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  • Introductions from Pittsburgh

    Hi all.

    I'm new to the site as well as the "business". Count me as one of the many unemployed Americans who is doing what he needs to do to get by without losing his home.

    I've been contemplating doing this for a living and many of the Google searches for answers to my "getting started" questions led me to this forum, so here I am.

    In addition to lawn care, I'm offering "handyman" services. Perhaps if the lawn care portion picks up, I can cut (no pun intended) the handyman part out, but as things stand, I need to offer whatever I can to bring in money to pay the bills.

    I'm 42 years old, a graphic designer, married, a homeowner for 16 years, own a full size 4x4 pick up, and have a good work ethic. Aside from my age, I'm guessing these are all "pluses", but I still have some reading to do in order to feel confident that this is something I can make work for me.
    In just a few months I've gone from talking to people about doing work, to designing flyers, and business cards, to picking up a cargo carrier to add to the back of my truck, so I'm headed in the right direction anyway.

    I look forward to learning, sharing, and perhaps one day giving advice to someone who is in the position I am right now. Time will tell.

    Wish me luck!


    ETA:
    I hope there aren't any other active posters with this screen name. I couldn't find a members list to check first before creating a name. I chose it because my neighbors apparently think I'm like Rain Man or something when it comes to my "perfect" hedges. "Yeah, hedges... definitely level - gotta be straight - definitely."

  • #2
    Welcome to the site. I too was looking for answers this past spring and found endless help from this forum. Great bunch of guys.

    In just a few months I've gone from talking to people about doing work, to designing flyers, and business cards, to picking up a cargo carrier to add to the back of my truck, so I'm headed in the right direction anyway.

    Have you landed any steady customers yet? What type of marketing have you tried?

    The flyers have done well for me. What I've done is identify a neighborhood I would like to do work in and start knocking on doors. Also get the word out to your friends and neighbors your in business. Ask all your current customers for referrals.
    www.montgomerysqualitylawncare.com

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    • #3
      From which city are you western PA fellows? I may be the competition.
      Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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      • #4
        Welcome to the site. I too was looking for answers this past spring and found endless help from this forum. Great bunch of guys.

        In just a few months I've gone from talking to people about doing work, to designing flyers, and business cards, to picking up a cargo carrier to add to the back of my truck, so I'm headed in the right direction anyway.

        Have you landed any steady customers yet? What type of marketing have you tried?

        The flyers have done well for me. What I've done is identify a neighborhood I would like to do work in and start knocking on doors. Also get the word out to your friends and neighbors your in business. Ask all your current customers for referrals.
        Thanks.

        The only steady customers are a few I had from before I started with the flyers/cards, but those customers are now able to give something more than just my number to their friends. One recently sent out an email (pdf of my flyer) to her friends, and within one day, I had a call and a job.

        I've gone door to door on a limited basis, but when my new cards come in, I'll do more of that. I've had them printed with a "$10 off any job over $75" offer (first time customers) on the reverse.
        Last edited by Hedgemaster; 07-25-2010, 07:32 AM.

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        • #5
          From which city are you western PA fellows? I may be the competition.

          It's a secret, but there's a clue in the thread title.









          Note: I have no Idea why the "multi quote" doesn't work.

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          • #6
            It's a secret, but there's a clue in the thread title.

            Pittsburgh proper or one of the surrounding areas? It seems that people around here call the entire area "pixberg". I'm about 50 miles north of the city.

            What about cleancutlawncare5382?
            Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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            • #7
              New To Site

              Hi I am starting a landscape business in Guelph Ontario Canada

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              • #8
                Pittsburgh proper or one of the surrounding areas? It seems that people around here call the entire area "pixberg". I'm about 50 miles north of the city.

                What about cleancutlawncare5382?

                Suburbs, eastern side of Pgh.

                I know what you mean though. Just watch the news and they talk about a "local man who (fill in the blank)" and it ends up the guy is from Erie. HUH?

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                • #9

                  What about cleancutlawncare5382?
                  We might be neighbors, About 50 miles north myself
                  www.montgomerysqualitylawncare.com

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                  • #10
                    I'm 42 years old, a graphic designer
                    Welcome to our forum! With your experience in graphic design, have you applied that to your new business in the form of business cards and truck graphics?

                    What kind of marketing are you planning on doing to further promote your business?
                    - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                    Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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                    • #11
                      Welcome to the site. I am also in the Pittsburgh Area about 20 mins east. I am friends with a lot of the competition in the area and most you will find aren't jerks and will help you out a bit. I get yards all the time off a few that are too busy

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                      • #12
                        We might be neighbors, About 50 miles north myself
                        I'll send you a PM.
                        [edit - I see you've already sent one **** replying]
                        ... I get yards all the time off a few that are too busy
                        Absolutely! This is how I started out. I was able to take jobs the bigger companies couldn't. We're all friends.
                        Last edited by mark123; 07-25-2010, 08:36 PM.
                        Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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                        • #13
                          Regarding the "friendly competition", that's good to know, because I could certainly use some pointers if nothing else.


                          I'm going to give an estimate on a hedge trimming job tomorrow.
                          I've "trimmed" hedges, and I'm told that the going rate is $1 per linear foot, but these hedges are 120 ft long, and 4-6 ft tall x 3 ft wide, and they want them cut down in height by "about half".
                          I'm not exactly sure how to price that, especially since there will be so much that needs to be hauled away.

                          This brings me to my next dilemma - I am not really equipped to haul that amount of debris. Short bed truck with a cap, and no trailer. (just a trailer hitch cargo carrier)
                          I'm thinking that I'll need to price it lower than if I were to haul it, and have them get someone else do the hauling.


                          Any tips on locations east of Pittsburgh to dispose of items like hedge/grass clippings?

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                          • #14
                            Welcome to our forum! With your experience in graphic design, have you applied that to your new business in the form of business cards and truck graphics?

                            What kind of marketing are you planning on doing to further promote your business?


                            Business cards with a "first time customer" offer, and flyers to hand out were my fist steps. I designed and laminated some signs that I attached to the cargo carrier as well as the back window of the truck cap as a temporary thing.

                            I'm starting to look into vinyl window graphic for the back window, and MAYBE add a bug shield with info to the front. I'm kind of particular about my vehicle, and I'd prefer a way of taking the signage off and on as desired, but "magnetic signs", make me cringe when I think about what the can do to your paint.

                            Craigslist advertising will come when I feel I'm better equipped to handle more types of jobs.

                            I had considered stopping at some local businesses that cater to women (remember, handyman as well as lawn care) to see about leaving my cards at the counter.

                            Eventually "real" advertising is a must. Working in advertising, I have seen many people try to advertise "on the cheap", and it rarely pays off the way they had hoped. At least I have an edge in that I can be my own ad agency and not have ads that look like my 12 year old nephew designed them.

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                            • #15
                              I'm told that the going rate is $1 per linear foot
                              I think you are better off, early on, pricing jobs by the amount of time you feel they will take.

                              I'm thinking that I'll need to price it lower than if I were to haul it, and have them get someone else do the hauling.
                              Can you shred them with a rented shredder? Or maybe bag them or tie them up for the town to haul away from the curb?

                              Craigslist advertising will come when I feel I'm better equipped to handle more types of jobs.
                              Maybe you could advertise on there now and if you don't like the job, dont bid on it. You can always say your schedule is full. But it is always better to have more jobs to bid on than less.

                              I have seen many people try to advertise "on the cheap", and it rarely pays off the way they had hoped.
                              Do any stories stand out that the readers here need to be wary of and steer clear of?
                              - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                              Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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