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Old 01-24-2012, 02:29 PM
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IVPropertyMaintenance IVPropertyMaintenance is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Cave Junction, OR
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Arrow I'm New, Thanks For Having Me..

I guess a good introduction would start with my name. I'm Chris and I am the owner/operator of IV Property Maintenance. I'm 26 and am originally from Oceanside, CA. I service the Illinois Valley in Southern Oregon. The Illinois Valley (IV) is rather rural and consists of four towns; O'Brien, OR; Cave Junction, OR; Kirby, OR; and Selma, OR. Total population for the entire valley is a little over 7000.

I just started my business in the spring of 2011 and have seen good growth. In a small community like this it is critical to maintain a good name for yourself. Good words travel fast and bad ones travel faster. The main thing this area was missing was a reliable source of landscape maintenance. There are only a couple others that are what I would consider to be "competition" and the only reason they are still around is because they have made a good name for themselves over the years.

I am finding very quickly how much people truly appreciate customer service. This is a term that used to be valued more than it is lately. I find that if my customer truly believes that I am trying to help them, they open up and trust me more. I can honestly say that I have a unique relationship with all of my customers. I know that as I grow, it will be harder for me to find the time to catch up with them but I will never lose the time it takes to make sure my customers know they will be taken care of.

As far as what brought me to start this business I would have to say that the leading cause was that longing for freedom. When I first moved to Oregon I spent a few years as a wildland firefighter. I spent the winters in the middle of a forest thinning for fire reduction and the summers away on a fire or by my phone waiting for a call. There was NO time to do anything enjoyable. About the only thing I enjoyed was being outdoors. I looked for an opportunity to become my own boss and found that in lawn care. I also found that I now have more than one boss (my customers) but I have the freedom to enjoy life again. I can't say that I've ever been happier.

I must say, I do have some concerns though. If you have time and could reply back addressing any of my questions below I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you all and I look forward to being a part of this forum. By the way Steve, your YouTube videos gave me the know-how to get this far, Thanks! Please ask any questions and I'll try to get answers up when I can. Thanks again everyone!

CONCERNS:

Our valley has a lot of elderly people as well as people on tight budgets. (I know that is similar all over with these times). It truly does seem like cost is a huge thing for them and honestly, I am contending with people who will work for $10/hr. I tried making it on charging $15/hr which people were okay with because I have my own equipment and typically the $10/hr guys aren't the most reliable or trustworthy. Now I'm finding that it leaves little room for saving to purchase new equipment and repairing existing stuff. I understand that I need to adjust my prices, I just worry about if they will pay. I mentioned there were two "competitors" in the area. These guys don't even have crews (neither do I, but I plan to if i'm around as long as they have been). They do it all themselves. One guy charges $20/hr and the other $25/hr. But that's it, I mean is that my limit? Who would pay any more for someone who hasn't even been around as long?

Also, should I take that as a red flag that these guys have been around for years and still only charge $20-$25/hr? Like I said, they work by themselves. Could it be that they would rather not deal with have a couple crews or is it that the demand just isn't there? I know that's hard to judge without being in my shoes and knowing the area but I'm hoping someone out there could offer some advice.

I guess my last concern is that things have greatly slowed down into this winter. When should I be making my big push again? It just seems like customers stopped calling and are putting everything on hold until it warms up. I need a way to get myself working in their yards again so I can show them what still needs to be done even if it's cold outside.
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GopherHaul, Podcast
How to Estimate - Services To Offer:
Aeration, Apartment / Condo, bed edging, Color Change Plantings, Dethatching, Edging, Fall Leaf Cleanups, Foreclosed Homes, Gutter Cleaning, Hardscaping, Hedge Trimming, Home Safety Inspection, Irrigation, Landscape Project, Lawn Mower Repair, Mowing, Mulch Jobs, Outdoor decoration, Parking Lot Cleanups, Pet Waste Removal, Pressure Washing, Property Management, Snow plowing, Stump Grinding, Tree Removal
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Lawn Care Employees:
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lawn care equipment:
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