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  • New guy on the block!

    Hey guys my name is dylan richards im 16 and this spring is when my business will officially start. i have a 50" Dixie chopper classic that ill be using for my "larger" yards or big businesses and all the fixings to go. I have a co-worker that works with me and goes to school with me also. were both very involved in sports so mowing during the week is limited to usually 1-2 yards per day and all day on the weekends. what im really getting at is do yall have any tips or advice on how to get yards and commercial businesses.

    Thanks!

    Dylan Richards

  • #2
    Hi Dylan,

    Welcome to our forum!

    what im really getting at is do yall have any tips or advice on how to get yards and commercial businesses
    As far as the commercial properties, you may need to present them with proof of 2 million dollar liability insurance. If you don't have that, you may prefer to stick with residential accounts now.

    Have you made up business cards yet?

    Do you hand them out?

    What have you been doing so far to get the customers you already have?
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    • #3
      Hey guys my name is dylan richards im 16 and this spring is when my business will officially start. i have a 50" Dixie chopper classic that ill be using for my "larger" yards or big businesses and all the fixings to go. I have a co-worker that works with me and goes to school with me also. were both very involved in sports so mowing during the week is limited to usually 1-2 yards per day and all day on the weekends. what im really getting at is do yall have any tips or advice on how to get yards and commercial businesses.

      Thanks!

      Dylan Richards

      Welcome to the Forum Dylan!

      It is great to see at 16 you are starting your own business.

      Keep it up!

      FINISH SCHOOL!!!! LOL
      Artie Crowley
      www.marketingholders.com
      sales@marketingholders.com

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      • #4
        Yes yes yes #1 is school, then you can pay someone ells to figure out how to get your accounts. My best luck so far is running an add in the local paper. It comes out only once a week and cost me about $30 for the month. Your first yard should more than cover your advertising this way. I am not sure what your transportation situation is like but I am waiting on a quote for decals for my truck. I called in some favors and pulled some strings so I expect each 6X18 decal to only cost me about $20. Make up business cards and start handing them out. I have been known to leave an obscured card around on someones desk or a shelf at a store, you would be suprized at how someone sees your card somewhere and thinks at that moment they need a lawn person. I have been a business owner in my community for years so I am very much in cahoots with the other businesses in the area. I have dropped of cards that sit by cash registers and counters all over the place. You cant spend a day in the area just about without seeing the Foot Hill Lawn Care name somewhere. That being said my business is dead now, none of these things that I am or have been doing are helping and we are almost begging for business "not literally"
        White Company

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        • #5
          Well I've always known that Dixie is the best lawn mower and I'm definatly finishing school I do have some 4x6 cards made up I've been just handing them out where I get a new yard but sofar no bites I guess it's just getting thy time of year where it's time to make up Christmas light signs and wait until the grass grows.

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          • #6
            I guess it's just getting thy time of year where it's time to make up Christmas light signs
            Can you tell us a little more about this?
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            • #7
              well usually there is an off season where i live in the winter months as im sure it is the same for most of you where the grass only needs a cut every month or so.. when this happens i start putting up christmas lights in the "off season". hope that helps

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              • #8
                How do you promote that service? Do you put signs out in front of the houses you dress up with holiday lighting?
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                • #9
                  well you make cards or signs and hand them out and most people dont like getting up on a ladder or on the roof so they call me i charge them its all good

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                  • #10
                    That is great! Were you able to perform decoration services last year? Do you have any pictures of what you created?
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                    • #11
                      nope i only did mine and some relatives last year so this year im venturing out

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                      • #12
                        That is great though! It gave you a chance to experiment and see how long it would take to perform different types of decorations!

                        Did you take pictures of the properties after you decorated them? You could use those pictures to help sell the service to other customers.
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                        • #13
                          Hey guys my name is dylan richards im 16 and this spring is when my business will officially start. i have a 50" Dixie chopper classic that ill be using for my "larger" yards or big businesses and all the fixings to go. I have a co-worker that works with me and goes to school with me also. were both very involved in sports so mowing during the week is limited to usually 1-2 yards per day and all day on the weekends. what im really getting at is do yall have any tips or advice on how to get yards and commercial businesses.

                          Thanks!

                          Dylan Richards

                          I'm 16 as well and started mowing for people in my neighborhood when I was 12.

                          Some words of advice from me would be to make sure you don't bite off more than you can chew.

                          You say that you are involved in sports, I can tell you straight up that doing 1-2 yards a day, plus school, plus practice is not manageable. You have to keep in mind that you can't mow in the rain, things come up, and pretty soon you have to play catch up and run out of time with everything else you are involved in. Also, trying to do the majority of your mowing on the weekends can lead to bad news. If it rains all weekend, then what? Not only do you have 1-2 yards scheduled during the week, but now you also have to juggle all the lawns you would usually do on the weekend.

                          You also said you were going to be working with a friend. I can say from experience that this can be both a good and bad idea. The good is that you can usually get things done faster. The bad is that is dramatically cuts into your income. Now I don't know if you are considering yourself to be the "head guy" or not, but if you guys are "working together as a team" and no one is "in charge", you will most likely end up splitting the pay. Mow a lawn for $30, takes you 45 minutes to do when you add in the time it takes to load and unload equipment as well as get there. In the end, your getting $15. Now you have to figure out how much it cost you to mow that yard. Gas to get there, gas in equipment, and putting a little aside in case of equipment repairs. You have basically walked away with no income. I have learned that the hard way.

                          As far as commercial accounts- yes they look like a good thing to get involved with, but at our age, its very very very costly. The big cost there is INSURANCE! I will also say that in the research that I have done, you can potentially make more money doing residential.

                          Also, in order to succeed in doing lawn care, you HAVE to like it. If you are dreading the next lawn you have to mow, you will never make it in this business.

                          I can also say that starting out with a zero turn is NOT the best idea. I can say this from experience. When I was 12, just starting out, I was using my parents 42" zero turn mower. A zero turn mower WILL spoil you, and you will never want to use a walk behind mower again in your life. Well, there will come times when you need a walk behind, and once you have been on a zero for a while, it becomes a pain to use a walk behind.

                          I don't want to seem like a downer or anything, I'm just giving you the truth in hopes that it will help you. I do believe that you can succeed in the lawn business at 16, because I am a walking example. When I say succeed, I am not trying to brag, just saying that you can do it.

                          Just remember to work hard, and never settle for anything less than perfect work. Also another VERY important thing that I have learned. DO NOT BE SCARED TO CHARGE PEOPLE!!!!! There are way to many times that I regret not charging enough to do a job. There is not a worse feeling. You work hard, do a good job, and not getting what you deserved.

                          Now a little about me.

                          I'm 16, started mowing for my handicapped neighbor when I was 12. Initially, I was motivated by the money, but after a couple years went by, and I picked up a few more clients around the neighborhood, I learned that I also very much enjoyed doing lawn work. At 15 I decided that the next year, (when I was 16) that I wanted to expand, especially now that I would be able to drive. So the whole summer that I mowed when I was 15, I saved almost every dollar I made. By the way, I was mowing for 6 people at the time. So, when I turned 16, I was able to get a truck, trailer, already had the zero turn and a small 21" mower and trimmer, and I bought a blower. I advertised with flyers in neighborhoods that had small yards because I found that small yards yield a higher profit. (although they are a pain sometimes) I got 5 customer right off the bat, which added to my 6 I already had from the previous year gave me a total of 11 yards a week. I was doing most of my mowing on the weekends, do to hockey. I played travel hockey during the winter, and was in summer hockey during the summer. Also, on top of that, I raced Mini Sprints on the weekends. I found out very quickly that doing all of that and mowing most lawns on the weekends was not working. I made the decision to quit hockey all together. I did like the sport, and had played for 9 years, but found myself to enjoy doing "business stuff" way more. So now that hockey was out of the way, I was able to spread out the lawns during the week days, and not just the weekend. During that year, I picked up another 4 clients through word of mouth. So I had 15 clients by the end of the year. I have been doing snow removal this winter, and with all the snow we have had, I have made more than I projected I would, and winter has just began. I like in Nebraska, and we have been getting hammered. For this upcoming spring, I hope to get about 7-8 more weekly customers and possibly more. If I do end up getting more, I will most likely get insured and higher help. I also want to focus doing more mulch jobs in the spring as well because the mark up on it provides a very good profit.

                          If you have any questions or comments for me just ask. I love to talk business and lawn care, so hit me up. I hope that some of my advice will help you.

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                          • #14
                            Welcome to our forum!

                            You have basically walked away with no income. I have learned that the hard way.
                            What way do you advise handling this situation?
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                            • #15
                              Well, like I said, you have to be sure that you charge enough. Not charging enough can be a killer. Also, when working with someone else, I would definitely recommend trying to get in the position where YOU are running the majority of the business, and not working as a team. If you are running the business, and you hire help, I personally pay my help 35% of what I make after expenses.

                              Also, another quick tip, if the person you plan to do business with is a good friend, I would recommend not doing so. It's never a good idea to do business with friends, unless you are in charge, and your friend realizes that, and realizes you call the shots. Your help needs to know where they stand in the business.

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