Well, back in the OP, I talked about getting my second client. Then I ended up getting the lawn next door which has a gate providing convenient access between the two. Last week, the guy at the house next to the second place asked me to mow his. I charged $25 just like the other two, but after finishing, I realized I may have priced it a bit high, as his yard is smaller, and not as "neat" as the first two. Oh, and his yard is accessible from the second house. This is all very good, since these three are on the "hill" side of the street, and only the first house has access that doesn't require steps. (I refuse to carry a mower up steps - period)

Anyway, after finishing the cut at #3, he told me that his wife was mad that he asked me to do it, and that I wouldn't be needed weekly. (he recently had surgery, so wife was going to cut it) "Oh well", I thought - would have been nice to have three in a row.

I had to swing by the area the next day, so (Hmmm... maybe I already told this story?) I dropped off a bus card with a note explaining that I had reviewed my notes on the time it took to cut his lawn and that I could cut it for $15 if the price was a concern.

Today, when I pulled up to house #2 with a load of topsoil, the guy from house #3 stopped in his car as he was driving by and said, "Hey, you can cut my lawn!"

:D

Awesome. It's only $15, but each of the other two are fetching $25, and they take 30-45 mins to complete, while his only takes 15-20, and I only have to unload once, with direct access from yard, to yard, to yard.
Works for me!

:)



I also had my first inquiry regarding snow removal from a new biweekly client that lives about a mile from my house. More awesome.

Steve
05-12-2011, 03:29 PM
It's amazing how tough it is to get those first few customers but once you got them, things start to pick up and more customers begin to follow.

mott57
05-12-2011, 07:16 PM
Hi!! We are just getting started and would like some suggestions for a first time ad. Should a photo of some sort also be added? We have a company name picked out. Thanks! Would like to do foreclosed properties also.:)

Hedgemaster
05-12-2011, 09:47 PM
How about when someone gets someone else's clients?

:eek:


I had a call about mulching "and give us a price for mowing too - our current guy is getting sloppy".

Apparently the guy who does their lawn has all but stopped using the trimmer, leaving tufts of tall grass along edges and walks. The guy said he also "leaves strips of grass that he missed".

My price was $5 more than the other guy, "but I'd rather pay someone more to do the job right", said the homeowner.

They are going to talk it over and let me know if they want to use me. Hopefully it doesn't piss someone off to the point of... well, you know what I mean... some people don't handle being "let go" very well - even when they are to blame.



Turned one down today too. Steps - I don't do steps. ;)

Quoting myself. lol...

Looks like the "sloppy lawn guy" lost a customer. I received an email asking me to start next week and to let them know a day ahead of time so they can clean up the dog poos.

ALL UR LAWNS R BELONG 2 ME!


:D



I mean, how hard is it? Trim, mow, blow - pretty simple. I didn't ask if he cleaned up afterward, but of the three, I guess the only part you can't skip is the "mow" portion. Seriously, I can understand skipping the trimming if it doesn't need it, but I saw the place - tall grasses poking up all over the place.

They won't regret their decision. Last week one of my regulars who is usually home when I cut told me "You do nice work". I've cut his front lawn diagonally, and also at an "V-shaped" angle that follows the sidewalk. Takes a few minutes extra, but some lawns just beg to have interesting cuts done to them.

I also stopped to talk to a neighbor at one of my jobs today. I complimented him on his lawn and he explained that he doesn't cut it - he has a company maintain it. "We'll they do a good job", I said. We chatted for a while, and at one point he said that he watched me mowing last week, and that he took one of my cards (Artie's card holder on the truck while parked). "I'll pass on your info if I hear of anyone looking", he said. "You do a good job!" He said he was impressed by my trimming detail, and that he liked that I trimmed FIRST - that some of the big guys do that last, and it leaves clippings behind. "Nice, straight lines too!"

:)

Speaking of chatting to neighbors... another thing I'll mention to those just starting out is to TALK to EVERYONE YOU SEE - EVERYWHERE.

Even if it's nothing more than a "Nice day, isn't it?" You can open doors you never knew existed, just by initiating a conversation.

During a job today, an older man pulled up across the street. He had a trailer of topsoil for another house on the street. Long story short, he is "retired", and used to own a landscaping company. We talked a while and he gave me some good advice on a variety of topics. He even took the time to look at my mower blade and sharpened it for me on the spot. He didn't just sharpen it, he SHOWED me HOW to sharpen it up for a clean cut.
We talked a bit about "shortcut employees" and how my "perfectionist" attitude is a "good thing". I gave him a card and he said he'd pass along my info if he gets a call for work he doesn't have time for.

:)


Oh, and if you're like me, and can't remember names very well, write it down. As soon as I finish talking to someone, I make a note in my log book. I note the person's name, what we talked about, and where the conversation took place.

I think I cut 8 lawns today - last two in light rain... I'm beat.

bruces
05-12-2011, 10:09 PM
thats very nice to hear hedgemaster ,congrats to you!!

SpokaneSRC
05-13-2011, 11:44 PM
That's where the damn sunshine has been. In Pittsburgh following Hedgemaster around.
That's great that things are happening for you.

Hedgemaster
05-13-2011, 11:54 PM
That's where the damn sunshine has been. In Pittsburgh following Hedgemaster around.
That's great that things are happening for you.

Thanks. It may not seem like it, but even the brief words of encouragement from you guys is helpful.

Sunshine? I'll have you know I was mowing in the rain yesterday and today. (and likely tomorrow since I couldn't get to two jobs today)

Actually, this week was the best we've seen all season. Mon, Tues, Wed were 100% dry. Thursday it rained lightly for a while late day, then mid day today again we had some thundershowers and rain. I broke out the "emergency poncho" for my last cut and kept on truckin'.

Before this week, we had not had one week with more than one rain-free day.

psparaco
05-14-2011, 01:37 AM
I wish i had your issues with rain. Here in baltimore, Maryland. we haven't had a drop a rain since May 4, 2011. Of the 35 clients we have we cut zero this week. Temps have been fine for good grass growing but no rain for it to grow. We did cut 4 lawns, 2 of which were our bi weekly cuts.

They are calling for showers/thunderstorms tonight though May 27th. Off and on scattered storms. I been wishing for rain but dam. not that much lol. Even though each day their saying like an hour or 2 of rain then just cloudy. so next week we'll see how many cuts we actually get done.

Paul

nickeckes
05-15-2011, 01:36 AM
going to give you a tip about your Craigslist post. .. LOOSE THE KEYWORDS. . I have been on craigslist since it came out, alot of people hate (keywords) makes your ad look to gaudy plus also alot of "SCAM" ads have keywords at the bottom, just my thoughts. . .

Growing Green
05-15-2011, 09:15 PM
Thanks. It may not seem like it, but even the brief words of encouragement from you guys is helpful.

Sunshine? I'll have you know I was mowing in the rain yesterday and today. (and likely tomorrow since I couldn't get to two jobs today)

Actually, this week was the best we've seen all season. Mon, Tues, Wed were 100% dry. Thursday it rained lightly for a while late day, then mid day today again we had some thundershowers and rain. I broke out the "emergency poncho" for my last cut and kept on truckin'.

Before this week, we had not had one week with more than one rain-free day.

Hedgemaster,

How do you cut in the rain? It seems like the lawns don't look as nice when I cut them when they are wet. If I wake up in the morning and there is a ton of dew on the grass I won't cut it until it is pretty dry. Is this just me? I've been wondering this for a while. By the way I'm up to 18 reoccuring custumers now from starting in January. Have other customers that use me just to use the organic products I offer too.

Take care,
Matt

Hedgemaster
05-16-2011, 01:11 AM
Hedgemaster,

How do you cut in the rain? It seems like the lawns don't look as nice when I cut them when they are wet. If I wake up in the morning and there is a ton of dew on the grass I won't cut it until it is pretty dry. Is this just me? I've been wondering this for a while. By the way I'm up to 18 reoccuring custumers now from starting in January. Have other customers that use me just to use the organic products I offer too.

Take care,
Matt

It depends on the lawn. If it's thick and healthy, it doesn't cut as well, and bagging is pretty much mandatory, which means HEAVY clippings.

I'm still learning, but I'm getting a feel for which lawns I can cut when slightly wet, as opposed to which ones I'm better off waiting for a dry day. The ones that aren't as nice can be cut in a downpour and it won't make a difference. The type of mower/blade used may be a factor too.

If I get a minute, I'll post a pic of one of my nicer lawns that I cut in the morning after it rained overnight. I had to bag it, but it cut well enough.

Hedgemaster
05-18-2011, 11:59 PM
going to give you a tip about your Craigslist post. .. LOOSE THE KEYWORDS. . I have been on craigslist since it came out, alot of people hate (keywords) makes your ad look to gaudy plus also alot of "SCAM" ads have keywords at the bottom, just my thoughts. . .


I dunno... I keep getting calls to the point where I'm feeling overwhelmed as a noob.
I don't think anyone is too concerned with keywords all the way at the bottom of a listing. I think they are more concerned with getting their lawns cut - and the keywords help them get to my listing if they use the search bar.

I appreciate your concerns, but I don't think it's keeping clients away or I wouldn't be working from 8am until 8pm.
:)

Hedgemaster
05-19-2011, 12:02 AM
(I meant to post this here, but posted in my "Craigslist" thread by mistake, so I'll do a copy/paste here)


I picked up another client today.

Was yanking out some 8' arborvitae with my truck this morning when the phone rang... "Let me step inside my truck and take down your info".
Always answer the phone if you can, as it's best to make that first contact without leaving messages.

She wanted an estimate for regular mowing and I was able to stop by after the "tree job" was complete.
"Can you tell us how much to mow weekly and for a one-time hedge trim?"
I measured the hedges, wrote down my price on the back of a business card, and rang the doorbell again.
"OK, let me talk to my husband - I'll be right back".

Two minutes later it was "You can start whenever you'd like".

We talked for a while and I asked if she got my name from Craigslist - she did. I was complimented on my advertisement - it's what prompted her to call me over some of the others.

I also learned that they had someone else lined up to do their lawn and they came over once and haven't returned in two weeks. She said that if they come to cut before I do, she will "let them go" at that point, as she doesn't want to deal with people who are no-shows and don't even call.

Their loss, as this one is less than 2 miles from my home.



Also, I may have a "barter deal" happening with a potential client.
I stopped to give an estimate yesterday, and sent my quote via email, as nobody was home when I stopped by.

The first reply I got was "Thanks, but I think I'm going to do it myself now."
No big deal - it was at my maximum range of 10 miles (for reg mowing svc) anyway. I sent him a "Thank you for considering me" email, and mentioned that I saw the info in his signature and I'll be looking at his website.

Turns out he owns a small sportswear/promotions company. Long story short, he further explained that his young son was wanting to mow the lawn for spending money, but if I was interested in a "trade", to let him know what type of things I was interested in, and we could swap services.

I got a price on some yard signs from him and I'm going to look into the price for some shirts. I've been putting it off (shirts/hats/signs) for lack of funds, but this may work out pretty well... I help him - he helps me.

I'll let you know how it works out.

Hedgemaster
05-20-2011, 11:38 PM
Got an email from "barter guy".

He'll give me TWO 2-sided 18x24 yard signs with stakes for one cut of his lawn.

He had quoted me a price of $22 each sign and I had quoted him a price of $40 to cut his lawn, so I'm going to go for it.

Maybe work on getting some shirts too. :)



Hedge/bartermaster :cool:

Hedgemaster
05-23-2011, 11:29 PM
Got another call this morning. (I believe generated from my CL ad)
The location is only about 1 mile from the one I "signed up" yesterday. (smile)

"I'm on a fixed income and can only afford about $25 every 10 days to two weeks", she said.
Supposed to be "small, flat, and no fences". Works for me - I look at it tomorrow.

Going for three for three. :cool:


Forgot to mention it, but last week I cut this one loose.

I did the first cut - I didn't even charge extra for the high grass. It was a pain.

I had to wait a week to get paid because "I get paid next Friday and I don't have any money until then". (blah blah blah)
I did it because the damned grass would have been out of control in another week. I stopped by the following week and she did have my money, so that was good, but that's where the "good" ended.

Since it was made abundantly clear that she only gets paid every two weeks and she's on a "fixed income" (cry me a river - anyone who works is pretty much on a fixed income - when was the last time anyone working 9-5 gotten a raise lately?), and that it has to wait two weeks to get cut again.

Well, I went back two weeks later. The grass was even higher than it was the first time it was cut. The last time it took an hour and a half... for twenty-freaking-five dollars.
I wanted to say "screw this" and go home, but I figured I'd give it a shot.
Well, I trimmed the perimeter then got out the mower. At this point, the client stepped out and gave me the envelope with payment for this cut, and then went back inside.
I had the mower on the highest setting and it was bogging out. WTF?
I cut the small front yard and the side along the alley facing the neighbors and called it quits.
The back was even worse than the front and it was big... way bigger than a $25 cut should be, and especially after two weeks of warm and rainy weather
There was no way in hell I was going to kill myself and my mower over $25.

I felt bad, but it is what it is. I cut the front TWICE because it was so high and I blew everything clear, then I knocked on the door.
I explained that there was a problem because the grass had grown much higher than I had anticipated in two weeks, and that I would not be able to cut the back as it was now too high for my equipment to cut. I told her that I went ahead and cut the front to at least get that part presentable for her, and that I felt badly for not being able to complete the job.

"I'm willing to give you your money back because I feel badly that I can't get it all cut for you", I said.
She took the envelope without hesitation and said, I'll find someone else to do it, and went inside.

:eek: Nope. Not a "thank you" to be heard. Not for offering the money back, nor for the HOUR and fifteen minutes I had spent getting her front yard neatened up.

Oh well. Live and learn. I'm just glad I cut ties at this point before it got even worse. Honestly, I did what I did more for the neighbors who have to look at her trash house than for her.

Some other moron can deal with her from now on - I have a business to run.

:)

Steve
05-24-2011, 04:20 AM
"I'm willing to give you your money back because I feel badly that I can't get it all cut for you", I said.
She took the envelope without hesitation and said, I'll find someone else to do it, and went inside.

WOW!!!

As you look back on this now, what's your view on it? Would you have done anything differently or are you just glad you are out of it?

I am sure a lot of other members find themselves in such situations and look for ways to get out of it too.

psparaco
05-25-2011, 12:29 AM
I would have knocked on the door and explained the grass has grown alot higher in these past 2 week then the last time you cut the grass due to the hot and rainy weather and that the $25.00 would only cover the front and I was going to require another $25-$30 to cover the backyard. I would have hit it with a weedwacker to trim it down to mower height to cut it. I would not have offered her the money back. I DO NOT WORK FOR FREE. If she asked for it back. I would have said no we already cut the front. We're even and left. Let her be a bitz about it. she'll get whats coming to her. Its called county fines for tall grass.

As i am driving down the road..... ring ring. hello county maintenance dept. Yes i would like to report a property who has neglected to cut their lawn and its now xx feet tall. ok thanks for calling. .... good bye.

Oh yes i can play dirty. you screw me over somehow. You'll get it one way or another lmao.

nickeckes
05-25-2011, 02:25 PM
After reading your post about the tall grass, i have noticed this year with a few of my customers that ever since i raised my rates this year they have went to a (i will call you every other week when i need a cut) and yes the grass gets long and i have to set my lawn mower on the highest setting, but i guess its just there choice on what they want and how to save money! i will admit there grass does look like he** after it is cut becuase they are to cheap and dont want to pay alittle xtra money, But what do you do!!!

I also have a guy that i mow for who buys and sell houses and rents out houses, he is one of my best customers. He likes all the property lawns to be cut every 5-7 days. he told me i want my lawns to look nice( he said "i got to spend money to make money and a nice looking lawn is a good selling point") also said he dont want to pay the city the $100 bucks to come cut the grass if it gets to long!

Lastly for all the new guys out there, your going to quote a lawn way to low, and your going to be to "shy" to tell the owner you made a mistake and that you need more money to do it, (because you dont want to loose the customer) and you dont look forward to going to mow the lawn everyweek! well i can say i have done this, but my tip is you may hate cutting this lawn for the $xxx u qutoed them but always remember to make the lawn look great because you never no someone in the neighborhood might see you and want you to mow there lawn(happened to me) i ended up getting 4 other houses in that neighborhood which made up for my mistake quoting to low. .

950thomas
05-25-2011, 10:43 PM
I will honor my price on anything I bid I will not go back and ask for more money it is not the customers fault u don't know how to bid jobs

bruces
05-25-2011, 11:46 PM
I will honor my price on anything I bid I will not go back and ask for more money it is not the customers fault u don't know how to bid jobs

I have to say I completely agree with this , but hedgemaster returning the cash after spending enough time on the job sounds more than reasonable as well .

Hedgemaster
05-26-2011, 12:59 AM
I'm learning to bid what I want, rather than thinking about what I think the client will want to pay. I have Thursday's, Fridays, and Mondays pretty much filled up, so no sense taking on low paying jobs to fill in the rest - that just means I won't have room for any better paying jobs.

As for biweekly clients - I find that most are renters, or rentals, and are only interested in doing the bare minimum. Translation - they are cheap, and all seem to think that a $25 WEEKLY cut should be the same price for every TWO weeks. Screw that. I mean, I don't mind skipping a week when the growth slows, but to start off biweekly in the early spring is asking for a lot of work with little pay.

It really IS a crap shoot with what people are willing to pay. Today I did a biweekly that I have priced at $20/cut. It took me all of 8 minutes to trim a hillside, then I went and got the blower and cleared the sidewalk... $20.

I have another that takes an hour and 15 mins to an hour and a half - it pays $30.
I "honor" the price for now, but if they want me to return next season, I need to be paid appropriately to do the job - I'm not the "college kid" they were paying last year.

Hedgemaster
05-26-2011, 11:56 PM
Three more recent additions...

One is a rental house near the city. Small lawn that should take about 35-40 min total. Owner contacted me by phone (voicemail) after seeing Craigslist ad.
It was thee days before I could get to look at it, so when I was in the area I called and asked if he still needed a quote. "Yes" was the answer, so I looked it over.
Like I said - fairly small, quick trim along the perimeter and sidewalk, mow, and blow. Typical landlord - biweekly "no need to do anything extensive".
Has some hedges that I quoted a price on too.
It's also just a few blocks from a few other clients I have. (bonus)

I quoted $30.

Email I received back said "Works for me!"



The other two came by recommendation from a neighbor. My neighbor asked if I needed any more work... "Certainly!", I said. He gave the name of a lady he knows and I went to take a look. Senior citizen who was paying $20 "plus a $5 tip" until her guy had a heart attack.
I estimated it at $25 (before she told me what she had been paying), so it worked for her. That piggybacked into a job with her neighbor at the same rate.
It's a biweekly cut, but it's close to home and both clients seem like nice people. I was even offered a sammich today. :)


I have a few estimates to get out to people too, so crossing fingers...



I did 11 jobs today - my longest day yet. 9am at my first and finished the last at 9pm. Gonna have to shuffle some of the Thursday jobs around!
Made a fast $10 while doing a client's yard... lady and guy across the street were battling 3' high grasses with a mower and asked if I could buzz some of it down with my string trimmer. $10, a "God bless you!", and 10 minutes later I was done and on my way, but not before being asked for a card for her daughter who is the owner of the property. :) (ALWAYS have cards handy!)

I'm friggin tired.

Steve
05-27-2011, 05:03 AM
How does it feel though to see all this picking up more and more?

Hedgemaster
05-28-2011, 10:07 PM
How does it feel though to see all this picking up more and more?

After the initial scare of no calls during my first two weeks of Craigslist advertising, this is VERY encouraging. Very tiring, but very encouraging.

Bad economy my a$$. People want their lawns cut!

:)

Hedgemaster
05-28-2011, 10:24 PM
Picked up a new client today while cutting a lawn. :)

I was coming around from the back with the blower on my final pass when I saw a lady from across the street standing by my truck waving me down.

She asked if i had a chain saw. "Yes, I have a big one", (wait, what? That didn't come out right! :o LOL) I said. Her eyes lit up, but then I followed up with "I don't have it with me though".
I had taken it out of the truck a few days ago since it was just taking up space.

She explained that there is a stump that wasn't cut off straight and she wanted to place a planter on top of it. I walked over to look and explained that I mow the lawn across the street every Friday, and that I could bring the saw next week and buzz it off for her. "How does $10 sound?", I asked. "OH! That would be GREAT! Thank you SO much!"

She then asked how much I would charge to mow her lawn. We walked around and looked it over and I gave her a price of $35. "Oh WOW! When can you start?"
Hahahaha! Snagged another "neighbor job" - AWESOME!




This next one is still in the estimate phase, but I did a "one time" cut two weeks ago for a guy moving out of his rented house. Still has time on the lease and needs to maintain it.
That turned into a "Hey, can you cut the grass again?"

I went by today and he and his wife happened to be there. "Hey, do you have any time for a cut next week? I'd like an estimate for our new house over in Townnamehere."
"Heh. That's where I live - what street?" I asked. I laughed when he told me - it's the street that runs parallel to my street! "We're neighbors!" I said - small world.

Sure would be nice to get one 1/2 mile from home for a change!

Steve
05-30-2011, 02:53 AM
She explained that there is a stump that wasn't cut off straight and she wanted to place a planter on top of it. I walked over to look and explained that I mow the lawn across the street every Friday, and that I could bring the saw next week and buzz it off for her. "How does $10 sound?", I asked. "OH! That would be GREAT! Thank you SO much!"

You should consider offering to stump grind it and then cover the hole with dirt and grass.

I think people tend to place plants on stumps like that but they would rather really have the stump totally removed.

Hedgemaster
06-01-2011, 12:34 AM
Got another one today. :D

Saw I had two calls and got back to both within an hour of them calling me.
Luckily, they were both within 2 miles of where I was already working, so I headed to both to look them over before going to my last job.

The first one is a "first cut. Can you believe there are people who STILL haven't cut their friggin grass? I have to think it over and get back to him with a price.

The second one was disappointingly small. I thought "They probably won't want to pay more than $10 for this". She wanted a price for mowing weekly (amazing, since it's not even occupied) and prices for individual sections of shrubs.

I called her back this evening with a price of $25/cut and she agreed. Nice. Like I said, "small", but better to spend 30 mins on a cut for $25 than an hour and a half for $30 like a job I did earlier today.



I think I'm up to 18 weekly and 11 biweekly clients now. I could be wrong - my brain is fried after working out my schedule yesterday - had to shift some people around a bit.

Steve
06-01-2011, 07:32 AM
How far do you feel from being maxed out? Are you getting close to where you can't take anymore new customers or at that point will you just hire some help?

brian'slawncare
06-01-2011, 01:01 PM
hedgemaster-

would you mind uploading you contract in Microsoft Word so I can edit it? just change the file extension to .doc or .docx whichever is better just .docx is the newer version of word but if you dont have that do a .doc file

same with you psparaco

THANKS GUYS

Hedgemaster
06-01-2011, 11:22 PM
hedgemaster-

would you mind uploading you contract in Microsoft Word so I can edit it? just change the file extension to .doc or .docx whichever is better just .docx is the newer version of word but if you dont have that do a .doc file

same with you psparaco

THANKS GUYS

I would if I could.

Unfortunately, I don't have ANY "office" type software on my computer. I come from a graphic design background and have never really needed any of that kind of software before.

My computer is a Mac and although my wife has a PC, and I was just about to buy the Gopher software for it, and perhaps some software like Word, it crapped out on us and it's away being repaired.

I created my agreement by retyping (in Adobe InDesign) what psparaco had provided and just saved it as a pdf so it could be attached here.

brian'slawncare
06-02-2011, 12:15 PM
well, if you get a chance when you get your other PC back if you could convert it that would be great.

I only have adobe pdf reader so it wont let me edit it

but thanks anyway

wandfsmall
06-02-2011, 02:34 PM
I would if I could.

Unfortunately, I don't have ANY "office" type software on my computer. I come from a graphic design background and have never really needed any of that kind of software before.

My computer is a Mac and although my wife has a PC, and I was just about to buy the Gopher software for it, and perhaps some software like Word, it crapped out on us and it's away being repaired.

I created my agreement by retyping (in Adobe InDesign) what psparaco had provided and just saved it as a pdf so it could be attached here.

You could always download LibreOffice for free and use it on your windows pc and mac.

I switched as excel has some calculating errors for some of my formulas and I like it.

psparaco
06-06-2011, 01:45 PM
I attached the General service argreement(*.doc) for those who can't read the *.docx" file

Hedgemaster
06-06-2011, 09:05 PM
Called two clients that live side by side and asked if they would mind shifting their schedules from Thursdays to Wednesdays and while I was talking to the first one, she said "I have another customer for you". :)

Apparently the guy behind her is on crutches and needs his lawn cut. I'll be swinging by asap to discuss.



I'm pleased to report that I'm getting very good feedback from my clients.
"You do nice work" seems to sum things up nicely.

I even have one guy who I cut once that is hoping his regular guy "can't come back". LOL! Apparently the mowing guy had a heart attack and until he could return, this client needed someone to cut his grass. I did it two weeks ago and he happened to come home while I was mowing. "You do FANTASTIC work, my man!" I explained what I had done and what I still needed to do... "Holy Christ! Nobody has ever cut my lawn TWICE before!" ROFLMAO!!! This guy was cracking me up.
Apparently I do a lot better job than his regular guy.

Anyway - it's good to hear positive feedback. :)

Hedgemaster
06-14-2011, 11:51 PM
Oh yeah - the guy on crutches... got that as well. Biweekly - can do all three properties in one stop. (yay)

I also picked up another biweekly today. It's only $25/cut, but it also only took 25 minutes to trim and mow it. This is yet another one I picked up from my Craigslist ad... the one I haven't run in at least 3 weeks! People DO search CL. I'm shocked at how many calls I get from month-old postings.

Steve
06-15-2011, 02:09 PM
I'm shocked at how many calls I get from month-old postings.

Who would have thought they would still be effective, 1 month out!

Hedgemaster
06-15-2011, 08:47 PM
Who would have thought they would still be effective, 1 month out!

Amazing. And I got yet another call today inquiring about a hedge trim.

Actually, I got 2 hedge trim calls, but the second was a referral from a regular client.



Also, as a reminder to those who are just starting out... be nice to EVERYONE - even when they decide to go with a competitor.

Two weeks ago I went and did an estimate for a guy who isn't really in my service area. He's right on the edge of my "maximum range" for weekly mowing, and I don't have any other clients in that direction, but it's a nice area, so I figured I may be able to get my foot in the door there. Well, he went with someone who is more local who quoted $35/cut as opposed to my $40 quote.

Here, I'll just copy/paste our email exchange...


Him: (initial contact)
Please provide an estimate to cut the lawn at 12345 MyDrive Mytown

Me:
I stopped by today and took a quick look. (I left a card in the mailbox)

I can mow, trim, and blow sidewalks/driveway clear of any clippings for the following:

For weekly service - $40/cut

I do all work myself. I do not use "helpers", or subcontractors. I am not always able to compete with the larger outfits on price alone, but I feel that my personalized attention to my customer's needs is what sets me apart.

My payment options are "per service" (pay after each cut), or pre-pay for one month of service(4 weeks).
I currently accept cash, or check, with plans to soon accept credit cards, and paypal.

I look forward to hearing from you. I prefer to give quotes in person, or by phone, as I can get a better feel for what you are looking for, and adjust pricing accordingly. If the figure is not what you had in mind, please contact me, so we can discuss further, as we may have different ideas as to the extent of the service you are seeking.

Thank you for considering me.

Him:
Thanks Kirk.

I’ve already hired a guy about 3 miles from my house for $35/cut. I’m impressed and appreciate your professionalism and will hold on to your quote should my guy not work out.


Many thanks,


Me:
Thanks for getting back to me. For your sake, I hope it works out for you.
Should anything change, don't hesitate to call, or email me!

Thank you again for considering me.

Kirk



Well, he contacted me.
Not for his lawn that I quoted, but for another home that they own that is close to me. It's being sold and the lawn was in desperate need of a cut before closing on Friday.
I was able to meet his wife at the location and agreed upon a price to cut. I unloaded the mower and got it done right there. I called her when I finished to let her know it was completed and after thanking me for taking the job on short notice, said she would keep my card handy.

Sometimes a missed opportunity does a U-turn and gives you a second chance. ;)

Hedgemaster
06-29-2011, 11:09 PM
Yesterday I picked up a new client - right across the street from another client. :)

I had just started the mower up when I saw a lady walking in my direction, motioning that she wanted to talk to me.
"Hi, I'm Becky, I live right over there - Bill gave me your number, but I hadn't had a chance to call you", she said.
"Would you be interested in mowing my grass too?" I told her that I'd be happy to give her a quote and after looking at the postage stamp sized yard, I told her I could do it for $20 every other week. "Can you do it today?" I think she had the twenty out of her purse before I said "yes". LOL

I used to turn up my nose to the thought of a $20 cut, but when you're already unloaded, and the entire job takes you 15 minutes, how can you complain?

Steve
06-30-2011, 12:56 PM
Very good point.

This thread has become the example of how to do things. Can you imagine where your business will be next year! WOW

Hedgemaster
06-30-2011, 07:37 PM
Very good point.

This thread has become the example of how to do things. Can you imagine where your business will be next year! WOW

Haha... me? an example of "how to do things"?

"Don't follow me, I'm lost too!" :D


I have to say that I was nervous about this venture. I was very much concerned about finding clients without any disposable income for advertising. I guess it would be tougher in more rural areas, but obviously there is no shortage of people in need of my services here. Craigslist has been a Godsend and aside from my graphic design background and a good work ethic, much of the rest may be dumb luck - I'm not really sure.

Everything I've learned this year is going to make next year a good one. I'm sure of it.

Hedgemaster
07-08-2011, 11:25 PM
Figured I'd throw in some "bad" with the good...

Over the last two months I've lost 3 clients.

#1 was a "no pay" that simply stopped communicating after I last cut their lawn.
They owe $45 and I wasn't about to cut again without being paid for work performed. I left notes (and an invoice), texts,and voicemails with no response.
Summary: It pisses me off, but ultimately, I didn't lose a good customer - the lawn was horrible to mow and it was a big job that I was barely breaking even on. Screw them - I wish them luck because karma is a bitch.

#2 is a recent addition that I did two cuts for (biweekly) so far, but he has new tenants now who are going to maintain the properties.
Summary: This too, is no real loss, as the two rental houses were located on separate blocks near the university and finding parking was a MAJOR pain in the rear. Not one worth losing sleep over - actually a bit of a relief.

#3 is one of my regulars who works two jobs and has always paid me up front for the entire month. Granted, it's "only" $100 ($25/cut), but she is a nice person who paid up front. She lost one of her jobs and for at least the month of July will not be able to afford to have her lawn cut.
Summary: I'll miss this one, as it was close to home and I enjoyed talking to the neighbor and playing with her dog. The job was relatively simple and the client is a nice person. Hopefully her financial situation will change for the better. I certainly can't fault her for her decision.




And in the "You lose some, you win some" category...

I picked up a new client today while finishing up at a job. :)
I said "Hello" to a lady walking her dog and that turned into a request for a quote for regular mowing and hedge trimming.

Her home is just around the corner from one of my regulars, so I stopped to look and long story short, I'm starting next week. :)

bruces
07-08-2011, 11:42 PM
if you really want #3 back ,you might concider doing a free cut every few weeks ,it will keep her from buying her own lawnmower,or hiring a kid for $5.00 ,either of which could eliminate your chance of ever getting her back .

Hedgemaster
07-08-2011, 11:48 PM
if you really want #3 back ,you might concider doing a free cut every few weeks ,it will keep her from buying her own lawnmower,or hiring a kid for $5.00 ,either of which could eliminate your chance of ever getting her back .

Good points. I was actually considering doing that - just hadn't nailed down how to approach it. (this happened yesterday)

Steve
07-10-2011, 09:31 PM
I was actually considering doing that - just hadn't nailed down how to approach it.

What about just offering to scale back the amount of cuts you perform there until she gets back to where she wants to be financial to pay you to mow weekly?

Hedgemaster
07-14-2011, 07:24 PM
I picked up one - possibly two more clients today. :)

#1.
I just finished mowing #3 of 3 houses in a row when I heard "Excuse me, could you tell me how much you would charge to cut my grass?"

Awesome. Directly across the street from the other three and no steps involved! (Many homes on this street require carrying the mower up some step to get to the lawn - I don't do that)

I start next week. :) It's only a $15 job, but it can't take more than 10-15 mins total to do it - and I'm already there doing the other lawns.

#2.
I received a voicemail later in the day from the lady who lives right next door to the lady above! I'm going back tomorrow to give a quote.
Apparently she's not happy with her current service. "They keep raising their prices", she said. She also described how they were there today to mow... "They were here for ten minutes - the one guy kept swearing about something..."

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. ALWAYS work like someone is watching you! BECAUSE THEY ARE!!!
The first lady I spoke to said that she had been watching me mow across the street - "I see what good work you're doing over there", she said. :)


I feel bad for potentially "taking" someone's work, but ultimately, they are the ones bringing it upon themselves, so I won't lose any sleep over it.

Hedgemaster
07-15-2011, 04:57 PM
Well, I got the second one I mentioned above. :)


Note to you noobs: Don't make the same mistake I have been making. Instead of just giving a price, ASK WHAT THEY HAD BEEN PAYING!!!

Just looking at this job, and factoring in that I'm already there doing other jobs, I would have probably said "$15" - it's a TINY yard about the size of two subcompact cars parked next to each other. (the back "yard" is even smaller)

When I inquired as to what her current service is charging, she said "$35 - it was $25 last year". She then told me that they also increased the price of her spring cleanup substantially, yet neglected to tell her until they were finished.
I asked if she would be OK with $25, which would bring her back down to what she had been paying previously, and she said "Yes, that's fine". :) :)

Apparently these guys had been doing two of the three houses I cut for across the street last year too - I didn't know that. Seems this lady is the last one on the street to "let them go".

I guess another lesson here is to not raise your prices too much at one time and act like a professional when you are working. Price hike + potty mouth lost these guys a client.

Steve
07-15-2011, 09:45 PM
That is a great strategy! What got you to start asking how much they were paying? Has anyone balked at that question yet or do you feel it helps figure out the situation better?

Hedgemaster
07-15-2011, 11:29 PM
That is a great strategy! What got you to start asking how much they were paying? Has anyone balked at that question yet or do you feel it helps figure out the situation better?


Heh. Two things...

1. Hearing this too many times - "Oh, I thought it would be more." or "(smile) That's less than I WAS paying."

2. My wife suggested I start asking how much they had been paying in the past BEFORE giving them a quote.


I've actually only asked a few people, but each willingly disclosed what they were previously/currently paying.



ETA:
There's a house next to my other three clients across the street that needs mowed badly. I'm going to approach that one as well. So far I have five now at this one stop... if I get number six I'm planting a flag and claiming the neighborhood as my own. :D Hahahahahaha!!!

Steve
07-18-2011, 02:33 PM
Have you been keeping track of the difference and seen what kind of % you have been below? Have you found it to be a consistent % amount?

Hedgemaster
07-18-2011, 06:13 PM
Have you been keeping track of the difference and seen what kind of % you have been below? Have you found it to be a consistent % amount?

No, but I'll ballpark it at $5 to $10 lower than what others have been charging. It's really just a guess though.


Note that the example above where I considered saying $15 and she was paying $35 is more the exception than the rule.
Those guys were screwing her over big time. I think I took a pic - I should post it to show how minuscule this "lawn". She should have called the police because she was being robbed.

Hedgemaster
07-18-2011, 06:33 PM
Dear diary... (lol)


I picked up a new client today. :)
It's a biweekly, but it's close to home and it will make up for another slot that was recently vacated.

Another reminder here to CALL POTENTIAL CLIENTS BACK ASAP!!! I didn't hear the phone while mowing and saw I had a voicemail after I was finished. I called back and let him know I would stop by after 4pm when I was back in his area.

I almost postponed the estimate due to a pop-up thunderstorm, but it started to clear so I went over. I'm glad I did because I believe a lot of people go with the first person they speak to and/or meet in person. Unless you're a total a$$ when you meet a client, or your price is way out of line, chances are you've got the job if you are the first to show up.

Only about 3 miles from home too. Woo-hoo!



ETA: I asked if he found me on Craigslist. Oddly enough, he found me by Googling and my website came up. I say "oddly enough" because my site isn't finished and my keywords are all but non-existent.

nickeckes
07-19-2011, 03:20 PM
I asked some guy this year what he pays and he "BARKED" at me, He said it was non of my business what he pays right now. . so i said ok thats fine, he wanted me to quote 3 different places. i quoted a total of $55.00 for all 3 places. one was a house and the other 2 was two small shops. . . all by each other and would take about 45min for all 3 to do together. . I gave him my quote of $55 and he goes "can you do it any cheaper" im like nope i am firm at $55.00 and hes like well i will let you know. . He never called back, But man o man was he rude when i asked what he payed. .. i guess it all depends on the person you are asking. . Young?? middle age ?? or Old?? this guy was middle aged. . i found that the older people, esp. the women will tell you what they currenttly pay becuase they want to find someone cheaper, and are pretty tight with there money. . just my thoughts. . .

Hedgemaster
07-29-2011, 12:41 AM
I lost a client - literally... he passed away.

I started mowing his lawn today as I do every Thursday, and his wife came outside. I had mowed their lawn at least ten times now and had yet to meet her. Unfortunately, she had come out to let me know that her husband had passed away at home the previous Saturday. It was an awkward moment, but I sincerely offered my condolences.

I liked the gentleman - he and I talked at length a few times. He had been ill for some time - leukemia, I believe, and while I may have been busy, and had other things I needed to be doing, I hung out and chatted with him because I know how tough it can be to be so sick that you can't get out and do the things you want to do. Just talking to someone for a while can be therapeutic.

It's a shame, as he was probably in his 50's. As a client, he always had my money set out for me - every week. If he was home, he would come out and give it to me in person, but when he had a treatment at the hospital, he always had it stashed in a hidden spot for me.
His wife asked me to continue mowing the lawn every week. Need to send a sympathy card...

Steve
07-29-2011, 05:36 PM
I started mowing his lawn today as I do every Thursday, and his wife came outside. I had mowed their lawn at least ten times now and had yet to meet her. Unfortunately, she had come out to let me know that her husband had passed away at home the previous Saturday. It was an awkward moment, but I sincerely offered my condolences.

ACK! So how did you handle this? Did you keep mowing or did you stop? I wonder why she wanted you to stop mowing all together? Won't she still need the yard cared for?

Hedgemaster
07-29-2011, 05:55 PM
ACK! So how did you handle this? Did you keep mowing or did you stop? I wonder why she wanted you to stop mowing all together? Won't she still need the yard cared for?

No, no, perhaps you misunderstood - after she explained that her husband had passed away, she asked me to continue mowing on a weekly basis, as I had been doing. We talked about the whole "death" thing for a while and then she went back inside, and I continued mowing.

The most awkward part was when she asked what she owed me for the cut. You gotta feel a just a little odd taking money from someone after that conversation.

bruces
07-29-2011, 06:56 PM
I think I would of given her the cut on the house concidering the circumstances ,then mention the usual fee is $......... ,it sounds like she has enough on her plate right now .

brian'slawncare
07-30-2011, 05:55 PM
I kinda agree with Bruces. no harm either way but...

Ducke
07-30-2011, 06:12 PM
I lost a client - literally... he passed away.

I started mowing his lawn today as I do every Thursday, and his wife came outside. I had mowed their lawn at least ten times now and had yet to meet her. Unfortunately, she had come out to let me know that her husband had passed away at home the previous Saturday. It was an awkward moment, but I sincerely offered my condolences.

I liked the gentleman - he and I talked at length a few times. He had been ill for some time - leukemia, I believe, and while I may have been busy, and had other things I needed to be doing, I hung out and chatted with him because I know how tough it can be to be so sick that you can't get out and do the things you want to do. Just talking to someone for a while can be therapeutic.

It's a shame, as he was probably in his 50's. As a client, he always had my money set out for me - every week. If he was home, he would come out and give it to me in person, but when he had a treatment at the hospital, he always had it stashed in a hidden spot for me.
His wife asked me to continue mowing the lawn every week. Need to send a sympathy card...

I hate to say this but if it was me I would try my best to go to the funeral/visitation. It really could benefit you down the road.
It sounds cold but business connection are made that way all the time,
weddings funerals birthday etc.
I've done it (not with my company but with my last employer) I had this old guy on my route he was 92 and a WWII Vet a hero he lived alone his family was all out of town and had dementia I would always stop and knock on his door and listen to his stories they were great. We really got to be weekly friends and when he passed I went to his service and his family thought it was great because unknown to me he would often talk of my visits to the family.
If you really liked him it's a nice way to show your respects

Just saying:cool:


Sign the guest book etc. it

Hedgemaster
07-30-2011, 11:41 PM
Well, I didn't know him well enough to attend a service, and even if I wanted to, she told me that things were wrapped up rather quickly and quietly, so no traditional "service" to speak of. I spoke to him on the phone of Friday, he passed away on Saturday, and the first I heard of it was when I arrived the following Thursday.

The first thought through my mind was to not accept payment, but I guess you had to be there - I can't interpret properly how the conversation went, but it seemed to ease her mind that I was paid. I think the rest of the time I spent speaking with her, telling her of the things her husband and I chatted about, more than made up for "taking her money". She was smiling, and that's not the easiest thing at a time like that.

Hedgemaster
07-31-2011, 10:26 PM
I picked up two more clients on Saturday. :)

An acquaintance asked me to go give his mother a quote. Unfortunately, it took a full week to get there - I was sure I had taken too long to get there, and wouldn't get the job. As it turns out, she hadn't gotten any other quotes and although my price was nearly double what she had been paying, she had me do the cut while I was there.

When I told her I could do the lawn every other week for $40, the look on her face told me I may be in trouble. "Is that in the ballpark of what you had been paying", I asked. "I was paying a kid $25 every two weeks, but he graduated, and moved away."
"Oh, I see", I said. I explained that I can't compete with a college kid on price alone. We talked a bit more, and that's when she had me do the lawn. She said she'd see how it goes financially, and marked me on her calendar for two weeks from now. I can certainly understand if someone can't afford what I'm asking, but at the same time, I can't work for nothing. I did a few "extras" while there like buzzing a bunch of weeds that were growing all over the cracks in the driveway. Perhaps between the "extras" and the fact that I know her son, she'll keep me on.

Client number two was the next door neighbor. :) :)

When I finished the first lawn, the gentleman came over and asked if I could cut his lawn as well - every two weeks. He had overheard me quoting $40 to the first customer and told me "that was fine with him". LOL... that was easy! Pretty much the same size lawn, but slightly easier due to less obstacles.

He had a check in my hand before I could even go next door and get my mower. :)

Hedgemaster
08-10-2011, 09:36 PM
Added one more weekly client yesterday.

I got a call asking for an estimate for regular service. Apparently whoever was supposed to do it never showed up. In talking on the phone, I asked if he had found me on Craigslist, or if someone had referred me to him. Neither - he had seen me drive by one day and made a mental note.

Considering I only have a small homemade sign on my cargo carrier, I'm pretty impressed that he saw it at all. I'm almost wondering if maybe HE drove by me while I was parked and saw my lawn signs.

Anyway, it's a kick in the pants reminder to get my truck lettered. Just think about how many missed opportunities because the truck doesn't have my info on it.




I also have two potential clients lined up. Both from calls answered today.
The first one is a "temporary" weekly job and if I can get it cut before the weekend, it's mine.

The second was a woman who had been using someone who subcontracted the work and she was unhappy with the service. Plus he didn't show up this week. She told me that she had picked up one of my business cards from the grocery store bulletin board a few weeks ago, as she was thinking of looking for someone else. When the guy was a no-show, she called me.

I think I have this one locked in judging by the phone conversation. I'm meeting her tomorrow to quote the lawn and she wants to show me some other things she needs done as well. It sounds like it could be a good client with additional work. She even asked about changing light bulbs and other small "handyman" tasks (my bus card says "small home repairs), so that could work well in the off season for me.
She said that since her guy hasn't cut the lawn, there are some "tall spots" that are unsightly, and that tomorrow is the day that the borough drives around looking for code violations - "If you could at least cut the front while you're here,that would be GREAT!"
I told her my Thursdays are pretty booked, but I'll do my best.
(I have time :D )


Woo-hoo! I never thought I'd be getting calls this late in the season!



OH, YEAH! I picked up ANOTHER one today during my last stop!

It's just a $20 job every other week, but it's directly across from three other jobs I already do on a biweekly basis (all next to each other :D ), so that's a bonus!

This one falls under the "Say hello to EVERYONE" and the "Someone is ALWAYS watching" categories...

I was mowing my client's lawn and noted a lady across the street speaking to an older gentleman I see every time I'm at this job. Although older, he's somewhat "intimidating" looking, with a seemingly stern look on his face. Regardless, I have always smiled and waved to him when I saw him.
Today, the lady walked over and asked me to stop and speak to him when I finished my work. I did.

He asked for a price to mow his front lawn. (very small) I asked if he wanted it cut weekly or if every other week would be sufficient. (It didn't look like fast-growing grass) Long story short, he was agreeable to $20.

In talking, he mentioned that it was getting hard for him to care for and that he "sees all these guys (landscapers) going by", but he had been watching me work across the street and wanted to hire me. I'll take that as a compliment. :)


Pretty damned good week and it's only Wednesday. :cool:

Growing Green
08-10-2011, 11:15 PM
Always enjoy reading your updated Hedge.

I've also received several jobs just by waving at people and saying hi.

Keep the updates coming and great job!

Matt

Hedgemaster
08-13-2011, 12:41 AM
Always enjoy reading your updated Hedge.

I've also received several jobs just by waving at people and saying hi.

Keep the updates coming and great job!

Matt

Thanks. Sometimes I wonder if anyone cares, but if nothing else, it may be interesting to go back and review this thread in a year or two.

It's like a "shared journal". Hopefully someone reading it learns something, or finds some encouragement to trudge on when they are feeling like they have hit a wall. There are so many ways to find clients and for them to find you - that's essentially what I'm trying to show here.

Hedgemaster
08-13-2011, 01:06 AM
Oh, and to update the post above, the "temporary job I haven't had time to get to yet, so we'll see if he has found anyone else before I can do it on monday.

And the lady unhappy with her current guy has chosen to go with me. :)
Rather than retyping, here's what I posted about it in another thread...

I picked up a new client today because she was growing increasingly unhappy with the service being provided by her current (now former) lawn guy.

He comes with a zero turn and mows her small lawn, tearing up the grass when he turns on the hill, and leaves clippings all over - doesn't even do minimal trimming.

She was paying $14. I told her I couldn't do it for less than $25, that I would mow it with a push mower, and it would look a LOT better when I was finished. She was agreeable.
You see, people are often willing to pay more for better service. Those who are not, are not worth having as clients to begin with.
This woman is going to be paying nearly double what she had been paying. I didn't "steal" her away - he "pushed" her away with shoddy work, and poor communications. (never returned her calls)




And today I also picked up ANOTHER client! :eek:

Yesterday a guy called and asked for a quote to cut the lawn at his mother's house every other week - "Nothing special, just keep the grass under control", he said.
He was calling from out of state - found me by Googling lawn care and the name of the town and my Google Places listing showed up. (finally)

I stopped by to check it out on my way home. Turns out the house is about 3/4 of a mile from my own home. It's vacant, and not a terribly difficult one to work on.

I emailed the following:

Name,

I stopped by late today to take a look.

To mow, trim, and blow sidewalks/driveway clear of any clippings, the rate would be $40 every other week.

I can't recall when you said you cut it last, but it looks a little high. Perhaps the mower was on a high setting, or it just grew due to the rains we've had this week. If you would like, I could start next week - Tuesday most likely.
I do all the work myself. I do not use "helpers", or subcontractors.

I am not yet set up to accept credit cards/Paypal, so payment can be made by check.
I prefer (but do not require) pre-payment for at least two cuts when I am unable to collect payment at time of service.

I look forward to hearing from you one way or the other. If you have any questions at all, feel free to call, text, or email me.
Thank you for considering me.

Hedgemaster


He called today and said he was hoping for a lower figure - asked if I could skip the blowing and trimming. I told him that I couldn't do it for less than $35, and that I could focus just on the grass and maybe trim every other time. He was agreeable and will be sending a check for the first two cuts immediately.



And I COULD have had another one...

I had just finished my last cut and was chatting with the homeowner when a young lady stopped her SUV and asked if I was "the lawn guy" as she gestured back toward my truck. Seems she was having trouble with her guy showing up. I took down her info and went to look after I had loaded up. Unfortunately, she has a terraced lawn with about 15 steep, narrow steps as the only access to the upper lawn. I'll have to pass. I work alone and my mower is too heavy to carry.

I will note that I had my lawn signs out. If not, she would never have stopped.

arthur712
08-13-2011, 12:36 PM
Hedgemaster, I just love you enthusiasm! You make me want work more. LOL
You seem to be doing fantastic! I am very happy for you, these are great updates!

Thanks!

Hedgemaster
08-13-2011, 07:46 PM
Hedgemaster, I just love you enthusiasm! You make me want work more. LOL
You seem to be doing fantastic! I am very happy for you, these are great updates!

Thanks!

Thanks Artie! I don't know about "fantastic", but it's working out much better than I had imagined - especially for my first season.

I'm getting near the point where I won't be able to take on any new clients unless I get a walk behind or something that allows me to complete the jobs faster. At 43 years old, hustling any faster than I already am just isn't an option. :D


And while I'm here - I got a hedge trimming/tree shaping job from the next door neighbor of one of my clients. :)


ALL UR LAWNZ R BELONG 2 ME!!! :D :D





p.s. Ironic that you (Artie) posted today because I was just thinking that I need to order more of your magnetic business card holders. (I lost one)

arthur712
08-13-2011, 08:05 PM
Thanks Artie! I don't know about "fantastic", but it's working out much better than I had imagined - especially for my first season.

I'm getting near the point where I won't be able to take on any new clients unless I get a walk behind or something that allows me to complete the jobs faster. At 43 years old, hustling any faster than I already am just isn't an option. :D


And while I'm here - I got a hedge trimming/tree shaping job from the next door neighbor of one of my clients. :)


ALL UR LAWNZ R BELONG 2 ME!!! :D :D





p.s. Ironic that you (Artie) posted today because I was just thinking that I need to order more of your magnetic business card holders. (I lost one)

How did you loose one?

Hedgemaster
08-13-2011, 08:37 PM
How did you loose one?

I wish I knew for sure.

For several weeks I had it on the truck. Initially, I was hesitant to leave it on while driving, but after forgetting to remove it a few times and realizing it while doing 65 mph, I figured I was good to go.

Could have blown off, could have been stolen, could be lying under something in my garage from the day I "cleaned out" my truck. I dunno... I just know that I can't find it.

It's the one with the big, round, magnetic "take a card" - not the card holder with the magnets built in.

No worries - gives me a reason to place an order. :)

arthur712
08-13-2011, 09:31 PM
LOL, I did the sam, but those were not meant to stay on while driving.

It is good for me. lol

Thanks!
Artie

10 % off coupon code is (gopher101)

nickeckes
08-14-2011, 01:11 AM
hedgemaster how are you mowing any lawns?? seems like your always on this fourm . . .

Hedgemaster
08-15-2011, 04:19 PM
hedgemaster how are you mowing any lawns?? seems like your always on this fourm . . .

:D

Well, I'm logged on all the time - even if I'm not "on", but yeah, I'm here a lot. Mostly at night, or if it's raining, or like right now while sitting here with ice on my ankle after being stung by a stinking ground bee. :mad:

The job is right up the road from my house. I was mowing and saw the hole and the bee activity, but by the time I got to that part of the yard I had forgotten about them - until I felt one on my ankle. Oh crap.

Before I could swat it off, it had stung me. Came home to clean it and ice it. Gonna go back in a few minutes and finish the job. And spray me some bees.

Hedgemaster
08-24-2011, 12:25 AM
Lost a client on Sunday.

I think I mentioned this one earlier - did an est for friend's mom, got the job and got the neighbor as well... well the neighbor called and left a message.

"We found someone to do it for $10 less. We appreciate everything and the work you did was outstanding, but we were using a guy before that cost us $20 and going from $20 to $40 was just too much."

Ehhh... I thought about calling to do a counter offer, but honestly, I priced it right and his grass is so miserably tall and dense (it's a biweekly cut btw), it's not worth the aggravation. I need to pay the bills too, but competing with college kids that are working illegally is not something I'm interested in doing. There are plenty of people out there willing to pay for great service. The hack jobs can have those low paying jobs.




"You lose some, you win some"

Gained a new client today. :D :) :)

Last Thursday a client told me to talk to her neighbor after I was finished. (Crap - did I tell this part already?)

Long story short, she has two houses within two blocks of each other. One has a TINY "lawn" about 12'x12' and the other has a lawn that will probably take at most, 35 minutes total. I called and gave her a quote ($15 & $40 - $55 total/biweekly) last week after looking at the larger property (she lives at the smaller one) and she called back today...
"I was wondering if you would do both for $50?", she asked. Deal. I start this Thursday!

The larger property sits on a HIGHLY traveled street in an old, but upscale section of town. Just being seen by people there will likely land me more work. The yard signs will certainly be put to use.

Hedgemaster
09-09-2011, 11:09 PM
Picked up another.

I did a "one time" cut for a guy in early spring whose "guy" had some health issues and couldn't make it over. He really liked how I did everything and said he'd be in touch if anything ever changed with his regular guy.

Apparently the regular guy had a heart attack - still alive I believe, but not able to mow. The job is mine.

That's at least four people now who I'm cutting for because their "old guy" had a heart attack. Sheesh.

SpokaneSRC
09-13-2011, 09:28 PM
That's at least four people now who I'm cutting for because their "old guy" had a heart attack. Sheesh.

That's kinda creepy. Hope you're not superstitious!

Hedgemaster
09-15-2011, 11:05 PM
Got another one. :)

I received a call yesterday from someone asking me to stop and give a quote for mowing the lawn every other week. She said that "Susan told me to call".
Susan is one of my regulars.

I stopped today to look, and while it's not a big money job, she was agreeable to $25/cut, every two weeks. This job should take about 15 minutes to do and is located just a few blocks away from several other clients I service. :)

She also asked if I do leaf cleanups. Awesome.

Mid September and still getting new clients. :cool:
In this case, she and her husband just moved in this week and were talking about the house with some friends. When lawn care was mentioned, she told me "Susan nearly jumped over the table - YOU HAVE TO CALL MY GUY!!!" LOL! It's nice to have clients that are happy with your work and are THAT enthusiastic about referring you.

Hedgemaster
09-24-2011, 08:06 PM
I did my first non-residential job today. :)

It's not an "account", it was just a one-time thing, but it was almost worth doing for free due to the "cool factor". That said, I think I'll hold onto the $100 for 80 minutes of work. :cool:

I got to go inside the gates at the now defunct Iron City brewery. (They've moved operations outside of Pittsburgh)
The place looks like the setting for a post-apocalyptic movie now, with portions of the building torn down and a massive hole in the side of one of the buildings with an enormous pile of rubble next to it.

One of my regular mowing clients works in the movie industry (lots of stuff is shot in Pittsburgh these days) and he called the other day to see if I could help out. They are filming a TV movie down the street from the brewery and need the lot for staff parking. There were a lot of weeds growing everywhere and they needed them buzzed so people could park and not have to walk through the mess. No mowing involved - all trimmer work.

It was definitely one of the most interesting jobs I've done. Aside from the historic nature of the buildings themselves, I found myself peeking inside to see the machinery that was once used to produce the famous Pittsburgh beer. There was all sorts of old equipment, parts, signs, and other interesting "junk" strewn about the place.

Who knows, maybe I'll eventually get to do some "greens work" that appears in a movie, and get nominated for "best hedges in a drama".
:D

I took a bunch of photos that I'll have to post when I get a few minutes.

Ducke
09-24-2011, 09:03 PM
I think I smell an Oscar .
Hedge do you have a Tux for the Red Carpet ???

Steve
09-26-2011, 05:16 PM
I took a bunch of photos that I'll have to post when I get a few minutes.

That sounds very interesting! I am looking forwards to seeing them.

Hedgemaster
09-26-2011, 07:53 PM
That sounds very interesting! I am looking forwards to seeing them.

Sigh. I posted a thread in teh "show off your pictures" section, but I don't see it.

I'll bet some idiot forgot to hit "submit" after clicking "preview". :o

Hedgemaster
09-26-2011, 08:17 PM
OK. The thread with photos can be found here...
http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?p=95239#post95239

Hedgemaster
09-29-2011, 01:54 AM
Picked up another biweekly client today next door to four others (all next to each other) that I already cut.

:)

Everybody wants them some Hedgemaster. :D

Steve
09-30-2011, 08:36 PM
Can you imagine how busy next year will be? WOW!

Hedgemaster
10-02-2011, 12:15 AM
Can you imagine how busy next year will be? WOW!

Seriously.

I never imagined things would go so well the first season.
I mean, I'm not making a ton of money, but I'm keeping my head above water.
The "busy" part is what has me looking into more productive equipment for next season. If I'm going to be able to keep up and take on more clients, I need to work faster. I'm not willing to do sub-par work, or cut back on the attention I give to each lawn, so I need to get a bigger mower to knock out the lawns that are taking me too long to cut with the push mower.



BTW, I had someone stop me yesterday for a quote. :)

They had seen me and my signs at a job across the street and stopped me while I was there this week. Seems their regular guy is unreliable and they want a fall cleanup done and are seeking someone to take over in the spring.

JeffK26
10-02-2011, 11:16 AM
Love the thread! Motivating me to start now! Too bad grass doesn't grow over the winter haha.

I've been doing snow removal, simple shoveling and salting of residential homes the past couple winters when work is slow, and i love mowing lawns, so after this winter i'm going to start out. Been wondering how a push mower would work during my startup season, and your thread has convinced me to go at it with a pushmower.

I'm leaning towards the Exmark Metro26. Looking at the Echo PB620 BP Blower, and Echo SRM 280S weed trimmer, also looking at the RedMax line....I know the Redmax from a lawncare job i had a few years back and liked them a lot. I talked to that boss recently about my idea and he's done a demo on the Echo blower and loved it. Plus he has told me to call him for any advice, he's been doing this for 25 years now and he's glad to help a newcomer especially someone that works like i did....

I'm looking forward to starting next year, this site and my ex boss motivates me more each time i read this or talk to him!...

Keep up the good work Hedge!

Hedgemaster
10-04-2011, 10:41 PM
Love the thread! Motivating me to start now! Too bad grass doesn't grow over the winter haha.

I've been doing snow removal, simple shoveling and salting of residential homes the past couple winters when work is slow, and i love mowing lawns, so after this winter i'm going to start out. Been wondering how a push mower would work during my startup season, and your thread has convinced me to go at it with a pushmower.

I'm leaning towards the Exmark Metro26. Looking at the Echo PB620 BP Blower, and Echo SRM 280S weed trimmer, also looking at the RedMax line....I know the Redmax from a lawncare job i had a few years back and liked them a lot. I talked to that boss recently about my idea and he's done a demo on the Echo blower and loved it. Plus he has told me to call him for any advice, he's been doing this for 25 years now and he's glad to help a newcomer especially someone that works like i did....

I'm looking forward to starting next year, this site and my ex boss motivates me more each time i read this or talk to him!...

Keep up the good work Hedge!

Thanks for the compliment and I'm glad some people are finding some value in this thread.

I have a thread that sort of follows my progress on an unrelated (non-lawn care) forum that I moderate and someone recently posted that I was an "inspiration". Maybe I'm too modest, but that word seems a bit of a stretch. I'm just doing what I need to do to survive.

I've learned quite a bit from others here, and I'm more than willing to share what I know as I learn, and grow as a small business owner.


Note: Today I learned that I REALLY don't like mowing lawns that have been aerated when the ground is moist and the owner has a dog, and there are leaves all over the lawn making it that much harder for him to find all the poos mixed in with the soil plugs before I arrived... he didn't. :(

JeffK26
10-06-2011, 07:01 PM
If you don't mind me asking, how many customers do you have? I'm starting up next spring and currently writing up a business plan and would like to know an estimate for budget and time consumption since i'm planning on keeping my current job until i'm comfortable letting it go....

I know different factors generate different numbers, and Pittsburgh is not St louis, but a number as a realistic goal would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Hedgemaster
10-07-2011, 12:25 AM
If you don't mind me asking, how many customers do you have? I'm starting up next spring and currently writing up a business plan and would like to know an estimate for budget and time consumption since i'm planning on keeping my current job until i'm comfortable letting it go....

I know different factors generate different numbers, and Pittsburgh is not St louis, but a number as a realistic goal would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Someone else asked that before and I never did count them all up.
Looks like roughly 50 at the moment.

• Weekly - About 20
• Biweekly - About 22 (Ack! that's about 20 too many biweekly accts!)
• 10 Day Schedule - 1 (OMG, I will NEVER offer to cut on a 10 day schedule again)
• "Casual" (2-3 weeks, or as-needed) 6

Number of clients lost - 4
1 because she wanted $45 worth of work done for $25 every other week - I had to politely decline after 2 cuts
1 Due to non-payment. I cut at least 4 times, then on the 5th cut I didn't get paid - didn't cut the following week because no calls/notes were returned. They never did call and I never went back.
1 Because grandson started cutting lawn
1 Because home sold

I don't have a total handy for the number of "one-time" cuts and/or other jobs such as hedge trims.

Hedgemaster
10-17-2011, 09:36 PM
Had a weird/sad thing happen today.

I arrived at one of my regular weekly cuts and saw a police car at the curb. No lights, just parked, and unoccupied. As I unloaded the mower, I heard people talking - it was coming from the back porch area of my client's home. "Odd", I thought, as she works weekdays. I saw two people leaving, headed for a car parked near the police car, and introduced myself, saying "I'm here to mow the lawn, is everything OK?"

They were coworkers of my client and said that she didn't show up at work and couldn't be reached by phone, so they were concerned and called 911 to have someone meet them at the house to check on her. She was found inside, deceased.

I understand she had some health issues, but I was unaware of anything past her having difficulty mowing the lawn. She was maybe in her mid to late fifties, so it was a complete shock. She lived alone with her two dogs and I'm unsure if she has any immediate family nearby.

It's a shame on many levels, but also because she seemed so happy to have me maintaining the property. There are people who do it because they "have to" and there are people who feel pride in keeping up with their property - keeping things neat and tidy. That was her. She had all sorts of wildflower gardens, a small vegetable garden, and several bird feeders - she truly enjoyed her little oasis of a lawn in a not-so-nice section of town.

Sad.

Steve
10-18-2011, 04:31 PM
WOW! Sorry about that. That must have been a shocker! No one expects something like that to happen.

Hedgemaster
10-18-2011, 08:42 PM
WOW! Sorry about that. That must have been a shocker! No one expects something like that to happen.

Yeah, it sucks when nice people die.
I really enjoyed caring for her property. It wasn't big, nor was it a "money maker", but when the client is a good person who cares about their property, it makes the job less of a "job" each week.
You can always tell which clients really appreciate the work you do and she was one of them - always had my money tucked away for me on the day of service too.

I'm going to see if I can find out if she has any family that will be taking over the property. I'd like to offer to at least maintain the strip of grass along the sidewalks until they get things straightened out. The grass has started to slow now, so either way, I'm going to go ahead and cut it next week when I'm over that way.

Hedgemaster
11-08-2011, 08:10 PM
I haven't had any new clients to add lately aside from some one-time jobs (mainly leaf cleanups), and a few estimates that seem promising, but I thought I'd mention something interesting that happened for the second time today.

The first was last week. I was doing leaf cleanups for several clients and I saw a woman working in the yard at a home I had done a leaf job for the previous week. She appeared to be planting or doing something in the beds.

"Hmmm..." I thought. There are things I don't know yet in regards to pruning and what plants get cut back in the fall and which ones are to be left alone. It would be to my advantage to get to know someone who DOES.
Long story short, she works for a gardening service and always has clients ask about mowing - which she/they do not offer. "Can I get one of your cards?", she asked. :D

I gave her several and she gave me her contact info. She stated that she is also interested in starting her own business and while talking, she asked if I do mulching in the spring. I explained that I don't do jobs that are too big because I work alone, and it's hard to tackle some jobs alone. Her face lit up "Maybe we could work together on some things?!" She said she knows some people who "pay well" for that sort of work. :cool:



Then today, as I was doing a leaf cleanup, I noted a lady walking by who I smiled, and nodded "hello" to. (ALWAYS say hello to EVERYONE!)
She saw my lawn signs and noted my business card holder on the side of the truck and walked over. "I'm going to take one of your cards!"
(Awesome)

We started talking and it turns out she's a landscape architect who lives nearby. Again, she mentioned that clients are always asking about mowing services, so that's why she took my card. She also gave me her contact info in case I had any questions about landscape design, or if any clients needed that type of work and I was too busy to assist them.



If YOU would like your copy of Hedgemaster's Secrets to Getting Numbers from Hot, Landscapy Chicks, send $19.95 to the address below.

ACT NOW and get a FREE clip on breath spray with every order!




:D :D



Seriously though, TALK to EVERYONE! You never know how it could help your business grow.

Ducke
11-08-2011, 08:35 PM
That is awesome.
I got talking to a guy the other day while doing a light install.
He has his own dump truck and mini excavator , he screens soil and has really good pricing he also mentioned that he gets a lot of requests about people that mow. So as you did we swapped numbers and plan on helping each other out .
It never hurts to talk to people.

bruces
11-08-2011, 09:26 PM
hedge ,can you please post pics of your two new lady friends ? duck ,please dont post pics of your new dude !

Growing Green
11-08-2011, 09:47 PM
hedge ,can you please post pics of your two new lady friends ? duck ,please dont post pics of your new dude !

That is hilarious!

Matt

Steve
11-09-2011, 02:42 PM
The first was last week. I was doing leaf cleanups for several clients and I saw a woman working in the yard at a home I had done a leaf job for the previous week. She appeared to be planting or doing something in the beds.

That is a very interesting story! Did you just pull over and walk up to her to say hi? Or how did that all come about? Talk about networking skills! WOW

Hedgemaster
11-10-2011, 12:30 AM
That is a very interesting story! Did you just pull over and walk up to her to say hi? Or how did that all come about? Talk about networking skills! WOW


Sorry, pal. You gotta buy the book if you want to know the secret. :D


Saw her working, figured it never hurts to meet new people in the business, and tried to think of a way to start a conversation. (This is NOT one of my strong points, btw)
I decided I'd walk over (across street) and I Introduced myself by telling her I had done a leaf cleanup at that house and I would be doing another next week. "You appear to be planting things in the beds, so I wanted to see if there was anything I need to be careful of when I come back through with my blower", I said.

Pretty smooth, huh? LOL!

Steve
11-10-2011, 03:45 PM
I think that is brilliant and its steps like this that help you grow larger and larger.

Hedgemaster
03-20-2012, 07:48 PM
Bump for the new season!

Got my first new client of this season.
Received an email requesting a quote the other day. Went out yesterday to look and gave him a price of $50 biweekly.

"Sounds good - you can start whenever you want" was the reply.


:)

JeffK26
03-20-2012, 10:03 PM
Cool deal. Congrats!

Have you had to mow anyone yet?

Hedgemaster
03-20-2012, 10:24 PM
Cool deal. Congrats!

Have you had to mow anyone yet?

I mowed my own lawn 3 days ago and it looks like it needs done again already. I haven't even applied fertilizer yet.

I did a cleanup today for one of last year's regulars and their grass and the neighbor's (that I also cut) looked ready, so I'm starting them next week.



You know, this one I got today for $50... I'd have said $40 last year. I learned the hard way that pricing what I think a customer would be willing to pay is a good way to short yourself.
Also, now that I have a relatively decent base of clients, I can afford to ask higher prices and not worry about them saying "no thanks" - I just move on to the person who says "Yes".
Looking at this guy's lawn, I predicted he'd say that was too high, but I decided I wasn't going to do it for less. Sometimes they surprise you.

Hedgemaster
04-02-2012, 11:25 PM
Picked up another client today.
A weekly/biweekly (depends on growth) next door to a current weekly client. My client suggested I leave a card for the neighbor and I did so today. As I was leaving the homeowner pulled in, so I got to meet her and discuss what she was looking to have done. I gave her a price and we agreed that I'd start this week.
:)



I also lost two of last season's clients - sort of.

The first said she was going to try and mow the lawn herself this year.
The next day she asked if I could come and cut it this week and maybe a few more weeks "until I get my mower situation sorted out".
LOL! I'll bet the thing wouldn't start. It sat outside all season last year - some no-name push mower that isn't even self propelled. If you saw the size of the hillside she has to cut, you'd believe it when I say that when she tries cutting it, she'll be back on my schedule soon. :D
Oh well. I'm charging more to do "single cuts" until she changes her mind.


The second was my biggest PITA of last season, so YIPPEEE!!! :)

He's one of those "Cut it shorter next time" biweekly clients. I came "this close" to cutting him last season. I saw him while doing his neighbor's lawn today and asked if he was going to need cut soon. He's going to do it himself.
Works for me. It wasn't worth the aggravation anyway.

Steve
04-04-2012, 12:43 AM
The second was my biggest PITA of last season, so YIPPEEE!!!

It's amazing how at times they weed themselves out.

Hedgemaster
04-04-2012, 09:02 PM
Well, THIS is a pretty good feeling...

I just turned down a job because... well, because I didn't WANT it! :D

I just received an email in response to my Craigslist ad. Fortunately, he provided an address, and I pulled it up on the county assessment website to get a quick look.
It's located in an area I "serve", but this particular section is HORRIBLE for parking and the "property" consists of a steep slope about 40-60' long by about 12' from the sidewalk up the slope to the building. And it's a rental property, so we know right off the bat that the pay isn't likely to be great.

Meh. No thanks.
I replied and thanked him for the inquiry anyway. ALWAYS be polite - he may have another, more suitable property somewhere else!

chladny32
04-04-2012, 09:08 PM
awesome Day Today.
Two For Two On Estimates-turned Customers!

#1.
I Went To Talk To A Lady Yesterday About A Mowing Estimate. She Gout My Number From The Bulletin Board At A Local Grocery Store.
Since Her Lawn Was Larger Than I'm Used To Mowing In My Own Neighborhood And I Was Unsure How To Accurately Estimate The Time It Would Take, I Offered Her A Fist Cut At $20 (this Was Obviously Not A $20 Lawn), And Told Her I Would Give Her An Figure After Having Completed The First Cut.

Today I Cut Her Lawn. In Total, It Took An Hour, But I Know I Can Shave At Least 15 Minutes Off Of That. I Took My Time With The Trimmer, Neatening Up Along The Raised, Brick Sidewalk. I Picked Up A Lot Of Twigs Before Mowing, And Spent An Extra Minute Or Two Uprighting Planters That Had Fallen Over During The Winter, And Cleaning/blowing Debris Off Of The Porch.

The Owner Wasn't Home When I Did The Work, So I Left An Invoice For The $20 "discounted First Mowing" And A Note To Call Me To Discuss My Estimate.
She Called, Said It Looked Good, And Asked What I Came Up With For A Price To Mow Her Lawn. I Told Her The Price Would Be $45, And If She Chose To Pay Cash, I Would Take Off $5.

She Agreed, And We Further Discussed A "schedule" Of Weekly Mowings Early Spring While It Is Growing Fast, Then Going To Bi-weekly, As The Growth Slows.

Yay! My First "regularly Scheduled" Client!




#2
I Answered My Phone At 5pm Today And Was Asked About An Estimate For Maintaining A Lawn. He Got My Info From My Craigslist Ad. (finally! After Two Weeks, I Got A Call!) I Was There To Give The Estimate At 5:45pm. (if You Snooze, You Lose)

It's A Very Small Lawn On The Edge Of The City. He Wants Someone Primarily To Mow The Lawn So He Can Spend Time With His Family. He Also Is Interested In Repairing Some Dead Patches In The Grass.

The Place Is 3 Miles From Me, And Located In A Semi-affluent Community. If I Can Pick Up Some Nearby Clients, It Could Turn Out Very Well For Me.

I Quoted Him $25 To Mow. Much The Same As The First Client. Weekly And/or As Needed. I Will Need To Prepare A Quote For The Lawn Reseeding/patching, But For Right Now, He's Happy To Be Getting It Cut Later This Week.

Yay! My Second "regularly Scheduled" Client!

After "the Handshake" And Before I Left, I Did Ask Him What It Was About My Ad That Made Him Call Me. He Chuckled, And Said, "well, First Of All, My Wife Said I Better Call Someone!" Lol Then He Started Thinking And Said "well, You Know, Most Of The Larger Companies Don't Want A Lawn This Small, It Seems. I Thought I'd Look On Craigslist, And I Saw Your Ad." He Went On To Say That He Picked Up On The Fact That It Said "professional" And "dependable".
"i Also Liked That You Took The Time To Make The Nice Ad That You Posted".

:) Awesome. :d I'll Be There On Thursday!

Oh, And Although They Have Two Dogs, They Are Cleaned Up After, So No Land Mines To Worry About!
This Day Is Just Filled With "awesome"!

Congrats On The New Work Keep It Going

Hedgemaster
04-04-2012, 09:14 PM
Congrats On The New Work Keep It Going

Thanks.

That was from LAST season, BTW.

And I did "keep it going". :)

Hedgemaster
04-10-2012, 12:05 AM
Well, let's see...


Last week I picked up a new one next to a current client. The same day, I talked to the new resident at a house next to that one that I had cut last season, and picked that one up too. Cool - same house, different client.

Then I started getting calls from my Craigslist ad.

I picked up one that I looked at on Saturday. It's nothing more than a patch of grass about 15'x15' and a strip of grass along the street/sidewalk that's about 36" wide and maybe 65' long.
I gave a quote of $25 weekly or $30 biweekly. "That sounds fair - when can you start?"
Awesome. Easy money right near another small group of existing clients.

I think that's the last of the $25 jobs I'm taking though. I have a limited amount of spaces left and I'll try to fill them with better paying jobs.


I also took on the parents of one of my regulars today.

Picked up a biweekly for $40/cut that takes 35-40 minutes and is on my way to a few other regulars. She used me for a few cuts last season and had me do snow removal, so she agreed to use me on a regular basis.

I have a quote out with a rental owner that's located 2 houses away from another rental I already do, so I have my fingers crossed.

And today I got a call from someone who used me last season until her grandson came home from college for the summer. No hard feelings - I'll take her back. I had her replaced within a week last season, so it didn't affect me. Plus, she pays well ($40/week for 35 min cut), and often has extra work for me.

Tomorrow I'm going to do a quote for someone who stopped to talk to me last year when she saw my lawn sign as I worked in her neighborhood. Her lawn guy SUCKED - left weeds sticking up along the sidewalk and did a generally crappy job. She's looking to replace him.




Busy! Busy! :)

Hedgemaster
04-21-2012, 06:33 PM
I'm turning them down left and right this season.

If I can't use my new walk behind on it, I don't want it. I'll take a few more "little" jobs if they are close to my other ones, but really, why take on more hilly, dangerous jobs that I can't use my new mower on? I bought it to speed things up and use the push mower LESS often.

I picked up two more today.

One is a friend of my neighbor and it's located nearby with easy access for the Ferris. It's a biweekly, but it fits my schedule and is a relatively simple job.

The other is a woman I did a forsythia cut-back for last year. (I think I mentioned it early on in this thread)
Her lawn guy moved, so she gave me a call. Initially I thought I'd have to pass, as it's a small yard, and I didn't think she'd want to pay what I had to ask. I've set a "loose minimum" of $30 this year. I asked what she had been paying - "I'll see if I can match or beat what you were paying", I said.
"$25" was the reply. I told her that I was thinking $30, and that I couldn't do it for $25, unfortunately. She said she'd be able to do $30/weekly.
Works for me. Small job that shouldn't take more than 30 minutes total.

JeffK26
04-21-2012, 10:19 PM
Congrats!

I'm up to 17 clients now with one bid out. Also have 2 potentials from women that are customers of my wife's seamstress business.

I know i'll get PITA customers, but none so far.... Nothing but compliments. So far I have three customers that signed up for 3 month pre pay after the first cut...I have a couple others wanted to pay at time of service and ended up writing a check for the month ( pre paid)....

The one bid i spoke of was from a lawn I did yesterday....It was drizzle/raining, the customer insisted I mow the lawn yesterday since they had a garage sale and BBQ today, I mowed it.......I made three perimeter swipes with the Ferris and grass still got on the siding and the white fence......so I pulled out my hose I always carry hooked it up to the house and instead of blowing clippings I washed it off the siding and fence........didn't take more than 5 minutes.......the neighbor came out and told me that was a great job...he liked the extra attention ( in the rain ) to make sure things were clean....asked me for a bid and will get back to me.....

Hedge said it before....someone is always watching.......

I cannot think of a better job....my office is outside, I feel good when i get home no matter how worn out I feel, it satisfies my OCD that things get "cleaner" as I mow....the uneven grass growing cut down to an even row and you can see it happening....

I just really enjoy this and can't wait to get out next week to keep it going.

Hedgemaster
04-24-2012, 12:10 AM
2012 - the year of the biweekly.

I've gotten one "weekly" so far this season. Everyone else is only interested in biweekly.
Three estimates for tomorrow - all are interested in cutting every two weeks.

Hedgemaster
04-26-2012, 10:00 PM
I'm turning them down left and right this season.

If I can't use my new walk behind on it, I don't want it. I'll take a few more "little" jobs if they are close to my other ones, but really, why take on more hilly, dangerous jobs that I can't use my new mower on? I bought it to speed things up and use the push mower LESS often.

I picked up two more today.

One is a friend of my neighbor and it's located nearby with easy access for the Ferris. It's a biweekly, but it fits my schedule and is a relatively simple job.

The other is a woman I did a forsythia cut-back for last year. (I think I mentioned it early on in this thread)
Her lawn guy moved, so she gave me a call. Initially I thought I'd have to pass, as it's a small yard, and I didn't think she'd want to pay what I had to ask. I've set a "loose minimum" of $30 this year. I asked what she had been paying - "I'll see if I can match or beat what you were paying", I said.
"$25" was the reply. I told her that I was thinking $30, and that I couldn't do it for $25, unfortunately. She said she'd be able to do $30/weekly.
Works for me. Small job that shouldn't take more than 30 minutes total.

I cut her lawn today for the first time.
She wasn't home, but the envelope/pay was where she said it would be, and while the lawn took a little extra work as it hadn't been cut in a few weeks, it wasn't all that bad. The property sits at the end of a street (road just ends) in a wooded area. There were pine needles, leaves, and "helicopters" all over the street, so when I was finished with the lawn, I blew all of that debris off the street, left a "thank you" on a business card, and went on with my day. (Oh, there was a note in the envelope that read "the extra $ is for the tall grass!")

8:30pm tonight my phone rang.
"I'm sorry to call so late, but I wanted to thank you for such a nice job on the lawn and the STREET - the street looks WONDERFUL!" She then said that I had gone "above and beyond" with cleaning up the street and wanted to thank me for everything.

It took me no more than 5 minutes to clean the street. She had payed me an extra $10 because the grass was "tall" (it wasn't really bad), but the phone call was worth more than the $10. That's the kind of appreciation that gets you more work and all it took was an extra few minutes.

Steve
04-27-2012, 09:16 PM
That is a great story!

Hedgemaster
04-27-2012, 10:10 PM
That is a great story!


How about another great story?

I just picked up a new account. I've been setting a $30/$35 minimum for new jobs I take on, but this one is too easy to pass up, and it's right down the street from an existing account.

A flat area of grass just outside the front porch about 6' deep and the width of the house (split in half by a sidewalk) - I'd guess about 30' long total... $25/cut biweekly.

It's amazing what city dwellers will pay for the convenience of not having to buy a mower. I could cut this "lawn" in a half hour with a pair of scissors.

Hedgemaster
05-06-2012, 09:43 PM
Last Friday I was mowing and had my usual lawn signs out in front of, and behind my truck. (busy road, lots of exposure)
As I was loading up, a lady from across the street walked down, and while looking at my "Taking New Clients!" sign, said "Oh, good, you're taking clients - I saw you cutting last week, and wondered if I could get a quote?"
I walked over to look, we talked a bit, and I gave her a quote. She said she'd let me know this week if she's going to use me.

One thing I'm doing differently this season, is I'm not giving price breaks just because a lawn is next to an existing client. I simply give a fair price for the job. So far it's working for me.



I picked up a biweekly today. I had done a "one time" cut for them several weeks ago and gave prices for weekly/biweekly cuts in case they were interested in having me continue mowing on a regular basis.
They called and said they were having trouble finding time for the yard and could I begin cutting on a biweekly schedule? No problem - I charged an extra $10 for the second "first" cut, as it had become a bit overgrown.

When I did the lawn the first time, the owner asked for a price to cut the vacant property next door. He said he'd pass along my quote of $45 to the owner of the property. I told him "That's the price TODAY... it will increase if the lawn is left to grow more."
Today, I was asked again (by the wife) about doing the lawn next door. I explained that I quoted $45 4 weeks ago, but now the price is $80. She said she'd pass along the info.
When I got home I answered a call from the owner of the vacant house. :)

"Yes, $80 sounds fine - what would it cost to keep it maintained on a regular basis?" :) :)

I told him $35/biweekly. He's sending a check for $115 for the first two cuts. :) (RIGHT next door to the other biweekly and in my neighborhood to boot!)

JeffK26
05-06-2012, 11:15 PM
I'm not giving price breaks just because a lawn is next to an existing client.

Same here, the ONLY time I give price break for neighbors is if they get together and it's a quote on the same day. A group rate for a group quote. Otherwise....thppppppt! :p

At least to me, it's like I'm giving a price to the guy that showed up "late". The original customer is getting the going rate, but the guy that asks after waiting is getting the break.

Hedgemaster
05-07-2012, 11:05 PM
Picked up a "new", old customer today.

This one was a guy I cut biweekly last year. $60/cut - one of my highest priced jobs. I mowed while the house was on the market. He ended up renting the house and then the renters were responsible for the lawn.
He called today - it's back on the market and he wanted to know if I'd like the job again. Heck yeah. It was a beast last year with a 21" mower, but now that I have my walk behind, that $60/cut is much more profitable. (Plus I cut several other lawns on that street, so it's convenient)

Hedgemaster
05-07-2012, 11:26 PM
Last Friday I was mowing and had my usual lawn signs out in front of, and behind my truck. (busy road, lots of exposure)
As I was loading up, a lady from across the street walked down, and while looking at my "Taking New Clients!" sign, said "Oh, good, you're taking clients - I saw you cutting last week, and wondered if I could get a quote?"
I walked over to look, we talked a bit, and I gave her a quote. She said she'd let me know this week if she's going to use me.

One thing I'm doing differently this season, is I'm not giving price breaks just because a lawn is next to an existing client. I simply give a fair price for the job. So far it's working for me.



I picked up a biweekly today. I had done a "one time" cut for them several weeks ago and gave prices for weekly/biweekly cuts in case they were interested in having me continue mowing on a regular basis.
They called and said they were having trouble finding time for the yard and could I begin cutting on a biweekly schedule? No problem - I charged an extra $10 for the second "first" cut, as it had become a bit overgrown.

When I did the lawn the first time, the owner asked for a price to cut the vacant property next door. He said he'd pass along my quote of $45 to the owner of the property. I told him "That's the price TODAY... it will increase if the lawn is left to grow more."
Today, I was asked again (by the wife) about doing the lawn next door. I explained that I quoted $45 4 weeks ago, but now the price is $80. She said she'd pass along the info.
When I got home I answered a call from the owner of the vacant house. :)

"Yes, $80 sounds fine - what would it cost to keep it maintained on a regular basis?" :) :)

I told him $35/biweekly. He's sending a check for $115 for the first two cuts. :) (RIGHT next door to the other biweekly and in my neighborhood to boot!)


UPDATE:


Get this. I'm headed over to get this overgrown mess under control and the phone rings - it's the owner of said mess.

"I just got a call that one of the neighbors started cutting the lawn. I don't know how far he got, but the neighbor told him that you were hired to mow it", he said.

Son of a GAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! WTF?!!!
Why can't these people just call code enforcement instead of CUTTING THE MESS and ENABLING these deadbeat homeowners? Seriously... what good does it do to bust yous a$$ to mow a property that SHOULD be maintained by the person who OWNS it?
TWO other neighbors saw me mowing the other day and asked for my number to give to the homeowner - said they were rhinking of going over and mowing it themselves. Idiots.



Anyway, I get over there and sure enough, the neighbor had cut the whole thing. It wasn't pretty, but how the heck can I charge what I quoted for a lawn that's already been half finished? I was pi$$ed.

I decided to go ahead and mow it again at a lower setting to get it down even with the next door neighbor that I'm cutting. I spent a LOT of time weed wacking, so I may just keep my quoted price close to the original $80.

The owner said that he has already mailed me a check for $115 ($80 first cut and $35 for next cut) and told me to see what it's like when I get there.




How many times can this happen to me? I don't know if I mentioned it, but several weeks ago, one of last season's clients called to thank me for mowing. I hadn't been there.

Someone had cut his lawn and he didn't know who did it. "Come back in 2 weeks" he said. About 2 weeks later, the SAME thing happened a day before I was going to cut it. SONOFABIOTCH!!!

Near as he could figure, someone is supposed to be cutting the house next door that's for sale, but cut his by mistake - twice!

So I stop by today to cut and NOW I find his lawn is mostly destroyed. We heard about it on the police scanner a day or so ago - a drunk plowed through a guide rail and went through his lawn, tearing out trees and ripping up the grass, leaving a trail of glass and plastic debris everywhere, and ending up on it's roof as I recall.

I just threw my hands up in defeat. I guess I'm not meant to mow this lawn. LOL

I have to post pics.

Hedgemaster
05-26-2012, 11:45 AM
Update on the above post:

The place that was cut by a neighbor worked out. He was OK with the quoted price and didn't hold it against me that the neighbor had already cut it. I told him that with the little bit of time savings I experienced (due to the neighbor knocking it down already) I was able to do a few little extras that I wouldn't have otherwise.
He has already sent a check for 4 more cuts.



The lawn that had been cut by the mystery person and was trashed by a drunk?
Well, it turns out his prior lawn guy was cutting the lawn again without discussing it with him. The guy had "quit" due to a heart attack and that's how I got the job last year.
Apparently these guys have a 15 year relationship and the client doesn't have the heart to tell him "no". He said he likes my work better even though I'm $10 more per cut.
Meh. If it were another lawn, I'd feel differently, but his is a bit of a pain to mow, so I don't care if I've lost it.

Steve
05-28-2012, 10:15 AM
It is great to see all this growth occur overtime!

Hedgemaster
05-28-2012, 12:45 PM
Speaking of "over time"...


I did an estimate late last season for a woman who wanted to pay to have her daughter's lawn cut, hedges, beds, etc.
I gave her a quote for the lawn, but wanted to speak to the homeowner before quoting the other things. Long story short, communications broke down and I didn't hear back from anyone.

Fast forward to a week ago and there's a message on my phone from the same woman regarding a quote for the lawn - again.

I went back to look and determined that IF I had permission to enter the back yard through a 4' gate on the side by going a few feet through the neighbor's lawn, I would accept the job. (provided she liked the price) I'm weeding out accounts that must be "push-mowed" in favor of those I can use my 36" walk behind on.

I quoted a price and got the job. First cut is tomorrow - if it doesn't r-a-i-n...

Hedgemaster
06-26-2012, 04:45 PM
Just got my first "turn down" over a HUGE price difference.

I had a call from someone not happy with hr current guy. He's been cutting it for years, but ever since he bought a ZTR, he doesn't mow short enough and does minimal trimming - overall, just getting lazy.

I stopped to look. A townhouse with a tiny front lawn and a larger one in the rear. To get to the back you have to go three townhouses down to the drive that runs around back. OK, so I figure with the hassle of making the trek around back, I would be looking at a minimum of 30 minutes at this job.

I called and when it was determined that she wanted biweekly service, I gave her a price of $35.

"Oh my." she stammered, becoming silent.
"I assume that's more than what you had been paying?", I asked.
"Oh, yes, a LOT more!"
"I was paying him $11!"

(Gimme a friggin' break)

"Wow", I said - "There is no way I can cut for that little. I'll assume he's doing this for pocket change because I couldn't pay my bills charging that little."

"Well, he cuts a lot of them here, so he probably does OK", she said.
"I WAS paying $8 until a year ago, he must have raised his price to pay for the riding mower."


She thanked me for stopping to look.



I've had a few cheapskates tell me I was $5 higher than they wanted to pay, but SHEESH - this one was insane.

wat5150
06-26-2012, 06:28 PM
Part of the biz I guess.

WeekendWarriorLawn
06-26-2012, 09:57 PM
definitely advertise in all of your local papers. newspapers, auto traders (might get expensive in those but it will pay off), if your local public access TV channel has free non-profit ads, find a way to get on there. i run a non-profit ad offering free services for disabled vets of war. helps get your name out there.


anything you can think of,no matter how crazy it sounds, do it. marketing gets pretty fun, even if you have to spend a few dollars. my most expensive marketing project is an audio cd i burn myself. i get cd's in bulk off of ebay and burn them off. the cd is information about our company (no beer jokes in it, lol) if anyone is interested in hearing it, pm me for details. its only 5 minutes long.


anyway i use these for flyers on cars in parking lots. i get calls back from them, too. i even get work from them. people call about my VERY FIRST flyer which was more of "im a handy man, specializing in lawn care, lookin for odd jobs" kind of thing.

the marketing is the best part.


i got motivated to really go with this after seeing steves best lawn care video (that video also made me WANT to join this forum, and i hate signing up for forums). i'd like to see him get behind the camera again and hope he does soon. now and then we can all use a good boost, and his very interesting ways behind the lens really picked me up a few times when the phone wasn't ringing.


on being shot down and high rates...

my best contracted CX told me we bid HIGHER than he was told by others. we still sold him on 3 services a month. we met him in person, talked shop, got comfortable with each other, and at the end, let him have some time to think it over. went to grab lunch.


came back, and he was ready to sign. guaranteed for the next 3 months now, and he's soo happy with our service. his tenants are super happy and super happy with him now as well.

WeekendWarriorLawn
06-26-2012, 10:49 PM
EDIT/NOTE:

thats 3 services a month on 4 properties!

Hedgemaster
06-26-2012, 11:18 PM
Since I mentioned the cheapskate that wanted a 35 minute job done for ELEVEN dollars, I thought I'd mention this one as well.

I went to give an estimate the other day and pulled up to what was a rather plain, unimpressive, and somewhat "dead-looking" lawn. I started looking around and the owner's wife came out. I learned that they just moved in and were RENTING. "Well, that's a bad sign", I thought to myself, as renters usually don't care about the lawn and aren't fond of paying to care for someone else's property.

The sidewalk was in desperate need of an edging and there was grass in all the cracks of the drive. It had been cut recently, but you could tell it was done with little regard to how it looked.

I had been asked for a quote for mowing and edging. "I'd just like to neaten it up some".

I told the wife it would be around $35/cut and that I'd email her husband with the details.



I stopped by today.
To mow, trim (weedeat), and blow off all hard surfaces, the price would
be:

Weekly service - $35/cut
Biweekly service $40/cut

We could discuss edging further if you wish, as I don't know the extent that you want to go to, but to edge the front sidewalk for the first time, add $30 to get it sharpened up and after that, I'd just include maintenance edging with the regular service.


Thanks,
Hedge


His reply...

Let's start with bi-weekly because I am not sure how quickly the grass grows, and I will add the $30 for the first cut.
When can you start?


:)


Thanks for the quick reply.
Fridays are booked. I may be able to cut tomorrow if it's urgent, but it looked like it had been cut recently.
How does Monday sound?
Hedge


His reply:

Fantastic


So I go over yesterday and do the first cut. It takes all of 15 minutes to mow, I didn't time the trimming/blow, but it's not extensive.
(The edging took a while - it was bad)

So the previous person (in post above) wanted me to spend at least 30 minutes there for ELEVEN dollars and this guy is cool with $40 for a job that takes less time/work.

There really is no way to know what someone is willing to pay. It's crazy.

Hedgemaster
07-17-2012, 07:10 PM
UPDATE on the above post:

After the second cut, the wife called to complain that the price was "too much".

Honestly, after having cut it, I do realize I could do it for less. I tried discussing it with her and told her I was willing to work with them on the price, but she was "busy" and didn't want to talk about it.
I figure I'll throw out an offer via email to the husband, but I'm not holding my breath.

At least it wasn't one that will be missed if they don't wish to continue with me. It's not really near my other stops and the lawn isn't one I could ever be proud of.

Hedgemaster
07-17-2012, 07:14 PM
In other news, I just picked up an new $40 account today.

I was contacted in the am via email. Went to look at it this afternoon.
Sent a quote and within minutes I got "Sounds like a great plan and I'm ready to begin whenever you are."

It's also located less than a mile from my home.


Sometimes the universe has a way of balancing these things out. :cool:

Hedgemaster
07-29-2012, 07:52 PM
Picked up another $40 biweekly that I gave an estimate for two weeks ago.
After not hearing back from them I just assumed they weren't interested since the price was high considering the neighborhood it's in. I guess not - I start this week.


I also picked up another new client today.
I was mowing on a street near my home and was approached by a man from across the street.

"Hi, could I get a quote to have my lawn maintained - I'm only home on the weekends and don't have time to do it." Apparently he was headed out the door to catch a flight when he saw me working.
I quoted him $35 and he gave me $40 for the first cut "because the grass is a little high." (It wasn't high at all, but I wasn't arguing with him)
"If you want to do any weeding while you're here, that needs done too - just let me know what I owe you" he said, before heading for the airport.

wat5150
07-29-2012, 08:01 PM
Nice. I like those clients. Just go ahead and do this or that it needs to be done. Sometimes you can run into a tight @ss that will give you a hard time but a lot of times people like that just want the sh!t done. They will pay for it. Always good to pick up new accounts!

Hedgemaster
07-29-2012, 09:10 PM
Nice. I like those clients. Just go ahead and do this or that it needs to be done. Sometimes you can run into a tight @ss that will give you a hard time but a lot of times people like that just want the sh!t done. They will pay for it. Always good to pick up new accounts!

Yep.

I haven't been updating this the way I used to, but I thought of some discussion about picking up clients mid-season, and thought this would be a good example. There are always people looking to hire for various reasons.

And yeah, I have one other client who tells me to just do whatever I think needs done and give him the total. He's the closest to "full service" that I've got.
It's SO hard wrapping my brain around this concept since everyone else is so damned tight with the money most times.

Hedgemaster
08-01-2012, 05:25 PM
Picked up a $35 weekly/biweekly (depends on growth) today.

I had a voicemail yesterday requesting a quote and called back within a few hours. I generally try to return calls ASAP, but I was trying to beat the rainclouds that were forming.

"I JUST moved in and I'm looking for someone to maintain the lawn and hedges", he said.

Anyway, I stopped to look today and will be starting tomorrow.
As an added bonus, he's just one street away from a cluster of 7 that I already service and I was looking to add one or two more on that day.

I asked where he got my info and he said "Craigslist".
I haven't run my ad in at least a month - apparently having keywords is a good idea because my ad still pops up when people do searches.

Caskey Lawns & Landscapes
08-04-2012, 08:03 AM
How do you do your craigslist ad ? What key words are working for you ?

Hedgemaster
08-04-2012, 10:40 AM
How do you do your craigslist ad ? What key words are working for you ?

Here's my thread with my original ad...
http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=13951&highlight=craigslist


I just posted my keywords for someone else. I'll see if I can find it...

This is what I use. Modify it as you see fit. (Obviously town names/zips for one thing)

keywords: pittsburgh, east, squirrel hill, point breeze, edgewood, regent sq, regent square, forest hills, rt 30, route 30, 376, rt 376, route 376, churchill, penn hills,
15235, pennhills, wilkins, wilkins township, wilkins twp, edgewood, churchill, monroeville, murrysville, plum, verona, oakmont, lawn servce, lawn-care, lawncare,
cut, mower, lawnmower, mow, insured, insurance, licensed, registered, estimate, edge, trim, leaf blower, blow, blowing, sidewalk, driveway,
walkway, mulch, mulching, mulches, spring, fall, clean-up, cleanup, twigs, weeds, branches, trees, recycled, recycling, compost, summer,
winter, rain barrel, weedwack, weed-wack, weedwhacking, weedeat, weed-eat, weedeater, shrubs, shrubbery, bush, hedges, forsythia, trimming,
cutting, pruning, fertilize, organic fertilizer, fertilizing, plant, plants, planting, beds, flowerbed, garden, gardens, raised garden, prune, annuals,
flowers, flower, rake, raking, shovel, digging, sweep, haul, hauling, debris, removal, honest, honesty, integrity, pride, diligent, reliable,
responsible, fair, detail-oriented, affordable, satisfaction, 15217, 15208, 15218, 15221, 15235, 15145, 15146, 15239, 15147, 15139, shadyside, swissvale, 15232, lawnmowing, grass cutting, lawn mowing, landscaper, landscape, landscaping, land scaping, cut grass, mowing grass, lawn, low priced, affordable, affordably priced, curb appeal, gardener, maintenance, lawn maintenance, mainenence, maintainence, fertilizer, organic, sod, low emissions, free estimate, estimates, green, handyman, water conservation, pond, fountain, fountian, thinning, removal, chain saw, lot, vacant lot, property, hauling, roses, bush, bushes, trimmer, snowblower, snowthrower, pole pruner, pruner, shaping, cutting, push mower, discount, referral discount, low priced, landscaper, landscaping, pet, pet friendly, pet-friendly, dog, pet safe, pet-safe, weekly, biweekly, bi weekly, monthly, annual, annuals, last minute, hurry, asap, quote

Caskey Lawns & Landscapes
08-07-2012, 07:48 AM
Thanks for the info...I think I'll give it a try and see what happens, can't hurt...

xandrew245x
08-07-2012, 07:51 AM
Reminds me, I need to put my add back up, it was flagged and removed for reason I don't know.

Hedgemaster
08-07-2012, 01:19 PM
Yesterday I cut one of my weekly regulars and sent a text letting her know it had been cut.
She was upset. "Please call before cutting. it was another dry week and I wasn't expecting you to cut."

WTF? It's been raining at least once a week for the last few Weeks and all my lawns are growing well now.
I did call her first during the worst part of the drought, but I guess she expects me to call to see if she wants cut every week now. Ain't happening.
Gonna let her know that she is responsible for contacting me ahead of time if she doesn't want it cut.
This is the second thing that she did that shows me she's more concerned with cost than anything.


On the other end of the spectrum is a client nearby that I cut "as needed".
This is the only account I do this way - her grass simply doesn't grow.
Anyway, it had been 4 Weeks, and I cut it yesterday.
She said, "it's been a while, just let me know how much extra you'd like for your trouble."

Amazing.

wat5150
08-07-2012, 01:30 PM
I cant stand the cheap @ss people. Oh it doesnt need it this week. Come back next week when its twice as tall and will look like sh!t when its done. I really only want this done every 2 weeks. It drives me crazy. I cant wait untill I have enough of a client base to weed some of mine out. I dont have too many idiots but a couple are pain in the @ss that way. Oh its going to be how much?? Well thats kind of high, well go buy a mower then and do it yourself. Knobs. I have some that are just like do it every week send me a bill and thats it. I love that.

Hedgemaster
08-31-2012, 10:36 PM
Heh. I still haven't gotten to talk to her about it. At this point, I don't care much if I do. The only reason I'd like to at least get a confirmation that she doesn't want to use me (or does) is that she left the good review on Angies List. I don't want her posting a bad review.


That said, I just did a hedge job for someone who found me trough Angies List.
"Wow! Those hedges have never looked so good!"

Said she's giving me a good review and will be calling me back for other work.
:)

Hedgemaster
09-11-2012, 02:27 PM
I JUST got a text from the "upset" client I mentioned a few posts back.

"Hi Hedge, been traveling. The grass needs to be cut. Are you available?"

Meh. Screw it. I'll go cut it and finish out this season. Better that than have her leave me a bad review.

Sometimes being diplomatic about such things sucks, but it is what it is.

Hedgemaster
09-11-2012, 02:50 PM
Stick to your guns!

I picked up a new client today DESPITE my price being $15/cut MORE than another quote he received.

I went to look. Nicer home with a lawn large enough to justify using my walk behind. The lawn itself isn't nice - just a mix of grass/weeds. Basic amount of trimming for the most part, BUT there is a long, STEEP hill along the road in the front. The hillside stumped me when it came time to figure out a price. I figure I can mow about half way up it with a mower, but the rest will likely need cut with a string trimmer.

I called and gave a quote of $65. (taking into consideration that he wants biweekly service)
"That's a bit higher than I expected, could you come down on that price any?" he asked.

I explained that the hillside was what has the price so high - that there's a lot of trimming work to be done as well as the danger of working on such a slope to factor in.

He stated that the guy who cuts his neighbor's lawn quoted him $50, but "I haven't heard back from him in weeks".
(yeah, because he doesn't want to mess with that friggin' hillside)

I did finally comment that if after cutting, I found that I had quoted too high, I'd be willing to adjust the price. (I know it's a business, but I'm not out to rip people off)
I also explained that with the lawn needing cut the way it does now (it's been 3 weeks), I would normally charge extra for the first cut anyway, so the $65 would be the price for the first cut regardless.

"When can you start?"

:D


I could have dropped my price to assure getting the job.
I didn't, and I got it anyway.

:)

Hedgemaster
09-11-2012, 03:00 PM
Actually, I got TWO new accounts today. :)


A few days ago I got an email asking if I work in "X" area of the city and if I'm taking any new clients this late in the season.
"We just moved in and thought we could care for the lawn ourselves, but both of us work and, we can't seem to find time."

I had to ask for an address for the quote and the reply was awesome - it's directly across the street from someone I already service on that street! What are the odds?!!!

I went to look today and sent my quote via email.
Tiny, tiny lawn that will likely take around 20 minutes total.
I quoted $30 weekly, or $35 biweekly.

I got it. :)


Again, I could have priced it lower to assure that I got it. I WANTED it - who wouldn't? It's right next to a current account... but I priced it at the rate I wanted to be paid, not what I thought may assure me the job.

h_soape
09-12-2012, 08:40 AM
Hedge,
I want to say kudos to you. We both joined and started about the same time last year. I got distracted by some other stuff and slowed down on marketing, now I am way behind where I intended to be. You worked your plan and have grown quickly.

Great job!

Hedgemaster
11-05-2012, 08:42 PM
I haven't been keeping this updated the way I used to but there are two noteworthy things to add.

1. Picked up a new client via my reviews/listing on Angie's list.

Actually, I picked up TWO new clients recently via Angie's List!

(a) The first was about a month ago. I did a mow and small leaf cleanup.
I'm going to do another leaf cleanup later this week and it looks like I'll be doing the mowing, and hedge trimming there next season as well. It's a condo association, which is a bit different for me. Thus far, I've only worked for homeowners with a few rental properties mixed in. This is the first property of this nature (large building with multiple tenants) that I've done.
The person who contacted me left a good review on Angie's List, so I'm off to a good start.


(b) A week ago I was called about doing an estimate for mowing/hedge trimming.
It turns out to be a rental property and is near another job on an existing route. The downside is that the front and back are not connected and I have to go around the corner to the alley to do the back yard.
For this reason, I bumped the price by over $10 more than for a comparably sized yard. I didn't think they would go for it, as most rental owners are tight with the money. I quoted $48 for biweekly service and got it. :)
PRICE IT at the amount YOU want - NOT what you think the client will pay!



The other thing worth noting is the BONUS I received today from one of my regulars!

I got a $100 bonus along with the $30 payment for the last cut of the season today!

The handwritten note attached read:

Hedge,
Thank you for doing such a good job for me all summer.
Here is a small bonus to express my appreciation.
I'll call you about doing the leaves.
Thanks again,
Client


I nearly fell over when I opened the envelope.
I'll be sending a thank you card.

stevef1201
11-05-2012, 08:51 PM
I haven't been keeping this updated the way I used to but there are two noteworthy things to add.

1. Picked up a new client via my reviews/listing on Angie's list.

Actually, I picked up TWO new clients recently via Angie's List!

(a) The first was about a month ago. I did a mow and small leaf cleanup.
I'm going to do another leaf cleanup later this week and it looks like I'll be doing the mowing, and hedge trimming there next season as well. It's a condo association, which is a bit different for me. Thus far, I've only worked for homeowners with a few rental properties mixed in. This is the first property of this nature (large building with multiple tenants) that I've done.
The person who contacted me left a good review on Angie's List, so I'm off to a good start.


(b) A week ago I was called about doing an estimate for mowing/hedge trimming.
It turns out to be a rental property and is near another job on an existing route. The downside is that the front and back are not connected and I have to go around the corner to the alley to do the back yard.
For this reason, I bumped the price by over $10 more than for a comparably sized yard. I didn't think they would go for it, as most rental owners are tight with the money. I quoted $48 for biweekly service and got it. :)
PRICE IT at the amount YOU want - NOT what you think the client will pay!



The other thing worth noting is the BONUS I received today from one of my regulars!

I got a $100 bonus along with the $30 payment for the last cut of the season today!

The handwritten note attached read:

Hedge,
Thank you for doing such a good job for me all summer.
Here is a small bonus to express my appreciation.
I'll call you about doing the leaves.
Thanks again,
Client


I nearly fell over when I opened the envelope.
I'll be sending a thank you card.

Had something similar happen to me, not as big. My business advisor said to send them some flowers or something. I got them a plant, as I remember ehr mentioning a potted plant she had had died****just a thought

LawnBoy0311
11-05-2012, 09:13 PM
I got a real nice bonus today.

"Thanks, but your service is no longer needed..."

When I asked why, I got this...

"Because I can see dirt when you edge the sidewalk"


WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!

Long time problems with her, and CHEAP. No loss for me. I consider it a bonus because I don't have to deal with her anymore. The only reason I didn't dump her before was because I needed the $$.

Grass Doctor
11-05-2012, 11:43 PM
I got a real nice bonus today.

"Thanks, but your service is no longer needed..."

When I asked why, I got this...

"Because I can see dirt when you edge the sidewalk"


WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!

Long time problems with her, and CHEAP. No loss for me. I consider it a bonus because I don't have to deal with her anymore. The only reason I didn't dump her before was because I needed the $$.

that was ur late trick or treat candy bag:p:p:p:p:p:p

LawnBoy0311
11-06-2012, 06:39 AM
that was ur late trick or treat candy bag:p:p:p:p:p:p

HAHAHAHAHAHHA we both got pretty cool trick or treat gifts this year!! Good thing I don't mow around christmas....hopefully you don't either! By the way things have been going, "Santa" would set our trailers on fire!

Hedgemaster
05-11-2013, 11:55 PM
This is funny going back and reading these posts.
I really should keep this thread updated more regularly.


I've lost a few accounts this season.
Most were because the kids are old enough to mow the lawn now, or they moved.
One was because I don't offer chemical application. No big deal - I understand the desire to have someone who does it all.

Another was for what I assume is similar reasons. I was mowing a lawn at a fairly nice home with an in-ground pool and quite a bit of beds that needed maintained. They had been neglected, and I honestly didn't have the time, or desire to tackle the project on my own, so they hired a landscaper to do some extensive work on the property. (this was last season)
I contacted them this spring and learned that they were going to use that landscaper now. "He gave us a price to maintain the property that had mowing included."

While it sucked to lose a good client (always paid on time and for a month or two at a time), I can understand that they may want to simply write one check and be done with it. I also suspect that it had something to do with hiring a minority owned business. Whatever the reason, it's their money and they can spend it where they choose.

I did inquire if there was anything I had done, or did not offer, or if it was a matter of price that caused them to go with someone else.
"Oh, no! YOU were great!" she said. They just had the offer from the landscaper and it was how they wanted to do it.

One of the drawbacks of being solo is the limits on time and physical ability to tackle some projects. You win some, you lose some. Fortunately, I've won some more recently. I'll pop back in to post about those later.

Steve
05-13-2013, 01:10 PM
One of the drawbacks of being solo is the limits on time and physical ability to tackle some projects. You win some, you lose some.

Do you think this will at all effect the way you handle growth in the future? Or effect your business plan?

Hedgemaster
05-13-2013, 09:52 PM
Do you think this will at all effect the way you handle growth in the future? Or effect your business plan?

I think at the end of this season I will be faced with a decision to either hire help (which I don't see happening due to costs/regulations), or rethink my strategy.

I had planned on "growing" - getting a ZTR and mowing larger properties, but I don't know that this is feasible without a helper. It's hard enough working "medium-sized" properties alone. I keep seeing the benefit of mowing a bunch of tiny, city lawns instead. $25/$30 for a 10-15 minute job is a lot better than $35/$40 for a 30/45/50/60 minute job. On paper AND on my aching feet. ;)

brian'slawncare
05-13-2013, 10:50 PM
I love going back and reading all the old posts in this thread. Almost make me want to cry :( the years are going by so fast!

Dude. over 35,000 views on this thread Hedge! Congrats to that!:p

Hedgemaster
05-13-2013, 10:59 PM
I stepped in poop today.

I'm ready to drop the client because of it. :mad:


The phone keeps ringing. No reason to hang on to clients who can not accommodate a simple request like cleaning up before I arrive.

I just picked up another customer that pays $5 more for a job that's slightly smaller than poop yard guy.
I think I just made my decision.

Hedgemaster
06-11-2013, 09:41 PM
I stepped in poop today.

I'm ready to drop the client because of it. :mad:


The phone keeps ringing. No reason to hang on to clients who can not accommodate a simple request like cleaning up before I arrive.

I just picked up another customer that pays $5 more for a job that's slightly smaller than poop yard guy.
I think I just made my decision.


I hadn't dropped poop guy yet. Today I went there and, you guessed it, more poop. I mowed around one, went over another that I didn't see, and caught the edge of one with the string trimmer.

He's done. I'm going to get my check tomorrow and I'm giving him the two week notice. It's a biweekly that simply grows too much to cut every other week. He agreed to weekly cuts for about 4 weeks, then wanted to go back to biweekly. I tried it. I'll go back in two weeks if he hasn't found someone and then I'm done. The poop was the last straw. It's a simple request and I expect it to be cleaned up prior to my arrival. No exceptions.

Hedgemaster
06-11-2013, 09:47 PM
I had a former client come crawling back to me today.

I'm sure I mentioned it somewhere in this thread - guy whose lawn I was cutting and I found the lawn already cut for several weeks in a row when I went there. Turned out his OLD lawn guy "came back" without notice and started mowing again and he didn't have the heart to tell him no. WTF?
I didn't like the lawn anyway, so not a big loss.

Well today he called and wanted to let me know the job was mine again if I wanted it.

"Thanks for calling, but right now I'm only taking on lawns I can cut with my big mower" I said.
(his was push mow only and he wanted it bagged - I mulch)

blah blah blah... "I should have kept you on before - you do a LOT better job than the other guy!" he said.



Everybody wants the Hedgemaster, but Hedgemaster no longer wants everybody.

:cool:

Steve
06-12-2013, 02:59 PM
I'm sure I mentioned it somewhere in this thread - guy whose lawn I was cutting and I found the lawn already cut for several weeks in a row when I went there. Turned out his OLD lawn guy "came back" without notice and started mowing again and he didn't have the heart to tell him no. WTF?

OH WOW! What a situation that is.

Hedgemaster
06-12-2013, 07:46 PM
OH WOW! What a situation that is.


Tell me about it. Even the homeowner had no idea who was mowing the lawn initially.

Former lawn guy quit because he had a heart attack. I start mowing then out of the blue this guy just starts mowing this lawn again - without ever contacting the homeowner.

myblacktruck
06-12-2013, 09:09 PM
Tell me about it. Even the homeowner had no idea who was mowing the lawn initially.

Former lawn guy quit because he had a heart attack. I start mowing then out of the blue this guy just starts mowing this lawn again - without ever contacting the homeowner.

yeah thats a little weird maybe they got his meds a little to strong

Hedgemaster
06-13-2013, 07:57 PM
A few weeks back I picked up another client who is the father of a client I've been cutting for a few years now. Seems "his guy" just stopped showing up.

The second week I was there he had company - some family from out of town was there.
As I was finishing up I shut down the mower and said hello to a guy who had come out to sit on the porch. "You do nice work, my friend", he said.
"Well, thank you", I replied "I'm pretty particular about keeping my lines straight." (as I gesture to the section of lawn I had just finished)
"No sh!t - it looks like a damned football field!", he replied! (LOL)

"Maaaannn... you do it right - the guys that cut our lawn don't do half of what you did."
He said that there's a crew of three that cut his lawn. Apparently they don't trim along anything the way I did and the stripes are nowhere near as neat as mine.

"What do we have to do to convince you to pack your gear and move to D.C.?" he joked.
"I told my wife I'm firing our guys when we get back."

:D


"Well, I certainly appreciate the compliments", I replied.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone even notices the fine details. The things that take extra time, but make a job - any job - look that much better.
Apparently it was noticed.

:)

Hedgemaster
06-18-2013, 07:54 PM
I just lost a client I picked up last month.

Apparently my work is "superb", but they want someone who can handle all the other aspects of what they want done in order to simplify payments and keep track of what they are paying out.

I can see that. I'd rather pay one person/company than have to use several.
I'm not that guy yet though, so there's nothing I can do about it. Not enough time in a day to "do it all" unfortunately.

The upsides to this are:
(a) They were not unhappy with any of the work I did
(b) I underbid it and it is a horrible job to mow - multiple slopes that need trimmed because they are too steep for a mower, and an insane amount of string trimming around objects. The people were nice, but the lawn will not be missed.



On the upside, I just took on a job that pays twice as much for the same amount of time spent mowing.

Hedgemaster
08-27-2013, 06:13 PM
Wow, I haven't been keeping this updated, but I had to add the following...


Do NOT quote what you think they will pay - quote WHAT YOU WANT TO BE PAID.

In the last week, or so, I've gotten several calls for lawn mowing quotes.
Some I turned down after seeing them, two declined based on price, and a few others are now new clients who didn't bat an eye at what I thought were quotes that were closer to the high end.

I am pretty much saturated with work, but I still go and look. If I can pick up some better paying jobs, I will drop a few that aren't such good money makers.


I HAVE noted that I'm getting more calls from people who found me on Angie's List.

I just got off the phone with two people that I gave quotes to.
One, a smallish lot that based on the location, I could see someone doing it for $25-$30. I quoted $38, as it's a temporary job. I wouldn't have even taken it, but it's only a half mile from and existing client.
I thought I'd surely be turned down at that price, but no - I got it. And she may have some other work for me doing mulch, shrubs, etc.

The other was fine with $40/cut. It's probably a $30-$35 cut. The drawback (sort of) is that it's biweekly, which I'm trying to avoid. I took it though because it's right down the street from an existing client that I cut biweekly and I really have no reason to be in that neighborhood on the "other week". It should work out well.

Steve
08-29-2013, 12:34 AM
Do you think there is something else that comes along with pricing jobs higher?

I mean with the proper direction, could you have done this right from the start or did you need to build up your skills and confidence to pull it off?

Is this something that a business owner could more expect to do in the 2nd or 3rd year over the first?

Hedgemaster
08-29-2013, 08:36 PM
Do you think there is something else that comes along with pricing jobs higher?

I mean with the proper direction, could you have done this right from the start or did you need to build up your skills and confidence to pull it off?

Is this something that a business owner could more expect to do in the 2nd or 3rd year over the first?


Well, when most people start out, it seems they have no idea what to charge and even then, there's often the NEED to work - bills to pay and all that, so you "take what you can get."

Once you get past the errors of under-bidding and are OK with walking away unless you get the price you want for a job, you're good to go.



I just turned another one down today. Too hilly, too many trees, push-mow only.
Pass. Sometimes the money is irrelevant. There are other jobs that will present themselves - I don't need to work any harder than I already do. Some other guy can have that one.

Hedgemaster
09-20-2013, 11:24 PM
Speaking of pricing jobs higher...

I picked up a new account last week and she's paying me $10 a week more than she was paying the clowns that had been mowing her lawn.
While doing the estimate I asked what she had been paying. "$25" was the reply. I told her that I wouldn't be able to come close to that - my price would be $35/week.

I assumed that would be the end of that. I was wrong. I got the job.



I love hacks. They do half-a$$ed work, get fired, and then people are willing to pay me more to have the work done correctly.