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Help a Brother Out - Quick Tips that Make a Difference

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  • #46
    TIP #793


    Quoting a job.

    When you're out there on a beautiful spring morning with a light breeze blowing, and the birds chirping, and the temperature is a comfy 72 with no humidity... TRY to IMAGINE what the same lawn will be like to mow in the dead of SUMMER when it's 99, excessively humid, and the smell of the neighbor's dog poop is in the air.

    That $35 quote you gave in the spring may not seem like such a good idea when that small hill becomes a MOUNTAIN in the summer heat.

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    • #47
      TIP #793


      Quoting a job.

      When you're out there on a beautiful spring morning with a light breeze blowing, and the birds chirping, and the temperature is a comfy 72 with no humidity... TRY to IMAGINE what the same lawn will be like to mow in the dead of SUMMER when it's 99, excessively humid, and the smell of the neighbor's dog poop is in the air.

      That $35 quote you gave in the spring may not seem like such a good idea when that small hill becomes a MOUNTAIN in the summer heat.

      Yessir! Great advice. Nearly smacked my guy when he said "I'll drop a card in this guys mailbox"... damn lawn had so many obstacles to trim around, HA!

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      • #48
        business is booming... my biggest problem is staying organized with when lawns needs to be done, appointments for estimates etc..... i have papers everywhere in my truck and have to search all over..... i take all pictures with my ipad and want to do everything on the ipad now...... any good apps that people know about for estimates, just note taking?

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        • #49
          Friendly advice to fellow noobs....

          It's been said on here before but....Do not be afraid to bid what the job is worth and do not be nervous to be yourself, do not be so stuck in the stiff professional that you come off as a robot that states facts and numbers only.

          I've been turned down, it sucks, I could have 21 properties now, but I don't and its' ok because I'll get there. I'd rather have 15 accounts making what I should be making than 21 making nothing. Heck, if I would have lowballed to get the jobs I would be mowing 21 lawns and making what I'm making mowing only 15, 6 more lawns for the same pay, screw that noise.

          One client said i was the middle bid, another said I was the highest, but they were a referral so that may have swayed them a bit.

          I have had one comment that it was her speaking with me that got me the job, (i schedule bids for the evenings so i CAN speak with them). I asked questions, I love dogs and was able to play with her dog for a minute. The other 2 companies bid it during the day, left a piece of paper with a price and left it for her to read when she got home.

          Another job was a guy called me to mow two of his rental properties...One property is overfilled with leaves and acorns, he didn't ask for a cleanup bid, but I added one anyway and stated "due to the risks of property damage and personal injury I cannot mow this property without the cleanup." The 2nd property was overgrown, I bid it 2 and a half times the regular mow and explained the high price was due to the height. I really didn't think I would get these two properties, landlords tend to be cheap....He called and asked when I can start. He told me the last company was fired for breaking windows and liked how I stated the risks if a job was not completed. So for bidding properly, I'm invoicing over $500 the first week with this job.

          Be cool, be personable. People respond better to someone they can talk to and laugh if a joke is cracked than a scruffy looking guy, or even the 100% professional that has a stern face and is all business with no personality.

          Sorry for the long post, just wanted to cite a couple of my experiences to help anyone that is nervous for putting the real bid out there.

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          • #50
            I just saw a guy with an open trailer full of hedge clippings and other assorted yard crap .Anyway ,he had a length of orange plastic snow or safety fence that he bungied over the top of the load .Looked like an awesome way to keep things from blowing out of your trailer ,and it looked like he had a length of pvc pipe to hold it when he was not using it .

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            • #51


              I find this helps a lil bit.

              I use these small loop bungee cords to hold gates open. A few of my properties have gates that have a spring on them, and a couple more gravity close them. When I pull up, I walk to the gate with one of these in hand, loop and hold the gate open. As I'm leaving from blowing I grab it, make sure the gate closes and go.

              It's not a huge time saver, but I find it pretty convenient to just keep mowing, tirmming and blowing the property without having to open the gate a couple/few times.

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              • #52


                Also, i have used this in construction and in Iraq.

                Empty butter tubs filled with water and frozen into a big block of ice. Dump into your water jug and fill with water. The block of ice keeps the water cold all freakin day even in 100+ temps. In Iraq we used the 45 oz tub of butter to freeze water. We would be out on a 8 hour patrol with temps reaching 130, 150 in the humvee trunk where the water was stored and the water would still be cold.

                Also, if you find yourself getting hot during the day, hold your wrist under the spout on water jugs and open up and let the water pour over your wrists...you'll feel and instant cooling sensation through your body.

                Do not attempt this on elbows or over your head. The wrists are the best bet since the blood has time to actually "warm" enough once it hits the heart. If you dump ice cold water over your head or even on the front of your elbows you risk passing out from shock from blood being too cold once it hits your heart.

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                • #53


                  I find this helps a lil bit.

                  I use these small loop bungee cords to hold gates open. A few of my properties have gates that have a spring on them, and a couple more gravity close them. When I pull up, I walk to the gate with one of these in hand, loop and hold the gate open. As I'm leaving from blowing I grab it, make sure the gate closes and go.

                  It's not a huge time saver, but I find it pretty convenient to just keep mowing, tirmming and blowing the property without having to open the gate a couple/few times.
                  I've never seen that type of bungee.

                  I have one gate that plays games with me. It stays open JUST until I get to the mower and then swings shut as I start heading for the opening.


                  Grrrr...

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                  • #54
                    Adding to the "cold water" topic, I usually freeze a few bottles of water and toss one or two into the cooler to supplement the freeze packs. When it's super hot, they may start to melt a bit, and sometimes I'll take one out and let it "thaw" as I work.
                    It melts enough to give me COLD sips, as opposed to leaving a "cold" bottle out, which quickly turns to "warm".




                    Also, I like to take a variety of types of drinks with me. Sometimes I fill an empty water bottle part way with iced tea, put it in the freezer, and the next morning when I pack my cooler, I fill it the rest of the way with iced tea. Guaranteed cold!

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                    • #55
                      http://www.clifbar.com/



                      Also,

                      I can't eat and work. I have never been able to work in a physical job in the heat and eat anything that actually fills you up such as a simple sandwich. I tend to drink lots of water and I think the water and food bloats me.

                      Anyway, Clif bars ( i wrote this in another post i believe ) are the best thing to give ya some calories and energy.

                      I have used them for training for half marathons, used them in the half marathons, and used them a few times this year while working.

                      They are a Godsend for me.

                      If anyone else finds it hard to eat and work on a full stomach, these do very nicely.

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                      • #56
                        I get a salad every day for lunch at Get Go for $4. No cheese, meat or dressing. Fills me up and keeps me going. High nutrient and low calories keep me healthy. I'll usually do a Rockstar Sugarfree, too.
                        Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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                        • #57
                          If not for Clif bars, I'd have been found passed out in teh middle of a lawn somewhere.

                          I live on those things.
                          "Crunchy Peanut Butter" Nom Nom Nom

                          I like Blueberry Crisp when I'm heading out and already getting hungry.
                          Cool Mint Chocolate is a refreshing treat on a hot day.

                          Often times a Clif bar or two is all I have to eat in a day. Sometimes I stop for a small lunch, but eating too much doesn't work well for me.
                          (and then you gotta find somewhere to "unload" )

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                          • #58
                            Use Trimmer line as a strap for your sunglasses, leave it long and use black tape to hold it snug. I used to have a guy who did this just incase he ever needed more line.
                            If you can't be good..Be good at it!

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                            • #59
                              I always find it a challenge to stay on top of paper work, scheduling etc. When you start to get more than 10 customers, organization is a must..I came up with a simple yet effective way of staying organized in my truck when I'm going from yard to yard and billing my customers.

                              <img src=http://i427.photobucket.com/albums/pp360/stavropulos/87f91e25.jpg>

                              I have a file box with A folder for each customer...in front of those I have folders for : new estimates: lawn service contracts: product info/receipts: unpaid: and jobs finished. When I get a call and do an estimate , I stick that estimate in the new estimate folder. When work starts and half payment is made, I write half payment received on invoice and place into unpaid folder. When job is complete and final payment is made I put the invoice into jobs finished. Product info /receipts are for my fuel / material / supplies / etc. Each fuel receipt I mark on top dump truck / mowers / hand tools etc. I have 24 accounts per week to mow, I typed up a chart of my yards and went to office depot and had it laminated...and bought a wet/dry erase marker and can easily cross off my yards mowed for that week. I don't have to have a paper made for every week I just simply erase it and start over. Hope these ideas can help!

                              <img src=http://i427.photobucket.com/albums/pp360/stavropulos/c75d382a.jpg>
                              Attached Files

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                              • #60
                                One thing I've always done is keep a refill of whacker string in my back pocket. The reason is I'm always about 100 yards from my truck when it runs out.
                                Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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