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General Business Discussions A place to talk about general business discussions.

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General Business Discussions

A place to talk about general business discussions.
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  #1  
Old 06-03-2005, 07:29 PM
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Tony from Dominion Lawn care has contacted us and would like to take part in our Head Start Program.

The first step you want to do is create a business plan.

Business plan questions can be found here.

This will help create a map for your future growth.

Tony, please post your answers below.
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  #2  
Old 06-05-2005, 02:39 PM
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Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
What would you add to this list of business plan questions?

Business Description
Give a one paragraph description of your business.
- Where is your business located?
- What services does your business offer?
- What value does it add to the marketplace?
Dominion Lawn Care is a full service lawn maintenance company, located in Charlotte, NC, serving the following counties Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Union counties. *Dominion Lawn Care provides quality lawn care for residential and commercial clients, ensuring your property is maintained in an excellent and professional manner inspiring eye catching curb appeal.


Management Abilities
- What are your qualifications?
- How will your experience contribute to the success of your business?
I have worked in management for over 20 year combined with over 6 years of sales, my biggest contribute to my success is to be aware of my clients needs and expectations along with an with ongoing knowledge of *the green industry. *

Business Strategy
- What is your business strategy?
- What are the strengths of your business strategy?
- What are the weaknesses of your business strategy?
- What are the key strategic opportunities you have identified in your marketplace?
- How will your business take advantage of these strategic opportunities more effectively than your competition?
- How do you intend to maintain your competitive edge?
- Describe the key challenges you face and how will you overcome them?
Dominion Lawn Care will be targeting residential homes in mid to high income areas. This is a market that is in need of a quality lawn care provider in this area. We will also target small business accounts that typically consist of banks, gas stations and small office parks. These are customers that are in high demand and require a significant amount of work. We will maintain quality work, a professional image, and provide an image that our customers will be proud of. Dominion Lawn Care will be starting a full force marketing campaign once resources permit.


Legal Structure
- Will your business operate as a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or an LLC?
- How will your legal structure decrease your business's exposure to risk?
Dominion Lawn Care is currently a LLC in the state of NC.

Financial
- How much will you personally invest in your business?
About $37,000 is what I have invested currently.

- How much money are you seeking from banks?
$10,000 to $15,000 if required.

- How much money are you seeking from private investors?
NONE!
- How long until you plan to break even?

It depends on clients additions, but a goal would be in 36 months.


- How long until you plan on making a profit?
3 to 4 years.

- What will your start-up costs be? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
TRUCK $30,000
MOWER $5,000
TRAILER $1,200
TRIMMERS & BLOWER $800
MISC. ITEMS $150.00
- What is your sales forecast for each month of the entire year? List each month's goal.
To add a min. of 2 new clients per month.

- What will be your monthly operating expenses? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
Flyers $100
Business Cards $30.00
Mower Maintenance $60

- What will your monthly fixed costs be? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
Truck $500.
Mower $150
Trailer $60
Trimmers and Blower $80
GAS $130
Storage $35
Misc. $50.
Internet $40.
Cell Phone $50.00


Mission Statement
- What is your business?
- How will your business succeed?
- What values are important to your business?
- How does your business improve the lives of your customers' and employees'?
Dominion Lawn Care is a full service lawn maintenance company, located in Charlotte, NC, dedicated to providing your property with excellence through professionalism.

Marketing Slogan
- What is your marketing slogan?
None currently thinking of “Doing IT Right The First Time”! or “Your Lawn- Our Reputation”!

Market Analysis
- What are the positive NATIONAL trends that will affect your business?
Positive National trends that affect my business include decrease in unemployment rate, Stock Market doing better, lower Interest rates and increase in home sales to name a few.

- What are the negative NATIONAL trends that will affect your business?
Negative NATIONAL trends include higher Gas prices, higher interest rates and the unemployment rate
Higher Interest Rates

- How will you take advantage of the positive trends and deal with the negative trends?
If the market is in a positive state I would commit more resources (money) and time to advertising, if in a negative state I would not advertise as heavily.

- What are the positive REGIONAL trends that will affect your business?
- What are the negative REGIONAL trends that will affect your business?
- How will you take advantage of the positive trends and deal with the negative trends?
I’m in market where homeownership is on the rise and we get a lot of relocates from the north whom are just not use to the prolonged growing season we have in the region coupled with their busy schedules and wanting quality of family life they require the services of a lawn care provider.

- What are the positive LANDSCAPE INDUSTRY trends that will affect your business?
- What are the negative LANDSCAPE INDUSTRY trends that will affect your business?
- How will you take advantage of the positive trends and deal with the negative trends?
Positive trends in the Landscape industry include better performing equipment to maintain property along with numerous educational building programs to enhance productivity. DLC will continue to educate itself to provide a quality service.

Customer Analysis
- What is your current customer base?
- Who are your target customers? (age range, education level, occupations, average home value)
- What zip codes do they live in?
- What do your customers want?
Currently I do lawn care part-time but sense I see the potential for growth I would consider leaving my job to lawn full time, at the moment I have 15 accounts customer range in age from 25 and up most have some type of formal or continued education avg. home value for customers is about $ 225,000. In my experience customers want a LCO that provides a quality service yet at an affordable rate. Zip codes include 28078, 28269, 282213, 28215, 28227, 28105 and 28270. I attached an insert from the Charlotte, NC Chamber below(hope you can see it, if not let me know I can email it to you). or visit
Basic Demographics by Zip Code
Charlotte
January 1, 2004
Population
*





* * *
* * * * * * * * * * * *1/1/04
* * * * * * * * * * * *Per Sq. Mi.
* * * * * * * * * * * *(Density) 2000 * * 5 Year
Estimates
Zip Level 1/1/04 * * * * * * * * Census * Projection
28202 6,591 3,766 5,027 8,196
28203 9,925 3,191 9,929 10,082
28204 5,224 2,886 5,390 5,084
28205 45,010 3,884 45,737 44,543
28206 12,390 1,748 12,508 12,365
28207 7,264 3,158 7,714 6,794
28208 35,372 1,638 35,988 34,786
28209 19,526 3,531 19,985 19,101
28210 40,743 3,257 41,215 40,526
28211 27,384 2,469 27,938 27,076
28212 36,111 3,942 35,367 37,406
28213 29,533 2,052 25,891 33,915
28214 23,890 676 20,342 28,173
28215 46,487 1,792 41,367 52,558
28216 34,115 1,125 29,769 39,331
28217 21,877 1,474 19,527 24,751
28226 35,917 2,380 34,889 37,348
28227 44,246 1,109 40,537 48,866
28262 26,118 1,217 21,480 31,692
28269 55,491 1,862 42,416 70,881
28270 28,843 2,386 27,143 30,963
28273 21,692 944 18,388 25,665
28274 379 5,414 401 358
28277 42,727 1,798 33,815 53,192
28278 8,450 263 6,572 10,669


Competition Analysis
- Who are your competitors?
- How many employees do they have?
- What is their estimated sales volume?
- What services do they offer?
- What is the quality of their product?
- What is the price range of their product?
- Who are there customers?
- What are their strengths?
- What are their weaknesses?
- Are they a direct or indirect competitor?

Labor
- How many employees will you start with? Full or p/t?
- What will the hourly labor wage paid to employees be?
- What will your total annual labor hours be, see below?
* Jan total billable hours =
* Feb =
* Mar =
* Apr =
* May =
* Jun =
* Jul =
* Aug =
* Sept =
* Oct =
* Nov =
* Dec =

* Yearly total billable hours =
I may look at doing lawn care full time if sales indicant it is in my best interest or another approach is to hire a crew, again all dependant on customer additions. The hourly wage will be based on experience and job description. The amount of man hours will be determined by the level of business I attract.

Equipment
- What equipment will be needed?
- How much will it cost to obtain this equipment?
- Where will you store the equipment?
- How much will it cost to store the equipment?
Current equipment needed would be an additional ZTR mower to be store at home in garage, cost of new ZTR about $7,500

Advertising / Promotion
- How will you advertise or promote your business?
- How much will you spend doing each per year?
Referrals, signage, flyers (I would like to do something more professional verses what I have been doing which is simply typing services on a sheet of paper and making copies), door hangers. Coupons.




Types of expenses.

Different expenses you will want to include in your business plan.

Rent/Mortgage, Utilities, Insurance, Gas, Equipment Payments, Equipment Maintenance, Advertising, Truck Payments, Phone/Cell/Internet, Office Supplies. Or others.

Addition info

I have a domain name (dominionlawncare.com), email address and a parked web page that I put some basic info on.

Hope this helps.

Tony
DLC
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  #3  
Old 06-08-2005, 12:28 AM
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Hi Tony12,

Thanks for posting your business plan. My name is Joel LaRusic and I am the author of 'Start & Run a Landscape Business'. I'm happy to provide any guidance you need as you plan for your business.

Overall your plan was well thought out so well done on that.

I did have one question regarding your future goals. Are you still undecided about when you will go full time with the business? It would be wise to set a realistic goal of when you would like to go full time and then we can work towards it. So we'll need to set the following goals:

When do I want to start working full time with the business?
How many customers, at a minimum, do I need to work full time? (Or how much monthly revenue do I need)
How many more customers can I take on, right now, while still working part time?

Please respond with this info and then we can set some marketing objectives to reach these goals.

Thanks Tony, I look forward to your response!
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  #4  
Old 06-08-2005, 11:11 AM
Tony12
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Joel,

Per your request below, info provided.

Thanks for posting your business plan. My name is Joel LaRusic and I am the author of 'Start & Run a Landscape Business'. I'm happy to provide any guidance you need as you plan for your business.

Overall your plan was well thought out so well done on that.

I did have one question regarding your future goals. Are you still undecided about when you will go full time with the business? It would be wise to set a realistic goal of when you would like to go full time and then we can work towards it. So we'll need to set the following goals:

When do I want to start working full time with the business?

An ideal start date to go full time would be Feb. 06 (I look at this being the start of the 06 season with the 1st Pre-M treatment and Spring clean-ups.

How many customers, at a minimum, do I need to work full time? (Or how much monthly revenue do I need)
A minimum of 60 new customers generating an average income of about $125.00 per customer.

How many more customers can I take on, right now, while still working part time?

I could take on about 15-20.

Please respond with this info and then we can set some marketing objectives to reach these goals.

Thanks Tony, I look forward to your response!
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  #5  
Old 06-08-2005, 10:02 PM
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Thanks for the quick response Tony.

OK. So we can set a few goals.

An immediate goal would be to acquire 20 more customers. The long term goal is to have 60 customers or about $7500/month revenue.

You mentioned in your original business plan that you will use flyers, coupons, door hangers, signage and referrals as your marketing tools. These are all great tools as you are starting out.

Do you have a flyer made up yet? Gopher has some free templates for both doorhanges and flyers that you could use so that would be your first step.

Next, where to deliver them. No doubt Charlotte is a big place (I had the opportunity to visit there recently... great city. I love NC). You mentioned 7 zip codes in your plan. I would suggest selecting some key areas that you would like to focus on and target. Then you can blitz those areas with your flyers/doorhangers. Keep these points in mind as you are thinking about where to target and as you are delivering the advertising material.

- Choose areas that are physically close, not on opposite sides of the city. 'Windsheild time' will hurt you.

- Look at that chamber of commerce data and try to choose areas where people own their homes (duh). Professionals and retired people are both excellent candidates.

- If possible and feasable, knock on doors and talk to people. Offer to give them a quote right there.

- Offer more services than just the lawn maintenance. Don't snub the small jobs. For example cleanups, aeration or pruning. Many customers will want to get to know you before handing you a lawn maintenance contract. These smaller jobs can lead to great things.

- Hit the same areas again and again. As I'm sure you know with your experience... many people will need to see your name several time before they will buy from you. Everytime they see your flyer they have a little bit more confidence in you.

So to review your next steps will be:

1) Create a flyer and/or doorhanger. I believe Gopher can help you with a logo too, if you need one.
2) Select a few key areas to target your marketing.
3) Blitz these areas, talk to some people, take the jobs that you can get as you build your weekly maintenance customers.

Please let me know if I can answer any specific questions. Otherwise, please post back and let us know your progress. Let us know if you need help with your flyer too.

My book also has some samples of flyers as well as forms such as quotation sheets, customer info packs, marketing plan/calendar and more. I'm sure you will benefit from these tools.

Thanks Tony. I am looking forward to hearing about your progress.
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  #6  
Old 06-09-2005, 12:52 PM
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Thanks Joel,

Wonderful Marketing tips you provided, your info is right on point. In the past I have passed out flyers in the up scale areas which would have me all over the place. I will refocus future efforts on clustered zip codes. My flyer at best is a list of services I provide, it needs some pizzazz added to it or needs to be total revamped, so I would like to pursue assistance in creating a flyer and Door Hanger.

I attached my flyer.
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  #7  
Old 06-09-2005, 02:38 PM
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Thanks Tony,

Good info on your flyer but, as you said, we definitely need some pizzazz!

Start by selecting a flyer from one of the free templates here:

Gopher Team's Free Templates

Note that this link also lists some of the programs you can use to edit these templates with your own information.

Give it a try and post back with what you came up with.

Talk to you soon!
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  #8  
Old 06-10-2005, 06:44 PM
Tony12
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OK, bare with me this could take awhile, I did see a door hanger on-line that I like, do you know of any web based or non-web companies that will do the editing at a reasonal fee?
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  #9  
Old 06-14-2005, 03:10 AM
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Hi Tony,

I sent you a PM.
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