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Daboies
07-15-2009, 10:25 PM
Hubby and I have started a Lawn Care business, we have invested a little money, bout $1000.00 so far. We have the business license, getting DBA with next customer check, working on getting the insurance, literally waiting on quote right now. We have the signs on the truck, business cards and professional looking quotes and invoices. I (wife) go out and look for work, while Hubby and son work the yards. We have landed a Reality Company, did a quote on a Commercial property today. Keeping fingers crossed that we get it. We have a seasonal contact with a residential customer right now.

The problem we are having is actually getting the jobs. I am pushing the professional part of it, we do great work. Our web site has before and after pics of some of the properties we have worked on. I know it's just going to take time, but we have a over abundance of yard cutters in our area since the economy is so bad right now. Seems like everyone has a mower and a truck. I am trying to make my company stand out from the rest.

I guess what I am asking is does any one have any ideas on how we can get the business, so we can show a profit. We have thought about the off season and have ideas on what to offer our yearly customers like leaf removal, storm clean up and various other non lawn related items.

I'm going to include my web site so you can look at it and let me know what needs to be tweaked. Every set of eyes can offer advise. Oh and I just wanted to let you know we use craigslist like the bible. Hopefully we are going about this the right way. Our web site is www.daboieslawncare.com let us know what you think and how we can make it better, we really need to make some money to pay the bills.

mark123
07-15-2009, 10:32 PM
... working on getting the insurance, ... We have landed a Reality Company, did a quote on a Commercial property today...
How are you even getting to bid on a realty company and commercial property without insurance? That's should be the first thing they ask for.

Just wondering. I understand that everybody has to start somewhere but there are some places the newbies just can't go.

Little's
07-15-2009, 11:51 PM
I like the website. Just keep looking for the work. It will start coming in and begin snowballing with referrals, etc. Craigslist works ok, but not exactly the kind of customers base you would ideally like to have in the long run. Good luck. And keep knocking on doors...

StartALawnCareBusiness
07-16-2009, 01:24 AM
Welcome to the forum.

I think your site looks fine with a possible few ideas to make it look even better. Being super critical I will tell you the first thing I noticed about your website. You have done a dramatic rehab of your featured lawn...looks great. However, in the after picture of the front of the house it looks like the fence hasn't been completely stripped of all vegetation. There is still growth close to the front gate. Take care of that and get a better picture.

Lawn care companies depend on relationships with their customers. Make your "about us" page a bit more personal. Take a few pictures of your equipment (this lets customers know the type of equipment you use) and your husband & yourself (customers will see a familiar face when you come to do an estimate).

Keep knocking on doors and telling everyone you meet about your business.

You're doing great.

Keith

jasonw
07-16-2009, 06:31 AM
How are you even getting to bid on a realty company and commercial property without insurance? That's should be the first thing they ask for.

Just wondering. I understand that everybody has to start somewhere but there are some places the newbies just can't go.

Website says Licensed and Insured so maybe they think they already are. The only thing that jumps out at me really is the about us page

"Our company is based on the belief that our customers' needs are of the utmost importance. Our entire team is committed to meeting those needs. As a result, a high percentage of our business is from repeat customers and referrals.

We would welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the best service in the industry."

This is a near plagiarism of every non trustworthy company in business today. Maybe its just me but when I read this I think "Yeh right, like the dealer that ripped me off when I ordered my brand new ATV that came with 3 wheels" I would change it up a little so it didn't sound like everyone ells. A good example is my about us text below.

"First impressions are very important! That is why we want you to know all about Foot Hill Lawn Care:
* Professional and friendly team
* Personalized programs
* Outstanding service
* Quality workmanship
* Reliable
* Responsive to your needs
* Affordable
* Well maintained equipment
Your home and its landscape are one of your biggest investments. We understand the importance of having your property look its best at all times. It can be difficult to find lawn and landscape service providers who you can trust and count on. Foot Hill Lawn Care is very serious when we say we are dedicated to pleasing you. Call or e-mail us today to set up an appointment for a free estimate."

That is from a free template from this site. It for the most part says the same thing but plays on the words a little bit making it not sound like a repeat of AIG's website.

jasonw
07-16-2009, 06:40 AM
I'm sorry I just noticed another thing I would change. It may just be an assumption but your post sounds like you guy are just recently starting. Your testimonials page has a testimonial from a customer who has been with you for years. Not sure if this is true or If I am misunderstanding but if its not true I would change it to. A lot can be said for honesty, especially in this business. Honesty is a direct reflection of reliability which is a direct reflection of you and will take you a long way, All it takes is one customer to call you on something like this and it can ruin your image for a long time. These are my personal opinions. On a side note I would never fill out the form on the contact page because it plainly says I will be added to an email list, I get enough of that already. My goodness, in fear of picking apart everything I will stop and just offer a link to the templates here. Take a look at them. I used one for a long time but have sence coded my own that I use now.

http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=7218

Good luck, do not underestimate your local paper. Thus far it has given me 100% of my business. and only costs me $19.95 per month for the add.

Daboies
07-16-2009, 08:10 AM
As for the rehab, it was very wet and rainy that day, we are going back out to do a 2nd cut and trim and when we are done with that it will look totally different, and we are going to update the pic then.

We have had a customer we have dealt with for about 3 years, before we actually started the business part of it. He owns about 50 properties in our immediate area.

As for the wording on the About Us page, the reason it is worded the way it is, is 1. I have been in the customer service industry for about 10 years and customers do really like to know they are the main priority. Any time I go and talk to someone about doing a lawn, I make them the main focus and the lawn is 2nd. I want them as a loyal customer, once I get that I know the rest will follow.

It's just hard to start up when you have people out there doing lawns for 15-20 dollars. Seems everyone wants that type of price.

As for insurance, as of this morning we will be insured, the problem I was having was a certain insurance company was supposed to be sending me a quote, but never did, so I had to go in search of another agent. Also another question, what is a fair price for insurance? We are looking for liability and at least 250,000 for equipment. We don't have any ZTR's or walk behinds . We have a 50" inch rider with a floating deck, a 38" rider and a 21" self propelled. 2 weed eaters a Ryobi industrial and Troy built residential. A Craftsman blower and other hand tools. Oh and of course the trailer. What type of insurance can you guys recommend? I just don't want to get ripped, by taking the first offer.
Thanks guys. I am going to take the information you provide to make it work, come hell or high water.

Steve
07-16-2009, 11:55 AM
Hi Daboies,

Welcome to our forum.

My view is this. It all starts with human interactions.

The average person won't care if a company has a website. They won't care if a company has a door hanger. They won't care if they have uniforms. All of these things can help but they are not the most important part.

The most important part is the customer knows the business owner, especially when it's a small business.

Think about it. You would hire a friend of your first, everytime over an unknown business when given the chance.

So the most important thing to do is to meet people and let the people you already know, that you are now in business.

Once you get customers, ask them what other services they need done. The more problems you can solve for them, the more they will call upon you for services and the more they will refer you out to their friends and family.

Do you have any friends that sell Mary Kay or Pampered Chef or anything like that? They key in on human interactions. They want to meet you an your friends in your home so they can become friends with you and sell to you. Then they want to do this again with your friend's friends and so on and so on.

It's very important to work your social networks.

Are you involved in any social organizations in your community? Are you letting them know you are now in business?

What other things are you doing to promote yourself?

mark123
07-16-2009, 02:43 PM
... As for insurance, as of this morning we will be insured, the problem I was having was a certain insurance company was supposed to be sending me a quote, but never did, so I had to go in search of another agent. That seems to be par for the course. It's as if the insurance agents don't want our money. :shrug:

It took me three tries before getting a quote.

Also another question, what is a fair price for insurance? We are looking for liability and at least 250,000 for equipment. It depends on so many factors. If you have employees then you'll also need workers compensation insurance.

.What type of insurance can you guys recommend? I just don't want to get ripped, by taking the first offer. Erie Insurance has been the top rated for as long as I can remember.

KGW09
07-16-2009, 08:25 PM
"Our company is based on the belief that our customers' needs are of the utmost importance. Our entire team is committed to meeting those needs. As a result, a high percentage of our business is from repeat customers and referrals.

We would welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the best service in the industry."



Dang, my site has the same exact wording, I guess I need to change that! I borrowed it from Vista Print's pre-made website they offer.

mark123
07-16-2009, 08:29 PM
Dang, my site has the same exact wording, I guess I need to change that! I borrowed it from Vista Print's pre-made website they offer.Well if you look at Daboies site code you'll see this: <meta name="generator" content="VistaPrint SiteBuilder v20.2">

KGW09
07-17-2009, 08:44 AM
Well if you look at Daboies site code you'll see this: <meta name="generator" content="VistaPrint SiteBuilder v20.2">

Yeah, it is a Vista Print site, says so at the bottom of each page.

mark123
07-17-2009, 01:21 PM
Yeah, it is a Vista Print site, says so at the bottom of each page. I totally missed that. ;) Do all the freebies have that branding on the bottom?