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Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life. It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.

My situation.. It never ends


Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life.

It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.
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  #1  
Old 06-09-2009, 06:35 PM
XtreemGreen XtreemGreen is offline
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Default My situation.. It never ends

I dont post here much, but alot fo you seem to have your business under control..
This is what my life is like currently..


From October of 08, my life has been nothing but ****..Well part of it.. My wife and I are alot happier but thats about it(We wre going to get a divorce)..
My step daughter is now living with her dad(alot of **** happened there)..
Ive been looking for a job for 6 months and have found nothing but a bunch of sales and marketing crap(my father in law is in the same boat)..
My truck blew the tranny out of it.. Bought another and found the cab was shot(huge rust hole hidden under bondo)..Ended up replacing the entire cab..truck runs and drives great though..Sold the wifes car to a trusting co-worker of her... Signed title over and all.. We got screwed out of that..Wander why people dont do favors on trust these days..
Im losing customers by the month(either sold homes, doing it them selves, found someone cheaper)..
i use to love the area Im in, but the lawn industry really sucks.. Ive put out 2000 fliers with 2 starting prices(dropped my monthly price A TON).
Monthly starting at $60 a month and per cuts starting at $20<<< Now I hate this area..
worst of all... we are behind 2 months rent.. but now the landlord wants us out so she can remodel and sell the house..
the places we have found that we can afford want $1000+ up front to move in..I dont know of too many lower income famlies that have $1000 just laying around..

Right now Im am soo lost in life, I dont know what to do..where have I gone wrong? Im a loving father and husband and Im good at what I do.I still enjoy what I do as well. Im 38 yrs old and Im not getting any younger..I know go out and hustle, but with low money coming in and gas going up agan.. I cant just go and drive around all day..Ive went on craigslist advertising to sub contract to bigger lco's trying to make a measly $200 a week..
I work with my dad(when he has the work) for $60 a day digging trenches.. But its maybe 1 day here 1 day there..
A few years ago ill admit I was lazy and slept in till noon.. But I was trying to make a career with web design..That kept me up till early morning hours alot.. But everyone wants yrs of experience or a dagree..My wife got her associates in teaching.. That got her a lousy $.25 raise. She needs a bachlors dagree in order to get into the school system..She will do that when we can settle down again(if ever)..

Whats left.. I have 3 accounts that pays $400 a month...2000 fliers in the same area=0 calls..

Sorry for the depressing thread...Please dont be to harsh on me..
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  #2  
Old 06-09-2009, 08:39 PM
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Hang in there bud, I'm in the same boat, I just never brought myself to confess it publicly. 36 years old, love my kids to death. Thats the reason I'm in this game, so I can have time with them, which is my #1 priority. Problem is, being divorced, you also have to provide for them financially. Sometimes it seems like everytime there's a light at the end of the tunnel, something happens to crush you. Keep coming up with new ideas. Try Steve's organic pesticide advice. I've been looking for a job too so I can scrape together enough for a nice trailer, truck, and some productive advertising (yellow pages, pay per click web advertising, etc). You know, to take the next step. I just posted a thread about marketing to realtors, and I just started today but it was free and I'm getting replies. Check out the thread and see how I did it and if you have any questions let me know. I'm just trying anything I can think of and hoping something works. I'm done with the flier thing for a while. When I had had my Real Estate License, I remember walking and putting football schedule magnets with my name on it on 250 doors, and not even a single call. We all go through these times, but those of us with kids can't afford to give up. Someday you'll see how far you've come, and don't forget to help people on your way. "Then what you had in the past will seem small compared with the great prosperity you'll have in the future." Job 8:7 I usually don't quote the bible but I opened it randomly in church on sunday and it just jumped out at me. In the meantime, ask a realtor friend to send you a list of short sales, vacants, and other bank owned properties and start emailing the realtors! Its free so you've nothing to lose. Who knows which idea is going to give you that little boost you need to get to the next level. Balancing money and family is a tough thing, and I'm sure money plays no small role in your divorce. I know it had plenty to do with mine, whether she admits it or not. Trust me, I'm the last one thats going to tell you to just keep knocking on doors, because I know how frustrated you can get sometimes without a few accounts to keep your spirits up. But, keep making sure everyone you meet knows what you do, and my advice (whatever its worth) would be to take any account, even if its $20 a mow, just to keep you going, then, when you have plenty accounts, start being selective and weed out the lowballers, keeping your number of yards the same, but getting paid more. 20 $20 accounts is $1600/month right now, and thats only 4 yards a day for 5 days a week. I know, but its a start and it might help your ego. Where do you live? I'm in FL so there's tons of competition which keeps prices down here too. Talk to friends, do some free yards for charity (for elderly/ disabled or Green Care for Troops). These people will advertise for you. Green Care actually sends you a free cd and instructions for press releases, radio PSA's etc. There are tons of good lawn people but not enough good people. Yes, you'd be mowing for free, but you have the time and it sure beats sending fliers, don't you think? Maybe talk to your local Meals on Wheels for an account. Do it to help someone, and if you don't get any paid accounts from it, you made someone's life better, and not just wasted a bunch of paper on postcards. Take all this advice from someone that relates to you, and not someone that has "made it" or should really be giving advice on the lawn business. My point is that there are different ideas out there and I know what its like to lose hope but sometimes a fresh approach can give you a more positive outlook, and sometimes just 1 or 2 accounts is all you need to start turning the corner. Hang in there man. In a couple years we can look back at this thread and laugh about how far you've come.
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:07 PM
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Great posts.

Two things come to mind. What would you ideally like to do? What would be the ideal goal? Where would you like to be and what would you like to be doing?

The other thought it have you been asking your customers or your friends, family or neighbors if they need other services around their property to be performed?

One of our very successful members on the forum here got started with his lawn care business and then found there to be too much competition, driving down the prices so he asked his customers what other services they needed. He wrote it all down and started offering those services. He is now doing light excavation work. Tree clearing. Power washing. And a whole bunch of other services that seem to keep him super busy.

What's your view on all this?
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:29 PM
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Well bud I feel for you, it's a tough place to be in.

Two years ago I was in St. Louis on a business trip, mother called from New Brunswick, step father had passed away, tried desperately to get a flight home, finally did, from there I flew home to Halifax to discover my wife at the time was moving out, found someone in her church she fell in Love with, left me with our two teenage children, they would have never gone with her anyhow, took a week off work, started putting a roof on a shed I was building, staging let go, serious fracture to my ankle, spent close to a week in the hospital, work calls tax audit and they need me, man I can barely move, had to sell four of my 8 acre property on the lake as part of the divorce, man it was hell.

The one thing I didn't do was give up, life will throw us all a curve ball, just keep swinging, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

I understand the market can be the pits, go to your current customers and try one thing and see how it works, say "I really appreciate your business and I am looking at expanding. I was wondering if you could help me out, what other services do you think might appeal to people like yourself? (just for example lets say pressure washing driveways) That is an excellent idea and I thank you for your feedback, is that something you would be interested in? You will receive an affirmative response. Now what I do is get a few sales for a new service then get the equipment.

I suspect money is tight so try to get into services that will not cost you a lot, bank some of that money away so that you can offer other services.

What I have found is if you can get to a point where you have purchased equipment to eliminate competition or at least go head on and offer better service, man it can be a wild ride. It may take you weeks, months or a few years, doesn't really matter as long as you have a plan.

By the way, I really like your website and images, very well done!!!

I assume you did this yourself, consider doing it for others and make a few bucks, look at everything you like to do and do it for others and get paid for it.

All the best bud

Andy
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:44 PM
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I was just thinking about my post, I have a very close lawyer friend who said to me when I was going through all this crap "Andy, if it doesn't kill you it will only make you stronger" I clung to that for quite a few months and you know he was right, life for me has never been better.
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Old 06-09-2009, 11:19 PM
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Thanks for all the replies.. It is helpful..
Andy, I hear where your coming from..20 homes for $20 a cut..I havent done per cut's in years (Maybe thats my problem..lol).. Ive thought about doing that, and thats as far as I got.. I mainly do only upscale home(St.Aug grass).. I guess I need to take a day and drive around and try to make a quick $100 or more..

Steve, I love this industry and its pretty much the only thing I know like the back of my hand...Ive been doing it for so long, but but cant seem to keep the customer base up where I need to be..
My Goal? I would like to be making around $3000 a month.. We would live comfortably with that income..We are use to living on the cheap side..In my head it sounds easy to go out and go door knocking to make a quick $100.. but when I visualize it, it isnt so easy..
I send emails out every month asking about refferals and extra work.. But havent had one call..
the organic stuff Ive never read up on..

picframer: Thanks for the reply.. My wife and I almost divorced last year, but I refused to give up on us..I made alot of personal changes and we are alot happier..

The website, yes I did myself.. I enjoy doing basic website and have had a few other lco's interested, but thats as far as they ever got..I also enjoy doing graphics, but Im no pro YET!!

I think I covered everyone...
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Old 06-09-2009, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
I also enjoy doing graphics, but Im no pro YET!!
If you can make marketing material, there is a constant supply of business owners on here looking for that kind of service too.
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Old 06-09-2009, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
If you can make marketing material, there is a constant supply of business owners on here looking for that kind of service too.
My brain is off right now from all the worries.. Can you give me some ideas?
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Old 06-09-2009, 11:44 PM
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I have to add one more thing here... All of my equipment is paid for.. I have o ZERO overhead other then gas and insurance..
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Old 06-09-2009, 11:56 PM
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Default Explore the nitch markets

Quote:
Originally Posted by XtreemGreen View Post
My brain is off right now from all the worries.. Can you give me some ideas?
Nitch markets:
pressure washing
Organic lawn care
Insect repellants - Chemical free
Soil conditioning - Organic
Living fences and hedges
Organic insect control - nematodes
Weed control (organic)
Gutter cleaning
Roto tilling

Ask for needs and supply them

Steve
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