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  • Biggest business problem you are dealing with?

    What is the biggest business problem you are dealing with at the moment?
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  • #2
    whether or not to take on snow plowing as an additional service. At this years end of season for mowing, I sent out surveys and asked about snow removal. Well beyond my belief, 80% of my customers said that they would be interested in snow removal. I have a Ford F150 and now with everybody asking about snow plowing, I am wondering what to do. One, do I just put a plow on my personal truck to make it through the year, or do I try to purchase a used plow truck and hope that even though it is used, that it will make it through the winter. Next year, I should be able to purchase a truck, however, I was wanting it to be a dump truck. So that is what I am dealt with. I also am in between a dump truck or not a dump truck?

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    • #3
      Okay, a few questions and suggestions...

      "Snow Plow" - How old is your pick up? Is it a 4x4?

      "Dump Truck" - They have kits for this!

      Depending on the year and dependability of your current truck, you might want to consider keeping it and just modify it as needed.

      http://www.northernhydraulics.net/du...FSda7Aodnxm4pg - pick-up conversion kit

      http://www.truckaddons.com/Catalog/s...r_polarpro.htm - this snow plow hooks into a 2" receiver installed on the front of the vehicle. Cheapest of the 5 i have seen

      Its all in how you look at the situation, i bet you could make your current truck work till the wheels fall off .

      Matt
      M.A.K. Landscaping

      http://www.ma-klandscaping.com

      407-949-1073

      Volusia County FL
      Seminole County FL

      "Treating your property as if it were OUR own!"

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      • #4
        current truck is a 2007 with 30,000 miles and 4x4 on it, crew cab. the only downfall is this is my personal vehicle, i am just using for business purpose for this year. Also what are some suggestions for pricing of residental driveways per plow, under an hour of work.

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        • #5
          Biggest problem I'm having is receiving payment for snow removal. I mean it's not like mowing where customers can just set payment out before I come on their day. So I'm either having to make another trip to pick up payment or wait for them to send it. Them sending it would be alright, but it seems like it slips their mind rather easy.


          CFD: I don't drop my blade for under $35 a drive. Most drives take under 10 minutes to clear if you want to do a good job. Now if you're going to have someone clearing walks, then I'd make it $45 a clearing. If you're doing it yourself, depending on the size of walks I'd mark up to atleast $40.
          Website: www.clslawncare.com

          http://www.facebook.com/CLsLawnCare.SnowRemoval

          Some of my work! "Like" my page.

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          • #6
            get a cheap plow
            look on craigslist for a used one
            you can find one to make it through one season for 500 and under im sure..theres about 4 around here alli n pretty good condition except for a little rust on the back or on the mount.

            if you could get a truck next year go for it

            you can get a dump bed kit from the site MAK sent you too but i know
            there is one other place that has been mentioned on the forum and im saving up for one of there kits

            no fabricating or anything is needed just some bolts and they work great..

            stealthdumptrucks.com

            then you could even get some side pannels to go around the bed..like the truck caps but with no top..i havnt seen anything like that..maybe some of you have..

            but..i think i just got a fantastic idea on making something if it hasnt been made before..this way..for all of those that use open trailers with no sides..or enclosed trailers..you can extend your bed capacity..ill look into it..if its not done..i think im gonna have to start making some prototypes
            Just Kut Lawn and Landscape
            "Where Service is Always in Season"
            Reach for the stars so if you fall you land on a cloud.

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            • #7
              Biggest problem I'm having is receiving payment for snow removal. I mean it's not like mowing where customers can just set payment out before I come on their day. So I'm either having to make another trip to pick up payment or wait for them to send it. Them sending it would be alright, but it seems like it slips their mind rather easy.


              CFD: I don't drop my blade for under $35 a drive. Most drives take under 10 minutes to clear if you want to do a good job. Now if you're going to have someone clearing walks, then I'd make it $45 a clearing. If you're doing it yourself, depending on the size of walks I'd mark up to atleast $40.
              Can you set them up on autopay with thier credit cards? That way the day you do the driveway, you can process the payment and not have to chase them down to get paid. OR have them pay for the season up front. Of course you take a chance on getting way to much snow and not getting as much but at least you have the money up front. The plus of that would be if you dont get as much snow you make out if the payment is up front.
              http://www.lunchesruslawncare.com

              Comment


              • #8
                What is the biggest business problem you are dealing with at the moment?
                Great question. Besides my small collection issue with a few clients that I was talking about in another thread, my biggest problem is what direction I want to take my business next year.

                I want to consolidate my routes and increase my weekly lawn clients. So after the hoilday I need to spend some quality time with my marketing/business plan and fine tune it for the 2011 season. I also need to purchase another mower. I currently run a 36 Ferris walk behind, but I took on some larger residential lots the end of the season and I think I could really benefit from a small zero turn or a larger walk behind. I also need to consider hiring a part time employee. I wanted to stay solo as long as possible but if I can continue my growth rate I will probably need to bring on someone by early June.

                I really would not call these problems, but more of a challenge when growing a business.

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                • #9
                  whether or not to take on snow plowing as an additional service. At this years end of season for mowing, I sent out surveys and asked about snow removal. Well beyond my belief, 80% of my customers said that they would be interested in snow removal. I have a Ford F150 and now with everybody asking about snow plowing, I am wondering what to do. One, do I just put a plow on my personal truck to make it through the year, or do I try to purchase a used plow truck and hope that even though it is used, that it will make it through the winter. Next year, I should be able to purchase a truck, however, I was wanting it to be a dump truck. So that is what I am dealt with. I also am in between a dump truck or not a dump truck?
                  You might not even need a plow. Not sure how long/big the driveways are in your part of the country, but where I am they are all very small. I wasnt planning on doing any snow removal like yourself, but I had alot of my local clients request it. I went out and purchased a nice snowblower and can do a small driveway in 7-12minutes. With drive time I can average 3-4 an hour. Pricing is competive at @$25-35 a drive. I would like a plow and a new truck, but it wasnt a feasable purchase for my business this season. I have a pretty good client base but picked up 3 more clients earlier this week when we had a big snow. All were word of mouth or neighbors who came out and inquired. I am hoping to add a few more as the winter drags on and maybe turn some of them into lawn clients for the summer.

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                  • #10
                    my biggest problem is what direction I want to take my business next year.
                    What different options do you feel you have ahead of you that you could choose from?
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                    • #11
                      What different options do you feel you have ahead of you that you could choose from?
                      Steve, I really have a few things that I could do. When I started I thought I would just stay a solo operator and only do lawns with the occassional landscaping job. However I found the landscaping pays better and there is a lot of competition in the area for guys who just mow and go. In addition I ended up doing a lot of these small landscaping jobs that really helped my bottom line.

                      So some options I am considering are:

                      1, Stay solo and increase my lawn count by @ 10 to a total of @40 and cut 3-4 days a week and fill the other couple days with small landscaping work.

                      2, Try to increase my lawn count to 60-70+ and hire a helper getting away from alot of landscaping and concentrating my marketing to just lawn clients. Past clients and referrals will keep me busy with small landscaping, weeding, and mulch jobs one to two days a week.

                      3, Increase the lawn count to @40, hire a helper and increase marketing for my landscaping doing more and bigger jobs.

                      I am leaning towards #3. I would like to add more complicated landscaping jobs, maybe some water features and outdoor lighting. I really would like to find a niche and try to specialize. With the high unemployment in Michigan there are alot of low-ballers driving the price down on lawn cutting ($10-15 any size lawns is common in the paper and on craigslist). I can still compete, but it is a harder sell when my price is a minimum of $25 per cut and that is for a very small lawn. You can only sell the benefits of professionalism, being licensed and insured, etc so much. Of course that is a topic for another thread.

                      However the competition for landscaping and other services like hedge trimming, sodding, etc is not anywhere as bad. Seems most of the low-ballers either wont or dont know how to do alot of these tasks. To be honest I like the landscaping more. The lawn you cut only stays nice for a day or two, but I can drive by landscaping projects I did in the spring and they only look better as they mature.

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                      • #12
                        Biggest problem I'm having is receiving payment for snow removal. I mean it's not like mowing where customers can just set payment out before I come on their day. So I'm either having to make another trip to pick up payment or wait for them to send it. Them sending it would be alright, but it seems like it slips their mind rather easy.
                        If you had a wordpress site (I am looking into Joomla also) I can make it so that you can invoice online and they can either spit it out their printer because it emails a PDF or they follow the link in the email to view and then pay the invoice via paypal.
                        Pat

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                        • #13
                          My biggest problem I'm dealing with is the guilty feeling I get when I have to turn away new clients. We have gotten a fair amount of snow lately and the phone has been ringing like crazy with potential new clients asking for monthly snow service. I feel bad having to turn them away as I have too many clients to handle already. Many have asked if I know of any reliable snow removal guys cause the one they already have doesn't show up. Sadly I can't even help them out with that either ... What a strange situation to be in!

                          Lloyd
                          Blue's YardFX
                          Camrose, Alberta

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                          • #14
                            Can you set them up on autopay with thier credit cards? That way the day you do the driveway, you can process the payment and not have to chase them down to get paid. OR have them pay for the season up front. Of course you take a chance on getting way to much snow and not getting as much but at least you have the money up front. The plus of that would be if you dont get as much snow you make out if the payment is up front.
                            Jymie I currently have 11 customers that did a seasonal contract and pay a monthly charge. The problem is my other 17 that are per clearing. I currently have someone working on my website(wish he was moving faster) and I want to setup a payment option on it. Most of my customers found me from craigslist, so I know they have internet. So we'll see when that day comes how much stress it will actually take off.
                            Website: www.clslawncare.com

                            http://www.facebook.com/CLsLawnCare.SnowRemoval

                            Some of my work! "Like" my page.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Jymie I currently have 11 customers that did a seasonal contract and pay a monthly charge. The problem is my other 17 that are per clearing. I currently have someone working on my website(wish he was moving faster) and I want to setup a payment option on it. Most of my customers found me from craigslist, so I know they have internet. So we'll see when that day comes how much stress it will actually take off.
                              I have a paypal button on my website. I get more use by sending invoices through paypal. All you need is the customers email address and a paypal account. The customer does not have to have a paypal account to pay the invoice. This spring I plan to get an android phone and accept credit cards through the android phone. I think I will be going with these guys...

                              http://www.merchantanywhere.com/
                              http://www.lunchesruslawncare.com

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