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02-25-2005, 11:56 AM
Here is the profile on Lightning Lawn Service:

I am 20 years old, i've mowed grass for other companies since I was 16 and just started my own this past june. I now have 31 full time customers that I do on the weekend and I work a full time job during the week to make ends meet. I think I could use all the help I can get to go full time this summer.
Mike (Lightning Lawn Service)


http://www.gophersoftware.com/images/head-start-button-lg.gifReview other Head Start Projects here (http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=1;t=1244).

02-25-2005, 11:57 AM
Business plan questions can be found here. (http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST&f=1&t=1206)

Business Plan

Business Description
- Give a one paragraph description of your business.
Lightning Lawn Service is a Owner operated business that just started in june 2004. I run a Residential and Commercial lawn business and currently have 30 full time accounts.
- Where is your business located? Cocoa, FL
- What services does your business offer? I offer complete lawn and landscape maintenance.
- What value does it add to the marketplace? Not every lawn service around here does lawn and landscape maintenance so I guess it adds value that I include Landscape maintance.

Management Abilities
- What are your qualifications? Iíve done lawn work for 4 years.
- How will your experience contribute to the success of your business? Very much, you really need to know what your doing in able to keep your customers happy with you.

Business Strategy
- What are the key strategic opportunities you have identified in your marketplace? A lot of new residential developments.
- How will your business take advantage of these strategic opportunities more effectively than your competition? Provide a more professional look to the potential customers.
- How do you intend to maintain your competitive edge? Keep doing good work.
- Describe the key challenges you face and how will you overcome them? Adding more customers this summer. ADVERTISING

Legal Structure
- Will your business operate as a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or an LLC? Sole Proprietor
- How will your legal structure decrease your business's exposure to risk? I donít know.

- How much will you personally invest in your business? So far I have invested about $11,000ÖI know in the future it will be much more.
- How much money are you seeking from banks? None
- How much money are you seeking from private investors? None
- How long until you plan to break even? End of next year
- How long until you plan on making a profit? After next year.
- What will your start-up costs be? Be specific, describe each and the cost. It was $11,000
- What is your sales forcast for each month of the entire year? List each month's goal. Right not I make about 1600.00 each month, This year I would like to increase that number by atleast 500.00 a month when the season hits.
- What will be your operating expenses? Be specific, describe each and the cost. I figure, about 30.00 a day in gas, 500.00 a year in maintenance to my machines, edger blades, oil, string, etc..
- What will your fixed costs be? Be specific, describe each and the cost. Not sure what fixed costs are?

Mission Statement
- What is your business? Lawn and Landscape Maintenance Company
- How will your business succeed? With good work.
- What values are important to your business? Making the customer happy.
- How does your business improve the lives of your customers' and employees'? My customers get to enjoy a beautiful lawn with no effort.

Marketing Slogan
- What is your marketing slogan? Weíll Be There in a Flash!!

Market Analysis
- What are the positive NATIONAL trends that will affect your business? Growing economy - What are the negative NATIONAL trends that will affect your business? High gas prices.
- How will you take advantage of the positive trends and deal with the negative trends? Add more customers in able to make up for the gas prices.

- What are the positive REGIONAL trends that will affect your business? Not sure.
- What are the negative REGIONAL trends that will affect your business? Not sure.
- How will you take advantage of the positive trends and deal with the negative trends? Not Sure.

- What are the positive LANDSCAPE INDUSTRY trends that will affect your business? Better Equipment every year.
- What are the negative LANDSCAPE INDUSTRY trends that will affect your business? Low ballers
- How will you take advantage of the positive trends and deal with the negative trends? Buy the better equipment, do better work than the other guy.

Customer Analysis
- Who are your target customers? (age range, education level, occupations, average home value) Most are elderly customers that are unable to do the work, other than that everyone is a target customer to me.
- What zip codes do they live in? 32926, 32927, 32780 and the surrounding ones
- What do your customers want? Quality work, at reasonable prices.

Competition Analysis
- Who are your competitors? Other lawn services.
- How many employees do they have? Varies from none to numerous crews
- What is their estimated sales volume? Any where from what I make to probably close to 1 million.
- What services do they offer? Lawn and Landscape maintenance, Landscape installation, spraying and fertilizing.
- What is the quality of their product? Poor to Excellent.
- What is the price range of their product? From 15 a cut and up or 50 a month and up
- Who are there customers? All ranges
- What are their strengths? Good equipment
- What are their weaknesses? Unreliable help
- Are they a direct or indirect competitor? Indirect I think, there is so much work to be done around here.

- How many employees will you start with? Full or p/t? none, just myself
- What will the hourly labor wage paid to employees be? I think Iíll start my first employee out a probably 8.00 an hour and depending on how good he is raise it up accordingly
- What will your total annual labor hours be? 40-50 hours a week from march to oct. 20 hours a week nov.-feb.

- What equipment will be needed? A 52 stander, another blower and weed wacker.
- How much will it cost to obtain this equipment? Probably around 8k
- Where will you store the equipment? In my garage.
- How much will it cost to store the equipment? Free

Advertising / Promotion
- How will you advertise or promote your business? Flyers, business cards, yellow page ad, newspaper ad, word of mouth.
- How much will you spend doing each per year? 2k

02-25-2005, 01:05 PM
Hi Lightning Lawn Service,

Are you going to continue using your current logo or are you wanting to change it? If you are how so?

02-25-2005, 01:09 PM
Yes, I was thinking about changing it, and making it a little more professional looking. And easier to read, I like the lightning bolt in it but I would also like something that has to do with lawn care. What do you think? Thanks

02-25-2005, 11:37 PM

Your information was passed along to me in terms of creating a new logo for you. You can see samples of my logo work at http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v511/ElementDesigner/LogoWork1.gif
I am willing to help you out at no cost, so if you'd like to discuss this further, please email me at ElementDesigner@gmail.com. I'd like to talk to you about what you're looking for in terms of a new identity, what you see as the important details about your business, what you want people to remember you for, if you have any ideas, etc. I look forward to hearing from you.

02-26-2005, 11:53 AM
ok thanks

02-26-2005, 04:21 PM
Thanks Team Gopher for teaming me up with element designer, they have some really great ideas for a professional looking logo.

02-28-2005, 07:43 AM
Hi LightningLawns,

You are welcome. http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

When we are done with all this, your business images is going to look fantastic. I am looking forwards to seeing what element designer comes up with for you.

From your business plan.

We asked: What will your fixed costs be? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
You responded: Not sure what fixed costs are?

Here is a definition to help you. Fixed Costs - expenses that do not change regardless of production increases or decreases, for example, rent, insurance, interest on loans, etc. If you can, try to answer that question again so we can help figure out your total expenses.

02-28-2005, 07:48 AM
Hi LightningLawns,

Another thing I would like you to think about.

I see that you have 31 full time customers that you service on the weekends.

What I would also like to see is this. Three projections:

1. A total number of new customers you feel you can easily attract this season.

2. A total number of new customers you feel will be moderately difficult to attract this season.

3. A total number of new customers you feel will be extremely tough to attract this season.

4. What date do you want these total customers by?

This will help us set up some goals for the marketing campaign.

When we set up your projections in a chart, you can then post weekly how many new customers you were able to get that week. This should help inspire and motivate you to reach your goals.

02-28-2005, 02:52 PM
Ok my fixed costs I believe are:

1 36 stander- $200.00/mth.
$2000.00 Loan for:
1 weed eater
1 blower
1 edger
1 hedge trimmer
Multiple Hand Tools, shovels, rakes, etc.
Lawn Trailer
Insurance- $100.00/mth.
Business Liscense- $35.00/yr.
Business Phone- 140.00/mth.
Internet- 40.00/mth.
My truck is paid for, but its a 1995 dodge dakota that has almost 200,000 miles on it and only has a V6 so I will be getting a new truck when I get about 60 monthly yards total.
I will also get another lawn mower when I gain more yards.
I do not have business insurance yet, but I will. Not sure of the cost of that.

02-28-2005, 02:54 PM
1. A total number of new customers you feel you can easily attract this season.
15-20 monthly accounts

2. A total number of new customers you feel will be moderately difficult to attract this season.
30-40 monthly accounts.

3. A total number of new customers you feel will be extremely tough to attract this season.
50-60 monthly accounts

4. What date do you want these total customers by? End of October, Beggining of November. Thats when we go to our every other week schedule.

03-01-2005, 08:23 AM
Hi LightningLawns,

Here is a chart to show your customer goals for this season.

The easy goal is charted to attain the lower level of your easy goal, 15 new customers.

The moderately difficult goal is charted to attain the middle of your moderately difficult goal, 35 new customers.

The extremely tough goal is charted to attain the high end of your extremely tough goal, 60 new customers.

Each month you should report back here and let us know your latest customer count to see where you are at in your goal. You might want to print out this chart and put it somewhere where you will see it each day to inspire you.

03-01-2005, 01:37 PM
Ok thank you I will definately do that. I have it printed and put in my note book.

03-01-2005, 03:12 PM
Hi LightningLawns,

We will make an expense chart next to help you with your biddings.

What is the monthly fee to pay off the equipment $2000.00 loan?

How much do you want to make after taxes per hour?

How many billable hours do you plan on working each month of this year?

Jan total billable hours =
Feb =
Mar =
Apr =
May =
Jun =
Jul =
Aug =
Sept =
Oct =
Nov =
Dec =

Yearly total billable hours =

03-01-2005, 04:38 PM
What is the monthly fee to pay off the equipment $2000.00 loan? I just sold a dirtbike, and when I deposit the check I will mail my final payment and it will be paid off this month. It was 120.00/mth.

How much do you want to make after taxes per hour?
40-60 $/hr.

How many billable hours do you plan on working each month of this year? It all depends on how many accounts I gain each month. But I'll make a projection.

Jan total billable hours = 32
Feb =32
Mar = 32
Apr = 96
May = 96
Jun = 128
Jul = 128
Aug = 160
Sept = 160
Oct = 160
Nov = 80
Dec = 80

Yearly total billable hours = 1184 (Estimated) Probably going to be more, but thats on the low end.

03-03-2005, 08:29 AM
Here is a chart showing your monthly business expenses without labor.

Note: If you can't read the numbers, right click on the image and then left click on view image. Make sure you are viewing the image at the largest setting your browser allows if it offers you a magnifying glass icon option.

03-06-2005, 08:44 PM
Thanks for the chart! I noticed a few other expenses that I have on there.

03-06-2005, 08:54 PM
I also have good news. I have just picked up 3 new yearly accounts this week. One is 70.00/month, one is 65.00/month and another is 200.00/month. These are all year round customers so that is great! This looks like its going to be a great year!

03-07-2005, 08:52 AM
Hey LightningLawns,

That's great news! Keep it up. Remember your goals and go out there everyday to work towards achieving them!

Do you need any flyers made based on our flyer templates? (http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=1;t=942)

How is your logo coming out?

Also, do you have any pictures of you in front or on your equipment that we could use to make you some more personalized marketing material?

03-07-2005, 04:49 PM
Hey the logo is coming out great, we are just making a few changes and it will be done. I will take some some pictures of my stuff and some of my yards so we could make some nice flyers. When the logo is completed, I'll post it along with some pictures so we can get started. Thanks Team Gopher!

03-11-2005, 04:29 PM
Heres my new logo...lets see if it works ElementDesigner did a great job! It's exactly how I wanted it to look. Thanks Team Gopher for hooking me up with ElementDesigner. I'll get some pictures posted hopefully this week coming up.

03-14-2005, 12:57 PM
Hi LightningLawns,

That looks excellent. I am looking forwards to seeing your pictures too so we can move forwards.

03-15-2005, 11:33 AM
Great logo Lightning Lawns!!!

Have you thought about getting a website together for your company? If you have any questions regarding this please feel free to let me know.

03-15-2005, 03:11 PM
Yes, I was thinking about getting a website for my business. I don't have a clue about running one though.

03-15-2005, 03:20 PM
Well what are you ideas for your website? What message do you want to get accross to visitors? Have you seen Gophers Web Templates?

03-15-2005, 04:39 PM
I'd like the website to show all the services I do, with some pictures of some of my work, equipment, etc. I'd use it as a form of marketing to new customers, another place to get my name out. I like template #3

03-16-2005, 09:52 PM
Template #3 is the most popular by the looks of it. Most of the sites I have done has been with that template. If you are planning on getting a website going, you should look into domain names and hosting plans.

Omnis (http://omnis.com)

This is where I host and their customer support is the best I have seen.

03-17-2005, 10:27 AM
Hi LightningLawn,

If you want a website, please get a host a.s.a.p. and get ritchiem your ftp username and password. We don't know how long ritchiem will be in a giving mood like he is to do this for free for you.

03-17-2005, 12:29 PM
Ok, will do. Thanks

03-17-2005, 03:23 PM
LightningLawns.com is available too!

Let us know which domain name you registered.

03-17-2005, 07:52 PM
I registered LightningLawnService.com Since thats the actual name of my company, just so it wouldn't get confusing to some people. I can't wait to get started. I still need to take some pics. Its been raining alot here lately and I want some pics of my yards, so i'll do that this weekend when I mow them. I'll get them posted as soon as possible. Thanks Alot.

03-18-2005, 11:45 AM
That is a great name. Good Job!

Your Lawn Guy
03-18-2005, 04:19 PM
What's up Mike looks like things are going well for you. I like the new logo. Believe me the website will more than pay for itself once the search engines pick it up. Just make sure you are listed below me ;) . Once things get going around here I will be sending you some more lawns.

03-18-2005, 09:50 PM
Yes, I hope to get the webpage going real soon, seems like it does well for you.

03-22-2005, 04:14 PM

If you can, please post more pictures of your great new shirts and let us know who printed them for you.

03-22-2005, 05:10 PM
Yes, I will get some pictures posted soon. I had the shirts made by this company selling the on ebay called the print firm. They did an excellent job on them.

03-22-2005, 09:34 PM
Customer analysis based on zip codes provided by Sharry Landscaping of service areas and data provided by ESRI Business Solutions (http://reports.esribis.com/esribis?command=zipcodelookup).

Census data provided by census.gov (http://factfinder.census.gov/home/saff/main.html?_lang=en)

03-22-2005, 09:36 PM
Hi LightningLawns,

This chart gives you an idea of what you are working with in the zip codes you posted.

32780 seems to have the highest median age, the highest property value and the highest % of incomes over $100,000.00. It might be worth hitting that area the hardest with advertisements.

03-22-2005, 10:01 PM
Yes, good idea thats part of Titusville, FL I have about half my accounts out in that area. I just recently put an ad in two different newspapers in my area. I'll keep you posted on how good they work.

04-03-2005, 03:44 PM
I now have 35 monthly accounts, i'll keep posting as I get more.

04-04-2005, 06:56 AM
Hi LightningLawns,

That is great news. What did you do to obtain those new clients?

04-04-2005, 01:53 PM
I advertised in two different papers in my area, I also had some yard signs made up, but no luck from those yet. One yard was from word of mouth and the others were from the papers.

04-04-2005, 02:03 PM
What did your newspaper ad say? Did you offer any discounts in it?

04-04-2005, 06:01 PM
No I didn't offer any discounts, it just said Lawn Service, Quality work at an affordable price, Free Estimates, and in the other paper I advertise in I had an 1/8 page ad that pretty much said the same thing, but had my company name on it and my slogan.

04-04-2005, 07:21 PM
Just got another monthly account, they called about 730 and I went over there and got the account. They seen my yard signs I put in one of my yards and got another call on the way over there from the 1/8 page ad. Gotta go look at that tomorrow. Things are starting to look good! http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

04-24-2005, 08:47 PM
Hey Team Gopher, I just wanted to update on my monthly accounts that I have. I have 46 monthly accounts, and I keep getting calls every week. I am currently advertising in 1 newspaper, 1 community magazine, Yellow Page ad, and I have several signs posted in my yards all over my area. Hopefully this continues for several more months. I recently bought a new truck from the added income the new yards gained me. So everything is going well. Thanks for all your help.

04-25-2005, 01:13 PM
Hi LightningLawns,

That's great news. Do you have a picture of your new truck that you can post?

04-25-2005, 09:13 PM
No pics yet. I just got it about 8 days ago. I will take some and post them. I'll take some of my old truck too just to show the improvement.

06-07-2005, 06:13 PM
Heres some pics of my trucks

06-07-2005, 06:14 PM
This is the new truck I got in April

06-07-2005, 06:16 PM
Heres the old one 1995 Dodge Dakota with 200,000 miles on it

06-07-2005, 06:17 PM
Last pics of the trucks

06-07-2005, 06:20 PM
And as of today I am up to 54 accounts that are on a monthly service agreement. I am not full time yet, but I could be if I wanted I work thurs. fri. and sat. cutting grass. I hope to be full time by the end of the summer with at least 80 accounts. which would be at the tough mark on my customer goal chart. Thanks for all your help TG.

06-07-2005, 06:56 PM
Hi LightningLawns,

Those are great pictures. Your new trucks looks very nice and clean! If you have further business questions, please post them. We now have Joel LaRusic as our new business consultant and he will be able to give you much insight.

Thank you again for posting the pictures and keeping us updated on your success.