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  • I've been thinking

    Thinks aren't looking any better from last week for new business, I've had 2 more calls for cleanups/mulch that I have to check out this evening but that's it. The worst part is I don't have the equipment to do large clean ups (truck vac), but I do have a friend that I can sub the curbside pick up to so if they aren't too bad I'll end up taking the jobs just to try and get my foot in the door for mowing.

    I was doing a cleanup at a friends today and had time to think about my situation, I'm honestly starting to think this area is over populated with mowers, heck the actual landscape end is getting over crowded, there's at least 15 companies that offer design work not to mention the 40+ companies under "landscape contractors" in the phone book. After talking with a business owner at the garden show I went to over the weekend it reassured my thoughts that you need to be in a specialized area in order to make it. No doubt there's guys making it on mowing only but I just don't see it happening here. The guy I talked to got me turned on to landscape lighting. He said his average job is at least 2000 dollars, good money I thought and the work isn't as bad as busting your butt doing cleanups or mulch all day.

    I looked in the phone book and to my suprise there's only 2 listing under "landscape lighting"...wow, I thought it'd be packed. I looked through the lawn maintence and landscape section and theres about 5 companies that say lighting as one of their services but they probably don't market it much. The guy I talked to was one of the two in the book, and its the only service he offers.

    So everything is pointing me in that direction I think, I'll still offer mowing and probably get into applications but I think lighting is a very good possibility for the bulk of my business. I just wanted to put this out there for everyone to see, the weather is horrible so I've got today reading about lighting and finding suppliers.
    \"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run\"

  • #2
    Hi kc2006,

    Anything you can do to move up in the triangle the better. When the job you do takes more skill, knowledge, requires more paperwork/regulation etc, there will be less competition because it won't be as easy to do.
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    • #3
      Quote[/b] ]So everything is pointing me in that direction I think, I'll still offer mowing and probably get into applications but I think lighting is a very good possibility for the bulk of my business.
      This is my personal view, but ask around for others. I think since you already have your applicators license, you could make more money faster that way by promoting it and just jumping in versus landscape lighting. Why? Because I think there will be more jobs available for you. Reoccuring jobs as well.
      I do think it will be difficult to quickly position yourself as a landscape lighting company and start picking up customers.

      What are your thoughts?
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      • #4
        I don't intend on the lighting to just explode off the bat, the fact that there's so much more money in that area is where it would be ok if I get 2 jobs a month (example) for the first couple months. Applications, I'd need to sign on quite a few to move in the right direction. Unless I try Troy's tactic of sending direct mail to current customers of the companies that are doing horrible jobs, I don't forsee me being able to get into that area very well since the first application's have already been applied.

        Thats my concern on the applications, still in the planning stages here for the next couple of weeks I'd say so we have time to figure it out. I'm already thinking the marketing I put out will only list, mowing, lighting and possibly applications as the services I offer, this way I can try to break away from the work I don't want and put a focus on the things I do want.
        \"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run\"

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        • #5
          I just got a good little idea. If I go with Troy's approach for the application work, I'm going to include a little pamphlet explaining proper cultural practices. The big thing Ohio pushes on you when your studying is proper cultural practice. They say the last resort should be fert and pesticides. So really its a win win situation for me, I explain the proper cultural practices and explain how my company does these practices with our mowing, but also toss out there that we've noticed their current service hasn't been standing up to Ohio's regulations.

          Thoughts?
          \"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run\"

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          • #6
            Quote[/b] ]I'm going to include a little pamphlet explaining proper cultural practices.
            Can you tell me a little more about this?
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            • #7
              Ohio emphasizes using good culutral practices. Proper mowing height, watering deeply and infrequently, aerating soil and keeping thatch low. Because a healthy lawn is a strong lawn and can fight diesease/weeds better. I think in a way they say this to keep the use of fertilizer and pesticides to a minimum, but as we all know in the world today people want results now and would rather pay to have applications done rather then actually taking care of their yard.

              I would include information on proper cutting height, proper equipment maintenance and their benefits, the benefits of aeration and why it's good to mulch clippings. I always sell my customers on side discharge and mulching grass. For one I don't bag, but also because if they aren't fertilizing their yards I feel this helps. I've read that it is a myth that leaving clippings causes thatch, thatch is actually dead crowns and roots, clippings are 90% water and contain some nitrogen so it would be refeeding the lawn.
              \"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run\"

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              • #8
                Quote[/b] ] The big thing Ohio pushes on you when your studying is proper cultural practice. They say the last resort should be fert and pesticides. So really its a win win situation for me, I explain the proper cultural practices and explain how my company does these practices with our mowing, but also toss out there that we've noticed their current service hasn't been standing up to Ohio's regulations.
                Ok say you do this. Now the concept behind "proper cultural practices" seems to be, cut lawns correctly and you won't need to use fertilizer etc.

                Wouldn't that work against your goal of selling lawn applications?
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                • #9
                  I send out a culutral practice thing to all my returning customers. I think that it helps because I have seen major improvement on lawns that customers mow themselves.

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                  • #10
                    It could work against selling applications, but it would help the mowing side of the business. I have no problem with mowing, I still enjoy that side of the business so that's not a problem.

                    I wouldnt come out and say with proper cultural practices that you no longer need fertilizers, but they will reduce the frequency of applications. I know most guys are pushing the envelope on applications, it used to be what 4-6 a year, now I hear of guys doing 10+.

                    So really if you market it right and inform the customer you might get away with both (the applications and maintaining the lawn). Because now the customer see's, "ok if I allow this company to maintain the lawn correctly that will cut the amount of applications needed and save me money"...
                    \"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run\"

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                    • #11
                      See, I have actually seen where it helps with the application side. Because in order for the applications to also see great results you need to follow good culutral practices. So if a customer is mowing a lawn short, of course they will think my applications are not helping at all. But if they mow it long, they will be amazed at the results of my applications

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                      • #12
                        So then by educating the customer on this topic, it could help in sales of lawn applications?
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                        • #13
                          Yes, I personally think that it does. *Because not only are customers happy that you are providing a service, but you are showing them and telling them how to make that service, in this case applications, work that much better.

                          Another example, just the other day I did a lawn application and the guy wanted to spray his trees and didn't know how to do it. Well, I don't have the equipment and am not licensed to do it. But I know how to do it. So I told him exactly how to spray the trees. He loved the fact that I gave him basically free information

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                          • #14
                            Very interesting.

                            Do you think KC2006 should go the Landscape Lighting route or the Application route more?
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                            • #15
                              It's hard to say. I think that the application side may be easier to get into, but I think that there is more money in the lighting route.

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