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LewisL230
09-08-2011, 01:03 PM
To start my story from the beginning I got laid off from my electrician job Dec 30th of 2010. I am 23 yrs old. I had pressure to find another electrical job even though I hated every second of the last job. The only job I ever had that I enjoyed was lawn care working for my uncle. I decided to stop listening to everybody and do what I enjoyed so I got a loan from my grandfather and started purchasing equipment. So far I have bought a 2006 Exmark Laser Z 60" cut with a 30hp Kohler. A brand new Robin 2250 trimmer, and a used redmax Blower. I also bought a 6'4" x 12' trailer. I use a 1997 Chevy Tahoe to pull everything. It wouldnt be my first choice but its what I had. I currently have 8 properties that I cut. Its money, but its definitely not enough to support my fiance and 9 mo old little girl.

My question to all of yall is what is the best way to expand and grow my business. I am in the works of getting a DBA and insurance. I plan to advertise in the local paper and I would like to send out some flyers. I know there is a way to only send them to certain neighborhoods and things. I would also like to get some commercial properties. What are some good ways to land commercial properties?

Any suggestions will definitely be appreciated. Thanks alot in advance guys.:usflag:

fivestarlandscapes
09-08-2011, 01:22 PM
With only 8 lawns I would not worry about dba or insurance untill you have more like 30. Make sure to keep at least 1k on hand in case of a broken window or property damage from the mower. Get a full time job and mow on saturday. At eight lawns you might not even be breaking even on paying off the equip, fuel, maintenace etc.

LewisL230
09-08-2011, 01:28 PM
I really want to make this my full time job. I would like to have 20-30 yards next year. My fiance makes pretty good money, so we arent gonna starve. I would rather have a tough year financially and grow my business to success than get a full time job and have to neglect it.

MDLawn
09-08-2011, 01:55 PM
I wouldn't just expand for the pure sake of expanding. If you can tough it out be a little picky about your customers. Set you pricing so you can make money and DO NOT take anyone who doesn't want to pay what you need. Sell service and quality or you can end up being like the other 1000's of guys who can only think "If I have 50 $15 lawns now then if I have 150 $15 lawns I'll be rich!" They cannot properly service these customers and either lose them or hire people to help and then just make nothing. There are two ways I have seen people successfuly expand. One is that they just know EVERYONE and get flooded with work, the others are those who take on the good work bit by bit. Figure out who you want to service (wealthy, old, small properties, etc...)and make your marketing strategy around that. If you have the flexibility of having a someone to support you for the time being do it right. Are you just mowing or would you do other landscaping work? If you want to "make it" on mowing it seems to be a volume game. Lots of lawns to make money. But lots of lawns cost more with equipment, employees, etc...

LewisL230
09-08-2011, 02:52 PM
MD, I totally understand and agree with what you are saying. I would like to start doing landscaping also, but what I worry about with doing that is I don't feel completely comfortable in my abilities and knowledge. I have a little experience in landscaping, but not enough to feel totally comfortable. With that said, I will probably just stick to mowing for the time being. I plan to go full bore with advertising and gain more customers.

Puddle of Oil
09-08-2011, 03:20 PM
Have you considered working for a landscaping company? How many acres do you cut? Not sure about your area, but mowing up here isn't exactly booming. I'd add some more services to your business, especially if your living off the biz. Like "md" said, get a full time job then when things pick up move to part time. Good Luck, its tough out their!

SoGro
09-14-2011, 07:00 PM
1)Main thing is networking, get your name out there through friends, family, facebook, signs. Let people know what you are doing. Eventually people remember that you are a landscaper and work just comes to you. It takes some time though
2)Go sit at a home depot with sign in back of truck saying available to cut yard today
3)Cut your accounts that you do have in later part of day and on thursday and fridays. Picked up quite a few accounts from guy coming home from work around 5 and looking at yard in middle of summer to tired to get out and cut himself. Still have to persuade him to go to weekly service but if reliable and personable it is doable.
4)Craiglist, classified ads. I do not recomend yellow page ads bc they service to broad of area and most people throw away phone books nowadays.
5)Flyers are cheap, but be careful some neigboerhoods have restrictions. Mailers are good but can be expensive.
6)Call property management companies and banks. There are alot of vacant and foreclosed houses out there. You will need insurance to cut these properties most likely.

DEPENDABLE LANDSCAPING
09-14-2011, 08:24 PM
Word of mouth! Offer your current customers incentives to help you grow.. do nice work, be nice, call every lead back, and be attentive to anyone who contacts you. I guarantee you will grow. Good luck to you.
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Evergreen321
09-18-2011, 02:35 PM
offer special deals to new clients on flyers.. like a free pressure wash of their drive way on new weekly customers,, if you dont already have one,, invest a couple of bucks on a good commercial grade pressure washer! 3500+psi.. and craigslist.org is the best and dont just advertise your lawn service, make separate ads for pressure washing, or installing irrigations systems or whatever else you want to do,, specially in the slow season.. but just lawncare alone isint gonna cut it,, not even here in florida where it doesent snow... good luck buddy

airsoft1779
09-18-2011, 02:42 PM
Honestly, I would work for a year with a bigger landscape company. This company should be what you want to be in 5 or 10 years. Surround yourself around people you want to be like. Learn how to do landscape installations, maintaince, all that stuff. As well as management skills and how to run the business. It's much more then just mowing grass, it's running a business and this is were people mess up.

SLMGT
09-19-2011, 10:53 PM
Word of mouth advertising is the best advertising there is. Also, make sure every job looks it's very best because word of mouth talk about bad work works against you just as quickly. Talk to everyone you know and let them know you're in the business. Don't be afraid to ask for business. Every job you get is advertising of your work. You make have to take on jobs that aren't't the most profitable but it will get you out in the market and the more people see you working, the more opportunity to pick up other work.:usflag:

James_d3
09-26-2011, 07:13 AM
Don't flame me, but I've been targeting areas, and going door knocking. I have picked up most of my clients that way, normally get at least 1 job each time I go out, and most of those become regular customers.

I keep it very brief, just let them know who I am, and that I have just started a lawn mowing business in their area. If they are interested I give them a flyer, if not, I keep on walking. You have to be prepared to get a lot of "No's" but so what. I have time, so I'm not losing anything, and I have never had anyone be rude yet.

larryinalabama
09-26-2011, 09:13 AM
Survivlal is the key for the next few years. Contuniue to do good work at your full time job, do lawncare part time for a year or so. Try to get a 10hour 4 day work week at your regular job, thet gives you 3 good days for lawncare.

Dont be afarid to do side work in the current business your in.
The day will come when you will switch to part time on your currrent job and be full time at lawncare.

Outdoor Experts Inc.
09-27-2011, 05:01 PM
I really want to make this my full time job. I would like to have 20-30 yards next year. My fiance makes pretty good money, so we arent gonna starve. I would rather have a tough year financially and grow my business to success than get a full time job and have to neglect it.

I don't want to scare you, but I want to be honest. My hubby started our business with 10 yards. He roofed full time for 9 months, and did lawns on the weekend with his brother. Then when he got up to 20 yards, he quit roofing and put all his effort into the lawn service. That was Sept 2009. We had it very rough the first and second winter. We live in FL, where there is no snow to plow to suppliment in the off season. Like you, we also had a newborn baby. When I say it was rough, I mean ROUGH. We had to move out of our house and live with his parents the first year because all of our $$ went back into the business. Having 20-30 yards by next year is an awesome goal, but it will depend on the competition in your area, and how rapidly you can expand. Depending on how much you are charging for those 20 - 30 yards, you still might not be able to pay all of your business expenses, household bills, childcare, etc. and live comfortably. Go with your gut, but make sure you'll have a fallback just in case that tough year turns into 2!

larryinalabama
09-27-2011, 11:18 PM
I don't want to scare you, but I want to be honest. My hubby started our business with 10 yards. He roofed full time for 9 months, and did lawns on the weekend with his brother. Then when he got up to 20 yards, he quit roofing and put all his effort into the lawn service. That was Sept 2009. We had it very rough the first and second winter. We live in FL, where there is no snow to plow to suppliment in the off season. Like you, we also had a newborn baby. When I say it was rough, I mean ROUGH. We had to move out of our house and live with his parents the first year because all of our $$ went back into the business. Having 20-30 yards by next year is an awesome goal, but it will depend on the competition in your area, and how rapidly you can expand. Depending on how much you are charging for those 20 - 30 yards, you still might not be able to pay all of your business expenses, household bills, childcare, etc. and live comfortably. Go with your gut, but make sure you'll have a fallback just in case that tough year turns into 2!

Good post, the fellers around here that have survived 5 years and do good work generally dont advdertise. This is my 3rd year and I havent advertised since spring but do plan to advertise in the spring mainly to tarket some small accounts to even out my days. WINTER is a real problem here, generally by new years all the leaves are cleaned up so your into mulching and that sort of stuff, DEFENATELY have a plan for the winter