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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!

Introductions from Pittsburgh


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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  #11  
Old 07-25-2010, 08:03 PM
Chachi Chachi is offline
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Welcome to the site. I am also in the Pittsburgh Area about 20 mins east. I am friends with a lot of the competition in the area and most you will find aren't jerks and will help you out a bit. I get yards all the time off a few that are too busy
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  #12  
Old 07-25-2010, 08:32 PM
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Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
Quote:
Originally Posted by cleancutlawncare5382 View Post
We might be neighbors, About 50 miles north myself
I'll send you a PM.
[edit - I see you've already sent one ** replying]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chachi View Post
... I get yards all the time off a few that are too busy
Absolutely! This is how I started out. I was able to take jobs the bigger companies couldn't. We're all friends.

Last edited by mark123; 07-25-2010 at 08:36 PM.
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  #13  
Old 07-25-2010, 10:23 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Regarding the "friendly competition", that's good to know, because I could certainly use some pointers if nothing else.


I'm going to give an estimate on a hedge trimming job tomorrow.
I've "trimmed" hedges, and I'm told that the going rate is $1 per linear foot, but these hedges are 120 ft long, and 4-6 ft tall x 3 ft wide, and they want them cut down in height by "about half".
I'm not exactly sure how to price that, especially since there will be so much that needs to be hauled away.

This brings me to my next dilemma - I am not really equipped to haul that amount of debris. Short bed truck with a cap, and no trailer. (just a trailer hitch cargo carrier)
I'm thinking that I'll need to price it lower than if I were to haul it, and have them get someone else do the hauling.


Any tips on locations east of Pittsburgh to dispose of items like hedge/grass clippings?
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  #14  
Old 07-25-2010, 10:40 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Welcome to our forum! With your experience in graphic design, have you applied that to your new business in the form of business cards and truck graphics?

What kind of marketing are you planning on doing to further promote your business?


Business cards with a "first time customer" offer, and flyers to hand out were my fist steps. I designed and laminated some signs that I attached to the cargo carrier as well as the back window of the truck cap as a temporary thing.

I'm starting to look into vinyl window graphic for the back window, and MAYBE add a bug shield with info to the front. I'm kind of particular about my vehicle, and I'd prefer a way of taking the signage off and on as desired, but "magnetic signs", make me cringe when I think about what the can do to your paint.

Craigslist advertising will come when I feel I'm better equipped to handle more types of jobs.

I had considered stopping at some local businesses that cater to women (remember, handyman as well as lawn care) to see about leaving my cards at the counter.

Eventually "real" advertising is a must. Working in advertising, I have seen many people try to advertise "on the cheap", and it rarely pays off the way they had hoped. At least I have an edge in that I can be my own ad agency and not have ads that look like my 12 year old nephew designed them.
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  #15  
Old 07-26-2010, 03:07 AM
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Quote:
I'm told that the going rate is $1 per linear foot
I think you are better off, early on, pricing jobs by the amount of time you feel they will take.

Quote:
I'm thinking that I'll need to price it lower than if I were to haul it, and have them get someone else do the hauling.
Can you shred them with a rented shredder? Or maybe bag them or tie them up for the town to haul away from the curb?

Quote:
Craigslist advertising will come when I feel I'm better equipped to handle more types of jobs.
Maybe you could advertise on there now and if you don't like the job, dont bid on it. You can always say your schedule is full. But it is always better to have more jobs to bid on than less.

Quote:
I have seen many people try to advertise "on the cheap", and it rarely pays off the way they had hoped.
Do any stories stand out that the readers here need to be wary of and steer clear of?
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  #16  
Old 07-26-2010, 01:45 PM
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Well as far as hedges go I bid by the amount of time it will take me to cut clean up and dispose. Depends one what your hourly rate is most around our area are 30$ a hour. And have a min. amount you will charge and stick to it. If you are familiar with Grandview Nursery in North Huntingdon they take grass clippings for around 6$ a pickup truck load and brush is a bit more expensive anywhere from 30$+ depending on the amount you take in. As far as advertisement for you if you have a local newspaper try that. Not a big one, just a local community paper. Some other helpful advise get a trailer and maybe get rid of the cap on your pickup. 5x10 trailer from Smouse in Mt pleasant is around 1300 out the door. I build a box on mine for clippings etc. Starting out I know it is hard to come up with a lot of cash just like that, however you will make it back quickly. Going back now I wish I would of purchased a enclosed trailer first then a open trailer, however I only had $$ for a open trailer at the time. Everything depends on what you have to spend really.
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  #17  
Old 07-26-2010, 08:02 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chachi View Post
Well as far as hedges go I bid by the amount of time it will take me to cut clean up and dispose. Depends one what your hourly rate is most around our area are 30$ a hour. And have a min. amount you will charge and stick to it. If you are familiar with Grandview Nursery in North Huntingdon they take grass clippings for around 6$ a pickup truck load and brush is a bit more expensive anywhere from 30$+ depending on the amount you take in. As far as advertisement for you if you have a local newspaper try that. Not a big one, just a local community paper. Some other helpful advise get a trailer and maybe get rid of the cap on your pickup. 5x10 trailer from Smouse in Mt pleasant is around 1300 out the door. I build a box on mine for clippings etc. Starting out I know it is hard to come up with a lot of cash just like that, however you will make it back quickly. Going back now I wish I would of purchased a enclosed trailer first then a open trailer, however I only had $$ for a open trailer at the time. Everything depends on what you have to spend really.
Thanks for the info, it's appreciated.

I looked at them today and they aren't as bad as I had imagined.
60'x6' tall along the street, but VERY thin. You can clearly see the cars going by through them.
70'x5'-6' tall along the driveway. Thicker than the other part, but still only 24-36" wide, and easily accessible from both sides.

I spoke to the owner and he sounded interested in the chipper idea for disposal, as he has a pile of small tree limbs that he had cut recently.
I suggested he could use the "mulch" in the back of the property near a wooded area.

I'm guessing 1.5 hrs to cut them in half. (I'd cut the ones by the street down to the ground to let them grow back thicker, but I think they just want them cut half way down)
2 hrs to feed it all into the chipper (blow it onto a large tarp)
1 hr clean up
Say a total of 5 hours... just a guess - this is my first "estimate".

If $30 is the going rate, I may charge $20/hr. They are people I'm acquainted with and new homeowners who don't have a lot of disposable income at the moment. If I price it too high, they may just decide to do it themselves. (as it really isn't a difficult job aside from disposal of the cuttings)

I'll have to price a towable chipper rental. Fortunately, there is a Home Depot within about 4 miles. (unless someone has a better/less costly suggestion)

I'll try to attach some pics of the hedges...



About the trailer - yes, I know I'll need one, but I simply can't afford it now. Gotta have money to make money it seems, but I'll get there one way or another. The cap is not likely going anywhere. It would make things easier for lawn care, but it's useful in other ways.
I'll throw in a pic of my "wheel-less trailer" too. (No laughing!)
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  #18  
Old 07-27-2010, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
If $30 is the going rate, I may charge $20/hr. They are people I'm acquainted with and new homeowners who don't have a lot of disposable income at the moment. If I price it too high, they may just decide to do it themselves. (as it really isn't a difficult job aside from disposal of the cuttings)
I'd say at least $30.

It's good to see you are making it work with what you have. You can always scale up and get more equipment, trailers etc.

Keep us posted on how this turns out.
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  #19  
Old 07-27-2010, 05:59 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Just got a call for an estimate to pick up/deliver and dig/plant 15-20 4' junipers along a property line.

Another referral by the neighbor who e-mailed my flyer to friends along with a helpful "I HIGHLY recommend him" note.



Wonder how many I can get in that cargo carrier?


ETA:
That's gonna be a lotta diggin'...
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  #20  
Old 07-27-2010, 10:46 PM
Chachi Chachi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgemaster View Post
Just got a call for an estimate to pick up/deliver and dig/plant 15-20 4' junipers along a property line.

Another referral by the neighbor who e-mailed my flyer to friends along with a helpful "I HIGHLY recommend him" note.



Wonder how many I can get in that cargo carrier?


ETA:
That's gonna be a lotta diggin'...
Nice. Did you do the hedge job yet? Another tip don't forget to figure in fuel as well. Whether you put it on your quote or not is up to you. I don't, but always figure it in on big jobs and usually just add it to my labor charge.
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