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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.

Lawn care OPERATIONS


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 07-08-2011, 12:05 AM
ChrisLeon ChrisLeon is offline
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Default Lawn care OPERATIONS

Hey guys,

So I have been in business for almost 3 months and its ok thus far; but, of course business can always be better. I currently only have four clients but it works for me cause it bring in some cash flow and I can manage them fairly easy and I have colected every time. I have been operating this by myself and see that its too slow, with all the things I got going on there's only a limited time to market, cut lawns and do everything, ya know? Here is my question: How are you guys operating the business? Meaning, How are you getting clients? Are you marketing yourself monthly? are you paying others to do it for you? If someone wouldnt mind sharing with me their operation on how the business runs in detail I would greatly appreciate it.

This all came about when I was eating at McDonald's today. You notice the operation of the business is like a well oiled machine or factory line. I noticed my operation is purely me just going out flyering, closing the deal, doing the cuts. I would like to run my operation more smoothly and actually BUILD a business with employees.

I appreciate your help guys.

Christopher Leon
College Kid Lawn Care
"We study your lawn so you dont have to"
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  #2  
Old 07-08-2011, 08:24 PM
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Hi Chris,

The stage you are at right now can be really trying for a new business owner. There is a time when you get started until the point where word of mouth starts to kick in that you really have to struggle to attract new customers.

Are you out there marketing everyday? Not necessarily flyering everyday, but meeting people, handing out business cards, wearing your company t-shirt, driving around with a sign on your truck. Are you marketing to your friends and family? Are they helping you market through their friends and family too?

What would be some of your ideals? Where would you like your business to be?
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:44 PM
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Three months, and four clients. How, and how long did it take you to get those four. Do you remember what you were doing to get them and why you stopped? I didn't pay anyone in the beginning and I don't do it now to advertise for me. Well, I have done paid advertising. Door to door meeting people, word of mouth, vehicle signage, and craigslist is pretty much it for us.
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:22 PM
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A quick way to gain clients is to charge cheap...i know its lowballing...well not really if you do it for the same price. say $25...do you have insurance? probably not yet...the insurance guys will get mad cuz your lowballing but its all business...nothing personal. make flyers and put them out for $25 a cut with free fertilizing. yeah i know...fertilizing free!! yes! it makes the grass grow more therefore you will get your money back easily. Plus....its shows that you have more to offer to your clients than the other guy. save for the best equipment. Alot of companies stay with crappy equipment because they dont want to dish out the money but they end up dishing it all out on repairs. i would say start with business cards (really good ones) get pricing for weekly and bi-wkly cuts...make flyers and put out 200 in a neigborhood. then go to another neighborhood and put out another 200. put ads in craigslist also.

I offer free fertilizing 95% of the time. i do not do contracts with residentials because people get turned off by contracts, service agreement and anything like that...at least here in my city. Leave that for the commercial clients. you will win some and you will lose more. dont worry about it. Once you learn to brush the losses off...you will win alot more. I use to stress the hell out if i was behind schedule, lost a client or whatever. No more....it all works out in the end as long as your true to your word on whatever you tell your customers. Thats the most important thing i can tell you. Keep your word and you will be respected as an owner, boss, person, etc. The first year is your learning year. make alot of mistakes but learn from them.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:21 PM
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Jrod is right on the charge cheap, as soon as school let out for summer I lost two customers and another LCO lost 2 customers to the same kid in the same neighborhood that uses his mower to get around. First week out of school he had 4 yards to do and I believe he was making $110 between them.

His work leaves a little to be desired to though, it also seems he received work from those with less landscaping to manage. Another customer admitted he was tempted to go with the kid because the price was cheap, but all he did was mow and a poor job at trimming and he was worried who might would be able to replace the pear trees if the boy killed them.
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Old 07-10-2011, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
I offer free fertilizing 95% of the time.
How often throughout the year do you fertilize the lawns?

Have you figured what % that eats into profits?
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:35 PM
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You may want to check with real-estate companies to see if you can get vacant houses or foreclosures. Thatís what I do to get new jobs. The only problem is if the house sells youíll loose the job most of the time.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
How often throughout the year do you fertilize the lawns?

Have you figured what % that eats into profits?
4X's a year for weekly and 2X's yearly for bi-weekly. It is a very small percentage. I hardly even notice it to tell you the truth. I use all Scott's products too.
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:14 PM
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I really appreciate everyone taking time out of their day and helping by responding with your experiences and expertise. Honestly, I havent been out there every day flyering or marketing. I have been kind of sitting back, and I recognize that. I got to get my butt out there!
I have not seen any marketing come through for a couple months where I live from any business. It is like all the businesses that do lawn care knew who gets lawn care and they got all their clientele for the season. Should I still be marketing every month with flyers in July and the upcoming months still? Even though the grass is hardly growing? We havent had much rain this summer so the grass is taking its sweet time.
Also, this is my mistake and I forgot to be specific when I made the first post on this discussion, but in respect to everyone else's lawn care operations, are you paying other people to cut your lawns? or are you cutting your own lawns? a little of both? I understand that everyone may have different clientele bases, but I would really like my business to flourish in terms of hiring employees to cut the lawns and I round up the accounts to give to my guys while earning a percent off the top for organizing? Thats where I want my business to be eventually. It might be a little too late considering there is like only 3 months left of mowing, roughly? What do you guys think? I believe this type of operation is obtainable, but is it viable for this type of business? Thanks for the help guys! This site really helps keep me being a beginner to building a business and lawn care as well. Much respect and luck to everyone!

Christopher
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLeon View Post
I really appreciate everyone taking time out of their day and helping by responding with your experiences and expertise. Honestly, I havent been out there every day flyering or marketing. I have been kind of sitting back, and I recognize that. I got to get my butt out there!
I have not seen any marketing come through for a couple months where I live from any business. It is like all the businesses that do lawn care knew who gets lawn care and they got all their clientele for the season. Should I still be marketing every month with flyers in July and the upcoming months still? Even though the grass is hardly growing? We havent had much rain this summer so the grass is taking its sweet time.
Also, this is my mistake and I forgot to be specific when I made the first post on this discussion, but in respect to everyone else's lawn care operations, are you paying other people to cut your lawns? or are you cutting your own lawns? a little of both? I understand that everyone may have different clientele bases, but I would really like my business to flourish in terms of hiring employees to cut the lawns and I round up the accounts to give to my guys while earning a percent off the top for organizing? Thats where I want my business to be eventually. It might be a little too late considering there is like only 3 months left of mowing, roughly? What do you guys think? I believe this type of operation is obtainable, but is it viable for this type of business? Thanks for the help guys! This site really helps keep me being a beginner to building a business and lawn care as well. Much respect and luck to everyone!

Christopher
mostly i cut my own but if i can't i have a guy that comes and cuts my 2 acres for $35 i do all the trimming still
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