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View Full Version : Business is taking off, but not in the direction as expected..


BadRancher
06-09-2009, 10:24 PM
This is my first season and my business is taking off in a different direction than expected. Instead of getting alot of accounts, I'm getting alot of cleanups. Probably more than the average bear. I really wanted to stick to mowing and do cleanups also. I changed my cards and flyers to Spring and Fall Cleanups and Extreme Lawn Cleanups. and things have really taken off. I'm not complaining by any means, because the money is great and the added bonus of the weight loss is great too. I have semi-entertained the idea of marketing more toward "Lawn Revitalization" than mowing, because I can get a good bit of money as a part timer and not near the travel. However there is alot more wear on my handhelds, but that is cheaper and more cost effective than wear on my mowers.... Even when mowing in tall grass vs. 10-15 Res. accounts per day.

When you guys started off, did you start off this way? Is this just a part of growing? Chime in tell me your stories and what would you "honestly" do if this were your situation. Thanks.

GreenAcresLandscaping
06-09-2009, 10:34 PM
The same thing kind of happened to me except with mulch jobs. Last year mowing and mulch were 50/50 but this year i advertised more and went all out. In the spring i was getting mulch calls 5/1 to mowing. Wich was fine because i was able to add a second crew of 2 guys. We only do the mulching on weekends because i have friends help me and we all have school during the week. Now though those same customers have called me since and want me to mow while they are away. I have only done 4 vacation mows so far this year but have about a dozen more scheduled for this summer. Now 1 of those vacation mows has turned into full time because he said "you do a way better job than me and its a lot easier for me to pay you than for me to take the time out of my weekend to do it"

GracesLandscaping
06-09-2009, 10:43 PM
thats never happened to me... but hey if its makin you money... THEN DO IT!

nobagger
06-09-2009, 11:11 PM
I would think or at least hope the clean ups your doing by far out weigh the profit you would make mowing say, 10 lawns a day. What I mean is one clean up...$500.00 and average time of 3-4 hrs. and 10 lawns at an average of 30 bucks a pop=$300 bucks but average time to do 10 lawns with 2 guys 6hrs (average 1/2 acre lawns). Ride the gravy train as long as you can.

bohiaa
06-09-2009, 11:12 PM
this is too werid, we just finished a clean up, " not too many this year " we have decited that were NOT doing them anymore. we have made the business decission that it's too hard, the money is NOT great.

were bringing in 6 to 7 hundred a day from grass cutting.

BlackDog3
06-09-2009, 11:15 PM
Kinda happened that way for me too. I only had 10 lawn service last year... i picked up 13 more which i can now cut 17 in one day! Just get your name out there it will come! Rock on brother!

Chris

lawncuttinfoo
06-09-2009, 11:18 PM
Honesty most calls I get are for cleanups, but since all my regular mows have cleanups, and cleanups take much longer than mows, I can barely get to all the cleanups of my regular mows let alone some one off cleanup. In my experiance these people don't care about their lawn anyway, wait till the grass has been growing a month to call for a spring cleanup and that includes all the mess from the last fall which they decided to bundle with the spring cleanup.

Jescolandscaping
06-09-2009, 11:54 PM
I would think or at least hope the clean ups your doing by far out weigh the profit you would make mowing say, 10 lawns a day. What I mean is one clean up...$500.00 and average time of 3-4 hrs. and 10 lawns at an average of 30 bucks a pop=$300 bucks but average time to do 10 lawns with 2 guys 6hrs (average 1/2 acre lawns). Ride the gravy train as long as you can.

i could never get away with a $500 clean up charge around here. mind you...i live in peachtree city, ga, one of the wealthiest towns in the great U.S. but a bordering county, Clayton, is home of one of the most gang infested areas in the nation. new guys pop up everyday around here and its starting to get cut throat! tell me your secret on charging $500 and having them do business with you again? please!

BadRancher
06-11-2009, 02:17 PM
I've got a call for yet another one. Wow
Posted via Mobile Device

LouisianaLawnboy
06-11-2009, 09:04 PM
this is too werid, we just finished a clean up, " not too many this year " we have decited that were NOT doing them anymore. we have made the business decission that it's too hard, the money is NOT great.

were bringing in 6 to 7 hundred a day from grass cutting.

Thats because your running a crew bohiaa. Things are different when its just you and/or a helper.

LouisianaLawnboy
06-11-2009, 09:07 PM
i could never get away with a $500 clean up charge around here. mind you...i live in peachtree city, ga, one of the wealthiest towns in the great U.S. but a bordering county, Clayton, is home of one of the most gang infested areas in the nation. new guys pop up everyday around here and its starting to get cut throat! tell me your secret on charging $500 and having them do business with you again? please!

Word of mouth. When you start getting the "right" type of customer, either by niche advertising or word of mouth.

TaylorLawn
06-11-2009, 09:26 PM
Bad Rancher,

Are your clean-up clients becoming continual service after the clean-up? I offer an incentive on the clean-up if they are going to be continual clients...same goes with mulch/pinestraw or landscaping projects.....I recently had a client who wanted nothing but mulch...as a previous poster stated....and my incentive on the mulch job was I took $200 off the original price of the mulch job if they wanted continual lawn care...They took it and I had already bid 8 loads thinking it would possibly be 7, it ended up being 8 anyway, but I lost nothing since it was already in the bid...Now I service their lawn for $50 a cut and it takes 2 people about 30 mins.....The clients brother liked their yard so much he called me for an estimate and now I have him as well at $120 a cut (2 acres of grass).....So keep it up and give them a little back if they want you to provide them with service.....Show them the difference in a one time job vs the job + continued service..........Just a suggestion....ET

DRBLawnBuster
06-11-2009, 09:33 PM
This is my second year in business and this year i picked up one new mowing account, but i got calls for mulch everyday like 2-3 i have made alot more doing mulch this year thne i have cutting all my accounts

thu cutting edge
06-11-2009, 09:38 PM
the same thin happened when i first started out. the mowing was a little slow but the enhancement jobs really took off. then the enhancement job turned into maintenance jobs the next years. now i have more work then the crews can handle and its good to say that in this economy. i was told by a sales rep that a customer refers your business to an average of 10 people so that's 10 potential clients.

BadRancher
06-11-2009, 10:18 PM
Bad Rancher,

Are your clean-up clients becoming continual service after the clean-up? I offer an incentive on the clean-up if they are going to be continual clients...same goes with mulch/pinestraw or landscaping projects.....I recently had a client who wanted nothing but mulch...as a previous poster stated....and my incentive on the mulch job was I took $200 off the original price of the mulch job if they wanted continual lawn care...They took it and I had already bid 8 loads thinking it would possibly be 7, it ended up being 8 anyway, but I lost nothing since it was already in the bid...Now I service their lawn for $50 a cut and it takes 2 people about 30 mins.....The clients brother liked their yard so much he called me for an estimate and now I have him as well at $120 a cut (2 acres of grass).....So keep it up and give them a little back if they want you to provide them with service.....Show them the difference in a one time job vs the job + continued service..........Just a suggestion....ET

Thats a pretty good idea. Maybe just tell them I will knock my labor rate from 45.00 to 30.00 per hour if they sign up for service for the rest of the season

TaylorLawn
06-11-2009, 10:33 PM
I try to stay away from discussing my hourly rate unless they ask. I prefer to give the potential client the bottom line up front of what the total cost is going to be which includes material and labor. That way they are not really concerned about how long you are there, or how little you are there...They just want the end product..... It takes a while to really be able to estimate the hours, but just like a mechanic, a 1 hour job that takes 15 minutes is a one hour job...So, bottom line is it is going to cost $50 (my hourly rate)....to cut your grass....I estimate it on how long it would take me by myself...If I show up with 3 guys and it is done in 20 minutes...No big deal to the client...and if it takes me an hour and a half...My loss...And if I am short on crews I can go do it by myself and still make a profit..............I was doing a lawyers lawn who questioned my hourly rate after we finished in 30 minutes, I jokingly told her that I would be glad to charge her hourly rate and she laughingly said "I get the picture, you got me".......

david shumaker
06-11-2009, 11:00 PM
I did mostly cleanup work when I first started in order to get some cash flow.
It's usually people who haven't done any lawn work for about 5 years and someone has complained. They usually don't want to pay much or don't have enough money. In my experiance, they usually don't want regular full service maintainance. I had a few that said they wanted someone to keep their yard up, but after a couple trips they usually say they can't afford it anymore and probably go another 5 years without doing any yardwork.

I've had exceptions, but as a rule it's not worth wasteing time.

House flippers and rental property owners usually need someone to do cleanups, but I don't mess with them anymore.

I wouldn't mind doing mostly cleanup work if it paid well. I've only had one cleanup job that paid over $500.00 for a days work and that included some tree work.

Florida Gardener
06-11-2009, 11:15 PM
Not sure what everyones def. of a "cleanup" is, but the ones i have done have been VERY profitable. I did one for a customer of mine and it mainly included cleaning her back yard up of overgrown plants, thinning out Areca palms and knocking down weeds in "bed areas." I made $650 and i worked from about 9:30-4, had a colleague help me for free as a payback. In my opinion that is pretty good money for a days worth of work. They dont all end up like this and ive underestimated plenty. The "cleanups" i have done usually consist of trimming back overgrown plants,hedges,etc. and cutting the lawn that hasn't been cut in month or so. In Florida, cleanups are great esp. when it involves cleaning up overgrown plants. If your getting calls, there is nothing wrong with that at all. Business is business. If i got 1 call every week for a landscaping job, id love that 10x more than getting a call once a week for a maintenance account.

Kelly's Landscaping
06-12-2009, 11:07 PM
We probably ignore 30-50 clean up calls in spring and more in fall. You can tell how young a company is by weather they have time to chase that crap down. We are a lawn company and do NO work at all for non contract customers it wasn’t this way our first few years but I wouldn’t have it any other way now. Estimates take time away from your life which is why I like lawn accounts by the time fall comes they know you and say just do it 95% of the time. We will have 110-125 fall clean ups this fall just off my lawn accounts no need to chase extra clean ups besides the new guys need them and far be it from me to deprive you of a cash flow when you start.