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jcronkhite
10-31-2008, 10:36 AM
Hello Everyone,
Just wanted to introduce myself.
I'm Just starting my lawn care Service and to be honest
a little nervous. I got here on accident, after being a real estate
agent for several years my business was killed with the housing crunch,
so I went back to driving truck. I drove truck most of my life, I did network marketing, and then was offered a business cleaning up bank owned homes.
Well after you clean them up you get the lawn service 2 cuts a month for $100.00. I have 17 homes, so I decided to expand it to regular homes.
My three sons have joined me ages 8,14 and 17 so we named it My Three
Sons Lawn service. I have allot to learn but we are excited and ready to roll.

Talk to you soon
Jim

Steve
10-31-2008, 11:41 AM
Hi Jim,

Welcome to our forum! I like your business name a lot!

You have a great history. What kinds of things do you feel you are able to bring to your lawn care business from your previous real estate and network marketing business? I am sure you learned a lot of great marketing concepts.

musician/lawnman
10-31-2008, 05:30 PM
That's a good start Jim.
That's a great name too. When my father 1st started his lawn service in 1989 it was called My three sons.... He changed it later, one because by then there were 2 more & to get 1st in the phone book. His was ultimately AAA Clean Cut. Years later he & I opened AAA Quality Cleaning (a new home construction cleaning business). He sold his off around 98' & when I opend this a couple years ago I just combined the 2 names.

Good luck & welcome to the forum.

jcronkhite
11-01-2008, 11:24 AM
Thanks Guys
I learned allot about marketing in real estate, but the most important
thing is you can't beat a referrals from a happy customer!!! When my wife and I started out we had no budget, so we made up a flyer's that we dropped off on door steps. We picked a good area with a start of 200 homes. We made it cool with interesting facts, a recipe of the month and what the housing market was doing. People loved it, but you have to know that you must hit a person 6 to 9 times to be noticed and you have to stand out. The magnet video is great one of the best magnets here in Modesto is a fridge calender for clients, so your name is always on their mind. Constant contact is key, and follow up with this line

OH BY THE WAY...
I'm never too busy for your referrals!!
Talk to You soon

Jim

Steve
11-02-2008, 05:32 AM
and then was offered a business cleaning up bank owned homes.

Jim,

What advice do you have for lawn care business owners who are looking to get into the business of cleaning up bank owned homes? How can they get their start and are there any hints you learned or downsides to it?

jcronkhite
11-02-2008, 11:12 AM
I got into cleaning up bank owned homes by accident, I had a friend doing it. and he needed some help just cleaning the house ( I had a cleaning company 10 years ago) after I started cleaning some of his home I spoke to a real estate agent I knew that was selling REO's (bank owned Homes) she refereed me to a company called Singlesource when they called they asked if I could give them a bid to do everything, clean out the trash, clean the house and do an initial lawn cut. My real estate friend gave me some average bid numbers for this area and included in all bids is lawn service. The companies that handle most properties are called preservation companies, and most are nation wide, SafeGaurd is a huge one. I haven't been getting to many bids lately I went from 2to 3 a week to 1 every two weeks. This part of California has a ton of people doing this. The preservation companies have web pages to fill out vendor Apps. Safegaurd.com is one. Another good way is to look at the signs on bank owned homes and call the agent that has allot of them ask them if they are getting good service, they deal directly with the bank sometimes. Competition in bidding, bid too low you don't make enough bid to high you don't get the job. The wost thing is it will phase out over the next year!!! That is why I'm going for regular homes.

Talk to you soon Jim

irvinjr
06-13-2010, 01:11 AM
Hi Everyone ! My wife n me recently started a lawn care business in Ft. Myers, Fl. Our business name is S & I Lawn care.For starters all we have right now is a 22" push mower,trimmer n blower by Weed Eater. We know it's not the best equipment to have but we're just getting our feet wet sort of speak. We currently have 5 customers once we pick up more customers we're going to invest in some quality equipment, a zero turn mower n trailer. We currently charge .003 cents a sq. ft. "example" a lot 75x150=11250 total sq. ft. My fee would be $34 to cut it. Is this a good method or should i do it another way ? We're open for any n all suggestions !

JP Landscaping
06-13-2010, 11:19 AM
It's hard to say if that is a good way to price because we don't know how long it takes you to mow that area for that price. In other words, with a push mower, if that takes you about an hour to do, I think the price is good. If it takes you less than an hour, definitely a good price. If it takes you a lot longer than an hour to complete the job (like 2 hrs) then to me the price is low.

The point here is that you have a limited amount of time in the day, so you want to make as much money in that time. If at the end of the day you are averaging around $30-$35 an hour with a push mower, I would consider that a good rate. This is because once you get bigger/better equipment you will be able to do the same houses much faster and your hourly rate will increase because you can mow more lawns in the same amount of time.

Lets say now yo can do the same lawn in 1/2 the time. Then you will be averaging around $60 per hour. Wich is about what you want to be making using z turns.

Hope this helps...any more questions just ask

Steve
06-14-2010, 07:24 AM
Hi Irvin,

Welcome to our forum!

I couldn't have said it better than the post above. That is good information to think about and work into your estimating procedure.

egelkraut1209
07-15-2010, 08:58 PM
I'm not sure if I'm at the right place, but I figure it couldn't hurt to ask.

My husband is interested in starting up a lawn business but isn't quite sure where to start. The house next door to ours is foreclosed and the man that mows the lawn said that there is a website to go to and you can sign up to mow all sorts of different foreclosed properties. The problem is, we can't remember what it is called. And after searching on Google for what felt like hours, I thought this was the best site to chose to ask for help.

I should probably add that we're in Minnesota. If anyone has any information we would GREATLY appreciate it!

Steve
07-15-2010, 09:35 PM
Welcome to our forum!

We have talked a little about this in the past and from what we have seen, to mow foreclosed properties, realtors trying to sell the property should be contacted and then the banks or mortgage companies that hold the mortgages.

They will probably require you have commercial business insurance.

What is your view on why you want to focus on such customers vs other neighbors down the street? Homeowners would probably pay you better and a lot faster than performing services for foreclosed homes.

blueskymowing
07-25-2010, 02:40 AM
I started my business late in the season so when I got a call replying to a craigslist ad from a property management company offering me 30 lawns at $35 a piece every two weeks, I jumped at the opportunity. After some negotiating, I got 10 of the lawns up to $60 per cut due to the distance from my home.
But then I saw what I was dealing with. I started the first week of June and almost none of the lawns had been cut this year, and some for two years. They were all jungles. Some of the grass was as tall as me (5'9"). These jobs were better suited for a bush-hog. But I refused to quit and I grabbed my cheap 25cc curved shaft weed eater and after about three weeks the first brutal round of cuts was complete. I tried to renegotiate the pay for the initial cut but was unsuccessful. One day after I had completed the first round, I got an email informing me that the price was dropping to $25 per lawn. I pleaded with the crooks but they knew they had me by the balls and wouldn't budge. But I still refused to quit.
It's been about two months now and the jobs are much easier. I've upgraded my weed eater and am about to get some more equipment. I'm now hiring people to do the larger lawns while still bringing in a small amount of profit from them while I do the smaller, less time-consuming lawns. I now have 33 HUD lawns and I'm enjoying the work. But it's still not all roses.
The company I have the contract with now owes me about $3300. They use the net30 payment process, which sucks. You get paid 30 days after you complete all the lawns, submit before/during/and after photos, and submit a spreadsheet with dates. I am still waiting for my pay check. I was told it was mailed 8 days ago. I have no credit cards and no money left so the jobs are on hold until I get paid.
This whole thing has been very stressful and has required intense physical labor that only a crazy person would attempt for such low pay. I've heard many other stories where the people were paid fairly and the jobs weren't so terrible, I just don't have one to share with you. Overall, I'm glad I agreed to the deal, I've learned a lot and most of my bitterness will fade away once I start getting paid. I'd definitely take another deal like this if the pay was a little bit higher.

Steve
07-25-2010, 04:09 PM
What a very interesting story!

Looking back on all this and your dealings with this company, if you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

LawnMoore
07-26-2010, 05:55 AM
What a very interesting story!

Looking back on all this and your dealings with this company, if you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I agree, that was entertaining the way you worded it ;) Better than Tv Sitcom!

I know what you mean there somewhat as i have been researching HUD Foreclosures and REO's as well, my partner instpects for MCS a huge middle man in the preservation business, this company however will give us the same routes and homes that he inspects since he has been with them 3 years now and has a 100% success rate with no late tickets etc.

My point is i am already seeing these yards because of his initial and monthly inspection pictures, and better yet MCS pays Bi-weekly instead of some who pay monthly as u say, and there are a few that pay quarterly! every 3 months OMG

Most of the ones i am seeing and he is telling me about are like u say, over 2 feet tall and some back yards are 4-5 feet tall!

I am eager to post my real time experience as well!

blueskymowing
07-27-2010, 08:56 AM
If I had it to do over again I would have traded in my minivan and all other valuables for a dixie chopper.
But really, with the situation I was in, there wasn't much else I could do if I wanted to succeed. Starting out late in the season with very little investment money and no credit but bad credit left me in a tough spot. So when the crooks called, I jumped at the offer. I would take the offer again.
But I am still waiting for my 1st paycheck, I can't work because I have no cash for gas, I'm eating nothing but ramen noodles and eggo waffles, my rent is 3 weeks late, I frightened the postal worker yesterday when I lunged at her from behind the dumpster trying to find my paycheck, and the crooks are pushing me to finish by Wednesday. Also, I owe my helpers a good chunk of change and they're probably calling me awful names behind my back.
If the crooks weren't in Texas I could send somebody over to make them an offer they couldn't refuse but unfortunately all I can do is beg from Carolina.
I'll keep you updated on when/if I actually receive a paycheck.

here's one of the lawns before the first time I cut it
http://http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r241/doc7954/48pinehaverdgweavervillebefore.jpg

Steve
07-27-2010, 03:46 PM
here's one of the lawns before the first time I cut it

It didn't come through. Can you repost it?