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Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life. It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.

What a week!


Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life.

It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.
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  #1  
Old 08-22-2009, 10:00 AM
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Default What a week!

Monday started out as usual, 104F at noon. At about 1 we got a thunderstorm that hit AT&T's broadband center and sent a surge over their DSL lines. Fried my modem and about 70 others in the Hartsville area. Without the modem, I have had no phone or Internet until this morning.

It took AT&T 5 days to send me a replacement. I have a cell phone, but can't get service where I live so I have basically been out of reach for family, friends and customers. Voice mail is empty.

The temp has been in triple digits all week so I guess I got a little break. Only supposed to go up to 91 today and rain Sunday and Monday.

Because many of my customers are DIYing it now I decided to sell Nature's Lawn products to the DIYers. I pre-mix the different products for their particular turf types in quart, 1/2 gallon and gallon jugs. I offer hose end sprayers also. Until Monday, I was getting a good response.

Quart jugs cost $0.14 each in lots of 120, 1/2 gallon jugs are $0.18 in lots of 60 each and Gallon jugs are $0.49 in lots of 60 each. Labels are about $0.15 each using my color laser printer and Avery stock labels.

I contacted Nature's Lawn and they thought it was a good idea and had no problem with my doing it.

You might want to check it out.

Steve
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2009, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swstout View Post
Monday started out as usual, 104F at noon. At about 1 we got a thunderstorm that hit AT&T's broadband center and sent a surge over their DSL lines. Fried my modem and about 70 others in the Hartsville area. Without the modem, I have had no phone or Internet until this morning.

It took AT&T 5 days to send me a replacement. I have a cell phone, but can't get service where I live so I have basically been out of reach for family, friends and customers. Voice mail is empty.

The temp has been in triple digits all week so I guess I got a little break. Only supposed to go up to 91 today and rain Sunday and Monday.

Because many of my customers are DIYing it now I decided to sell Nature's Lawn products to the DIYers. I pre-mix the different products for their particular turf types in quart, 1/2 gallon and gallon jugs. I offer hose end sprayers also. Until Monday, I was getting a good response.

Quart jugs cost $0.14 each in lots of 120, 1/2 gallon jugs are $0.18 in lots of 60 each and Gallon jugs are $0.49 in lots of 60 each. Labels are about $0.15 each using my color laser printer and Avery stock labels.

I contacted Nature's Lawn and they thought it was a good idea and had no problem with my doing it.

You might want to check it out.

Steve
Steve, How much is your mark up for the products?
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Old 08-22-2009, 10:24 AM
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Default Mark-up

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Originally Posted by turfmaster View Post
Steve, How much is your mark up for the products?
I calculated my cost per oz for the products including shipping and label.

For the quart bottles I mark it up 100%

For the 1/2 gallon jugs, I mark it up 75%

For the gallon jugs, I mark it up 50%

At the moment, I am delivering the product but am making arrangements with a used car lot to rent out one of his offices. It is climate controled so the bio-enhanced dethatcher can be kept in range (41 to 78 degrees F).

Different lawns have different requirements. I. E. Centipede lawns require no more that 9% N twice a year, 0% P, and no more than 5% K.

I also carry liquid sulfur, iron, and corn glutin (9-0-0) as the fertilizer and pre-emergent weed controler.

At present I am only ordring product in 2-1/2 and 5 gallon jugs. When I get it going and have the equipment to handel it, I will be ordering in 55 gallon drums.

Steve
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Old 08-22-2009, 10:49 AM
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Different lawns have different requirements. I. E. Centipede lawns require no more that 9% N twice a year, 0% P, and no more than 5% K.
I don't know anything about this. How does such lawn requirements effect the different mixtures you would make?

I am guessing there is a product that has Nitrogen and you mix it with (k = potassium?). Then with the two different products mixed into one new product, you are all set?
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:26 PM
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Default mixtures

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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
I don't know anything about this. How does such lawn requirements effect the different mixtures you would make?

I am guessing there is a product that has Nitrogen and you mix it with (k = potassium?). Then with the two different products mixed into one new product, you are all set?
For example, Centipede turf requires very little nitrogen (no more than 9% mixture in the spring and fall. More causes stress and disease. Most weed and feeds have too much N, P, and K so you should not use a weed and feed on Centipede. For greening use iron or sulfur. Both are very compatable with Centipede due to its low pH requirements (ideal pH is 5.0 to 6.0). For centipede, the only fertilizer I would use is liquid corn glutin - 9-0-0 (also a pre-emergent weed control). Getting the ideal formulation is a little time consuming for each grass type, but once you have it all that is left is the mixing.

Steve
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:32 PM
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I think this is very creative!

Can you create your own brand and imagery on your label for these mixtures? Could you sell it through other local lawn care business owners? Maybe even at local garden centers?

Have you been thinking about how best to market this to reach your intended audience?
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
I think this is very creative!

Can you create your own brand and imagery on your label for these mixtures? Could you sell it through other local lawn care business owners? Maybe even at local garden centers?

Have you been thinking about how best to market this to reach your intended audience?
At this time, I am not particularly interested in "Branding" so to speak. I am putting my own labels on with a Stout Services Lawn Care Plus title and then a description of contents and seasonal data (Early Spring, Spring, Summer, Early Fall, and Late fall). I am "specializing" the product by lawn and season.

I am not interested in supplying other lawn care business owners (at this time). I'm offering a service they haven't thought of yet. Lowe's here in Hartsville contacted me to hold some lawn care classes at the store. Their Garden manager is one of my first DIY customers.

I feel that if I wholesale to them, it will not be long before they bury me with a product of their own and economy of scale. A little competition by a small local company probably will not entice them to offer a product line that they could offer nationwide. I want to keep small and profitable until I have the resources to economically turn to wholesale.

As for marketing, I do not have it on my website yet but have started offering it on my blog. My blog is now carried on the Hartsville website. By Fall Cleanup time, I will have it on my website and run ads in the local paper.

Steve
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Old 08-23-2009, 04:40 AM
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Lowe's here in Hartsville contacted me to hold some lawn care classes at the store.
That's fantastic! You could do this and make an article on the topic and send it into the local paper for their home & garden section!
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Old 08-23-2009, 05:51 AM
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That's fantastic! You could do this and make an article on the topic and send it into the local paper for their home & garden section!
The local paper doesn't have a home & garden section. They are more interested in selling space and church news! It comes out weekly, is about 12 pages, and usually has 5-6 pages on church news.

Advertising is not expensive and I have had good results advertizing there.

Steve
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