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-   -   New to the game, Hello out there. (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=17512)

cpenn481 10-14-2012 03:53 PM

New to the game, Hello out there.
 
Hello to all,
We are new to this forum and the business, so new infact we dont yet have all our ducks in a row but are moving steady in that direction. Who are we? We are Pennington Land Management LLC. The business is a joint effort by myself and my son. I own several businesses and my son is a recent graduate with a degree in Fish and game Management. My son will run the day to day operations and I will be here to assist any way i can (money and advice). We plan to start out as a mostly residential lawn care company and move into things like pond restoration and maintenance as well as hunting land/lease maintenance as money and equipment can be added. This site as proven to be a wealth of information so far on the lawn care side of things and we plan to use the software offered here as well. Yes we know it is fall and the lawn care thing is winding down but here in the sunny south there is work to be found even through the winter although it isnt plentiful. The basic plan is to get up and running and get our feet wet over the winter and be ready to spring into action next spring. we are busy getting equipment we already have prepared and looking for additional equipment as well. I'm kinda hoping that winter will see some good sale prices on equipment. We feel this approach gives us time to get our name out there and spread the word so to speak. Any advice for folks new to this business is welcome and thanks in advance for any offered.

Sprinkler Buddy 10-14-2012 06:45 PM

Get the word out, I think food plots could be a big thing for you guys. Good luck in your new venture.

cpenn481 10-14-2012 08:58 PM

Thanks for the response. We are hoping the food plots and land management part really pay off. We live in a rural area but have nice suburb neighborhoods relatively close by. Its relative when the closest wallmart is 25 miles away. Our area is pretty much covered up with lawn care folks so we plan to concentrate on the higher population areas near by for the residential stuff. For the land and game management part there is no one in our area doing it at all. Every year thousands of hunters flock down from Atlanta and Charlotte areas to hunt on land they have leased and they are dragging tractors and stuff with them to plant their plots and honestly most of them have more money than sense when it comes to such things. We hope by offering a chance at year round quality forage and professionally managed hunting so to speak we can get them to leave those tractors at home, save themselves some time, and most importantly part with their cash.

Steve 10-15-2012 12:41 PM

Welcome to our forum!

Are you going to start marketing yourself now or what is your plan with that?

cpenn481 10-15-2012 01:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve (Post 117337)
Welcome to our forum!

Are you going to start marketing yourself now or what is your plan with that?

It's too late in the year to pick up any work with the land management side of things as gun season on deer starts around here in about a week and runs till the second week of january. A few of then local restaurants that the out of town hunters visit alot have agreed to let us put up flyers as well as the local feed and seed and the local deer processors as well. We also plan to pass out flyers at some of the hunting camps as well. We plan that to start in a few weeks. The goal there to have it on their minds for next season. If they want year round food plots the end of febuary is the time to start planting those. Also plan to run adds on craigslist starting around the first of the year in the 5 major cities that surround us within a 200 mile radius. We can only handle maybe 3 of the large hunting camps with the equipment we currently have so I want to kind of do a market test with the flyers and craigs adds before doing much more. I can see us placing adds in Georgia Outdoor News magazine if there seems to be enough interest and it takes off. If there is we will buy the extra equipment as the need arises. On the residential side we will start marketing that early November. I dont figure on picking up much there either till spring but I think it helps to get the word out early. The reason for waiting till then is we are working on some trailer improvements of a trailer we already have and I have two middle aged mowers i want to go through and completly rework the decks and drive line on first. We could probably handle some fall cleanup stuff now but i would rather wait till all our equipment is ready, dont want to show up to do a job looking like a bunch of goobers if ya know what I mean. you only get one chance to make a first impression. I'm also looking into buying a new mower to have ready for next spring. I could then use one of the others as a back up. Do you have ideas on maybe what we should be doing different. I know our plans may seem far out there time wise to some but I am surely a believer in the old adage of take your time and do it right the first time every time. We want to build a company that will be around for a long time to come.

cpenn481 10-15-2012 01:46 PM

On the line about new equipment I've been looking at some mid to upper end residential ztr's. Would this be the right place to ask questions about?

Steve 10-16-2012 04:19 PM

Quote:

For the land and game management part there is no one in our area doing it at all. Every year thousands of hunters flock down from Atlanta and Charlotte areas to hunt on land they have leased and they are dragging tractors and stuff with them to plant their plots and honestly most of them have more money than sense when it comes to such things. We hope by offering a chance at year round quality forage and professionally managed hunting so to speak we can get them to leave those tractors at home, save themselves some time, and most importantly part with their cash.
What kinds of things do you have to do or what kinds of services do you provide for land management?

I am guessing you market this to the land owner to manage their property for hunters? But you also need to market it to hunters to get them to book properties through you?

I don't understand what the hunters have to do with these tractors?

How does that whole process work?

Doesn't the land owner plant on the lands and then in the fall they plow it over for next year's harvest?

cpenn481 10-16-2012 08:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve (Post 117379)
What kinds of things do you have to do or what kinds of services do you provide for land management?

I am guessing you market this to the land owner to manage their property for hunters? But you also need to market it to hunters to get them to book properties through you?

I don't understand what the hunters have to do with these tractors?

How does that whole process work?

Doesn't the land owner plant on the lands and then in the fall they plow it over for next year's harvest?

I can see how someone not familiar with this activity would have alot of questions, I'll do the best I can to explain it. I'll start with the last question, yes farmers do plant fall/winter crops here, in fact some can manage 3 crops a year depending on what they grow.Hunters do not upset this process and wouldn't be allowed to even if they wanted to. When I was a kid if you wanted to hunt a place you went to the land owner and simply asked and if he knew your folks and you had a reputation for not tearing up the land they would give you permission. We didn't care about trophies (antlers) we needed or wanted the meat. Since that time hunting became more popular with folks in the cities (their are many reasons for this) but they had no land to hunt. Some simply enjoy the outdoors and some look at the deer as a trophy to show off back home. I think for most its just about getting out and slowing down and relaxing. Since they had no land to hunt their only option was to either hunt a wildlife management area (run by the government) which can get crowded and are hard to get into, or come out and lease the hunting rights to different properties. As time went on and more people got into it the prices went up significantly because the land owners realized there was money to be made and the laws of demand are that there is only so much land to go around. With this came the large hunting clubs. Several people get together (some have a couple hundred members some are just 3 or 4 friends). By pooling their money they can afford to lease much larger areas which in turn gives them more opportunity and access to the best areas. While we have huge farm lands here when you look at the area from above (airplane or satellite view) you quickly learn there is still alot of wild forest land and alot of land owned by timber companies with lots of planted pines. On most of these lands there are old logging roads and paths as well as some small clearings that the farmers dont bother to try to get to. Just to small. These can be as small as 50 ft across or as large as 2 acres. We use high powered rifles here so for obvious safety reasons only a few folks can hunt over even the largest fields the farmers use and if the field has cotton planted in it the deer wont flock to that anyway so the hunters drive down with their small tractors and the bushhog the roads and paths and they plant small food plots everywhere they can find an open spot in the woods big enough. The idea of the food plots is to give the deer and turkey and wild bore something to eat close to home and keeps them in an area. Problem is this takes alot of time these hunters really don't have to do it right so they mostly only plant late summer to early fall hoping the deer will find the plots and visit them while they are hunting. This does work to an extent but it doesn't do much to promote healthy deer herds or great antler growth. The herds need year round high protein food for antler development and general herd health. Without the plots as herds grow (and they are) there is only so much natural forage to go around. Some of these lands have ponds on them that dont see much fishing except by a few of the guys that can spend time down on the land during the none hunting seasons. This too is bad for the ponds fish. Vegetation can take over, one species can take over and kill off the others, oxygen levels get out of wack and the ponds die so to speak. What we want to offer is everything from full land management to pond restoration ( getting it back healthy and in balance) down to just simply keeping the roads clean and cut or planting the fall plots. Full land management consist of all of these functions plus keeping the plots planted and maintain with the proper forage year round, studying the game trails and finding the best places for these plots, taking soil samples and adding the proper levels of things like lime and the right fertilizers so the plots grow like they should. On the ponds (this can be done for any pond regardless of size or if its even in a hunting lease) we want to offer everything from simple grass cutting to analysis of health of both the pond itself and the fish in it. This means removing un wanted or needed vegetation, controlling ph and oxygen levels and making recommendations for stocking of fish or even providing the stocking based on what the owner would like. You asked who to market the land management service too this will actually mostly be marketed toward the hunters themselves, to perform any services we will need to look ever the lease agreement they have to make sure nothing we do would violate the lease or the hunters and owners rights under the lease. This may sometimes require talking to the land owner to get clarification on some items but I don't see any major hurdles there. Under most leases the hunters are allowed to plant plots and take care of them and trim trees but not cut any down. Basically they can treat it as their own land from a use standpoint up to the point of doing damage to land or crops on it. Marketing geared toward the land owner will be more on the pond side of things. Land owners generally don't plant plots for the hunters with the exception of fairly large (10 acres or so) plots used to attract doves and the farmer or land owner control those and not the hunters. I hope this helped answer your question about the service. I believe this will be a nice add on to the lawn care service and may one day surpass it in revenue but I also think it will take more time to grow that side of the business.

Steve 10-17-2012 06:25 PM

That is very interesting! I could imagine there would be money to be made in this. I bet the more you set things up for hunters the more you could charge. What about maintaining hunting cabins? Or feeders? Maybe even raising and releasing wild turkey?

Then you could videotape some of the hunts and use that to attract more hunters in the future!

cpenn481 10-17-2012 07:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve (Post 117413)
That is very interesting! I could imagine there would be money to be made in this. I bet the more you set things up for hunters the more you could charge. What about maintaining hunting cabins? Or feeders? Maybe even raising and releasing wild turkey?

Then you could videotape some of the hunts and use that to attract more hunters in the future!

Great minds think alike! The more services we can sell a customer or club on the more we can charge. The thing most people dont realize on this is if you maintain it year round it doesnt really take much more time than if you do the once a year bush hogging and planting. If they realized that they would probably do it themselves so dont tell em. Some clubs do have cabins and some have camping areas where a few people keep campers year round and others bring them in just for the season. A couple of the processors around here have camping spots they lease out near their facilities but those guys maintain those themselves. Feeders aren't neccessary if you plant the right kinds of forage but dont tell the hunters, we can sell that too. The state does have regulations on the turkey idea though. That can't be done which is fine cause there really isn't any need. While deer hunting I frequently see 25 or more turkeys in a day. I don't turkey hunt but my son does. While he was in school he and some friends have been doing this type stuff to his hunting spot and they have some great trail cam pictures of the critters they can attract. He even has a pic of a North American Black Cougar from one. Yes they do exist. (most folks think they are panthers which do not exist here). I was thinking of buying an Izuzu NPR box truck with dove tail and ramps. If I do I wiuld like to have it wrapped with a woods scene with maybe a photo from the trail cams on one side and of a really nice looking lawn on the other. Do you know if anyone is doing something like that with the wraps and if so how is it working for them? Of course our name and number would be on there too. lol We are still kicking around ideas and getting stuff together but I'm super excited about the prospects of combining a lawn care and land management deal. I've done alot of research and checking things out on this site. You have done a wonderful job here Steve. There is a wealth of knowledge here. My expertise is business, my son's is game management. They lawn care stuff we know little about but are gaining alot from the site. we have found answers to alot of questions here just by reading what others have done.


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