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golfnpreacher
06-22-2009, 08:12 PM
I'm a semi-retired 55 year old, recently laid off of a nice little job I had.

Anyway, I friend that runs a local non-profit (shelters for homeless and domestic violence) asked me if I would take care of their properties around town. Mow, edge, and blow 12 town homes and 2 single family residential properties.

The properties are nicely grouped. I can get two of the town homes without having to move. Two are located less than a mile from the single family homes and the remaining 8 are in two different neighborhoods (4 in one, 4 in the other)

I get $15 each for the town homes and $40 each for the two single family homes and if it is not too hot, I can leave home and be done and back home in 6 hours.

My equipment... a 4X6 trailer that I salvaged, a 1999 Exmark Metro (36") which I got for a steal (less than $250, but needed a lot of work to get running, invested another $250 in parts) a John Deere JS63C 21" push mower, a Ryobi edger, trimmer and blower. And my trusty truck. I either need a bigger trailer or resign myself to using the push mower to do the residential lawns, the current trailer is too small to fit them both.

Just it the course of work, I've picked up one additional customer, but two lawns. The account is a real estate agent that also wants me to service a rental property she owns. Both are in a neighbor I am already doing work in.

I don't mind the work, I'd like to grow until I 3X the current work, remember I am semi-retired, I still want time to enjoy life and the golf course.

Steve
06-22-2009, 09:31 PM
Welcome to our forum!

That sounds like you got yourself up and running! Great job!

What kinds of marketing are you planning on doing now to increase your lawn care customer roster?

How often do you get a chance to golf?

golfnpreacher
06-22-2009, 09:56 PM
Marketing plan - giving it some thought, and it's one of the reasons I've come to this site. I'm considering working up an decent handout and something about a postcard size. Then going (almost) door to door in the communities I'm already in. I'm not sure that a town home community is a viable market for mowing services, although if it is I believe it will be a relative untapped one.

My suspicion is the lawns are easy enough for the homeowner to take care of one their own, while renters - who might not have proper equipment - generally are not concerned about appearances. The single home units are in moderate income neighborhoods. Again presenting a similar problems.

With that in mind I'm going to also make notes of "For Sale" and "For Rent" home, I will note the agent information a contact them with the idea of keeping their properties in top shape.

I want to avoid working weekends, especially Sundays. If I could triple what I'm doing now, it would be three average days and then leave me the rest of the time for family and golf.

Steve
06-22-2009, 10:18 PM
I'm not sure that a town home community is a viable market for mowing services, although if it is I believe it will be a relative untapped one.

Do they have home owner associations? Is it possible that if they do, the HOA would hire one company to service all the townhomes in the association?

arthur712
06-22-2009, 10:29 PM
Good Man, Save some time for Golf!!!!!

Welcome to the forum!

Where do you live? Sorry if I missed that part.

You sound like you ready to go!!

Thanx!
Artie

shaunster
06-23-2009, 07:55 AM
I haven't seen the property yet..

But it's a basic city lot..and the grass is 2 feet high..

To cut rake and haul away what would you charge?

Thanks all!,
Shaun:)

golfnpreacher
06-23-2009, 08:46 AM
Do they have home owner associations? Is it possible that if they do, the HOA would hire one company to service all the townhomes in the association?

I did think about that a while back, but it slipped my mind, thanks for reminding me. While it would be nice, I'm not sure I'd like to get that big. There are over 200 units in each neighborhood. I would have to make a capital investment that I really am not interested in at this time.

However, the Association does have a newsletter and does have a "appearance" policy that requires the lawns to be mowed. Any ideas on a marketing letter to them and/or something for an ad in their newsletter? I know you suggest a lot of community service ideas. What do you think about giving away free cuts for a few lawns (remember it only takes about 15-20 minutes from unload to leaving)

Steve
06-23-2009, 08:37 PM
What do you think about giving away free cuts for a few lawns (remember it only takes about 15-20 minutes from unload to leaving)

Can you tell me more about what you are thinking on this? How would this work?

golfnpreacher
06-23-2009, 10:16 PM
Can you tell me more about what you are thinking on this? How would this work?

I'm thinking along two lines right now. First would be mowing the lawns on either side of the properties I am currently doing. (Most likely this would just be the front, since the rears are in a privacy fence.) And then leaving a note with a message that says something like - Since I was servicing your neighbors yard, I thought you might enjoy the benefit of a professionally appearance as well. I hope it saves you some time an effort this weekend. Please contact..... to arrange further service.

The second would be just picking a yard in need of service and offering a free cut, edge and trim. Then offering a free or discounted service if they can get some neighbors involved (ie cut 3 for the price of 2)

These would be limited time offers, I'm thinking ONE time. I don't want to give away my services and just because I've been smart and gotten some decent equipment at great prices (ie low overhead) I don't want to be caught doing lawns that aren't profitable in the long run. But it would allow me to get my foot in the door, it would expose some homeowners to the benefit/luxury of someone doing the work for them. Hopefully the professional work, done in the heat of summer, would attract them to giving up a few dollars so they don't have to bother with mowers, trimmers, etc.

CHEESE2009
06-24-2009, 02:57 AM
Since I was servicing your neighbors yard, I thought you might enjoy the benefit of a professionally appearance as well. I hope it saves you some time an effort this weekend. Please contact..... to arrange further service.

That actually sounds very neat! Something to test out I guess? I wonder how it'd work out?!

I almost feel like I've done that, but that's only because one of my customers is dodging my phone calls & visits & wont pay me what she owes.

It's sad really, she's the least profitable lawn I have, & she can't pay me... very sad...

Steve
06-24-2009, 05:10 PM
These would be limited time offers, I'm thinking ONE time. I don't want to give away my services and just because I've been smart and gotten some decent equipment at great prices (ie low overhead) I don't want to be caught doing lawns that aren't profitable in the long run. But it would allow me to get my foot in the door, it would expose some homeowners to the benefit/luxury of someone doing the work for them. Hopefully the professional work, done in the heat of summer, would attract them to giving up a few dollars so they don't have to bother with mowers, trimmers, etc.

Keep us posted on how all this goes!

golfnpreacher
07-02-2009, 06:22 PM
As if anyone reads or cares. I changed my billing procedure this week. I went with Quick Books. Anyway I took some time and sent an invoice to the non-profit I do lawns for.

The person that received it called me. She has been getting them for a few weeks now, but this one caught her eye. It looked professional, the logo made her laugh, the business name "popped" and she loved the slogan.

To make a long story short, she want me to come give her a bid on her home, nice lot on the water and she would like me to bid her church. She is on the grounds committee and they are unsatisfied with the current provider.

Just goes to show us all, you never know where your next client may come from.

jds2381
07-02-2009, 06:50 PM
The second would be just picking a yard in need of service and offering a free cut, edge and trim. Then offering a free or discounted service if they can get some neighbors involved (ie cut 3 for the price of 2)



I would stay away from this. If you get into giving a discount because you are already there servicing the neighbor what happens when the neighbor quits you? You are stuck doing a yard for a lot less than you would originally.


God, I've got to go deal with the wife now. If only I could tell stories like breeze. I would keep you entertained for hours with this one. :rolleyes:

golfnpreacher
07-03-2009, 05:19 AM
I would stay away from this. If you get into giving a discount because you are already there servicing the neighbor what happens when the neighbor quits you? You are stuck doing a yard for a lot less than you would originally.


God, I've got to go deal with the wife now. If only I could tell stories like breeze. I would keep you entertained for hours with this one. :rolleyes:

Any discounted services would be limited in scope. For example a reduced rate on a single service for a successful referral.

Steve
07-03-2009, 05:39 AM
The person that received it called me. She has been getting them for a few weeks now, but this one caught her eye. It looked professional, the logo made her laugh, the business name "popped" and she loved the slogan.

To make a long story short, she want me to come give her a bid on her home, nice lot on the water and she would like me to bid her church. She is on the grounds committee and they are unsatisfied with the current provider.

Just goes to show us all, you never know where your next client may come from.

That is fantastic! Word of mouth is very powerful! I bet next you start getting her neighbors to sign up with you too!

mark123
07-03-2009, 05:52 AM
... mowing the lawns on either side of the properties I am currently doing. (Most likely this would just be the front, since the rears are in a privacy fence.) And then leaving a note with a message that says something like - Since I was servicing your neighbors yard, I thought you might enjoy the benefit of a professionally appearance as well. I hope it saves you some time an effort this weekend. Please contact..... to arrange further service. ...
As long as you are fully insured and it's not trespassing. I thought about mowing a lawn in my neighborhood when the guy that lived there disappeared for about 3 months. I ended up calling code enforcement and asking them about it and they told me that they would handle it as I shouldn't due to the liabilities it could present.