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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.

It may be time for a hard choice


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 09-02-2010, 12:19 PM
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Default It may be time for a hard choice

Business has fallen off 100% but the cost to do business has gone up. I found myself yesterday taking money from my personal checking account to keep the business afloat for a little longer. I have been on the phone non stop trying to entertain different advertising, the local phone book wants 1200 per year for a 1/4 page add, that's 1,200 that the business dose not have. My regular advertising has produced 0 calls as of late. It may just be time to count losses and move on with life. Any suggestions for a last ditch effort to survive? Spending a ton of money is out because I worry the more of my personal money I sink into it the more I will lose so I am kinda screwed.
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Old 09-02-2010, 01:12 PM
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Being that you had customers in the past, I would figure that would be a benefit. Could you contact them and let them know you are back in business?

What was the best marketing method that worked in the past in your area? Could you repeat that process?
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Old 09-02-2010, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Being that you had customers in the past, I would figure that would be a benefit. Could you contact them and let them know you are back in business?

What was the best marketing method that worked in the past in your area? Could you repeat that process?
Steve I have done all I can with past clients. Got some back didn't get others but what I did get back has not been covering the bills. I do have the big county contract but am under the understanding it could take up to 6 months to finally get a government check issued so I can not count on that to pay the bills although I am pushing them to pay me. As far as advertising I never stopped or changed what has worked in the past really. I went from barely being able to keep up with calls for new service one day to none the next day and its been flat lined ever sence. In 3 months I got 3 calls, did 2 estimates and never heard back, missed the 3rd call and returned it, left a message and never got a call back.
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:00 PM
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Default try this:

If you don't have work then you should have time. On a low budget, going door to door with your business cards is the best idea I can think of. Start advertising fall clean ups, aerating, power raking, etc.

good luck
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Old 09-03-2010, 11:03 AM
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I am working out going door to door with fliers the problem is the money is gone. Until I get some checks "Who knows how long that will take" the business has $25 to its name meaning the fliers will come out of my pocket. My wife and I set a rule a while back that we will keep the business going so long as it pays for itself. We dont care if it pays us but just want it to pay for itself. Last month I got hit with licensing renewals, Postal renewals and everything all at once that depleted the business accounts. I was not worried because I was counting on my county check to come in but to my surprise they sent the invoice back to me and I-9ed me. Now they have there paperwork and the invoice back but that was 3 days ago and I h ave yet to hear if we are good to go. As far as airating and power raking I dont have the equipment for that. I have a hand held airator which is good for small lawns like mine but most of the lawns in my area are 1/4- 1/2 acer and the cost to do that by hand would be such that noone would want to pay that much. As far as the power raking Thats simple. I dont have a power rake. Now I am worried that if I start funding the business myself the market will not improve and I will just be flushing my money down the drain and not only have a broke business but be broke myself. The last time I funded it myself I did it in the way of a personal loan or investment payable back to me in monthly installments with interest. That way I was sure I would get my personal money back but I lost thousands of dollars when tax time came around and the IRS said it was illegal for me to loan my business money. So this time if it costs me 40K to keep the business going another 4 months and things dont improve I can kiss my 40K good bye.
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Old 09-03-2010, 12:15 PM
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Reflecting back on all this, what do you think happened? What do you think made you want to get out of the business and then get back in? Is their an underlying issue that still hasnt been resolved and is that making it difficult now or do you feel none of this has anything to do with it?
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Old 09-03-2010, 12:49 PM
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Reflecting back on all this, what do you think happened? What do you think made you want to get out of the business and then get back in? Is their an underlying issue that still hasnt been resolved and is that making it difficult now or do you feel none of this has anything to do with it?
Steve. I have though a lot about that very question. I have come up with the answer that a ****ty week just pushed me over the edge. First a client was a few months past do and I was to get all my money that day. On the property before that I ran over and cut in half a very expensive hose. NOTE I did this hundreds of times and the hose was never a problem as I cut the grass so high and the hose is a hefty one. That took a months wages from that job to replace. Then I move onto the next job and didn't get paid so I said that's it. I have fixed that problem in that now weather it will be a problem or not I roll up there hose every time. As far as non paying clients if your bill is not paid you dont get the work done. I dont care if you are one day past do, pay your bill and I will show up. Past do for 2 weeks and you come off the schedule and the collection letters start getting sent out. I use to play Mr nice guy and let people get away with being a month late but not anymore unless we set up an agreement to pay per month rather than per week. Basicaly I have 2 kinds of job the ones that grow the business and the ones that support the business. The ones that grow the business are the $20K+ jobs that pay for a new tractor or truck or whatever, and the ones that support the business are the regular scheduled maintenance jobs. The ones that grow the business and get me all the neat new toys help because those neat new toys go towards the smaller jobs that support the business in the way of providing new services. The big jobs have not slowed down but are to few and far between to support the business. The regular scheduled jobs have just about stopped coming in. Basically I think I made a big mistake in that I grew the business far faster than it could support itself and in one fail swoop it imploded in on itself. This became painfully clear when all these renewals and fees came up they just sucked everything out of the bank. I about blew my gasket when I was informed I was operating 2 months after some licenses had expired. I through a **** fit on why I was not informed and lucky for me they waived late fees and application fees and told me just to pay for the renewal and all is good, other wise I would have been unlicensed and out of business last week. Now I am depressed because I have just enough gas in the truck and in cans to get to my next regular job and thank god they called and said they had a check waiting for me. If you remember even when I took my extended break the bank accounts were always overflowing, cash flow has never been a problem and I have never had to pinch pennies and try to figure out finances like I have in the past few days, very stressful indeed. That being said getting a check next week is NOT a saving grace as in one hour it will be gone do to operating expenses. The bottom line is we grew very fast then new calls for service in one day just stopped all together. In three months I have had only 3 calls and didn't get any of the contracts so the only way out in my mind is to greatly reduce the business back to a self sustaining level but I have no idea how to do that. We were just in the middle of a very exciting expansion and were getting rave reviews and had a lot of good prospects and now I am worried by not only putting said expansion on indefinite hold but also by reducing everything ells to the aforementioned self sustaining size I fear it will make us look very bad. Its like a catch 22.
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:04 PM
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You know what. Maybe my problem is an overanylitical one. Everything is paid for and after all I DO have enough resources to get to the next job which is more than we can all say in this economy so may I just need to sit down and shut up and deal with it as it comes. My wife and I had a meeting yesterday and agreed we will go on a month to month situation with funding the companies needs. The only thing I should need is advertising costs as they will need to be paid by Monday and I dont get my check until Wednesday so we will need to fund the next months of advertising and then hopefully before its do for October business picks up.

One problem I have faced for 2 years are our winter services, its getting to that time of year when calls normally slow down for summer services the problem is I really dont have any winter services. I have no equipment really to offer such services and with cash flow what it is I doubt the accounts will be at a level to buy the equipment before winter sets in so it looks like it will be another dismal 0ff season for us.
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:15 AM
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You hit on a lot of great points that I think effect many who read the forum.

When you said

Quote:
Basically I think I made a big mistake in that I grew the business far faster than it could support itself and in one fail swoop it imploded in on itself.
we talk about this from time to time, but can you tell us how building a business too fast can effect it? Everyone tends to think that you should build your business as fast as you can, but how do you feel it effected the implosion?

What do you feel is a business implosion?

Also what do you feel would be the best way to turn it all around, now that you have gotten all this thought out?
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Old 09-04-2010, 12:10 PM
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we talk about this from time to time, but can you tell us how building a business too fast can effect it? Everyone tends to think that you should build your business as fast as you can, but how do you feel it effected the implosion?
I do have a question on this cause I have this idea as well but I am catious about it. Is there a right way to expand or is it just steady growth?
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