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View Full Version : Half way Mark.


Ducke
06-19-2011, 06:59 PM
Well its June three months in to a (Approx) Six month season.
I have 7 full time customers and five single services that I do.
Things seem to be going well and I am making some money.
I also have been putting out quite a few expenses some planned and some not so much.
I am some what happy at were I am right now but as most I really want to see thing grow more but seem to have hit a wall and am stagnating.
I have done three fliers and put up signs at local stores and service stations. I have put Business card at a local hair salon and a local restaurant.
I have put an add on KIJIJI (like Crags List) I have a Web Site a FaceBook Site and I use a Twitter account all seem to be getting interest but not a lot of work. My rates are comparable to my competition and I will not Low Ball I feel like I have covered all the bases.
Have I missed anything ? is this normal for your first year ?

Graham

Steve
06-20-2011, 10:13 AM
What are you doing to reach out to your neighbors? What about your friends, and your friends' friends?

How are you utilizing your current customers to help you get more customers?

The Cleaning Doctor
06-20-2011, 05:28 PM
Every time you buy gas, leave a card in the credit card slot. Ones that look like $$$ usually do well for this.

Ducke
06-20-2011, 08:41 PM
What are you doing to reach out to your neighbors? What about your friends, and your friends' friends?

How are you utilizing your current customers to help you get more customers?

Well I talk to most of my neighbors often but most do there own lawn care but I keep trying, I have done some aeration for most of my neighbors but not mush else. I do one friends lawn but most live in Apt or condos.
I do keep things moving on a word of mouth kind of thing every time I talk to people. I have had some referrals from my customers but the problem is usually price they all want it for nothing Had a call yesterday for example Ask how much I would charge to do her lawn sight unseen said I had to see it first She said it was a small city lot,I said i had to see it she insisted I give her a price on the phone so I said $35.00 and up Cut, Trim, Blow, So she say well how much for just a cut no trim or blow I said $35.00 and up then she say so you won't do it for $20.00 and I said I wouldn't even start my truck for $20.00 She hung up.
I know I'm new and I should take what I can but I do not want to Low Ball
I have expenses you what they are I'm not going to list them I can't work for less the $35.00 a cut and I defiantly will not do half a job for cheap Its my Company name out there .
Oops look at me ranting along again had a long day today and looks like tomorrow is as well.
I love the job and the work I just have never worked for myself and don't know what to expect and am just wondering is my situation normakl for your first year?

Hedgemaster
06-20-2011, 11:13 PM
Three $20 cuts next door to each other are better than any $40 cut that takes the same amount of time to do and is 5 miles from the last cut.

:D

I'm beginning to see the value in "cheap cuts". They can also break up an otherwise brutal day of "hard" cuts.

ToastedToad
06-21-2011, 12:36 AM
I feel pretty satisfied so far. I have 16 properties that I am maintaining at present. That is 1 over my goal for this season so I am happy. But I now see that I can add at least 10 more and still be efficient. I am still getting calls everyday. Some are for services that I do not provide so I let them go, and usually land at least on "extra" per week. Tall grass mow, clean up, broken mower, type of calls. I'm eating paying my bills and learning like crazy. It's a good season so far.

I have a great feeling about next season! I have made some really strong contacts that I know once nurtured and tended too, will yield results for me come next spring. I just need to survive the winter!!

Glad to see some of us new guys are makin it this year!

TheGoat
06-21-2011, 06:45 AM
you might need to look at your overhead and see if you can arrive at a lower starting price

wandfsmall
06-21-2011, 07:49 AM
Well I talk to most of my neighbors often but most do there own lawn care but I keep trying, I have done some aeration for most of my neighbors but not mush else. I do one friends lawn but most live in Apt or condos.
I do keep things moving on a word of mouth kind of thing every time I talk to people. I have had some referrals from my customers but the problem is usually price they all want it for nothing Had a call yesterday for example Ask how much I would charge to do her lawn sight unseen said I had to see it first She said it was a small city lot,I said i had to see it she insisted I give her a price on the phone so I said $35.00 and up Cut, Trim, Blow, So she say well how much for just a cut no trim or blow I said $35.00 and up then she say so you won't do it for $20.00 and I said I wouldn't even start my truck for $20.00 She hung up.
I know I'm new and I should take what I can but I do not want to Low Ball
I have expenses you what they are I'm not going to list them I can't work for less the $35.00 a cut and I defiantly will not do half a job for cheap Its my Company name out there .
Oops look at me ranting along again had a long day today and looks like tomorrow is as well.
I love the job and the work I just have never worked for myself and don't know what to expect and am just wondering is my situation normakl for your first year?


with the economy the way it is your not going to grow fast. you have multiple problems way to many starting lawn care operations as it is a cheap business to get into, and fewer customers to go around as more people are doing it themselves to save money. Stick with it as most will fall due to the fact that is not really what they want to do.

Ducke
06-21-2011, 04:53 PM
I'm happy were I am
I am making good money on Hedge work this week I have done 175 ft in the last two days and I have 50 feet tomorrow and I have to follow up on a 300 foot hedge I quoted as well, Plus my 7 lawns and I now have 2 flower garden to plant. As for my over head it next to nil. I pay my bills cash as needed. I own most everything equipment wise and what I don't have I can rent once again using cash.
I won't give up I have to much pride for that, I will see this work out .
Maybe I will have to get a couple of cheap jobs close together. The example I gave above she lived clear across town and I have no other customer near her and it would not have been worth the trip.

Graham

Steve
06-21-2011, 05:55 PM
the problem is usually price they all want it for nothing
As you are experimenting more, do you find there are certain services that customers just won't do themselves and would feel comfortable paying for it?

Ducke
06-21-2011, 07:04 PM
As you are experimenting more, do you find there are certain services that customers just won't do themselves and would feel comfortable paying for it?

I find that Lawn Mowing jobs are mostly Seniors and the price is shopped to death
Most younger people mow there own lawns, its a no brainer push a mower around and have a few Beers.
Light Landscaping is were the Money is Flower Gardens, Edging, Weeding, Fertilizer, Hedge Trimming, Vacation Services and Yard Clean ups.
Its all about timing you have to be in the right spot at the right time.

Cashin H&P
06-21-2011, 10:05 PM
I find that Lawn Mowing jobs are mostly Seniors and the price is shopped to death
Most younger people mow there own lawns, its a no brainer push a mower around and have a few Beers.
Light Landscaping is were the Money is Flower Gardens, Edging, Weeding, Fertilizer, Hedge Trimming, Vacation Services and Yard Clean ups.
Its all about timing you have to be in the right spot at the right time.

I agree with that my number one money maker is vacation mowing. I have a few lawns that I mom every week but I can charge more for vacation mowing and the clients are always happy that they dont have to do it them selves

mark123
06-21-2011, 10:46 PM
Most of the older folk around here have done the shop around for price thing and all it gets them is frustration and unreliability. I offer reliability and they seem to be willing to pay for it.

What is "vacation mowing"? Mowing for people that are on vacation and not at the property or mowing for people vacationing at the property you service? I'd think that repeat business would net you more than temporary jobs. Am I wrong?

Cashin H&P
06-22-2011, 06:02 AM
Most of the older folk around here have done the shop around for price thing and all it gets them is frustration and unreliability. I offer reliability and they seem to be willing to pay for it.

What is "vacation mowing"? Mowing for people that are on vacation and not at the property or mowing for people vacationing at the property you service? I'd think that repeat business would net you more than temporary jobs. Am I wrong?

I have actually seen that some of the vacation people end up signing a contract after. At the initial estimate I give them for the temp. service and one for long term I also offer a discount if they sign with me for a long term contract.

Steve
06-22-2011, 04:03 PM
Are there other services you can offer to the vacation mowing customers that you can't offer to regular customers? Like for instance, a property check to make sure nothing was broken into? Or taking in their newspapers or mail while they are away? Maybe other services too?

Hedgemaster
06-22-2011, 09:16 PM
The "vacation people" seem willing to pay more, as they know it's a temporary thing. They also don't seem to be interested in shopping around TOO much and seem to be OK with any price within reason.

Almost the same situation with young professionals - they have the money - they don't have the time (or desire) to maintain their own homes, so they agree without hesitation most times.

Steve
06-24-2011, 05:05 PM
Do you try to sell them additional services that are catered to vacationers?

Ducke
06-24-2011, 08:37 PM
Good example of a Vacation service Job.
I got a Vacation Job on a referral yesterday the couple is going away for 7 weeks.
This lawn would be a typical $35.00 mow Cut, Trim, Blow out of here 1/2 hour or less.
But because its a Vacation Service it becomes a $45.00 and I can fit it in were ever I want in my schedule, Its like an extra $45.00 dollars each week for the next 7 weeks $315.00 for the service and if you do a real good job there are always Tips and sometimes full time contract.
I find there is a huge market for this in the winter when people go south and want the snow removed for two weeks or so.
I also find this is a good service for Oil Platform workers 6 weeks out you mow six weeks back they mow. same with Duty military and in communities like this word of mouth goes far.

Steve
06-26-2011, 05:59 PM
I got a Vacation Job on a referral yesterday the couple is going away for 7 weeks.
This lawn would be a typical $35.00 mow Cut, Trim, Blow out of here 1/2 hour or less.
But because its a Vacation Service it becomes a $45.00

Why is it a higher fee because it is a vacation service?

Also, how do you promote that you offer vacation services?

Ducke
06-26-2011, 07:07 PM
Why is it a higher fee because it is a vacation service?

Also, how do you promote that you offer vacation services?

Usually Vacation service is a 1 or 2 mow service, so just like a one off I charge a little more the convenience of having someone come and do your lawn while your away I also will snow blow your walk and driveway when you go down south in February for a higher fee then a regular seasonal customer. as for advertising I have it on the back of my business cards, web site as well as I included it on my flyers as an added service and as always word of mouth.

mark123
06-27-2011, 09:33 AM
Why is it a higher fee because it is a vacation service?
I charge more for temporary and one-time jobs because it is taking time out of my schedule that could be going to a long-term customer. Our most valuable asset in this business is the available slots in our work schedule.

If you're just starting and you have open slots anyway, maybe you could charge the same as a weekly customer. However, if you've got a pretty full schedule and someone wants a few cuts they should expect to pay a premium.

Steve
06-27-2011, 11:58 AM
Oh that is a very good point!

I wonder if there are property management companies in the area that deal with cabins or rental properties in your different areas that you could market to about your services and if that would help you land more of such customers.

Hedgemaster
06-28-2011, 06:42 PM
I just took on another $20 cut today located directly across from a $25 cut.

Unload once, work for 50 minutes maximum, get $45. Works for me.

Ducke
07-21-2011, 07:39 PM
Well its been a great week for me.
Hot and sunny and three new full time mow jobs.
That brings my total to ...............Drum Roll .............
9 Full Season Mows
2 Full Property jobs
5 part time mow jobs
and
2 current real estate jobs and 5 completed real estate jobs.
and still growing

Ducke
07-21-2011, 07:42 PM
I also booked my first Snow removal job for the winter today. :)

stevef1201
07-21-2011, 08:22 PM
Just mowing grass is a good money maker. However it's the other services where I MAKE MONEY- Example today spray the grass to kill it for a small bed (4x8) , 1/2 yd of mulch. mulch around 6 shrubs, mulch an exisiting flower bed, clean gutters, and pwer wash a carport, oh yeah install 10 plants (flowers). Bid 600 dollars, cost 150, and about 6 hours of work. All for an existing customer of 1 1/2 acre yard at 60 bucks a week. Extras are good money.

Steve
07-22-2011, 04:26 PM
That is very interesting! Do you find your extras or upsells tend to have a higher percentage of profit than your mowing services?

How does that profit percentage differ?