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bamaturfguy
01-02-2000, 05:48 AM
Hi everyone, This is a topic nobody has discussed yet but I feel is worthy of some space. I have seen some in our industry that give everybody a black eye so to speak. I think because it is a hot & sweaty business they really don't get too concerned about their appearance. Those that this applies to should realize that they are out in the public in a big way. Whether mowing a business or in a residential area you are seen by a lot of people. A few minutes spent cleaning your truck and equipment goes a long way. If there are 2 or more of you then spend a little on some t-shirts that match. To the public, and many prospective customers, it shows that you are trying to maintain a professional image and also you are representing the industry as a whole in a better way. There was a T.V. commercial out a few years back that said "IMAGE IS EVERYTHING". That's a true statement and one that should be glued to your dashboard. Hire the type of people that will also represent your business well. We may be in a dirty business at times but you should be able to market yourself in a posotive manner, and a little soap may go a long way towards growing your business.

accuratelawn
01-02-2000, 07:15 AM
This is an excellent point. It is a dirty job at times, but there we are face to face with the public. I always carry an extra change of clothes for the days when it gets real nasty. It really comes in handy when you are giving bids at the end of the day. The neat appearance gives the potential customer a hint as to the quality of your work.

JimLewis
01-03-2000, 12:48 AM
EXCELLENT TOPIC!! I totally agree. Image is key. And it will make you more money too. More about that below. But image is so crucial to building a big business or even maintaining a stable small business. <p>Of course you can only do so much so fast. At first, we just wore jeans or shorts and some decent T-shirts. They didn't match but every day they were clean and there were no holes in them. We looked as good as we could when we were working. And when I went to give estimates, I tried to look even better. <p>It's taken me a long while but we've finally got our image about as good as I'd like it. You can only afford to do a little at a time. That's what I did. First thing was T-Shirts. I wanted the people to know that it was Lewis Landscape in their yard, not some yeah-hoo sneaking around. I followed the lead of the big companies in my area and got bright shirts with our name in huge letters on the back. At the same time, I chose a company color. It's important. Down the road you will need to think of media consistency. You don't want to have white trucks, red shirts and green hats. Not only does it look tacky but it doesn't remind people of who you are. <p>Next thing I did was paint all of our trucks the same color. Mind you, I didn't put on $3000 paint jobs. I found guys who did pretty good work for little money. I bartered with an autobody shop. I had an uncle paint one with me (for free). Point is, make it look nice and professional, but no need to spend a ton of doough. It's a work truck. The flip side of that is you probably don't want the Earl Shibe $199 special either. Also, I keep our trucks looking clean. Except during the winter, we wash them every 2-3 days. Hosing them off every day if necessary. <p>With just the Shirts and trucks alone, we immediately got noticed in a big way. I chose bright red because it gets noticed. Green is overused. Choose whatever you like. One company in my area has a great color scheme. All their trucks are yellow / green two-tone. They get noticed! But be consistent.<p>Personal image is also important. I always to choose workers who had clean cut hear and face. And I always make sure that I have nice clean hair and no facial hair (it matters to some people). <p>That's the basics. But there's more when you get bigger.<p>Next, I added Sweat-shirts, for when it rains. I found that T-Shirts worked great but when it rained or was cold, they were covered up. So I bought us all matching Sweatshirts to throw over the t-shirts when needed. Then when it gets to hot, we just take them off and the T-Shirt is visible. Works great. <p>I have biz cards that are matching.<p>My most recent purchase, and this only happened a few months ago, was hats! I got some cool baseball style caps with our name on them. It's required attire now. At the same time, I also splurged a little on myself and got a few fleece vests and a fleece jacket monogramed for myself. They look sweet. <p>Nowadays when I roll up to a house, people know instantly who we are just by looking out their window. When I go give an estimate in my hat and fleece jacket, it makes a great imporession. People know we're legitimate. There's an instant respect that's given. A lot of it is my demeanor too. I'm a lot more confident these days. I can land most any job when I talk face to face with someone. But part of that confidence comes from knowing that the image is helping pursuade them. <p>You will earn a lot of respect with a professional image. Look at what the bigger companies do in your area. Follow their example. That's all I did. I just copied them. <p>It will make you a lot more money too. People are much more happy to pay an additional $20 or $30 more a month if they think it's going to be done by pros. Also, you will find people are way more lax with their money when you look like a legit operation too. I've had people who I just met say this to me; &quot;You know what? I like your estimate. Let's do it. I'm gonna be in and out of town a lot over the next few months, here's a check for the first 3 months of service. I am sure you'll do great. Thanks!&quot; I just met them and they are throwing me money!! Without ever having done a minute of work for them! That never happened a few years ago. Also, for major jobs (big clean-ups, etc.) I can ask for 1/;2 down and get it almost every time. Something I could have never done before. People feel comfortable with a professional company. <p>One more thing I might ad. With matching trucks, shirts, etc. you will get a lot more P.R. than you think. People automatically assume you have a fleet of 20 trucks. It's so funny. I go to gas stations all the time and the attendent will say something to me like &quot;Geez. This Lewis guy sure has a lot of these Chevy trucks, doesn't he? I see you guys all over town.&quot; Heck, we only got 3! But people notice us all the time. <p>Well, that's my 2 cents. Hope someone somewhere learned something :-)<p>----------<br>Jim Lewis - Lewis Landscape Services<br>http://www.lewislandscape.com<br>

peacedog
01-03-2000, 03:29 PM
Image is important to your customers, but also it is important to the employees. We used to have simple silk screened t-shirts, but later moved on to a full color embroidered logo. Our shirts looked sharp. Our employees (and myself) reflected this sharp image. We acted how we looked.<p>For a 'pat on the back' type of reward, we had our logo embroidered on some nice golf shirts. We gave these to our employees to wear at conferences, classes, etc. We wear those shirts with pride.<p>Image is excellent advertising.<p>----------<br>Blake<br>Ferta-Lawn

JML
01-06-2000, 12:51 PM
I agree, image is everything. The only thing that i do different is that i put $1500 paint jobs on my trucks. I use a hot pink. No, not a gay looking pink a very cool pink that everyone remembers. We have 3 trucks also, and everyone knows who we are because of our off the wall color. I don't mind spending the extra money for the paint, just for better publicity.. <p>joe

mattingly
01-06-2000, 01:20 PM
I agree with Lewis. Even before he posted this I was commenting on how I planned on using that kind of attire. Again he is right to say that the people with money(the people we should be going after anyway) will pay the extra cash for pros. I know these type of people. Its sad but in one case a guy couldn't do a particular job with his normal force(mexicans) because most of the people in this rich neighborhood thought they'd steal. Rich folks live a sheltered life but hey they're paying our bills. This whole idea of professionalism is why I am 100% sure I will be able to be successful in my first year. I know I can outcompete several of the not so pro guys. Most important here is what I've learned from you guys and any new guys should take head of this. Don't lowball. You are the one who ends up losing. <br>Mr. Lewis,<br> I think I am going to kinda do a website sorta like yours. It is funny, I'd decided to go with red also. Don't think many in my area(hopefully no big ones) have red colors.<br>Also, consumers don't know that much about lawn equipment. Especially if it is clean and in decent shape. They don't know if it is new or 10 years old. My point is they can look at that shabby truck and tell in a heartbeat it is outdated and crappy. This presents a bad impression of the bat.

SLSNursery
01-06-2000, 03:15 PM
Just wanted to chime in and say that a good image says a lot about what customers perceive your work will look like. Many people want to see clean uniforms, trucks, equipment because they feel that there maintenance job or installation will be treated similarly. We use the same logo on all of our trucks and today I ordered a couple of 'work done by' signs. I had a professional design my logos (two companies), and provide them to me on disk so that I can easily supply them to printers, sign makers, silkscreeners, you name it. We put the logo on our bills too. All of my trucks are red, with black bodies, and usually clean. I think that most people think that all the red trucks that LOOK similar are MINE. People comment on how they see my crews here or there, and it forces me to realize that people are looking and paying attention. <p>One last note - I had a property manager approach me last month to find out if I was interested in working for him because he needs to have a company with clean sharp image and a good local reputation. He is tired of the larger franchise types coming in and handling jobs like time management projects.<p>Check out my logos at either/both home pages. They are in color on my trucks.<p><p>----------<br>Phil Grande - Soundview Landscape Supply - http://members.aol.com/slsnursery<br>Ivy League Landscaping - http://members.aol.com/scagrider

klite
01-06-2000, 05:29 PM
Hay Phil whats the L.L.C. stand for? Just curious<br>Ken<br>Lightcap Landscape Service

SLSNursery
01-07-2000, 05:22 AM
Ken - the L.L.C. stands for limited liability company. This sort of business set up works for us according to Connecticut laws and Federal Tax Law. It is similar to Incorporation.<p>Phil.<p>----------<br>Phil Grande - Soundview Landscape Supply - http://members.aol.com/slsnursery<br>Ivy League Landscaping - http://members.aol.com/scagrider

J J Landscaping
07-31-2003, 10:13 PM
You said it. Looks is everything. You do not have to have company close or new trucks. Clean trucks, mowers, trailers and close looks good and like a pro. I wash all on saturdays or sunday. I start out clean on mondays. All red shirts and keep the close on. IMAGE IS EVERYTHING.

NCSULandscaper
07-31-2003, 10:16 PM
I agree looks make your company look professional. However the few times i had to go give an estimate without changing clothes, i got it because they felt since i was so dirty i was not afraid to work and do the job right. So once in a while being dirty gets the work also but i try to keep as clean as possible around new potential customers.

The Lawn Boy Pro
07-31-2003, 10:26 PM
Originally posted by jimlewis
EXCELLENT TOPIC!! I totally agree. Image is key. And it will make you more money too. More about that below. But image is so crucial to building a big business or even maintaining a stable small business. <p>Of course you can only do so much so fast. At first, we just wore jeans or shorts and some decent T-shirts. They didn't match but every day they were clean and there were no holes in them. We looked as good as we could when we were working. And when I went to give estimates, I tried to look even better. <p>It's taken me a long while but we've finally got our image about as good as I'd like it. You can only afford to do a little at a time. That's what I did. First thing was T-Shirts. I wanted the people to know that it was Lewis Landscape in their yard, not some yeah-hoo sneaking around. I followed the lead of the big companies in my area and got bright shirts with our name in huge letters on the back. At the same time, I chose a company color. It's important. Down the road you will need to think of media consistency. You don't want to have white trucks, red shirts and green hats. Not only does it look tacky but it doesn't remind people of who you are. <p>Next thing I did was paint all of our trucks the same color. Mind you, I didn't put on $3000 paint jobs. I found guys who did pretty good work for little money. I bartered with an autobody shop. I had an uncle paint one with me (for free). Point is, make it look nice and professional, but no need to spend a ton of doough. It's a work truck. The flip side of that is you probably don't want the Earl Shibe $199 special either. Also, I keep our trucks looking clean. Except during the winter, we wash them every 2-3 days. Hosing them off every day if necessary. <p>With just the Shirts and trucks alone, we immediately got noticed in a big way. I chose bright red because it gets noticed. Green is overused. Choose whatever you like. One company in my area has a great color scheme. All their trucks are yellow / green two-tone. They get noticed! But be consistent.<p>Personal image is also important. I always to choose workers who had clean cut hear and face. And I always make sure that I have nice clean hair and no facial hair (it matters to some people). <p>That's the basics. But there's more when you get bigger.<p>Next, I added Sweat-shirts, for when it rains. I found that T-Shirts worked great but when it rained or was cold, they were covered up. So I bought us all matching Sweatshirts to throw over the t-shirts when needed. Then when it gets to hot, we just take them off and the T-Shirt is visible. Works great. <p>I have biz cards that are matching.<p>My most recent purchase, and this only happened a few months ago, was hats! I got some cool baseball style caps with our name on them. It's required attire now. At the same time, I also splurged a little on myself and got a few fleece vests and a fleece jacket monogramed for myself. They look sweet. <p>Nowadays when I roll up to a house, people know instantly who we are just by looking out their window. When I go give an estimate in my hat and fleece jacket, it makes a great imporession. People know we're legitimate. There's an instant respect that's given. A lot of it is my demeanor too. I'm a lot more confident these days. I can land most any job when I talk face to face with someone. But part of that confidence comes from knowing that the image is helping pursuade them. <p>You will earn a lot of respect with a professional image. Look at what the bigger companies do in your area. Follow their example. That's all I did. I just copied them. <p>It will make you a lot more money too. People are much more happy to pay an additional $20 or $30 more a month if they think it's going to be done by pros. Also, you will find people are way more lax with their money when you look like a legit operation too. I've had people who I just met say this to me; &quot;You know what? I like your estimate. Let's do it. I'm gonna be in and out of town a lot over the next few months, here's a check for the first 3 months of service. I am sure you'll do great. Thanks!&quot; I just met them and they are throwing me money!! Without ever having done a minute of work for them! That never happened a few years ago. Also, for major jobs (big clean-ups, etc.) I can ask for 1/;2 down and get it almost every time. Something I could have never done before. People feel comfortable with a professional company. <p>One more thing I might ad. With matching trucks, shirts, etc. you will get a lot more P.R. than you think. People automatically assume you have a fleet of 20 trucks. It's so funny. I go to gas stations all the time and the attendent will say something to me like &quot;Geez. This Lewis guy sure has a lot of these Chevy trucks, doesn't he? I see you guys all over town.&quot; Heck, we only got 3! But people notice us all the time. <p>Well, that's my 2 cents. Hope someone somewhere learned something :-)<p>----------<br>Jim Lewis - Lewis Landscape Services<br>http://www.lewislandscape.com<br>
I couldn't have said it better Jim!:D I agree 200% with you on that!

GLAN
07-31-2003, 11:06 PM
Awesome thread, great replies.

Image and reputation go hand in hand.

What Lewis said about getting paid 3 months in advance. Great!!:)

It amazes me all the time, how far image and reputation will take you.

chefdrp
07-31-2003, 11:35 PM
I totaly agree as well. I am a solo operater and i like to wear my uniform. I have kaki cargo shorts, green polo type shirts and a JD cool JD hat that matches. (Not the redneck yellow green foam one). LOLand work boots. I hate to drive down the road and see another LCO mowing with no shirt, and smoking a cig. Nothing wrong with smokers, just think they can doit where the client cant see. lots of people dont like smoking on there lawns. Where do the butts go. Maybe they field dress them but i dought it. Oh well. Who is going to get the job first. Someone in a nice clean uniform or one with no shirt smoking a cig and a dirty old truck?

tiedeman
07-31-2003, 11:45 PM
we have a very strict policy on appearance, cleanliness, and uniforms. We actually carry along an extra uniform during the day to change just in case we get major dirty

chefdrp
08-06-2003, 12:29 AM
good idea on the extra uniforms. sox as well would help.

AztlanLC
08-06-2003, 12:47 AM
It's a pretty good post it's good it was brough back from year 2000