Originally Posted by Steve
Great job! What lessons have you learned so far this year that you can share with others just getting started out?
There are a ton. This year was an eye-opener for me. I was busy all year, never struggling to get work. I really worked myself hard this year, but it is all paying off.
1. Develop Relationships. I got to meet the owner of the biggest nursery/supply yard around here. He started out just like I am. I do all my plant purchases there, etc. I walked in one Saturday afternoon, very close to their closing time, and I really needed a delivery. They took care of it. I will never forget that, because they came through for me, so I could get this job done. That means a lot to me, and its how I like to treat people.
2. As Forrest Gump says, $hit happens. Don't get frustrated. I had a day where I blew a trailer tire on the side of a major highway (474 for those who live in Illinois), had no spare, then I missed my exit getting back into town, had to drive an extra twenty minutes, then had to go back to Pekin, get my school schedule, drive back to the town I got off the highway at, had to go back to Pekin, then back to John Deere Landscapes, where I started my day off at. 150 miles traveled that day. Had an employee on the clock, etc. It sucked, but it could have been worst.
3. You will find that you will learn a lot by making mistakes.
Mistakes I made:
Not asking for help when I needed it. Especially in the spring, i worked myself to death.
Buying used equipment. I don't plan on buying used mowers anymore. With new stuff, you get a warranty, and a little more power at the dealerships.
I'll come up with more, don't worry.
Marketing: Word of mouth. Thats how I have expanded my business. Truck/trailer signs are great for getting noticed as well. Yard signs work great as well. Even for small jobs (ex. bush/hedge trimming job, stick the sign in the yard while you are there, take it with you when you go).
Being professional. I have shirts, hoodies, windbreakers, all with my logo on the back. I've been walking out of the hardware store and gotten people to ask me about work. I always have jeans on when I'm mowing, shirt always tucked in. Safety equipment: Ear muffs (with the radio of course
, glasses, gloves, etc.
You have to show people you are serious, then they will take you seriously. Most people don't realize I'm fifteen. I normally tell them after we have discussed work and such. Most people are just impressed and willing to support me