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General Business Discussions

A place to talk about general business discussions.
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  #1  
Old 02-25-2005, 12:55 PM
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Here is the profile on Mclaughld's yet to be named LCO.

The new name : Green Team Lawn Care. "Recomended by 4 out of 5 lawns."

Review other Head Start Projects here.
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  #2  
Old 02-25-2005, 12:55 PM
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Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
Business plan questions can be found here.

Business Plan

Business Description
"My Business" is located in Half Moon Bay, California, will provide basic mow and blow service to the residents and businesses of the peninsula. In a market swamped with illegitimate companies with poor to non existent customer support, "My business" will stand as a role model of convenience and customer satisfaction.


Management Abilities
I've worked in customer service related fields. I think the service skills I've developed over the years will be THE skill that makes my business a success. Acquiring customers and keeping them will be my biggest strength. When an issue arises with a homeowner, my competitors view it as a problem. I view it as an opportunity. I know if i can resolve the issue and satisfy the homeowners concern, then I've just created an account that is MORE loyal to me then my standard accounts.


Business Strategy
My biggest opportunity is the lack of organized and legitimate competitors. All of these gardeners work purely from word of mouth, that means they have zero advertising exposure. The customer service is also non existent. We had a gardener serving my mothers house and i remember i had to speak to his 12 year old son and have him repeat it to the father. Tell me there isn't a need in my market that i can fill.

We plan on taking advantage of this by hitting street. I will be knocking on doors and hanging door hangers. A mailing will also be in our near future. Being the only advertiser of gardening service should give us a quick base.
Maintaining our competitive edge will come with time. Once we are established and have our cost to a minimum, it will be difficulty for a competitor to come in a take a piece of our market share.

Our biggest strength is also our biggest challenge. Our competitors cost are a fraction of ours. They don't pay insurance, taxes, zero advertising cost, and they hire illegal immigrants. They will offer to mow a homeowners lawn for $15 a month, that less then we charge a mow. The answer to this is to educate the homeowner on the risks and to create a value for our clients. They have to see enough value in our service to warrant the cost.


Legal Structure
The business will start as a sole proprietor. I am planning on moving to an llc or corp but im still going over the pros and cons. I hear its much more complicated to sell an LLC then a corp.
Until I change from a sole proprietor, my insurance will have to cover my business exposure.


Mission Statement
"MY business" is a lawn maintenance company that services the Half Moon Bay area of California. We aim to provide lawn care that is convenient to the customer. Provides quality work and service at the lowest possible cost.


Marketing Slogan
None as of yet, Will be something serviced based.

Market Analysis
I have not followed any local or national treads in the market.

Customer Analysis
-My target customers are.....This is hard for me to say, I'm tempted to say "everyone is a potential customer." This will take some time for me to figure out. Once I'm out working and talking to potential customers, I'll learn who it is i should target and who it is I should avoid.
- My customers will be located in the 94018-94019 area code. We will expand to the 94044 area code once established.
- My customers want convenience. They dont want to have to think about lawn care. They want it taken care of with minimal thought investment. This is why we will only bill by credit card. It saves our customers the hassle of receiving a bill, writing a check, and mailing out the payment.

Competition Analysis
- My competition consist mostly of illegitimate businesses. Very few english speaking. Only offering the most basic services. There are a few others that do speak english but can only be found by word of mouth.
- Most run crews of 1 to 4 people.
- Their estimated sales volume is hard to figure. Most work lawn care part time. Most average between $10k and $20k a year.
- They all offer basic mow, trim, and blow service. Maybe some pruning, but nothing more.
- They produce average quality work,
- They price themselves between $15 and $30 a cut.
- Right now everyone is their customer because they have no alternative.
- Their strengths are the low overhead cost. No payroll, no insurance, ect.
- Their weaknesses include a lack of customer service, language barriers, rough and unprofessional appearances, lack of any service above basic mow and blow.
- I see them as an indirect competitors. Customers are going to want more then the bare minimum will come to me.

Financial
- I will personally invest $3000 in cash into the business
- I will look to the bank to finance the truck $5000.
- I'm looking for zero dollars from private investors.
- I should brake even around month 5 and after that i will make profit.

- Start up cost.
*Equipment=$6940 (see below in the equipment section).
*Liability Insurance $1200-$1800 a year.
*Commercial truck insurance $1200 a year.
*Business cards $75.
*Door hanger printing $300.
*Door hanger design =$100.
*Business license $160.

- Operating expenses.
*Gasoline $100/month.
*Monthly Cell phone and business phone will run about $75/month.
*Grass dumping charge $40/month

-Sales forecast. 5 new accounts a week, which equals 1 new account per day, Monday through Friday. Once i reach 100 account(should be around month 4) I will no longer mow myself but sell and run the business.

Labor
- I will start by myself, pick up a part time guys when im around 20 accounts. 100 accounts I will have 2 part time guys doing all the work. I figure it will take them 67.2 hour a month to complete.
- 2 part time employees will make between $7-$8 an hour. = $1008 hours work per month. Add taxes and workmans comp bring the total to $1287. (this figure doesn't include non-billable time.)

Equipment
*21' walk behind mower$1100
*Line trimmer $300
*Hand Held blower $275
*Truck $5000
*Trailer $250 (i have no idea, small trailer to only fit 2 21' mowers)
*flat head shovel $15

-All equipment will be stored in my garage for free.


Advertising / Promotion
- Our business will be promoted through Door hanger, and Direct mailings.
- We will spend roughly $3-$4k on advertising.

I am still working on a name, maybe team gopher can help me with a few suggestions. I hope i covered everything that needs to be covered.
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  #3  
Old 02-25-2005, 02:04 PM
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Hi Mclaughld,

What ideas are you considering for a business name? Post some of your thoughts along with some business market slogan concepts.
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  #4  
Old 02-26-2005, 04:42 PM
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Thank you for the warm welcome.
I would like the name to be something very service based. Someone mentioned "At Your Service" as a name. I really like that idea. If we could follow that line of thinking in regard to naming.
I'll start brain storming.
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  #5  
Old 02-27-2005, 11:19 AM
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How about Green Team Lawn Care. "Recomended by 4 out of 5 lawns."
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  #6  
Old 02-28-2005, 08:21 AM
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Hi McLaughld,

Green Team Lawn Care. "Recomended by 4 out of 5 lawns."

That sounds great! Have you ever registered a business before? Can you get to your local county office to register your business name? Then take the form they give you and you can open a bank account as a d.b.a. That stands for "Doing Business As."

When you finalize your business name, let's move forwards and get you a logo and marketing material made.
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  #7  
Old 02-28-2005, 08:33 AM
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Hi McLaughld,

Another thing I would like you to think about.

I see that you want to gain 5 customers per week until you reach 100 customers.

What I would also like to see is this. Three projections:

1. A total number of customers you feel you can easily attract this season.

2. A total number of customers you feel will be moderately difficult to attract this season.

3. A total number of customers you feel will be extremely tough to attract this season.

4. What date do you want these total customers by?

This will help us set up some goals for the marketing campaign.

When we set up your projections in a chart, you can then post weekly how many new customers you were able to get that week. This should help inspire and motivate you to reach your goals.
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  #8  
Old 03-01-2005, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Feb. 28 2005,8:21)]Hi McLaughld,

Green Team Lawn Care. "Recomended by 4 out of 5 lawns."

That sounds great! Have you ever registered a business before? Can you get to your local county office to register your business name? Then take the form they give you and you can open a bank account as a d.b.a. That stands for "Doing Business As."

When you finalize your business name, let's move forwards and get you a logo and marketing material made.
Ok, Today i filed for a business license at town hall. That should take 2-3 weeks to process. I then filed my FBN online and will mail that out in the morning.
The bank said i couldn't open the checking account until i get my FBN fully filed. I also talked to them about a auto loan for a truck, they said it wouldn't be a problem.
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  #9  
Old 03-01-2005, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Feb. 28 2005,8:33)]What I would also like to see is this. Three projections:
I think for me, its going to play backwards.

The hardest customers for me to get will be the first 20-30. I'll set a goal of 2 1/2 months for this. That will give me roughly 54 business days to attract them. Thats one new customer every 1.8 days

The moderately hard ones will be 30-65. I''l give myself 2 months to achieve this. Thats 1 new customer every 1.2 business days.

The easiest ones will be 65-100. I will figure one a day, so a month and 1/2 to achieve this.

****After re-reading your question, i see this isn't the answer you wanted.

I think 100 customers in very doable.
130 will be moderately difficult.
200 will be very difficult.
I would want these customers in 8-9 month from my start date.
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  #10  
Old 03-02-2005, 12:02 PM
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Hi Green Team Lawn Care,

Here is our customer goal chart for this year ending in October to help motivate you. Now that we have these goals, we will be able to chart your progress throughout the season.

Each month you should report back here and let us know your latest customer count to see where you are at in your goal. You might want to print out this chart and put it somewhere where you will see it each day to inspire you.
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