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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!

Intro - A F Pettijohns


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 03-18-2011, 11:16 AM
afpettijohns afpettijohns is offline
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Thumbs up Intro - A F Pettijohns

Hi, I'm Aleister and just started my lawn care service on January 12th 2011. I already have 22 customer but they are being raised via a route sales company that is undercutting the local cheap labor. I am striving to get my business into a point where I am a gardener, not a lawn boy.

Hope to find lots of information and help here. I think I will be here allot.

Oh, Gopher 2006 is great.
I would like to see it integrate scheduling into Google, Outlook or directly to my android phone.
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  #2  
Old 03-19-2011, 04:22 AM
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Welcome to our forum!

Quote:
I already have 22 customer but they are being raised via a route sales company that is undercutting the local cheap labor.
That's a lot of customers for starting so recently! Nice work!

Can you tell us more about how that route sales company works? I don't think we have heard anything about that on the forum yet.
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  #3  
Old 03-20-2011, 11:52 AM
afpettijohns afpettijohns is offline
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Question Route Sale Company

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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Welcome to our forum!



That's a lot of customers for starting so recently! Nice work!

Can you tell us more about how that route sales company works? I don't think we have heard anything about that on the forum yet.
It's a company that sells landscaping, maid and pool services. They charged me $4500 for a monthly gross income of $1500 and guarantee 3 months of service with all the new customers they supply me.

They advertise in the penny saver and such. They are giving me a couple new clients a week but very much underselling my services. A new client starting tomorrow in a very well to do neighborhood is getting me for $12 every other week service. On most clients I have been able to upsell them and my $1500 in gross income will be more to the tune of $2500, and add on services this month so far have reached over $1000 so not to bad.

I would like to charge more and am starting my own advertising campaign today. Why hand them another $4500 when I could do it myself.

If anyone is interested, I think this company does this all over southern California, I can give the info. It's a great starter but not liking being sold at as little as $8 for a mow and blow.
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:06 PM
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Have you broken this down and figured out how much it is costing you to acquire each new customer?

Correct me if I am wrong here,

$4500 / 22 customers = $204.50 per customer?

If that is right, how long does it take you to break even then on each customer you are paying $204 to purchase?

This company seems to be focused on getting you customers but has absolutely no interest in getting you the best customers, in fact, aren't they trying to get you the cheapest ones?

What is your view on why go this route versus other routes to acquire customers?
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  #5  
Old 03-21-2011, 09:12 AM
afpettijohns afpettijohns is offline
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Wink On going investment

Yes they are trying to lo ball me and that upsets me much. I am fully unhappy with that because I go to a customer and provide gardening with quality in mind and my customers recognize that with tips and quotes of appreciation. Cindy W (my first customer) tells me every time, "You are such a good gardener".

She was sold at $13 per week roughly $56 dollars a month that I am paying the route sales company $168 for her. I moved her up to $65 per month on an every other week schedule which brings her up to $30 per stop and allows me to do the quality work I want to do and she doesn't have to spend allot more. So, I made that money back in 2.58 months and she is a dedicated customer that will be with me for years.

On top of that, she has been sold on $340 of extra services that can be preformed at my visits so it doesn't cost me more for the trip out there. About $50 in expenses on that $340 for parts.

Most of those 22 clients have been upsold for more than what the route sales company sent me for. Roughly 3/4 are paying more than what the route sales company is charging me for, working out to close to $2500 a month for $4500. My return will be only two months but with the quality I give, I don't expect to have much turn over on clients.

Some clients are just cheap though and won't budge, they may be handed over to a second truck that will be a mow and blow, without my company name attached to it.

Now, I enjoyed the opportunity to work on my business and slowly move into my client base is the up side to all this. Also it gave me an instant business while I work on my own advertising and get my ducks in order.

All in all I think it was a good move to get me up and running. I will give you a full economic run down as soon as possible.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:49 PM
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Default Math

Let me try to get something straight here...these numbers seem a little out of wack. You paid them $4500 dollars for a $1500 gross for 3 months? When I did the math it came out to $4500 you didn't make any money you just got your money back...What about cost of gas? Cost to turn your mower on? Etc? Does not seem like a good deal to me at all, you might want to look into just doing your own thing...You also stated that you moved one lady up to $65 per month...with $30 per stop, unless my batteries are low on my calculater that only comes to $60 per month...And the extra services are great but what are you going to do when the next batch of leads don't have any add ones?
Might want to check your numbers and see how you are doing profit wise, it's great to get on here and say you have 22 customers and make $1500 a month gross but the bottem line is NET...and with your numbers it seems like you are working way too hard for something that will not produce a profitable return of investment.
Good Luck and keep us posted!
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:39 PM
afpettijohns afpettijohns is offline
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Wink

Okay. Your calculator is fine. Multiply $65 x 12mo and divide by 26 bi-weekly stops in the year. It works out to $30 per stop and $65 per month.

Now, the $1500 a month is how much they initially sell the customer for. They guarantee that the customer will stay with me for 3 month and hold no claims on those customers. If a customer say for $65 moves in a month, they have to replace that customer. The customers are mine for as long as I can hold them. So that $1500 in monthly mow jobs turns into a potential $18000 for the year if I keep everyone happy and all else goes right.

Everything is going right, my customers love me and in the first two month of business I have grossed over $1000 in add on sales (sprinkler repair, initial cleanups and such). Not to mention most customers don't have a problem with up-selling them to more than what the route sales company sold them on. That $1500 is turning into much more.

I appreciate the math check, hope this makes it clearer.

I am only 2/3rds through my contract with them, can't say I am perfectly happy with them lo-balling, I am doing the licensing, insurance, taxes ect... but it got me started and I have quite a few really good clients out of it.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:14 AM
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As it sounds like you have hit the ground running with your business, what business lessons do you feel you have learned so far in this short period of time that you feel you will be able to apply into the future?
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:33 PM
afpettijohns afpettijohns is offline
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Default Running is right

Even though I don't like the prices that I'm being sold at, it did allow me to get my feet wet. Actually sopping wet. I am finding this forum and your lessons incredibly helpful. The Gopher software is helping me get my ducks in order and get me organized.

Some things could have been looked at closer before getting into business. For one a commercial mower. I purchased a Honda $400 consumer model and hope that my very close attention to maintenance on it will let me get to the point where I can buy a commercial one.

Consumer: 200 hrs ($400)
Commercial: 3000 her ($1200)

Wow, that was an eye opener.

I will trudge along for now and I think the new business owner would be wise to try out a route sales company to like I said, get your feet wet. I grew up in apartments and didn't know much more than push a mower, charge a fee. With these cheap clients I can get my barrings and techniques up and running before destroying a really nice lawn.

I feel that I've gained enough knowledge and experience, through them, to tackle a better class of client now.

Thanks for everything so far Steve. I really appreciate everything you do.
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:36 AM
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How will you change your marketing as you wrap up using their services? Also do you feel you will change who you are marketing too?
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