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Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life. It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.

The "next step" threshold


Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life.

It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.
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  #1  
Old 03-26-2012, 06:53 PM
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Default The "next step" threshold

I just got an email from my last estimate accepting my offer for mowing and fertilizing his lawn. I'm officially over, or maybe directly on, the threshold for the next level.

I don't quite have what I need to justify a bigger, faster mower but I'm right at the point where I can't take another job with the one I currently have. If I get a larger mower, I'm going to also need to add a trailer to the mix. The difference between the "enough for a bigger mower" and "too much for the walk-behind" thresholds is about 6 lawns but I'm not sure I want to jump in. I'm sure I'll get more during the year and there is only one payment left on the walk-behind. The bigger mower will surely make my current route easier and also make me able to compress it into less days so that I can begin building a new route day.

What do you think?
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:15 PM
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Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
Whenever it comes down to money, don't ever take my advice.


I buy, and worry later.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by CHEESE2009 View Post
Whenever it comes down to money, don't ever take my advice.


I buy, and worry later.
HAHA, yeah. That is one thing I don't want. I definitely have a business plan that I'd like to stick to. It's just that I've grown faster than expected.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:24 PM
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You say you have 6 lawns in the threshold...does that mean you can now take 5 more lawns after this one or this is the absolute last lawn you can take?

For my personal question, you say adding a trailer to the mix, you do not have a trailer? or need a bigger trailer? this question has nothing to do with the answer, it's personal, because I have a 36" walk behind without a trailer for a couple weeks and if i can push it off a bit more I would like to. I'm just the type of guy that has $200 bucks to spend on work boots and go shop for workboots all day, and look at my current workboots and think "I can wear these for another two weeks" and go home without making a purchase.....
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:59 PM
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^^^ I think he's one of those nutcases who loads a walkbehind in his pickup with ramps.


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Old 03-26-2012, 09:16 PM
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HA! I'm a nutcase that likes to hold off on a purchase unless absolutely needed , which means I'll probably be getting a trailer this weekend.
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaberLawnCare View Post
You say you have 6 lawns in the threshold...does that mean you can now take 5 more lawns after this one or this is the absolute last lawn you can take?
I mean that I can't take one more with this walk-behind mower but I'd need 6 more lawns to justify the cost of buying a larger mower. There is no overlap in the two scenarios.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaberLawnCare View Post
For my personal question, you say adding a trailer to the mix, you do not have a trailer? or need a bigger trailer? this question has nothing to do with the answer, it's personal, because I have a 36" walk behind without a trailer for a couple weeks and if i can push it off a bit more I would like to. I'm just the type of guy that has $200 bucks to spend on work boots and go shop for workboots all day, and look at my current workboots and think "I can wear these for another two weeks" and go home without making a purchase.....
This will be my 4th year of running my 36" walk-behind with ramps into the bed of my truck. No trailer. I couldn't fit a trailer into some of my job locations so moving up to a trailer and stand-on may mean dropping a few clients or keeping one day with a walk-behind in the bed of the truck.
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Old 03-26-2012, 10:36 PM
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^ Yeah, you've seen my "cargo carrier"... Now that I have the walk behind, I HAVE to use the trailer when I am using it. I'm freaking out trying to reschedule all my "city jobs" for days when I can just use the carrier - a trailer just isn't an option for several of my clients.

Maybe I'll grow to the point where I have to drop my city jobs entirely at some point.

Everyone has to work the clients they are best equipped to handle, or, as you are saying "upgrade", and make a shift in the types of clients you service.
As far as "problems" go, growing your business the way you are, is a good problem to have.
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Old 03-26-2012, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark123 View Post
I mean that I can't take one more with this walk-behind mower but I'd need 6 more lawns to justify the cost of buying a larger mower. There is no overlap in the two scenarios.


This will be my 4th year of running my 36" walk-behind with ramps into the bed of my truck. No trailer. I couldn't fit a trailer into some of my job locations so moving up to a trailer and stand-on may mean dropping a few clients or keeping one day with a walk-behind in the bed of the truck.
Ahh, gotcha...I wish i had that problem ha!....
Now this is based on what I would do because I like to play it "safe" and I'm a noob, but based on you growing faster than expected....Since you have one more payment on your current walk behind, after that last payment I would put it aside to take a big chunk off the price of a bigger mower so I wouldn't have the "worry" of getting more clients to justify it.

It's basically what I did with the new walk behind i just got. The magic number for a walk behind was 10 clients. I hit that and got it...now I want to get a few more clients for a trailer. I mow two days of the week, I don't see the point in spending money on a trailer to cut 5 lawns on two days....

Hope it helps!
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:56 AM
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Well let's consider the pros and cons of getting a trailer.

Cons;
Very expensive at first
Recurring expenses (registration, tires, treatments)
Takes up space

Pros;
You look professional, as though you will be in the business for awhile
Advertising space (people will be more likely to hire you)
Easier to get to your tools with the added space
You'll be happier


Basically, if you have the room to store it, get one.

You really want to aim high though, don't get something that you'll want to upgrade within a year. Make sure there is room for the tools you want to lug around; tractor, self propelled, hand-held tools, trimmers, gas cans, etc...

No matter how big your trailer is, you will always end up wanting a bigger one lol.

-

If you are nervous about driving/reversing with a trailer, don't worry too much. It's pretty simple, and the slower you go, the easier it is to control while reversing. Good luck my friend!
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