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General Business Discussions A place to talk about general business discussions.

Mow only vs. a Full Service


General Business Discussions

A place to talk about general business discussions.
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  #11  
Old 05-26-2006, 11:03 AM
kc2006 kc2006 is offline
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I'd rather go full service properties.

If you want to go just mowing and have a ton of customers a few problems come to mind. If it rains, your backed up and you lose revenue. You have alot more office work/billing work to keep up with. Overall costs would be higher I would think due to running around so much.

I've got friends that are doing both ways that your saying. Both are solo operations, one has 80 accounts that he gets done weekly, he's out 7 days a week all day, he doesn't do anything else just mows thats it. Another friend has 40 weekly accounts but trys to do mostly everything else and mowin is just a 3 day thing to bring constant money in, he banks on upsales and one time landscape/hardscape jobs. Both make about the same, one works his butt off the other works 5 days a week only. Both bring in about the same earnings.
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  #12  
Old 05-26-2006, 11:57 AM
tiedeman
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That is some interesting info about those guys. I can understand that the schedule would be very tight and you would work like crazy, but I would think that you would make more money off from just strictly mowing than anything else
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  #13  
Old 05-26-2006, 11:58 AM
tiedeman
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Let me say that more correctly:

I would think that you would make more consistant money off from mowing compared to other services
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  #14  
Old 05-26-2006, 06:00 PM
kc2006 kc2006 is offline
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The perfect split for me if I were to stay solo would be to have 4 days of mowing. Be it big commercial accounts or residential accounts. Then set yourself up with the other 2 days for other work (landscaping, hardscapes, pondscapes whatever). This way if it rains one week, you have 3 days to catch up, or if your on schedule you have 2-3 days for other work.

That's how the business was where I used to work, and it worked really well. I liked that split and thats how it is this year, just 3 days of mowing and whatever landscape work I do get in I schedule for the other 3 days of the week.
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  #15  
Old 05-26-2006, 08:02 PM
tiedeman
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Well, what I am currently thinking about doing is this:

Have just a lawn maintenance and pesiticde company. That way both areas are covered in case the other one does or doesn't take off good. Then I don't have to worry about any landscaping maintenance such as pruning shrubs, planting flowers, etc. I can just concentrate strictly on two things. I feel that it would make me schedule easier too since I know exactly what I have to get done.
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  #16  
Old 05-26-2006, 08:03 PM
tiedeman
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Since I downsized 3 years ago I keep on reinventing the business over and over again to something that would be perfect. Yes, I want it to be perfect. I would have never imagined that 3 years ago, when I had two crews, that I would be working by myself now and wondering the "right" direction to take the business
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  #17  
Old 05-27-2006, 09:53 PM
Howard Roark
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I currently have an only mowing operation, and it's worked out very well for me. My travel time is very low and the routes are tight, with a two man crew averaging about 25-28 lawns per day. This works great in my area, however if I tried this where I grew up in Connecticut, I wouldn't have a chance. It definitely depends on the market you're in, as well as what rules you set forth to the customer.

I've had absolutely no complaints this year, and most people are on credit card billing. I attribute this to "choosing my customers" rather than them choosing me.
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  #18  
Old 05-27-2006, 11:58 PM
kc2006 kc2006 is offline
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Howard, good to see you here. I've talked to you in the past via ********, you've got a great business and should have a ton to contribute to this board too!
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  #19  
Old 05-28-2006, 09:35 PM
tiedeman
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Howard,
please talk more about it, I am very interested in what you have to say about it
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  #20  
Old 05-28-2006, 11:36 PM
Howard Roark
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Hi guys,

I'm not sure why it took me this long to discover Gopher had a discussion board, but I'm glad I did. The other sites tend to lack the out of the box thinking and winning attitude that I have lived by for years, so I ended up here. It's nice to see an intelligent forum with success for all in mind, and I truly enjoy all the posts by the Gopher staff in reference to other's ideas and their success. There's something to learn from everyone. Hopefully I can bring more people over for some great discussions.

As for what's going on with me this year, I started back part time this year as I had landed over the winter what appeared to be a golden opportunity job and tried to make both that and my business work. Long story short, I just can't seem to work for anyone else! * So back full time as of late April, however most of my customers were landed in May and June of last year so it's good timing.

My business is only mow and go and has been for two years now. I only use postcard advertising hand delivered door to door to gain my customers. We run 21" toro prolines, no trailers, two trimmers and 1 blower. Basically everything is paid for, and with 22 lawns or more per day it's going well. My next step is getting out of the truck and starting another crew. I have learned a great deal from my first year doing this, mostly:

Keep it simple! I decided to narrow my business down and focus on the 5 main things that I needed to focus on and the rest would take care of itself. ( I got this from reading someone's post somewhere regarding if you focus on the most important 20% of your business, you will succeed. If you know which book this is please let me know as I don't have all the details, I just decided to use the theory. I really would like to read this book!! Thanks!)
Anyway, the 5 for me were extremely simple:

1) Find a cost effective way to distribute postcards. I always without fail generate 1.2 - 1.8 % landed job rate from my cards. So basically it's a sure bet if 5000 go out, I'll always get 60 customers or more.

2) Do quality work! Sounds like a no brainer, but in fact my * *major competition now here in the Austin market in fact has a huge turn-over of customers from year to year. Although my business method involves somewhat of a revolving door scenerio, retention is a key priority now for me. This DOES NOT mean I stray from my guidelines of service however. It's about a win-win situation with your customer.

3) Strive for automation. I've had almost 80% of new customers sign up online without ever talking to them. *There's nothing better than coming home to 15 e-mails of people signing up for service with their credit card ready to go.

4) Answer phones and return emails promptly! While missing calls can possibly cost you a job, make sure your voice mail directs them to #3, your website to sign up. Always leave them with YOU in mind. I currently do not have a phone person, although it's coming up on that very soon. However, with the proper voice mail greeting you can have people signing up anyway. (Provided you convince them with your website)

5) Maintain the equipment. Again, a no brainer, but honestly I was running low on things to make my biz successful while putting it together over the winter so this came to mind for the #5 slot. There's nothing worse than trying to start a trimmer on lawn #15 and it not starting with 8 more to go.

I should also say that I pay my help extremely well also, and I only work with people I respect and admire. I am not doing this soley for income, but for personal satisfaction and achievement as well. Therefore, although I do watch P & L and numbers carefully, I would much rather create a successful work environment for everyone in which we all can grow. This has always paid off for me in the long run, as it's universal law and cannot fail.

If anyone has any other questions feel free to ask away. It's great to see you guys and I look forward to spending more time on this forum.

Best wishes! *

Howard
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