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Steve
01-31-2007, 12:45 PM
Beginner Mistakes from our friend Jim

Here are some things beginners often get wrong:

Bagging Grass Clippings: Don’t bag grass clippings, mulch them. If you cannot avoid bagging, make sure you’re getting premium pay to cover all the extra work.

skyjack_1
01-31-2007, 03:41 PM
Wow, this could not have been said better. Extra work is right. The only people that need to be bagging are golf courses. Almost all my mowers have been converted to dedicated mulchers. Any new mower will be mulcher off the line. Looks better and is easier. Also better for the turf.

VogelLawnService
02-27-2007, 08:40 PM
so true, plus when you remove clippings you are accually taking natural fertilizer from your customers lawn. grass clippings return nutrients into the lawn. so when you leave them its better for the lawn as long as you only cut about a quarter of the blade!

Billz
03-01-2007, 02:10 PM
Well, I have a few rich customers who think it is ok to grow 7 inches of grass every week. I mow them on Friday and bag most of their lawns. It has helped me grow in this one area. I now have 8 customers and am looking to add another 3-4 from ones who talked to me last year but were already committed to another lco... I do charge extra, but only 5$ per week. It really doesnt take any longer, because I can single cut instead of double. This area borders a private golf course, and I worked out a deal with the superintendant to dump my grass in an area right there. So really it gives me the best of both worlds...I have a dump insert in my truck, so I just fill it up and dump it nearby...if dumping wasnt a problem everywhere else I think I would do it more often.

S.P.Martin Lawn Care
03-02-2007, 11:40 PM
Homeowners love bagging for some reason here in southern Maine. Most of my customers want it done, but if I can dump it on thier property I don't charge extra. Only a couple of them where I have to haul it off.

At the start of the season I will bag everybody the first couple of times anyway just to collect the extra junk that accumulated from late fall thru the winter.

I'm going to make an effort at steering my customers away from it this season. I'll be experimenting with Gator blades and see what they think.

Any feedback on using Gator blades? Love 'em or hate 'em?

Billz
03-08-2007, 10:52 AM
Gators work better than the stock blades, but someone here uses Ninja blades and they never seem to need to double cut, ever! I might look into them this year.

bohiaa
03-20-2007, 09:02 PM
And We "in my area" have to pay to dump it

justin_time
07-05-2011, 09:34 PM
Where's the LIKE button.. oh right.. it's not facebook lol

Ducke
07-06-2011, 09:18 PM
Gators work better than the stock blades, but someone here uses Ninja blades and they never seem to need to double cut, ever! I might look into them this year.

Picked up a Gator blade for my mulcher this year and find that it seems to miss a lot of tuffs of grass . Not sure if its from wheel marks or blade skip, but I'm not really sold on them. I hate to have to double mow it a real waste of time and my money but I can't leave a lawn looking like a Barbour School hair cut.
Any suggestions to correct this Do I need to mow slower or faster or overlap my passes more ?

Steve
07-07-2011, 08:14 PM
Could you show us a picture of it the next time it happens?

Ducke
07-08-2011, 05:55 AM
Could you show us a picture of it the next time it happens?

I will try to get some today if I can

Steve
11-19-2014, 08:13 PM
Does anyone have any additional beginner mistakes to add to this thread?

jrs.landscaping
11-19-2014, 08:30 PM
I'm curious how bagging grass is considered a rookie mistake? Fairly broad stroke statement IMHO.

biglee
11-20-2014, 03:08 PM
Avoiding jobs with an excessive amount of hedge trimming and weed control Example a 2-3 hour account, time management is key to making money. If a weekly customer takes me more than 15-30 minutes to perform a full service it is not profitable.

On the flip side to that, if I did accept the accounts with excessive trimming and weed control, I would charge by the hour for that service and it would be an additional charge.

Chilehead
11-20-2014, 04:35 PM
Big rookie mistake: not marketing correctly. Your advertising campaigns can not look like they are homemade when up against some slick competitor's campaign. Read up on how to market, and view as many examples as you can before putting together your own agenda.

Steve
11-21-2014, 06:28 PM
Your advertising campaigns can not look like they are homemade when up against some slick competitor's campaign.

Do you feel there is a place for more cheaper looking marketing when a new business owner is looking for the cheaper customers? Or is it just better straight from the start to look as professional with your marketing as possible?

acrajchel
11-21-2014, 06:34 PM
Marketing is probably one of those things that has to be done right from the beginning if you want to grow. The rule of thumb for a brick and mortar establishment is to spend as much on marketing as you do on rent. Now for us, we usually don't have rent, so.... but it shows the importance of marketing.

I would think you would be better off cutting back spending on tools and equipment and focusing more on marketing at first. Start out with a mower, weedeater, blower, and trailer. Then as the business starts to come, buy the "extras" like hedge trimmers and chainsaw, or whatever.

jrs.landscaping
11-21-2014, 07:15 PM
Does anyone have any additional beginner mistakes to add to this thread?

Lack of business plan/goal.

No budgeting or accounting

Most of the mistakes are on the administrative side IMHO

FWIW we have never spent a dime on an active marketing campaign.

ExtremeLawncareServices
11-22-2014, 09:20 AM
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting out is caring about what other lco's think. Most lco are just following their opinions and think because they asked a guy starting out that it must be fright or close. When fact is its the blind leading the blind , no matter the job.

Come up withYOUR NUMBERS focus on MANAGEMENT, MARKETING and keep it simple ..... When you get a check ...put it in the bank not your back pocket.

stevef1201
11-22-2014, 11:45 AM
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting out is caring about what other lco's think. Most lco are just following their opinions and think because they asked a guy starting out that it must be fright or close. When fact is its the blind leading the blind , no matter the job.

Come up withYOUR NUMBERS focus on MANAGEMENT, MARKETING and keep it simple ..... When you get a check ...put it in the bank not your back pocket.

J somewhat agree, however; the biggest mistake is thinking I have to charge less to get business. Charge the same as everybody else, if you don't get the job you probably did not want it. Don't go broke just to get business.

ExtremeLawncareServices
11-22-2014, 12:34 PM
I laughed when I read your post, I realized it has more to do with a persons personality then anything when talking mistakes.

I read your post and went " there are so many posible mistakes we can and do make" .... It's our own personalities that cause us to continue making the same ones day after day.

stevef1201
11-22-2014, 02:42 PM
TRUE> When I started this business I was told that no matter what, charge 50 to 75 per hour. when I asked why, was told you will get paid for at most 20 hours a week to break even, it is only after that you make money. This by a guy who spent 40 years in business making 150 to 200 K per year.

Steve
11-26-2014, 10:57 AM
It's our own personalities that cause us to continue making the same ones day after day.

Do you think this is why some entrepreneurs seem to have an easier time at starting and running a business than others? With the right personality, certain people are just more predisposed to do better and have an easier time being a business owner?

While maybe others have to constantly fight themselves to stay on track because they have to do things that are opposed to how they would normally handle situations?