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Starting a lawn care business. How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.

A few Questions...


Starting a lawn care business.

How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.
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  #1  
Old 01-24-2013, 02:24 AM
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FreedomYardService FreedomYardService is offline
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Default A few Questions...

So I have been in business for a few months now. I really started full time this month and so far have done some clean ups and have landed a few residential accounts. Since going full time, I have been averaging one new account a week. Most homes have less than 3500 sq ft of yard that needs servicing.

My first question is on the first service, I normally charge more for these because most lawns so far are really out of shape and have not been touched in months so i base my price off of my hourly rate and factor in the difficulty level to come up with a price. My question is if I should gamble and waive the price of the first mow and just charge the weekly rate in order to secure the customer long term or keep going the same route I have been? I am not trying in no way to low ball the local market, but at the same time i want to build up long term customers and establish routes. I know every region is different and prices vary but A) I have the extra time and B) the price difference is less than $50 on most homes so far.

My second question is about craigslist. I have noticed that there are a few companies locally that post 3-5 times a day. This makes my ad pretty much disappear unless the person looking for my services just happens to be on at the right time. I do not want to be that guy that overloads craigslist, but I enjoy the free advertising. So far I have landed two calls this month from it and have only posted twice so far this month. I was wondering whats is a good interval to post new ads or renew ads? what do you guys recommend?

My third question is about shirts. So far I have had a few polos embroidered and really think it has payed off far as my companies appearance during bids. I want to get some long sleeve shirts screen printed (about a dozen) but so far have not found a place online that I can design my shirts and get them at a decent price (most want around $30 a shirt) is there any place that you all know of that may be better priced online?

My last question is more of a preference question. I have a Honda 215 model mower that I got for free and a Mclane rotary mower that I picked up from craigslist for $60 that has a Honda motor and both run decent but I do not feel are as reliable as I need because of age/ not really taken care of before me. I would like to more less use them as back ups when needed and am looking at buying a new Honda mower in the near future. I have been wondering if the Honda commercial line would be a better investment or just going with their HRX 217 line would be better as far as ROI ?

Thank you all for reading my post, and keep in mind when replying that I am still a newbie in this industry that is trying to make a living.
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  #2  
Old 01-24-2013, 05:54 AM
LawnBoy0311 LawnBoy0311 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreedomYardService View Post
So I have been in business for a few months now. I really started full time this month and so far have done some clean ups and have landed a few residential accounts. Since going full time, I have been averaging one new account a week. Most homes have less than 3500 sq ft of yard that needs servicing.

My first question is on the first service, I normally charge more for these because most lawns so far are really out of shape and have not been touched in months so i base my price off of my hourly rate and factor in the difficulty level to come up with a price. My question is if I should gamble and waive the price of the first mow and just charge the weekly rate in order to secure the customer long term or keep going the same route I have been? I am not trying in no way to low ball the local market, but at the same time i want to build up long term customers and establish routes. I know every region is different and prices vary but A) I have the extra time and B) the price difference is less than $50 on most homes so far.

My second question is about craigslist. I have noticed that there are a few companies locally that post 3-5 times a day. This makes my ad pretty much disappear unless the person looking for my services just happens to be on at the right time. I do not want to be that guy that overloads craigslist, but I enjoy the free advertising. So far I have landed two calls this month from it and have only posted twice so far this month. I was wondering whats is a good interval to post new ads or renew ads? what do you guys recommend?

My third question is about shirts. So far I have had a few polos embroidered and really think it has payed off far as my companies appearance during bids. I want to get some long sleeve shirts screen printed (about a dozen) but so far have not found a place online that I can design my shirts and get them at a decent price (most want around $30 a shirt) is there any place that you all know of that may be better priced online?

My last question is more of a preference question. I have a Honda 215 model mower that I got for free and a Mclane rotary mower that I picked up from craigslist for $60 that has a Honda motor and both run decent but I do not feel are as reliable as I need because of age/ not really taken care of before me. I would like to more less use them as back ups when needed and am looking at buying a new Honda mower in the near future. I have been wondering if the Honda commercial line would be a better investment or just going with their HRX 217 line would be better as far as ROI ?

Thank you all for reading my post, and keep in mind when replying that I am still a newbie in this industry that is trying to make a living.
Hopefully I can help you....but I don't feel like typing a whole lot. So your going to get short answers.


Question 1. Don't drop your rate. Charge accordingly. If its overgrown, then charge for it. BUT- make sure you go there and see the property BEFORE you quote! I see a lot of people use google or google earth to give quotes....thats a good way to lose your @$$.


Question 2. Post a few ad's a day. Make your subject stand out, don't post the usual "Cheap Lawn Care". Best times to post: 8am, noon, and 7pm.

Question 3. I can't find any for a good price.

Question 4. I don't know anything about honda's. But if its free, use it till its dead. If its only a push mower, its easy to get another one.
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  #3  
Old 01-24-2013, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
My first question is on the first service, I normally charge more for these because most lawns so far are really out of shape and have not been touched in months so i base my price off of my hourly rate and factor in the difficulty level to come up with a price. My question is if I should gamble and waive the price of the first mow and just charge the weekly rate in order to secure the customer long term or keep going the same route I have been?
What percentage of those estimates are you winning when you give a higher price?
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:33 PM
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I have the same mower as you and I beat it to hell for 4 years and it runs fine. I also have a older honda model from the early 90s that still run. I bought a few toros and they broke in less then 2 years.

I would look at a good size walk behind. The time difference youll spend on a lawn is worth the investment. My first 48" walk behind was also from the 90s and it ran fine all the way till the day I sold it.

Last edited by SECTLANDSCAPING; 01-24-2013 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SECTLANDSCAPING View Post
I have the same mower as you and I beat it to hell for 4 years and it runs fine. I also have a older honda model from the early 90s that still run. I bought a few toros and they broke in less then 2 years.

I would look at a good size walk behind. The time difference youll spend on a lawn is worth the investment. My first 48" walk behind was also from the 90s and it ran fine all the way till the day I sold it.
Thank you, I will check out that site. I ended up going down to the local mower shop and picked up a new HRC-216. I really like the blade stop feature and for the size lawns I am doing right now, it is perfect. I will however look for a bigger walk behind here in the near future or when the property sizes increase. I am glad you mentioned that about your toros. I was almost about to purchase one of them, but I just haven't herd much about them and I know the Hondas can last a long time if taken care of correctly.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
What percentage of those estimates are you winning when you give a higher price?
I have won ever single one of my cleanups. I have been debating increasing the price a little more on that though. The problem is, getting the customers converted over to a regular plan now. Most say, they will be calling me back for a regular mowing plan in the next few months. I was thinking about offering to mow it at my weekly or bi-weekly price if the sign up with me now or pay the higher price for the one time clean up. My total loss would be less than $50 on most homes and I would be gaining a regular monthly customer now.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
I have won ever single one of my cleanups. I have been debating increasing the price a little more on that though.
If you are getting every single one of them, you are more than likely no charging enough. A business theory we see many on here subscribe to is, early on they will bid lower to get the work. As their schedule fills up, they raise their prices and start to replace customers they are not making enough money on with customers that pay more. So you are on the right track.

We also have to keep in mind what you are talking about is one time jobs that you are trying to convert to weekly.

One of the problems you may be having with the conversion of it is because, the mowing season may not be here yet, depending on where you live. So if the customer doesn't need it done again next week and may not need it cut for another month(s) it becomes an out of sight out of mind issue.

If that is the case, you will most likely have more success with the conversion of one time to weekly customers, when the mowing season gets going.

Quote:
I was thinking about offering to mow it at my weekly or bi-weekly price if the sign up with me now or pay the higher price for the one time clean up. My total loss would be less than $50 on most homes and I would be gaining a regular monthly customer now.
If it is worth it to you to experiment with this, then try it out. See how it works. I am thinking you won't have to do this once the mowing season is here, but you will never know for sure what works until you experiment with it.

Keep us posted on how it goes.
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