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Steve
06-04-2009, 02:11 PM
Hi Goldie,

That is fascinating! What was your son's view of trying to start a lawn care business? Why does he feel it didn't work?

What have you been doing to promote your lawn care business and what do you think you learned from his experience?

eball
06-19-2009, 12:16 AM
Looking to start out mowing some yards. Next spring hope to get into lawn care also. Just looking how to get clients in June.

Steve
06-19-2009, 03:31 PM
Hi Eball,

Welcome to our forum. There are a ton of marketing ideas on here and on my blod http://www.lawnchat.com

What have you been doing so far to promote yourself?

mentordas
07-02-2009, 02:28 PM
We have been boning up on the lawn care business and am now getting started. We are very inexperienced, so will be coming to this forum daily. Looking for comments and advice from all you lawn care Gurus.

Thanks, Mentordas

Steve
07-03-2009, 06:09 AM
Hi Mentordas,

Welcome to our forum!

What got you interested in starting your own lawn care business?

mentordas
07-04-2009, 11:51 AM
I have been unable to find a job and while I still had a few dollars left, I looked around for some business I could do. Lawn care seemed to be a business I could do. So I went out and purchased a 2002 Ford E-250 Cargo Van, A commercial 42" self propelled walk behind "Bottle" mower, A Honda 21" push mower. an 18' Gas Pole saw, a small gas chain saw, a gas blower, a gas hedger, and a gas weed eater. Later I expect to find out what other items I will need, such as a couple of gas cans and so forth.

The reason I picked a van rather than a pickup truck and trailer is that the theft rate on mowing equipment in the Tampa Bay area is very high. My door hangers, Magnetic signs and other advertising will not have an address on any of it.

I am learning a lot from this forum and would appreciate any feedback any one would care to make.

Thank You, Mentordas

JailGaurd
07-06-2009, 01:54 AM
Hello Everyone!!
My name is Rob and im new to the lawn care industry. Im currently a correctional officer at a youth jail in ontario canada. I figured since i work shift work and have so much extra time, I would start a lawn care business. I needed this as a way to keep myself sane from working in a concrete jungle. My business name is River Bend Lawn Care. I look forward to learning a lot from all you guys and gals:)

Steve
07-06-2009, 04:14 AM
Hi Rob,

Welcome to our forum!

Had you ever run a business before or had you always wanted to? What made you finally take that step?

Also, what are you doing now to promote your new business?

KGW09
07-15-2009, 08:28 AM
Hi, my name is Ken and I'm just getting started up with my yard care business. This is all new to me and I have been in the planning stages for close to 2 months, buying mostly new equipment and hoping I can make something out of what I've always enjoyed doing. I have set myself up to do residental and small business to start out with and hoping to work my way up. I have to say Steve I wish I had found this site sooner, it is an awesome place to learn the business, great job to you and your mods!

On my limited free time, what I do for fun is help moderate a board in alittle hobby I tinker with, 1:14 RC Big Rigs. Stop by and visit sometime: http://www.mwmodeltrucking.com/forum/

Steve
07-15-2009, 12:43 PM
Hi Ken,

Welcome to our forum!

What got you interested in starting your own lawn care business?

Could you make another post maybe in the general section and tell us all about your hobby of mini-trucks? I'd love to hear more about it and see some pictures!

KGW09
07-15-2009, 08:37 PM
Hi Ken,

What got you interested in starting your own lawn care business?


Un-employment is the main reason but I'm hoping it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

Steve
07-16-2009, 11:32 AM
I am sure you will be able to :)

Dynasty
07-31-2009, 02:55 AM
Hello My name is Albert! I have been in the forum for quite a while but not really took the time to take advantage of all the great info on the site and chatting with the nice people on here. I am ready to get down a dirty with the biz so everyone help me as much as you can and I will do the same. I have been cutting grasss for the last few years but now I'm ready to do the legal way so I can really grow my business. I thank yo very much for comming up with the Lawn business school I have been learning alot that I never even thought about! Feel free to write just to say Hi or give any advice that you can! Have a great day!

Steve
07-31-2009, 04:54 AM
Hi Albert,

Welcome to our forum!

What got you to initially start your business?

alexhix@hotmail.com
07-31-2009, 01:13 PM
Whats Up everybody..?

It's my first time registering and actively participating in a forum.

My Names Alex and I'm gathering resources to start my first real landscaping business. I've been working with my dad who works as a Arborist/ Landscaper for about 15 or 13 yrs. Also I've had a few family friends and people like that as clients, but never really "went after" the general public. So I'm well on my way, however i could use some advice and wisdom from some of the dudes in the business. You know stuff like estimate formulas and all things business related, Thanks in advance .

Steve
07-31-2009, 03:18 PM
Hi Alex,

Welcome to our forum.

What made you decide to take the jump and start your own business?

alexhix@hotmail.com
08-01-2009, 11:58 AM
Hi all......

Thanks for the welcome.

I like working outdoors, and i wanted to learn more (focus) about the making money part. I am really trying to get specific with my work, like installing and maintaining herb and vegetable gardens. So as to have repeat customers and also i'll have the whole low impact/green/organic/homegrown thing goin' for me. I'm also thinking of doing hauling and stuff like that while i'm getting off the ground. Got any advice.?

arthur712
08-01-2009, 12:14 PM
Hello My name is Albert! I have been in the forum for quite a while but not really took the time to take advantage of all the great info on the site and chatting with the nice people on here. I am ready to get down a dirty with the biz so everyone help me as much as you can and I will do the same. I have been cutting grasss for the last few years but now I'm ready to do the legal way so I can really grow my business. I thank yo very much for comming up with the Lawn business school I have been learning alot that I never even thought about! Feel free to write just to say Hi or give any advice that you can! Have a great day!

Hi Albert!

Wlcome to the forum!

Steve
08-01-2009, 03:05 PM
I'm also thinking of doing hauling and stuff like that while i'm getting off the ground. Got any advice.?

Thats a good idea. We have seen others do that when they got started and it worked out well for them.

Dynasty
08-01-2009, 07:48 PM
Hi Albert,

Welcome to our forum!

What got you to initially start your business?

What got me started was the fact that I wanted to work with my son doing something. Most of his life I was always at work for long hours so i couldn't spend alot of time with him. Every since I started cutting grass with him we have built our relationship and have fun while working. It have been one of the greatest thing I could have ever done! We have been cutting for at lest two years and feel it is time to take it to the next level. We need all of the help can get! lol

Steve
08-01-2009, 08:01 PM
We need all of the help can get! lol

You should make another separate post and tell us a little about what you have been doing to market your business so we can offer some ideas.

Dynasty
08-03-2009, 08:36 PM
You should make another separate post and tell us a little about what you have been doing to market your business so we can offer some ideas.

We have been putting out flyers and talking with people and giving out our business cards.


I would also like to know How do you come up with a financial statement for your business plan for a start up business?

Steve
08-04-2009, 04:37 PM
I would also like to know How do you come up with a financial statement for your business plan for a start up business?

What are you looking for your financial statement to do for you? Could you simply write down what you are looking to spend on what expenses? Or does it have to be more complex?

Dynasty
08-04-2009, 08:01 PM
What are you looking for your financial statement to do for you? Could you simply write down what you are looking to spend on what expenses? Or does it have to be more complex?

It has to be more complex more like a projection of income earned for expenses, overhead, and payroll. Whatever I need in order to get a grant or loan.

Steve
08-04-2009, 08:11 PM
Well ultimately what are you needing to get started? Could you start with more simple pieces of equipment where you wouldnt need a grant or loan?

What's your view on that?

Dynasty
08-04-2009, 10:50 PM
Well ultimately what are you needing to get started? Could you start with more simple pieces of equipment where you wouldnt need a grant or loan?

What's your view on that?

I currently have equipment that I started with like a craftsman 42" deck 16hp rider and a 7hp self propelled 21" walk behind mower a weedeater and blower. I just wanted the information for my business plan.

Steve
08-05-2009, 05:38 PM
We did a bunch of business plan development in the past. I did a search and found this business plan (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=414). Maybe it will help you?

Dynasty
08-10-2009, 09:06 PM
We did a bunch of business plan development in the past. I did a search and found this business plan (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=414). Maybe it will help you?

Can you give me a direct link to the business plan?

Steve
08-10-2009, 10:12 PM
There is a basic business plan in that link.

http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=414

Dynasty
08-17-2009, 11:05 PM
There is a basic business plan in that link.

http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=414

Are you a part of startalawncarebusiness.com?

Steve
08-18-2009, 03:18 AM
No, that's run by another of our forum members, Keith.

GTOWN
10-04-2009, 06:20 PM
My name is Jason and I just signed up for the forum and looking forward to communicating with all of you and helping each other out. I just recently this year started up my own lawn service business and currently working at my full time job, my goal next year is to say GOOD BYE to my job and be full time Lawn Service, my company's name is Ultimate Lawn Service LLC. and Im located in Colgate WI.
I love golfing snd bowling when Im not working on YARDS.... married with 2 kids. I'm looking forward to some great info. any ideas and possibly finding more work out there.

Ultimate Lawn Sevice LLC.

Steve
10-04-2009, 06:40 PM
Hi Jason,

Welcome to our forum!

What kinds of things have you been doing so far to promote your lawn care business?

jpride2000
10-04-2009, 07:21 PM
My name is Jason aswell. Im originally from Indiana, moved to South Alabama. I mowed some yards and churches on the side up North. Sold my equipment a couple of years ago, now im gearing up to get back into the game. I was running a 48 inch exmark walk behind, 36 inch bunton walk behind, stihl trimmer back up north. So, now all i have is a 46 inch Craftsman and that wont due. I am thinking of picking up a walk behind to start things off with. Seems to me that would impact the wallet less on start up costs. I look forward to talking to all of you guys and hopfully gaining some insight. Also, if there are other participants in south Alabama, please give me a shout. Would like to gather some of your insight on the regional tips and such.
Thanks,
Jason

Steve
10-04-2009, 07:30 PM
Hi Jason,

Welcome to our forum. What made you originally want to get out of the business and what got you to get back in it?

jpride2000
10-04-2009, 07:47 PM
Well, initially, what made me get out of the business was location. I didnt really know where the heck I was. I mean, when I moved I didnt know my bearings, and the fact that I moved into a farm community where everyone has tractors, bushhogs, and ztr's locally. So, at that time, I veiwed it as a lost cause being in the sticks and there are several well established folks around. I also do construction so there was a market for that. What draws me back is I absolutely enjoy mowing. I mow my sister in laws yard, mother in laws yard, my yard and from time to time anyone elses that truly needs some assistance. I figure I have a name with building around here now, and they see me mowing everywhere too, might as well jump back in and test the waters. If anything a few yards would do, but I think I would like to grow just beyond that. There is some opportunity here now that I have a local face, but like most folks, I would like to start out slowly, and not go in debt foolishly.

mentordas
10-05-2009, 08:37 AM
My name is Jason aswell. Im originally from Indiana, moved to South Alabama. I mowed some yards and churches on the side up North. Sold my equipment a couple of years ago, now im gearing up to get back into the game. I was running a 48 inch exmark walk behind, 36 inch bunton walk behind, stihl trimmer back up north. So, now all i have is a 46 inch Craftsman and that wont due. I am thinking of picking up a walk behind to start things off with. Seems to me that would impact the wallet less on start up costs. I look forward to talking to all of you guys and hopfully gaining some insight. Also, if there are other participants in south Alabama, please give me a shout. Would like to gather some of your insight on the regional tips and such.
Thanks,
Jason

Hello Jason:

I am in Pinellas County Florida and everyone here mows their lawn, there are hundreds of lawn care businesses but still room for one more. I started in August 2009 and now have 14 customers. We purchased a 1994 Bunton 36Ē walk behind with a great motor and hydraulic system. But just canít seem to get the linkage set up right. I canít get it into natural and the kill switch cuts the engine off as soon as you put it in forward. I had to buy a new Ariens 34Ē Zero Turn plus all the other equipment needed. Well one has to pay to learn. I have a goal of 60 customers my first year and need 46 more to get there. I wish you all the best with your business.

David

arthur712
10-05-2009, 10:54 AM
Welcome to the Forum!

This one of the best forums you will find anywhere, Steve has quite a bit of information here! free templates, Marketing Plans, Help with pricing and the list goes on. Thanks again for being Part of the Gopher Forum!

We look forward to hearing from all of you!!

Please do not be afraid to ask any questions!


Check out our Drawing for Free Vehicle Business Card Holders

There will be 3 winners picked for each Forum.

Winners will receive (1) One Adbox Outdoor Business Card Holder.

Free Shipping to the USA and Canada No Cost at all.

Click here to check it out!!!

http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=10007

I will do drawing Oct 25th 2009

Thanks!
________

XMORGANS
10-09-2009, 02:57 AM
I just joined the website and wanted to send a shot out to all. Hope everyone is having a great season end, and hoping for a huge snow fall.

take care

sean

Steve
10-09-2009, 07:13 AM
Hi Sean,

Welcome to our forum!

What got you to start your lawn care business?

AJPM
10-09-2009, 10:56 AM
Hi, Everyone

This Is One Of The Best Forums Out There,i Think Anyone Getting Involved In Property Maintenance Should Join This Forum.i Am Just Starting Out This Will Be The First Time Biding On Residential-commercial Property For Next Years Season,i Hope I Do Something Right.i Dont Want To Over Bid Or Under Bid.yesturday I Asked How To Aproach Commercial Property And Steve Your Blogs Were Great.thank You.i Am Sure I Will Be Asking Alot Of Questions So Guy's Be Prepared!

Thanks,mike Aj&m Property Maintenance

Steve
10-09-2009, 06:48 PM
Hi Mike,

Welcome to our forum!

I am glad all the information was helpful. I try my best to organize it.

What go you to start your lawn care business?

GophersLimited
10-10-2009, 03:29 PM
Dear Forum,
This is such a great forum and I have been lurking for a while but I may as well introduce myself and company. I am Thomas Wittman and started my non toxic animal control business about ten years ago after being an organic farmer and working at the University of California, Santa Cruz at the organic teaching farm there. Started out with the gopher business and gradually started working on all pest animals. My niche is that I never use poisons. I use humane lethal traps for gophers and moles and live trap everything else. I work for a lot of landscaping businesses, property management businesses and municipal areas as well a a lot of private clients. I also consult and lecture throughout the Western US. I offer a lot of information on my site including videos on how to trap and my lecture notes. Let me know if I can help - my goal is to provide alternatives to poison use and at the same time make a living.
Thomas
gopherslimited.com

Steve
10-10-2009, 08:58 PM
Hi Thomas,

Welcome to our forum! I just checked out your site, you got a ton of information on there!

You should make a new post and tell us about your business. I saw on a link at your site you were on HGTV. I'd love to hear how that all came about and what you thought of that experience. I will have a ton of questions for you!

VSeefeld
10-15-2009, 10:03 AM
Folks,

My husband, Fred, and I started Nelson's Lawn Care in May 2009. My husband works full time as an auto tech and I'm at home since a lay off in January 2009. He mows while I'm handling the books and learning to market. Currently, we have 6 regular lawn care customers. We also have several that call every couple of months when they're too busy to do it themselves. Fred is now mowing all jobs on Saturdays as the days are becoming shorter and daylight savings is right around the corner. We're bringing in enough to cover expenses, make the payment on the equipment loans (Lexmark 32" walk behind mower and 7 x 14' enclosed trailer), and put a couple hundred in the bank each month. Having a large yard, we already had a self-propelled push mower, edger, weed eater, blower and hand tools. Thanks to Fred's regular job, we haven't had to "pay" ourselves from the business yet.

Our goal is for Fred to go full-time in the Spring but we understand it may not be feasible until the following year. It will be tough as we grow balancing growth vs. manpower.

Fred has also picked up some side jobs installing water pumps for irrigation, fence repairs, tree/shrub trimming, mulch application, and fertilizing. We list other services on our flyers (printed on neon colored 24# paper) and are open to most general maintenance and make-ready jobs. Most of our business has come from friends and acquaintances. Some have come from flyers (door to door) in nearby residential areas. I've designed a website but can't figure out the step by step process of publishing it.

My current challenge is composing an introductory letter to property managers. I plan on targeting residential management companies as well as small commercial properties. Being near Galveston Texas, we have quite a few rental properties in the area. We'd like to get into this market for now but what we really want is small commercial properties. I'm talking about churches, small businesses, and residential sub-division community properties (parks, utility easements). After that, it's on to bigger jobs.

I'd love any advice, templates or examples anyone's willing to share.
Thanks!

V

Steve
10-15-2009, 11:39 AM
Welcome to our forum!

I couldn't open your flyer because it was a docx format. If you save it as a doc format, I should be able to view it.

As far as letter templates go, did you look in the free letter template section here?

http://www.gopherforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=34

I think there are a bunch of introductory letter templates that will help you.

What other things have you been thinking about doing to promote your business further? Are you a member of any local groups or social organizations that you can hand out business cards too?

VSeefeld
10-16-2009, 09:49 AM
Steve-

Thanks for the redirect! Found just what I was looking for.

Sorry about the flyer, am attaching a pdf version.

Fred and I pass out business cards whenever the opportunity arises. This week we are sponsoring our neighborhood association newsletter (86 homes). Currently, we take care of 2 customers plus our own yard in the sub-division. Having customers in our neighborhood is definitely a plus. About 40% of our neighbors hire lawn care services. Hopefully, with word of mouth, the signs on our equipment (truck and trailer), examples of our work and the newsletter will help us take work away from the other guys.

A realtor in our neighborhood has just requested business cards to pass along. This could have a huge impact since she's with one of the largest real estate companies in the area.

As a one man show, how do we hire an experienced guy to help with jobs and still make money? We want someone that is knowledgeable and will take care of our equipment. What do we pay him? We charge from $25/$30 for our small/medium yards and $45 for the largest. The jobs take from 30-40 minutes and almost 2 hours (1 yard with many beds and grassy areas to deal with). With loading/unloading and travel time it will eat any profits. Thankfully most of our jobs are situated 2 houses within a block of each other. Fred is going to be worn out with no profits to show. Is this what to expect when taking that next step in growth?

Thanks!

V

Steve
10-16-2009, 10:24 PM
This week we are sponsoring our neighborhood association newsletter (86 homes).

What does it mean to sponsor your neighborhood association newsletter? Do you put an ad in it or do you pay for the printing? How did all that work out?

As a one man show, how do we hire an experienced guy to help with jobs and still make money? We want someone that is knowledgeable and will take care of our equipment. What do we pay him? We charge from $25/$30 for our small/medium yards and $45 for the largest. The jobs take from 30-40 minutes and almost 2 hours (1 yard with many beds and grassy areas to deal with). With loading/unloading and travel time it will eat any profits. Thankfully most of our jobs are situated 2 houses within a block of each other. Fred is going to be worn out with no profits to show. Is this what to expect when taking that next step in growth?

No doubt this is a dilemma many lawn care businesses find themselves in. Profits from strictly lawn care can be very slight that it is hard to take on employees and still be able to charge enough to maintain a competitive edge.

This is why we have seen some members branch off into other work that offers higher profit potential like landscape services, light excavation and others. You could make a post on this specific topic alone and be reading responses for days!

VSeefeld
10-17-2009, 11:37 AM
Steve,

Sponsoring the newsletter runs about $35 for printing cost. Our ad (attached) is printed on the bottom front page. If we get one job out of it the ad has paid for itself.

I see what you mean about branching out into other services. We have had some success from word of mouth and with current customers. Our flyers list a range of services including tree trimming, plantings, maintenance, pressure washing, mulching, weed control, make ready, cleanups, and ant bed treatments. In addition, we're open to many other services .... as you say, it's all about being in the right place at the right time

V

Steve
10-17-2009, 11:39 PM
How many homes does this reach out too? Might it be worth printing it for the year? Maybe you could put in seasonal articles as well? How is it distributed? Is it mailed or hand delivered?

VSeefeld
10-18-2009, 12:21 AM
86 homes in a fairly new neighborhood, 6 years old. This is the 2nd newsletter for the neighborhood. The 1st was 6 months ago. I plan on sponsoring it as often as possible but will probably only get to once each year. Will work on targeting seasonal services as the newsletters evolve and are published on a regular basis. The newsletters are hand delivered and left on each front door.
Thanks for the insight!

V

Steve
10-18-2009, 03:03 AM
If you could put together these newsletters more often! WOW! You would have something there. Even if you could do them seasonally. Maybe you could collect news in the area or updates from the hoa and put this out for them. What a great way to market!

Do you have a picture of the newsletter? I'd love to see it!

GophersLimited
10-19-2009, 12:36 PM
I am wondering what your response rate has been for the newsletters and if folks feel at all that you are invading their privacy at all. I have an animal control business and if I see gopher or mole damage I will leave a business card on the front door. I heard of a mole control person putting his flier in a sandwich bag with a rock and just tossing it from his car on mole mounds but that seems a little invasive. I have send out a few letters to property managers, real estate folks and others but have found the best source of clients has been referrals or giving informative lectures.
Also I can see anyone doing lawn care learning how to work with gophers, moles and other animals easily. I find it interesting that the many landscapers and lawn care people I work for don't just learn the techniques and buy some traps. Some of my clients have worked out a deal where I charge a little less for the service and they include my service in their bill and make a few extra dollars that way.
Good luck,
Thomas
Gopherslimited.com

rnavarre
10-19-2009, 05:44 PM
My company, Epic Plastics, manufactures several profiles of professional landscape edging. We are moving eastward from California but understand that Benda Board is not a widely accepted product East of the Mississippi. Any insight on how we can expand the acceptance of our products would be greatly appreciated.

Steve
10-20-2009, 12:57 AM
Welcome to our forum!

Do you have a website so we can see some of your products?


I have send out a few letters to property managers, real estate folks and others but have found the best source of clients has been referrals or giving informative lectures.

Thomas, how did being on HGTV help? Did people see you on there and call you or was it more of a way to create a better image for your company and brand build? I think that was great exposure and I watched the episode. You could even give us some mini seminars an here and make some posts on how to deal with these different gopher issues and show us which of your products would work best in dealing with them.

rnavarre
10-21-2009, 10:02 AM
Our products can be found at www.epicplastics.com, thanks for your feedback.

Steve
10-21-2009, 10:45 AM
Our products can be found at www.epicplastics.com,

That is a very interesting product! How did you ever get all that started?

GophersLimited
10-21-2009, 12:53 PM
The HGTV segment was very good for my online sales and continues to turn up over and over. They found me via a referral from a well known seed company. It was interesting in that it took six hours to film that five minute segment and that they would not show more of the trapping as dead gophers or any other animal are a problem on national TV. I have also been on many radio shows and local TV shows. People love to talk about gophers and everyone has a favorite story - and then there is Caddyshack as well. I give a lot of lectures in the West and find that part fun, interesting and sometimes lucrative. It always helps to drive my online sales and local clients. I also do consulting for companies installing wire under sod and hardscapes and sell the wire as well. It seems that you have to have a lot of angles on any business to make a living. I also work with all other animal problems. Right now as we enter winter skunks, opossum and raccoons are finding homes under and in peoples homes.
There is a lot of information on my site but I would be happy to answer any questions and am open to the seminar idea.
Best,
Thomas

Steve
10-22-2009, 02:48 AM
Thomas,

That is fantastic! Do you think the same marketing concepts could work for a lawn care business owner trying to reach out to more customers? Should they do lectures and seminars? Any advice as to where to get started doing that? How to overcome the fear of public speaking? Also how do you promote that you are available for public speaking engagements?

nathan3655
11-01-2009, 02:44 PM
hello everybody, just saying hi to everybody. i live in st. louis, mo and i started my lawn care business back in 2003.

Steve
11-01-2009, 02:54 PM
Hi Nathan,

Welcome to our forum!

What got you to start your lawn care business?

nathan3655
11-01-2009, 03:13 PM
i was having problems at my full time job back then. i know someone that did it for a living and he told me what i could do to start my own business and that is what i did. i started off with a 22'' push mower, weed eater and blower. in 2005 i had a bad year when my zero turn engine locked up after one year of service. now in 2009 after not cutting grass for a couple of years i'm finally trying to get going again.

Steve
11-02-2009, 05:59 AM
in 2005 i had a bad year when my zero turn engine locked up after one year of service.

What did you do about that? How did it get resolved?

VSeefeld
11-02-2009, 12:14 PM
Steve-

The newsletter is written by one of the Board of Directors, so I don't have any impact on how often the letters are published. We did get one client (every other week lawn service) and another to begin in spring. 2 mowings and the ad has paid for itself! Am attaching a copy of the newsletter.
Thanks!

V

Steve
11-02-2009, 04:00 PM
That is fantastic! Do you feel you will keep the ad in the newsletter longer now? What about advertising in other HOA newsletters?

lsconcepts2000
11-03-2009, 05:50 PM
Hello my name is Erik I currently run ET Plowing and I am working on putting together a fleet if you can call it that. I am a mechanic by trade and choice I used to do mainly street/strip cars then I moved to the NE where you gota have a 4x4:) then once you have a 4x4 you either need a plow or own one or two. I have just under 3yrs of plowing under my belt and I'm hoping for a good snow this year.

Steve
11-04-2009, 06:44 AM
Hi Erik,

Welcome to our forum! What kinds of things are you doing to promote your snow plow services?

Also, do you promote your mechanic services to snow plow companies? Maybe you could help repair their trucks and plows during the season when the break down?

1cdere
11-04-2009, 01:05 PM
Hello

Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Chad and Joy, We have Lawn Impressions. We are in Wyoming and have owned this business for going on 6 years.

Steve
11-04-2009, 02:20 PM
Hi Chad & Joy!

Welcome to our forum!

What got you to start your lawn care business?

romeo28
11-11-2009, 11:22 AM
Hello everybody , my name is steve & ive been running steve's landscping in the NY area for over 15 years . We do just about everything including snow removal . Already got some great info from this site , keep up the great work.:)

Steve
11-11-2009, 11:27 AM
Hi Steve,

Welcome to our forum!

Being in business 15 years must have been quite an experience. If you could offer any startup advice to new business owners, what would you suggest to them? Were there any pitfalls you ran into when you got started you wish you could have avoided?

joe2025
11-11-2009, 12:48 PM
Hello All. I just started my new business last year. Landed two large commercial snow plowing accounts with a partner. We all know how partnerships turn out. Anyway my wife and I started our own business now. I have learned a lot from this site and enjoy visiting when time allows.

I was wondering if anyone has an opinion on zero turn mowers. I have narrowed it down to two that I am looking at but can not decide. I like the Ferris 1500z (48") or the Scag Tiger Cat (48"). I have heard that the Ferris gives a better looking cut but I can not decide which one to get. Any help would be appriecated.

Thank You
Joe

arthur712
11-11-2009, 12:52 PM
Welcome to the forum Steve and Joe!

Steve
11-11-2009, 12:54 PM
Hi Joe,

I'd love to hear some of your insight into partnerships.

What advice you would have for others considering getting into one and what you would do to resolve issues before they happen.

As far as the mowers go, are they both fixed decks? Doesn't one of them have suspension and the other one doesn't?

joe2025
11-11-2009, 01:45 PM
Hi Joe,

I'd love to hear some of your insight into partnerships.

What advice you would have for others considering getting into one and what you would do to resolve issues before they happen.

As far as the mowers go, are they both fixed decks? Doesn't one of them have suspension and the other one doesn't?

Hello Steve.

Yes. The Ferris has suspension while the Scag does not. Both have floating decks if I;m not mistaken. I've been trying to get and honest opinion about mowers off the internet but can seem to find anyone with a straight answer. If I can't find the answers I'm looking for then I'll just have to go with my gut feeling.

About partnerships: I have a lot of considerations and opinions about partnerships. My first bit of advice would be that if you do not have to get into one, then don't.

By this I mean unless it is totaly necessary for you to have a partner I would recommend going it alone. Although having a partner can be a motivator for both parties, your best bet is to start your own company and hire some part time help if you need it. Get everything in writting up front and I mean everything. From who will handle the paperwork (sending quotes, billing, communications, etc...) to which accoutant you will be hiring. Not having every aspect of the business in writting can only lead to misunderstandings and possible leagal action in the future.

Until you have things in writting between the partners, do not do any work as a company. Make sure that you get a business agreement made up and signed before you start. Not doing so can cost you thousands of dollars.

Of course this is just basic advise and theree is a lot more to it. I wouild just say be careful who your going into business with and think about if it is worth having a partner or not.

Got to go pay the bills. Later...

ps. sorry about any spelling errors.

Steve
11-11-2009, 01:55 PM
As far as the mowers go, it seems from previous discussions here, the Ferris weighed more but the suspension made a big difference after a long days worth of mowing. I don't know what the cost difference is but if comfort is a factor and it is YOU doing the mowing, you may want to consider the suspension model.

When you were getting your partnership going, why do you feel you decided to go with a partnership at first? There must have been some sort of allure to attract you to that business model.

Are you happy you went through that experience because it brought you to where you are now or was it a dead end experience where you feel you wasted time?

joe2025
11-12-2009, 01:45 AM
As far as the mowers go, it seems from previous discussions here, the Ferris weighed more but the suspension made a big difference after a long days worth of mowing. I don't know what the cost difference is but if comfort is a factor and it is YOU doing the mowing, you may want to consider the suspension model.

When you were getting your partnership going, why do you feel you decided to go with a partnership at first? There must have been some sort of allure to attract you to that business model.

Are you happy you went through that experience because it brought you to where you are now or was it a dead end experience where you feel you wasted time?

Hello Steve.

Thanks for the advise on the mowers. The Ferris only weighs about 50 lbs more that the Scag. I'll keep doing research before I purchase.

The partnership was started out of my desire to get into the business. My x partner has been doing it for about 6 years now. We were discussing how he wanted to expand but did not have the time to do so and I wanted to start into the business so it seemed like a great opportunity. The deal was that I would try to land commercial snow management accounts for the new partnership venture then we would start a new company to do snow management and lawn care. Well as luck would have it I managed to land two large commercial accounts within the first month of trying. The problem as I see it now was that the week after I landed the accounts it snowed and last year was a bad year weather wise here. We were out every other day for most of the winter. This left no time to get everything in writing. At the end of the snow season my partner stopped communicating with me. Would not return phone calls and such. I started hearing from people that he was like this and not the right type of person to get involved with.

Long story short, he stole one of the accounts off "our" company for his own and got us fired from the other account. So now I am starting over on my own. Do not need a partner nor would I get into another partnership again. This is why I said that everything has to be in the form of a business agreement just in case it does not work out.

I dont feel the partnership was a waste of time, if anything it was a learning experience as is anything in life that you do. The one thing that bothers me the most about the way it turned out is that as most people in the industry know, landing a large commercial account is not the easiest thing to do but once you have them you can keep them for a very long time provided you are doing a professional job. And the amount of money you can generate for your company is great.

Landed a few medium size commerecial accounts for this winter and have some good leads on summer work. Will bw pushing for residential lawn care very heavily at the beginning of next year. My feeling is that this company WILL be sucessful in both residential and commercial accounts.

Well that's enough blowing off steam for know. Hope this short story helps others. time for my 4 hour of sleep for the day.

Steve
11-12-2009, 11:31 AM
Keep us posted on which mower you decide to go with.

That is a really fascinating story on the partnership.

How do you feel you were able to land your initial snow plow accounts? Did you happen to know the decision makers or are did it come down to just being good at sales?

Do you have any advice for others looking to land commercial snow plow accounts in their area? I am sure others would appreciate any insight you have.

joe2025
11-14-2009, 01:09 AM
Keep us posted on which mower you decide to go with.

That is a really fascinating story on the partnership.

How do you feel you were able to land your initial snow plow accounts? Did you happen to know the decision makers or are did it come down to just being good at sales?

Do you have any advice for others looking to land commercial snow plow accounts in their area? I am sure others would appreciate any insight you have.

Landing the commercial accounts last year was just luck I guess. I am sure it had a lot to do with my approach and attitude for wanting to do the work. I did not know any of the decision makers when I first made contact. You need to spend a great deal of time to find who is really in charge. Sometimes I will spend hours making phone calls just to try and get some contact information and that is just the start or trying to land a commercial account. I have one here in the area that I have been working on for two years now and have not landed any business so far. I will keep trying however because I want the account.

As far as advice for landing commercial snow plowing accounts I would recommend that you try and find someone who knows someone connected with the facility you are trying to land. These guys and gals get so many phone calls for services that if they donít know you chances are you will not get to first base with them. I find that having a referral is the best way to make contact. It gets your foot in the door and then the rest is up to you. Depending on the type of commercial account it is you might need to be available 24/7 during the winter months. There is a lot of prep work and a lot of behind the scene work that you need to do in order to perform a professional job.

This year has been very tough to break into commercial accounts. I had two large accounts that I have been working on for the past two years and I got the impression that I was in for this year. I got this feeling from conversations that I was having with the persons in charge. I spent three weeks trying to get a detailed quote together for one of them. They wanted the service quoted several different ways. Turned out that both told me they were staying with their current company. My felling is that with the economy as bad as it is this year you have people trying to land accounts just to try to survive. Most are under bidding and I would guess that most will fall flat on their face when the time comes to service the accounts. You can not do a large account with a small pickup truck and a 7 foot plow. One other piece of advice is that when I look at a possible account I try and decide how much I want to profit on the account before I put a bid together and stick by my guns. I will not take an account for little profit just to get the account.

ots
12-07-2009, 02:27 PM
hi ! from molalla oregon

Steve
12-07-2009, 06:18 PM
Hi ots,

Welcome to our forum!

What got you to start your lawn care business?

GophersLimited
12-08-2009, 11:44 AM
hi ! from molalla oregon

Hello,
Thomas from Gophers Limited here and I am in California covering the Santa Cruz, Los Gatos and Saratoga area. By the we did have a little snow here but not enough to plow. Winters can be slow for the gopher and mole business but I also work with other animals like skunks, possum and raccoon. Right now they are invading attics and basements so that keeps me busy.
Back to another thread about adding gopher and mole control to a lawn care business, I think it is a natural and I train a lot of landscapers here in the Santa Cruz area.
Happy holidays,
Thomas
www.gopherslimited.com

ccoriano
12-14-2009, 09:48 PM
Hi, Well I just started up a buisness. I was lucky to get a contract with a commercal company, BUT of course we have other bidder's who will do the job for less than HALF.....how do you compete with that? Esp when you have residential and other "jerk off" so Steve called it doing it for $15. Thats exactly what's happening. How should I compete? I don't know if I started in the right buisness. What should I do and how much should I start a clients yard? How would you compete with the man who is doing lawns for $15 and getting all clients. I can not afford to do it for $10, i might as well not do it at all. Please give me some suggestions OR should I TRY and sell my buisness?
Charlie

Steve
12-15-2009, 03:19 AM
Welcome to our forum!

Well I just started up a buisness. I was lucky to get a contract with a commercal company

Can you tell us a little about how you landed your commercial contract? I bet this will help explain the direction you should be taking in the future.

Savesutime09
12-22-2009, 10:32 PM
Hi everyone. My name is Stuart and I am in the process of trying to take a part time extra money maker into a full time biz. I know this will be difficult, but I hope with hard work over the winter I can get enough accounts to make this my full time money maker. Any suggestions on when the best time to start contacting small businesses would be?

Steve
12-23-2009, 07:56 AM
Hi Stuart,

Welcome to our forum!

It sounds like you are well on your way! What kinds of things have you been doing so far to attract the customers you currently have?

Could these marketing techniques be scaled up to attract even more customers?

dexter
01-06-2010, 06:22 PM
Hello Steve and everybody on here, First of all can I just say I love the YouTube videos Steve. Glad I came accross this site. I'm sure it will be most helpful to me.

I shall enjoy browsing thru the Fourm and asking a question or 2!

Steve
01-06-2010, 06:27 PM
Hi Dexter,

Welcome to our forum!

What got you interested in starting your own business?

dexter
01-07-2010, 05:35 AM
Had a accident Steve while working at my last job. Been working for the same employer for 15 years without any sick time off.

Then I did my knee in. Had to have an ACL (Anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction. Took almost 5 years after 5 operations before I got back into employment.

To be honest, it was engineered that way coz I took them to court getting a 6 figure number.

Iím one of these people that climb the walls if Iím not doing anything, but love been outdoors.

During the 5 years out of work tho, I was doing computers at home for people manly data recovery for people who lost their accounts or anything else.
That type of work is very few and far between and after my compensation came thru, I went out, bought a pro lawnmower and started advertising.

Within no time, I was in heavy demand and was beginning to turn down work because of the small equipment i was using.

Went out and increased my machinery totally, from hand blowers to Billy Goats to Back packs, Hedge trimmers with extensions rods so I can operate up to 12 feet with both feet on the ground, chainsaws, Rotavator, and of course Lawnmowers (7 of them in fact) ranging from mulucers to cutters all sizes as I deal with various size landscapes.

I found that if you have the right tool for the right, you can get it done in no time and then move on.

Commercial work started to come in, so I changed my van as I thought first impressions count and glad I did coz It has pulled in more work, also coz of the amount of equipment I have. Thatís pretty much so it up to date. Iím just waiting till spring now b4 it kicks in again.

Steve
01-07-2010, 01:26 PM
I am happy to hear you are doing so well!

Within no time, I was in heavy demand and was beginning to turn down work because of the small equipment i was using.

There are many members on the forum here that have a very difficult time getting to this point. Do you have any advice as to the best way to go about getting to the point where you are turning away work? What steps should they be looking to take or follow? Where do you feel you learned all this from?

dexter
01-08-2010, 07:04 AM
Nobody wants to turn down work not less itís for pennies. People really do get what they pay for.

I have set prices for residential and commercial customers although I have really focused on the commercial side of things but have selective residential customers which last all year around to keep me busy.

I deal with large lawn to small lawns. Some are very awkward and taking a large mower can create problems and time of course. Thereís no point in taking a small mower to a large landscape. Time is money remember that.

I would say to anybody who is starting up a lawn care business, try cater for all sizes, and take everything into consideration. (again, time is money) The quicker you finish the job, the quicker you can move on. But remember, you make an impression every time, and always give a little more as this will pay off believe me!. Followed up by a sociable call from time to time to your customers as this goes down very well indeed.
As for where do you feel you learned all this from?
Itís just Common sense

Steve
01-08-2010, 03:41 PM
But remember, you make an impression every time, and always give a little more as this will pay off believe me!.

Can you tell us a specific way a lawn care business can give a little more? What should business owners be looking to do to achieve this?

Followed up by a sociable call from time to time to your customers as this goes down very well indeed.

When you call, do you try and cover certain specific topics?

dexter
01-08-2010, 04:39 PM
When I say give a little more, have a conversation with them. Ask if they want anything else done b4 you move on. Ask if they enjoyed the weekend. Just talk about anything. Be yourself.
Ask if they would like their rubbish brought out for collection. Take their post or paper to them. Give them a free cut from time to time (small lawns only). Ask if they want anything particular attention done to an area. Suggest things to them. Talk about how lovely their landscape looks. Give them a little of your time, theyíll soon earn your trust and they will become a friend. One customer of mine 93 years old even wrote me in his will.


I talk about anything. Try it. It works or at least it does for me.

Steve
01-09-2010, 04:04 AM
WOW you definitely have had a positive effect on your customers! Great ideas!

bnclawncare
01-09-2010, 07:15 PM
Hi all,
I havent been on here for awhile. Finally winding down after an exciting year and had a little time to say hello. I hope everyone had a great season in 09 and I hope 2010 is even better to all!

Steve
01-10-2010, 12:41 PM
Welcome back!

What made the year so exciting? Any interesting stories or learning lessons?

Trucut619
01-11-2010, 09:03 PM
Hello, I am so gald to see there is a forum for lawn care businesses. This is a hard business to start up and i could use all the help I can get, I have been around lawn care for 10 years and the past two years I have started my own. It has been a hard road so far but i hope it will smooth out soon. Hope to get some great tips and find out others ideas on day to day encounters.
Thanks, Tru-cut Lawn Care of
Charlotte, North Carolina

XtreemGreen
01-11-2010, 09:28 PM
Welcome aboard.. You've come to the right place...there are alot of experienced veterans here..

Steve
01-12-2010, 12:55 PM
This is a hard business to start up and i could use all the help I can get

What have you found to be the toughest parts of running your business?

Trucut619
01-13-2010, 03:40 PM
Getting customers. I have all the equipment i need to get the job done right and the only thing holding me back is work

Steve
01-14-2010, 01:04 PM
What's been your view on why it has been so tough to get customers? What kind of factors have been the biggest problems?

poppabianco
01-14-2010, 08:48 PM
Just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Michael and the company is Gallucci Landscaping LLC. It was started by my dad 39 years ago and now I am a partner and looking forward to continually growing our business. Joined this forum cuz I am always looking for ideas/ways to remain competitive and become more efficient. Thanks Steve and everyone else for sharing your landscaping forms with everyone, its nice to see how other people write agreements and estimates and compare them to your own.

Steve
01-14-2010, 08:53 PM
Hi Michael,

Welcome to our forum!

WOW 39 years! That is fantastic! It must be amazing to have such a history!

I am always looking for ideas/ways to remain competitive and become more efficient.

That much history must create many different dynamics for you to deal with.

For those that are just getting started and are reading this in awe, can you tell us a little about how having 39 years of company history can help or hinder your future goals?

poppabianco
01-14-2010, 09:41 PM
well for 35 years we only did new installations, from wall building to design/installation, tons of hydroseeding, etc. but now housing has slowed down in our area and there is hardly any new construction, so 4 years ago I made the decision to get into the maintenance side of things. With only doing construction for that many years we passed up hundreds and hundreds of possible maintence clients, and now that those people have current LCO's its a lil tough to get your foot in the door. Helps that we have a good reputation for quality work and outstanding service. My advice, try to never turn down business, because the one you pass up today will hire ur competitor tomorrow

Steve
01-14-2010, 10:19 PM
well for 35 years we only did new installations, from wall building to design/installation, tons of hydroseeding, etc. but now housing has slowed down in our area and there is hardly any new construction, so 4 years ago I made the decision to get into the maintenance side of things.

If the market didn't slow down and you could still just go with only offering new installs, do you think you still would want to?

Or do you feel the key to taking your business to the next level, regardless of the current economic situation, is to expand into maintenance?

What is your view on why up to this point, this avenue wasn't pursued?

poppabianco
01-17-2010, 02:25 PM
If the market didn't slow I think that we would only do new installations. The maintenance side of the business is fine but its so competitive, every person with a mower thinks they are a landscaper and cut grass for beer money and drive down the industry standard. With the installation side of things you cut out some of the "scummers" and people are willing to pay for quality and personal service

Steve
01-17-2010, 02:37 PM
How do you feel your marketing has changed where at one point you were looking for new install customers who could be one time customers to now where you are offering lawn maintenance and these are repeat customers?

I would think it would be easier on you since once you get a maintenance customer you can hold onto them and service them for many years.

choicelawn
01-18-2010, 05:20 PM
Hello, I wanted to introduce myself to the forum. Ive been in business now for six years. The economy has had some what of an effect on us and as winter has now arrived we are some what slower, so I am always looking for ways to gain knowledge and better the company. It seems that every one with a trailer and mower consider themselves a landscaper now. But I have been blessed by God despite the down economy to have some good customers and the oppurtunity to pick up different jobs and contracts this year which has really helped.

Steve
01-18-2010, 06:39 PM
Hi Troy,

Welcome to our forum!

What got you to start your business?

mortonslawn
01-24-2010, 07:55 AM
Hi, sorry I couldn't find the new post, so I clicked on reply.

Anyway, My name is Sondra, and this is my second year in business. My husband and I used to work for a lawn care company for many years. I am always looking for ways to satsify my customers with a "WOW", all the time. Paper work end of this has been pretty tough for me, due to the fact that I WORKED out in the field. Some part of my job was to do paper work, but it was mainly reports and turning in time for the guys. I'm pretty sure I've underbid myself plenty of times, just because I was estimating the way I thought it was supposed to be. My husband came across your website, and started watching a lot of the videos, and I've read quite a bit. I have to admit - I'm hooked. So I decided to join.

Thank you for putting something together for people to help them out. You're great!

Steve
01-24-2010, 05:12 PM
Welcome to our forum and you are very welcome!

I am always looking for ways to satsify my customers with a "WOW", all the time.

What kinds of things do you like to do to leave your customers with a wow? And how important is that? Do you feel this is something you picked up from working at the other lawn care company or is this something you came up with on your own?

dcmowing
01-29-2010, 10:59 PM
Hi my name is Chris and im a workaholic. I am going into buisness this year and looking for good information to make my buisness succeed. I have limited experience in lawn care, and hoping to learn as i go. I have a trailer 36" scag commercial walk behind, echo trimmer, $50 blower and ready to mow some lawns. I want to cut small lawns and alot of them. Any feed back would help at this point. This site is very helpful and appreciate what you do here.

Steve
01-29-2010, 11:30 PM
Hi Chris!

Welcome to our forum!

What got you interested in starting your own business?

dcmowing
01-30-2010, 02:21 PM
I actually read a book titled make $300 a day mowing lawns, and it seemed like a low risk with high potential opportunity.

Steve
01-30-2010, 10:31 PM
What's your view on the reality of it versus the book?

dcmowing
01-30-2010, 11:12 PM
well the book was written by jim adams who refers to your software to use for starting a buisness and is how i found this site. the way he laid it out was if you can find small lawns in clusters and work fast and efficient from his experience there is more money in that than in higher end properties.
as he said it was more profitable for himself when he was doing small properties with less fee and less hassle than large properties more workers more hassle ect. and from being in the feild and not so much on the buisness side of things im not really sure but its his "proven" system and was model for my approach on the industry.

Steve
01-30-2010, 11:15 PM
There are so many potential niches in this industry it's amazing!

It will be fascinating to hear over time what you think of this business strategy. If you continue to like it or if you later it to go after another target audience.

Keep us posted!

APEX LAWN & LANDSCAPE
02-04-2010, 05:19 PM
I Am Going To Be Starting Up This Spring , I Have Been Thinking Of Doing This For A Few Years . But Now Is The Time. I Like All The Info On This Site ,very Helpfull. I Live In Deland Florida And Plan To Serve All Of Volusia And North Seminole County. I Am Going To Do The Llc Papers In A Few Weeks And Hope To Up And Running By Mid March. Thanx For All The Info Sam

Steve
02-05-2010, 12:54 AM
Hi Sam,

Welcome to our forum!

What kinds of things will you be doing to promote your business?

cuzzyn
02-06-2010, 09:10 AM
Hi ,Jake ,here with ALMOST THERE LAWN CARE,LLC. I am taking over this co. full time after working in the oilfield the last 5 years. I have about 30 yards so far.I have been doing this part time with a friend the over the last 10 years .Taking over the business to try and build it up to where it once was.

Steve
02-07-2010, 05:13 AM
Hi Jake,

Welcome to our forum!

That is a wild business name! How did you come up with that?

Also, how did you go about taking over this business to rebuild it? What do you feel happened to it that caused it to lose it's luster?

cuzzyn
02-08-2010, 07:05 PM
Hi Jake,

Welcome to our forum!

That is a wild business name! How did you come up with that?

Also, how did you go about taking over this business to rebuild it? What do you feel happened to it that caused it to lose it's luster?


As for the name we are always telling people we are on our way ,kinda like being almost there ,hence the name(lol). Rebuilding or focusing on it as a full time job it was once a 90-100 accounts but due to other business ventures the lawn service took the back seat, I left an oilfield job to focus on raising it up (and be home to raise my family) focusing my attention on the business and reaping the benefits for my labor.

Steve
02-09-2010, 05:15 AM
Rebuilding or focusing on it as a full time job it was once a 90-100 accounts but due to other business ventures the lawn service took the back seat

That is very interesting! For those business owners reading this, what kinds of things should they be wary of if they are afraid they may be doing other things that might actually be detrimental to their business? What are some of the warning signs you saw that should alert a business owner that things are slipping away? And the time to refocus is now?

Dendith
02-09-2010, 11:45 AM
Hello Everyone. I'm new to the Forum, Name is Dustin. I'm highly considering starting a part time lawn mowing business this spring. The forum is awesome and look forward to learning a lot for everyone here!

Ill see you around!
-Dustin

Steve
02-09-2010, 12:47 PM
Hi Dustin,

Welcome to our forum!

What got you interested in potentially starting your own business?

jmdk888@yahoo.com
02-09-2010, 01:01 PM
Hello my name is Jenn,
My landscaping buisness is named Lawn Medix. We are in lehigh valley area of PA. This is our first season, although I have had other buisnesses before. I am finding this site very helpful

Steve
02-09-2010, 03:43 PM
Welcome to our forum Jenn!

That is very interesting! What kinds of other businesses had you run in the past? What did you think of those experiences?

Dendith
02-10-2010, 09:53 AM
Steve,

I have always wanted to start a business of some kind. It all just kinda formulated and it sounded like something that I was interested in.

What I mean is that I work for a property management company that contracts out lawn care. While thinking of a business to start I just made since that Lawn care would be a perfect in for me, because I had the advantage of seeing numerous bids from companies all around the town I live in. So to get started, All I would have to do it get the basic equipment to mow/trim and off I go.

I started researching and attempting to figure out more information on better equipment, strategies to get more business and where/who to advertise. There is a ton of information out there, but most of it is repeats. I really enjoy the angle of this web site and the information on organic fertilization. With full understanding of this area, I think It would help me be more competitive then normal start up companies.

I also think the biggest hurtle for me is getting started, I don't really have any equipment except for a push mower a trimmer and a truck, but with the properties that are immediately available to me through the property management company puts me in a position where a riding lawn mower would be optimal/imperative. The question of to get a loan for a new scag zero turn mower and a trailer would be smart because what happens if I don't get enough business.

-Dustin

greenandgreener
02-10-2010, 02:58 PM
Hi Steve,
Im new to your site, but Im finding it very helpful. Me and my husband just started our lawncare service about a month ago. So I dont know much about advertising our business. My husband however was working at a landscaping comp. and now we have set off in our new adventure. You have a great site here. and thank you for helping us all out:D

Steve
02-10-2010, 06:00 PM
The question of to get a loan for a new scag zero turn mower and a trailer would be smart because what happens if I don't get enough business.

Can you just what you have at the moment and tough it through for a short time to see if it's all going to work? Then you could scale up a bit?


My husband however was working at a landscaping comp. and now we have set off in our new adventure.

Oh that is fantastic! What kinds of things did they do to promote their business? I bet looking into that could help you out too!

NumberOne
02-12-2010, 08:51 PM
Hey Steve and all! I am a new member and and getting back into lawn care services after a vacation. I appreciate your "stop lowballing" philosophy. Low ballers really frosted me when I was doing lawn care. I hated when customers would get multiple quotes for cutting grass, trimming bushes, and trimming a tree and after getting my quote some lady would say, "Wow! you are really high! I had an offer from another guy that would do it for $25!" Guys like that are a pain. Not only are they robbing me, they are robbing themselves!

Anyway, my wife lost her job due to cutbacks. We have always talked about her staying at home so I want to give that a try. Besides, I can use her to do the bookwork. She works for a bank in commercial loans, so she should be compitent :)

I know lawn care can be lucrative. It is just so hard getting that first year or so in. Can't wait to get out there and get my name out. Still have some of my old equipment so most of that won't be a problem. Bid on a commercial job today that will net me over $32k/year if I get it. Hope all goes well. I am in a new area so I am not really familiar with the going rates right now. I bid the job a bit high because I would rather bid that way and lose the bid than work my summer away for peanuts, maybe even a loss.

Appreciate all of the good work, Steve!

Mike

Steve
02-13-2010, 06:39 AM
Hi Mike,

Welcome to our forum!

What do you feel you will do different this time around to give yourself a better shot at success? What do you feel you have learned from previously running your business?

Also, it would be fascinating to get your wife's insight into getting a commercial loan. What kinds of things should lawn care business owners be doing or not doing to improve their chances at success when applying for such a loan.

NumberOne
02-14-2010, 12:42 AM
Hi Mike,

Welcome to our forum!

What do you feel you will do different this time around to give yourself a better shot at success? What do you feel you have learned from previously running your business?

Also, it would be fascinating to get your wife's insight into getting a commercial loan. What kinds of things should lawn care business owners be doing or not doing to improve their chances at success when applying for such a loan.

Other than be more aggressive, I won't do much different. My business was successful before (as much as I wanted it to be). I wanted to do lawns on the side, not full-time. My goal is to do this full-time now, which means being the very best there is.

So far as commercial loans, she offers the following:

1. Get your act together. Have a clear idea of what you are asking money for specifically. It is good to have a business plan, though one is not necessary in some cases. I am thinking of getting a small loan for some new equipment. No need for a business plan there. What they will want to hear is 1.) I have solid expectations of making money somehow to be able to repay the loan and 2.) I have researched what I need and am fully aware of all costs, etc.

2. Appear professional. When asking for a loan, although the ultimate decision to approve you may come from their home office elsewhere, if the loan officer at this branch thinks you are a risk, you will not get far. Come in clean, organized and present yourself well.

3. Be prepared. If you are asking for a loan, and you are self-employed, the bank is going to need some type of indication you can repay. That means having ID, Social Security Number, maybe even a couple of your most recent utility bills to prove where you live and the last two years income tax forms. Not only will this impress the loan officer but may speed the process along.

4. It doesn't hurt to be a current customer. If asking money from a bank, consider doing business with them.

5. The obvious: the credit score. You have to pay your bills on time! If you have poor credit there is not a thing they can do other than show you to the door. Just remember though, all lending institutions have different lending rules, so if one doesn't loan you the money, another may. However, keep in mind that each time a bank pulls your credit score, the score drops, so don't apply for credit any more than necessary.

6. Get a copy of all of your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Trans Union) before applying for the loan if possible. It doesn't hurt to ask your lender which bureau they use before hand. Go over your scores with a fine-tooth comb. Go through the process to protest any inaccurate records (don't waste time or money going to a credit repair place or haggling over things that are accurate but negative on your report). Don't be alarmed if errors are on your report. On Experian's web site, they freely admit that something like 75% of all credit scores contain errors. Check them frequently (every 6 mo. to once per year minimum). Errors pop up out of the blue, even though your credit has been inactive. If you challenge an error, be patient. It takes a few months to get them to drop off. If they refuse to fix an error, then ignore it and challenge it again and again until they remove it. Follow their process for submitting complaints about discrepancies to a T. Also send whatever proof you have of innocence. This is a tedius process, but eventually you will need your credit and there won't be time to clean it up if you wait until then.

7. If there are errors, don't sweat it. Get the appropriate paperwork to prove the credit report contains errors. If they aren't fixed by the time you need a loan, then explain the situation the loan officer before hand, and offer copies of the proof to refute the credit information. If you have solid proof, the bank will accept it. Once we were going to get turned down for a loan on a house! When I asked why, they said there was a lein against me on my credit report. It turned out to be an error. The state fixed the problem in their files, sent me the proof which I gave to the bank and all was approved.

Once I pulled my wife and my credit reports. There were probably 10-12 errors on them. Some were minor and did not affect my score. A couple did (negatively). It took us almost a year of back and forth before we got the errors fixed. No one hates the credit report companies more than I do, but what can you do?


Mike

Muchus Grassyus
02-14-2010, 05:27 AM
Hey there all,
I just dropped into the Gopher site and saw all the new changes, including the forum.
It may not be new, but it's certainly new for me.

About me,,, well I'm currently a Pest Management Technician, (Pest Controller) for a large company and were formerly self employed in a successful lawn and landscape business that I'd started from scratch.

I had over 120 regular clients and a mix of commercial and residential. After about 4 years in business my wife at the time was transfered through work and I picked up a major client with my move. Silly me put all my eggs in the one basket and the company I sub-contracted to made all the promisses in the world, and at first it was comming true. Then all of a sudden it all ended as they'd lied about the longivity of the contracts and I was left high and dry.

The type of work that was involved, required a total resructure of equipment, and staffing, and under advise I'd leased the new equipment rather than buy outright as I had always done. So when things hit the fan, I was forced to close the doors and get a wages job, then try and stay afloat.

3 years on, things are looking a little brighter, and I've taken a new direction and got into pest management. My plan is to get back into the industry, but have more to offer than just lawn care and landscaping. Now I can offer the same services as before, and now have accreditations & licences for pest management, light construction & repairs, and also carpet cleaning & repairs.

So I'm pretty excited.

Steve
02-14-2010, 07:37 AM
Once I pulled my wife and my credit reports. There were probably 10-12 errors on them. Some were minor and did not affect my score. A couple did (negatively). It took us almost a year of back and forth before we got the errors fixed. No one hates the credit report companies more than I do, but what can you do?

What kinds of things should we all be looking for when you say errors? What are some that are not so bad and what are some that we should be looking for that are bad?

I had over 120 regular clients and a mix of commercial and residential. After about 4 years in business my wife at the time was transfered through work and I picked up a major client with my move. Silly me put all my eggs in the one basket and the company I sub-contracted to made all the promisses in the world, and at first it was comming true. Then all of a sudden it all ended as they'd lied about the longivity of the contracts and I was left high and dry.

WOW so you went from 120 regular clients to 1 client? Looking back now, what would you have done differently?

VSeefeld
02-14-2010, 07:09 PM
All-

When we checked into a small business loan our bank, Wells Fargo, advised that they are looking for businesses with a minimum 2 years in business. That's WITH the new government push to promote small businesses. So much for supporting new business growth.

V

NumberOne
02-15-2010, 11:26 AM
What kinds of things should we all be looking for when you say errors? What are some that are not so bad and what are some that we should be looking for that are bad?

"Bad" errors are things like accounts showing open or a balance that are not actually open. Other things may be listed as unpaid when they are. When looking at a client for a loan, they look at your debt to income ratio. In other words, your monthly payments cannot exceed a certain percent of your monthly income (her bank uses 28%). So, for sake of simplicity, for every $1000/mo. you make, only $280 can go out for credit bills (also includes rent/mortgage but does not include every-day things you need to live like food, gas, utilities, and grass stain remover :) They figure you need the rest to live. If you are right at the 28% you also are considered higher risk and may have problems. I said all of this to say, if you have a closed credit card account that is paid off, but on your report it still shows you owe $500 or looks like you have monthly payments to them, that will look like you are closer to the 28% than you actually are. By the way, most of the time, unless you ask, they will just tell you that you haven't been approved. You may never be aware that it was because of bogus stuff on your credit report. Keep in mind, even bad things on your credit report can be made a little better. My wife had one lady that had an unpaid check to a pizza place for a measly $28 hurting her report. Once she was able to prove it was paid and the report was in error, all was well.

It is kind of expensive, ($7/mo. added to my credit card ea. mo.) but I get a quarterly credit report I can access online. It is a service my credit card from Capital One offers. You know if changes have been made that way. It also has a "what if" calculator on the web site so you can enter in scenarios on your credit report so you can see how your credit score would change if, say, a bad item were not on there, if you took out a mortgage or paid off a loan or credit card. The service is https://www.mycreditinform.com/gs/english/index.asp

By the way, the scores are rigged to encourage you to carry some debt. You will have a higher score if you carry at least one card with a balance (instead of paying it off). A person with debt is a higher risk, yet your score drops? Also, you may be paying rent of $500/mo. but if you go out and get a mortgage that will cost you $700/mo. your score goes up. These guys are crooks, but we have to pay (I mean play) their game. Negative information, like unpaid liens stay on your report for fifteen years, bankruptcies ten, but the good items, only seven. Why? Because the negative things may not speak about who you are today, just who you were ten years ago. Although you may have been irresponsible when younger and paying your bills on time now, the bad items give the credit bureau to lend you money at low risk (because they can see you haven't missed a payment in the last several years, although fourteen years ago you had a $500 lien against you, therefore they give you the loan, but at a higher rate because you are a "risk."

Essentially, in short, when I say "errors" I just mean I want my credit report to look like it should. If this information is going to affect my life, then get it right!

I looked on their site to quote where they admitted seventy some percent of reports have errors. They have changed the wording. Now they just admit that billions of pieces of information comes to them, so there are bound to be errors, but an independent study found that very few people were negatively affected by it. Nonsense. Did I mention I don't like these guys? They have been a headache in the past. Not a fan.

According to one site, US Prig, a consumer protection agency, they had this to say on their site:

We asked adults in 30 states to order their credit reports and complete a survey on the reports’ accuracy. Key findings include:

- Twenty-five percent (25%) of the credit reports surveyed contained serious errors that could result in the denial of credit, such as false delinquencies or accounts that did not belong to the consumer;

- Fifty-four percent (54%) of the credit reports contained personal demographic information that was misspelled, long-outdated, belonged to a stranger, or was otherwise incorrect;

- Twenty-two percent (22%) of the credit reports listed the same mortgage or loan twice;

- Almost eight percent (8%) of the credit reports were missing major credit, loan, mortgage, or other consumer accounts that demonstrate the creditworthiness of the consumer;

- Thirty percent (30%) of the credit reports contained credit accounts that had been closed by the consumer but remained listed as open;

- Altogether, 79% of the credit reports surveyed contained either serious errors or other mistakes of some kind.


#1

jmdk888@yahoo.com
02-15-2010, 12:04 PM
Welcome to our forum Jenn!

That is very interesting! What kinds of other businesses had you run in the past? What did you think of those experiences?

well i owned a mortgage and real estate company before with over 200 employees... this is very different because it is just me and a partner! I'm trying to do a lot of research on the how to in lawn care more then the buisness end. Although a contract template would be very helpful... i haven't seen any i really love. I am trying to put together a good fertalization schedule now so i canget started full force without questioning what I am doing. We are starting small but wouldlike to expand quickly. If you have a contract I could use and a fert schedule and any other advise I would really appreciate it. This is our first year and there is still snow on the ground so although i landed 15 accts already... we need to really get organized on how we are going to fert and truly what to do!

Steve
02-15-2010, 12:13 PM
well i owned a mortgage and real estate company before with over 200 employees...
All of the contracts I have are in the contract section of the marketing templates (http://www.gopherforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=34).

Over 200 employees! Wow! That must have been something! What did you like or dislike about that business?

I bet it must be very easy for you to put together a business after that kind of experience.

Muchus Grassyus
02-16-2010, 09:24 AM
What kinds of things should we all be looking for when you say errors? What are some that are not so bad and what are some that we should be looking for that are bad?



WOW so you went from 120 regular clients to 1 client? Looking back now, what would you have done differently?

Sorry it took me a couple of days to reply, I was locked out of the forum last night,,, me thinks I entered wrong password LOL.
120 clients to 1 client, well that was mainly due to a relocation roughly 900km South of where I was based. I did pick up a few one off clients after the move, and my sister was a realestate rental manager in the city I moved to, and used my services whenever I was home.
The rest were basically close to home and saw my vehicle etc and pulled me up then and there for a quote and I'd be prepared to do the job right away.

I'd done letterbox drops in my area when I first moved, but the work I had from the major client would require me and my crew to be away from home for 3 and 4 weeks at a time doing infrastructure and facilities sites in remote areas, and we'd only be home for a few days before heading off again. So it became difficult to guarantee I could provide a regular service to anyone near home due to not knowing most times whether I'd be away or not.

So yep, I stopped advertising, and whatever calls I did get near home, in most cases had to tell them I was booked solid and couldn't offer them any scheduled servicing due to other commitments.

Looking back,,, What would I do that would be different?, well now I listen to my gut instinct. It had never failled me before, and I went against my intuition thinking it was just nervousness from becomming involved with such a high profile client, the projected turnover was more than I ever imagined possible (I was right there LOL) and I overlooked the fact that I would loose my independence working at such a high level. The cash flow was certainly increased, the turnover was tenfold to what I'd known, but the outgoings were under estimated severely, as was how I wanted to run my business.

I'm not sure what motivates others to becomming their own boss, but I was previously working in the marketing and sales industry,,,, doing very well I may ad. But I was sick of making fortunes for unapreciative money mongers, having larger targets placed on me after each goal was kicked, and the pressure for bigger success from management.

One day I woke up and said "Why the hell am I doing this. I'm constantly busting my backside for this mob, and that mob, they're living the high life from the efforts of me and my peers, and I'm still a lower middle income earner?"

That's when I decided to take the plunge and become my own boss, set my own hours, my own hourly rate. Take holidays when I want to, knock off work to get my kids from school when I want to. Spend the day with my family whenever I chose and not have to explain to "The Boss" why anymore.
It was freedom like I'd never known, and although I wasn't initially earning the same income, I was happier than I'd been in years, and my family always had a full belly.

Anyway, there's much more I could add, but I have no regrets, I made the decissions based on information I had available at the time, I knew there'd be a degree of risk, and I took those risks. But by now I've probably boored everyone to death, and I need to go get some sleep,,, it's late over here.

Keep safe all

Sherro (Muchus Grassyus)

sjradig
02-21-2010, 09:37 PM
My friend and I are both in college and working at a Grocery Store. The store hires WAY too many people in the summer and we only get like 10 hrs. a week but during the school year we get 20-30.

The company recently put a used van for sale and we thought we could put a trailer on the back, buy a couple mowers (his great-grandfather buys them at auctions and fixes them up) and start a Lawn Mowing business. We didn't get the van because the bidding went higher than our budget allowed. Right now we're just saving money and thinking about what other services to offer.

Ideally we just want to mow lawns and that's it but I recognize that's not going to cut it (no pun intended). We're not sure which other services to offer that are relatively simple to learn and perform. Suggestions with details would be appreciated.


I'm finding the website very helpful and I'm working on the Lawn School Lessons everyday. The logo creator was also very helpful. Thank you! I think it would be more helpful if there was a section added to the Lawn School that introduces and explains the services typically offered by LCO's like fertilization, aeration, dethatching...etc.



Steve

Steve
02-22-2010, 09:29 AM
Hi,

Welcome to our forum!

Why not try and keep it simple initially and simply focus on mowing? Get the gears of your business to spin and as you get more comfortable with it, add more services?

greenandgreener
02-23-2010, 11:51 AM
Hey steve, So I been doing alotof reading on how to market a business and all, but recently I got something in the mail that is for doin deposits for IRS taxes. I just dont know how to go about it? Rite now I only have little jobs on the weekends. and I work only about 6 times in the whole month. So how do I know how much of taxes i need to pay.. What do you recommend?

Steve
02-24-2010, 11:21 AM
Well, make as much as you can and talk to an accountant.

But if you are just doing things on a small scale, you probably could figure it out yourself and do your own taxes if you really wanted to.

Any income you take in is added to your income you make from work. You will probably have to pay estimated quarterly taxes, but that is no big deal. I am thinking that is what you meant in your previous post that you got something from the irs?

greenandgreener
02-24-2010, 02:26 PM
Well, make as much as you can and talk to an accountant.

But if you are just doing things on a small scale, you probably could figure it out yourself and do your own taxes if you really wanted to.

Any income you take in is added to your income you make from work. You will probably have to pay estimated quarterly taxes, but that is no big deal. I am thinking that is what you meant in your previous post that you got something from the irs?

ok, so you say i will have to pay quarterly taxes, how do i know how much i have to pay? and from where am I suppose to know how much i made in all? Im working by myself, so i dnt have any employess. I do have a business acct. Do you suggested I put everything in that acct? but then where will the money im making from the business be? Im so lost.. and I just started I dont have money to pay an acct for a consultation.. I kinda want to kno what im talkin about before I go see one.. Thanks so much for such a fast reply=)

Steve
02-25-2010, 11:20 AM
As far as I know the first year you don't have to pay the estimated quarterly taxes because you have no way of knowing what they would be, so you pay it at the end of tax season. Then the following years you pay based on a % of what you made in the last year.

A tax preparer will explain this to you and it is really simple.

I do have a business acct. Do you suggested I put everything in that acct?

Ideally you want to keep your business and your personal finances separate. So yes you want to put all your business money in your business account and then pay yourself a salary from your profits.

but then where will the money im making from the business be?

Customers will pay their bill to you in the form of a check possibly that you will deposit in your business account. From that you can pay your expenses including your salary.

greenandgreener
02-25-2010, 12:22 PM
As far as I know the first year you don't have to pay the estimated quarterly taxes because you have no way of knowing what they would be, so you pay it at the end of tax season. Then the following years you pay based on a % of what you made in the last year.

A tax preparer will explain this to you and it is really simple.



Ideally you want to keep your business and your personal finances separate. So yes you want to put all your business money in your business account and then pay yourself a salary from your profits.



Customers will pay their bill to you in the form of a check possibly that you will deposit in your business account. From that you can pay your expenses including your salary.

Wow, this makes soo much sense, Thank you. If I do pay myself from the bus. acct, would I have to consider myself an employee? and I think I will have to go to an accountant. Do you know what I need to take? What exactly happens at a meeting with an accountant?

Steve
02-26-2010, 11:20 AM
Wow, this makes soo much sense, Thank you. If I do pay myself from the bus. acct, would I have to consider myself an employee? and I think I will have to go to an accountant. Do you know what I need to take? What exactly happens at a meeting with an accountant?

I have seen a lot of different views on this. One view would be your salary should be the first expense you pay each month or every two weeks or whatever frequency you decide to go with. Every other bill can wait until after you get paid. The theory behind that being that if you are not personally making money from your labor, it's pointless to continue.

On the other hand I have seen many others who take all the money they can and plow it back into the business so they can upgrade and improve. However you can only do this if you have another source of income.

Would you pay yourself like an employee? You can. Or you can say here are my expenses and anything I make over that is my salary.

If you go and visit an accountant now, you really won't have much to take with you initially except your plan of what you want to do. With their help you will get yourself running straight and realize you can't spend everything you take in. You need to have some kind of an idea how much you will be paying in taxes, otherwise you will be shocked at the end of the year when you spent everything and your tax bill is HUGE.

Keep us posted on how it all goes.

greenandgreener
02-26-2010, 01:08 PM
I have seen a lot of different views on this. One view would be your salary should be the first expense you pay each month or every two weeks or whatever frequency you decide to go with. Every other bill can wait until after you get paid. The theory behind that being that if you are not personally making money from your labor, it's pointless to continue.

On the other hand I have seen many others who take all the money they can and plow it back into the business so they can upgrade and improve. However you can only do this if you have another source of income.

Would you pay yourself like an employee? You can. Or you can say here are my expenses and anything I make over that is my salary.

If you go and visit an accountant now, you really won't have much to take with you initially except your plan of what you want to do. With their help you will get yourself running straight and realize you can't spend everything you take in. You need to have some kind of an idea how much you will be paying in taxes, otherwise you will be shocked at the end of the year when you spent everything and your tax bill is HUGE.

Keep us posted on how it all goes.

Thanx, now a curiosity I do have is what types of things does IRS consider to be a tax deductable for a business. What would you recommend that I keep as in receipts?

Steve
02-27-2010, 11:40 AM
This is another place where the accountant will come in handy. Keep all your receipts and organize them into different categories. Then you can present them at the end of the year and have the accountant tell you what is useful and what isn't.

mhatkins
03-04-2010, 04:14 PM
Hey all! I just joined a little bit ago. My brother and I are getting ready to start our business. We just bought a 5x8 enclosed trailer a couple of days ago. We lucked up on that deal at $900! We have an Echo straight shaft weed trimmer, and a Yardmachine walk behind 5hp leaf blower. We need to get a backpack blower and a mower. We are looking for a 36"-48" walk behind mower at a good price.
I lucked up finding this site here. It is helping us alot with the info. I look forward to talking to you all.

Matt :cool:

Steve
03-05-2010, 12:47 PM
Hi Matt,

Welcome to our forum!

What initially got you interested in starting your own business?

cenlaentertainment
03-07-2010, 10:37 AM
Hello Everyone,
Just found this site last night and boy am I glad I did. I have been reading everything that I could find on starting my own business and this one has been the most informative that I have found. I have been in the electronics industry for about 15 years and will continue working in my electronics business while starting up the lawn care business. I will be trying to get the lawn care business started and working in it with the intentions of hiring someone, once it is feasable.
I was wondering what numbers would change on the price calculator when you are bidding on a commercial job versus residential in order to be competive with other providers in my area.
Thanks
David

Steve
03-07-2010, 12:34 PM
Hi David,

Welcome to our forum!

What kinds of things do you do with electronics?

I was wondering what numbers would change on the price calculator when you are bidding on a commercial job versus residential in order to be competive with other providers in my area.

Well ultimately your costs to operate are going to be your costs no matter who you are servicing.

You may want to focus on residential clients for a while because they tend to be more profitable.

cenlaentertainment
03-07-2010, 01:12 PM
Hi Steve,
I have been a Dishnetwork dealer for about 14 years now. I started with my own company installing C- band satellites systems and then switched to installing the smaller dishes when these companies started. I also install Hughesnet broadband internet satellite systems. I have been with Hughes for about 2 years now. I enjoy doing the electronics and will continue this line of work unless the lawn service business surpasses my electronics. Any help or advice that you can offer will be much appreciated.
Thanks
David

Steve
03-08-2010, 12:27 PM
Did you have to market that business? What kinds of things did you do? I bet a lot of the same marketing principles can be applied to a lawn care business.

greenandgreener
03-09-2010, 12:05 PM
Hey Steve, thank you for helping me with my questions about the bus. taxes..

Well now I need help or advice, on how to get my bus. running. Me and my husband have been giving out business cards, but really no one calls. We did however buy some clients off from a friend that is no longer in business. So right now we are working on those homes. But its some jobs here and there. What would you think are the best techniques to get the lawn service business up and running?

From:Green,Greene & Greener Lawn Service & Landscaping, Inc in Miami, Florida

Steve
03-09-2010, 12:37 PM
The goal is you want everyone YOU know personally to know that you are now in business.

Next you want everyone THEY know to know you are in business.

Then everyone who know Them to know you are in business.

This forum and my blog http://www.lawnchat.com is chock full of ways to do that.

Handing out business cards is a great way to accomplish this. Contact the neighbors of your customers and get them to be customers too.

Does your truck have signs on it? Are you wearing uniforms?

Does this help?

greenandgreener
03-09-2010, 06:13 PM
That seems like a great tip, I will try that. and our truck does have the signs and as well the trailer. Its just very hard getting business right now. Also, we do have a costumer who wants an estimate for us to cut down a tree. This is our first time doing this on our own, and my husband works at a landscaping bus. during the week since we have little work in our business, he has done this before but we dont know exactly what to charge and how to go about the permits. What would u suggest? Its a pretty tall tree a bit taller than the one story home. Also its 6inchs wide.

and thanks for the links, ill be sure to check them out asap=D

Steve
03-10-2010, 12:03 PM
I don't know what his skill level is with taking down trees, but if he is uneasy about climbing it and taking it down, it is understandable. Have you all considered sub-contracting out this work?

greenandgreener
03-11-2010, 12:13 PM
What do you mean subcontracting? Im not familiar with that term..
and he has been working at a landscaping company for about 6years now, and hes cut plenty of trees and he isnt afraid to climb a tree, we just arent sure what are the permits that we need to get or how much to charge..

mhatkins
03-11-2010, 07:15 PM
Hi Matt,

Welcome to our forum!

What initially got you interested in starting your own business?

Hey Steve. Sorry it took so long to respond back. I've been busy checking out mowers. My brother and I had a small lawn care biz back in 2004. Our equipment and trailer was stolen and never recovered, so, we went back to work as movers. We got some money together and decided to go at it again. As I said in my earlier post, we just got our trailer last week. Tomorrow we are getting a class III hitch installed on our van. We are still looking for a backpack blower and a stick edger. I finally found a NICE 2001 Ariens EZR 1742 42" zero turn with a 17 HP Briggs, on craigslist. I happened upon it by accident last night. The ONLY thing that was wrong with it was the solenoid was bad. Has a brand new battery that the guy just purchased this morning, and he showed me the reciept. The price you ask? You're not gonna believe it, but...hold onto your hat! $500!!!!! I bought the solenoid from a local dealer for $18 and installed it. The mower purrs like a kitten. Barely a scratch on it.
Needless to say, we are in a celebratory mood after all the good luck we've had fing good equipment! WOOT!:D I'll post picks of our equipment tomorrow.

Steve
03-12-2010, 04:47 AM
I'll post picks of our equipment tomorrow.

I am looking forwards to it!

we just arent sure what are the permits that we need to get or how much to charge..

Each township can handle things differently when it comes to permits on removing trees. To be sure, you should contact your local town hall.

As far as charging goes.

This article in my blog might help.

How much should I charge for a Tree Removal? (http://lawnchat.com/?p=159)

and another here.

How to Bid a Tree Removal Job (http://lawnchat.com/?p=152)

ironman33pt
03-15-2010, 12:16 AM
Hello all. Looking forward to learning more about expanding my lawn business...

Paul Toups
The Lawn Enforcer
"We'll Lock Your Grass Up"

jklawncare
03-15-2010, 03:55 AM
Thats awesome!

ive been searching my area on craigslist for weeks and cant find anything but Snowplows and ancient push/riding mowers

I saw a almost brand new trailer and 1 year old 50" zero turn
only 800
the down side is it was local pickup only for PA..
I live in NW indiana right on the lake so its a bit far of a drive for me ahah

Steve
03-15-2010, 03:57 PM
Hello all. Looking forward to learning more about expanding my lawn business...

Hi Paul,

Welcome to our forum!

What kinds of things are you doing to promote your business this year?

Z-master man
03-27-2010, 06:48 PM
Hey guys 14 yrs old here hoping to go into this buisness big...

Steve
03-27-2010, 07:15 PM
Hi Z-master!

Welcome to our forum!

There are many members on here who are teens. Do you have any advice for them on how best to go about getting customers ?

Z-master man
03-27-2010, 08:56 PM
Be willing to work hard and take pride in your work, knock on doors, find yards close to your house, etc.... I got lucky and did this last year for a spring clean-up. I called a person down the street asking if they had any yard work they would like done. They decided they would like me to clean-up around their pond, clean-up around 300 trees, and a few other jobs... They liked the way I worked, how I was flexible, worked efficiently, and how I was willing to do what they asked. Now I am servicing their property completely. I mow, blow off sidewalks, driveway, weed, etc...

mhatkins
03-28-2010, 12:43 AM
Way to go Z-Master! It's good to see some of the younger generation willing to go out and EARN an honest buck! Keep up the good work! Show your salt! Good luck in your ventures!:)

mhatkins
03-28-2010, 12:46 AM
By the way, Z-Master, you have pics? If so, please share! I'd love to see what you have!

GreenandClean850
04-05-2010, 12:01 PM
Hello everyone I just opened my lawn maintenance company this month and look forward to learning new things from this board.

Steve
04-06-2010, 06:09 AM
Welcome to our forum!

What got you interested in starting your own business?

knalawnsnow
04-08-2010, 11:09 PM
Hello all I'm new to this whole owning my lawn care biz. been mowing and plowing for years for others and decided its time to to it for myself. Started plowing this winter and ended up picking up my last plow check and getting asked if i would be interested in 25 shopping centers and 20 residential jobs. Not bad for being in business since Feb.

Steve
04-09-2010, 06:50 AM
Welcome to our forum!

That is great news! What kinds of things have you done to promote your lawn care to your snow plowing clients?

knalawnsnow
04-09-2010, 09:37 AM
i hadn't done anything i wasnt even sure if i was going to mow or not. he asked me earlier in the snow season if i was going to mow and i told him i had no equip but i was going to look into it. i found a good deal on some equipment about the same time he asked me again if i was going to mow so i purchased it and got all this work. now i need to get my name out there because i am only working 2 days a week at this point.

Steve
04-10-2010, 06:33 AM
now i need to get my name out there because i am only working 2 days a week at this point.

What are some of the things you are thinking about doing to get your name out?

knalawnsnow
04-10-2010, 07:43 PM
I have had quite a few referrals in the last couple days just by word of mouth. Had 10 to 15 calls for quotes and landed 7 of them the rest have to talk to their wife...lol. I have flyers and business cards and signs on my truck and trailer.

Steve
04-11-2010, 09:27 AM
It's fascinating how important getting those referrals can be! And once you get them how easier it seems to be to turn them into customers than the general public.

Pro Lawn Care
04-15-2010, 10:19 PM
Hello all my name is Anthony I am now the co-owner of Pro Lawn Care. My brother and I will be take over my father lawn business after 30 years. We are looking for new ideas overall, we are serving High Point,Greensboro and all areas in between. Thank

Steve
04-16-2010, 08:54 AM
Hi Anthony!

Wow 30 years in business! I bet your father was able to teach you many things!

What do you feel allowed him such longevity when so many other businesses fail shortly after start up? Could you suggest to us 5 or so tips one could follow and hope to find the success your father has achieved?

AndradeLawnCare
04-16-2010, 04:30 PM
my Name Is Raul And I Have A Small Lawn Care Service And I Am Looking For Some Ideas For A Flyer To Pass Out...any Ideas Anyone?:)

Steve
04-17-2010, 08:28 AM
Hi Raul,

Welcome and it is nice to have you here.

Have you checked out the free flyer section here? Did anything located in there, inspire you?

http://www.gopherforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=34

therealest502
04-18-2010, 05:57 PM
Hey Steve and all you guys,

I've read the forum and love all the ideas! What an amazing support site!

I am in South Florida, just moved here and got a job paying way less than I was making before.. oh well I'm happy! Anyways I have over 5 years property management experience and small business experience so I'm going to start a small lawn company down here!

Tons and tons of competition from the small guy to the huge corporate lawn care companies!

Going to get my Lowes credit card and hit the ground running! talk to you all soon...

Jw

Steve
04-19-2010, 12:27 AM
Welcome to our forum! What will you be doing to promote your new business?

ingramlandscaping
04-21-2010, 10:21 AM
My name is Stephanie with Ingram Landscaping and we are located in Acworth GA. We have been in business for a year. I look forward to chatting and learning from everyone. Thanks Steve for making this available.

Stephanie

Steve
04-21-2010, 11:35 AM
Hi Stephanie,

Welcome to our forum!

What got you interested in starting your own lawn care business?

wmfd8
04-21-2010, 02:46 PM
I am Trying to start to get afew Lawns to cut so my son-inlaw will have something to do in his spare time and I will be helping him in mine. I like this web site because of all the help it gives.

Thanks JW

perezrox
04-21-2010, 04:40 PM
Hello Everyone, i am new here and am starting a small lawncare business. I am from deep south Texas. Tring to think of a name so i can get my FEIN and start making flyers and bus. Cards.

Steve
04-22-2010, 11:33 AM
I am Trying to start to get afew Lawns to cut so my son-inlaw will have something to do in his spare time and I will be helping him in mine. I like this web site because of all the help it gives.

That is fantastic!

What kinds of things have you been doing to promote your new business?

Hello Everyone, i am new here and am starting a small lawncare business. I am from deep south Texas. Tring to think of a name so i can get my FEIN and start making flyers and bus. Cards.

Can you do something like South Texas Lawn Care?

Or maybe would you prefer to use your name in your lawn care business name?

wmfd8
05-05-2010, 09:34 AM
That is fantastic!

What kinds of things have you been doing to promote your new business?



Can you do something like South Texas Lawn Care?

Or maybe would you prefer to use your name in your lawn care business name?

Well I am starting off small because I am learning all that I can. Also I want to bve able to stay were I can pay for everything without going into debt. I have been making flyers with the ideas I can find on this forum. It is a great resource and I recommend everyone to take advange of what is here. Also with the estimators here you do have to fit it for your district. I have just ordered business cards this past week and will be in at the end of the month. I would recommend to start slow have make sure to have everything in place,or close to it. Use God as your guide and all things are possible, and always be honest.
Any more questions contact me here or by e-mail at nonamelawncare@embarqmail.com:cool::cool::

jblair
05-07-2010, 02:00 PM
I'm a retired trucker(35 years) and just started a one man, parttime lawn business to help supplement my social security. Started about a month ago and have 5 accounts. I'm really having a tough time in the area I live in and also the economy don't help. Thought maybe I could find some tips here on getting customers. I've tried newspaper ads and flyers so far. I'd like to get up to about 10 or 12 accounts. There sure looks like a lot of info here.

Steve
05-07-2010, 04:37 PM
Welcome to our forum!

You shouldn't have too much difficulty reaching your goal.

How did you attract the customers you have so far? Could that process be repeated on a larger scale?

jblair
05-12-2010, 09:19 PM
Well, I started with flyers and business cards. We have a local newspaper that comes out Wed. & Sat. and I ran a 3 day ad in the services section. Got one call on this ad and they have given me some referrals which puts me up to 9 accounts . I'm giving a $5.00 Per referral if they sign up for the season. Don't need many more since I would like to enjoy my retirement. I sure appreciate all the tips and advice I've found in the forum.

Steve
05-13-2010, 03:17 PM
That's great news! Keep us posted on how it all goes for you.

yeswecan
05-14-2010, 10:08 AM
Hello everybody my name is Tim, I run a landscaping and maintenance company in Oklahoma City. My company is called Yes We Can Landscape & Maintenance LLC. I started my own business last year, been doing it for 5 with a dummy so I didn't learn much and we figured it out on the way. We remodeled 40+ apts in the 2 of the 5 years in business. Its the landscaping part and biddig I'm not good at, but I will get the job done and cheap too. I dont know I keep my head up and keep throwing flyers and investing in my knowledge.

Steve
05-14-2010, 02:43 PM
Welcome to our forum Tim!

How did you come up with that name?

brian farnsworth
05-15-2010, 12:12 AM
Hello all im brian farnsworth
im starting my lawn mowing business in austraila and looking for all ideas and any help would be greatly appreciated

Steve
05-15-2010, 03:42 PM
Hi Brian,

Welcome to our forum!

What got you interested in starting your own business?

brian farnsworth
05-16-2010, 12:25 AM
what started me to start my own business?
I have a few lawns i do on and off as they need mowing so i decided to branch out and see how many more customers i can get.
we have myself and 1 other lawn care opperator in my area and he only comes to town when he has a few jobs so i decided to start up my own business because i live here.
i have 5 customers as i am writing this.

JustWeeds
05-16-2010, 12:55 AM
Greetings from Arizona.......

Just Weeds is not your normal landscape business, we don't lawns, we don't trim trees, bushes or shrubs.....we just remove the weeds from residential houses and businesses.

With the economy here in Arizona as bad as it is, we found alot of people getting rid of there landscapers and the huge amounts of money that they charge, but the people still wanted their gardens/yards to look good.

So, Just Weeds goes to people houses and removes unsightly weeds, in Arizona most gardens/yards do not have lawns anyway, so just by removing the weeds there gardens look nice and they can relax, plus they are not paying anywhere near what a landscaper would charge.

Also, all weeds are removed by hand, we do not use any sprays which has turned out to be another positive selling point.

Steve
05-16-2010, 02:24 PM
Welcome to our forum!

That is a very creative idea!

How do you market it?

JustWeeds
05-16-2010, 04:45 PM
Steve,
I have magnets in the car doors as well as giving out business cards, most of it comes down to word and mouth.

I normally walk with my daughter (2) every morning, we walk around the streets and when we come to a house which has overgrown weeds we leave a business card.

I also have a couple of banks as customers, they just want a tidy yard for the foreclosures and a HOA which I give a slight discount to, more than enough to keep me busy, my wife and father are both helping now, looks like I will be looking for a new helper if business keeps going this good!

Steve
05-17-2010, 01:12 PM
I normally walk with my daughter (2) every morning, we walk around the streets and when we come to a house which has overgrown weeds we leave a business card.

Do you knock on doors at all or do you simply stick the business card in the door?

zaptech
05-20-2010, 02:40 AM
Thank you for getting such a helpfull site. :D

Steve
05-20-2010, 05:33 PM
Hi Zaptech,

Welcome to our forum! I bet there is a good meaning behind your name, can you tell us?

JLuck
05-21-2010, 09:45 PM
Hello All,
Just wanted to say hi to everyone and to say it is super to have a place like this forum to learn so much from, and to share ideas on what works and what doesn't work. I am a new Lawn Care business owner, having just started a few weeks ago. I truly appreciate the input and feedback I have seen on here over the past 3 months or so. I have been reading everything I can get my eyes and hands on to be better prepared to run a successful Lawn Care business.

Thank you Steve and thanks to all who share their experience and knowledge on this forum. Well time for me to go post a question to you all on the forum about a crazy spring yard cleanup estimate that I need to give a customer.


Jim

Brian Alderman
05-22-2010, 11:33 AM
Hi,

I would like to thank Steve for this great site, and all of you posters that share the great information on here! As a newcomer to the business the info on this site is an awesome reference point. I lost my job at Polytrack (they manufacture a synthetic surface for horse tracks) a year ago and started working for a local lawn care provider part time. Honestly at first I viewed this as undesireable work as I was only getting 8 bucks an hour, but as time went on I actually found that I enjoyed what I was doing! Since I was enjoying it I started to pay attention to what was going on around me and started to learn the value of the services we were providing.

I technically started my business a month ago with 2 residential and 1 commercial account and as of today have 5 total. I have a 54" Kubota zero turn, 36" Exmark W/B, and 25 gallon sprayer. I am very interested in the organic lawn care area and I think it is a tremendous opportunity here in central Kentucky.

Brian Alderman

Steve
05-22-2010, 11:19 PM
Welcome Jim & Brian I am very happy to have you here with us!

DOP
05-25-2010, 04:40 PM
I'm finally getting around to posting an introduction on the forums. Let me tell you, as things get busy for lawn care businesses, they also get pretty busy for us as we supply the parts needed to keep your business running smoothly.

Based in NE Tennessee, our operation is run completely online. You can find our website at http://www.discountonlineparts.com.

We focus mainly on lawn care parts but also provide parts for chain saws and snow blowers. And, we have a special niche in concrete saw parts.

Well, that's a little bit about us and what we do. Looking forward to getting to know people around the forum. If you haven't subscribed to Steve's blog (http://lawnchat.com/) yet, you really should. Great information.

Catch you later.

Steve
05-25-2010, 06:16 PM
Welcome to our forum! There are a bunch of engine tech questions that pop on here from time to time. Any mechanical advise you can offer would be appreciated.

Grounds Keeper
06-09-2010, 04:17 PM
Thanks for the welcome and the site Steve.
I had a lawn service business about 12 years ago in Tampa, Fla. Have done different things since, lately driving truck OTR. Don't like not being home and was thinking about the business again. I am in north Louisiana now and was concerned about it being seasonal.
Thanks again,
Mike

gajcc
06-17-2010, 09:55 AM
Hey everyone! My name is Jesse Coonfare. I am attempting to start my lawn business because of the economy. Meaning that I have been laid off from every job I've had in the past 2 years. I've always enjoyed taking care of my own lawn. 2 years ago I started with a different local lawn business. I found out that I REALLY enjoy mowing lawns for a living. The fast paced walking in the early morning to get your blood pumping. The smell of the fresh cut grass, and being outside most of all.
My father was in business a few years ago, he had an automotive repair and fabrication shop. That was when I made up my mind if at all possible that I was going to work for myself. Not answering to anyone, and doing things my way. So I choose a lawn business. One reason for like I said the freedom of no boss, 2 being outside, and biggest reason, The $$$$.
A couple of my father's friends were in the lawn business and they shared with me how much they made every month. I know if I put in the leg work, find the customer's, that I can be successful.
I have not started it yet. But hope to have the grant from voc rehab to get my equipment needed to begin by the end of this month June.
I am an avid outdoors man. I love to hunt & fish & hike, with my favorite outdoor buddy, my father. We hike into a different lakes up in the mountains every year. Also fish & hunt together every year. I will continue to do so as long as I can drag my dad with. Probably will still drag him along when he's in a wheel chair.
I am starting out this year small because of it being a little late in the season. This year I will more than likely get a regular lawn tractor, and not a zero turn. If anyone has some tips on which type of lawn tractor is of good quality, not known to have many mechanical problems, and performs well in cuttingg grass evenly, I would appreciate any info. I don't have much experience with lawn tractors, just walker's. Which I hope to have within the 2nd or 3rd year. Thanks ahead of time to anyone with info on that subject.

Steve
06-17-2010, 03:19 PM
I had a lawn service business about 12 years ago in Tampa, Fla. Have done different things since, lately driving truck OTR. Don't like not being home and was thinking about the business again.

What made you get out of it in the past? And what do you think you learned from that experience that will help you get your business off the ground a lot faster this time?

My father was in business a few years ago, he had an automotive repair and fabrication shop.

Hi Jesse,

Welcome to our forum! With your father having experience in the automotive repair business, why didn't you follow along with that industry? Did you not like it as much as lawn care? I bet your dad has lots of business advice for you too.

Grounds Keeper
06-21-2010, 01:12 AM
Sorry, hadn't been on here in awhile.
to answer the question about why I quit b4. I guess I got too big too fast and went in too many directions. started mowing, then tore out someones landscape and re installed with new design and next thing you know i was getting lots of installs and design projects. Never really felt comfortable and had to learn as I went but didn't seem to be able to say no. Had projects going and lots of yards and just got completely overwhelmed. When a really good job offer came up I guess I decided it would be simpler, and sold the business.
Now I am in north Louisiana(long story) and not sure how it is here. I will keep it simple, just maintenance, but not sure about the seasonal aspect. Am about to pick up a Mower in a couple days and now it is so hot the grass has almost stopped growing and some is just frying and turning brown. this usually doen't happen till later in summer but the sun seems super intense this year.
Commited to a 42" hustler sport w/honda engine to start. Was going to start homeowner and cheaper but remember how fast I went thru equipment last time until I bit the bullet and bought commercial equipment. Already have couple echo trimmers and blower is stil. Trailer, mower and customers is all I need for a start. Rambling way too much. But appreciate this place to share.
How do you handle the heat( it's getting to 100 by noon lately) and anybody doing this in La. on here?
Thanks

Steve
06-21-2010, 01:10 PM
It seems like on one side, you had the dream start up where you had more than enough work. But I guess the flip side of that is you need to be able to pace yourself or you will burn out.

As having gone through this once, what advice do you have for others that are starting up. How can they keep from burning themselves out?

You also mentioned equipment failure. Were there other issues you would have known about when you had first started your business that would have made it a more enjoyable experience?

Grounds Keeper
06-23-2010, 09:06 AM
Mistakes during start up?
Well when I started I had little experience with planting and installing landscapes. I wanted to start maintenance only. When someone asked me to put a garden in, I agreed and started reading some books as I did it. Came out so well, started getting more and more. Meanwhile advertising was kicking in and was getting accounts too.
I would say pick something and stick with it at first and resist going in too many directions. Keep it simple, start with basic equipment, and focus on advertising on what you decided. Once you are comfortable with a steady cash flow then if you want to learn something new, go ahead and offer to existing customers(they will be more forgiving if you mess up) then advertise to strangers. By now you should feel comfortable and need to hire some a trustworthy person or two.
I took things on too fast and was always freaking out cause I didn't have any confidence I what I was doing(fake it till you make it).
Went thru alot of homeowner equip that first season, remember running to homedepot in the middle of a yard to grab another mower. By end of season all was commercial. basically i was always stressed by doing what I shouldn't be yet, Replacing and fixing cheap equipment and needing help before I could afford it, cause I spread out too thin. That caused me to burn thru my profits. By end of first year I had alot of good equipment and a new truck payment but no money in the bank.

A job sounded easier, So I sold everything. Sorry I did, should have just said i'm only doing lawns by myself and started over.

I am nervous about trying to start now into the season, and it's so hot grass is barely growing. I am unemployed and don't want to drive a truck and really want business again. Any words of encouragement would be welcome. I was comfortable in florida, here grass is different, not sure what to charge, need to do some research I guess.
Thanks,
Mike

Steve
06-23-2010, 01:40 PM
What marketing did you find that you liked and which did you find you didn't?

jc27
06-23-2010, 11:36 PM
My name is Jeff and I am starting a new business in my area doing lawncare and landscapping. this is new to me so any info you can provide me with will be greatly appreciated. First thing I would like to know is how much should I charge to do lawns. do I do it by the hour or the size of the yard?
Thanks

Grounds Keeper
06-24-2010, 08:16 AM
The best thing I did was get friendly with the local nurseries(that didn't offer landscape services) and asked them to recommend me. there was one in particular that most of my business came from. Even if someone bought say a tree they would say they had someone to plant it for them, etc. Then I could pick up the yard sometimes. the only other thing was ad in paper which also worked pretty good (back then people still read them) then it was all word of mouth.
I don't have any plant nurseries like that around here now. Tampa was easy.
main thing is do what you say and a little more at first even, if it takes longer or the customer is a pain in the butt. Impress whoever you get and it will just happen.

Steve
06-24-2010, 12:42 PM
Hi Jeff,

Welcome to our forum!

First thing I would like to know is how much should I charge to do lawns. do I do it by the hour or the size of the yard?

I would say base your charge at least initially on how long the job takes. Check your local prices, maybe you can shoot for $45 an hour?

The best thing I did was get friendly with the local nurseries(that didn't offer landscape services) and asked them to recommend me. there was one in particular that most of my business came from. Even if someone bought say a tree they would say they had someone to plant it for them, etc. Then I could pick up the yard sometimes.

That is fantastic! How does the nursery business differ in your area now? I would think people would still need to be able to go out locally and buy plants. How come you couldnt recreate this?

blueskymowing
07-03-2010, 06:27 AM
Two months ago while standing at the front desk of The Days Inn, I was being yelled at by some tight lipped mid 40s crank from Florida about dirty sheets, when I decided it was time to go outside and do some real work. When my shift was over, I went to Home Depot, bought a $400 Honda mower, a cheap weedeater, a rake, two gas cans, and put an ad on craigslist. Now I'm making more money, I have no boss, and I only have to deal with the old Floridian cranks on the highway.
I'm currently operating out of a Dodge Caravan, which means I'm constantly buzzed on gas fumes, but within a month or so I'll upgrade to a respectable lawn care vehicle.
I have a contract where I maintain 28 lawns for HUD homes twice a month. I am not being paid what I would if I were quoting the lawns, but it's not so bad, and with the late start I got this season, I was glad to have guaranteed business.

Steve
07-03-2010, 03:15 PM
That is fantastic news! Good for you!

Can you take a picture of your setup? I think it would inspire a lot of readers who think they need a pickup and trailer to get started.

Ryan M
07-11-2010, 12:16 AM
Hey how are you doing everyone? My name is Ryan and I'm currently trying to learn the business. It never hurts to learn. Well here's a little about myself I'm 23, my father and I started a business 4 years ago called Cherry Hill Tree Company which is in NY but I had to leave NY due to personal reasons. I can say that my dads company turned out very well in which hes probably making a half a million every year. He just told me the other day that he just got brand new bucket trucks and etc. This was a man that started out with 2 chain saws, some rope, a beat up truck and me lol. The main thing is if you put hard work into anything you do you can succeed. Now I live in Georgia where I work at a chemical plant full time making man made fertilizers and on the side I want to start my own landscaping business and advance even further then that. I did a lot of landscaping to my uncles yard as well as my grandmothers and everyone I've talked to loved what I did. For about 3 years now I have been operating heavy equipment from bobcats to front end loaders and the list goes on. I will try to put up the pics of my grandmother's and uncle's yard. Well enough about me, feel free to message me.

Steve
07-11-2010, 08:04 PM
Welcome to our forum!

I'd love to see some of your pics!

What kinds of business lessons do you feel you learned from your dad that you will be able to apply to your own business?

Ryan M
07-11-2010, 10:41 PM
Welcome to our forum!

I'd love to see some of your pics!

What kinds of business lessons do you feel you learned from your dad that you will be able to apply to your own business?



I'll def put some pics up when I figure this site out lol. I think the main thing I've learned from my dad is skill. Let me explain, anyone can cut down a tree but to sit there and drop a tree on a dime well that's skill. From making the simplest cut to the hardest cut or knowing how to make your knots in an emergency situation within seconds. You learn a lot of responsibility, time management and how to talk or negotiate with the customer. To be completely honest with you, my dad didn't really advertise much, most of it was done by word of mouth or by his business cards. He basically told people what they wanted to hear and his prices were very reasonable, they were almost unbeatable. The other thing I try to tell people is never to rush on a job because you can either screw up what your doing or even get your self killed. My father knew this guy that was rushing one day, he forgot to tie off in the tree and he fell. When he fell a branch that was sticking up went right through his throat. Bottom line is respect the equipment that your working with and take your time, safety is always the key.

Steve
07-12-2010, 04:20 PM
That is very interesting!

Do you have a thought on how important it is for a new business owner to know how to run the business vs. knowing the skills to perform the services you are selling?

When you are getting started, do you feel you should focus on one more than the other or pick them up equally as you go?

Ryan M
07-13-2010, 03:16 AM
That is very interesting!

Do you have a thought on how important it is for a new business owner to know how to run the business vs. knowing the skills to perform the services you are selling?

When you are getting started, do you feel you should focus on one more than the other or pick them up equally as you go?



You should def focus on skill first and the quality of the work. This catches the customers attention cause if you show the customer you don't know what you are doing then they'll never hire you back and they'll tell their friends. Remember word of mouth is the most important. To answer your first question which is tough but to me if you don't know the skill then why would you open up a business in the first place. In my opinion skill would come first then you would build up slowly because you just cant go out the next day and buy equipment. From the skill that you have you can also teach your employees. To me when you start acquiring more work then you can handle then you hire employees, from there skill and ownership (management) would become one. By doing the jobs in the past you would know how to give estimates and do your calculations. So to me it would be skill and management will fall into play on the way. By the way to me a owner should know what he's selling at all times.

Steve
07-13-2010, 03:53 AM
Those are some very good points.

Do you feel your dad was able to teach you a lot about estimating jobs and sales? Where do you think most newer business owners go wrong when it comes to estimating?

Also how important is it to be good at sales? Is it important or if you focus on your service skills, your sales will be just fine?

Ryan M
07-15-2010, 12:28 AM
Those are some very good points.

Do you feel your dad was able to teach you a lot about estimating jobs and sales? Where do you think most newer business owners go wrong when it comes to estimating?

Also how important is it to be good at sales? Is it important or if you focus on your service skills, your sales will be just fine?



I have learned a lot from my father by estimating and sales def. I can say this Steve and to everyone else on here, if you don't know something or you want information you have to remember the internet has an unlimited source of information, to me the internet is my best tool. To me it seems the newer business owner's go wrong with estimates because they just don't know what to charge and how to charge. Say they had to cut a 1/2 acre for about 35 dollars but then they have to rake leaves, they wouldn't know how to add in for the extra's. To me your web page is a great source of information because just like you mentioned on your calculators you have to think how long a job takes, to how much your repairs would cost or how much an extra would be. All of what you have mentioned is every important, if you don't follow those guidelines your business would just fail. The other question you asked was how important is it to be good as sales? To answer your question your sale is very important because your sale would be your services. Say if your sale/services were to say my dad dropped a tree on someones house or a guy was spraying a chemical he knew nothing about in which he killed the guys entire lawn and his business insurance couldn't cover it and you had to use your won money out of your own pocket, it would cripple your business. If your selling goods make sure you know what your talking about, if you don't then the owner wouldn't want your service. I think to be competitive you should always think outside the box, think of new creative idea's and when it comes to sale's as in special deals. Say to the customer, since I've been giving you my service for some time why not for every x amount of cuts I can give you a half off deal. So say you do 3 cuts, the 4th one would be half off or you can do something extra for free. From what I have seen, small business and big business buying way to many new equipment causing them to go bankrupt. There is nothing wrong with starting off small even if that means it will take a couple of years. Remember if your starting your new business off, keep your other full time job first until your own business grows. The other thing that I just saw the other day I had a young punk yelling out something out of an alltel truck trying to start stuff with people which I called the main corporate guy about and complained. This goes for everyone, when you hire someone make sure your hiring the right guy because just remember that guy is representing you now, that can leave a bad taste in someones mouth. What I had witnessed that day, I would never buy anything from Alltel because of that. Well if I messed up on any sentences I apologize cause I'm beat, been shoveling a walkway all day. When I get time I will def post them pics up for everyone to see.

Steve
07-15-2010, 02:31 AM
When I get time I will def post them pics up for everyone to see.

I am looking forwards to seeing them.

Matt C
07-22-2010, 08:17 AM
Hi Steve,
Thanks for a great place to go and learn. I am a Tool & Die maker by trade and have worked a minimum of 50 hours a week for the last thirty years. Last year when the economy went to hell luckily my job was safe but my hours were cut to 40. Suddenly I realized that without the over time I barely make enough money to survive with two boys in collage. I decided to start a lawn care company to help supplement my income. My brother in-law owns a huge landscape company that only does commercial accounts now and he is willing to pass all of the residential quoting to my lawn care business. Thinking I could do one or two lawns a night, I felt that this is the perfect way to go. Yesterday I was looking at my card and flier design when my boss walked in and laughed and said you've got to be kidding. Now I'm determined to make this a full time business and earn enough to leave this company. I have a 2003 F250 and just purchased a Bobcat 48 walk behind hydro, two Echo 620 backpack blowers, and I already had a Commercial grade Echo trimmer. I plan on starting here and working my way up. Again thanks for a great site I've already learned so much. Matt

Steve
07-22-2010, 04:22 PM
Hi Matt,

Welcome to our forum!

With your brother in law in the business, I bet he will be able to refer a lot of accounts to you. I bet he also has a lot of business advice for you as well.

Has he offered you any suggestions so far when creating your estimates?

Matt C
07-22-2010, 04:33 PM
No he is so big now all they do is stuff for the state or accounts like Home Depot, and Collage renovations but I'm sure if I asked him he could help.
I don't want to bother him on his down time with more of the same. your site and Keith have been very helpful though.

Steve
07-22-2010, 06:23 PM
Do you know much of the history of his business? When he got started and what kinds of hurdles he had to overcome to find success?

All these things can be helpful to you as well.

cedarsexpertise
07-22-2010, 07:41 PM
Finally found a forum that meets our need, Hello everyone,
The name of our company is Cedars Expertise LLC (Lawn & Landscaping) owed by my wife & I (Tomineke & Robert Bailey). We are outdoor people, love to travel with our kids & very happy we found this website. We started our company in 2001, but after the downfall of our economy we thought we'd give this a try. I've worked in the lawn & landscaping business for many years now. I've learned & took took alot. Everythings working out well for our first year. Thanks for this great forum, looking forward to meeting new & great people!

Steve
07-23-2010, 03:06 PM
Welcome to our forum!

We started our company in 2001, but after the downfall of our economy we thought we'd give this a try.

What kind of issues were you facing and how did you overcome them?

LawnMoore
07-23-2010, 11:08 PM
My Name is Jim Moore, i have a long history in business, (Growing up in quite a few family business') Construction, SeaWall Construction, Private Residential Subdivision Development, Cable Tv Communications, and as well while developing and building community's, "LANDSCAPE and LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT"!!

I am very happy to have found this forum, as after the last 7 years of doing Arboriculture mainly as my career of choice, (but it was really my hobby)! i have decided to go back into Property Preservation/Landscape maintenence.

The name of one of my main companies is Florida Field Services, L.L.C.
I am starting to expand from inspecting only to preserving also Florida's REO's

I still Climb Trees @ Every chance i get! (hobby)

I will be glad to assist any of you in anyway i can. (I will be busy for the first few nights or more, reading all the site has to offer) but still feel free to say hello and ask questions if you think i can help you.

Mr. Moore

Steve
07-24-2010, 03:30 PM
Welcome to our forum!

I am very happy to have found this forum, as after the last 7 years of doing Arboriculture mainly as my career of choice, (but it was really my hobby)! i have decided to go back into Property Preservation/Landscape maintenence.

What made you want to make the switch?

LawnMoore
07-26-2010, 04:40 AM
Welcome to our forum!
What made you want to make the switch?

Well i havent actually switched anything, i jumped into preservation(lawn care) because, how do i say this..

My new neighbor who bought my family's old B&B has been in the mortgage business for many years, then the economy fell, lenders flopped, anyhow as u know the default side of real estate is booming, well as soon as the lenders went backwards he split off from Five bro's and went into inspecting foreclosures for MCS, hes been doing so for 3 years now, we wanted to start a preservation company last year but we didnt, and i kept telling him its now or never, so just last month we sold our 3 story on piling stilt home on the Gulf coast, i mean a spectacular one, we did lose money on the value but not on the investment as we built it all out of harvested timber, pines and harvested 100 year old river heart pine and cedar for the interior, all which we harvested! so all in all we still only made about 100k off the top but we got back our money invested as well and lived there for 7 years!

So with my share i invested into lawn care and told him to sign us up!

we are signed up and waiting to fall in line with REO's, so in the meantime i got licensed and insured on my own to make some extra money while we wait for that to come around.

Hmm.. :)

Grass Hopper
07-30-2010, 08:31 PM
Hi all,
My name is Gary and i just started a lawn care business here in Florida called Grass Hoppers Lawn Care. Got laid off from my job of 20 years like a million other people out there. I teamed up with my neighbor freind that has been in lawn care for many years and he is teaching me alot. i am looking forward to being a part of this fourm. Talk to you all later :)

LawnMoore
07-30-2010, 10:38 PM
Hi all,
My name is Gary and i just started a lawn care business here in Florida called Grass Hoppers Lawn Care. Got laid off from my job of 20 years like a million other people out there. I teamed up with my neighbor freind that has been in lawn care for many years and he is teaching me alot. i am looking forward to being a part of this fourm. Talk to you all later :)

Welcome aboard! What part of Florida you in?

Steve
07-31-2010, 08:49 PM
I teamed up with my neighbor freind that has been in lawn care for many years and he is teaching me alot.

Hi Gary,

Welcome to our forum!

Can you tell us a little about how you teamed up? Are you each separate businesses or are you partners now?

TimothysLawncare
08-06-2010, 09:18 PM
Thanks for a great website. Steve, I have to admit I've been lurking here for about a month now. I'm another statistic: 50 yrs old and unemployed after over twenty years in banking. It's awful what's happening in banking these days. Anyway, they got tired of me and I of them. Had been thinking about doing this for some time now after talking to one of my banking customers who has been doing this PT for 3 years now. (I hired him to mow our lawn at the bank).
Basically the plan is this: If I find work back in my hometown area (Western PA), I'll start my business on a part-time basis there. If I don't, I'll plunge into full time. Proceeds from home sale will get me started with no debt. I am studying to take the state Pesticide Certification Applicator test and should have it done by next early Spring, when I hope to get started. Working on a business name : Currently "Timothy's Lawn Care" since my last name is an Irish name that's not user friendly, and I wanted my name in there somewhere. Lot's of changes in my life, but I am not getting down about it. Wish me luck !! and thanks again.

Steve
08-06-2010, 09:46 PM
Hi Tim,

Welcome to our forum! I see great things coming your way!

How do you feel the years of being in the banking industry have helped you make the transition to becoming an entrepreneur?

Do you have advice for other business owners out there when it comes to dealing with a bank, whether it be getting a loan or saving money? I bet you have seen a lot of good and bad over the years and you have plenty of banking advice.

TimothysLawncare
08-07-2010, 11:25 PM
Steve, generally when I had a loan application from a self employed person, we always requested at least 2 years of tax returns. Don't waste your time until you can provide this. As far as a deposit relationship, most new business checking accounts were opened as a sole proprietorship account, so you can either use your SS# or a tax ID # (EIN).
Hopefully someone at your bank can help you, but the banks aren't as willing to help out the new, small businessman anymore. It's one reason I don't work for a bank anymore.

Tim

Steve
08-08-2010, 04:42 AM
Oh that is very interesting!

Did you get involved much in investing during your time at the bank?

Any thoughts as to what business owners should be doing when it comes to that?

jimimajor
08-13-2010, 07:06 PM
Steve I received your Welcome message but am totally lost on how to do this. I have never done this before. How do I join a blog, or whatever it is called.

Steve
08-14-2010, 07:08 AM
Welcome to our forum!

You already made your first post and you did a great job!

Onegirl
08-19-2010, 11:22 PM
Hey Everyone,

Brief introduction......I am in the process of starting my own lawn care business. I came up with the name One girl lawn service. You guessed it, it is just me (for now). I have a few clients right now and have already torn out and replaced planter beds for two homes which has shown to be good advertisement. I joined this forum looking for suggestions and hoping to expand on my ideas. I do ask that you are patient with me due to this is my first forum and my first business. So Hello to all and I look forward to reading what everyone has to say and hopefully I will be able to provide my own input as well.