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General Business Discussions

A place to talk about general business discussions.
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  #1  
Old 03-01-2005, 12:04 PM
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Here is information on ProSvcs, his first year full time.


I am starting in the biz full time this year. I have been working on this biz for approx 3 months now (Full Time).

I left a job 3 months ago making reaaaallllly good cash (6 figures). It was one of those safe secure jobs that everyone talks about that really doesn't exist.

A little background,
I have been doing LC work for approx 5 years when i had time (5 Customers). Last year I got completely out of the biz because i was traveling a lot. I was lay-ed off 3 months ago when the company lost a large federal contract. I decided that I wasn't going back to work for someone else.

I already have a lot of equip (see sig.)
I have already ordered doorhangers.
Just lettered the truck today (Trailer will be done next week)
very basic website up
I borrowed several logo templates from your site and cut / pasted together.
I plan on putting out fliers as listed below
5000 beginning of march
5000 march 15
2000 magnetic biz cards march 31
50 12x18 yard signs will be put next to roads leading to developments that i want to service.

Newspaper advert starts on wed this week, will run every wed for 3 months
I plan on writing articles for the local paper which will be published for free (community service type articles IE: Benefits of Aeration, Why do we need Lime, Proper way to prune, etc.). These will be published on Wed and will refer to authors AD on page XX.

I have not been able to run demographics on the area's that i am in (They don't drill down to this area).

I have attached the logo, truck, and sign pic's. If some of you folk's could provide some feedback, it would be greatly appreciated. If you could help in any way i will be extremely grateful. I am really what you would say betting the farm on this. Failure is not an option since I have basically used up all of my cash reserves or will have by June.

If anyone can find better demographics for my area (21921), it would be a big help.

Based on my marketing approach, what do you feel the likelihood of picking up 70 accounts would be for this year.

Thanks in advance
Jim


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  #2  
Old 03-01-2005, 12:06 PM
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Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
Business plan questions can be found here.

Business Description
- Give a one paragraph description of your business.
We are a full service Landscape maintenance company. We provide services for every season. We focus on high maintenance properties located in affluent neighborhoods. We do not attempt to compete on price.

- Where is your business located?
Elkton, MD

- What services does your business offer?
Design / Installation
Mowing
Aeration
Over-seeding / re-seeding
Sod
Spring / fall cleanup
Tree services (Contracted)
Applications (contracted)
Snow / Ice management

- What value does it add to the marketplace?
We are the only company in the area to offer single point of contact for all landscape maintenance needs. In addition, we offer 12 month billing cycles for budgeting purposes

Management Abilities
- What are your qualifications?
I have been working this business part time for 5 years.
Masters degree in computer science
15 years as a federal IT contractor

- How will your experience contribute to the success of your business?
I am very good at ascertaining customer’s true needs versus their perceived needs and steering them in the right direction.
I am very well versed in all types of politics from a contractor’s standpoint. (This will serve well when bidding on commercial contracts).

Business Strategy
- What are the key strategic opportunities you have identified in your marketplace?
This area is a boaters paradise, There are a lot of summer vacation homes in this area.

- How will your business take advantage of these strategic opportunities more effectively than your competition? I have always focused on providing services for the vacation homes, This will continue to be my primary target. The customers want no excuses for the properties not being done. I provide better than average quality and on-time delivery. Most of these properties are owned by out of state businesses, so they should be really receptive to the 12 month billing cycle.

- How do you intend to maintain your competitive edge?
Always providing on time delivery of service (The number one complaint I hear when bidding jobs).

- Describe the key challenges you face and how will you overcome them?
Gaining enough customers to provide enough cash flow for the first year will be the biggest challenge. I have put together what I thing is a good marketing plan.

Legal Structure
- Will your business operate as a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or an LLC?
Sole Proprietor this year, S-corp, next year, C-corp in three years.

- How will your legal structure decrease your business's exposure to risk?
This year, I will have no protection

Financial
- How much will you personally invest in your business?
I have already paid the insurances for the year out of pocket.
I have already purchased all equipment. Own it

- How much money are you seeking from banks?
None

- How much money are you seeking from private investors?
None

- How long until you plan to break even?
Equipment already paid for itself.

- How long until you plan on making a profit?
This year
- What will your start-up costs be? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
Insurances (Auto, Gen liability) $4000.00 already paid
Advertising 3000.00 already paid (All materials are waiting to be distributed)
Trailers / Mowers / Misc. Already paid


- What is your sales forcast for each month of the entire year? List each month's goal.
Really can’t forecast at this time. I can only list what I absolutely have to have in order to cover expenses. (My salary is also considered an expense.
May – Dec = $8500.00

- What will be your operating expenses? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
Fuel = 600.00
Maintenance = 250.00
Equipment Replacement = 600.00

- What will your fixed costs be? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
Phone – 100.00
GL ins - 1200.00
Commercial Auto Rider – 100.00
Advertising – 300.00
Salary – 7000.00
Taxes – 2100.00


Mission Statement
- What is your business?
We provide Best Value proposition for all of your lawn and landscape needs throughout all four seasons.

- How will your business succeed?
Maintaining our commitment to quality services and customer service

- What values are important to your business?
Customer Satisfaction
Best quality
On-time delivery

- How does your business improve the lives of your customers' and employees'?
We give them their weekends back

Marketing Slogan
- What is your marketing slogan?
Really don’t have one

Market Analysis
Haven’t really done any

Customer Analysis
- Who are your target customers? (age range, education level, occupations, average home value)
Most are business owners
400,000.00 + home value

- What zip codes do they live in?
21921

- What do your customers want?
On time delivery
Quality service (Bragging rights, my lawn looks better than yours)

Competition Analysis
- Who are your competitors?
Most are retired folks with a single mower doing it to supplement income. One large company with 4 crews of 2 ppl each.

- How many employees do they have?
12-14
- What is their estimated sales volume?
??
- What services do they offer?
Full Service (They have pest lic.)

- What is the quality of their product?
Nothing special (Mow, Blow, GO)

- What is the price range of their product?
40.00 half acre

- Who are there customers?
Anyone that calls

- What are their strengths?
Low prices, full service

- What are their weaknesses?
No commitment to quality

- Are they a direct or indirect competitor?
direct

Labor
- How many employees will you start with? Full or p/t?
myself and daughter

- What will the hourly labor wage paid to employees be?
I need salary of 6000.00 monthly
Daughter will be paid $10.00 hrly (Will work when I need her)

- What will your total annual labor hours be?
Hopefully 60 man hours weekly after 1st month

Equipment
- What equipment will be needed?
Mowers
Trimmers
Blowers
Hand tools
Truck
Trailer
Plow

* Dodge 2500 Diesel (180,000 miles and 560 RWHP)
* Home Made Salt Spreader
* Meyers 7.5 w/pro wings

* 28 ft enclosed trailer w/ 5KW genset / Welder / torches / Air Condition / Fridge

* Kubota GF1800 (60")
* Kubota F2400 (72")
* 21" Honda
* Echo Backpacks (2)
* Echo Line Trimmers (2)
* 48" Core Aerator
* 48" spike Aerator
* 48" lawn roller
* Honda ATV

- How much will it cost to obtain this equipment?
0.00


- Where will you store the equipment?
Enclosed trailer at residence

- How much will it cost to store the equipment?
0.00

Advertising / Promotion
- How will you advertise or promote your business?
Newspaper (Currently running)
Door Hangers
Post it notes
Bus cards
Yard Signs
Truck / Trailer lettering
Word of mouth

- How much will you spend doing each per year?
Newspaper (Currently running) 2000.00
Door Hangers 700.00
Post it notes 200.00
Bus cards 200.00
Yard Signs = 400.00
Truck / Trailer lettering
Word of mouth
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  #3  
Old 03-01-2005, 03:41 PM
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Hi ProSvcs,

Let us create a marketing plan and set some goals. What is your current client base?

I would like to see. Three projections:

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

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

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

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

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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  #4  
Old 03-01-2005, 03:44 PM
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How many billable hours do you plan on working each month of this year?

Jan total billable hours =
Feb =
Mar =
Apr =
May =
Jun =
Jul =
Aug =
Sept =
Oct =
Nov =
Dec =

Yearly total billable hours =

What would you like to make after taxes per hour? And for your employee?
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  #5  
Old 03-02-2005, 01:07 PM
birneyj birneyj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Mar. 01 2005,4:41)]Hi ProSvcs,

Let us create a marketing plan and set some goals. What is your current client base?

I would like to see. Three projections:

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

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

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

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

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.
I believe that 30 customers would be fairly easy to do, 50 would be moderate and 100 difficult.

I would like to see 70 customers by June 30
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  #6  
Old 03-02-2005, 01:09 PM
birneyj birneyj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Mar. 01 2005,4:44)]How many billable hours do you plan on working each month of this year?

Jan total billable hours =
Feb =
Mar =
Apr =
May =
Jun =
Jul =
Aug =
Sept =
Oct =
Nov =
Dec =

Yearly total billable hours =

What would you like to make after taxes per hour? And for your employee?
That is going to totally depend on th number of customers. I would say that we would be capable of working an average of 240 manhours per month allowing for weather related issues.
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  #7  
Old 03-02-2005, 01:26 PM
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Hi birneyj,

Does your billable hours change based on the months at all? Are you slower in the winter than summer? Or is it all 240 per month?

How much do you want to bill per hour for your labor?
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  #8  
Old 03-02-2005, 09:19 PM
birneyj birneyj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Mar. 02 2005,2:26)]Hi birneyj,

Does your billable hours change based on the months at all? Are you slower in the winter than summer? Or is it all 240 per month?

How much do you want to bill per hour for your labor?
I am figuring Dec, Jan, feb will be slower. I am trying to estimate jobs at close to 50.00 per manhour.
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  #9  
Old 03-03-2005, 09:48 AM
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Here is a chart to show your customer goals for this season.

The easy goal is charted to attain the lower level of your easy goal, 30 new customers.

The moderately difficult goal is charted to attain the middle of your moderately difficult goal, 50 new customers.

The extremely tough goal is charted to attain the high end of your extremely tough goal, 70 new customers.

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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  #10  
Old 03-03-2005, 10:48 AM
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Hi ProSvcs,

1. Before we create your expense chart is this correct?

2. Also, what customer base do you currently have so we can make sure the customer goal chart is accurate.


Annual - Insurances (Auto, Gen liability) $4000.00 already paid
Annual - Advertising 3000.00 already paid

Monthly - Fuel = 600.00
Monthly - Maintenance = 250.00
Annual - Equipment Replacement = 600.00

Monthly - Phone – 100.00
Annual - GL ins - 1200.00
Annual - Commercial Auto Rider – 100.00
Monthly - Advertising – 300.00
Monthly - Salary – 7000.00
Monthly - Taxes – 2100.00
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