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View Full Version : I have equipment and accounts...how do I make it GROW???


Toastpuppy
04-09-2007, 03:11 PM
Well...I got my little lawn serivce started up last year. I work as a full time firefighter in central florida, and am now running my slowly growing business on the side. I am not looking to "get rich" or anything like that, but why does anyone go into business for themselves???.....to turn a profit, right?
I have about 15 accounts, most of which, I have had since i started, and are so far very pleased with my work...keeping in mind I have done all my learning through trial and error, which I know is dangerous, and researching on the internet. I do all the basics, along with hedges, herbicide, etc... The business is picking up a little now that it's getting warmer again though.

So here is what I got...
I just upgraded to a 3/4ton diesel truck, got an 18ft enclosed trailer (getting logos put on it this week), and i'm buying a used 60" ExMark this week too. I also have a 36" Bunton walk behind, stihl edger, trimmer, ect.... you get the idea...all good stuff.
I mostly work by myself, but my brother (who is about to be a firefigher too) wants in on the business, as soon as he can get his probationary stuff done.

So here is the question...
I got the equipment, this big trailer, some accounts, a name, a kick ass logo, and some ads out in the local paper....Now...how do I really expand?
I have the means to do it, it's just a matter of getting more business. I have enough that I can pretty much knock everything out that I have in one day by myself. I'm not looking to kill myself out there, but seriously...theres got to be more out there! Am I just being too impatient? or am I missing something. I've got ads, the image, and more importantly...the quality.

I have some good yards and some bad. I dont want to start pawning off the bad yards until I can get more of the good ones, but all the good ones seem to be being taken care of by the "BIG PROFESSIONAL COMPANIES" with 5 guy crews and a buch of rigs all over the place.
I am in a BOOMING town, but can't seem to land the newer, nicer accounts.
I got the big impressive rig now and by the end of this week, I will definately look like a big name company, with the equipment to back it up.

WHAT DO I DO?

Thanks,
Tommy
Douglas Lawn Service - St. Cloud, Fl
douglaslawn@yahoo.com

bigmudder77
04-09-2007, 03:58 PM
you need to get your name out there more offer the people like 20% off a mow with every referal that lands a contract. or a free mow i wouldnt offer a free mow for every contract you get cause you might get to many or spend to much money doing it. but people will get your name out there faster than flyers and junk like that. another thing is to get signs made and put in the lawns you mow so people can see how good of work you do. the other thing is you can call business and put bids in and make good money from that. other than that word of mouth is gonna be your best bet.

bohiaa
04-09-2007, 05:39 PM
The age ole Question.....

I have been having good luck with newspaper ads and when I cut a lawn I go pass out flyers some times as much as the next street over...

also word of mouth has spread like wildfire for me..... Just let people know you do lawn work....
It seems everywhere I go I'm talking lawn work... if I go to get a hamburger at the local DQ I ask them. I got to the supermarkett I ask them...

Just keep getting your name out there...

Best of luck

Toastpuppy
04-09-2007, 08:16 PM
Thank you very much for the input!
I was thinking about the free mow with every referral, but like you said, someone could get a lot of free work and just get me some shitty contracts...good thought though.
I do like the discount idea too...20% sounds good...maybe 25% to even it out.

how about contracts? anyone got a sample contract or anything I could look at?
I don't do any contracts at all yet, and I probably should, but I don't know how to put one together or what to include on it. I haven't really looked into the contract thing yet, b/c all the people I work for now have been very cool so far..........so far.

Thanks
Tommy

bohiaa
04-09-2007, 09:09 PM
dont know how it is in your area but here in Texas noone wants to sgin a contract..

Now granted I dont have any BIG commerical accounts but I do have hand shakes on 2 commerical accounts one of them is 1600 a month.. 800.00 a visit.

remember your work will speak for itself.... as for the freebys I shy away from that.. granted your area is diffrent than mine.

I'm not the boy pushing the mower down the street knocking on doors....BUT I have recived several jobs going to business walking in and saying who does your lawn work... then I tell them it looks like SH$%..... and I walked out 2 hrs later with 150-200 in my pockett......

talk to everyone you meet....

DAve Thomas said dont even talk to people who cant purchase your product..

Good luck

fiveoboy01
04-09-2007, 09:33 PM
Now granted I dont have any BIG commerical accounts but I do have hand shakes on 2 commerical accounts one of them is 1600 a month.. 800.00 a visit.

You really should protect yourself with a contract for an account like that. It just makes sense and protects you...

....BUT I have recived several jobs going to business walking in and saying who does your lawn work... then I tell them it looks like SH$%.....

Not the proper way to get new business, and a REAL good way to make a lot of enemies.

But I agree for the most part, getting your name out. Name recognition is why a lot of the larger commercials have big companies. They don't really look much I don't think, they already know the names of the top guys in the area. Gotta put your name in front of people continuously before they will even remember who you are or what you do.

topsites
04-09-2007, 09:41 PM
I would just keep doing exactly what you are doing, it only takes time.
Keep the ad running until at least end of May, the entire time.
Beyond that it's up to you, but for me it peters down by end of April and you can pick up a few stragglers but also come along those who just lost an Lco (use your imagination, thou some are ok out of the bunch, not all of those are bad news), I run my ad from 20th of March through end of May, then EOW through end of June, and that is it for me but some guys run theirs year-round, I don't.

Ok, not entirely true, the link at the bottom of this page runs year-round but it's new :)
http://dir.yahoo.com/Regional/U_S__States/Virginia/Counties_and_Regions/Chesterfield_County/Business_and_Shopping/Shopping_and_Services/Home_and_Garden/
Can't tell you for about a year how it will do lol.

But yeah, just keep on track, I think you'll do fine.

Norris Lawn Service
04-09-2007, 11:01 PM
Word of mouth, let your customers that you have now know that you want more, and chances are they will brag to there friends, and so forth

xtrim
04-09-2007, 11:56 PM
It is all about image, Central Florida is booming, but with it comes tons of competition. My 1st instinct was to target new neighborhoods with flyers, when I got to the 1st door, there were couple of flyers there already from other LCOs

You just need a competitive advantage over your competitor's, need to distinguish yourself, and people will come.

As of contracts, I don't do them. Makes you work harder to keep the costumers, and its rare that they bail on you. As long as their grass is trimmed, they don't want to bother finding another LCO.

Rickco
04-10-2007, 07:54 AM
I wouldn't give any discount for referals,We don't. Just keep doing a good job for a fair price and the work will come. Retaining exsisting customers is just as important as getting new ones. We do not advertise,except for lettered trucks and trailers and grow 7-10% a year. Just wait until you get your new trailer/billboard!!payup

martinfan06
04-10-2007, 08:21 AM
Still a little early to panic it sounds like your doing extremely well just keep up your quality work and the customers will follow. Most important dont lowball we have plenty of problems with that here charge a fair price for quality work and you cant go wrong.

BW Landscaping
04-10-2007, 12:25 PM
Toast Puppy, your business sounds EXCATLY like mine, i am a New York City Police Officer and i have 20 Accounts, it can get pretty stressfull at some times, especially now everyone wants something. The first question to you is can you handle growing the business like you want to?? (being a fireman)
the other idea i have for you is that your brother wants to get in the business with you, i have a problem with that.......i have a brother in law and we were going into business together about a year ago, i am 100% into the business and he was only showing about 50%, kinda left a bad taste in my mouth...make sure that he is commited like you are, landscaping is a hard business to run and maintain. Good luck and if you want some sort of a contract i have one that i give my customers and they love the idea and i am making more money with it. email me at bobwestlandscaping@yahoo.com i can help you out there.

C&K
04-10-2007, 04:46 PM
I've gone the discount route and while it did get me on new properties, most of the customers had terrible lawns to service. Also, probably not the "type" of customer you want. More than likely, the will continue wanting something for nothing. Here is some great advice: Be dependable, honest, courteous, hard-working, be professional, and be the best at what you do. ALWAYS charge your price and NEVER compromise. I like to imagine what my customers say to themselves or to someone else after we leave; "Those guys are the best lawn care service I have ever used! Never an issue and everyone loves how my lawn looks!" Or, "Honey, get me the phone book. I'm sick of paying these jokers to screw up my grass!" Your work will ultimately determine your success level. Just use your local paper and DO get your phone number in the yellow pages. Lots of gimmics and angles out there. Door hangers, post-it notes, flyers, frisbees and other novelties. Phone book and newspapers work the best for us outside of "word of mouth".

bodisatvah
04-10-2007, 04:55 PM
i am brand new too, but have had fast success so far...(8 new accts last week).

I had t-shirts, shirts and sweatshirts made with my business name. I wear them everywhere I go. No one has asked for a card yet, but they see the name. Also, I am getting a sign to attach to my trailer...just trying to stay visible everywhere i go. I put an add in the local paper with many competitors. So far, I have received a good response and i'm sure they are calling others for a competitive quote.

i putting flyers everywhere (this has been my best means of new business).

i dont have the setup u have with a new truck...i am using my tahoe until i make enough cash to warrant buying a used truck.

Good luck to you...and me too! :drinkup: