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Gorhad
01-19-2010, 07:19 PM
Whats happening in your neck of the woods to the lawns after the Florida frost?

I know here in Brevard county FL, lawns look like crap.

Whats your opinions on mowing.

I have left mine and told customers to hold off a while incase it causes further stress.

Any other guys out there from my area?


There was a bird upon the bough it must have gone cuz its not there now

Richard Martin
01-19-2010, 07:42 PM
http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb56/RMartin631/smilies/worthless.gif

lawnboy dan
01-19-2010, 08:15 PM
well i dont need pics-i know all to well what the lawns look like-and its not pretty. i am giving mine a rest too

billslawn89
01-19-2010, 08:31 PM
i cut mine for the first time since december, i have bermuda and its all brown, and after cutting it today, it looks white...lol...it does look better as in a clean look but still brown. i dropped the deck a notch and you can see a little green coming back up from the ground. i drove around last week to some of my clients and just edged and cleaned things up. i'm going out tomorrow to the ones i didn't go to last week, its been 4 weeks since the last visit. this is just unreal.... probably won't be cutting though, just wanna show my face and make sure everything looks clean and make sure the clients knows that i was there.

billslawn89
01-19-2010, 08:34 PM
hey richard martin, very nice job on the graphics post! i like! :clapping:

CkLandscapingOrlando
01-19-2010, 08:49 PM
Dead man. I've never seen the st. aug this bad in 15yr. They say all 69 counties got freeze damage and not one ag crop made it with out losses.

Richard Martin
01-20-2010, 04:16 AM
well i dont need pics

I'm just trying to spice things up a bit. :) This is like the third or fourth thread on the Florida Freeze.

jvanvliet
01-20-2010, 08:15 AM
We had temps into the mid upper 30's. St. Augustine grasses are shocked. Put in a couple of pallets of turf last thursday (temps 50 at night 70's day) turf was tired & customer is pi$$ed off. I suspect they aren't watering enough. Hope it will come back soon.

IXORA took a hard hit. Most leaves just fell off. I suspect IXORA prices will go up soon.

Saw leaves falling off the Fichus & was worried about white fly... but it too was shocked by the cold.

Hibiscus leaves turning yellow, young palms turning yellow. good news is didn't have to cut last week; nothing grew! :)

Gorhad
01-20-2010, 08:32 AM
It might be the fourth thread but there's only you moaning Richard Martin. Sorry just trying to get views and opinions closer to Brevard county.

Richard Martin
01-20-2010, 08:35 AM
It might be the fourth thread but there's only you moaning Richard Martin. Sorry just trying to get views and opinions closer to Brevard county.

Hey! I wasn't moaning ****** head. :nono: Just trying to help your thread out a little pal.

Gorhad
01-20-2010, 08:39 AM
OK but less of the obscenities please surely thats what this is not about

Many apologies

Johnagain
01-20-2010, 08:42 AM
Here is a picture of my yard after it reached 18 in the morning. I ran a sprinkler because the pipes on the well burst the night before and I didn't want that to happen again.

poncho62
01-20-2010, 08:48 AM
We have had frost and other stuff up here in Canada since Oct..........I am heading south tomorrow, so you guys wanna crank that heat back up......thanks.

Damn oranges are going to get expensive, aren't they?

Gorhad
01-20-2010, 09:12 AM
*trucewhiteflag*

TheC-Master
01-20-2010, 09:41 AM
It's warming up here. It's not "hot" but during the day it's reasonable so I don't have to double layer everything I wear.

Florida Gardener
01-20-2010, 10:10 AM
DAMN! That Triangle Palm is fried!

clean_cut
01-20-2010, 02:30 PM
Is frost really that bad for the grass? We have some Bermuda around here in NC and id just turns brown in the winter and goes dormant, won't it just go dormant for a week or two up there, or does it kill everything above the ground and then have to regrow?

Gorhad
01-20-2010, 03:18 PM
Just a couple more from today

Florida Gardener
01-20-2010, 03:24 PM
Down here in Zone 10A, goldmound, ixora, ficus, coconut palm, spindle palm, bottle palm, copperleaf, etc. took a good hit. Healthy, fertilized palms look pretty good still. Nutritional def. palms look bad.

The St. Aug. looks kinda crummy. Not as bad as you guys in Zone 9 though. We only had one day of low-mid 30's. Well, really night time.

Gorhad
01-20-2010, 04:11 PM
Whats your opinions on mowing lawns like above

Florida Gardener
01-20-2010, 04:17 PM
I would just edge until you start to see some growth again. I have lawns that are going to 3 weeks right now b/c that 1 cold night slowed everything down. I have green yards that I pushed back another week. If it doesn't need to be cut, I don't cut it. Tons of morons down here still cutting though. They are the lawn jockeys though.

Richard Martin
01-20-2010, 04:59 PM
Whats your opinions on mowing lawns like above

Our lawns here look identical. It won't hurt them in the slightest to go across them with a mower.

djchiodo3
01-20-2010, 05:16 PM
All my lawns are monthly contracts. I have contacted all my clients and explained what is best for the lawn and shrubs. They all seem to understand. In the mean time I show up and make a lot of noise with the blower and edger so they think I am earning my pay.

djchiodo3
01-20-2010, 05:20 PM
Our lawns here look identical. It won't hurt them in the slightest to go across them with a mower.

Yes, it will. If you cut all the dead material off the lawn and we get another freeze, there won't be any thing to shield or protect what is still alive. Plus the weight of the mower on nearly or almost dead grass is not healthy. Last year in southwest FL we had a freeze in Feb.

Richard Martin
01-20-2010, 06:47 PM
Last year in southwest FL we had a freeze in Feb.

We have a freeze every year. We have the same grass. St. Augustine, Centepede, Bahia and Burmuda. Everybody and his brother uses mower collection systems to get up leaves. If we couldn't go over dormant grass to get the leaves up we'd be waiting until spring to get them up.

lawnboy dan
01-20-2010, 10:25 PM
just another reason why contracts are not fair to the customer. why should they pay you for doing nothing. its not their fault you cant budget your finances

Glenn Lawn Care
01-20-2010, 11:06 PM
http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb56/RMartin631/smilies/worthless.gif

thats funny!:laugh:

freshprince94
01-20-2010, 11:09 PM
I mowed one lawn that hadn't been done since December 1st because of christmas decorations. None of my others needed as of last week, I'll check this week but I doubt any of them will need any mowing, maybe an edging but no mowing.

Florida Gardener
01-21-2010, 12:32 AM
I guess S. Fl. and N. Fl. are vastly different. We still need bi-weekly cutting throughout the whole winter. Everything is still growing, just not as much.

lawnboy dan
01-21-2010, 08:38 AM
yes unfort for us -we have too much real winter here

Gorhad
01-21-2010, 08:57 AM
We still mow bi weekly throughout the winter too. But the freeze has completely disrupted that.

My typical on season if from say End of April to End November, however some other lawn companies do stop around end October.

Florida Gardener
01-21-2010, 10:21 AM
My season is end of April-mid November for St. Aug. I start cutting Bahia bi-weekly in October, then it goes to every 3 weeks in November then on a wait and see basis for the rest of the winter.

Landscape Poet
01-21-2010, 10:52 AM
I would just edge until you start to see some growth again. I have lawns that are going to 3 weeks right now b/c that 1 cold night slowed everything down. I have green yards that I pushed back another week. If it doesn't need to be cut, I don't cut it. Tons of morons down here still cutting though. They are the lawn jockeys though.

I would have to agree with this. I have not cut anything in 3 weeks. I informed my customers that I would not be coming around until the first of Feb. I have a hard time the St. Augustine is going to start going crazy anytime soon.
I can not see any good coming from taking my heavy mower across the turf at this point. My customers seem to appreciate the fact that I am trying to consider the health of their lawn more than anything.
And yes there are still tons of guys out here cutting - they are wasting there time, gas and equipment. The customers may not know as much as we do about turf however they do know that brown grass does not grow fast.

The good news is that I am seeing slight greening in some of my lawns. I figure I will start out every two weeks again the first of Feb. I doubt I will do much mowing the first two weeks even then, I think I will take the time to remove damage clean thing up and do trimming on crepe myrtle.

Landscape Poet
01-21-2010, 10:54 AM
Our lawns here look identical. It won't hurt them in the slightest to go across them with a mower.

But why would you mow them? There is little to no growth down here, so I can not imagine that up in your neck of the woods you are growing faster than we are down here!
Are you just going across the lawn to make noise for the customer to think you need to be there?

Landscape Poet
01-21-2010, 11:05 AM
just another reason why contracts are not fair to the customer. why should they pay you for doing nothing. its not their fault you cant budget your finances

WTF!! Exactly who are you the consumer protection agency for lawn care? I have to disagree with you on this one. Down here I think year round is needed to keep the lawns looking proper.
Yes there is little need right now - but that is due to record lows. The fact is that most of us that do monthly give the customer a slight price break for the monthly, so where the hell were you defending me this summer when it was hot as hell and I was cutting them on 5 week months for the price of a regular month?????

Now with that being said - I understand the value of a customer to me - when I informed them I would not be around till Feb. I also informed them I would be giving a discount of 50% for the Jan bill because RECORD LOW TEMPS. I figure a little good will goes a long way, and them paying me 50% is better than losing them next year.

jvanvliet
01-21-2010, 12:47 PM
Geez... how's everyones hostility index? ;)

Got a new mower for July4th though... :usflag: What do you think?


When I don't have to cut cause the cold temps. Cutting cold shocked or damaged lawns just tears up the roots and destroys any thermal layer in case there is another cold snap.

I weed wack, trim dead stuff, weed planting beds, trim suckers off trees, remove dead palm fronts, clean up leaves and debris and earn my pay. I'll no way I'm not giving the customer their moneys worth. :weightlifter:

Richard Martin
01-21-2010, 03:24 PM
But why would you mow them? There is little to no growth down here, so I can not imagine that up in your neck of the woods you are growing faster than we are down here!
Are you just going across the lawn to make noise for the customer to think you need to be there?

For the second time in this thread (see my reply to djchiodo3 above)...

Everybody and his brother uses mower collection systems to get up leaves. If we couldn't go over dormant grass to get the leaves up we'd be waiting until spring to get them up.

You see down there in a whole lot of parts of Florida they're deciduous tree challenged. We have more deciduous trees than conifers. You guys have a lot of palms.

Florida Gardener
01-21-2010, 03:39 PM
There is always work to be done down here. If I'm not cutting, I trim plants, remove dead palm fronds(on palms that I don't have to get on a ladder for), weed beds, spray roundup, blow off driveways, rake,etc. I was supposed to cut this week but the weather slowed everything down to a snails pace. All my full service accounts still were serviced today in one way or another. If you build a good relationship with your customers and aren't cutting "dust bowls" like cklandscaping calls em, you wont have to worry about people dropping you in the winter.

djchiodo3
01-21-2010, 03:49 PM
WTF!! Exactly who are you the consumer protection agency for lawn care? I have to disagree with you on this one. Down here I think year round is needed to keep the lawns looking proper.
Yes there is little need right now - but that is due to record lows. The fact is that most of us that do monthly give the customer a slight price break for the monthly, so where the hell were you defending me this summer when it was hot as hell and I was cutting them on 5 week months for the price of a regular month?????

Now with that being said - I understand the value of a customer to me - when I informed them I would not be around till Feb. I also informed them I would be giving a discount of 50% for the Jan bill because RECORD LOW TEMPS. I figure a little good will goes a long way, and them paying me 50% is better than losing them next year.

Why would you give them 50% discount? I am not mowing right now either, but I still edge, blow off and have started picking up all the dead leaves. What about the summer months when you might mow 5 times in one month. Will you charge them extra for that one extra cut? I am also asking clients if they want their sprinkler heads cleaned and irrigation checked. What if we get an extreme drought and the lawns go dry? Will you give 50% discount too. What about all the extra pruning and hauling that we are going to have to do when things warm up. My contract says 40 visits per year/not 40 cuts. Why would you think you are going to get fired next year.

Gorhad
01-21-2010, 04:20 PM
I agree, i'm not offering a discount due to not being able to mow. Mother nature's fault not mine.

Another example in Hurricane season i wouldn't offer a discount because it was too dangerous or just too wet to mow.

I've been up front with my customers and they are all OK with it. They all agreed with my thoughts and opinions.

If they weren't home when i visited this week i have pre typed notes i have left on their doors.

Anyone in Brevard County Florida?

jvanvliet
01-21-2010, 04:30 PM
Anyone in Brevard County Florida?

No discounts... They'll expect them all the time

My son lives up in Melbourne... been there myself a couple of times. Seems like a nice place, little cold in the winter tough.

Florida Gardener
01-21-2010, 04:47 PM
I agree, no discounts. They don't pay you extra in the dog days of summer with piles of palm fronds, plant clippings, and extra tall grass. It's an average for the year. They are still getting their moneys worth. We have NO control over the weather.

Gorhad
01-21-2010, 04:56 PM
Glad i don't have to mow here. :laugh:

Yorkshire, England

CkLandscapingOrlando
01-21-2010, 06:54 PM
The diffrence is you guy's are still working. Mike is not moving. Most all my monthly's will be billed as normal because I'm still working. I give them x amount of time and what need done in that time. I do however have a few spots that have zero work and if I dont show up for a month I'm giving a break.

If your cable goes out for a week you demand a bill reduction. Even though your contract say's x a month not per day. Most anyone who does a good job wont loose a client if they bill or not. But when your niche is the friendly guy down the block, you solidify this image with a good will act. It's basicly an advertising cost. On the flip side of that any extensive winter clean up would be extra. But when you treat a landscape in a manner in which to inhance the quality of each plant,you wont have much more to do now then you would have. Every thing thats burnt is flowering plants or tropicals. These should be getting cut back In Feb-Mar anyways. If your not cutting back bougi's and hibiscus then you probly dont have many blooms or they have a god awfull amount of space. Anything out side of that like palms that are burnt get billed extra

Landscape Poet
01-21-2010, 08:16 PM
The diffrence is you guy's are still working. Mike is not moving. Most all my monthly's will be billed as normal because I'm still working. I give them x amount of time and what need done in that time. I do however have a few spots that have zero work and if I dont show up for a month I'm giving a break.

If your cable goes out for a week you demand a bill reduction. Even though your contract say's x a month not per day. Most anyone who does a good job wont loose a client if they bill or not. But when your niche is the friendly guy down the block, you solidify this image with a good will act. It's basicly an advertising cost. On the flip side of that any extensive winter clean up would be extra. But when you treat a landscape in a manner in which to inhance the quality of each plant,you wont have much more to do now then you would have. Every thing thats burnt is flowering plants or tropicals. These should be getting cut back In Feb-Mar anyways. If your not cutting back bougi's and hibiscus then you probly dont have many blooms or they have a god awfull amount of space. Anything out side of that like palms that are burnt get billed extra

Thanks for covering my basic business concept Chuck. Most of you do not know this but I stay in my area. All 39 of my accounts are within 3.5 miles of my house. Most are right in my subdivision. So yes, I am giving a discount, but I am not out on the property, I am not doing any work, 0 hours are being put on my equipment. I am sure that many of you have clients that you have developed relationships with over the years, this is my first year in business down here, so I am not looking to bill folks, who are just seeing their credit card bills etc from their December Shopping sprees. I may be wrong in your eyes for doing this, but I can tell you, I bet some of your customers will be slow paying anyway ( see sentence about shopping spree above), most are not happy when they write your checks. I am sure that this little bit I gave in on, will go much longer than any advertising money I could have spent. I can assure you that many of my customers have called and thanked me. You think they will not be good references. Again, think about my business concept, I try not to leave my neighborhood or a few surrounding neighborhoods, how many of them do you think will tell their neighbor what a good provider I am when they like my services, I live in their neighborhood, and I showed understanding of the conditions? You would be shocked how many customers informed me that they appreciated my honesty and really did not think it was a good idea to be on the turf causing more stress after the shock it just received. I have a feeling that no matter how much money another LCO throws in my area on advertising - will they will not take one of my accounts.
So maybe not the best business decision in some of your guys eyes, but think about this, the lost revenue for 50% of a month, will be less than what some of you will spend when your going to another account further away or trying to gain another account because of the one customer that was really upset they paid for "lawn service" in January when the turf did not grow, cancels and or does not renew! Meanwhile I will gain some of my current customers neighbors - continue to drive less than 3.5 miles to all my customers houses!
I have a feeling with the warm fall we had too, winter is most likely not over, I have a feeling we will see a little more of the cooler temps coming in Feb. too. I do not see we have seen the worst of this. However I have already informed them in the same letter, that I will be returning to regular billing and work schedule starting Feb first. So while others LCO's might be running out of busy work to do on properties ( I will be trimming Crepes etc) and my customer will not be wondering why they are paying me because they know March is right around the corner.
As far as will I do it again. Maybe or maybe not. I do not do it during dry periods because all of my clients have irrigation, so even though it may slow the growth it does not stop it. If we continue to have these type of winters (like the hard freezes) we have had the last two years, I may change my thoughts on this and my billing process or go into better explanation with my customers on what to expect, like instead of saying cuts weekly until x date and then biweekly during these dates. I may do a better job of making them aware of frost situations and making them aware it may not benefit the lawn having me stress it after a freeze, this way they are at least prepared for it. As of now, I have not done a single contract with any of them, I do not really see the need. I see many guys on here carrying on about what you contract says this or this, but what most of you fail to understand is, that no matter how good your attorney is that drew up your contract , it is still a piece of paper. If they do not want to pay you - there are ways for them to get out of it or it will cost you more money than it is worth to get the money not to mention if you have to enforce a contract and I can assure you that is not good advertising for you (think word of mouth).
So yes, I gave a discount. What can I say, I am a rebel that made a choice to swim upstream, but I understand that more important than any contract, is what is people perception of me, the relationship they have with me. I have gained a pretty good little share of accounts in right at a year down here, have a very loyal customer base (have lost only 2 regulars because I refused to continue bi-weekly and they could not afford regular services), and have a feeling that my customers perception of me will carry me a hell a lot farther this upcoming season than the perception of some of you judging my actions on here. Thanks for the concern though - and not trying to be a smart ass but rather give a little insight into MY situation as most of you did not seem to understand.

BCL Services
01-21-2010, 08:37 PM
Here is a link for you guys from the local county extension office http://hortfarmnews.blogspot.com/

djchiodo3
01-21-2010, 09:10 PM
Thanks for covering my basic business concept Chuck. Most of you do not know this but I stay in my area. All 39 of my accounts are within 3.5 miles of my house. Most are right in my subdivision. So yes, I am giving a discount, but I am not out on the property, I am not doing any work, 0 hours are being put on my equipment. I am sure that many of you have clients that you have developed relationships with over the years, this is my first year in business down here, so I am not looking to bill folks, who are just seeing their credit card bills etc from their December Shopping sprees. I may be wrong in your eyes for doing this, but I can tell you, I bet some of your customers will be slow paying anyway ( see sentence about shopping spree above), most are not happy when they write your checks. I am sure that this little bit I gave in on, will go much longer than any advertising money I could have spent. I can assure you that many of my customers have called and thanked me. You think they will not be good references. Again, think about my business concept, I try not to leave my neighborhood or a few surrounding neighborhoods, how many of them do you think will tell their neighbor what a good provider I am when they like my services, I live in their neighborhood, and I showed understanding of the conditions? You would be shocked how many customers informed me that they appreciated my honesty and really did not think it was a good idea to be on the turf causing more stress after the shock it just received. I have a feeling that no matter how much money another LCO throws in my area on advertising - will they will not take one of my accounts.
So maybe not the best business decision in some of your guys eyes, but think about this, the lost revenue for 50% of a month, will be less than what some of you will spend when your going to another account further away or trying to gain another account because of the one customer that was really upset they paid for "lawn service" in January when the turf did not grow, cancels and or does not renew! Meanwhile I will gain some of my current customers neighbors - continue to drive less than 3.5 miles to all my customers houses!
I have a feeling with the warm fall we had too, winter is most likely not over, I have a feeling we will see a little more of the cooler temps coming in Feb. too. I do not see we have seen the worst of this. However I have already informed them in the same letter, that I will be returning to regular billing and work schedule starting Feb first. So while others LCO's might be running out of busy work to do on properties ( I will be trimming Crepes etc) and my customer will not be wondering why they are paying me because they know March is right around the corner.
As far as will I do it again. Maybe or maybe not. I do not do it during dry periods because all of my clients have irrigation, so even though it may slow the growth it does not stop it. If we continue to have these type of winters (like the hard freezes) we have had the last two years, I may change my thoughts on this and my billing process or go into better explanation with my customers on what to expect, like instead of saying cuts weekly until x date and then biweekly during these dates. I may do a better job of making them aware of frost situations and making them aware it may not benefit the lawn having me stress it after a freeze, this way they are at least prepared for it. As of now, I have not done a single contract with any of them, I do not really see the need. I see many guys on here carrying on about what you contract says this or this, but what most of you fail to understand is, that no matter how good your attorney is that drew up your contract , it is still a piece of paper. If they do not want to pay you - there are ways for them to get out of it or it will cost you more money than it is worth to get the money not to mention if you have to enforce a contract and I can assure you that is not good advertising for you (think word of mouth).
So yes, I gave a discount. What can I say, I am a rebel that made a choice to swim upstream, but I understand that more important than any contract, is what is people perception of me, the relationship they have with me. I have gained a pretty good little share of accounts in right at a year down here, have a very loyal customer base (have lost only 2 regulars because I refused to continue bi-weekly and they could not afford regular services), and have a feeling that my customers perception of me will carry me a hell a lot farther this upcoming season than the perception of some of you judging my actions on here. Thanks for the concern though - and not trying to be a smart ass but rather give a little insight into MY situation as most of you did not seem to understand.

You wrote a book on that one.

Gorhad
01-21-2010, 09:18 PM
Awesome info link BCL Services. Thats surely what we are all looking for to relay onto our customers.

Right everyone???

Thanx

djchiodo3
01-21-2010, 09:32 PM
175 lawns all in the same zip code. 99% all pay on time. Most use auto pay or some kind of payment center that sends checks out each month once you are in the system. Been mowing some of these lawns probably longer then you have been alive. All lawns located in a gated community. Been through a lot of spouses passing on to the next life. Have a hand full that pay year in advance and quite a few that pay every six months. When they do this they get either one month for free or 50% off one month. That is my only discount.
Best advice I can give you is, do not give discounts by cutting your fee. What you can do is lots of little things for them that don't cost you a whole lot of money. For example: irrigation check and cleaning out heads, planting a few bushes here and there, cutting a couple of tree limbs away from the house, replacing broken sprinkler,ect..... Remember you are a business, not some yard boy cutting with a push mower any more. You can be professional at all times and still have a good relationship with your clients. Loyalty and dependability are the things you want from your clients. If they respect you and admire your hard work and devotion to their property they will gladly pay for your service just like they pay all of their other bills.

BCL Services
01-21-2010, 09:57 PM
Awesome info link BCL Services. Thats surely what we are all looking for to relay onto our customers.

Right everyone???

Thanx

Glad to help.

Landscape Poet
01-22-2010, 12:34 AM
You wrote a book on that one.

Felt the need to explain my reasoning behind it a little bit. I am often a long winded person too, so turning me loose on a forum sometimes results in such post. LOL

Landscape Poet
01-22-2010, 12:35 AM
Awesome info link BCL Services. Thats surely what we are all looking for to relay onto our customers.

Right everyone???

Thanx

I agree that this is a good link and much appreciated.

Florida Gardener
01-22-2010, 12:43 AM
Mike

How did you get 39 customers in one year? Are all of your accounts where you need them to be? Im just asking b/c 2009 was my first full year and I have 20 accounts.

Landscape Poet
01-22-2010, 02:46 AM
Mike

How did you get 39 customers in one year? Are all of your accounts where you need them to be? Im just asking b/c 2009 was my first full year and I have 20 accounts.

First diamond, 20 is good IMO from what others have told me about being in business the first year down here as a solo operation.

Read the description that I give of my business model above. All accounts are within 3.5 miles of my home. All are at or close to market price. If I get the feeling price is a big issue in talking to someone by listening to them or looking at their property I might give them a slight discount under market price. Now before anyone starts yelling "Low Baller" lets think about your same smart ass remarks when someone comes on here and ask what they should charge per lawn. Know you cost - it is pretty easy to see that my cost of doing business (well as far as fuel and marketing) is not as extensive as most since the farthest I drive each way on any given day is 3.5 miles and I do have nothave to market to a broad market rather chose a gorilla marketing technique and thus have created a niche market for myself in which others have a difficult time competing against.

So back to what I did

I knew what I wanted my target market to be as there are enough accounts in my neighborhood of 750 alone to keep me busy. I started by using one of the local mascots as my mascot on my flyers. It is a chicken. Risky yes, I can remember when I first came to lawnsite and posted for others review, I got little help, but rather had the thread being taken over by smart ass know it alls that thought it would be funny to crack jokes of why I would have a chicken on my flyers, even after telling them the story behind the towns chickens. If I could afford it right now I would have my trailer have a Giant chicken on it. You wondering what the hell I am talking about go to youtube or google and look up OVIEDO CHICKENS.
Flyers and door hangers: I started off by doing flyers in my neighborhood in Jan. of last year. I got a few calls and landed a few of them. Same held true for Feb. Roughly my neighborhood is 750 houses in my subdivision. So I hit them all about 3 times in that two months. Then March hit and things started pretty well for me, people were calling that held on to my door knocker. My existing customers started recommending me, so I landed a few more accounts. Then in March I put out flyers here and there as I found time. Started pushing the neighborhood thing, you know, I am just down the street and why send your money out of the community when you can help keep it here, especially in these hard economic time. Took my time when giving estimates answer questions and getting a feel for the customers, followed up after service with a few minutes of face to face or telephone communication on the quality of service each time I completed first service. This lead to good response of people saying have you heard about so and so that lives in the neighborhood.
Since then I have not did any advertising and just let word of mouth continue to do it for me. I have managed to pick up a few by just being in the right place a the right time (mowing next to a lot that company x decided not to mow as often as they should.) or getting a request to do plantings, mulch etc.
I have been fortunate too that I have a relative that owns a newspaper who can design my flyers/doorhangers with proven methods.
I am about to be very aggressive starting at the start of next month in my neighborhood and the two others literally right across the road of which each has at least another 750 houses. I am working with the pizza place across the street to come to a good price to deliver my flyers on their pizza boxes when deliver to my three target neighborhoods.
I have addressed my flyers to the elderly and the upper class women. This is a large share of the decision makers in my neighborhood. One of my best flyers I feel for the season will be a non traditional flyer (so it will not look like anyone elses) and appeals to women in the neighborhood who tend to be active shoppers. I will post a rough draft: Picture is like I want it but the wording is not correct yet.
So all and all what I have done correctly is: Evaluated who I wanted my customers to be, identified my competitive advantage over other LCO's, Directed my marketing directly to my customers ( using both traditional lawn flyers and non-traditional flyers) in a manner that usually showed that I lived in the neighborhood, I have developed relationships with the customers that tend to be talkers and not bothering those that just want the job complete and not to be bothered, and I have most importantly had a strive for excellence on each and every lawn, I showed up every week on a certain day in a consistent manner. If there was ever a complaint I worked to assure not only that I fixed the problem and to never have it happen again but did so while swallowing my pride at times, I understood that while I was a independent contractor, I still had a boss.

I chose to swim upstream from what all others were telling me I needed to do, I had owned a LC company up north before so I knew what to expect from traditional methods, I went in another direction.


I really do not see a issue with me being able to reach 70 to 75 residential accounts by the end of August of this year. If I am lucky I will be able to start weeding out a few of those that are sometimes more trouble than I would like.

Hope maybe this helps you diamond - I am one that believes that there is plenty of work to go around down here ( as long as you do not come in my neighborhood LOL).

Best of luck,

Michael

Landscape Poet
01-22-2010, 02:50 AM
Diamond, here is a link to a thread in which I posted the rough draft of the flyers I mentioned above.
Sorry I could not post directly here as it keep telling me I could not since I already had posted them on site.
http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?p=3373855#post3373855

Richard Martin
01-22-2010, 04:51 AM
Michael, get yourself a www.photobucket.com account (it's free) and you can post any picture as many times as you want.

Richard Martin
01-22-2010, 05:01 AM
If you know where the image is just go to it and right click on it. Then right click on properties. A window will pop open and then you highlight and copy the address. The come back and paste the address. Then you need to put the vb code in to display the pic. The code is simple.

[remove this IMG]your image address goes here[/IMG remove this]

Just remove the words "remove this" from the code to get the image to display. Make sure you include the brackets.

It'll display like this...

http://www.lawnsite.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=173745&stc=1&d=1263773255

Florida Gardener
01-22-2010, 10:55 AM
Michael

Thanks for the info. I actually did a direct mailout to 3 select neighborhoods that I wanted to get into back in Novemeber and December. I obviously did it twice when they say you need to do at least 3. I had one legitimate bid on a large trimming job(which I didn't get) and that was it. I was very discouraged that nothing came out of it but I am rethinking doing it one more time to make it 3 times. These are all upper end neighborhoods(two of them are gated) and I really want to at least double my accounts by the end of 2010. I have weeded out scrub accounts this past year and will do a little more house cleaning by the time this growing season starts.

The annoying thing for me is that so many of my customers tell me what a great job I do, but I haven't had any referrals from them. A few did give my name out but I didn't land the job for whatever reason.

I am targeting high end resi b/c that is where you make the money in my opinion with all the extras like mulch, installs, trimming, etc.

Landscape Poet
01-22-2010, 01:30 PM
I am targeting high end resi b/c that is where you make the money in my opinion with all the extras like mulch, installs, trimming, etc.

Diamond,

My advice to you is not to really concern yourself about if they are high income or not, but rather or not the are the most profitable lawn you can get. I think a lot of the high end residential's are a little more competitive because everyone tends to want to mow for them thinking they can showcase their work. They tend to not to be as loyal, however the average working class man's lawn, assuming you do a good job for him and are fair on price will be more loyal and profitable in the long run.
My properties are all roughly from $300k to $600k homes and the ones on the lower end of the spectrum tend to be less of PITA clients. They are more than likely working themselves when I come and do not have too much interaction with me. On the flip side the higher end homes tend to have housewives that want to come talk to you because they are lonely and have nothing better to do. They also tend to be the ones that are more window shoppers and want to talk about projects being done on their property a lot (if the projects actually took place as often as we talked about them I would be retired). On the other hand the folks on the lower end of my range tend to just call and say I need mulch or I need some color can you do something in this price range.

On getting referrals - I think one thing that worked for me is talking about the economy. I say something about I wish the economy was better etc because times sure are rough. You do not have to go into a lot of detail, just give the impression that you sure would appreciate their referrals. If you have the type of housewives mentioned above they have been my best referrals. Like I said they are lonely and do not seem to have as much going on so they are much more likely to spread the word, especially if they know you appreciate it an it will help you out. I have one lady in a new gated community down the road get 6 of her neighbors (right in a row) to call me for bids, bases off her recommendation I got all of them at market price. The other good thing about her, as you may or may not know, when a gated subdivision is new, they often leave the gates open for a while so contractors can go in and out with ease and not wear the gates mechanics out during construction etc, I got her to call and complain until the gates got shut. This is obviously good for me because I know control of majority of the roughly 20 houses behind the gates and have little chance of competition getting in.
So again, my advice is to really think about what is going to help you be profitable and concentrate on them.
Good Luck,

Michael