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  #11  
Old 06-22-2009, 12:58 AM
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Quick update. Out of the 60 emails I sent, I've had a few replies that make me think I may work with them in the future, but I also aquired 3 yards at $100/month to be paid at closing and tomorrow I'm doing an odd job digging up roots at one of the realtor's personal residence for $150 (hopefully 2 or 3 hour job). This same realtor has a vacant home that is way overgown and I'm taking care of it this week to give it "curb appeal" for $1000 which he already cleared with the bank to be paid at closing. This is going to take massive bush/tree trimming, but also a great candidate for those before/ after pictures. This is also one of the 3 $100/month yards. These all seem like great people too, which is important because I really want to make sure I get paid. With forclosures/ short sales, you can't put a lien on the home since its already not covering the 1st lien, which is the mortgage, so its kind of a calculated act of faith. 2 of the homes are owned by the realtor, so I don't have to worry about the home not selling before the realtors contract running out, so it seems as safe as it could possibly be, but there is still a lot of risk involved. Anyway, I'm back in business, baby!
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  #12  
Old 06-22-2009, 03:57 PM
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That is fantastic! If you were to do it again now, what would you do differently with it? Would you change around the offer or the price or anything else?
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  #13  
Old 06-22-2009, 10:59 PM
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I just got another realtors account today. He put me in touch with the attorney handling the property and he's paying me cash per mow, and I got my $150 this morning from the other one time job I got (it was HOT! When I was done I went to the gas station, drank half of a mountain dew, and threw up). It only took 2 hours put sheesh! Swinging an axe at roots and shoveling dirt in my truck in 94 degree humid florida air is a lot different than cruising around in a tractor! Anyway, as far as changes, I'll have to see how long it takes to get paid, which would be my only forseeable problem. I need someone to come up with a contract stating that the owner or realtor is responsible for payment at closing, so if the bank refuses payment, the owner isn't just off the hook, that way I'm just dealing with one person, and whoever they get to pay it is fine, but they're ultimately responsible, whether its out of their commission, the bank pays, etc. One good thing is that its getting my name out there and people are using me even with traditional payments, and referring me to each other. Istill have more people to email but I haven't had the time to sit down and do it yet (which is a good thing I guess)
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:42 PM
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How is doing all these jobs effecting your bidding process?

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He put me in touch with the attorney handling the property and he's paying me cash per mow, and I got my $150 this morning from the other one time job I got (it was HOT! When I was done I went to the gas station, drank half of a mountain dew, and threw up). It only took 2 hours put sheesh! Swinging an axe at roots and shoveling dirt in my truck in 94 degree humid florida air is a lot different than cruising around in a tractor!
When you have a job like this, what are you thinking after you do it? Would you bid on such a job any differently in the future?

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I need someone to come up with a contract stating that the owner or realtor is responsible for payment at closing, so if the bank refuses payment, the owner isn't just off the hook, that way I'm just dealing with one person, and whoever they get to pay it is fine, but they're ultimately responsible, whether its out of their commission, the bank pays, etc.
Keep us posted on what you come up with.
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  #15  
Old 06-23-2009, 11:00 PM
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I was thinking about my bidding/quotes today actually. Until I'm maxxed out I think I'll keep it close to the same, then I'll pick and choose, but if the choice is work for less money than I'd like or not work at all, well, I can't complain about my bills if I'm at home not willing to work! On the other side, who knows, I may have gotten all these jobs charging $10 more per cut. Soon I'll be comfortable getting turned down. Its a confidence thing and I'm almost there. When money's tight, every job is important. Even though yesterdays morning job was rough, it was only a couple hours, and I actually felt guilty taking that much. I need to get over that, huh? For the first time I'm getting busy. I also realize I need to take a day and do some maintenance and be more efficient. My trailer is wood and yesterday my back gate came off of the hinge, and I need a better latch system for the gate. Where it pulled off, the large screws just came out of the wood, so I had to put jack stands underneath to get the mower back on and again for another yard. As for the latch system, the hardware just seems too light and I noticed it also starting to pull out of the wood so I've been tying the gate up with a rope just in case (when nobody's looking of course!). Besides looking unprofessional and embarrassing, when I'm busy it takes up way too much of my time. Besides those obvious things that just came about in the last couple days, I'm using a trimmer with a blower attachment and a hedge trimmer attachment, and then I have a seperate edger. Too much time wasted changing out the trimmer to a hedger to a blower. It was a great way to get started without investing too much money, but a blower needs to be purchased now. Next is organization. Now that I'm doing more than just 6 of my friend's yards whenever I feel like it, I'm losing track in my mind and just sat down and listed all the addresses with a name and contact number so I can come up with a schedule that eliminates driving all over town. This way I can do maybe 5 or 6 yards in the same area each day, instead of driving a half hour in between stops. They are spread out all over sarasota, but if I keep all new accounts within my current borders, the odds are that I'll have more yards closer together. I have quickbooks but only use it to email invoices to an out of town land owner, instead of tracking payments,etc. This needs to change! (This is where you sell me on gopher software!) Seriously though, I think it would really help me out a lot with organization. Finally I used to sharpen the blades every now and then, but a couple days mowing tall grass, and my blades are really dull, causing me to go a lot slower or even make two passes, wasting lots of time. A 50" 22hp zrt with dull blades is like a porche with a governor set on 55. I'm not sure when I can take care of all this because I just got a call 3 hours ago from ANOTHER realtor who wants to meet me tomorrow and wants me to take care of 2 of her properties! On a sidenote, how do you guys sharpen your blades? I'm using a dremel and jacking up the front wheels, getting under and doing it that way. Is this faster than removing the deck or is there a better way? The dremel is small and squirrely and kinda hard to keep straight on the blade. Sorry this is so long.
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:17 PM
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I am glad to hear you are getting busier. As you do, you will feel more comfortable raising your rates and testing out prices. Keep us posted on how all that goes.

Do you have a table grinder or anything like that for your blades? Maybe have a couple of them you can switch in and out and then sharpen them in a group?
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  #17  
Old 06-25-2009, 11:13 PM
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I'd get a table grinder if I knew it was quicker. I have an extra set of blades. I could get another set but it seems that the sharpening is the quick part, and changing them takes all the time. I haven't switch out the blades in about a year, but I remember it took a while taking of the belt, deck, and blades, then putting it back together. How quick can you switch out the blades? Do I have to remove the deck? Also, I think I'd have better blades that way. The table grinder would give easier, more consistent results. Yesterday I fixed all the trailer issues so the gate is all good now and I sharpened the blades with the dremel. Do you sharpen both sides of the blade (top and bottom I mean) or just the top? I sharpened both but I just have a feeling I could be doing it better. How often should I sharpen them? Once a week? I don't mean to be making a big deal out of this. If it takes an hour every saturday afternoon to switch out the blades, so be it. I'm just wondering how you would do it. I noticed I can go a lot faster today. Its just those tall shoots that come higher than the surroundind grass that seem to get pushed over instead of cut, but that might have more to do with the deck hieght and the front edge of the deck pushing long grass blades down. Would I be correct with that guess?
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  #18  
Old 06-29-2009, 10:51 AM
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im going around today and taking pics of these propertys for sale with grass up to your knees, then walking into the said offices, show them the pics & my price, then ask them how they can sell a house looking like this?

I am also doing this to the owners of the houses. you can look their addresses up online by just typing in the property address. its just you have to hard mail these.


lets see if this candle gets lit!!!!!!
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  #19  
Old 06-29-2009, 10:41 PM
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Just be sure not to offend home owners by telling themtheir yard looks like crap. Maybe say " I know you're probably busy, I can barely keep up my own yard, but I thought I'd offer to take care of it for you, since I have equipment that can get it done more quickly so you aren't pushing a mower in the hot sun on your day off". I found that a lot of these vacant yards need a good initial "cleanup" and I've been charging $100 for the first initial pruning/ edging/ etc and making it look nice, then going to the regular maintainance. I did 2 of those today actually, and 1 was a scheduled cleanup, the other was just a first time "mow" but it was so bad I spent hours there. The lesson is, try to charge more for the first time because its gonna cost you more. Even if they say "just mow it", your conscience won't let you leave a property looking like crap and you'll want to impress them with your job, i.e., spend all day there for $30. I've been really busy lately from these, partially because when you go to a yard thats been vacant for a year, you end up being there all day. Even though I offer to get paid at closing, about half are paying me right away. I might charge more for the "pay at closing" to encourage promp payment. It gets old driving around town, using all your gas, and not getting paid. If it takes me a while to get to the yard, I explain that because payment is deferred, I can't pay employees and have to do it myself which takes more time. Let me know how it works for you. I'm always looking for new ideas. I've driven by some bad looking "for sale" homes but wasn't sure how to approach it. I wrote down 2 numbers yesterday but I think emails are better (less confrontational). This strategy took me from slow to busy, I just need to see the $ soon. One is closing on 7/30. Also, I think I'll stay away from houses listed by realtors without some sort of contract, making them responsible for payment, in case their listing expires without them selling it. Luckily, I only have 2 of those, and 1 is the one closing soon. The other homes are for sale by realtor/ owners and a small investing business with a realtor and an owner. Emailing a list of realtors is very efficient time-wise though. Google your town and MLS and see if you can find a way to search for vacant homes. It might be hard because only realtors are supposed to access it but sometimes they put links on their websites.
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Old 06-30-2009, 04:14 AM
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Quote:
im going around today and taking pics of these propertys for sale with grass up to your knees, then walking into the said offices, show them the pics & my price, then ask them how they can sell a house looking like this?

I am also doing this to the owners of the houses. you can look their addresses up online by just typing in the property address. its just you have to hard mail these.


lets see if this candle gets lit!
I can't wait to hear what kind of response you get on this.
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