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Newbie from Central NC - Lots of Questions


Introduce Yourself

Welcome all new forum members. Please introduce yourself and tell us about you. Tell us about your company. How did you get started? How long have you been in business? What do you do for fun? Don't be shy, say hello! It's fun and educational to interact on the forum!
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  #1  
Old 05-20-2009, 01:25 AM
briarcreek
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Post Newbie from Central NC - Lots of Questions

Wow, this is a wonderful website with so much information. There are 3 of us who are under or unemployed and who NEED to work. We are interested in the lawn care business, have lots of personal experience with our own yards and in dealing with lawn care companies as consumers. We have the essential equipment to start (mowers, edgers, trimmers, truck, trailer), the determination to make it work, and the willingness to learn. I'm the researcher who will be trying to digest as much information from your website as I can over time. Tonight I've been looking at advertising - suggestions on signs, flyers, business cards, myspace, google maps, craigslist, ... I also have found very invaluable the information on calculating base hourly rates for job estimates.

Right now we have come up with a company name, slogan, and colors. We have a tax id number and DBA with the state. We have a dress code. We don't have a logo. We don't have a lot of cash to start up with professional signs, flyers, post cards, etc. But we want to be as professional as possible with what we have.

My questions at the moment are:
1. Would you say it is smart to start with one "free demo" home in a large neighborhood (it's a friend) to show our quality of work and display a sign in the front yard?
2. Is it Ok to start out with basic magnetic do-it-yourself signs for the truck ($20 for 2 at Staples), home-made yard signs made from plywood, do-it-yourself flyers and business cards?
3. Is MySpace better than FaceBook for getting your name on the web? Or does it matter?
4. How do you go about bidding on contract jobs? Or finding out about them?
5. How do you approach businesses such as shopping centers, apartment complexes, etc?
6. Is it too late in spring to get a new lawn care business started?
7. How do you go about finding low-cost and quality sources of fertilizers, mulches, top soil, etc.
8. How do we find out about all of the licenses that we need to get?
9. You know how the business cards will say "bonded and insured"? What is that and do you really need it?

I'm sorry if all of this information is already out there. I just haven't gotten to it. Thanks for such a great website!!
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  #2  
Old 05-20-2009, 02:50 AM
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1. Would you say it is smart to start with one "free demo" home in a large neighborhood (it's a friend) to show our quality of work and display a sign in the front yard?

Of course! Advertise in any way possible. You might have neighbors bugging you for service in no time. I recommend getting business cards, you can write estimates on the back & it makes you seem professional. It's better than handing them a piece of paper.

2. Is it Ok to start out with basic magnetic do-it-yourself signs for the truck ($20 for 2 at Staples), home-made yard signs made from plywood, do-it-yourself flyers and business cards?

Yes sir! As a new company I wouldn't recommend anything more. You may want to change the look later on & it would suck to tear off a beautiful & expensive magnet.


3. Is MySpace better than FaceBook for getting your name on the web? Or does it matter?


Though both of them require the viewer to have an account. I believe that more adults will be found over facebook, myspace is packed with younger users.

4. How do you go about bidding on contract jobs? Or finding out about them?


Why not create a referral system, offering your customer items per each customer they bring to you? The best way to get people interested in you, is to speak with them face to face, sell yourself in person.

5. How do you approach businesses such as shopping centers, apartment complexes, etc?

With my tail between my legs. You would have to ask the property manager to give your card & estimate to their landlord.

6. Is it too late in spring to get a new lawn care business started?

It's never too late. Tons of people are hiring now because they now see the grass growing. In panic, you might get hired instantly & be expected for work immediately. Try advertising to lawns with uncut grass.

7. How do you go about finding low-cost and quality sources of fertilizers, mulches, top soil, etc.


Google, yellowpages.. Call companies and ask. They might even have a website.

8. How do we find out about all of the licenses that we need to get?

I believe it's your town hall? Bug Steve about it, he's the master around here.

9. You know how the business cards will say "bonded and insured"? What is that and do you really need it?

Not quite sure what you mean. Your business cards don't have to say much, I put my company name, services offered, contact information & a picture of a mower & trimmer, etc'



Great questions BTW!
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  #3  
Old 05-20-2009, 03:06 AM
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Default Many Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by briarcreek View Post
Wow, this is a wonderful website with so much information. There are 3 of us who are under or unemployed and who NEED to work. We are interested in the lawn care business, have lots of personal experience with our own yards and in dealing with lawn care companies as consumers. We have the essential equipment to start (mowers, edgers, trimmers, truck, trailer), the determination to make it work, and the willingness to learn. I'm the researcher who will be trying to digest as much information from your website as I can over time. Tonight I've been looking at advertising - suggestions on signs, flyers, business cards, myspace, google maps, craigslist, ... I also have found very invaluable the information on calculating base hourly rates for job estimates.

Right now we have come up with a company name, slogan, and colors. We have a tax id number and DBA with the state. We have a dress code. We don't have a logo. We don't have a lot of cash to start up with professional signs, flyers, post cards, etc. But we want to be as professional as possible with what we have.

My questions at the moment are:
1. Would you say it is smart to start with one "free demo" home in a large neighborhood (it's a friend) to show our quality of work and display a sign in the front yard?
2. Is it Ok to start out with basic magnetic do-it-yourself signs for the truck ($20 for 2 at Staples), home-made yard signs made from plywood, do-it-yourself flyers and business cards?
3. Is MySpace better than FaceBook for getting your name on the web? Or does it matter?
4. How do you go about bidding on contract jobs? Or finding out about them?
5. How do you approach businesses such as shopping centers, apartment complexes, etc?
6. Is it too late in spring to get a new lawn care business started?
7. How do you go about finding low-cost and quality sources of fertilizers, mulches, top soil, etc.
8. How do we find out about all of the licenses that we need to get?
9. You know how the business cards will say "bonded and insured"? What is that and do you really need it?

I'm sorry if all of this information is already out there. I just haven't gotten to it. Thanks for such a great website!!
 
1. Would you say it is smart to start with one "free demo" home in a large neighborhood (it's a friend) to show our quality of work and display a sign in the front yard?

Not a bad Idea

2. Is it Ok to start out with basic magnetic do-it-yourself signs for the truck ($20 for 2 at Staples), home-made yard signs made from plywood, do-it-yourself flyers and business cards?

I'm just starting out and use magnetic signs I got from Vista Print. About twice the cost but a little more professional looking. I am though, getting estimates for professional permanent signs for my trucks.

3. Is MySpace better than FaceBook for getting your name on the web? Or does it matter?

Here, I couldn't say. I use neither.

4. How do you go about bidding on contract jobs? Or finding out about them?

Here, unless you carry at least $1,000,000.00 liability insurance, you probably don't stand a chance! To find them, you have to ask. Real Estate Co's, Banks, Office buildings, Local Government Offices, etc.

5. How do you approach businesses such as shopping centers, apartment complexes, etc?

See above

6. Is it too late in spring to get a new lawn care business started?

No, just offer what the customer wants and deliver.

7. How do you go about finding low-cost and quality sources of fertilizers, mulches, top soil, etc.

I have found great interest in organic lawn care products. They might be a little more expensive, but they are concentrated, easy to mix and apply, and easy to sell.

8. How do we find out about all of the licenses that we need to get?

Check with your local and county business offices.

9. You know how the business cards will say "bonded and insured"? What is that and do you really need it?

If you want commercial accounts, yes you need it. Check with your insurance carrier, check our forum.

We have a dress code. We don't have a logo. We don't have a lot of cash to start up with professional signs, flyers, post cards, etc. But we want to be as professional as possible with what we have.

I have had very little results with flyers, post cards, door hangers, etc. My best results have come from Newspaper ads and referrals. Don't put a flyer or door hanger on a door or mailbox. That is what everyone else is doing! Knock on the door and introduce yourself. I have magnetic business cards that I hand out ($9.95 per 50 at Vista Print). People throw away flyers, door hangers etc. They put the magnetic card on their fridg.

Steve
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2009, 08:46 AM
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Hi briarcreek,

Welcome to our forum!

What's next on your to do list?
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