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I have a total of 50 accounts this season. Last season I had only 25 accounts.
Out of my 50 accounts I have 15 Commerical. I love having commercial accounts they are easy to deal with, and fair on the prices.
I am trying to get out of residental accounts. They are too complicated, and some people don't want to pay hardly anything to mow their lawn?
Example: "This client I have, she asked me to give her a bid on a landscaping job. Mean redoing the flower beds, and putting heavy duty plastic, along with pebble, and planting some azeelia plants." I told her I would charge her $1500 including materials, or $850 just for labor and delivery fee". She was working me on the price? So I told her to get other quotes, and to give me a call if she wanted to? She got other quotes, and then called me. I got the job. Then she wanted to add another job on top of it, for the same price I was doing the above job? I told her the other job would be $500 more.
See people like this, get on my last nerve, I will most likely drop her as my costumer for trying to take advantage.
What's funny about this season? I didn't have to do hardly any advertisment? By the way, yellow pages suck. I will never advertise with them? They are too expensive, and hardly got any jobs from that add.
Most of my jobs is word to mouth, and online advertisments.
Well my first year 2009. I ended the year with 18 clients. I handed out flyers twice that year. and primarily focused on typical lawn maintenance (mow, trim, blow) we did no fall cleanups but gave 2 estimates for them but got beat by another company having more workers. more is not always better in my book. Out of the 6 major snow storms in maryland. I believe I did fair with sidewalk and driveway clearing considering we were doing it all on foot since i didnt have a truck last year. i drove a 2005 chevy malibu. i know steve. you would have loved to see that one. sorry i never took a pic of my mower and stuff in the trunk.
In feb or march i forget which, i got in a bad car accident (wasn't at fault) and my malibu was totaled. I ended up getting my parents to cosign for me and I bought a 2004 Nissan Frontier XE with a 6 foot bed.
I started putting out flyers the end of march 2010. I passed out roughly 500 flyers. I ended up getting several calls and signs a good bit up for lawn care. Plus My fiance and I signed our daughter up for club soccer and alot of the soccer parents hired us to service their yards. We have been fairing 28-36 clients/properties since april 1st. Grant it we have lost about 20 clients due to houses selling, people moving, people buying a mower, etc.
by the way this year my fiance and I work together. she mows and i trim/edge and cleanup. and sometimes help her mow on properties 1/4 acre or more. We tend to be able to knock out 5-6 townhomes in an hour. she is fast and highly efficient and I get more compliments on how great the lawn looks this year than last year.
Currently we have 28 clients. 13 (46.4%) is rental properties tenants. 15 (53.6%) is home owners. We have done pressure washing, bush removals, spring cleanups, top soil trucked in and applied, hedge trimming, garden weeding, gutter cleaning, making countless trips to the county landfill with bush clippings to be recycled and i think thats about it.
Last year I did a fall marketing campaign and passed out flyers about this time. I am going to do that again but with a slightly different approach. I am going to call the 3 property landlords we service tenants in (rental townhomes) and request a list of addressses of people who moved in 2 months after i distributed flyers to. All 3 have several flyers of mine for them to put in the welcome packets of new tenants. We have gotten a few referrals that way. Some of our referrals are from existing clients who referred their friends. I frequent craiglist for posting of people needing their lawns cut and we have done estimates and those who didnt sign with us, We told them we would contact them in the spring to see if they would need our services then.
Overall I think we did alot better for a second year in operation. I wanted to have 50 clients but 28 is still better than 18. We did maintain 35 clients for awhile but like i said people moved recently and we lost like 5 in one shot. I am trying to keep the homeowner/ rental tenant ratio even. homeowners we get the upsales for other services. rental tenants we can knock out quicker since our routes are super tight. I hope we have a large request for fall cleanups for leaves and such. We added 2 snow blowers to our equipment list this year and need to get them preped and service ready for winter soon.
I think that about sums up our business. sorry for the book gang.
It has been easier for me to get costumers since I have been in business longer. I think the best advertisment you can get is word to mouth. And the quality of work you do?
My first year, I did well then expected. I walked around businesses places and talked to the managers, asked them if they had anyone under contract to mow their places, some said yes, some no? Thats how I started to grow. I never distributed flyers.
My goal next year is to have 100 accounts. And plan on expanding by March of next year. I did really well this season, to where I don't have to work the winter months. Plus some of the money I made this season, I plan on buying another real estate property. An apartment quadplex?
Wish all of you guys well.
I do have a problem with some costumers, and I am sure majority of you have encountered this problem:
You have clients that try to work you for little or nothing, while not taking into consideration your business expenses, and you labor, etc. That's why with my large growing number of accounts, I am weeding out the ones that I don't think it's worth working with.
You know I'd love to have seen a pic of that malibu!
As you reflect back on this year so far, is there anything you would have done differently with your marketing? Do you feel you learned any lessons on what works best and what works least when it comes to attracting customers in your area?
Plus My fiance and I signed our daughter up for club soccer and alot of the soccer parents hired us to service their yards.
This is a really creative way to market! When it comes to using sports teams like this to reach out to home owners, what approach works best? Would sponsoring a team help you get even more customers?
ok so instead of posting a new thread. I decided to put it here. I just acquired a new major piece of equipment. I was browsing craigslist this morning and discovered an ad for a utility trailer for $150.00 or best offer with no pics. The trailer used to be a boat trailer and was converted to a utility trailer. It measures 6 ft wide by 10 ft long. I called the guy right away. He emailed me some pictures and I drove an hour to check it out and handed him 150 cash and took it home. Grant it I had to buy a wiring harness for my truck as well as a 2 inch ball. So i spent $40 for the wiring harness and $8 for the ball. Drove the hour and installed the wiring harness and hitch ball at this guy's place on the shore. Got the title signed over to me.
So overall i spent:
$150.00 - Trailer
$40.00 - wiring harness
$8.00 - 2 inch hitch ball
$10.50 - tolls
$20.00 - gas to and from trailer location
Now I haven't gotten the tag for it yet. Have to wait until Tuesday when MVA opens due to the holiday tomorrow. The previous owner loaned us his license plate until we get the new plate for it and I'll just mail his license plate back once I get one. Have to contact my insurance company as well to put insurance on it. But WOOOOHOOO finally got a trailer for a lot cheaper than I expected to pay.
I am attaching the pictures the guy took of the trailer. I will post pictures soon of my equipment on it hooked up to my truck. Let me know what you all think.