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View Full Version : What is the best city/state to start a lawn business?


swbluto
06-25-2011, 12:17 AM
I'm in Spokane and, honestly, the local market sucks. The unemployment rate is high so there's a lot of cut-throat competition, the average income is relatively low and the mowing season is only 4-5 months long and the summers are mild (As we're so far north) so 'everyone' seems to love mowing their own lawn when I ask around. As evidenced by our ads' unusually low response rate(The response rate on a flyer that gets 1 call back out of 50 ads in other towns seems to only get 1 out of 200-300 here), it seems to be non-ideal for a lawn care business.

What places would it be best to grow a lawn-mowing business where the average going price is high, temperatures are hot so nobody loves mowing their own lawn, there's plenty of business and it's pretty much year round or nearly as year-round as possible? Thanks! I'm thinking somewhere in southern california, but it's kind of expensive to live there... I want to maximize my overall net income, which means minimizing my living expenses. However, if I could somehow operate from a trailer in someone's back-yard while also growing a thriving lawn business in a rich area where the going prices are fairly profitable, I'm not against the idea! I wouldn't mind living in a dump if it meant a net income greater than $100,000/year.

tlc1994
06-25-2011, 12:50 AM
I'm a native of So-Cal, and while I can infer that the market is better than Seattle, it is not the BEST that you may be looking for. I'll give you a few facts and maybe that will help you:

I live just inland of Orange County, the summers are great, just hot enough that people who think they can handle it start to give up right about now. The home prices are very good, not to mention the state senate is about to lower state sales tax if they can't reach a new agreement (which they probably won't :clapping:). The main thing is competition that will be against you; it's Southern California, that's why. But, quality lawn guys are a dime a dozen around here, nothing special whatsoever. Unless you are working on an estate property, you'd be lucky to find lawns larger than 1/3-1/2 an acre. If I could pick anywhere in the country based on your situation, I would recommend Texas, Tenessee, or any similar area where properties are big and people know the value of a nice lawn. Not that California's bad, just might not be exactly what you hope it would be.

Hope this helps.:usflag:

deereequipment
06-25-2011, 07:02 AM
right now, I'd say the state of insanity. that's probably what it is going to take!
Definitely have to think "outside of the box". There are so many unemployed folks who have a mower, who think they can cut grass, and are out there making a joke of this industry. It's happening all over.
Survival of the fittest, so figure out "your" niche, and go get em!

Snapper Jack
06-25-2011, 07:55 AM
Great idea! I'm sure I couldn't wait to tell my comrades of my close cartel encounters as I show off my bullet-hole riddled machinery to them. The stories would definitely be more precious than money.

Does the south-east sound like a good idea? Possibly somewhere in Florida?

The economy is suffering all over with throat cutters flooding the market, Florida was especially hit hard in certain areas.Tampa and St.Petersburg seems to have a lot of wealth and with it comes the competition. It's beautiful there but oh man does it get extremely hot and humid :dizzy:

scagman52
06-25-2011, 08:25 AM
Down here in FL where I am there seems to be plenty of work but your not going to get rich. Average small lot gets you $20.00 per cut. Maybe $60.00 per month. You might be better off in NC. lol

BrunoT
06-26-2011, 01:27 AM
Corporations pay millions of dollars to consultants for this type of information. There are very rich men out there who made their money doing nothing other than telling companies which side of the road to put a store or a hotel on, what programs to run ads on on tiv, and why some people would make better customers than others. So while doing so on a smaller scale isn't worth as much, that doesn't mean it's worth nothing.

It takes a special sort of clueless rube to just give that information out for free, especially when he's dolling it out to anyone on the internet who can find this thread, many of whom may well be his direct competitors soon.

Unless of course one subscribes to the theory that we're all socialists now and they're entitled to our hard-won experience for free. I guess if one grew up in a generation that sees nothign wrong with stealing music and games on the web, this is at least asking first and a step in the right direction.

Call up Apple and ask them to tell you how to design an Ipad and all the code involved. I'm sure they'll be happy to share that. Because hey, they don't want to be called selfish do they?

swbluto
06-26-2011, 08:42 AM
Corporations pay millions of dollars to consultants for this type of information. There are very rich men out there who made their money doing nothing other than telling companies which side of the road to put a store or a hotel on, what programs to run ads on on tiv, and why some people would make better customers than others. So while doing so on a smaller scale isn't worth as much, that doesn't mean it's worth nothing.

It takes a special sort of clueless rube to just give that information out for free, especially when he's dolling it out to anyone on the internet who can find this thread, many of whom may well be his direct competitors soon.

Unless of course one subscribes to the theory that we're all socialists now and they're entitled to our hard-won experience for free. I guess if one grew up in a generation that sees nothign wrong with stealing music and games on the web, this is at least asking first and a step in the right direction.

Call up Apple and ask them to tell you how to design an Ipad and all the code involved. I'm sure they'll be happy to share that. Because hey, they don't want to be called selfish do they?

Good point. I guess I'll need to figure out a way of discerning which markets would likely be more profitable than others based on demographic information (i.e., I'm guessing income levels, the local unemployment rate, the size of the age 14-30 population, the population density and the price of the competitors for a "standard lawn" would be relevant variables.), and then test each market.

Richard Martin
06-26-2011, 11:48 AM
You might be better off in NC. lol

Nah, don't send him here. The pay sucks and the competition is fierce.

dishboy
06-26-2011, 12:32 PM
Nah, don't send him here. The pay sucks and the competition is fierce.

I think this is universal. You can change climates , but changing market conditions is not going to happen IMO.

Florida Gardener
06-26-2011, 01:32 PM
Wherever you go, go where people have money. I live in an extremely affluent area of south Florida with a lot of old wealthy money, big estates, etc. We have accounts(residential homes) of 2k+/mo. You can go to other areas of Florida where you will probably struggle being an LCO. Go where the $$ is!
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alexschultz1
06-26-2011, 02:22 PM
north atlanta, massive growth with above average salary white americans and a very long growing season. the competition is insane though, im thinking of moving toward an area where the growth hasnt started yet so i can start from scratch again

ELS LLC
06-26-2011, 04:37 PM
Weird. I live in Spokane and we work from March to The end of November. We mow from April to the end of October. Seven months. There is a ton of work here if you go out and look for it. Good luck.

swbluto
06-26-2011, 09:13 PM
Weird. I live in Spokane and we work from March to The end of November. We mow from April to the end of October. Seven months. There is a ton of work here if you go out and look for it. Good luck.

How would you suggest looking for it? I'll admit our current advertising efforts are fruitful so we are slowly but surely gaining accounts, but it seemed that the amount of call backs for the amount of flyers we sent out was pretty low compared to other markets. In fact, one of the flyers we sent out was copied from someone else in another city, and they claim a call back of 1 out of 50-60 flyers while I'm seeing 1 out of 200-300 locally, suggesting there are more profitable markets elsewhere.

Anyway, I was looking into checking out the real estate agents for newly sold houses so I could possibly find new owners who might desire lawn services. I was also thinking about adding another specialty flier to our business to get more customers in a neighborhood. I was also thinking about cold-calling but that seems to be a "no no" and I'm not really much of a tele-marketer.

ELS LLC
06-26-2011, 10:08 PM
Spokane is flooded with smaller companies. We have been mowing and spraying some original accounts dating back twenty years. Word of mouth is huge and of course a huge advertizing budget helps. The past few years we noticed it is getting harder to get new accounts. Even when we do mailings and hangers, thousands and thousands of them, we may not achieve the 1% we are looking for. At my personal house I have recieved over ten to fifteen different fliers from new companies.

The key for us is our mowing clients. And it took twenty years to get them. They are very loyal and let us do our thing. From being in the neighborhoods gives us the exposure that allows us to be approached by neighbors. So I believe it would take a few years at the least to become established in Spokane.

The secret is route density. We service multiple places on each block. By keeping our routes tight we make money. For eight months out of the year!

grassmasterswilson
06-26-2011, 10:19 PM
Nah, don't send him here. The pay sucks and the competition is fierce.

please don't come to NC. Last thing I want to see is another guy with a trailer! Seems like I see a new guy starting up every day. Not suer how long they last, but so many new guys keeps our prices pretty low. I don't advise anyone to come to NC.... mainly for my benefit!!!

MOturkey
06-26-2011, 10:38 PM
Swbluto, just curious, but why have you decided on the lawncare industry for a career? You stated, I believe in one of your early posts, that you are in college. It is also pretty apparent that you actually know little about this industry. I realize everyone has to start somewhere, and I certainly am not knocking that, but I can't help but wonder why you think lawncare is for you?

You talk about the low response rate to your flyers. I hate to sound like a wise azz, but have you looked at the calendar lately? Sure, you can pick up customers any time of the season, but common sense dictates that the prime time is just prior to the start of the mowing season, not June. Most people have someone in place by now, and all you are likely to pick up are those that someone else has dropped, or someone new moving into the area. If you do pick up some with the old "$19 mow", or whatever your current price is, they are price shoppers, and will drop you in a heartbeat if someone comes along and offers to mow for $1 less.

h2oskier
06-26-2011, 11:48 PM
You guys can harp on this for the next ten years if you like, but i hate to bring common sense into it. Competition is just that competition whether your in florida or washington.
No particular area is better than the other as there is going to be competition no matter where it is you decide to do business.

swbluto
06-27-2011, 01:10 AM
You guys can harp on this for the next ten years if you like, but i hate to bring common sense into it. Competition is just that competition whether your in florida or washington.
No particular area is better than the other as there is going to be competition no matter where it is you decide to do business.

True, but some places have more competition than others. Particularly locales with relatively high unemployment. As everybody has noticed, the higher unemployment rate has increased competition all around the country and so logically, areas with a lower unemployment rate will tend to have less competition.

swbluto
06-27-2011, 01:14 AM
Swbluto, just curious, but why have you decided on the lawncare industry for a career? You stated, I believe in one of your early posts, that you are in college. It is also pretty apparent that you actually know little about this industry. I realize everyone has to start somewhere, and I certainly am not knocking that, but I can't help but wonder why you think lawncare is for you?

You talk about the low response rate to your flyers. I hate to sound like a wise azz, but have you looked at the calendar lately? Sure, you can pick up customers any time of the season, but common sense dictates that the prime time is just prior to the start of the mowing season, not June. Most people have someone in place by now, and all you are likely to pick up are those that someone else has dropped, or someone new moving into the area. If you do pick up some with the old "$19 mow", or whatever your current price is, they are price shoppers, and will drop you in a heartbeat if someone comes along and offers to mow for $1 less.


We're also targeting households who hate mowing their own lawn but do it anyways until they realize from our ad that there are affordable services out there. And since we're the "first" affordable service they're aware of, we're the first ones there and we ensnare them with our high quality service. It *is* true a couple of our customers are the "price shopper" types who have had other lawn services in the past, but that isn't the rule. In my asking around, it appears customer loyalty is certainly alive and well.

tacoma200
06-27-2011, 02:21 AM
I would have thought the North East.

SLMGT
06-27-2011, 10:22 PM
I suggest rural Mississippi.:weightlifter: