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Introduce Yourself Welcome all new forum members. Please introduce yourself and tell us about you. Tell us about your company. How did you get started? How long have you been in business? What do you do for fun? Don't be shy, say hello! It's fun and educational to interact on the forum!

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Introduce Yourself

Welcome all new forum members. Please introduce yourself and tell us about you. Tell us about your company. How did you get started? How long have you been in business? What do you do for fun? Don't be shy, say hello! It's fun and educational to interact on the forum!
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  #1  
Old 01-05-2010, 12:03 AM
Tony Barnes Tony Barnes is offline
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Hello all I go by Tony and I'm located out of Cincinnati, OH. I was originally a commercial concrete man by trade then recently over the last couple years got into alot of decorative stamped and stained patio and walk work. Towards the end of last year I came across a incredible price on a 62" stander 36" toro with 2 450 back pack blowers and 2 fs 85 trimmers for under $3500. I Made the decision to begin self employment this year in the field of lawn care and decorative hardscapes, hoping to including my vast previous experience with stackable retaining walls, pavers and decorative concrete while also putting my new equipment to work. All knowledge advice and general help will be highly appreciated especially since i'm trying to do this while raising 6 kids 2 of which are adopted.
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  #2  
Old 01-05-2010, 12:02 PM
john willen
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Wow ! That's a lot of shoes! As far as the mowing goes use the pricing guides set out on this site and stick by them ! I use to think that I would rather make a little rather than nothing but low balling just got me in trouble the business will be there if you just stick to your guns. I can't count how many times i have been beat out by a lower bid just to have cust. call back later and need help because the other guy didn't satisfy them. some of them actually apologize for not hiring me the first time that makes it all worthwhile
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
I Made the decision to begin self employment this year in the field of lawn care and decorative hardscapes, hoping to including my vast previous experience with stackable retaining walls, pavers and decorative concrete while also putting my new equipment to work.
Hi Tony,

WOW you certainly have a lot going on over there! We have seen a lot of members on the forum have less responsibilities and still not feel comfortable enough to make the jump to going full time with their business.

What pushed you to make such a jump? Do you have any advice for others who are in a similar situation as you as to how to do that?

Also, what kinds of things have you been doing so far to market your business?

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but low balling just got me in trouble
John, I think most new lawn care businesses fail to realize this. Can you tell us a little how a business can get in trouble when they lowball?
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:48 PM
Tony Barnes Tony Barnes is offline
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I believe the work i have been involved with eight years takes the fear of responsibilities or becoming overwhelmed away. I was a high-end commercial low-end industrial concrete lead field foreman for the last eight years! Daily task where over seeing and directing, "scheduling" all aspects of concrete construction over 4 crews based of 32 to 38 men. My luck of my deal happen to come at the time of a strategic lay-off for the first time in my employment with that company. This really made the decision making process of finding something else easier. It also eased the situation that i already had a easy convert able trailer accompanied by a skid steer and all concrete placement necessities. I believed this would be a good way to do what i like to do for me and with yard jobs could come decorative hard scape work and vice versa.

Marketing has been done thus far by expansive networking, first set of fliers ready to go out in about 3 weeks, signs on vehicles and trailer, yard signs for my own and expansive families yards. I was also lucky enough to pick up 25 yards with my purchase of this equipment of which all but one have agreed to resign this year. I believe a good year would be to fill my week with 75 to 90 yards per week and the rest of my time be placed in other activities prior listed. Again I realize this will require alot of my time and am more than willing to donate 90 hrs. a week of my time yet more if required.

I believe a good business is based on quality product or service nothing less, to stand by under all circumstance your word in which you have promised or shall we say guaranteed your contact, and finally scheduling scheduling scheduling!
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:46 AM
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If you lowball you can look forward to 80 hour weeks just enough money to operate on and no time to do those big money jobs that can make or break you!
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:36 PM
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I believe the work i have been involved with eight years takes the fear of responsibilities or becoming overwhelmed away.
How do you feel that ultimately helps you? A lot of new business owners may not understand this.

Quote:
I was also lucky enough to pick up 25 yards with my purchase of this equipment of which all but one have agreed to resign this year.
It seems the first customers are always the most difficult to get. Did you find this to be the case? Any suggestions on how to land your first group of customers?

Quote:
If you lowball you can look forward to 80 hour weeks just enough money to operate on and no time to do those big money jobs that can make or break you!
John, did you get to this point and if so what was it that finally made you see where the problem was? This can be an invisible problem most never are able to see and they sink.
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Old 01-07-2010, 05:14 PM
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I realized that I was in trouble when I found that I was mowing 60 hrs. a week and couldn't afford the new equipment that I needed to expand. At the end of my first year I contacted everyone of my customers and informed them of the following years price increase and why. I only lost about 20% of them so I feel that I'm out of the woods. Maybe I can get that new Zero turn this spring
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:56 PM
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What % did you increase your customer prices by?
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Old 01-09-2010, 05:43 AM
Tony Barnes Tony Barnes is offline
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I feel i have been enlightened by a very strenuous daily scheduling feat and even larger demand for a quality product due to the numbers of the same field locally. This is my standing ground and basis to know i am and i can produce a better quality product that i intend to get compensated for accordingly!

In the marketing aspect of discovering my first 25 sorry to say but that was not the case i was fortunate enough to make a equipment with finishing out his yearly contracts deal. So in all actuality I kinda inherited my first customers but am very proud to say my minimal amount of time with them and their yards last year were enough to earn my work ethic and quality a return trip this year for all but one. (That one was the gentleman's mother i bought the equipment from) I also appreciate the fact that i have managed to talk 19 out of 24 of the remaining customers into a 12 month payment structure for 35 weeks worth of cutting to insure my lively hood in the winter next year.
Now for the other 40 to 50 customers i would love to pick up this year and it will be a good year!

I actually submitted a price increase also to all the yards i inherited mostly hovered around 14 to 18% which i know can sound drastic but he was working for chicken feed honestly, and yet by the increase in workmanship they were happy to pay no questions asked
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Old 01-09-2010, 12:42 PM
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and quality a return trip this year for all but one.
A lot of forum members will be looking to do this with the new year here. What do you feel is the best way to get your previous years customers to resign up with you in the new year?
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