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bam2597
02-24-2009, 10:43 AM
Hey there, just stopping by to introduce myself and say hello.

I am a 30 year old mother of one and this will be my second season in the lawn care business and I am really excited about it. I was working lawn care part time last year (full time in Engineering) and am going full time with lawn care this year. I got in the game a little late in the season, but did okay. I am going all out this year and ready to "give it a go" with lots of hard work.

Last year we ran 1 50" z-turn, 1 40" garden tractor & a 21" push mower. This year we added another 50" z-turn and a 33" walk behind and finally got a bigger trailer!

I used this forum last year for a lot of great advice on advertising and estimating. I figure there's no better way than to learn from those who have been there! So I am looking forward to all of the new posts and new advice to help me out.

Fresh Cut
02-24-2009, 03:56 PM
Hey, I'm also new to this business and I'm 27.

I also started late last season, but I didn't do too well. I did pick up some residential clients but had bad experiences with them all. I have since decided to put my focus on commercial property.

I don't want to completely exclude residential but I think I will have better experience dealing w/ commercial clients that don't nit-pick me to death and cause me to spend hours on their property.

I just want to cut grass can go.

I currently have a 36" Toro Walk behind, 42" Garden tractor (that I don't use anymore because its just a hassle), Redmax trimmer, Echo blower, Echo Hedge clipper and a 16' utility trailer (trailer is for sale $1150).

I'm currently looking for my first commercial customer and doing research on the bidding process.

Any advice would be appreciated

Steve
02-24-2009, 05:27 PM
Hello to both of you!

Welcome!

Wow there is a lot of content in this post here already and I want to get to everything you talked about.

I was working lawn care part time last year (full time in Engineering) and am going full time with lawn care this year.
Bam,

What kind of engineering work did you do? Is it something that you could harness and make yourself stand out with? After all, how many other lawn care business owners are engineers! Any way you can differentiate yourself is a great thing!



I also started late last season, but I didn't do too well. I did pick up some residential clients but had bad experiences with them all. I have since decided to put my focus on commercial property.

I don't want to completely exclude residential but I think I will have better experience dealing w/ commercial clients that don't nit-pick me to death and cause me to spend hours on their property.

Fresh Cut, can you tell us a little about your experiences with your residential customers? What were the problems you had with them?

bam2597
02-24-2009, 09:57 PM
Bam,

What kind of engineering work did you do? Is it something that you could harness and make yourself stand out with? After all, how many other lawn care business owners are engineers! Any way you can differentiate yourself is a great thing!


Always thought I wanted to be an Engineer, but after years in the business I found out the opposite! Lol. I worked in drafting/designing with a Mechanical background. The mechanical background has helped me though in knowing and understanding my equipment for sure. I've never replaced parts or worked on lawn equipment before but so far, I have been able to figure out and do all the repairs myself, so that saves some money!

Thanks for the ideas. I would love to find a way to link the two, that would be great! I will definitley put some thought into that one.

Steve
02-24-2009, 11:21 PM
Ok a mechanical engineer degree with a drafting background. This is fantastic!

You could use this when you are designing landscapes. I bet you could create some amazing designs.

I think you should put on all your marketing material that you are an engineer.

In fact why not build that into your slogan.

"Engineering a better landscape for you." Or something like that.

This will make you stand out. I bet you no other lawn care business owner in your town has an engineering degree. I would play that up big time.

Can you think of other slogans you might like to use that could pull all of that together?

Fresh Cut
02-25-2009, 03:27 PM
Hello to both of you!

Fresh Cut, can you tell us a little about your experiences with your residential customers? What were the problems you had with them?

Steve, well with one real estate agent that I was maintaining a property for... we signed a contract and on my way to do the property for the third time I called her and she said, "I was out there earlier today and I think we can get away with cutting it every 3 weeks, instead of every 2 weeks". The contract was for twice a month maintenance.

I can't run a business like that.

Another lady wanted too much. I was just getting started, in fact she was my first contract and she was really particular, which I didn't have a problem with at first. I was just happy to have my first client, but as time went on I found myself spending just about my whole Saturday in her yard.
Again, I can't run a business like that.
She ended up having to put me on hold because her mother got ill, which I didn't think should have effected the business arangement.
I don't think I want that client back.

Steve
02-25-2009, 06:17 PM
I think when you get started, you tend to take anything you can just to get the gears spinning. But as you go, you figure out who you want as a customer and who you don't. I think you should try getting more residential customers, just not the ones you previously have had. You should look for customers that want weekly mowings.

Every other week is fine when you are first getting started but ultimately you want to replace them with weekly clients.

Don't let some bad initial experiences get you down.

Fresh Cut
02-26-2009, 01:44 PM
I think when you get started, you tend to take anything you can just to get the gears spinning. But as you go, you figure out who you want as a customer and who you don't. I think you should try getting more residential customers, just not the ones you previously have had. You should look for customers that want weekly mowings.

Every other week is fine when you are first getting started but ultimately you want to replace them with weekly clients.

Don't let some bad initial experiences get you down.

You think I should try to get those same clients back this season?
I guess I can't give up on residential business altogether since I am still new and getting everything in order.

I have in the works business cards being printed, and I'm thinking about getting some 5"x7" glossy cards printed up to pass out all over.
I'd like to also get input on advertising on my truck. I initially wanted magnets that could be removed seeing as my truck is my primary mode of transportation, but I also think the vinyl lettering would do nice and be more permanent. I'm stumped between the two.
I'm leaning more toward the magnets and maybe getting more than just two. Maybe get 1 for each door with logo and services, 1 for each side of the bed with large font of phone number only, and another one for the tailgate with logo, services, and large font phone number.


What y'all think?

Steve
02-26-2009, 05:13 PM
You think I should try to get those same clients back this season?
I guess I can't give up on residential business altogether since I am still new and getting everything in order.


If you are broke and need cash, go for anything to keep yourself going, but if the customer has already been a problem, find some better clients. You need to enjoy your business too and if they are driving you crazy and you end up hating your own business, that is not where you want to be.

I have in the works business cards being printed, and I'm thinking about getting some 5"x7" glossy cards printed up to pass out all over.
I'd like to also get input on advertising on my truck. I initially wanted magnets that could be removed seeing as my truck is my primary mode of transportation, but I also think the vinyl lettering would do nice and be more permanent. I'm stumped between the two.
I'm leaning more toward the magnets and maybe getting more than just two. Maybe get 1 for each door with logo and services, 1 for each side of the bed with large font of phone number only, and another one for the tailgate with logo, services, and large font phone number.

Oh I'd love to see your business cards when you get them. If you want to go with magnets at first good for you go with that.

You know what would be really cool too. If you could make flip up wooden sides, from within the truck bed, that you can raise on a hinge and lower when you are not working to promote your business as well. Anything you can do to get attention is a good thing.