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Christian_S
02-21-2013, 10:05 PM
Hey guys this is my problem. Lately I feel like ive been losing alot of jobs for being "young". Im 20 years old but im always told i don't look a day over 16. When i show up to customers houses they're like "Oh hi, Christian?? I expected someone a little.. you know older.." I feel like they might think since im young im probably more focused on doing things most kids my age do. But anyways i was wondering if it would be a good idea to change my business name to something like "College Boy lawn service" that way people already expect someone young to show up?

Sprinkler Buddy
02-21-2013, 10:30 PM
lol I wouldn't change your name. Nothing wrong with being young, tell them not to judge you or your work before seeing it. Tell them: "I have been blessed with a youthful look is all."

Sell yourself, that's 50% of the work.

Mayor of Mow Town
02-22-2013, 02:10 AM
Embrace your youth. It's got nothing to do with how successful you can be.

If it were me, I'd have a prepared come-back statement when they comment about your age, to turn it into a positive and provide some proof that other people think it's a good thing (and have some fun with it too):

CLIENT: I expected someone a little older...

YOU: What? I'm 55. I just take good care of myself. Actually, it makes me faster than some of the old guys ....blah blah.... I've got X other clients, and they like the fact they're supporting a young local guy ....blah blah....


Cheesy, I know. But the old folks like that stuff :)


By the way, when I was in my twenties I got offered a child's meal while on a flight. You have to be 12 to be considered a child on a flight!

LawnBoy0311
02-22-2013, 06:38 AM
Don't change your name. Keep it the same and show them your not the "young guy". I get the same thing.

I'm 28, but I look about 18. I still get carded for beer and tobacco. The last customer I met with, she called me for a quote. I called her back and met with her....the first thing she said was "You served in the Marine Corps? Did you really do all 4 years? You don't look old enough to do all 4 years and now be out working on your own!" I laughed and said yes, I did. I told her I got out in 2007 after 3 tours, work full time and do this on the side for enjoyment.

She was silent after that.

At your age, it will only go so far. I could see a 15 year old showing up and getting "shoo'd away", but not you. Build up some confidence. If anyone questions your age, just say you get that all the time. Then make a comment like "after a few years in business....". Confidence!

As a side story....2 years ago I was at a bar with my wife and parents. We had all ordered drinks, and of course my wife and I get carded. We show the bartender our ID's and she looks at me saying "Wow, I had you peg'd as under age" in a real fake snotty voice. I told her my young appearance is from a fine line of moisturizing creams I use every night. My wife couldn't stop laughing, but the bartender didn't find it funny at all.

dpld
02-22-2013, 10:48 AM
i would not worry about it and i would just focus on proving to them that they made the right call in contacting you.

just always remember that every day you are getting older and one day real soon you will be at the point where someone your age now will think you are some old dude.

as stated above, embrace your youth because it won't last for much longer and you will be longing for those days to return.


when i was 21 years old i used to get offended when someone wanted to see ID when i bought booze or cigarettes and now even though i never get asked no more probably because i look old i would take it as a compliment and welcome it.

i used to deal with the same thing when i started out and the only thing i can say is just focus on making them a believer and removing any doubts they may have and the rest will take care of itself.

good luck and happy youth to you.

Caskey Lawns & Landscapes
02-22-2013, 11:12 AM
Don't sweat it .....

I'm 51 and would love to be 20 again....Treat customers right and be proud of the work you do for them...ENJOY being young ;)

Steve
02-22-2013, 01:37 PM
What are you wearing when you show up for bids or service properties?

Are you wearing something that makes you look younger or are you wearing a uniform?

You can do a lot to change the maturity level you project by what you wear.

http://cdn.sheknows.com/articles/2010/09/teen-mowing-lawn.jpg

http://www.americanpridell.com/images/enlarge/maintenance1.jpg

Greg'slawnandlandscape
02-22-2013, 08:50 PM
i tell you what i am 16 and when i have customers that ask about my experience when i show up i use the chance to show of my business and equipment. like i share my knowledge with them or explain how i have businness insurance and why they should go with me. it really impresses them because of the drive i have to make money

Steve
02-25-2013, 01:46 PM
r explain how i have businness insurance and why they should go with me

Was it at all difficult to get liability insurance for your business at 16? Any tips to other teens trying to do that?

BelleCityLawn1
02-25-2013, 02:17 PM
Steve,

I became fully insured last year at the age of 17. Surprisingly there were no problems, however, lots of people said it couldn't be done. So when I showed them my paperwork (they were potential customers who asked) they were shocked. Do not let age influence the thought that you can not do anything. I met last week with a guy for taking care of a whole subdivision of about 100 houses. He asked how old I was. I simply replied by saying I am 18 and he said "your sure you can handle this project?" so I told him I wouldn't be giving an estimate for it if I couldn't. Just be honest with people and do amazing work!

Thanks,
Tim Oezer
Belle City Lawn Care, LLC

LawnBoy0311
02-26-2013, 09:31 AM
What are you wearing when you show up for bids or service properties?

Are you wearing something that makes you look younger or are you wearing a uniform?

You can do a lot to change the maturity level you project by what you wear.

http://cdn.sheknows.com/articles/2010/09/teen-mowing-lawn.jpg

http://www.americanpridell.com/images/enlarge/maintenance1.jpg

That young boy needs to stop wearing those tight @$$ pants! Whats wrong with kids these days?!

FaccLndscpng
02-26-2013, 08:01 PM
I started cutting grass when I was about 10 for family and neighbors, fast forward a few years and at about 16 I started really getting into my own business. Not gonna bore you with all the background but basically I am very used to the looks and customer questions/comments. And many people will try to take advantage or think that you are just a "fly by nighter" like as if you don't have experience.

For me what worked the best was to tell customers that I wasn't the owner (kinda sucks and is a little depressing) but I had to in order to get out of the residential sector and into the more lucrative commercial sector. I would have to meet with Property Managers and they are sizing you up from the first phone call, so get a uniform, give yourself a title ( I have used "Senior Project Manager" in the past and works well) and play it off like you work for a family business. Basically that you have been doing this since birth like you were born into landscaping and your father/uncle/grandfather...whoever is the boss that they run the show and you basically oversee the day to day, do the scheduling and customer service.

Its worth a shot, for the few people that will be amazed that you are young and have your head on straight there will be far more that will doubt your every move and try to take advantage. And a plus side is that you can also play "good cop-bad cop" which may be helpfull in the areas of someone trying to haggle a lower price. You can always say "I would love to do it for cheaper but the boss wouldn't allow it" works great and if it dosen't work it will buy you time like as if you had to go back and check in with a boss, you can take a few minutes to think about it then get back to the customer later that day. Good luck

smallstripeslawncare
02-26-2013, 09:08 PM
I'm young at 22 years old and if I keep clean shaved and all people tell me I look younger than I am as well.

I normally don't have an issue with loosing clients because of it but generally when I first meet them I always get the "wow you look like your 16!" and I explain no I'm actually 22 years old married with almost three year old twins and that usually ends that conversation.

Steve
02-27-2013, 12:19 PM
For me what worked the best was to tell customers that I wasn't the owner (kinda sucks and is a little depressing)......

And a plus side is that you can also play "good cop-bad cop" which may be helpfull in the areas of someone trying to haggle a lower price.

This is very interesting. It reminds me of some discussions we had in the past on here with Scott (Breeze) and how he was facing similar problems and he dealt with this similarly.

How did you come up with this idea to handle it this way? How did enacting this idea change your business?

wandfsmall
02-27-2013, 12:47 PM
I'm young at 22 years old and if I keep clean shaved and all people tell me I look younger than I am as well.

I normally don't have an issue with loosing clients because of it but generally when I first meet them I always get the "wow you look like your 16!" and I explain no I'm actually 22 years old married with almost three year old twins and that usually ends that conversation.

when I opened up my shop I grew a beard to make myself look older and looked into adding a little gray to my hair but never did. It really helped business though to grow the beard. The wife hates it though.

racerdude711
02-27-2013, 11:11 PM
I know what you mean. I'm 19, have been doing this since I was 13. I also don't look a day over 16. What works best for me is to be as professional as possible. When you talk with me on the phone, you don't get the typical "teen" language. I sound professional. On the job, always where a company shirt. My truck, decked out with logo's, phone numbers, ect. My trailer, big sign on the back gate. When I roll up to a property, I give off an extremely professional vibe. When they realize how young you are, they won't question your professionalism or quality of work. I've already proven that. Honestly, we have the upper hand over everyone else that is older. People are more willing to help out someone younger in business. At least that is how it has worked out for me. Good luck!

CHEESE2009
02-28-2013, 07:38 AM
TIPS:

You should comb your chest hair so it pops out more, have it protrude from the collar of your shirt....

Wash your clothes in booze, you'll smell like everyone's grandfather.

Shave your head down the center.

Tell them you drank a youth potion before showing up, and if they hire you, you'll think about sharing some with them. - works every time!

FaccLndscpng
03-01-2013, 07:39 PM
Steve:
I started this practice when I realized I needed to get commercial accounts in order to stay in business. I know a lot of people do very well with residential but it just wasn't working for me. So I knew there was going to be hurdles getting into commercial work especially since the big guys (who were surprisingly the biggest low ballers, you think the "old man with a pick up and a craftsman tractor" is putting you out of business...you should see what a national company whose name I won't mention but it starts with "B" and ends with "Ickman" was charging to do a development around here)

Anyway, I had enough looks and comments from residents so I figured that if I didn't come up with something that I would never be able to step foot into the commercial bids. And it worked great, knock wood I have never had anyone call me out on this and it got me into the more lucrative market. It might not be the answer for everyone but it worked for me.

Steve
03-04-2013, 02:39 PM
was charging to do a development around here

Did you find they would low ball a price initially to gain a foot hold and then raise prices later or do they just really bid low?

aduttonater
03-04-2013, 11:02 PM
Make a website and show before and after pictures of your work. This way age doesn't matter, as long as they get those quality results that are displayed in the photography.
They should be amazed on how young you are, and happy that you are doing something smart. There should be know doubt about your work based on your age.
Being young, it's always best to have some kind of proof too show what you are capable of when it comes to cleaning a persons yard.

FaccLndscpng
03-07-2013, 08:31 PM
Did you find they would low ball a price initially to gain a foot hold and then raise prices later or do they just really bid low?

From what I got out of the property manager, they had the site for 2 years and during that second year they almost lost the contract mid season so I dont think they raised their prices the second year. Unless they started at 5 grand I dont see that. I do see them just charging very low just to get extra work. When you have all that equip and employees its easy to take a little hit just to keep everyone busy.

Steve
03-08-2013, 05:25 PM
they had the site for 2 years and during that second year they almost lost the contract mid season
Why do you think they almost lost it and what can others do to ensure they don't lose their contracts mid season like that?

FaccLndscpng
03-08-2013, 07:53 PM
Why do you think they almost lost it and what can others do to ensure they don't lose their contracts mid season like that?

I don't remember exactly what they did, it might have been just alot of little stuff. As far as I could see they did what they were supposed to. The one thing I remember was that they would miss a bed or two for mulch. So other then that there must have been a lot of little things that must have drove them nuts to almost go to the extreme of a contract cancellation.

Steve
03-11-2013, 02:11 PM
Well as you go, I bet you will hear more from new customers on what they didn't like about a previous lawn care provider. You can jot these thoughts down and remember to not repeat them.