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LawnHog
10-19-2011, 07:43 PM
Every day while im driving around I see anywhere between 2 & 3 lawn care trucks and trailers. Im not exagerating when I am saying this. Probably 95 percent have ZERO contact information or advertisement anywhere on their truck or trailer.

Why is this? From talking to people on here, its hard to make good money running a lawn care business. But I would think if thats the case, then why would someone not go to the effort of using their vehicle and trailer as moving billboards?

This doesnt make sense to me:confused:

mark123
10-19-2011, 07:59 PM
They're probably not legitimate. Are they toting commercial grade equipment or an old craftsman that looks like it was used in the civil war?

LawnHog
10-19-2011, 08:04 PM
Some didnt look like the best truck and equipment. However some had very nice rigs.. I actually saw one guy doing a Burger King. He had what looked like a business shirt on, but not one advertisement on his truck or trailer

Hedgemaster
10-19-2011, 08:08 PM
Wow. You must be pretty rural - I see about a dozen a day.

Pretty much the exact same topic being discussed here:
http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=15001


Makes no sense to me either. I see well-equipped trucks with full crews out there with no identifying markers whatsoever.

LawnHog
10-19-2011, 08:16 PM
Wow. You must be pretty rural - I see about a dozen a day.

Pretty much the exact same topic being discussed here:
http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=15001


Makes no sense to me either. I see well-equipped trucks with full crews out there with no identifying markers whatsoever.



Well i do live in Arkansas but its in Fort Smith and thats the second largest city. Probably somewhere around 90k people, and thats not including.
To me it says....not looking for additional business.

JeffK26
10-19-2011, 10:38 PM
I notice that a lot lately too. It's like when you want a blue car, you see nothing but blue cars...since i'm starting my business i notice how many lawn care companies are blank on their trucks. To me it's good news, my shirts are on the way and in two weeks i'l lbe getting truck magnets.

To me it says they're not legit, or not sure if they can handle it if they get a lot of calls....... all the better for me. Competing in a market where people aren't legit or too shy makes me feel great!

Plus i see how they work, i'll scope out their habits even quickly as i drive by, see how they're doing a job, what they're wearing, etc...i have a quick eye and a good memory....as it stands now, 75% of the companies i see in my area aren't professional. The other 25% are VERY professional. It's like there is a huge gap between the two types. Nothing but good news for me!

CHEESE2009
10-20-2011, 03:20 PM
Pros of Magnets:

It keeps the possibility of change open. They are easy to remove, and they are cheap at first glance.

Advertising

Looking professional



Cons of Magnets:

At first, they are amazing - they look swell. In the past few years, I've ordered them from Vistaprint, and they have all deteriorated rapidly.

If you use magnets, you will have to remove them all the time which you have a choice;

Advertise by keeping them on and then having to buy a new pair. (Expensive)

OR

put them on/take them off every single day. (Annoying)



_____


At this time, vinyl or paint is not an option. The truck is too damn pretty and expensive.

Steve
10-20-2011, 05:24 PM
How much of not having truck signs do you think it is that they are running an illegal operation and how much of it is that they just dont care or arent thinking about it?

It seems a lot of times we talk on here and even lawn care companies with nice trucks don't want lettering on their trucks for fear of messing up their paint job.

Or they don't want signs because they want to drive it around off hours and not look like they are driving a business vehicle.

There seem to be a ton of reasons but I just don't know if it is a smart move to not put signage on your vehicle if you are legit.

jhturf
10-20-2011, 09:18 PM
Not for anything but im sure they do nothing but commercial accounts. Just a thought. What do i know im just a pool guy

JeffK26
10-20-2011, 09:57 PM
In my case it's not so much that if you don't have a logo you aren't legit. It's a combo of things. If i see a truck with no logo but the crew is in company clothes, then it can be a new truck not logo'd up yet, or not wanting to mess the paint job or it's a personal truck and a company truck is in the near future. I have seen a few of those, but very few, the professional looking crews usually have some type of marking on the truck or trailer...

When i say not legit, i mean many factors are backing up my opinion... i'm saying the truck has no markings, the crew is wearing torn clothing, or a shirt that would have been a hand me down 5 years ago, they're smoking while working on a lawn. I actually saw a crew today with the guy mowing wearing a black Metallica shirt...it was so old the black had turned into that see through black....and i see a lot more of those types of crews than the ones described in the first paragraph.

Now i understand money is tight in a start up...I have the luxury of having a job and a winter to build up the little things, but there is a difference between being and looking cheap, and starting up and doing what the budget allows. Image isn't anything if you can't cut a lawn, but looking professional, being sharp translates into feeling professional and feeling professional translates into working and doing a professional job.

jymie
10-21-2011, 12:08 AM
Pros of Magnets:

It keeps the possibility of change open. They are easy to remove, and they are cheap at first glance.

Advertising

Looking professional



Cons of Magnets:

At first, they are amazing - they look swell. In the past few years, I've ordered them from Vistaprint, and they have all deteriorated rapidly.

If you use magnets, you will have to remove them all the time which you have a choice;

Advertise by keeping them on and then having to buy a new pair. (Expensive)

OR

put them on/take them off every single day. (Annoying)



_____


At this time, vinyl or paint is not an option. The truck is too damn pretty and expensive.

I don't want to sound like a salesman for buildasign (http://www.buildasign.com/) becuase I am not, but the 1st set of magnets I bought I used for 2 years, they did not deteriorate at all, I could use them still today but I decided to change the look of the sign to include a logo this season and they look the same as the day I got them. Like I said in another thread, these magnets are very good quality.

SECTLANDSCAPING
10-21-2011, 12:17 AM
I had good luck with acidflyers but you need a high quality image. My vistaprint signs I had for about a year they did fade and one blew off but I had 4. Its not bad though I spent less then $30 on all of them.

1955_Chevy_6400
10-29-2011, 01:44 PM
Well, I'm 13 and I will be getting advertising early next year. I think it will pay for itself in the long run.

roysyardandhaul
11-04-2011, 01:02 AM
I run signs on one trailer - and vinyl lettering (very basic) on my big truck- It gets me work - but for a self employed guy that has a work load that keeps him busy + occasional casual labor 6 days a week - and with repeat and referral business- I think that big fancy expensive signage is unnecessary. In fact I drive a used 94 Ranger for my "route" truck and have an 95 F150 for bigger jobs. This is not a mistake for me they are in good shape and not shabby looking. + I own them both. I tell my potential customers that Fancy Signs/Trucks mean big overhead and big pricing. Then I close the deal

smallstripeslawncare
11-13-2011, 12:02 PM
I definitely plan on using some sort of advertisement on my vehicle because that's not only going to help me look more legit but to really show I'm a serious legit lawn care business.

As you all have mentioned money is definitely very tight with things the way they are these days but looking professional, and having even a not so good looking rig but nice visual advertisement on the vehicle can make the difference of someone calling you back or not after the first cut you do for them (without a contract of course) and even on estimates someone may not choose you because your not too legit looking and could be afraid they are hiring someone that won't hold their word since they don't look like a legit lawn care business.

I believe visual advertisement is just as important as the quality fliers distributed and even professional work clothes.

Now I usually see about 10+ lawn care guys hauling their equipment or even on the job that don't have advertisement on their vehicle and I believe the worst situation I have seen was a guy smoking a cigarette while mowing on a zero turn with some torn up clothes. That just doesn't look professional and it was VERY sick for me to see it because it was on a commercial property.

CHEESE2009
11-14-2011, 01:38 PM
I believe the worst situation I have seen was a guy smoking a cigarette while mowing on a zero turn with some torn up clothes. That just doesn't look professional and it was VERY sick for me to see it because it was on a commercial property.


I usually park a block away from a client, smoke, then pull up. LOL.

I'm sure it wasn't the owner, and if it was, he's probably just having one of those days. It's hard to be on your best behavior 24/7 all season long. Sometimes, the last thing you could give a damn about is what people think of you - but you are right. Appearance will always be important.

smallstripeslawncare
11-14-2011, 01:56 PM
That is true. Sometimes people do just have "one of those days". I've had a few myself.

As you said if its the owner I'm sure he was just having a bad day.

It seems a lot of the guys around my area don't even attempt to dress decent.

I suppose they have too much business to really care about gaining more clients.

CHEESE2009
11-14-2011, 09:04 PM
I suppose they have too much business to really care about gaining more clients.

It's a shame that little things can effect us in the long run.

Me personally, one clients attitude can effect me for an entire season. All it takes is one of them to do me wrong, that I lose trust in all humanity, lol!

When something bad happens, the little annoyances start to add up, and in order to vent you may do self destructive things like not caring about image or quality work.

When you are working for a company, you are upset when you aren't paid and often slack off. Being a business owner means to always give 100% even when losing money, it's tough sometimes.

smallstripeslawncare
11-15-2011, 10:05 AM
I actually had a few bad situations over the summer that made me rethink a lot about things.

I had a customer that was about an hour away from me and I put West Charlotte on my craigslist advertisement on one of the areas I serve and put $10 extra surcharge for gas. So I went to this job to mow their lawn and stood out front for 30 minutes ringing the door bell the lady said she would be at work but her brother would be home to pay me and unlock the back gate. So I was getting pissed and went to my car and the guy looked out the window and was saying "I dont need a lawn guy I'm cutting it myself! GO HOME!" so I was super pissed and was like "an hour ago your sister told me to come cut your lawn and I drove an hour for this property" and he insisted I go home so I went to my car super pissed and he finally came outside and said he was sorry and wrote me a check for way more than I was asking for my trouble.

So I cut it, went home, and then cashed the check and it was a bad check. Small claims charges $80 in Mecklenburg county to investigate and the check was for $60.

Just one situation where I really questioned humanity.

Steve
11-15-2011, 12:04 PM
So I cut it, went home, and then cashed the check and it was a bad check. Small claims charges $80 in Mecklenburg county to investigate and the check was for $60.

How did that ultimately work out? Do you think there were any lessons you learned from that which have effected the way you operate?

smallstripeslawncare
11-16-2011, 08:53 AM
The biggest lesson learned was you can't trust everyone especially as a business owner. Many people want to get "something" for absolutely "nothing".

Also not doing contracts or even a "one time service" agreement for the one time cut was a bad idea.

Now I plan on typing up a "one time service agreement" and for the one time cuts and of course aim for contracts on the long term clients. I also do not accept checks anymore but maybe in the spring when I get a business bank account opened I will.

Steve
11-16-2011, 02:06 PM
Now I plan on typing up a "one time service agreement" and for the one time cuts and of course aim for contracts on the long term clients. I also do not accept checks anymore but maybe in the spring when I get a business bank account opened I will.

In such situations as performing one time cuts, do you feel it is better to have them sign a lawn care contract or work signing an estimate agreement that authorizes you to do the job for the written cost, be easier to present?