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View Full Version : First year going FULL TIME!!


JShe8918
03-22-2009, 08:36 PM
I am very excited but also scared about going full time this year... I have been working solo doing it as a hobby as i go to college. Well i have taken the spring and summer semester off and am ready to really hit it this year. BUT I am scared because this is going to be both my mom's and my income... We have to make enough to make everything go round... Yes my mom is now out of the horse business and has sold the stable due to the unstable economy people are trying to cut back... I am located in a small town only about 6000 people. If that many. Most people don't seem to care a whole lot about their yard here.. I want to change that as this is going to be my life for the next 7 months. i have a total of 30 regular customers give or take a few... That isn't going to cut it. I would like to get to around the 100 mark. Most people will not let you maintain there yard on a weekly basis here it is every two weeks. sigh.... Not good for the grass or myself. Then again i have 4 very dedicated customers who do pre and post M, 3 ferts a year and we service them head to toe almost year around. WELL now that i have briefed you on my current business are there any pointers or selling points that you could share with me... I know the basics like how to do everything the proper way just not good at selling myself. Thanks for
any and all help.

P.S. I would like to change my business name to something more personal and that stands out but is that wise with everyone in town knowing of my and my work by Jonathan's Lawn Kare... I want something more flashy. Ton's of hunters and farmers in the area. If you have any suggestions i would appreciate them... My friend said something about using "drop tine landscaping" or something like that... But i could have sworn i had already seen that somewhere.

God Bless,
Jonathan Sheehan

billslawn89
03-22-2009, 08:53 PM
if you are already known in your town with that name, i would not change it. start advertising in the local paper to gain more accounts, start upselling to your clients that you have now, as in shrub trimming, mulching, weed pulling in the landscape beds, or spraying if your licensed, same with the fert....are you gonna be able to handle 100 accounts by yourself? what are you gonna do when you go back to college with the accounts? good luck and hope things work out for ya!

JShe8918
03-22-2009, 09:05 PM
Why thank you.. The plans i have now are that myself, my mother, and possibly another worker will try and take it on if i can reach the goal. As far as going back to college i am going to turn it over to my mom to run and manage the whole thing. I will be back and forth on the weekends making sure all of the work is done to my specs and what not. I am hoping to have generated enough profits my november to purchase a second duramax (used probably), another enclosed trailer, and probably another walker but in a 52ghs 26hp configuration. I just feel like another Joe Blow with the name. I should have added in this. lol.. Everyone knows the business as Pam Sheehan's son or Mike's boy. People still ask me who do i make this out to. There is another business here that is called Alley's Way Landscaping. See that is so much more interesting and will stick in people's minds. The main thing that is holding me back is the worry and that i already have my trailer lettered and my cards too.

ALC-GregH
03-22-2009, 09:10 PM
Sounds like your working to get more equipment.

billslawn89
03-22-2009, 09:16 PM
if you already got your stuff lettered and cards, just leave the name as is and go out and bust butt, pass out your cards and get the clients. take pride in your work and don't worry about the other stuff....like nike' shoes slogan is..." just do it"...so go get it done!

Runner
03-22-2009, 09:29 PM
I would certainly do away with the "lawn KARE" thing, for sure. I mean..what the heck is that? if you EVER want to be taken serious, you need to come up with a real title...the name is ok,...but not the title.

JShe8918
03-22-2009, 09:59 PM
Lol i know... i purchased my first Commercial zero turn mower when i was 15. I myself couldn't come up with a name so the lady at the Place that prints my cards created a few and it was the best she had. I am gonna try and get opinions from around the town and see if it would throw them off if i changed the name or if they think i should keep it. Thanks guys keep them coming. Any one care to share the proper way of up selling with out being overly pushy? I don't want to come across that away.

billslawn89
03-22-2009, 10:08 PM
Any one care to share the proper way of up selling with out being overly pushy? I don't want to come across that away.

make some nice and colorful fliers of the extra things that you can do at their property and give it to the client, or mail it with the invoices, thats what i do.

MarkintheGarden
03-22-2009, 11:06 PM
Customers will always ask, "who do I make this out to". I have customers who have been asking me that for eight years now, and I never get tired of it, it is like music to my ears.

Do not change your name, not now anyway. Next winter work up a new image, and change the name then if you want to. I do not like the Kare thing, maybe just change that, or not?

It's March and you have what you need, and other things to do, don't worry that people know you as your parents boy, That works for you, the day will come when you are the dad and you will see it is not so bad.

So what is it about sales that you have issue with?

When it comes to sales, just tell them what you can do for them and give them a price. Keep things moving and close the deal. Say things like, "so the total for the clean up and maintenance is $400.00, I can get it done next week, so if you want to go ahead with it, just write me a check for fifty percent, $200.00!

The sales mistake that I have made the most is to oversell or let the deal get complicated. When you are talking with your customers you might talk about a lot of stuff so you have to bring it all back to focus and ask them what they want to get done first.

It seems the important thing is spending enough time with them that they become comfortable with you, but not too much that they have had enough of you before you close the sale. Look for the signs that they are ready to wrap it up, then put it on paper, shake hands and move on.

One thing to keep in mind is that you are not so much selling yourself, as you are selling what you can do. Guarantee satisfaction, deliver it, and your services will sell itself.

Oh, and it helps to focus on the wealthiest sector of the population.

Good luck with the full time thing.

tiggazee
03-22-2009, 11:07 PM
Go up and down your customers streets and knock on peoples door and ask them if they are interested in your lawn care services. Or put door hangers or flyers on your doors. Be a man and distribute 200 flyers per customer you already have.

LouisianaLawnboy
03-22-2009, 11:21 PM
Personaly if I were you I would change my name.

If you do change your name. You must get a name that you can grow into. Look around LS for examples. Also make sure you want the name, because it isn't business wise to keep changing your name.

JShe8918
03-22-2009, 11:30 PM
Go up and down your customers streets and knock on peoples door and ask them if they are interested in your lawn care services. Or put door hangers or flyers on your doors. Be a man and distribute 200 flyers per customer you already have.

HaHaHa... I believe you did some math on that one. lol... 6000 population divided by 30 customers... Slick. I wish i had the patience to do such a task.. I like the door hangers idea. I believe i am going to do that. I have found a website that does this type of work. I thought about postcards but it would be just like other junk mail, trash. I think that by hanging door hangers it would somewhat force them to look at it while going inside. BUT.. what if they don't use their front door. What if they use a garage then i am SOL. So what would i do then or is that just a chance that you take when advertising. i mean EVENTUALLY they would see them. I maintain a highly listened to radio station and he talked about exchanging some work for advertising time. I think it would be alright if i could go my cost to his cost. You know what i mean. Since they charge 10 bucks for one 30 second slot. So if it cost him 30 cents a slot and it cost me 30 bucks a week maintenance then it would be 100 slots. Do you think he would go for such and idea or do you think they will laugh in my face. Just a thought. Doubt it works but guess it is worth a try. Thanks for the pointers guys. i have already learned alot about advertising just from this thread. I have previously read Sean's material and maybe it is time to brush up on it again. Keep them coming. I have been searching threads on advertisement and there is some good info on the subject. Just not a WHOLE lot of it.

Jonathan

LouisianaLawnboy
03-22-2009, 11:43 PM
Radio sounds like a good bet. The worst thing he can tell you is no. I would DEFINETELY ask though.

KCfireman
03-23-2009, 12:10 AM
It all come together brother. Just say a little prayer, and something good will come out of it.

nobagger
03-23-2009, 11:24 AM
Just from reading your post I would look to re-locate. Seriously, a town of MAYBE 6k people, and no one really likes routine maintenance? How many other company's are in your area? If there are even just a few then I would honestly say its going to be very, very tough to make a living at this with the type of customer's around you. I hate to be a dark cloud but I would rather hear the truth of it rather than getting in too deep and no light at the end of the tunnel. We live in a city with 80k and the surrounding areas average another 60-80k (combined), but its a few minutes in each direction so travel isnt a big deal. My point is its tough to get another 10-15 lawns a week and we have tons more homes and businesses. We also have around 150 lawn care/landscaping companies as well, give or take a few. Good luck.

Kennedy Landscaping
03-23-2009, 11:29 AM
Hit the advertising hard and have fun!

Good luck in going full time!

JShe8918
03-23-2009, 12:10 PM
Just from reading your post I would look to re-locate. Seriously, a town of MAYBE 6k people, and no one really likes routine maintenance? How many other company's are in your area? If there are even just a few then I would honestly say its going to be very, very tough to make a living at this with the type of customer's around you. I hate to be a dark cloud but I would rather hear the truth of it rather than getting in too deep and no light at the end of the tunnel. We live in a city with 80k and the surrounding areas average another 60-80k (combined), but its a few minutes in each direction so travel isnt a big deal. My point is its tough to get another 10-15 lawns a week and we have tons more homes and businesses. We also have around 150 lawn care/landscaping companies as well, give or take a few. Good luck.

I understand what you are saying for sure. There is no doubt in my mind that this isn't the best place to do business. There are two other Lawn companies in town. One is just starting this year but she is going to price herself out of the business. She is an ex- employee of mine. Should have used a non-compete contract when she started. Oh well live and learn. But back to the topic at hand. It is rediculous there are houses here that are 400k to 700k that have the crappiest yards because they let some little kid or teenage do it for little of nothing. I am going to give it my best shot and see what we can do this year. See for you it might take you 20 minutes to get across town when it takes me 12 minutes to get to the next town 15 miles away which is 3K or so. But still only around the 10K mark for them combined.

addictedtolandscaping
03-23-2009, 12:32 PM
There is another post running on LS that the guy gives away one free job. According to his numbers, he signs essentially everyone, and is doing them for $25.00. Now, unless I am misunderstanding what I read, you are at $30 so it is no real big difference in price. I believe I understood that you run Walkers, so the cut should be absolutely phenomenal. When you are banging on the doors, offer to do it for a one time shot, when they see the intense difference of how their property could look, it should be all said and done.

Good luck!!

JShe8918
03-24-2009, 12:39 AM
There is another post running on LS that the guy gives away one free job. According to his numbers, he signs essentially everyone, and is doing them for $25.00. Now, unless I am misunderstanding what I read, you are at $30 so it is no real big difference in price. I believe I understood that you run Walkers, so the cut should be absolutely phenomenal. When you are banging on the doors, offer to do it for a one time shot, when they see the intense difference of how their property could look, it should be all said and done.

Good luck!!

Thanks man i appreciate the help... I have seen the thread you are talking about lots of other people bashing him. Talking about the "unorthidox" thread right? Yes i run a scag turf tiger and a walker ghs as well. My minimum charge is 40 bucks i couldn't imagine 25 bucks, lol... I understand perfectly what the guy is doing. He is doing the same thing that the HERBY vacuum cleaner guy does... He goes door to door doing a demonstration. Kinda the same deal. I still don't understand him mowing the neighbors lawn too... kinda strange if you ask me. I am going to read the whole thread if i can to try and see what kind of results he has yielded. Thanks again buddy.

God Bless.
jonathan

addictedtolandscaping
03-24-2009, 05:41 AM
You are very welcome. I read t the entire thing the other day, as you said alot of people bashing hm. However, he is apparently of the high volume low cost theory, which if you think about it, works. Especially if he has dedicated crews, one set so to speak dedicated to mowing, the other to landscaping, then he wins over and over. We all know that people would rather deal with one contractor than several, especially in this day and age. So if he is already there with the mowing, his company is the one that will most likely get the rest of the work. I see how it works and works very very well.