PDA

View Full Version : Craigslist talk


WeekendWarriorLawn
06-05-2012, 01:48 AM
In my area, craigslist is pretty weak for buying/selling/trading. I haven't had a call from my old CL ad for work, but I changed it up tonight - A LOT.

Tell me what you guys think, and post your own CL do's, don'ts & whatever's!

http://porthuron.craigslist.org/fgs/3029429668.html

CHEESE2009
06-05-2012, 02:00 AM
I love it!

I think you should remove the pics of your shirts and just put work pictures!

krzys666
06-05-2012, 08:55 AM
make sure you put in work pictures.
i made this add perrty fast and have had good response.
https://post.craigslist.org/manage/3056302755

CHEESE2009
06-05-2012, 09:45 AM
To be even more precise.

Always use "and" in replace of "&".

You can also write 'mom and pop' in quotations every time, or do the phrase in italics!

WeekendWarriorLawn
06-05-2012, 01:05 PM
Thanks for the tips, bros!

Well, my ad as-is paid off today! It's great that my area is just full of jokers who write things like, "I DO GOOD WORK CALL ANYTIME FOR LAWN CUTS I AM THE MAN"

Anyway, I woke up to a call today! My first from CL ever! Goin to knock a gal's yard out before her hubby gets home! *wink-wink* *nudge-nudge*

Steve
06-05-2012, 03:28 PM
I really like the ad and this picture!

http://oi45.tinypic.com/21ozf6g.jpg

It projects this feel that you are a can do guy and the job will get done right.

WeekendWarriorLawn
06-05-2012, 07:33 PM
Just got home a little while ago from the CL job.

I actually flew flyers out in the neighborhood previously, and am sure I hit the customers house.


So we showed up. The yard is pretty big, she said medium, but betwene the front & back, it was a good, big yard.


Very overgrown. Neglected. I wanted to up bid her higher, but I bid at 55.00

Honestly, I know the job was worth more due to the nature of strain it put on our mower, but I also knew she was going to be turned off from hearing a firm 60.00, so I told her 55. off the bat.


She didn't want to pay it! She told us to just do the front, whihc I told her would run 25 (realizing at the time that many of you guys won't even unload for under 30!)

In haste she told us to do it all. We picked up the original bid.




She wanted us to get the yard done before her hubby came home from work. Ma took the mower and I started detailing with the whacker. Started with some nice definition edging along the driveway, cleaned out all the cracks in it, made it look super. Moved along the porchway, they had some nice stonework installed which was disastrous (we come back to this at the end). Cleaned that up real nice. Moved to an area that was landscaped at one time, has a dying bush in it, and some old stones buried under years of neglect; made the rocks visible.


Trees in the yard had large roots, cut a nice defining edge around the tree and whacked out all the weeds. Edged the root structure of the tree to make him look nice and sharp.


Moved to the backyard - NIGHTMARE!

Out of control weeds under the deck, neglected grass taking over anywhere it could - trees in dire need of pruning, bushes begging for trimming - but that'snot in the bid! So maybe next time. Meantime, I had to weedwhack out the back yard in sections to thin it out. I am having a bad time with a "reel-esy" bump feed wee-whacker - maybe someone can give me tips because I have to keep rewinding the spool every time and the bump feed doesnt do anything except wear down the underside of my weed whacker.


Ma comes out back, starts mowing. The grass blades were so tall they retained sooo much moisture that the yard was getting wet from me clearing it out. This bogged the mower A LOT. Used the blower to speed cool it from time to time when it was getting too hot. Do any of you guys ever do that? Speed cool the engine fins with your leaf blower?


OBSTACLES!! picnic table, lawn chairs, a hammock frame! Huge aluminum ladder along the fence of the house - I decided we were going to leave it. Said I'd charge them an extra 15 to move it and clean the lawn under it, like it or not. Cx never asked, but that was my plan.

A nice stone patio that's over grown. Edged it a little bit, but the best way would be to move the stones and just mow/whack the area and replace them, they weren't that big a deal. We left them at mowed and edged.

She needed this huge yard done by 5:30, we had it done around 5:40. Shge said hubby was coming home just as we were packing up. Here comes LAST MINUTE REQUEST!!

"It looks a little long along the area here" (the stoneway I edged earlier) "thats going to be the first thing my husband notices, can you fix that up? (but hurry mind you, he can be home now at any minute)

:rolleyes: No, the first thing he would notice is how great his yard looks.


Anyway, clean it up with the whacker - however I had it all nicely blown off. I decided not to go back and blow it again as we were supposedly low on time and I had already packed up the blower. It also made it a little uneven which I was not too happy about, but got over it because the check was in hand. I don't want to get too jaded but yeah, don't spring requests or tips on us at the last minute.


So anyway, the job went off without a hitch. We got it done in just over 2:40 minutes. This was our first emergency service/short notice call. I don't have the best pictures because she rushed us and we stayed busy at all times, but feel free to check them out in our FB page. They have descriptions in there as well.



https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.475184049162506.124009.456855584328686&type=1

WeekendWarriorLawn
06-05-2012, 07:49 PM
EDIT:

more last minute crap - now they wont let us share pictures of their yard because it shows their house. so the album looks like junk, I might as well take it down.

I guess I kind of understand? No, not really. Kind of uppity people. I wont work for them again for less. I don't need the money that bad, I need some people to let me reference them more than anything.

SECTLANDSCAPING
06-05-2012, 07:55 PM
$55 for 6 man hours? Your working for less then minimum wage. You shouldve charged a couple c-notes. The only reason to drop the price is if it was going to be a weekly gig. That way you make it back in the end.

WeekendWarriorLawn
06-05-2012, 07:58 PM
6 hours? where did you get that, man? just under 3 hours on our part guy. almost 20 an hour.

This area's busted when it comes to that kind of money, 20 per man per hour. ideally i reckon id like to move to your state/area, but out here, it's brutal.

SECTLANDSCAPING
06-05-2012, 08:06 PM
6 hours? where did you get that, man? just under 3 hours on our part guy. almost 20 an hour.

you obviously dont live in our area. this area's busted when it comes to that kind of money, 20 per man per hour. ideally i reckon id like to move to your state/area, but out here, it's brutal.

2 people x's 3 hours = 6.

Some people charge next to nothing here too. They just dont last.

PineHillLawn
06-05-2012, 09:12 PM
SectLandscaping is right! Even if its more than they want to pay you still need to bid it at least at $1 per minute per person. If it took you 3 hours and there were two of you, I would have bid it for around $250-300.

I went to a bid today in a lower end area, the guy asked me to bid his yard (overgrown and outta control) plus cutting honeysuckle out of 400-500 feet of chainlink fence. I told him $800 just for the fence. He about choked. I figure Im the one taking the time, risking my equipment to either wear out faster or get stolen, yeah $800 and that was a little light if you ask me.

Hedgemaster
06-06-2012, 12:19 AM
The ad? Not bad. At least it's creative and not just a line ad.

The pay? Meh, we all learn from our mistakes.

WeekendWarriorLawn
06-06-2012, 11:52 AM
i can't see who is honestly paying 800 dollars to have their yard work done.

i mean i know it happens, but i think you guys might be dealing with well-off people, more often than not.

if you are bidding some regular joe 800.00, and you know he's not going to pay it, why don't you just tell him you don't want the job? is it a pride/arrogance thing? to show up and tell some guy you need 800 for the job, just to see how he reacts? i guess i don't get why you would throw away work/money like that is all.



i can't throw away work by over bidding it in an area where people aren't used to hearing astronomical costs. foolish, especially when this is my only income now.


however, i am starting to think about jobs in terms of man hours now. sixty dollars for the gig would have paid us out at 10 per man hour. 55 flat put us at just under this. not exactly where i want to be in terms of wages. i do need to be able to get better bids. still, 300 would be wayy too high to bid the job.

so if it were 300, thats 100 an hour... that's 50 per man hour!


it would be nice to deal with people who think like that, but i'm not, not in Port Huron, MI. look into the city if you get bored, this place is broke.

i also think that far over bidding looks desperate. i think it tells the cx, "i cant make my own bills off of my career choice, so i need you to foot my phone & gas bill for me this month,"

yes, people WILL think like that when they send you home on an overbid, and word like that gets around just as fast as a $hitty job!

PineHillLawn
06-06-2012, 10:42 PM
i can't see who is honestly paying 800 dollars to have their yard work done.

i mean i know it happens, but i think you guys might be dealing with well-off people, more often than not.

if you are bidding some regular joe 800.00, and you know he's not going to pay it, why don't you just tell him you don't want the job? is it a pride/arrogance thing? to show up and tell some guy you need 800 for the job, just to see how he reacts? i guess i don't get why you would throw away work/money like that is all.



i can't throw away work by over bidding it in an area where people aren't used to hearing astronomical costs. foolish, especially when this is my only income now.


however, i am starting to think about jobs in terms of man hours now. sixty dollars for the gig would have paid us out at 10 per man hour. 55 flat put us at just under this. not exactly where i want to be in terms of wages. i do need to be able to get better bids. still, 300 would be wayy too high to bid the job.

so if it were 300, thats 100 an hour... that's 50 per man hour!


it would be nice to deal with people who think like that, but i'm not, not in Port Huron, MI. look into the city if you get bored, this place is broke.

i also think that far over bidding looks desperate. i think it tells the cx, "i cant make my own bills off of my career choice, so i need you to foot my phone & gas bill for me this month,"

yes, people WILL think like that when they send you home on an overbid, and word like that gets around just as fast as a $hitty job!

Everyone has there opinions I guess! If you figure in your gas and drive time to get to the job, you wouldn't even be making minimum wage at $55 for 3 hrs.
You have to figure in all your expences and that comes off the top. If I'm paying someone to help me clean out honeysukle out of chain link, and it takes 2 days to clear, by the time I've paid my help, my gas, equipment costs, any fees for disposal, and should I break a tool and have to replace it plus pay the company and myself if theres any left over, yeah $800 is low. Just how I operate. And this is my only form of income too I might add!!!!

Hedgemaster
06-06-2012, 10:43 PM
I don't know how long you've been doing this, but my assumption is that you just started. I worked for peanuts last year too because I didn't know any better. I have since learned that I don't have to quote what I think THEY will PAY - I quote what I want/need to be paid. This does not mean that I throw out unreasonable figures, but if you are a legitimate business, paying insurance and any other fees, you MUST charge enough to cover those expenses.

Location does have a lot to do with what you can charge, but you can still charge a fair price and get jobs even if some won't pay what you are asking.
Wait until your schedule is filled with crap accounts and you realize you aren't making enough money. At that point there are only two options - work harder and longer hours for more low-pay accounts (remember there are only so many hours in a day), or get accounts that pay more.

I still have some slots I can fill this season and I'm not bringing in what I had hoped for. That said, I'm turning down crap jobs left and right because I know that if I take them, I won't have room in my schedule for a GOOD paying job when they come calling.

You do what works for you. Just don't sell yourself short because "twenty dollars an hour" isn't really $20/hr.

WeekendWarriorLawn
06-07-2012, 02:34 PM
I don't know how long you've been doing this, but my assumption is that you just started. I worked for peanuts last year too because I didn't know any better. I have since learned that I don't have to quote what I think THEY will PAY - I quote what I want/need to be paid. This does not mean that I throw out unreasonable figures, but if you are a legitimate business, paying insurance and any other fees, you MUST charge enough to cover those expenses.

Location does have a lot to do with what you can charge, but you can still charge a fair price and get jobs even if some won't pay what you are asking.
Wait until your schedule is filled with crap accounts and you realize you aren't making enough money. At that point there are only two options - work harder and longer hours for more low-pay accounts (remember there are only so many hours in a day), or get accounts that pay more.

I still have some slots I can fill this season and I'm not bringing in what I had hoped for. That said, I'm turning down crap jobs left and right because I know that if I take them, I won't have room in my schedule for a GOOD paying job when they come calling.

You do what works for you. Just don't sell yourself short because "twenty dollars an hour" isn't really $20/hr.



i like your style, i get it, too. i as well want to be able to get to a point where i can drop crap jobs in favor of good jobs, i'm just not there yet.

this is my first time doing this on my own (previously worked for other guys doing this being paid crap) , i'm just trying to build a presence right now. when i saw the job i wanted to tell her 125 or so, then i knew she would have just told us to leave. i ran 60 to 55 in my head and gave her the 55 quote.

she's stuck up anyhow, i wont be hearing from those folks again, i know it. my area is littered with guys willing to do anything for a case of beer, so being a new-jack out here it's hard to find people willing to pay good money for GOOD real work.



@PineHill, yes, i'm sure 800 is a very fair deal for all the removal of honeysuckle, and yes, there isn't a problem with asking that; afterall we doo need to be paid fair wages, but would that quote have been anything you could have told the cx over the phone though, in order to save yourself the time of going out there just to be shot down? that ****s hard work, harder than hell, i know, but to tell some guy out there who you know isn't going to pay it that you want 800 for the job - just seems like hubris to me.

i understand you are professional, and you want to earn a professional wage for professional work, i just.. cant see going to a guys house and telling him 800.

of course, i haven't been as far down the path as you, i'm sure, and eventually I will see those places myself though, and then im sure i will understand more. even now in retrospect i wish i could have gotten more for the job here we started talking about, but i knew she wouldnt bite, but after loading up the gear, i felt i had to get something out of her.

PineHillLawn
06-07-2012, 11:17 PM
i like your style, i get it, too. i as well want to be able to get to a point where i can drop crap jobs in favor of good jobs, i'm just not there yet.

this is my first time doing this on my own (previously worked for other guys doing this being paid crap) , i'm just trying to build a presence right now. when i saw the job i wanted to tell her 125 or so, then i knew she would have just told us to leave. i ran 60 to 55 in my head and gave her the 55 quote.

she's stuck up anyhow, i wont be hearing from those folks again, i know it. my area is littered with guys willing to do anything for a case of beer, so being a new-jack out here it's hard to find people willing to pay good money for GOOD real work.



@PineHill, yes, i'm sure 800 is a very fair deal for all the removal of honeysuckle, and yes, there isn't a problem with asking that; afterall we doo need to be paid fair wages, but would that quote have been anything you could have told the cx over the phone though, in order to save yourself the time of going out there just to be shot down? that ****s hard work, harder than hell, i know, but to tell some guy out there who you know isn't going to pay it that you want 800 for the job - just seems like hubris to me.

i understand you are professional, and you want to earn a professional wage for professional work, i just.. cant see going to a guys house and telling him 800.

of course, i haven't been as far down the path as you, i'm sure, and eventually I will see those places myself though, and then im sure i will understand more. even now in retrospect i wish i could have gotten more for the job here we started talking about, but i knew she wouldnt bite, but after loading up the gear, i felt i had to get something out of her.

I honestly wasn't sure what he wanted till I got there. If you talk to people on the phone they'll tell you it's just a little brush next to the fence and if you bid it over the phone you can get screwed. I would rather take the time to drive 10 miles to bid on what I can see.
I figure up in my head how much work will be involved and go from there. You have to make money to do this and even if I don't get a job I bid or estimate, I still would rather phsyically go to it and see with my own eyes. Theres no way in hell you can bid something over the phone, and not get the shaft one way or another. So yeah, I'll take the time to go and bid a job even if its not one I want. I think that even if you don't want a job due to location or some other aspect, you should always show up for the estimate if you told the customer you would. I have gone to several lawns where the customer said the other guy I called, never showed up. That just looks bad on your part to drive by the place and see it's not one you want, then drive off without even talking to the customer of leaving an estimate. If you dont want it, bid it high at least you look like your trying, and if they say yes you make a little more than you normally would, which will "help" offset the nerve-racking feeling you get with leaving equipment in a rougher area. Just how I operate and what I think is right. To each his own!!!!

jandrbusiness
06-08-2012, 02:22 AM
What I am finding out about this business is that your sucess comes in phases,don't get me wrong I every client is important in building the business.

First when you are just starting out and are need clients you will mow yards for $20.00 and acre (just an example) and you will have several clients that you are working really hard for little money.

Then as your business grows you will get clients that will pay you what you are worth and you will phaise out the $20/acre clients because they will say that they can not afford to pay your new prices or that they can not afford to pay you for this service anymore.

this is what is happening to me in my expierance in the mowing business

Great job Chris on the yard it realy looks great.:cool:

tmla89
06-08-2012, 03:55 AM
wknd warrior there were two of you there for 3 hrs thats about $10 an hr per person after gas, wear and tear on equipment, string etc etc.... they got the best of you man. not hear to point fingers or call anyone out just to help I use to do cheap work like this and always ended up felling disatisfied at the end of the day. Make sure the want for new customers doesnt cloud the ultimate goal making a good living.

WeekendWarriorLawn
06-09-2012, 04:14 PM
i'm starting to bid higher. i approached an old couple kitty-corner from one of my regulars (i wont say client anymore until i can get them contracted - i also reserve any discounts *only* for people who contract up, whether they like it or not) me and ma talked to them and examined their yard.


it's a small yard, but over grown. no trees, a small patio in back, and a ramp up front to work around for their wheel chair. out back looks like they tried to seed, because all you see are bare seeds with no water or soil covering them.

thick, patchy, clustered up grass. tall, too. i'd say 5 or 6 inches easily.

small yard, again. told them 60 for the first full treatment (wack/edge, mow & blow) and 40 after that.



they sent me away, but i got to leave them with information. i'll go back on sunday to ask 'em again (i'll be in the neighborhood, regular wanted to bump me up to sunday for the week, he better realize i'm comin back on friday anyway - can't tell if he's trying to swing for an odd number service like 10 days or something, we're not having it though). i got their names last time, in the future i want to start taking names & numbers so i can do call backs (bad idea?)




jandrbusiness, thank you for the compliment on our work. we busted our asses on this, especially ma as she is our lawn-mower. the pictures don't do the job much justice. those people were asses. they made me take down the best pictures of the work.

http://i48.tinypic.com/21e7o0o.jpg

http://i45.tinypic.com/2142p3t.jpg

http://i46.tinypic.com/25aon.jpg

Steve
06-11-2012, 02:15 PM
i got their names last time, in the future i want to start taking names & numbers so i can do call backs

Yea that is a great idea. Following up can only help. Keep us posted on how it goes.

jandrbusiness
06-12-2012, 12:05 AM
I been there done that and being that I am in the same business I know just how hard you guys worked.doing work in the yards, the value of the dollar that you will be paid went down.In the past in Missouri average yard was around $50 bucks mabe 2 or 3 years ago but today you will be lucky if you get $40 dollars for it.Its because everybody and there brother is doing lawn care and many have rider mowers and charging $10-$15 for a average house and $40 to $45 to do a large house.

It seems to me that trimming trees,removing giant weeds and pricker bushes,large brush,dead stumps and other over growth is where the money is at.customers figure that the bigger the weeds and bushes are that the more money the job is because they think it will be hard to clear out and doing the lawns is easy because people have riders, but what I found that it is not always true.

4 example I mowed the ladys yard for $40.00 it took 2hrs not bad but I removes a small tree growing on the side of another ladys house she offered to give me $100.00 for the job which I got done in 2 hrs 2 in half times more in the same time.

Mowing the yards is good but I think the big money is in the giant weeds,brush and trees.

Take care and hope everything is well in your business.

JT

CHEESE2009
06-12-2012, 01:56 PM
ALRIGHT, time for me to speak my drunketh wisdom.

Some areas you just can't get away with charging much (and this goes for EVERY professional in my area)

For example: there is a 6% chance of being able to charge a client the ideal price. That's about 3 jobs for every 50 you take on.


Because you had just started, I believe you had priced it fairly. You are in no position to charge $800, not yet.

You left the job with more experience and something for the neighbors to view and appreciate.

I can also understand that it's you and the misses taking care of the property, and so long as you both make enough money to pay the bills that you share, I can't see why you'd care about charging per man hours right now - so I understand you, and there is nothing to be ashamed of.

The hard reality of it all, is that newer companies MUST take crap their first year. This is how (and the only real way) you can get noticed by the better clients.

You could mow a lawn for peanuts, and then suddenly four of his neighbors want to hire you - you would charge them the ideal price and increase the price for your original client, or fire him.

-

I hope this helped, because a lot of the times people instantly apply their logic to a situation at their current time of success, forgetting about what was required to get where they are today.

Summary: You have no choice but to take crap jobs for peanuts, but it's temporary. We all start the same in this field.

Most new company owners can't afford big advertising or super powered equipment yet. It's not like you started off with $20,000 investment to throw into the company, which would enable you to do such a thing.

I predict in 2-3 years, you'll be charging that $800. There is no rush.