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, 06:25 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 06:29 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, 09:18 PM
Steve's Avatar
Steve Steve is online now
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 36,386
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, 04:01 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, 09:12 PM
Steve's Avatar
Steve Steve is online now
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 36,386
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, 08:31 PM
justin_time justin_time is offline
Justin
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: French River, ON, Canada
Age: 28
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, 09:10 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, 10:23 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, 02:04 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, 04:48 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 04:52 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 10-19-2009, 11:44 PM
Steve's Avatar
Steve Steve is online now
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 36,386
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 09:11 AM
When is the right time? CHEESE2009 Community Assistance 7 03-29-2009 10:16 PM
Need big time help Starting a lawn care business. 5 08-21-2007 12:54 PM
Time Off tiedeman Truck, Trailer, and Outdoor Power Equipment Discussion, Repairs. 10 01-11-2007 12:56 PM

» Recent Threads
  RatingTitle, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views
This sucks...
Matther777
Yesterday 04:56 PM
Today 06:46 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
3 123
Scag turf tiger hydrolic...
ExtremeLawncareServices
09-04-2014 10:55 PM
Today 05:59 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
11 775
Mowing 7 acres
avetslawncare
08-31-2014 04:24 PM
Today 03:29 PM
by acrajchel
6 943
snowplowing
jshak40
09-01-2014 07:20 AM
Today 11:49 AM
by Steve
23 1,301
Looking for feed back on...
ExtremeLawncareServices
09-17-2014 08:38 AM
Today 08:17 AM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
9 269
Lowballers scrubs &...
Darksteel
01-13-2014 07:35 AM
Yesterday 06:32 PM
by Northwoods Outdoors
58 6,701
Hello from upstate NY!
A&MLawn&Snow
Yesterday 11:19 AM
Yesterday 04:10 PM
by Sprinkler Buddy
2 128
Price to apply fertilizer
SS.Lawncare
09-15-2014 11:10 AM
Yesterday 01:16 PM
by Steve
9 380
Trailer tires
J.A.S.LawnService
09-01-2014 10:17 AM
09-17-2014 09:57 PM
by curts lawn care
4 877
new to the forum
SGlawncare
09-16-2014 11:20 PM
09-17-2014 08:29 PM
by curts lawn care
3 206
Help With Snow Blowing...
Robertf31
09-13-2014 10:55 PM
09-17-2014 12:34 PM
by Steve
11 564
Non-Stop Summer?
SouthallMowing
09-14-2014 10:51 PM
09-17-2014 10:48 AM
by stevef1201
6 356
Tribulations of working...
stevef1201
09-13-2014 08:37 AM
09-16-2014 10:43 PM
by SGL1
6 392
Poll - net income
Dan5082
11-15-2010 08:08 PM
09-16-2014 04:44 PM
by jrs.landscaping
12 3,164
Getting lowballed!
PineHillLawn
06-27-2012 07:23 AM
09-16-2014 01:25 PM
by jrs.landscaping
24 4,828
Compare this summer to...
Steve
09-03-2014 12:52 PM
09-16-2014 11:20 AM
by Hanks Lawn Care Services
15 1,052
thinking about throwing...
veteranslawncaresystems
09-09-2014 10:31 PM
09-15-2014 03:41 PM
by Steve
12 749
Hello
Robertf31
09-12-2014 10:34 PM
09-15-2014 03:17 PM
by Steve
2 351
Newbie......Again
Jibber
09-13-2014 12:17 PM
09-15-2014 02:54 PM
by Sprinkler Buddy
2 389
Replacing a Shindi T-27
Dan Tanner
09-13-2014 12:59 PM
09-15-2014 02:31 PM
by Steve
1 357
need help with starter...
GoGreenerKS
09-12-2014 04:23 PM
09-15-2014 02:25 PM
by Steve
3 366
Brake job!
kslawn
08-30-2014 07:49 AM
09-15-2014 02:16 PM
by Steve
12 1,064
Hello
jawnebgoode
08-28-2014 08:37 PM
09-15-2014 02:15 PM
by Steve
3 836
Employee uniforms
Gerardo_Landscape
01-21-2014 11:11 PM
09-15-2014 02:12 PM
by Steve
5 967
Greetings from the north
Northwoods Outdoors
09-13-2014 08:55 AM
09-15-2014 02:07 PM
by Steve
1 333
darleneh
darleneh
09-15-2014 12:33 PM
09-15-2014 02:07 PM
by Sprinkler Buddy
1 231
My 1st bid
WesleySnips
06-11-2014 03:13 PM
09-15-2014 02:05 PM
by Steve
29 1,749
New Aerator
Chaz
09-09-2014 11:43 PM
09-15-2014 01:50 PM
by Steve
9 581
Yearly contract Pricing
jrob0691
08-21-2014 08:57 AM
09-15-2014 01:23 PM
by stevef1201
8 1,228
These are the days on...
ExtremeLawncareServices
03-22-2014 09:12 AM
09-13-2014 09:14 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
116 8,015
getting ready to start
calebmoss
05-23-2011 09:35 PM
09-11-2014 12:21 PM
by Steve
34 11,238
Stihl pull cord replace
SGL1
09-03-2014 09:22 PM
09-10-2014 12:25 PM
by Steve
9 757
Softball field
kslawn
08-15-2014 09:28 AM
09-10-2014 12:16 PM
by Steve
18 1,491
Lawn Route Templates
Landscaper1165
08-30-2014 01:52 PM
09-09-2014 08:05 PM
by Landscaper1165
4 980
New truck and trailer...
Johnny Rocket
05-14-2012 03:41 PM
09-09-2014 07:23 PM
by Matther777
18 6,575
What gets you bad press?
Steve
09-09-2014 11:48 AM
09-09-2014 07:21 PM
by Matther777
2 459
Signs on your snow plow?
Steve
01-15-2007 01:07 AM
09-09-2014 11:42 AM
by Steve
19 6,206
Exmark Lazer Z S-Series...
BLC7
08-22-2014 10:18 AM
09-08-2014 08:08 PM
by avetslawncare
12 1,277
New to the business
flamingyouth87
09-05-2014 11:52 AM
09-08-2014 11:55 AM
by Steve
3 668
Hello from Ohio
kurtwin
08-28-2014 05:06 PM
09-08-2014 11:51 AM
by Steve
7 952
Facebook
element009
03-23-2011 08:36 AM
09-07-2014 07:35 AM
by avetslawncare
24 7,744
Help pricing cut down 7...
Bradcook21
08-26-2014 11:17 PM
09-06-2014 02:09 PM
by Bradcook21
8 1,044
billing matters
sbuchanan8154
09-05-2014 09:56 AM
09-05-2014 03:00 PM
by Steve
3 646
Thoughts
googus
09-05-2014 07:28 AM
09-05-2014 02:23 PM
by Steve
2 596
Backflow Tester
flowcheckllc.2014
09-03-2014 04:37 PM
09-05-2014 02:15 PM
by Steve
3 688
Collections & collection...
jscarolina
09-03-2014 04:39 PM
09-04-2014 03:14 PM
by Steve
2 700
Sod
RosalesLawnCare
08-27-2014 03:47 PM
09-04-2014 02:42 PM
by RosalesLawnCare
4 955
Lawn needs top soil What...
jymie
08-26-2014 11:01 AM
09-03-2014 12:07 PM
by Steve
7 1,025
Hello! New here and...
CaliforniaFriendly
08-29-2014 11:30 AM
09-03-2014 11:15 AM
by Steve
4 934
New to the industry-...
Lsmain
08-31-2014 10:53 AM
09-02-2014 02:58 PM
by Steve
1 852
» Popular Tags
4wd apartment complex auger birdscaping blades charge christmas lighting collections credit card processing customers decorating ditches exmark ferris first truck fundraiser georgia gopherhaul grass gravely growing a lawn care business holiday lighting how much to charge how to bid husqvarna john deere quik trac kansas city kawasaki landscape services lawn lawn care lawn care business podcast 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 leaf leaf removal lighting brass outdoor lights marketing mulch estimate new and restored landscapes new buisness past due podcast promotion pto redmax rotating running a business savannah scag season seo small engine repair snow sprayer starting a business start up lawn care business stihl top dresser toro toro grand stand trailer trimmer rack turfgrass consulting walker
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.1.0

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:33 PM.


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

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:33 PM.

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