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FourSeasons
09-26-2007, 10:54 PM
My name is Rob. I'm 25 and I own Four Seasons Yard Care. I started my business in May. I live in the Seattle area and have pretty good success so far for just starting out. Thanks for all the good info everyone puts on this site. I definitley see the potential in this business and I enjoy it. I can't wait until next season now that I have some of my learning experiences out of the way. Thanks agian for the info. http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/newbie.gif

Steve
09-26-2007, 11:56 PM
Hi Rob,

Welcome to our forum!

What got you started in your lawn care business? What advice do you have for others just starting out?

FourSeasons
09-29-2007, 11:50 AM
Don't under bid because if you do you'll hate the job later. Be patient and learn as much as you can from your mistakes. This first year is definitely a learning process for me. I only have about 20 regular customers so far. So in between mowing I have to do all types of various landscaping related services until I have a full schedule of mostly mowing. Which is where I expect to be next season. Make sure you establish an agreement with your customers of the base service you will be providing and anything outside of that charge extra for. There is some people that expect you to do everything for nothing. Ask questions and learn from others.

Steve
10-01-2007, 05:59 AM
Thanks Rob for the insight!

What got you to start your own business? Can you tell us a little about what led up to that? What were the biggest obstacles you faced on that road leading up to starting your business?

Did you ever run a business in the past?

From this point onwards do you feel you will always be an entrepreneur?

FourSeasons
10-01-2007, 10:54 PM
I was working in a scrap steel yard cutting steel into 2' x 4' pieces 8 hours a day with a torch. Getting burned all the time by little balls of hot steel. That was miserable and going no where fast. One of my friends cut grass on the side of his regular job off and on. So I figured I could do it to. I sold a extra car I had for $1300 and went and bought the basics to start. Including my $250 S-10 that I put a new tranny in. Then I went and handed out 300 flyers and advertised in some local papers.

Next thing I knew all season long I was booked a solid month out. Now I have mostly my regular cutomers that keep me busy. I have always mowed peoples lawns even after high school for extra $$ but I never thought of it as a business. Well I enjoy it and it pays well. Of course most of my money has went back into equipment.

As soon as you can if your starting out, buy commercial equipment. So much better than that throw away stuff. I bought a used Honda mower and that thing rocks. Saves me lots of time. Now everything I have is commercial. It saves your back to. I got a new trailer and next in line is a bigger mower and truck. ALL PAID FOR WITH CASH. No credit, no debt, less overhead, and still some money in the bank. Oh yeah and signing customers up on contracts once I get them figured out.

I messed up today. I lost my calendar with all my schedules in it. Can't find it anywhere. Always write everything down in two different places.

Steve
10-02-2007, 04:48 AM
Quote[/b] ]I messed up today. I lost my calendar with all my schedules in it. Can't find it anywhere. Always write everything down in two different places.
You can also try our Gopher program (http://www.getgopher.com), that's what it's designed for http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

What services will you be offering this fall and winter? Will you be doing any outdoor decorations?

Have you still been doing a lot of advertising or have you started to referrals from your current customer base?

FourSeasons
10-02-2007, 10:17 PM
I am starting to use quickbooks '06. But I don't think quickbooks has a section for scheduling. I have just started trying to figure it out. So I might have to give the Gopher Software a try.

This is will be my first fall/winter in business. So all ideas I'm open to. It doesn't snow much here so I won't be doing any snow plowing. I haven't thought about doing decorations. I've been advertising for fall clean ups. We'll see how it goes.

I still advertise because my regular lawn customers only take up 2-3 days out of the week and I like to have work every day doing other landscape projects. I am thinking about starting a referral program. I know some areas around here where it would probably work. I have a customer that lives on the corner of a busy entrance to a nice neighborhood where alot of Boeing employees live. This was my first customer. I would go there and mow in the afternoon when people were coming home from work and people would always stop by and ask me to come out to there house for work. I got some real good steady customers from that one corner house. Something anyone might want to consider.

I have had alot of people stop and ask me while I'm mowing if I'll go to their house and edge for them because they like that manicured look. So I think this winter I'm gonna go to alot of neighbor hoods and put out flyers for edging. Do it for a standard price. Just another idea to get my name out there for next season. Not so much to make a bunch of money. Some of this winter will be used to come up with some new marketing ideas and meeting new potential customers.

Thanks to everyone for all the great info on here. *http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/thankyou.gif

Steve
10-03-2007, 11:19 AM
One of the reasons I like the concept of the holiday lighting and decorations is that it has the potential to allow you to reach out to new lawn care customers. You do a little work for them here and there and then you build a bond with them that can allow for future growth.

The more interaction you have with people in your community the more you can potentially grow.

Have you thought about doing any community service projects where you could help improve a certain part of your town and then get the word out to the local newspapers that you are doing this good deed? That could help you reach out to more customers as well.

FourSeasons
10-04-2007, 12:21 AM
I would consider putting up lighting. I wouldn't even know where to start on the price. I used to put lights up when I was a kid and I know it can be time consuming. But I used to just staple them to the house. I don't know how to "professionaly" install them. I'll do some research on it. I'll definitley need ideas to get through winter and meet potential customers. That's why I was thinking of the edging. Everyone likes that edged look.

I actually was thinking about where I could do some type of community service work to help get my name out there. I saw you mention it to Serrano Landscaping.

Also I saw someone mentioned doing work for flippers. I just finished doing work for a guy flipping a house and I hated it. I gave him a bid and he agreed to it. He was on a very tight budget. When I went to go do the work he kept asking me to do extra little things. I thought sure and maybe I'll end up doing more work with him in the future. These little things turned into hours. Finally I told him that these were not part of the bid and I'm gonna have to charge extra. Then when I gave him the bill with everything broke down to the last dollar, he had to keep reviewing it and get his calcultator out and so on. I ended up making about half of what I should of made. Make sure they stick to the bid when working on their tight flipping budget.

Steve
10-04-2007, 01:27 PM
Quote[/b] ]I would consider putting up lighting. I wouldn't even know where to start on the price. I used to put lights up when I was a kid and I know it can be time consuming. But I used to just staple them to the house. I don't know how to "professionaly" install them. I'll do some research on it. I'll definitley need ideas to get through winter and meet potential customers. That's why I was thinking of the edging. Everyone likes that edged look.

I'd suggest, decorate your house. Keep track of the time and maybe the linear feet of lighting you put up. Then figure on $60 an hour and it could give you a ballpark on how to estimate such a job.

Experiment with it and let us know what you come up with.

As far as hanging lights, there are tons of christmas light hangers out there. Like these.

http://www.kwikclip.com/images/lightshouse.jpg http://www.kwikclip.com/images/lightshouse3.jpg

From this site. http://www.kwikclip.com

Let us know what you come up with.

Quote[/b] ]I actually was thinking about where I could do some type of community service work to help get my name out there. I saw you mention it to Serrano Landscaping.

What kind of projects are you thinking of in your area?

FourSeasons
10-07-2007, 12:01 PM
I was thinking about doing some work at maybe one of the smaller churches around here. I've seen some of these churches have some pretty big lawn areas and I only have smaller 21" mowers. I can't wait until next year when I plan on buying a bigger one. So I'm not sure yet and I'm still busy with my regulars and other scheduled jobs.

I just saw an ad where someone was hiring two guys at $15/hr to hang holiday lights from now til December. Hanging lights must be pretty profitable if they're willing to pay that much right from the start.

Steve
10-07-2007, 01:02 PM
Quote[/b] ]I was thinking about doing some work at maybe one of the smaller churches around here. I've seen some of these churches have some pretty big lawn areas and I only have smaller 21" mowers. I can't wait until next year when I plan on buying a bigger one. So I'm not sure yet and I'm still busy with my regulars and other scheduled jobs.


What about even simpler stuff like creating some outdoor fall displays for them? Pumpkins, hay bails, corn stalks etc? Or maybe even some holiday lighting?

Quote[/b] ]I just saw an ad where someone was hiring two guys at $15/hr to hang holiday lights from now til December. Hanging lights must be pretty profitable if they're willing to pay that much right from the start.
Good! Maybe it gives you more ideas!