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jasonw
02-10-2009, 02:31 PM
Hi my name is Jason. I have done little nickle and dime yard work on and off for a very long time and recently decided it was time to make some real money doing it and become less dependent on my current employer that looks like it may fold under the economic stress. I look forward to learning a lot here. I am 30yo and from Amador County, Ca. At this point sence I do have a day job I am looking to take on some side work mowing yards in my area. Last time I did this I got way to busy and back then my current employer was doing very good so I pretty much stopped the yard work adventure. This time I hope to start of with the Mow, blow and go theory for now at least and be much more careful as to not over book myself like I did before. Thus far as much as I can tell I am ready to go. Got my trusty old car and tailor, mower, WW and blower. Got the business cards, put up fliers and my add comes out in the paper tomorow.

Steve
02-10-2009, 02:45 PM
Hey Jason,

Welcome to our forum!

Do you have a picture of your set up? I'd like to see it. I think it would be inspiring for others who feel they need a truck to get started.

What have you been doing so far to attract customers?

jasonw
02-10-2009, 03:03 PM
I will get a picture up in the next day or 2 as I must run out to my 9-5 in a few minutes. A truck is very over rated. I use as I have always used a 1981 Toyota Carolla station wagon to tow my trailer. The little 1.8L hemi and 5 speed have no problems what so ever towing the trailer witch is a converted boat trailer. To attract customers right now I am running an add in the paper "comes out tomorow" putting up fliers and handing out business cards to friends and family. I was also thinking of hopping on my mountain bike and running around my small town and leaving business cards at the doors of houses that looked like they needed the yard work done but I don't know. I keep my yard very nice, I enjoy doing this kind of work but I think I may be offended if my yard was bad and someone left a yard work card at my door.

Steve
02-10-2009, 03:09 PM
I will get a picture up in the next day or 2 as I must run out to my 9-5 in a few minutes. A truck is very over rated. I use as I have always used a 1981 Toyota Carolla station wagon to tow my trailer. The little 1.8L hemi and 5 speed have no problems what so ever towing the trailer witch is a converted boat trailer.

That is fantastic! Ingenuity! I can't wait to see!

jasonw
02-11-2009, 02:39 PM
Here is my set up. As you can see its not much but its cheap and reliable witch is all that matters. I cant haul a lot but why do I need more than what I have in there in the picture?
http://images.foothillreptiles.com/car/1.JPG
http://images.foothillreptiles.com/car/2.JPG
http://images.foothillreptiles.com/car/3.JPG
http://images.foothillreptiles.com/car/4.JPG

Steve
02-11-2009, 02:45 PM
That is just fantastic!

How long did it take to put that together and what do you think it cost to do it?

Are you planning on putting any signs on the side of your trailer? Heck you could even hand paint it and it would get the point across!

jasonw
02-11-2009, 02:57 PM
Car= $150
New transmition= $300
Boat $400
Sold boat kept trailor +$200
Materials to box in trailor $60
Mower $120
WW $80
Blower $69.99
All total I am able to go into business for $979.99 Now take into consideration I already had the equipment for maintaining my own yard then it only really cost me a few hundred total. This of course dose not include business cards, paper to print fliers, computer to hook printer to so on and so forth but as you can see its very easy to get started cheap so common people call me LOL:) My add came out today but no calls yet. hmmmm I'm sure this economy has something to do with it but I live just outside of a golf course community so I figured that would keep me pretty busy, unless of course yard maintenance is part of there home owners benefits, I have seen that before.

Steve
02-11-2009, 03:13 PM
Great stuff!

What did you put in your ad?

Also, did you consider putting together an article to submit to the local paper about "When the economy hands you lemons, it's time to make lemonade." And in the article, talk about how you started your own business on the cheap and you want to inspire others in your area to harness their entrepreneurial spirit.

I bet something like that would get you in the paper and help get your name out.

jasonw
02-11-2009, 03:19 PM
Thats not a bad idea really. As far as my add goes it was something to the effect of "Pain in the grass" Mowing and weed eating, call me. Strait , to the point and I think the bold title of Pain in the grass will catch peoples attention. As far as you question I forgot to answer before. I do plan on painting the plywood on the tailor and putting some sort of name and or logo on it but I told myself that will come from business income witch I am still working on. No more money out of my pocket on this project. I have everything I need its just a matter of the phone ringing now.

jasonw
02-11-2009, 03:20 PM
On 2nd thought I don't know if an article in the paper would be a good idea. We live in a small community and I am not sure how my 9-5 employer would feel about me talking about that sort of thing, know what I mean? I fully plan to quit and do this full time but not until I build up a good customer base. so I can make my house payment and car payment and all my other bills.

Steve
02-11-2009, 03:45 PM
I can understand. I would say, keep the idea handy in case something happens with your ft job so you can jump on the opportunity.

jasonw
02-12-2009, 01:01 PM
Gosh I am getting a little bummed out here. No calls at all yet. I got 2 clicks yesterday for the website but it still needs work. How long dose it normally take to get work from paper adds? I guess more than a day but I honestly expected to get a call at least by now.

Steve
02-12-2009, 02:20 PM
Gosh I am getting a little bummed out here. No calls at all yet. I got 2 clicks yesterday for the website but it still needs work. How long dose it normally take to get work from paper adds? I guess more than a day but I honestly expected to get a call at least by now.

I think anyone who has ever published any advertisement has felt exactly the way you do now. We all tend to feel we will put this ad out and a rush of calls will come in.

The first thing to realize is to not give up or get depressed. This is how things go. If you get a 1% response on any of your marketing material, you are doing well.

What you need to do is work on your social networking. People to people selling. Talk to people. Get to know people. Let people know you are in business. Ask current customers if they have anyone they can refer you to.

Then keep on this every day. Every single day is a new day to market. We can't rely on just one event. We are not just in business to perform what ever service we perform, we are also in business to promote ourselves.

Does this help?

jasonw
02-12-2009, 02:29 PM
Great pick me up thanks. I have used one of your fliers, the one with the lawn ripping out of the paper. I think it will be a nice attention grabber and also downloaded a web template as it is a lot more professional looking than the front page one I have now. I am so so full of anxiety. I want top work and I want to work now darn it lol. My whole purpose and goal is to quit my day job, oh what a wanderfull day that will be.

Steve
02-12-2009, 02:33 PM
Great pick me up thanks. I have used one of your fliers, the one with the lawn ripping out of the paper. I think it will be a nice attention grabber and also downloaded a web template as it is a lot more professional looking than the front page one I have now. I am so so full of anxiety. I want top work and I want to work now darn it lol. My whole purpose and goal is to quit my day job, oh what a wanderfull day that will be.

I think all too often we all really hold ourselves back from being outrageous with our promotions and our marketing. We want to get business but we really don't want too much attention or to stand out TOO much. So then we do little things here or there and they never really get us to where we would really like to be.

My question to you is this. What wild and outrageous ideas can you come up with to really grab attention in your area?

I want you to succeed and I want you to do this fulltime, so what can you do to really stand out?

I think this will be a great mental exercise for you.

Tell me your thoughts on that.

jasonw
02-12-2009, 02:51 PM
How about I drive around with my name on my car like this?
This should draw attention to me in my small town

http://images.foothillreptiles.com/truckrockets.jpg

Steve
02-12-2009, 03:14 PM
Well that is very interesting! You could do something similar and dress up your car. Mount a mower on the roof! Paint the car a crazy color with household latex paint. That could get you a lot of attention.

What else are you thinking?

jasonw
02-12-2009, 03:19 PM
How about a golf cart to haul my stuff and trailer? We live in a golf community so they are legal on any street in the city. Its not uncommon at all to see them parked at the local store

Steve
02-12-2009, 03:50 PM
Sure! Could you jazz it up a bit to really grab attention? What could you do with this to get people talking? To get them to say "Hey did you see Jason driving around in that __________, oh you didn't? You gotta see it. He runs a lawn care company."

jasonw
02-13-2009, 01:45 AM
I don't know I think it would take to much time and money when rather I could be out ground pounding the good ol fashond way letting everyone know this is who I am and what I am doing. I have already sent some emails to a few real estate people I know asking them to recommend me.

MacTrina
02-13-2009, 10:07 AM
you should be liget get a name for your company regester with the state get insurance (people that hire a lawn guy should ask for proof of this if you get hurt on there property you can sue them) and pay sales tax we have to here in ohio. I would get better looking equipment people wont look at you as a pro with that stuff and last you need to work on getting a bigger mower.I had 45 homes and a large church theres no way to cut that with a 21" mower pluss your mower wont last there not built to cut for 10 hours a day 6 days a week.Now last you need to know you will put in long days in 95 heat sun beating you down and since its your company you will work alot of hours for free (maintenance on your mowers going out on bids passing out fliers doing papper work) people that are in this biz know what im talking about it can be frustrating but I love it. Good luck

SprinklerRepair
02-13-2009, 02:30 PM
SacramentoLawnCareService.com is an available URL. If I was you I would buy it.

Few things make me happier than watching small, but smart, companies kick the living crap out of the "big boys" that went with ego urls like "LookAtMe,I'mTheBigCheeseHereInSacramento.com"

Steve
02-13-2009, 02:32 PM
That is a fantastic idea!

Keep us posted on this Jason.

jasonw
02-14-2009, 12:04 AM
you should be liget get a name for your company regester with the state get insurance (people that hire a lawn guy should ask for proof of this if you get hurt on there property you can sue them) and pay sales tax we have to here in ohio. I would get better looking equipment people wont look at you as a pro with that stuff and last you need to work on getting a bigger mower.I had 45 homes and a large church theres no way to cut that with a 21" mower pluss your mower wont last there not built to cut for 10 hours a day 6 days a week.Now last you need to know you will put in long days in 95 heat sun beating you down and since its your company you will work alot of hours for free (maintenance on your mowers going out on bids passing out fliers doing papper work) people that are in this biz know what im talking about it can be frustrating but I love it. Good luck

.Did I mention anywhere that I am trying to do this 10 hours a day right now? If so I am sorry, I thought I said I was looking to do this on the side of my 9-5 eventually doing it full time. I'm looking to do a few jobs a week and maybe expand from there. I sent out a mas email to all the local Realtors today and so far got one response asking for a detailed list of services and prices. As far as my equipment there is nothing wrong with it. As I explained to the perspective customer today I have a low overhead so I can pass on the savings to him. If I had a 40G Dodge 3500 with a 20 foot enclosed trailer then hey look at that I could not pass on any savings.

jasonw
02-14-2009, 12:12 AM
SacramentoLawnCareService.com is an available URL. If I was you I would buy it.

Few things make me happier than watching small, but smart, companies kick the living crap out of the "big boys" that went with ego urls like "LookAtMe,I'mTheBigCheeseHereInSacramento.com"

Actually I am not working in the Sacramento area. That would be an hour drive for me to mow a lawn, There is no way I could charge enough to make it worth it. I looked up a few local doman names and they are free, I am just sitting on them until work picks back up.

MacTrina
02-14-2009, 09:21 AM
I was just giving it to you straight you will not get any realestate if you dont have insurance I think the lowest is like 300000 coverage some want 1000000.I do know that equipment wont last if you start getting alot of lawns to cut.What are going to do if they want there sidewalk edged.

jasonw
02-14-2009, 10:52 AM
There is nothing wrong with charging less if you can afford to, it creates healthy competition. I am very sorry that you woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, or maybe its that you are local to me and afraid of me taking business don't know but if you cant be more respectful and not act like a jerk please don't bother responding to my posts, ever. thank you.

englishtree
02-14-2009, 05:01 PM
there are many factors that take place for working for yourself and you have a great attitude, striving to be who you are. No matter what anybody says shouldn't get in your way of your goals. Over time you will learn what you need down the road, in this economy it's hard starting a business (my opinion)
You should keep what you have and add as you go. But keep in mind Does your job have health insurance? because you'll have to buy that Does your job offer 401k? you'll have save yourself. In this tight economy everything adds up to a lot of money. And the guy was right you will need liability insurance to do most jobs not all of them but most you'll learn. hope the best

http//:www.englishtreeandlawn.com

jasonw
02-14-2009, 05:56 PM
Thanks a million. great words of wisdom. My 9-5 offer health insurance as well as 401K but I don't use them. I invest in my own retirement and my wife is a nurse so her health coverage is way better than anything I have. I understand I need liability insurance. I am going to shop around for that this next week. I agree with adding as I go. If business is booming and my little old mower just cant hang anymore than I am prepared to buy a new one. I also agree it is hard right now but you know what they say, recessions make millionaires.

MacTrina
02-15-2009, 04:04 PM
I started with a 21" push mower battery weed eater no blower and no trailer.I passed out door to door 6000 fliers I would start at 9.00 am and stop at dark around 8.30 or 9.00 pm thats what I ment by working long hours with no pay.I now have a 48" scag, 21" and two 33" mowers 2 quality weed eaters and a ok blower a trailer but im buying a bigger one this season.I will starat passing out fliers in about 4 weeks I have im thinking 35 customers from last season and Im thinking 30 to 40 more this season I put bids on 12 apartments and 6 strip malls no word yet I bust my but every day to make this company grow.I had a great job worked for a large paint company for 10 years and got sick from the fumes (ocupational asthma) I was making 21.00 hr 50 hours a week.But I did not give up. so no Im not afraid im a fighter and not afraid off any company.The reason I do a great job is when I was 20 I worked for a lawn care company and I was the lead over 12 guys then after that I worked for another company for 5 years and we did only $400000. homes it had to be tight.
Good luck

bailedwiththehay
02-16-2009, 03:59 PM
i am adam. i am new here.

i live in newport news virginia and own a grounds maintenance business.

Steve
02-16-2009, 04:15 PM
Hi Adam,

Welcome to our forum.

What go you to start your lawn care business?