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mhoward92
11-02-2008, 12:50 PM
Hello everyone! I'm Mitch Howard, I'm new to the forum and am looking forward to all the help. Here is my deal:

I can't really say I'm new to the business, well...I'm 17...the thing is I have been doing this since i was 11. But the other day for some reason (after 6 years of doing this) I decided that I should consider starting up a Business. I used to live in Florida were this kind of business is very popular. Now I'm living in Northern Michigan. It's a bit of a bummer since our cold season overtakes the warm season.

I'm thinking of combining a little bit of everything into the business
snow removal
mowing
leaf removal
spring cleanup (dead grass raking)

you know anything that people don't want to do. The plus of living here is There are many Elderly people with loot to spend on this. I have pretty much everything since i have been doing this for a while. My concern is that business will slow so much in the winter season. I already have 3 people that prepaid me very well to upkeep their properties while they leave for florida for the season. My goal Is to get that in more of a mass quantity since many of the customers i get are "snowbirds" and go south for the winter.

So i know I'm not asking a "general Question" but basically I like reading from the experts and I don't mind what you have to say. Just reply and I gurentee I'll read it and reply back thanking you.

Thanks

-Mitch

musician/lawnman
11-02-2008, 01:45 PM
Mitch,
I'm down here in Florida, but I can tell you alot of the guys on here are in the same boat up there & provide the same services you are talking about. The landscapers up north often tend to be the same guys with snow plows, shovels & snow blowers in their hands all winter.

Good luck man!

mhoward92
11-02-2008, 05:47 PM
yeah thats what I figured, I'm just wondering if anyone up here has any good ideas to keep busy other then snow removal.

Steve
11-03-2008, 05:22 AM
Hi Mitch,

Welcome to our forum.

I would say offer handyman services. Cleaning out gutters. Fixing up things around the house. Maybe outdoor holiday lighting & decorations.


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

mhoward92
11-03-2008, 06:45 AM
As I stated, there are many people that live around me that are elder. So I have been going around their neighborhoods and would just start talking with them. Ive picked up quite a bit of year round business from just doing that. Yesterday I went over to an elder ladies house to help her husband move a dock. It took 5 minutes and she gave me 20 bux.

But to fully answer your question, I get business by just going around knockin' on someones door and start talking with them like i know them. I also am printing business cards this week and am handing them out when i meet people.

Steve
11-03-2008, 09:06 AM
Mitch,

Check out the free flyer section. There might be some good ideas there for you.

Especially maybe this flyer (http://www.gopherforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=226&d=1214392414).

Yesterday I went over to an elder ladies house to help her husband move a dock.
Is this a service a lot of others could use? Do you live near a lake where the home owners want to remove their dock before the water freezes in the winter? Could this be an additional service you could offer now?

mhoward92
11-03-2008, 01:49 PM
Yes It is a service I can offer. I pretty much will be offering any kind of service during the winter seasons. I have to really since Lawn care is not an option during the winters up here. (ugh...I wish i lived in florida still....)

Steve
11-03-2008, 09:17 PM
Keep us posted on how all the marketing goes. Also don't forget to experiment with advertising on craigslist.com

R&B Enterprise
11-04-2008, 09:29 AM
yeah thats what I figured, I'm just wondering if anyone up here has any good ideas to keep busy other then snow removal.

Here are a few thought. i started as a handyman and transitioned into lawn care.
learn how to caulk windows, gutter cleaning and repair, re grout tile (after a couple of years grout will wear out)replace broken tile, repair/replace blinds, repair holes in drywall. paint, remove wall paper. these are easy items to do and does not require expensive equipment. also if you are still in school is if they offer a wood shop course, it does not hurt to learn all you can. another good source is the Internet, http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh has good how to information. watch the DIY channel they give you the basic idea on how things are done.

Good luck

Rob

Steve
11-04-2008, 09:57 AM
Rob,

Do you still offer those services or market them? Or is it not worth your time anymore?

R&B Enterprise
11-04-2008, 11:15 AM
Rob,

Do you still offer those services or market them? Or is it not worth your time anymore?

Yes i still offer these services, I do not market them, i have property mangers and a paint company the market my service to there customers, it is still worth my time since it helps with the slow times during mowing, since this year i only marketed for 1 time mows, had 4 regular weekly mows next year i am trying commercial and land more weekly mowing.

Rob

Steve
11-04-2008, 11:59 AM
i have property mangers and a paint company the market my service to there customers,

How would you suggest other lawn care business owners get others to help market their services the way you do?

mhoward92
11-04-2008, 01:18 PM
I think the hardest part of this type of business is actually "sticking the client" I mean anyone will let you mow their lawn for $35, but the part that gets tricky is actually convincing them to pay you that all year. I know quality of the service will help but even if the job is done perfect many people I have found don't like to pay someone that much for a lawn service. It does not sound much to us but many people rather pay a 10 year old kid to do a half/half job and only pay him $10.

I'm not saying this always applies but in general thats what has been hard for me. (especially the older people with tight pockets)

Steve
11-05-2008, 10:34 AM
One of the things we have seen is this is especially true with cheaper customers. When you position your business based on lower prices, you tend to attract flighty customers that come and go at a whim.

Have you found this to be the case too?

I think the hardest part of this type of business is actually "sticking the client" I mean anyone will let you mow their lawn for $35, but the part that gets tricky is actually convincing them to pay you that all year.

Are you offering a 12 equal month budget payment plan to your customers? Is this what you mean?

mhoward92
11-05-2008, 12:31 PM
well i'm talking about the prices period. I have found it hard to get people to understand that is 35$. instead of $20.

Steve
11-05-2008, 12:49 PM
How is your area? Are there sections that are richer than others? Which neighborhoods do you find yourself servicing mostly?

mhoward92
11-05-2008, 12:53 PM
yes, there are rich and poor neighborhoods. I do more service for the rich. my problem comes trying to get the service with the poor.

Steve
11-06-2008, 06:37 AM
my problem comes trying to get the service with the poor.

This is fascinating! What is your view then on why you try to get more business from the poorer area vs focusing on getting more business from the richer area?

mhoward92
11-06-2008, 12:41 PM
Well I guess i was not very clear, when i said "poor" i guess i ment more "non rich" So obviously with knowing that information you know that my area like most other areas only has a handful of rich. the rest are Average i guess i mis used the term "poor" But my goal at this point is to begin building a strong clientel structure. that way i can begin to think about what to do with my profits to expand the business.