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jhinton
09-22-2012, 10:05 PM
Hello,

My name is Joseph. I have been lurking here for a few weeks reading the forums. I plan on starting a property care company in southern AL in the next month or so. My goal is to be a one stop shop for property management, upkeep, and repairs. My targeted customers are out of state owners, and investors/landlords, while also offering my serves to local owner occupied customers. My initial focus will be solely on the lawn care section of the business as I believe it will be easier to get my foot in the door through that route. The management part will take longer to build a presence and establish cliental.
I have very little experience doing lawn care except for mowing, trimming and edging my own lawn and what I have read and watched on youtube :) I also have no experience managing rental property except for one rental that I own in the same area, but I have also read extensively on that as well. I grew up doing construction with family, so the small demolition/rehab work and repairs I will be fine with. My father is now on disability, so he has offered me full use of all of his larger equipment (Dump truck, trailers, tractors etc.) I will need to buy a mower or two as well as trimers, a s blower and an edger.

I have enough capital to purchase all the needed equipment and provide overhead and living expenses for the next 6 months, which leaves about 4K for marketing and advertising. Any advise or insight into what I plan would be very much appreciated! I also have some questions.

1. When the county or city condemns a building, is there a way to find out who has received a notice? I had an older mobile home condemned a few years back (I was deployed to Iraq and already planning to have it taken down) and was in a rush to find someone to demolish it for me. If I could get a list of who all in my area has received similar notices, I could follow that up with direct mail offering my demolition and debris removal services.

2. With the direct mail response rate so low (.02%-.2%), I could very well be averaging $45-$50 spent in marketing per customer. With that in mind, what would you think about offering a free cut so the potential customer can see your work first hand as an advertising ploy? Or maybe even a half off cut? I am also thinking about working out a trade with a local bank or smaller office to do their grounds in exchange for the ability to put a sign on the property. Something similar to "This property maintained by (my company name) and include a phone number.

I have more questions but I will wait to post them so this post does not get any longer.

Steve
09-25-2012, 03:53 AM
Welcome to our forum!

1. When the county or city condemns a building, is there a way to find out who has received a notice? I had an older mobile home condemned a few years back (I was deployed to Iraq and already planning to have it taken down) and was in a rush to find someone to demolish it for me. If I could get a list of who all in my area has received similar notices, I could follow that up with direct mail offering my demolition and debris removal services.

Have you considered going to your town hall to ask them about it? They also may have a list you can get your company on that can be called on to perform demolitions.

We have seen such lists for overgrown lawns. When a city fines a homeowner for an overgrown if it is not mowed within a certain period of time, they will call upon a contractor from their list to perform the job.

So it wouldn't hurt to go in there and ask around.

2. With the direct mail response rate so low (.02%-.2%), I could very well be averaging $45-$50 spent in marketing per customer. With that in mind, what would you think about offering a free cut so the potential customer can see your work first hand as an advertising ploy? Or maybe even a half off cut? I am also thinking about working out a trade with a local bank or smaller office to do their grounds in exchange for the ability to put a sign on the property. Something similar to "This property maintained by (my company name) and include a phone number.

This has come up in the past and the problem we have found is that free cut offers tend to attract cheap one time customers who have no intention of hiring you after the first free cut.

Ideally, if you can contact everyone in your social network, you should be able to start finding some work. Either working for someone you know or someone they know. The more people that know you are in business, the more that can call upon you for work.

Oh and you sound like you are really getting off to a great start!

jhinton
09-25-2012, 06:00 AM
Welcome to our forum!



Have you considered going to your town hall to ask them about it? They also may have a list you can get your company on that can be called on to perform demolitions.

We have seen such lists for overgrown lawns. When a city fines a homeowner for an overgrown if it is not mowed within a certain period of time, they will call upon a contractor from their list to perform the job.

So it wouldn't hurt to go in there and ask around.



This has come up in the past and the problem we have found is that free cut offers tend to attract cheap one time customers who have no intention of hiring you after the first free cut.

Ideally, if you can contact everyone in your social network, you should be able to start finding some work. Either working for someone you know or someone they know. The more people that know you are in business, the more that can call upon you for work.

Oh and you sound like you are really getting off to a great start!

I never thought they would have a list for overgrown lawns, I will have to pursue that as well!

As far as the free cuts go, I was thinking I would use them more as a deal closer rather than advertise them. The situation I am thinking, is if a think a potential customer is on the edge, then I would offer a free or half priced cut so they could see the quality themselves.

I also just found out that my local dealer will offer 0% financing for 24 months on all of the equipment I need. So instead of paying cash, I am going to finance it and put the exact amount I finance in a money market. I plan to challenge myself to see if I can make the payments without touching the money in the account but worst case, I could just pay it off at anytime. Seems like a no brainer to use other peoples money if I can do it for free!

Steve
09-26-2012, 08:58 AM
As far as the free cuts go, I was thinking I would use them more as a deal closer rather than advertise them. The situation I am thinking, is if a think a potential customer is on the edge, then I would offer a free or half priced cut so they could see the quality themselves.

Maybe you could offer a free cut at the end of the season so you got as many paid cuts as possible to help cover it's cost.

yourscape
10-02-2012, 02:58 PM
Maybe you could offer a free cut at the end of the season so you got as many paid cuts as possible to help cover it's cost.

I offered a free cut at the end of the regular season (before leaves) to any customer that signed a weekly contract. Even some I also offered a 10% discount off of market rates, this made them feel they were getting a deal. By doing this it allowed me to show them my work still charging them market and allowing me to remove the 10% next season.

I am a 1 man crew with little over head, getting almost market rates (big company's) rates.:)

Steve
10-03-2012, 09:22 AM
I offered a free cut at the end of the regular season (before leaves) to any customer that signed a weekly contract.

Do you market that offer?

Has it effected sales since you started offering it?