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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.

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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.
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  #11  
Old 07-14-2011, 04:16 PM
CHEESE2009 CHEESE2009 is offline
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If you rush, you will only make mistakes.

When starting out, don't expect to have a solid route for awhile.


I noticed that you are wondering how some lawn companies seem to know who to advertise to, etc. Basically, those are re-occurring clients from earlier seasons. We all start small, and usually keep the same clients for years.

When I first started out, it was hard enough to fill at least one day up with work. Eventually it will come, it will feel slow but as soon as you get those calls things become hectic and so fast paced you'll be turning your phone off!

The best idea is to fish other clients out of your current clients. Ask if they have family/friends and give them a little incentive for helping you grow.

I have one client who's given me 5 clients, it's amazing!

**************-

As for where you stand today, compared to others;

Find out what your competition is charging, charge the same or a tad lower to gain interest from homeowners. Low-balling isn't always a bad thing, it's one of the best ways to build your business from the starting line, the time you have minimal expenses. Sure it can piss people off, but that is their problem - not yours!

A mix between low-balling and fishing for clients out of current clients should start you off nicely.

Eventually as you grow, you can up your price and it wont matter if you lose the clients who didn't want to pay the new price - However, this should be a slow process. Don't up your price for every single client.

********

Once you've done the above, you'll be the one upset at the new guy who's low-balling, haha! Fortunately, if you are good at your job your clients will be with you forever.

********


The basic package a client should receive;
Mowing, trimming, & blowing of debris.

You can offer just mowing, but your lawns will never look as good as those that have been trimmed.

You can mow and trim a property, but if you don't have a blower to tidy the place up before you leave - the client will think you are too messy compared to others, as the cleanup is crucial!

********

You don't know anything. If a client asks you to do something, you may feel obliged to tell them you can do it, but you will be getting yourself into hours of trouble. What you know is "Maintaining Lawns"! Let the client hire someone else to do the extras.

I may sound crazy, but the truth is: STICK TO ONE SERVICE, and only advertise other services when you have someone else on your team.

I get calls to do everything, which interferes with my basic lawn service, and my clients become upset when my answer to help them is "No". Basically, don't set yourself up to be a person who can't do what he advertises, even when starting and having all the time in the world.

You may feel that any job is good at the time, but when the clients flood in - you will have NO time to spare, and that is not good! When you are small, you CAN do everything, but the problem is your clients will soon realize how less "able" you've become. Again, only do other jobs until you have someone to rely on by your side a.k.a an assistant.

************-

I also find that with the time you spend doing odd jobs, means the less grass you are doing. Grass is your gravy $$$. You might make $800 trimming a hedge one time, which would be more than you make cutting a lawn for a year - but the point is to have stability and consistency with what you are doing. Money isn't worth stress <**- best advice ever.


Note: You can still do odd jobs, just don't flood yourself with them. Tell the client up front that you may not be able to do this "additional job" all the time so that they don't expect so much from you, especially once you get bigger and have no time.

************-


Your attitude always needs to be in check.

My problem is that I take every matter personally, because I run a very personable business. It was my mistake to give a damn about my clients.

Go in without depending on any single client. If they feel that your business depends on them, they will wreck you. Keep chit chat to a minimum, and never turn off your equipment if they have something to say - this way they know to quiet themselves so you can get back to work and not waste gas. (this does backfire a lot). Always wear headphones, it supports this method.


Another problem I have, is that I have gotten too friendly with clients, that they feel "special" and deserve the best treatment. This means, mowing before their scheduled date or "can you just remove that bush, it takes 2 seconds" <** requests like that will always happen and don't expect any $$$.

If you say "No, sorry I'll have to charge you" they will take offence. They feel as if "I thought we were cool, but you wont do this for me?" - you want to avoid that!

No client is your friend, or should be spoken to on such a level. Every single one of my clients chit chats with me. My smallest lawn takes the most time out of my day, because the client doesn't leave me alone. Because I was friendly from the start, changing my attitude at this time would be noticed and my client would be offended. I am stuck with this problem until the client dies, or if I ignore her calls next year when the season is starting. **- I will have to lose a client because I had gotten too friendly, if I was colder - this client would be valuable!


ALSO, you are not your clients friends - because if there is every a payment issue - you have to play two roles which don't work well together.
1. I am your friend
2. I am the guy who wants his damn money

^ You will feel too guilty to ask for your own money if you have a good bond with a client. The key is to never make this bond! Then you realize how your client is taking advantage of you, which means you will soon turn into a cold business machine, which is what you need to become.


I have gotten into shouting matches with clients because of similar situations. You go out of your way to show them respect and interest, then you have to put up with their negligence which is a very difficult situation. This business puts food on your plate, and helps your family. When they don't play by the rules, they are starving you - you don't need that crap!

Last edited by CHEESE2009; 07-14-2011 at 04:21 PM.
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  #12  
Old 07-15-2011, 08:26 PM
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You don't know anything. If a client asks you to do something, you may feel obliged to tell them you can do it, but you will be getting yourself into hours of trouble. What you know is "Maintaining Lawns"! Let the client hire someone else to do the extras.
Did you ever find yourself getting into trouble taking on extra jobs you didn't know how to do but figured you would learn on site?
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:46 AM
CHEESE2009 CHEESE2009 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Did you ever find yourself getting into trouble taking on extra jobs you didn't know how to do but figured you would learn on site?

Anything to do with digging, you will screw yourself over - typically if it's not something you plan on doing all the time and is a job you thought was simple from the start.

When you dig, it's not just dirt. You might get a job 75% completed, then come across a large stone that you have no way of moving. The entire job would become a waste of time. Renting equipment to move the rock would cost you more than what you charged the client. <- Worst case scenario.




The problem is, when your clients always think you have spare time to help around. Once that gets in their heads (earlier stage of business) - they will never get it OUT of their heads. So when you become really busy, they will be very dissatisfied with you by not giving them the same level of treatment as previously.

Example: You used to be on their property for 5 hours, next year you'll only be able to be on their property for 20 minutes.

The customer will see this as a lack of quality, even if it's not. They've seen the best, and now they see less. Make sense?


////////


If every time you called a contractor to do a job, and he says yes I'm available - wouldn't you be happy?

How would you feel if you called him a year later and his answer was, "I don't have the time at the moment"

it's negative
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