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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.

My first day


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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  #1  
Old 03-12-2010, 12:33 PM
fredthewolverine fredthewolverine is offline
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Default My first day

I did my first jobs yesterday, and I already learned so much! I had 6 aeration jobs, and while I was working two people called about the flyers I hung about two weeks ago. One of the calls asked if I could clean her yard ( Walnuts) and clean her wondow wells. I tried to do that job in between aerating, big mistake I was in such a hurry and when I got there she added more jobs and I had to tell her that I would have to re- schedule. So I realize I should schedule everything out a few days or a week. Over all it was a really fun day and a learning experience. I also learned that my prices need to be re examened. I think people that low ball can't get really far in this biz. I'm not saying I lowballed but I did go a big lower than the competition by charging per yard and not size. So that will change effective immediatly, but those that have the flyer with those prices I'll probably still honor. Besides they are people in my neighborhood. It feels good working hard and honest.
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Old 03-12-2010, 04:05 PM
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That is fantastic news! I am glad to hear you are off and running!

Quote:
I also learned that my prices need to be re examened. I think people that low ball can't get really far in this biz. I'm not saying I lowballed but I did go a big lower than the competition by charging per yard and not size. So that will change effective immediatly,
Can you teach us a little about this? I am sure a lot of readers are going to fall into this trap.

What about this experience made you think you need to re-examine your prices and how will you charge differently now in the future?
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Old 03-13-2010, 08:50 AM
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I found myself racing against the clock.
It was my first day but I realized how Quickly my day had been filled.
I had 5 scheduled aerating jobs, and while I was aerating someone called for a leaf / garden cleaning job. ( I also realized I need to schedule that for another day to do that job, so I could focus on aerating!)
I still have a night job so I needed to be done by 4. Only 2 yards where straight forward yards that had a simple front and back the others were either really big or had a hill or a slop in the back yard.
I realized the one with a slop in it was really taking a lot out of me because the aerator weighed almost 300 lbs. That took me longer to finish. the really big yards needed to be charged higher prices also because the size, takes long too. The goal with aerating is to get as many as possible in the day. And you need to make your money back from the rental if your renting. When I was working on these yards I was not happy with the price I charged them but It is what I quoted them over the phone or in person so I didn't want to change the price. So when I was doing my last scheduled yard a guy walked up to me and asked if I could do his and asked how much I would do it for. I looked him in the eye and told him double what I charged earlier. While I was doing his yard I felt good about myself and I thought it was fair for everyone.

Bottom line I needed to make lost money from the rental, and I need to get as many done in the day as I can so anything that gets in the way of that needs to be charged accordingly.
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:00 PM
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As you look ahead do you feel you will be charging a higher rate?

Why do you feel most newer businesses tend to underbid jobs when they are first out there getting started?
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:01 AM
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Well me personally without asking the experts when it comes to aerating I am going to have to make the money that I lost renting the machine in the FIRST HOUR, So yeah if it cost me 90 bucks to rent I'll advertise for 30 and go by small, med, large- prices and set appointments accordingly, then after I paid for machine then i might possibly give deals if I go door to door.



Now about underbidding I think its because we don't know the rates and we charge what WE would be willing to pay. And we don't want to lose the account! Another thing like yesterday I quoted a guy whose whole yard was basically a garden it was huge and beautiful, it needed spring clean up, I charge 15 bucks for a garden clean up, after measuring his it was the size of 18 gardens plus he wanted his grass cleaned so I quoted 275, He quickly walked me to my car and told me he would work on the garden himself. I'm still Pissed, confused, wondering what the heck happened, did I overbid?!. I'm scared I overbid and he will tell everyone on his street to trash my ad. I have know Idea. I think that is another reason for underbidding we don't want to OVERBID!! I wish there was an industry standard. I hear most people say " well how much labor do you have on your payroll, and how much in overhead do you have?." but its not the clients fault that a company has high labor cost or that a business owner is a bad money manager. To me if I knew the industry standard I would budget around that.
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:17 PM
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maybe set up aeration just on weekends or days off that you have, that way u can focus and get as many as you can scheduled for one day. pick a day and tell people thursday is the day we do aerations or saturdays whatever day. get 15 or 30 of them you'll be making more money that way. 90 isnt nothing when you have 20 to do. one should pay for it? I charged 150 and was done in an hour, the machine was 50 for 3 hours. that was just one yard.
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:49 PM
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Hey MikeO,
Yeah thats how I schedule, I tell the callers or in person that I do aerations once a week, on Thursdays.

Now as far as charging how do you do it? By the size, hour, or a flat rate?
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Old 03-14-2010, 02:57 PM
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figure the cost of everything my time unloading loading gas and labor.
most average sized yards start at 75-85 around here anyways on smaller houses.
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:07 PM
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This is a fascinating topic. It shows how it can be a lot easier selling to a current customer than to try selling to new customer.

Also selling an annual service is a lot better than selling one time jobs because one sale can bring you a lot of money over time.

This can change as you grow and are able to start selling larger landscaping projects but it is a battle early on to get that core group of re-occurring customers.

As far as the aeration goes, we have been talking more about the organic aeration spray and it seems to be working pretty good. I think it might be worth checking into vs. renting an aeration unit. It could end up making the job more profitable and less financially risky to you.
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