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Scottler
08-05-2009, 05:17 PM
So I've finally started to get some business....and I've gotta give it away!

First call was from another LCO in a different county. He'd received a lead for a client who had FOUR ACRES that she wanted mowed. He doesn't operate in my county, so he referred her to me! This would've been great, except that I'm brand new, and I'm pushing my pusher around. A job of that capacity would take me AT LEAST a full day with a tiny little pusher.

Second call is for a guy who has 1 1/2 acres. This is more manageable, and I may estimate him anyway, but still....at least it's not FOUR acres, right?

Unfortunately right now I just don't have the money to buy a rider, and I'm a very staunch "no credit cards" kinda guy, so my wife and I are working to eliminate the debt we built up prior to taking that position.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to not feel RIDICULOUS while I'm literally giving away business?!?!

Like I said, the first one was a no brainer. I may still estimate the second one and suck up spending a half day mowing ONE lawn.

swstout
08-05-2009, 05:40 PM
So I've finally started to get some business....and I've gotta give it away!

First call was from another LCO in a different county. He'd received a lead for a client who had FOUR ACRES that she wanted mowed. He doesn't operate in my county, so he referred her to me! This would've been great, except that I'm brand new, and I'm pushing my pusher around. A job of that capacity would take me AT LEAST a full day with a tiny little pusher.

Second call is for a guy who has 1 1/2 acres. This is more manageable, and I may estimate him anyway, but still....at least it's not FOUR acres, right?

Unfortunately right now I just don't have the money to buy a rider, and I'm a very staunch "no credit cards" kinda guy, so my wife and I are working to eliminate the debt we built up prior to taking that position.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to not feel RIDICULOUS while I'm literally giving away business?!?!

Like I said, the first one was a no brainer. I may still estimate the second one and suck up spending a half day mowing ONE lawn.

A couple of weeks ago I needed a riding mower to tie me over for a few days while my main one was in the shop. I went to Aarons (Like Rent-A-Center) and got one for $35/week. Those 2 jobs would surely pay the rental.

Steve

Steve
08-05-2009, 08:38 PM
Unfortunately right now I just don't have the money to buy a rider, and I'm a very staunch "no credit cards" kinda guy, so my wife and I are working to eliminate the debt we built up prior to taking that position.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to not feel RIDICULOUS while I'm literally giving away business?!?!

Scott,

I would say not to feel bad about this. Sometimes we are able to jump on opportunities and make something with them. Sometimes we can't. It is way better in the long run to slowly and methodically scale up your business than to make huge jumps that may or may not work.

If you can't do it, thats ok. There will come a time in the future when you will be able to, if you keep working at it step by step.

Keep me posted as to what you decide to do.

CHEESE2009
08-05-2009, 11:41 PM
Check out the payment plans for a rider, you might be able to make small monthly payments or make a deal with your dealer lol.

YOU COULD also get a friend with a mower to help you cut the job time in half.

When I started I received calls from people with yards the size of golf courses, I was ready to jump on over & give them an estimate. Then I realized how foolish & dangerous that would be to my business if something were to go wrong.

If you can save a full day to do ONE yard of a large size, do it. It's not as bad as doing 50% of the yard one day, & the other 50% the next day.

In other words, if you can complete a maintenance job in one day, do it. If it takes too long & you have to come back the following day, it looks horrible.

If you decide to go for this job, make sure your estimate is either average or above.

It would seriously suck to manage the property without making a good buck.

jasonw
08-07-2009, 01:49 PM
Goto lowes. Apply for credit. They will more than likely give you a temp card on the spot for $500. Max it out and pony up another 500 for a riding mower. I found out very fast that in order to keep up with demand one should have at least 10K in reserve. When you do what I do "buy equipment as you need it" you can rack up a lot very fast but you never have to turn down work.

Steve
08-07-2009, 04:12 PM
I found out very fast that in order to keep up with demand one should have at least 10K in reserve.

Why did you pick that figure? What's your thoughts on this?

When you do what I do "buy equipment as you need it" you can rack up a lot very fast but you never have to turn down work.
Is there any other equipment currently on your 'to get list'?

Scottler
08-07-2009, 08:41 PM
No, no...credit isn't the issue. Well, sorta.

I already have a Lowe's card, but we're in the middle (technically the beginning) of becoming debt free - no credit cards, no mortgage, no car payment, etc....thank you, Dave Ramsey! The objective here is to just not be a slave to money - rather, make it work for me. So taking on MORE debt would be counterproductive at this point.

As long as I know I'm not shooting myself in the foot for having to actually turn down business initially, I can live with that. Fortunately this isn't my main source of income yet!

Steve
08-07-2009, 08:51 PM
As long as I know I'm not shooting myself in the foot for having to actually turn down business initially, I can live with that. Fortunately this isn't my main source of income yet!

This also got me thinking about a conversation with Justin on here a little while back. He was using a small tractor to service his properties. Then he got a ztr that was a lot faster. I think he bought it on payments but he was saying how if he would have gotten the ztr sooner, he would have been making more money with his lawn care business.

I thought it was a great insight. I personally prefer the start small and scale up approach but he did show how another point of view that if you start with a certain level of equipment, your return on your investment is a lot higher.

It does make you wonder. But ultimately you gotta do what is best for you in your specific situation and all our situations differ. It's nice to see multiple sides.

musician/lawnman
08-07-2009, 09:07 PM
I had been telling Justin (based on canversations we've had on here & on skype) for over a year that he was ready to step up to a ZTR....
Glad he finally pulled the trigger!

Steve
08-07-2009, 09:13 PM
Chuck, what is your take on it for others considering this. What kind of a productivity difference can they expect in their business?

jasonw
08-08-2009, 02:05 AM
Why did you pick that figure? What's your thoughts on this?


Is there any other equipment currently on your 'to get list'?

How did I come up with this number
truck-$2850
New weed eater- 300
Riding mower- 1200
Other misc tools such as chipper, trimmers, maintenance items for equipment- 400. It adds up fast. I started out by giving myself a personal loan for 5K and have about expended that and still don't have everything I will need. Still on my list is a nice tiller, Tiller and plow attachments for riding mower, Attachments for new WW, new trailer so on and so forth. With what I have already spent and with whats on my to get list we have exceeded my figure of 10k. Its important to note that one dose not need what I have or what I want to run a business like this. I just have no spending cap so if I want it or need it I get it. One can just as easily keep a customer happy mowing 2 acres with a push mower while I do it with my rider but the part I like is I will be home on my 3rd Corona while "one" is filling up there 24th tank of gas trying to finish before the day is over. I like the wham bam thank you mam way of doing it. Get in, get out, get paid.

jasonw
08-08-2009, 02:09 AM
No, no...credit isn't the issue. Well, sorta.

I already have a Lowe's card, but we're in the middle (technically the beginning) of becoming debt free - no credit cards, no mortgage, no car payment, etc....thank you, Dave Ramsey! The objective here is to just not be a slave to money - rather, make it work for me. So taking on MORE debt would be counterproductive at this point.

As long as I know I'm not shooting myself in the foot for having to actually turn down business initially, I can live with that. Fortunately this isn't my main source of income yet!

Its my opinion that turning down reasonable business for any reason is already a shot in the foot. Thats why I do it this way. The only person I am in debt with is my wife for not slapping me when I brought home all my new toys. The only job I ever turned down is mowing 2 acres of dead weeds with my push mower in the middle of fire season in N cali "for obvious reasons" Other than that I get a request, Give the bid, get the job then go buy what I need to do it efficiently. The next time a similar job comes up I already have what I need. On the other hand my workshop is getting rather full of equipment I rarely use.

lawncrafter56
08-08-2009, 05:04 PM
Respectfuly, you just let 5 1/2 acres of mowing go? I would think that would be a toro 54"+ commercial ZTR mower monthly payment easy. plus a little beer money for us all! jump on it!:)

jasonw
08-09-2009, 01:23 AM
Respectfuly, you just let 5 1/2 acres of mowing go? I would think that would be a toro 54"+ commercial ZTR mower monthly payment easy. plus a little beer money for us all! jump on it!:)

I agree. The way I run my business I would tough it out with my weed whackers and some hired help until I could buy a rider. I actually did just recently if you remember cut a 1 acre fire break with a weed eater. Got paid good and got a loyal customer for life.