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Phat-MiKe
12-29-2001, 05:52 PM
We baught a 6x12 Black enclosed trailor today, We are going in monday to buy our mower.. Im guessing something likea 36"-48" walk-behind.

I was wondoring how you guys get your initial customers. We are going to need to jump in and make money to make payments on the mower and the rest of the equipment. What is the best means of advertising to get your first initial customers? I know there is competition out here, So what should i do? Newspaper ad? Logo on trailor/truck? Business Cards? Flyers? I plan on doing all of the above plus I designed a website already. But what do you do to get your initial cuts? Will these work?

CSRA Landscaping
12-29-2001, 06:09 PM
Yes, do all of those plus look for places that look shabby. Stop in and talk to the folks - they're usually very receptive. Good luck.

scagman
12-29-2001, 06:37 PM
When I was just starting out I got almost all my customers with flyers. I did it every day after work, door hangers is what I used. I believe its a co. called NEBS 1-800-225-6380. I wasted my time and $$$ with newspaper ads, but they just didnt work for me. My advertising plan for this upcoming season is a yellow page which Ive placed 2 months ago, door hangers and word of mouth.

sheppard
12-29-2001, 07:12 PM
Dear Phat,

1.Call everyone you know- everyone! ( One of my largest accounts came from a loan processor that processed our mortgage 6 months before I started in the business- she heard I was in the business and gave me a call).

2. Target a neighborhood- put out flyers and call them that night or with in 2/3 days. Get their phone numbers from the Hill Donnely listing from your Public Library.

3. Cruse by commercial properties that look poorer than what you could do and contact them directly. Ask them if they are "completely satisfied with the service you are getting" 33% of the time they will say "no" (at least that is the adverage in my area). Offer to give them a price on your services. Then ask for the deal!

4. When you start getting accounts- offer them a "price break" if they recommend one of their neighbors with in site of their yard. Park once- cut twice.

Hope this helps.

Cordially,
Sheppard

awm
12-29-2001, 10:25 PM
u gettin a good start . welcome to the masses

wriken
12-29-2001, 11:13 PM
I've done flyers, newspaper adds, But word of mouth and the lettering of my truck has done the most for me. Put my name on the truck 1.5 weeks ago, got four bids to place.

Phat-MiKe
12-29-2001, 11:23 PM
I always hear u guys talking about bids, what exactly does that imply. I figured its for a price.. But what you consult them and they make a bid or what.. Thats my next problem, Billing, I know there is alot of competition out here, So i would rather be cheap but not too cheap :P

johnnywalker
12-29-2001, 11:34 PM
This won't get alot of support but bid cheap until you know what you are doing, live & learn, build up a solid customer base through "lowballing" (or "smart business" sense). Prove your reliability & expertise, gain a loyal customer base & gradually increase prices.

Ric
12-30-2001, 12:40 AM
Phat Mike

I checked your profile and see you are 17 years old. I would like to offer you some advise. You can take it or you can not. My advise it simple. Work for a big or older company for a least a year before you try it on your own. I realize you think you know everything about cutting grass but I am 61 years old and have been in the business since your dad was your age and I still don't know it all. One of the advantages would be you could get your roundup license before you start on your own. Remember that in Fla if you get caught with roundup you can get fined up to $5,000.00. good luck on what ever you do.

Green Care
12-30-2001, 01:21 AM
Well I'm speechless they said it all away what I did was found some used inexspensive equipement around an settle with that for awhile until I was able to upgrade.

As for business, Cards fliers mouth advertise.

Last, Quality!!!!!!!!!!

HOMER
12-30-2001, 07:25 AM
Mike?
Do you have any experience in this line of work?
Do you even know if this is what you want to do?

Reason I ask is your shelling out some big bucks from the get go and sounds to me like you haven't tested the waters yet. I'd hate to see you spend the money only to find out the work doesn't suit you.

If I'm wrong then go fer it....................wao.

bob
12-30-2001, 09:24 AM
Mike, Do a search on this forum. There's tons of info that will help you out. Also I'd check new developments and construction.

mdb landscaping
12-30-2001, 11:14 AM
i think putting flyers out are a really good way to get customers. you get to pick the neighborhoods you want to maintain, and are profitable. once you get a few customers, word of mouth should get you some more. you may want to letter your trailer as well.

walker-talker
12-30-2001, 11:57 AM
I would not advertise in the newspaper unless it is a specialized service. For example aeration, dethaching, overseeding and so on. If you advertise for mowing you will get accounts spread all over town and if you come from a large town, that could be a problem. I have not tried door hangers yet, but that is what I am going with next season. NEBS (do a search, they are online and you can order a catalog full of free samples) offer door hangers, 2000 for $146, somewhere in that price range. At the bottom of the door hanger is a detachable business card. From what I have read in other post, door hangers bring in a sucess rate anywhere for 1% to 5%. If you could get 50 accounts in your first year, that would be pretty damn good. Another idea, although I have not tried, is to call some of your local LCO's and ask them for any "run-over" work. If they don't give you their extra work they might give you their customers that are a pain in their ass. If you are hurting for work, they might be tolerable until you can build your client base. I would have to say, first and foremost, use the search function in this forum. There is a wealth of information at your finger tips. I probably spent 30 hours here before my first post by just using the search feature. Best of luck.

MATT

lawncare
12-30-2001, 04:19 PM
Well, not to down you Mike but what made you buy the trailer before the equipment the rule of thumb in lawncare from my point is get some good used equipment if you have a truck load them on back and as business progress you can get those things i would hate to see you make $$$ payments a month and don't have the customers to cover it. When i got up to 50 customers I went by the lawnmower shops to see what some poor soul didn't pick up after repairs were done and im talking deep discounts Honda's 60 bucks, husky 24 inch adjustable trimmers 40bucks, toro ride behind 350 bucks, all commercial equip. just yesterday i walk in and purchase a john deere ridin mower 11hp, 5speed,38inch cut for 150 didn't need it but when he said that i bought it i been using just to ride to the store around the block. I also bought plenty from pawn shops so when the time came and i wanted new equip i went in the store told him what i wanted and what would he do for me if i bought in all in cash and therefore i got the price he paid not retail and no notes. As for the equip i started out with when i seen a guy just started i offered it to him for monthly payments since he was just getting in the biz(made 3 times what i got it for). Get your clents first flyers really work for me out of 400 flyers i may get 10 or 20 calls but i only paid 40 bucks for the flyers so you should make your money back on the first call. Hope u do well and if you can stay away from those equip notes

Phat-MiKe
12-30-2001, 06:55 PM
Ok.. Well cancelled the order on the trailor. New plans are to start when the season starts with used equipment (or purchase a business with accounts) Not sure. I appreciate the advice guys.. And no i dont know what i want to do in the future.. But At least I can do this as i go to college.. Im sorry I wasted your time typing. Thanks .. Ill post again in the future im sure :P

lawncare
12-31-2001, 05:32 AM
Didn't mean to disappoint there's money out here in the grass I quit my good government job for this. Of course almost half the Soc. Sec. building is on the cust list so I figure why listen to the man making 13 an hr when I can be the man making all can I went to college but it takes awhile to get were you want to be thats how i ended up in the gov. Wasnt my luck of the draw but when you can get paid good to sit on your tail for a month or two this biz is worth it to me. So if you want use equip start riding around in the winter when its cheap when spring comes u may not be lucky wish u luck

lawncare
12-31-2001, 05:42 AM
I was wondering how do many people here pay there employees/help or whatever. Me and some fellow grazzmen were chatting and most of them are paying 8 or 9 per hr as for me i give a flat 10 per yd the largest i got takes about 3 1/2 hrs to do. I want to be fair and i have good workers sometimes we may work 9 or 10 hr a day so i pay by the day but i tell them if they finish in a certain time every 1 gets a bonus. So which is best hr or by the yd.

walker-talker
12-31-2001, 11:45 AM
I personally don't have any help, but I know a LCO that pays 30% of what ever the that particular lawn brings in. The LCO does not use any commercial brand equipment and has no insurance, so that way he can pay out like that.

MATT

Ric
12-31-2001, 11:54 AM
Lawncare

I pay by the hour. I feel pay by job causes employees to go to fast and sloppy. If my crew get done to fast I don't let them go home I give them more work like washing the trucks. quaility takes a little more time and I am willing to pay for that time if the work is quaility. This is my business model and not everyones. I am starting my 15th year so it works for me.

Phat Mike

Glad to see you have backed off on purchase of trailer. Please think about what I said about working for some else before going in to business for your self.

brucec32
03-12-2002, 11:17 AM
I've had good results with local newspapers that are just for my area. I also state my areas covered in the ad, to avoid wasted calls. They're cheap ($300-$500/year does it for me) and easy. I tried direct mail to new homeowners and flyers, and neither worked well for the cost involved.

Referrals are a great source. Offer a "finders fee" for referrals, but only award it if the new account lasts the season. People will abuse this if you don't. They'll have a friend with an overgrown mess, get you to mow it once or twice , then the friend will cancel and they'll split the fee. I gave away free lawn aeration in the fall one year. ($75 value typically) A free mow might be a better way to go.

The mark of an unprofessional company here is hanging flyers on mailboxes or doors. Or the famous "rock and flyer in a baggie thrown on the driveway". If you have to, mail them a postcard for 20 cents or whatever. But don't hang stuff on their homes and junk up the neighborhood with flyers blown off and into the street. It's saying "I don't have 20 cents to invest in getting your business" What if everyone did that? We'd be knee deep in flyers. Also, In many areas, it's illegal to solict door to door, which is what that is.

One alternative is to scout neighborhoods that seem attractive to you. For example, I prefer mowing Fescue. Most new homes are Bermuda sod here. So I would find a fescue neighborhood and note that. I could then later use computer map software to pull up a list of the addresses in that neighborhood and can then simply mail postcard ads or personal letters to JUST those homes. Much cheaper than traditional mass mailings where they're completely unprecise and perhaps too numerous to afford (by zip code, usually)

brucec32
03-12-2002, 11:25 AM
Your posts are a put on, right? Please tell me they are.