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Ducke
09-23-2011, 01:55 PM
Well Things just keep taking strange twists around here,
My wife got laid off last week.
This really suck especially right now were I'm going into my slow season (Winter).
I sat here last night crunching the numbers and it not looking real good.
I think I may have to take on a part time or temporary full time job for the winter.
But I will need something with flexible hours so that I can do snow removal when it snows as I already have 7 customers signed up.
I knew when I started this whole venture that it would be a difficult start but 2011 has really given me a few hard hits. But I'm not down yet.

SECTLANDSCAPING
09-23-2011, 03:19 PM
Im right there with you. I have a few driveways but Im not that interested in driving every direction for a few bucks. I submitted bids on 2 1 acre parking lots and 2 30 unit condo complexes for snow removal. If I get 2 of them or all Ill be in good shape and wont even pursue driveways. On the side note I would have to add a truck and sander and the expense of that is my money set aside for winter.

My wife does work but its at the hours I need to be plowing. I really cant find a sitter at 4am when the snow starts.

picframer
09-23-2011, 04:30 PM
I think it is pretty common for small lawn care company owners to have to take on a part time or full time job during the down season for the first couple of years.

There was a great young fellow who posted on here often a couple of years ago that went through this however by year two he was doing great.

I live very close to you and would never rely on snow removal to keep one going in the winter here, I have seen many winters that I never plowed my driveway, last winter I dropped the plow three or four times.

Hang in there

Ducke
09-23-2011, 06:38 PM
I think it is pretty common for small lawn care company owners to have to take on a part time or full time job during the down season for the first couple of years.

There was a great young fellow who posted on here often a couple of years ago that went through this however by year two he was doing great.

I live very close to you and would never rely on snow removal to keep one going in the winter here, I have seen many winters that I never plowed my driveway, last winter I dropped the plow three or four times.

Hang in there

Thanks Andy.
I know what you mean about the snow around here.
I guess I just got to put my nose to the job sheets maybe pull in some favour.

Steve
09-26-2011, 04:01 PM
There was a great young fellow who posted on here often a couple of years ago that went through this however by year two he was doing great.


You might be referring to Chuck? He is down in Florida and the first year he worked part time over the winter at a lube shop and after getting through that first winter, he didn't have to get a part time job again.

picframer
09-27-2011, 04:57 AM
You might be referring to Chuck? He is down in Florida and the first year he worked part time over the winter at a lube shop and after getting through that first winter, he didn't have to get a part time job again.

Yes Chuck, he was a super fellow, talked to him on the phone actually a long time ago.

Ducke
09-28-2011, 08:37 PM
Well even though I had to take most of this week off due to some surgery Monday I went out today for a few hours and quote two foreclosure jobs a hedge job and a mow job.
I got the mow job on the spot for rest of this year and all of next year.
I hope to be back on lawns Monday, Rest and Ice and some nice Codeine.:eek:

Steve
09-30-2011, 07:30 PM
Feel better!

Ducke
09-30-2011, 07:39 PM
Starting to Steve.
As a follow up to the 4 quotes I did Thursday I got all for of them.
Now if I can get this dam post Op swelling to go down I can get some work done.

Visionaryman
10-02-2011, 12:24 AM
I'm just like some of us here, I started my company back in June and now the season is coming to an end pretty soon. I am in the middle of job hunting but at the same time I am starting my October promotion in hoping that with enough success of this promotion I might not have to work another job and completely focus on my company. I hope this idea could help some fellas out if they find it helpful.

People have been asking me how the business is going? and I optimistically say "great" but really I don't know what great is because I have nothing to comparing with so maybe some experts in here might help me out with this.

Back in June I started the company and have set goals every month to meet them. In June, I wanted to pick up 5 customers and I got 4. July set for 5 and I ended with 13. August was aimed for 10 and ended with 10 and Sept was set for 7 and ended with 12. So since the company opened I have about 39 or 40 customers and 14 are repeat monthly. Out of that 14, 7 of which are belonged to a local biggest Real Estate company so for snow season they said I still have to go and remove the snow. The bank pays $50 per visit to those houses. Even when I get a few more from that company I would still need more to live through the winter.
What I am doing now is to promote through word of mouth, contacts, and social networks about next year annual contract. If customers sign up for next year contracts now then more than likely I can sell them my medium package which include snow removal. The contract start Nov to Nov and payment for contracts will be broken down to 10 payments. What that means is if I can get 10 contracts for next seasons in next 30-45 days then I will have incomes coming in through the winter.

So the moral of the message is to start contracting now and sell package that has snow removal service in it. With that package you can start collecting payments because you will probably going to service when the snow comes. Also breaking down the contract payments in 10 months increments is always better than 12 months or 8 months.

I don't know if this is the best way but it is a thought in hoping that someone with more experiences in the industry might shred some lights to keep me alive through this winter.

Thanks
Khanh

carefreelc
10-04-2011, 09:55 PM
heres how i get thru the winter months here in a warmer climate. I am a fifth year business and have about 65-70 clients now. this year i put my clients on a twelve month agreement where they pay me every month for the work done all year. this works great for me because some months i dont do anything but in the summer i dont get paid all up front either. but the extra income from the contracted clients helps. I also carry about 10 - 15 clients who overseed with rye grass. this keeps me and my equipment in shape and requires mowing each week thru the year. I also install christmas lights oc tober thru december,. tis is very lucrative work for the 6-8 weeks and beats the hell out of snow plowing. we never get snow so i would have starved if i waited for snow. many new companies are hanging lights now, but i tend to keep all my clients because my work is reasonably priced and with my electrical experience it is done right. not everyone can hang lights with out issues. warranty work will kill your profit if you dont know what youre doing and it could burn the house down which i think keeps alot of people away from the high end clients. but it has saved me alot of stress thru the winter months. hopefully this year i will double my client base and convert half of them to regular lawn customers next spring.
Good luck to all the newbies after the first two years it should get easier

Dragger
10-05-2011, 07:43 AM
I am entering my first winter as a buisness owner and just cannot wait for the snow to fly

Money is a bit tight right now but thankfully my wife works a full time job to cover house hold bills

The last few weeks I have picked up a few snow plow contracts so that will be a big plus as we always get snow here

3** 8 unit apartment complexes and two of my lawn customers want there drive ways plowed

so it should be a little over $1,000 usd for every 3-4 inches of snow that falls

Ducke
10-05-2011, 02:58 PM
Well got me a Winter job today.
I start with Christmas decor Nov First doing installs.
I worked with them before for three years and really liked the work.
I skipped last year as I was concerned with their safety record but they have changed all that and upgraded the safety training and gear.
I will be going on as a supervisor so not as much roof work for me.
Mostly layout and paper work stuff.
This should get me through till end of January with take down and then I can relax for Fed and back at Ducke's in March doing planning and sales.
Also we really don't get any snow till end of Jan so it shouldn't interfere with that either.
Thing are looking up.
Thanks for all the words of encouragement and advice, That is what I love about this Forum. Its kind of like Family.

Steve
10-05-2011, 06:53 PM
How does that business work? Are they run by another lawn care company or do they just operate during the holiday season?

Ducke
10-05-2011, 08:53 PM
How does that business work? Are they run by another lawn care company or do they just operate during the holiday season?

This is a seasonal Company run from Nov 1st to end of January.
It is owned by a friend of mine that owns a Weed Man franchise.
They are two separate companies, not related at all but they do promote each other. check them out at http://www.christmasdecor.net/

Steve
10-06-2011, 05:37 PM
Oh this will be very interesting! I bet you are going to learn a lot from this experience. There is going to be a lot of great things to learn from design to billing! Keep us posted on the experience!

Moki
10-06-2011, 10:46 PM
I've just joined here and just officially started my pressure washing, yard and lawn care business about 4 weeks ago things have been tough I've advertised in the local papers for 3 communities, even on 411.ca, volunteered my services at the local fire hall to get them ready for the halls open house and our local community hall.

I've hung signs around town no company name on the signs just pressure washing yard & lawn care then phone numbers.

To say that I am amazed that I have only had a few calls for quotes to do yard clean-up or load and haul away what home owners have already piled up is an understatement.

I'm already thinking it is time to start looking for a full time job so I can get thru the winter I even sent out my resume to a few companies that had jobs posted today.

SECTLANDSCAPING
10-06-2011, 11:12 PM
I've just joined here and just officially started my
To say that I am amazed that I have only had a few calls for quotes to do yard clean-up or load and haul away what home owners have already piled up is an understatement.

I'm already thinking it is time to start looking for a full time job so I can get thru the winter I even sent out my resume to a few companies that had jobs posted today.
You do realize lawn care starts in april-may? At this time your only going to get trouble clients who went through several landscapers. Pressure washing is a spring thing too. I did do a couple last month but it was do to a storm blowing dirt everywhere. Its hard when your starting anyways. Your timing makes it even harder. Youll be better off waiting till next year.

Moki
10-06-2011, 11:21 PM
Yeah I do... that is why I said officially started 4 weeks ago and not that I have been doing it part time all year...

SECTLANDSCAPING
10-06-2011, 11:34 PM
Yeah I do... that is why I said officially started 4 weeks ago and not that I have been doing it part time all year...

Ok, that makes more sense. I would focus on fall clean ups right now and start advertising for snow removal. Go after your current clients. Tell them youll offer a discount on next years lawn service. So you have guaranteed work. Since you already know how long it takes to do their yards you wont lose out.

I started mine part time in mid summer a few years back and didnt get much work till the leaves fell. I did prefer $300 clean ups over $30 lawns anyway. I took a different approach then most focusing on other services over lawn care.

Anyways since I posted earlier in this thread. I just took over landscaping at a Red Roof Inn. I have the contract for snow removal this year and landscaping next. I love having future work. Now my overhead is covered for the next year.

Steve
10-07-2011, 07:11 PM
since I posted earlier in this thread. I just took over landscaping at a Red Roof Inn. I have the contract for snow removal this year and landscaping next.

Congratulations!

For those having a hard time figuring out how to bid snow plowing for commercial properties that size, what kind of advice would you give them?

SECTLANDSCAPING
10-07-2011, 07:52 PM
Congratulations!

For those having a hard time figuring out how to bid snow plowing for commercial properties that size, what kind of advice would you give them?
Thanks Steve.

I break it down just like a landscaping bid. The hardest part is predicting snowfall. Last year we had double the annual precipitation so I bet others are bidding higher then normal based on that alone. I doubt we will see that much snow anytime soon.

I figure a seasonal bid like this. I can plow a acre a hour. So if the property is a acre I would bid it, amount of snow falls x's 1.25 my hourly rate.
Then you figure sanding if I bid for 15 storms, I would figure 20 sandings x's time and materials.
Then the walkways, storms x's per hour shoveling rate.

I add it all up and figure if we have 5 extra storms what would my per hour be. If I can live with it, I submit it.

The extra salting/sandings is for when it snows below the trigger rate. The extra .25 of a hour is for errors and extra snowfall.

Steve
10-10-2011, 10:14 AM
That is very interesting. What is the benefit to bidding the job that way versus a bid per snow fall?

Does the customer get upset if you bid for X amount of snow falls and then you have less snow falls?

SECTLANDSCAPING
10-10-2011, 01:05 PM
That is very interesting. What is the benefit to bidding the job that way versus a bid per snow fall?

Does the customer get upset if you bid for X amount of snow falls and then you have less snow falls?

I would prefer per snow fall but commercial properties have to budget everything. So if you tell them $300 per push they dont know if there paying you for 10 trips or 30. I bid 5 commercial properties this year and 4 wanted seasonal and 1 hourly.

They really cant get upset cause what happens when we have more? I cant request more money. So there covered if it doesnt snow and if its a blizzard all winter. The advantage for me is I get paid no matter what. I also can budget my expenses knowing I have a set amount of income. The disadvantage is I might make less depending on amount of snow.

Steve
10-11-2011, 05:04 PM
Is it ever worthwhile to word the contract so if there aren't enough snow falls, then they either don't have to pay the difference or if there are too many, they will be billed for them?

I think the down side to bidding a set amount of snowfalls is that what if a competitor comes in and bids the job for one less snow fall than you? They may be cutting their own throat to get the job and it becomes just another way to low ball a bid.