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Markolc
02-20-2008, 08:19 PM
Howdy! I'm Mark, owner of 4-Seasons Lawncare of New Britain, CT. I worked for a couple summers for a landscaping company during my college years and got paid decent money, and once I got out of school and decided my degree wasn't making me happy, I thought back to how much fun I had landscaping and what type of potential there is to owning my own business (the work seemed easy enough).

While I know how to use all the equipment properly and how to make a lawn come out looking great, I'd love to learn more about how to actually pick up and get started. So far I've bought a '98 C2500 truck with a plow and tow package. I'm looking for all the rest of the equipment right now (trimmer, bp blower, 48" mower, push mower) and possibly a trailer.

I'd love to know what you guys did to get your new businesses up and running from scratch? How did you recruit customers, etc.? Where did you learn the business. I'd love to tap this knowledge! Any advice for a http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/newbie.gif?

I'll be seeing you guys around, I'm full of questions!

Steve
02-20-2008, 08:26 PM
Hi Mark,

Welcome to our forum! Nice to have you here.

Are you just getting your business started this year? This will be your first season?

What did your previous employer do to attract new customers?

justin_time
02-20-2008, 08:50 PM
Quote[/b] (Markolc @ Feb. 20 2008,8:19)]Howdy! I'm Mark, owner of 4-Seasons Lawncare of New Britain, CT. *I worked for a couple summers for a landscaping company during my college years and got paid decent money, and once I got out of school and decided my degree wasn't making me happy, I thought back to how much fun I had landscaping and what type of potential there is to owning my own business (the work seemed easy enough).

While I know how to use all the equipment properly and how to make a lawn come out looking great, I'd love to learn more about how to actually pick up and get started. *So far I've bought a '98 C2500 truck with a plow and tow package. *I'm looking for all the rest of the equipment right now (trimmer, bp blower, 48" mower, push mower) and possibly a trailer. *

I'd love to know what you guys did to get your new businesses up and running from scratch? *How did you recruit customers, etc.? *Where did you learn the business. *I'd love to tap this knowledge! *Any advice for a http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/newbie.gif?

I'll be seeing you guys around, I'm full of questions!
Hi Mark..

Welcome to the forum..

All I have to say about purchasing equipment.. don't be cheap.. GO BIG OR GO HOME.. i learned that the wrong way...
I bought a cheap trailer..and had a few problems with that.. had to get it fixed a few times.. still needs to get fixed.. not strong enough for a 800 pounds machine so yeah..

Same goes for lawn equipment.... don't get a cheap tractor and say it's gonna be good enough.. WRONG... if your in the commercial industry... i really suggest a zero turn... to anybody in the lawn industry.. even if it's a walk behind...

My tractor i purchased.. is made for residential... i got oil leaks on mine at about 150 hrs.. and i couldn't use it for 2 weeks since i had to wait for parts... Got to use a zero turn and I didn't want my tractor back that's how good the zero turns are...

Hope I inspired you to start...

Markolc
02-21-2008, 01:45 PM
I've had experiences in lawncare using only Scag zero-turn mowers. 48-54" walk behinds, and a turf Tiger. I will still need a cheap push mower for at least the small fenced in yards. Interesting on the trailer though, I will keep a look-out for quality trailers, but I'm not going to be towing anything heavier then a Turf-tiger for the short term future.

My last boss's business was decently established where all he did was gain business through referrals. Often when I'd be mowing a customers lawn, other neighbors would walk right up to me and ask to do their lawn, and that's how they became regulars. One summer I gained 15 residential accounts for him this way. (He had about 70 already in 3-4 towns when I started with him).

This will be my first season on my own. I've yet to do much beyond buying a truck, but I'm working hard at planning out all that I need to do (so all feedback and advice is welcome!) I purchased the book "Start and Run a Landscaping business" by Joel LaRusic, and that has been my starting point so far!

Steve
02-21-2008, 01:51 PM
Hi Mark,

That is a very good book! I think something that is very important especially when you are just getting started is to constantly be marketing yourself and your business in some way. Keep doing things to get your name out there. Make yourself the go to person in your town for lawn care and property maintenance questions.

Are you using craigslist.com to market your business? It's free.

Do you have a website? Do you have flyers created to hand out?

Markolc
02-21-2008, 06:23 PM
I am having a logo designed for me at the moment. Once I get that in my possession, I am going to have business cards and flyers made up, as well as set up a decent website. It's all in the works and my head's spinning, I want to get started ASAP! ( I am growing tired of my FT job and am looking to liberate myself from it, hehe!)

Steve
02-21-2008, 06:42 PM
I look forwards to seeing what you get created!

KimKriel
02-21-2008, 08:57 PM
Another thing that you will want to do is get you truck lettered asap. It is a great form of moving advertisement. It has really paid for its self.

Markolc
02-22-2008, 02:38 PM
Great advice. I was a little bit hesitant to letter the truck right away, but I think I will just go ahead and get it done ASAP. Thanks!

Steve
02-22-2008, 02:47 PM
Quote[/b] ] I was a little bit hesitant to letter the truck right away, but I think I will just go ahead and get it done ASAP. Thanks!

I think one of the great effects this has beyond the business value, is the psychological value. It makes the business seem real. It makes you feel good that yes you are indeed doing this and it exists. It's not just a truck. It's your business truck. AND yes you do own a business. It's something that can inspire you and make you feel proud. It helps you push forwards.

KimKriel
02-22-2008, 06:37 PM
Another thing when designing your business card use the back to list all the services you offer. That way your business card is like a little advertisement. Also offer something free that doesnt cost you anything but time "call for your FREE estimate" is a good one. Everyone like something for free..

Steve
02-22-2008, 07:14 PM
Quote[/b] ]Also offer something free that doesnt cost you anything but time "call for your FREE estimate" is a good one. Everyone like something for free..

What other kinds of free things would you advice including on a business card?

KimKriel
02-22-2008, 08:00 PM
A percentage off like 15%, or 25%, I know when I go shopping I like the extra 5 % I hit those racks first. Well truthfully I dont like to give away free services but I have used a business card and designed it into a 10.00 gift card. I put these into our Thanksgiving Cards, and gave them an extra for them to give to a friend.

Steve
02-22-2008, 08:19 PM
Oh that is very interesting! Did you have an expiration date on them? Or did they only apply to a purchase of $x amount of dollars or more? Or how did that work?

KimKriel
02-22-2008, 08:35 PM
Actually I do have an expiration date on them I gave them out in Nov. but as everyone knows in MI cant do lawn till atleast end of Mar, with that being dream date so I put the expiration date of 06-31-08. I figure if they use them in spring for clean up it will not effect the price for us, and if they use during June we will have been mowing for awhile so the loss will not hurt us.
No I didnt put with a purchase amount on them due to the fact that it never seems like that good of a deal to me when I get those. I thought that they might see it the same way I do.

Steve
02-22-2008, 09:11 PM
That is very fascinating! Have you had any of them redeemed yet?

Also did you put on there that they can not be combined? Or could someone combine them?

KimKriel
02-22-2008, 09:25 PM
No none have been redeemed yet, I didn't specify that they couldn't combine them but it wont be a big deal if they do.

Steve
02-22-2008, 09:30 PM
I really like your idea of combining them with your business card.

I have never been given a business card that was a $10.00 off your first purchase with us. I think that could really be a great way to get people to contact you.

Do you think that is something you will try more in the future or what is your view on that?

musician/lawnman
02-24-2008, 01:24 AM
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Feb. 22 2008,9:30)]I really like your idea of combining them with your business card.

I have never been given a business card that was a $10.00 off your first purchase with us. I think that could really be a great way to get people to contact you.
I think that is brilliant! It makes your card worth something, even if the don't need you this week they wil take it & keep it! If they can't use it they'll find a friend or family member to give it to so they can be the hero who helped em save $10 bucks. I love it! it's a great idea & going to rob it from ya & use it too. Hope that's alright, if not I hope you don't hold a grudge very long..... http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Steve
02-26-2008, 05:52 PM
Show us what it looks like when you get it made!

I can't wait to hear how all this works out!