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  • #16
    Oh great, keep us posted on how that goes.
    Should be fine, I do a few corporate and individual tax returns on the side, have for years as I needed the extra income when the kids were small and the wife stayed home to look after them and we home schooled until they were 9, anyhow Manpower Temp Services is a client I do taxs for, I will call the owner Faye and she will make sure it happens. I guess this brings up another marketing thing, knowing people and networking.
    Andy
    Halifax, Nova Scotia

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    • #17
      Picframer,

      It sounds like you're as successful as you are because you're simply doing a lot of things RIGHT. You've identified areas where you can stand out (most of them in the area of providing EXCEPTIONAL customer service) and have capitalized. As a result, word is getting around and the results are showing. Congratulations!

      The first step to building a successful company is creating an 'inside reality' that really resonates with your prospects and clients. Speedy service. Upfront explanations. Being there when you say you will. Etc. These are all things that people are looking for these days, but sadly, it's severely lacking in most cases.

      To bring the conversation full-circle and to get back to Steve's original question about offers, now that you have this killer inside reality the key to really exploding your business is to create marketing, or your 'outside perception', that informs and educates people about your 'inside reality'.

      You've already proven that people will respond when you do things the right way. Now you just need to create marketing that tells people all of the things you do.

      Unfortunately, most LCO's would put out marketing materials that simply state the services you offer, how long you've been in business, and maybe give a weak "% Off" offer.
      Chestin

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      • #18
        Chestin,

        Do you ever save or keep track of lawn care marketing material that really stood out? Or that you felt was exceptional? Can you share with us why any of them did stand out?
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        • #19
          Picframer,

          It sounds like you're as successful as you are because you're simply doing a lot of things RIGHT. You've identified areas where you can stand out (most of them in the area of providing EXCEPTIONAL customer service) and have capitalized. As a result, word is getting around and the results are showing. Congratulations!
          I think I am getting too old for 16 hour days it was a great day in the sun, I managed a 2 day job I quoted in 11 hours then the neighbour across the street wanted me to look at a project, I was honestly too tired but somehow we got the job even though in my mind I bid high, I was testing the waters so to speak, so I just left the machinery in his driveway, this saves me a lot of hauling and I was able to view a few jobs on the way home, this is a middle to upper class area that I was working in today so I am not real concerned about the equipment, this fellow is a figher fighter and assured me everything would be fine, it has GPS on it anyhow.

          I am very thankful for the various positions I have had over the years it has tought me a lot from people skills to financing, this seems to be working but it's pretty early. I'm finding our ability to keep up a bit fustrating, I had 6 calls and 8 emails today alone from people wanting services, I hate turning business away but at this stage unless it's excavation or spraying I have to pass.

          You are very correct word of mouth travels fast, I guess we are the new kid on the street and people like what they see and the quality of work.

          I'm going to back off lawn care for now, I know what will happen if we grow too fast.

          Andy
          Andy
          Halifax, Nova Scotia

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          • #20
            Andy,

            With all the experimenting you have been doing with your business, do you have advice for others now how to deal with a local landscape market that might have too many competitors?
            Well for me it was honestly networking, I let a few people I know, know what I was going. My greatest sales people, aside from clients has been business people, the local police Sgt who is a great friend and a fire chief.

            I don't know how to compete other than service and presentation, presentation in many forms and I know this set up I have that is working cost a lot to get going, it's like rolling dice sometimes as it takes money to make money yet one doesn't want to carry too much debt.

            When I decided last fall to do this, I looked at the mid to marge sized companies as my competition, it never dawned on me University Students, High School Students etc could shut me down, so what I had to do was something they couldn't, buy expensive machinery and go after a slightly different market.

            I have offered lawn care to every customer we deal with, I even low balled a few to test the water and came up with next to nothing, so now I don't bother, I will just ride this out.

            When faced with stiff competition you have to step back and look at what it is you might be able to offer that they were not, for me it is Organic Spraying and mini excavation. I am sure in each of our areas where we live there is a need, we just have to sniff it out.

            I had no idea last fall I would be in the excavation side of the business and have this much machinery on the go, I honestly thought I had the lawn care nailed but I quickly adjusted and went a slightly different route.

            I do find something else strange, I have a neighbour and he is a super guy, our son's grew up together, he has a mini excavation business and his machinery has not moved this year, I have no idea why, I have hired him and he does good work, his rates are in line with ours. The only thing that is really different between our two companies is our equipment looks new and staff are in uniforms, trucks are all nicely lettered. Yes it did cost but it would seem at this point it was worth it.
            Andy
            Halifax, Nova Scotia

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            • #21
              I do find something else strange, I have a neighbour and he is a super guy, our son's grew up together, he has a mini excavation business and his machinery has not moved this year, I have no idea why, I have hired him and he does good work, his rates are in line with ours. The only thing that is really different between our two companies is our equipment looks new and staff are in uniforms, trucks are all nicely lettered. Yes it did cost but it would seem at this point it was worth it.
              This may be hard to say but is it possible that you are just natural when it comes to social networking and he isn't?

              How much or all of this is a mind game too. If you feel like you can do it, you can. If you feel like you can't, you can't. Maybe he doesn't want it or has a focus on other things?
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              • #22
                This may be hard to say but is it possible that you are just natural when it comes to social networking and he isn't?

                How much or all of this is a mind game too. If you feel like you can do it, you can. If you feel like you can't, you can't. Maybe he doesn't want it or has a focus on other things?
                Well for a guy that has been in business for as long as he has that machinery should be moving, his neighbour across the street called me for a quote on drainage, I passed saying we were booked for weeks and he might want to consider Dave's company. I drove by this evening and see a company from the city doing the work, I have no idea other than Dave's equipment looks tired even though it's not. Customers like a piece of equipment on their property that looks professional, they don't want a truck in the driveway that has rust and I believe they want people working on their property that look professional also. We are all professional, do we look that way to the client?

                Honestly I am the same way, I had to get some electrical work done recently, the guy that I hired had the best presentation, looked professional and he had a nice vehicle, he did a great job.

                My neighbour could spend a few hundred bucks painting his equipment up other than that he does great work from what I know.

                When I drive down the street or stop at the coffee shop in the morning on the way to a job, it's interesting to me to look around the parking lot and in the coffee shop, if someone looks professional I think we sub consciously think they are and we feel better hiring them, I could be wrong but it something I have experienced.

                I think we have to be careful in our words and marketing, don't give the prospect an almost guilt trip by saying we are not the cheapest but we keep our clients etc. I personally do not care for companies that attack the competition, even when I see mistakes at a clients home we are about to work on, I never say a bad word about who did the job, I simply say it's not the way I would do it and here is what I would suggest.

                And it is a mind game, I go at every quote knowing we will get it. If I am having an off day for some reason and we all have them, the prospect will never see it, as hard as it is to do at times.
                Andy
                Halifax, Nova Scotia

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                • #23
                  One day if you get a chance, maybe you could just ask your neighbor what is up? I bet it would be really interesting in hearing what is going on.

                  The answer could be almost anything. To maintain your drive to do anything, can be very exhausting and anything can get in the way of it.
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                  • #24
                    One day if you get a chance, maybe you could just ask your neighbor what is up? I bet it would be really interesting in hearing what is going on.

                    The answer could be almost anything. To maintain your drive to do anything, can be very exhausting and anything can get in the way of it.
                    Funny, I am taking the morning to do stuff and get ready for a major project we start tomorrow that I will be doing, this one requires not only the tractor and backhoe but one of my ATV's and trailer and it will be making $65.00 an hour plus the cost of the employee, we are moving top soil up a pretty big hill, I don't want to tie the tractor up doing it so the ATV is perfect, I laughed to myself as they just sit in my garage as I have no play time. Anyhow this is another example of having a strange piece of equipment or offering a service that many could not, a truck could never get to this area, a four wheel drive would destroy the lawn and a regular tractor would never get up the hill.

                    Anyhow I took my best friend for a walk this morning and ran into Dave, he said I see your trucks going every day, they look great you must be busy. I replied we are doing good starting out. I said Dave, I haven't seen your excavators moving, have you guys started? He said I am waiting for clients to call and then I will hire my staff back, I said oh, did you do any marketing this year? He said no I have been in business 10 years people know who I am, I said I haven't seen your website could I have a card, he said we don't need one to be honest I am in the yellow pages for our area. He asked what area we were working, in a very light hearted way I said Dave looks like the trailers and equipment could use a coat of paint to protect them, he said ye probably but a waste of money they work the same anyhow.

                    So in short, IMHO, he is doing everything wrong including his attitude.

                    We closed by him saving if you guys have too much on the go give me a call, I said ya sure and thanks bud and walked on with my dog. There is NO WAY I would send him to a job site with equipment that looks like that, he has a beautiful new truck but it isn't lettered.

                    So that is why his equipment is sitting there, if I were to drive by and I do every day, I would honestly wonder to myself if they were still in business, there is no activity at all and you are right, people talk. My stuff is on the road every day and Halifax is not a massive city, 300,000 people probably, people may not notice your gear driving by the first couple of time or at the gas station or getting coffee etc however when they see it almost every day, people like hiring companies that look busy because they must be good, perhaps the wrong thought but I used to think that way also.

                    So there is the feedback and in my mind the answer.

                    Off to relax and build picture frames for a client this morning in the shop.

                    Andy
                    Andy
                    Halifax, Nova Scotia

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                    • #25
                      Andy,

                      Now I know nothing about this person or the size of his business but to wrap up the moral of the story for all reading.

                      What would you say would be a low, medium and high mark of how much he could make a year with the equipment he has if he was focused?

                      I think your guestimate numbers might make all our eyeballs pop out.
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                      • #26
                        Andy,

                        Now I know nothing about this person or the size of his business but to wrap up the moral of the story for all reading.

                        What would you say would be a low, medium and high mark of how much he could make a year with the equipment he has if he was focused?

                        I think your guestimate numbers might make all our eyeballs pop out.
                        Interesting question:

                        He has around $400,000 worth of gear sitting there
                        A machine should being in net $650. a day - go with a 4 day work week due to weather but work it every day you can, we have a 24 week period on average you can work the machines, now all of this is assuming you have the business so I guess we are looking at about $187,200 in potential profit and that is a gross under estimate that is a min.

                        So I will add to your question:

                        What would it cost for him to do this right based on my short experience:

                        $ 3,500 for painting
                        $1,500 for lettering
                        $8,000 for marketing although marketing should be at least 10% of your budget in a company of this size.

                        Andy
                        Andy
                        Halifax, Nova Scotia

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Andy, that is just amazing.

                          It's incredible to think that we might all have this incredible potential, yet we might just not be getting it.
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