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jeannette4
10-16-2007, 01:36 PM
Hello everyone! I am so glad I came across this site. Reading the forums have been both fun and helpful. My husband is a rough carpenter(well I think he's an everything carpenter)and after being with his company for 13 years got his first lay off in December. It took us about 6 months to realize that we had a trailer for our dirt bikes and he worked for a lawn company for a couple of years when he was younger. We had $1000.00 left in savings to work with. So far it seems to be going good even though Brian's company called him back to work. I'm kinda learning as I go. My job is all the stuff besides cutting the lawns, although I did go out last week and cut one of our customers back grass. It was pretty cool. Right now I'm pretty clueless about fall clean up pricing. Can anyone help? The properties around here are about 40x125

Steve
10-16-2007, 02:00 PM
Hi jeannette4,

Welcome to our forum! What has been your experience so far with running your own business? Do you like it. What are you most looking forwards to now with your business?

Does this post on fall cleanup pricing (http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=17;t=5909) help you?

jeannette4
10-16-2007, 02:41 PM
I was actually pretty surprized how smooth everything seemed to go. Within like 3 days we had our DBA name, license through the city and ins. Well this is what I mean about learning as I go, I called the city and they asked about our ins. and I said um... let me call you right back and called my ins. guy and asked him what she was talking about. We hope to see this business grow & grow which is going to be some work. We say how our young sons are going to each have a truck and a crew when they get older. I told my husband the other day I think I should talk to an account and he said he thought that was one of my jobs. Is that something I could do myself if I keep good records?

jeannette4
10-16-2007, 02:50 PM
Oh this is maybe where I was suppose to reply. I'll get it!

Steve
10-16-2007, 02:55 PM
Quote[/b] ]I told my husband the other day I think I should talk to an account and he said he thought that was one of my jobs. Is that something I could do myself if I keep good records?

One of the things I have learned is that there are a lot smarter people out there than me. People who know more about things I know nothing about.

I am very impressed with the job you have done getting this up and running. Your desire to talk to an accountant is another step in the right direction. I mean, these people go to college for many many years to learn this stuff. What's the harm in you scheduling an hour to talk to one.

Believe me when I say this, setting it up the right way now is going to alleviate huge future troubles down the road. Even if you talk to a bookkeeper. Find out what you need to keep track of. What services you need to charge sales tax on. Once you know, you will do just fine!

What kinds of things are you doing for your marketing so far? How are you getting the word out about your business?

jeannette4
10-16-2007, 04:08 PM
Yea your right. Good points! An accountants going on the to do list. As far as marketing I first went around to businesses which I didn't really like, Then I passed out flyers in the neighborhood like 4 times. I printed them on my slow **- computer. There has been a few times people walked up to them while they were out. We cut my neighbors grass and then his friend came over and asked us come cut his grass and now his neighbor wants us to do his. I also got magnets for the van, yea still working on the truck thing but our customers don't seem to care. I save things I find so that when the money comes in I'll try. This is a cool example, A friend of mine opened a tanning salon so my daughter and I were going there and one night I dropped her off and went to Krogers and the basket I grabbed had an advertisement for they're business. So I wrote down the 800 number to call and get info how to do it. I also got refridgerator magnets to send to new customers with thank you letters, but there pretty cheap, I'll shop around before I order more. Thanks again for your words and encouragement

Steve
10-16-2007, 04:12 PM
Are you affiliated with any community organizations? Or are any of your family members?

jeannette4
10-16-2007, 04:24 PM
No, why?

Steve
10-16-2007, 04:59 PM
Well, they are great ways to get the word out about your business. Offer to do some good deeds through them etc.

You should ask your friend what kind of return they got on their investment with the basket advertising. We don't see too much of that in this industry because I am guessing it doesn't work well enough.

Will you be promoting handy-man type of services too, since your husband knows how to do such things?

That might help you get more cash flow.

Have you thought of ways your business might stand out in your community? Do you all have any interests that you could leverage to help you gain attention?

moseley creek
10-16-2007, 08:35 PM
As far as advertising during my first year I went to www.politicalsigns.com and got some courgated plastic signs made just plain white with red letters. They had business name phone number and said free estimates on them. They got a huge response. I am getting more made for the early spring. This sight I am refering to was the cheapest I could find out there at the time (2005).

jeannette4
10-16-2007, 09:32 PM
I need to be careful how much more business I try to bring in, being that Brian went back to work. I think I'm done passing out flyers. Sometimes I'll notice a customer will call three weeks after I've passed out the flyers. Word of mouth seems to be spreading quick to. One of our customers today asked my husband if he cut her friends and asked for business cards for a couple of girls at work. I told him to give her the magnets. As far as the carpenter thing goes I'm trying to get Brian to go take the test and get his license. My nail guy of all people once told me when he found out that Brian was a carpenter working for someone else that he should have his own business and it's my job to help him and encourage him. A few months later I heard the radio advertise where and what to do to take the test so I set it all up for him. He went to the class and has the study book, but has yet to take the test.I know he would pass the test. There's only a few questions about real estate and codes. The lady I talked to said things where going to change soon and it wouldn't be so easy to get. I thought about taking it since I would be the one to pull permits anyway, but I don't want to go too far. I would like to start off small just doing decks or building people a set of stairs to replace their crapy ones I walk on when passing out flyers. As for now were trying to establish a good name and if we only do this that's great to. How about your business? Tell me a little bit.

Steve
10-16-2007, 09:43 PM
WOW! If you could get the license then go for it! Why not!

Have you thought about how you will make the transition from your husband working fulltime to going fulltime with your business?

Do you have a number of customers in your head that you will have to hit before he will quit?

Any advice on how to do that since I am sure many forum members reading this might find themselves in the same situation.

jeannette4
10-16-2007, 10:23 PM
Hello moseley creek. Is that when you started your business in 2005. What got you started and are you lovin it?

jeannette4
10-16-2007, 10:58 PM
Well I guess I should probably tell you why I personally think it was so easy. Like I said my husband was laid off for awhile so of coase you start to get worried and think what can I do. So I started looking into different things I could do to help and they all seemed soooo hard and didn't work out. I DO NOT want to offend anyone when I say this, but I believe I am suppose to be a keeper at home and a help mate to my husband. Although I gave in 2 years ago and went back to a job I have basically been with for 15 years. I manage a pizza place 1 to 2 nights a week that closes at 9:30pm. One night I was at work and saw the guy's cutting the grass across the street I called Brian and said we could open a lawn care business and he said, I was just telling Jessi the same thing yesterday. So I think I was not suppose to open a dollar store, but to help Brian open a lawn care business. I haven't thought too much about the transition. We are still trying hard to play catch up with everything since the lay off. I do know Brian wants to be done with Damico cont. We are still really knew to this. I figure we have 25 customers right now and each time I passed out flyers I was only gone 2 hours. I think when it comes time we'll be alright. I think if you can get a license and go for it. Go. Why not? If it doesn't work at least you can't say you didn't try. People do it every day and succeed, why are you any different. If your feelin it, GO FOR IT!

moseley creek
10-17-2007, 10:02 AM
Quote[/b] (jeannette4 @ Oct. 16 2007,11:23)]Hello moseley creek. Is that when you started your business in 2005. What got you started and are you lovin it?
Yes I used the signs in 2005. What got me started? Well I had a home daycare until fall of 2004 when all of my children were finally in school. Then is when I said to myself why not do what I love to do. I had always loved to work in my yard why not do that for others and make some money too. The idea was not easily accepted by my husband at the time but I pushed my way into it. And YES I definately love it. I have met so many people. I really did not know too many people in my area from staying at home all the time now my name is known. If you want to take the lawn care part of your business and run with it and let the carpentry to him DO IT. You will find your limits for a day. There may be some days he might need to cut grass with you or some days you'd need to go with him. If you love it do it.

jeannette4
10-17-2007, 10:42 AM
Loved reading your response, thanks. I am going to try and get out there a little bit for some fall clean ups. I know what you mean about the husband not being to fond. Mine must be getting wooped because he barely hesitated when I mentioned getting out there. He is working very hard and long hours. He has the equipment with him so they can get started right after work. We are lucky because a good friend of ours that carpools with Brian helps him with the lawns. I to really like being outside(except in the winter) and enjoy doing this kind of work. I just wish I knew more about the fall clean up process. Like do you go to a customers once to do a fall clean up? I see there are plenty of leaves falling now. Do you mulch most of them when you cut weekly and take a bag out of the flower beds when you go? Or do you not do nothing till all the leaves have fallen from the tree's. I saw the first pictures last night of when you first got your truck and how you got it on ebay. Yea thats another thing I tried was selling things on ebay. My computer is way to slow for that. There's another thing for my wish list. Anyway's good job I'm very proud of you. You seem like a real go getter and I would be willing to bet your not much of a complainer.

moseley creek
10-17-2007, 11:06 AM
I usually try to have my regular customers big fall cleanups done by Thanksgiving when company comes. Yes I mulch regular customers twice a year. Unless they ask me to do so I don't do anything with leaves accept keep them off the lawn till cleanup time. Really all you need to do is talk to your customers and find out what they want. Hope this helps you.

jeannette4
10-17-2007, 12:05 PM
Yes, thank you. I like the thanksgiving thing. That gives me something to work with. There's so many good points and ideas people have on this site! I love it. I can sure use all the advise I can get right now. Well back to work on my customer fall clean up letters.