Lawn Care Business Forum Lawn Care Business Book Lawn Care Business Blog Lawn Care Software
Home Forum Contract & Flyer Templates Blog Software Videos Podcast Calculators / Estimators Store Mower Review Design It Yourself Lawn Business School

Go Back   GopherHaul Landscaping & Lawn Care Business Marketing Forum > Lawn Care, Landscaping, and Property Management Forums > General Talk

General Talk If it doesn't fit anywhere else, post it here.

More Time On Jobsites


General Talk

If it doesn't fit anywhere else, post it here.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
  #11  
Old 10-15-2009, 07:25 PM
picframer's Avatar
picframer picframer is offline
Andy
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 2,885
Rep Power: 9
picframer will become famous soon enough
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
When you reflect back on the year and think of the mistakes, what stands out in your mind? Do you have advice for all of us on the issues you had to deal with that were problems that you were able to overcome?

It seems the first year of business is the biggest killer and the issues you ran into could be issues others run into but can't figure out how to get around them.
Well I thought my research was sound and I had the lawn care nailed, I never intended to expand into what I have, I neglected the number one rule, what are the customers needs. You see the lawn being mowed needs were being met by law rate service providers, I am in this to make money not just mow lawns so I had to go to the customers ask what they were doing that they would rather hire someone to do, once I did that and advertised the service, everything changed.

I overlooked it takes time to show staff the ropes to get the results I and the customer want, we did get there however it was a stressful trip, now I have the staff in place so that is taken care of.

Don't buy equipment until the demand is there, I have a $12,000 ZTR I thought I would need, to be honest the X749 All Wheel Steer out performs a ZTR is every way, just my experience and I should have bought this tractor long ago.

On the excavation side the 17D I have has paid for itself, I sold myself short I should have bought at least a 35 although the 17 has done jobs where space is an issue and the 35 could not have.

Trucks, I really screwed up here, I should have bought either a 350 or a small dump truck, now I have two rangers and a F150, I just wasn't thinking.

Most companies fail due to a host of reasons, managing cash and cash flow has to be number one along with receivables, I knew this going in and it has never been an issue.

The old saying it takes money to make money is ringing loud and clear, if I didn't have access to my own capital, I would never be where I am today, in short I invested in myself and kept the company out of debt, it has pretty much paid me off.

Take the risks, I would stew over making large financial investments in commercial gear, just do it, most of this companies gear is paid for and I haven't been in business that long and it all looks new.

More research and the research has to be on going, stay ahead of the competition by looking and testing new products, this is how I built the security company and it came to me in September I should be doing this in lawn care and I have started.

Pretty much everything else I had in place and it saved my butt, I went at this in February writing software, doing research, business plan etc. all of that saved me when the flood gates opened in May when I started offering services that had nothing to do with mowing lawns.

I screwed up on storage, I could have and should have made the time to have a building built and ready, anyhow the rent isn't that bad and I have a place at Metro Self garage Storage booked, it's 24 X 20 with a 9 foot ceiling, I can fit 60% of the gear in there which is fine I have enough room at home for the rest in other buildings.

DON'T sub out, either take control and do it or pass, when there is a problem with a sub, it's your problem with a customer, I got burnt once and that was the end of it.

There are probably other things but that covers the things that come to mind.
__________________
Andy
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Last edited by picframer; 10-15-2009 at 07:29 PM.
Reply With Quote

Stop guess-timating. Learn how to estimate and make money! $$$
Mow Time Estimator Lawn Care Price Estimator Mulch and Topsoil Calculator Snow Plow Estimate Calculator


  #12  
Old 10-15-2009, 10:18 PM
Steve's Avatar
Steve Steve is online now
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 36,623
Rep Power: 10
Steve has disabled reputation
Default

Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
Quote:
Well I thought my research was sound and I had the lawn care nailed, I never intended to expand into what I have, I neglected the number one rule, what are the customers needs. You see the lawn being mowed needs were being met by law rate service providers, I am in this to make money not just mow lawns so I had to go to the customers ask what they were doing that they would rather hire someone to do, once I did that and advertised the service, everything changed.
This is really fascinating because it makes you wonder, how much research can and should an entrepreneur do before starting a business. Is it even possible to know what you need to know, before you get started? Could you have gone out and knocked on doors and asked the home owners if they need lawn service and how much would they pay? Would they tell you? If you had done this would it have changed your plan initially?

Is this something others should be doing too before they even consider starting up?

Was does it seem with all of us, we do things on a gut level feeling. We think this or that can work and then we jump in and only then, when we are on the field and ready to play do we realize the field is not solid but in fact quick sand!
__________________
- Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-16-2009, 05:01 AM
picframer's Avatar
picframer picframer is offline
Andy
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 2,885
Rep Power: 9
picframer will become famous soon enough
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
This is really fascinating because it makes you wonder, how much research can and should an entrepreneur do before starting a business. Is it even possible to know what you need to know, before you get started? Could you have gone out and knocked on doors and asked the home owners if they need lawn service and how much would they pay? Would they tell you? If you had done this would it have changed your plan initially?

Is this something others should be doing too before they even consider starting up?

Was does it seem with all of us, we do things on a gut level feeling. We think this or that can work and then we jump in and only then, when we are on the field and ready to play do we realize the field is not solid but in fact quick sand!
I think my method of research was wrong or I was looking and thinking wrong, I spoke with friends about mowing their lawn, mainly the rich area of Halifax, everything was positive until I looked at the rates, my mistake was once I had the green light I went over the top on mowing equipment.

My focus should have been and now is a bedroom community, average age around 46, average home age around 14 years, 90 percent of my work is there, no traffic, all highway, no parking issues, lots of small places for staff to eat, this age group is ideal, home owner age perfect as they can afford to get things fixed. I can leave my gear in this area at safe spots, clients I consider friends, it's working perfect.

Knowing what I do now, I wasn't looking at all the angles from sitting in traffic to do city jobs to not being able to park.

What saved this company Steve is I had access to my own capital and was able to use it to take the company in a totally different direction, excavation, pressure washing, tree cutting and chipping etc. and do it fast.

Your last comment is very true and I don't have an exact answer as it's probably different for many of the readers, it took a lot of tweaking to get things rolling and then once I did it was like starting a snowball at the top of a hill then giving it a push, at one point the snowball was so big I could not manage it and had to learn to say no, we can't take on any further jobs, this really tore at me but thank god I did or I may have fallen apart.

I am going into year two with a lot of knowledge, I have learned more of what clients need and to grow next year I will take the company further into excavation, bigger equipment, bigger jobs and septic fields. As I mentioned I know a lot of developers, I told them for this year I didn't have the equipment, that was not totally true, I wanted to get the engine firing on all cylinders before I took on these big contracts.

There is a lot of work to do before you open the doors and this should all be done in the off season months so that when the season to be on the road comes, we hit the ground running, personally I will work at this Jan to March.

Advertising a service without the equipment may make some frown but for me it works, if enough prospects contact me, I get the equipment and start the jobs, doing this I have not made one mistake buying equipment, I have advertised services a few people asked about and it was a flop, didn't cost me a dime, I suppose if one was still unsure you could rent the equipment for a few jobs.
__________________
Andy
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-16-2009, 10:12 PM
Steve's Avatar
Steve Steve is online now
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 36,623
Rep Power: 10
Steve has disabled reputation
Default

Quote:
my mistake was once I had the green light I went over the top on mowing equipment.
Being that a lot of start up lawn care businesses read the forum, what equipment would you suggest they get where they are not going over the top with purchases? What equipment purchases would be too much for a start up?

Quote:
I have advertised services a few people asked about and it was a flop, didn't cost me a dime, I suppose if one was still unsure you could rent the equipment for a few jobs.
This is interesting because I am sure a lot of readers find themselves buying equipment first and then advertising for the service.

What services do you feel were a flop?
__________________
- Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-18-2009, 09:31 PM
justin_time justin_time is offline
Justin
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: French River, ON, Canada
Age: 29
Posts: 1,801
Rep Power: 0
justin_time is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by picframer View Post

Don't buy equipment until the demand is there, I have a $12,000 ZTR I thought I would need, to be honest the X749 All Wheel Steer out performs a ZTR is every way, just my experience and I should have bought this tractor long ago.
Depends on the situation, if you were in my shoes, cutting grass with a tractor, you wouldn't go far.

I cut down my time in half with my ZTR since I had 5 schools to take care of
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10-18-2009, 10:10 PM
picframer's Avatar
picframer picframer is offline
Andy
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 2,885
Rep Power: 9
picframer will become famous soon enough
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin_time View Post
Depends on the situation, if you were in my shoes, cutting grass with a tractor, you wouldn't go far.

I cut down my time in half with my ZTR since I had 5 schools to take care of
Agree to some extent but as with everything things change, an X749 Deere will cut rings around a ZTR and do everything a ZTR will do but more, in the same time plus open a lot of doors for the business owner, this is why research is key to any business, add to that it has a PTO with 24HP means roto tilling, wood chipping and a host of other abilities, a 3 point hitch means it will handle all the attachments for a CAT 1, front end loader option, runs on diesel and in my experience so far costs about eighty cents an hour to run, All wheel streer four wheel drive with Dif lock front and rear means it will leave a ZTR behind on grades a ZTR simply can't make, it's a big investment, but having one and a 997 ZTR which is probably the most expensive one on the market, I will never but another ZTR, they limit what I can do for the dollars spent, I can put a 7 Iron deck on my 749 if needed and they are considered one of the best in the industry.
__________________
Andy
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10-18-2009, 11:23 PM
swstout's Avatar
swstout swstout is offline
Steve
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Canastota, NY
Age: 65
Posts: 1,082
Rep Power: 7
swstout is on a distinguished road
Default

It's a nice machine, but at a cost pf $15,000.00 (including tax) the return on investment would be very small for my situation. The population here is only 12,000 and spread out. I like the PTO feature and the power, but, the economy will have to really jump before I could consider it. Until them I can just dream!

Steve
__________________


Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 10-19-2009, 03:04 AM
lawncrafter56 lawncrafter56 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ia.
Posts: 159
Rep Power: 6
lawncrafter56 is on a distinguished road
Default

Thanks andy!
I will very much consider the unit yet this winter. Though happy with my ZTR there is room for improvment and that very well could be green.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 10-19-2009, 05:48 AM
picframer's Avatar
picframer picframer is offline
Andy
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 2,885
Rep Power: 9
picframer will become famous soon enough
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lawncrafter56 View Post
Thanks andy!
I will very much consider the unit yet this winter. Though happy with my ZTR there is room for improvment and that very well could be green.
The key here is two things, it will match and exceed the ZTR as I mentioned, the main reason I went shopping is two of these gated communities we picked up early fall have places with insane grades and my competition could not get up them with their ZTR, I went in with my 997 ZTR as it's a pretty big unit, not a chance, I spun out and there is no way to get to the top and mow down, aside from that it would be dangerous if those tires lost grip heading down, the operator would fly down.

So I brought Deere out and the sales guy said a 749 will play with that, my response was drop one off which they did and he was right.

Then I got to thinking you know we till around 90 places, this unit is far smaller in size but has the same power and abilities as the bigger unit, I could do tight areas I had to turn away this year.

Then I was thinking you know we have turned down quite a few lawn jobs due to traction, this thing would do it no problem.

Anyhow when you buy a machine like this I appreciate the investment is steep but you are raising the bar and cutting the competition out, this will make you a lot of money and you can offer so many services with a unit like this, I think there is something like 45 attachments for lawn care that go on it, it will even run a wood chipper.

Then you can add a snow plow, blower etc. traction will never be an issue.
__________________
Andy
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Last edited by picframer; 10-19-2009 at 05:52 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 10-20-2009, 12:44 AM
Steve's Avatar
Steve Steve is online now
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 36,623
Rep Power: 10
Steve has disabled reputation
Default

Andy,

How does cutting speed factor into this? How do they compare and is this an important issue?
__________________
- Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Full time job to full time lawn care. Making the jump. Steve General Business Discussions 6 01-18-2012 10:11 AM
When is the right time? CHEESE2009 Community Assistance 7 03-29-2009 11:16 PM
Need big time help Starting a lawn care business. 5 08-21-2007 01:54 PM
Time Off tiedeman Truck, Trailer, and Outdoor Power Equipment Discussion, Repairs. 10 01-11-2007 01:56 PM

» Recent Threads
  RatingTitle, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views
Thanksgiving cards
Steve
11-10-2008 11:57 AM
Today 03:25 PM
by stevef1201
4 8,659
Good help is hard to find
Hanks Lawn Care Services
11-19-2014 03:27 PM
Today 03:19 PM
by stevef1201
11 421
leaf removal
Double J LLC
10-03-2014 05:24 PM
Today 03:14 PM
by stevef1201
28 2,724
Say Hello !!!
Steve
03-19-2007 12:18 PM
Today 01:36 PM
by Just Cuts
1,196 349,516
New parking area
ExtremeLawncareServices
11-07-2014 09:47 PM
Today 12:31 PM
by jrs.landscaping
6 509
Hello from Kentucky
TRV
09-30-2014 06:42 PM
Today 10:49 AM
by Steve
13 1,484
Hi to you NOTHERNERS
stevef1201
11-11-2014 05:56 PM
Today 10:45 AM
by Steve
7 474
These are the days on...
ExtremeLawncareServices
03-22-2014 10:12 AM
Today 10:23 AM
by Steve
179 14,407
Happy Thanksgiving!
Steve
Yesterday 09:48 AM
Yesterday 09:48 AM
by Steve
0 45
Contract or no contract?
TRV
11-20-2014 09:18 PM
11-26-2014 09:23 PM
by stevef1201
5 329
Pics for website
tbtigers03
11-21-2014 05:40 PM
11-26-2014 12:12 PM
by Just for Cuts
5 278
Hi from IL
steveinil
11-25-2014 02:07 PM
11-26-2014 11:21 AM
by Steve
1 106
WNY saying Hi.
Sargewesser
11-25-2014 07:27 AM
11-26-2014 11:20 AM
by Steve
1 112
How to: Use Thumbtack...
acrajchel
11-17-2014 06:39 PM
11-26-2014 11:19 AM
by Steve
18 705
Peco Bagger
AGPS
11-18-2014 02:20 PM
11-26-2014 10:58 AM
by Steve
10 446
Beginner Mistakes:...
Steve
01-31-2007 12:45 PM
11-26-2014 10:57 AM
by Steve
22 6,344
Billboards for marketing
ExtremeLawncareServices
11-16-2014 08:39 PM
11-26-2014 10:40 AM
by Steve
14 502
How much do you up sell...
Essex Groundskeeping
11-23-2014 07:13 PM
11-24-2014 06:29 PM
by stevef1201
8 271
This sucks...
Matther777
09-18-2014 05:56 PM
11-24-2014 05:49 PM
by biglee
16 3,311
Pressure Washing...
WesleySnips
07-31-2014 07:13 PM
11-24-2014 04:32 PM
by acrajchel
4 733
New website
Chilehead
11-20-2014 04:39 PM
11-23-2014 07:40 PM
by Just for Cuts
12 399
My site is on fronts page
tbtigers03
11-14-2014 05:58 PM
11-22-2014 10:49 PM
by Just for Cuts
16 627
Belt dealer problem
googus
11-21-2014 08:45 AM
11-21-2014 06:36 PM
by Steve
2 225
What is going on with...
biglee
11-14-2014 03:04 PM
11-20-2014 02:50 PM
by biglee
40 1,083
My advice for new guys
avetslawncare
11-15-2014 09:32 AM
11-19-2014 01:47 PM
by biglee
10 641
Lawn Care business...
crieg122
10-23-2014 02:23 PM
11-19-2014 12:39 PM
by acrajchel
28 2,008
raking leaves ?
robert8509
10-22-2014 10:19 PM
11-18-2014 04:24 PM
by acrajchel
14 1,572
Leaf removal
madmedic8575
10-24-2014 05:14 PM
11-17-2014 07:34 PM
by acrajchel
6 1,297
sod job
SGlawncare
10-30-2014 09:21 PM
11-17-2014 07:10 PM
by acrajchel
7 887
Customer wants me to...
Mr. Mow
11-09-2014 07:13 AM
11-17-2014 06:48 PM
by acrajchel
10 662
Hello!
Brian3137
11-11-2014 07:15 PM
11-17-2014 06:46 PM
by acrajchel
14 588
small biz in Phoenix,AZ
anthonyramos1
11-08-2014 09:35 PM
11-17-2014 05:59 PM
by acrajchel
2 411
Client won't pay...
WesleySnips
10-30-2014 03:53 PM
11-17-2014 05:37 PM
by acrajchel
22 1,511
Government contracts
avetslawncare
11-15-2014 08:50 AM
11-17-2014 12:59 PM
by Steve
2 371
Need help on deciding a...
Brian3137
11-10-2014 06:32 PM
11-17-2014 12:44 PM
by Steve
12 637
West cost lawn prices
SGlawncare
10-09-2014 10:51 PM
11-16-2014 07:54 AM
by stevef1201
8 1,717
So how do you guys...
Mr. Mow
10-26-2014 08:55 AM
11-15-2014 08:44 AM
by avetslawncare
14 1,844
Truck, Trailer,...
hawthornelawncare
12-23-2011 01:01 AM
11-13-2014 08:35 AM
by jrs.landscaping
81 32,069
The most dangerous part...
Steve
10-06-2014 03:45 PM
11-12-2014 05:05 PM
by stevef1201
14 1,806
A little hang up in snow...
stevef1201
11-08-2014 07:05 AM
11-12-2014 12:51 PM
by Steve
4 551
Bi-weekly winter...
lxarth
11-04-2014 08:37 PM
11-12-2014 10:06 AM
by WesleySnips
9 757
taking first steps...
sizemorelawncare
11-10-2014 08:24 PM
11-11-2014 01:21 PM
by Steve
1 436
Back Pack Blower
Ian Lovejoy
11-09-2014 08:41 AM
11-11-2014 08:12 AM
by Just for Cuts
4 506
Business Cards
crieg122
10-25-2014 01:03 PM
11-11-2014 07:56 AM
by Just for Cuts
12 1,471
How the unregister?
alive101
11-04-2014 07:39 AM
11-10-2014 01:48 PM
by Steve
4 710
Belt adjustment question
googus
11-05-2014 06:43 AM
11-10-2014 01:38 PM
by Steve
5 617
Podcast
Shark1611
11-07-2014 05:42 PM
11-10-2014 11:41 AM
by Steve
1 408
hi, from Minnesota
rjklohn
11-07-2014 02:21 AM
11-07-2014 01:44 PM
by Steve
1 425
New to snow plowing
SS.Lawncare
11-05-2014 04:00 PM
11-07-2014 01:21 PM
by Steve
6 695
New Member
tonyap
11-05-2014 10:35 PM
11-07-2014 01:15 PM
by Steve
1 469
» Popular Tags
2wd 4x4 apartment lawn care estimate auger bark bid blades bob villa care charge collections commercial decorating demonstration edging employee problems ferris four wheel drive gopherhaul grass gravely growing a lawn care business hardscapes hills hiring how much to charge how to installation john deere quik trac kawasaki landscape services lawn lawn care lawn care busines plan lawn care business lawn care business seo lawn care business show lawn care business website lawn care business website seo lawn care seo lawn care website lawn care website seo lighting monthly mulch mulch estimate new buisness past due patio install per hour service podcast pto redmax reo scripts shell snow snow plowing sprayer starting a business starting a lawn care business steve sulky theft toro toro grand stand trailer mate pro tree turfgrass consulting up sell employee
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.1.0

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:04 PM.


(C) 2011 Riggs Publications - Terms of use & Privacy Policy

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:04 PM.

(C) 2011 Riggs Publications - Terms of use & Privacy Policy