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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.

CraigsList Lawn Business for sale scam


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 12-04-2011, 09:47 PM
LawnTard LawnTard is offline
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Default CraigsList Lawn Business for sale scam

I tried to buy a Lawn Care business from someone on CraigsList from a guy. Since then I found out he sold the business to 3 other people in the Denton and Dallas Texas area. He's also running the scam in Austin Texas. Charges were filed in the Denton courts for 4 counts of theft. Beware buying an existing business or you might lose big like me.
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Old 12-04-2011, 11:37 PM
SECTLANDSCAPING SECTLANDSCAPING is offline
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sorry to hear that. One of the problems with buying a service business is you cant guarantee the clients will stay. Thats if its legit unlike in this situation.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:10 AM
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Oh WOW!

Can you tell us more about this scam he is pulling to help other members avoid similar situations in their area?
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:53 AM
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Like the other poster indicated, you can expect a drop in clients as soon as you buy a legit business simply because you're not the guy they know and signed up with. In this case the guy claimed he had around 260 clients, I sent out letters saying that I'd be taking care of their account because he was moving and the new office number is ect. A bunch of letters came back undelivered because that person doesn't live there. But more alarming was that my answering machine was full of people saying things like, "I don't know who he is...", "My son mows my lawn...", "He mowed my lawn last year a few times but we fired him for...", "He owes me for services not performed...". My answering machine was full of people who didn't know the guy or wasn't using him. I also got a bunch of letters back saying similar things.

Then I found 3 other guys that he "sold" his lawn business to as well. They all had similar stories. They also gave him a down payment. It's not a bad program because the police wanted to say it's a civil court matter, until they found out that he'd done it so many times.

If you're new to he biz you might be better off just getting the accounts yourself, not buying them. If you're in the biz it's better to just fake sell your business to one person so the police can't establish a pattern of fraud.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:16 AM
DeMenkey DeMenkey is offline
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Wow. Thanks for the info. I had 13k two weeks ago to buy a predone business here but everybody's equipment ked crappy or they sounded funny.
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:28 PM
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Ugh, some people are low. I hope this only encourages you to make a good name for yourself and develope an awesome business.
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:54 PM
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How was this deal put together?

Did you get a chance first to visit all the customers? Did you meet him in person?

Was this deal just for the customer list or was it for equipment too?

How did he handle payment? Did he take the down payment and then disappear and when was final payment to be made?
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Old 12-07-2011, 11:44 PM
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The scammer worked in different ways. He learned from me that he couldn't just sell the accounts. I put a 5K deposit down (I lost the least), after that I mailed all the "customers" letters that said I'm the new owner bla bla bla. I got a bunch of people who said I've never heard of that business or that person before. My son, husband, another company ect. mows my lawn, we don't use a lawn service. You name it I heard it over and over again. I had a performance clause in my contract that said if you lose more than x% then the deal is off. Well he never had 260 accounts to begin with, I suspect he had more like 80. Like I said the other victims were scammed differently, I guess he realized that if he's going to get more money he'd have to drag it out so he can get the big payment. I can't speak to their experiences but He moved towards selling a partnership. No I didn't visit 260 customers, yes it came with some crappy equipment, no he didn't disappear. He's an ex-laywer so he tried to blame it on me and use his knowledge of the law to stay out of reach. He knew it would be a civil matter like the cops said but that money came too easy, he couldn't stop doing it. But as luck would have it the four of us met each other and when all of us presented the evidence they knew it wasn't a civil issue.

Interestingly enough you can Google his name and see where he lost his license to practice law. From a lawyer to scamming people to cutting grass to scamming people again.

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Old 12-09-2011, 12:08 PM
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Did any warning lights go off when you first met him in person or any other time besides when you started to get those mailings back?

If you were to look to buy another business again, how would you do it differently this time?
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Old 12-10-2011, 12:35 AM
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No warning lights went off for me or any of his other victims, in my opinion that number is closer to 10 than the 4 that are in my case. I don't think there can be that many complete fools, also it makes me more comfortable to say the guys a good con artist. Wait, when he told me he had the routes memorized instead of written down that should of flagged me but the deal was so good and I thought he was just super disorganized.

It's better, cheaper and you're customers will be more loyal if you build your business one at a time, I've bought several lawn companies and the customers just aren't your customers and they regret you taking over. They'll fade out at maybe a 50% rate in three years. Regardless of the story you tell someone, they want to be the ones making the decision they don't want you to take care of their lawn as a result of a decision they didn't make... Yes even if the work is better. If you still want to buy one then do it with low down payment and owner financed, there's a certain amount of honestly that takes place when the owner knows he's not going to get paid if he's not on the up and up.

Good Luck
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