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Clapper&company
09-11-2009, 08:44 AM
Good Morning all,


I'm Ron I own a landscape company in NE ohio, I started in 2004 and have been doing pretty well but for sure have had my fair share of ups and downs.

I've know about this site for a few years and though i'd sign up and see what new ideas I could bring to the table!

Thanks

Ron Clapper
Clapper & Company

Steve
09-11-2009, 11:53 AM
Hi Ron,

Welcome to our forum!

but for sure have had my fair share of ups and downs.

In general it doesn't seem to be the ups that knock out newer lawn care businesses, but the downs can really wreak havoc. Could you share with us some advice on some of the downs you went through and how you advise getting through them?

Sometimes we all get one down and we feel like it is the end of the world and we quit.

prestige
09-11-2009, 07:00 PM
Hey Ron,

Welcome. I'd like to hear what your most effective ways of finding new customers has been. I'm just starting a new business myself & am always looking for an idea I hadn't thought of.

Also, if you could benefit from a new ad design, I'm giving out a free one. You can see in this forum thread: http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=9865

Or, I'd be more than happy to print out 500 free 4x6 postcards to help you grow your business.

Glad to meet you,
-David

arthur712
09-12-2009, 10:53 AM
Welcome to the forum Ron!

Ups And Down are great when you are learning from them

Clapper&company
09-14-2009, 02:38 PM
Hi Ron,

Welcome to our forum!



In general it doesn't seem to be the ups that knock out newer lawn care businesses, but the downs can really wreak havoc. Could you share with us some advice on some of the downs you went through and how you advise getting through them?

Sometimes we all get one down and we feel like it is the end of the world and we quit.

Steve,

Over the years we have had some up's and down's alot of them you get write them off and learn by them. Over the years, we've had some problems, one of the problems is every one try to grow to fast and that will always bit you in the ***.

Some of the Major up's we have had :

We were in Snow Business Magazine Sept 2008... This is a big high-lite for use.

In 2008 we Sign a snow Contract for the Largest shopping center in Town, Were under contract till 2012 and they want the lot wet 24/7

In 2007 We were awarded the County's snow bid that included all the County offices and there airport.

In 2006 We were Awarded all the Mowing for the Local Township which we still have to this date.

I took over the Company in 2004, Since then I have grew the company to over Double what it was.


Some of the Downs:

There has been many road bumps i have found. A few of the majors ones have been over the past two years.

I lost a $7000.00 Job due to a supplier, that ended up costing my company $10,000.00.

Last Year I Lost $24,000 In non-Payments.




Any one in biz knows that your going to get stuck at some time, the bigger you are the more you stand to lose. Since Last year we have total change the way things are done in terms of payments and stuff to prevent such a lost again.


The biggest problem were having now, is just Chucks - In - Trucks keeping work from us.

Steve
09-14-2009, 04:18 PM
Any one in biz knows that your going to get stuck at some time, the bigger you are the more you stand to lose. Since Last year we have total change the way things are done in terms of payments and stuff to prevent such a lost again.

This is fascinating! What kind of advice would you have for others on procedures to implement to improve collection of payments?


Last Year I Lost $24,000 In non-Payments.

What's the best way to deal with situations like this? Do you take the customers to court? Or what do you suggest?

one of the problems is every one tries to grow too fast and that will always bit you in the ***.

How does a newer business owner know when they are growing too fast or they are growing within an acceptable range? What's your view?

Clapper&company
09-14-2009, 05:30 PM
This is fascinating! What kind of advice would you have for others on procedures to implement to improve collection of payments?

One of the Biggest things we do now, is to watch for clients, keep an eye on how far there past due.

Dont be afraid to call them and just remind them there accounts are due. another thing that newer LCO are afraid to do is stand there ground. Tell your client "Hey we can't do this next project till you make a payment". Invoice more offen, we invoice Snow after each event and Bi Monthly on Lawn Care. Landscape is Invoice when the job is complete. If its a home owner we never done work for we need payment the day were done with there project before we leave.

Dont Be Afraid to ask for down payments for projects, anything over $500.00 we do. Any Project over a few grand, we have our law firm do a background check on them before we start work.

What's the best way to deal with situations like this? Do you take the customers to court? Or what do you suggest?

It all depends on the Amount thats due. I also try to deal with them first hand for at first, then we turn it over to our law Firm. In the long run taking some one to court only works if theres a large sum due, and most your ppl know that you will never take them to court.

The Best thing to do is have them write a post dated check if you can. This is a great tool, cause if they bounce that check then its a crime and you will get your money.

How does a newer business owner know when they are growing too fast or they are growing within an acceptable range? What's your view?

Its hard to say, You need to grow when the times are right.

For us we dont buy equipment till we have the accounts, its ok to have your crews working 5 10 hr days, but when they start working 6 12hr days its time to add another crew.

The new guys, alway think that the big accounts or the big job is the greatest thing but the truth is, sometime the big project will hurt you.

We do some large projects when they come to us, but most the time we make more off the small projects. Large projects just keep your guys busy and make ppl go look at them.

Steve
09-14-2009, 10:57 PM
Oh all of this is so fascinating!

Bi Monthly on Lawn Care.

So you send out invoices every two weeks for your lawn care clients? What are the payment terms on those invoices? Due upon receipt? Do the customers pay you twice a month too or do they try to combine the invoices and pay you at the end of the month?

Dont Be Afraid to ask for down payments for projects, anything over $500.00 we do. Any Project over a few grand, we have our law firm do a background check on them before we start work.

What % of a down payment do you usually go with? Do you ask for more or less % if the job is bigger or smaller?

Does the customer have to sign something to agree to the background check? What kinds of things do you look for in it and have you ever not done a job because of a back ground check coming back negatively?


It all depends on the Amount thats due. I also try to deal with them first hand for at first, then we turn it over to our law Firm.

At what $ figure would you turn it over to your law firm? Do you ever handle smaller cases yourself in small claims court?

The Best thing to do is have them write a post dated check if you can. This is a great tool, cause if they bounce that check then its a crime and you will get your money.

Can you tell me a little about when you would ask for a post dated check? I don't know the strategy behind all this.