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View Full Version : Getting into the biz :(


casey humphrey
12-13-2011, 11:58 AM
I have been doing lawn/snow part time my whole life! And I am now 35 years old. I just found out this week I am going to get laid off from my full time job oh joy! I have been thinking about going mainstream in this lawn care biz for a few years now. I am thinking I should start this now while I am still young and energetic HAHA. But it still takes me a POT of coffee to get started in the morning.

I have made all the fliers and brochures and biz cards through out the years so the marketing part is ok. I only have a 5x10 trailer and 2 pieces of equipment now but I have been watching craigslist and ebay I am going to get a zero turn by spring. As of now I have a totaly rebuilt 48 proline. This is a damn good mower and reliable after I totaly restored the machine and A lawn boy 21.

I have been doing this part time on my own for 5 years and I have only been able to get a handfull of customers and the ones I have say I do great work and they will refer me to other people but that never seems to happen. How does one get new customers these days? I am going to get a box of brochures made up today and hit as many commercial properties in my area as possible and try not to get to depressed HAHA. I know a wb site would help but that will have to be down the road. What are some of the ideas other LCO's have used in the past to drum up new clients? Or even just to get somebody to call ya?

Thanks for all the help.

Exact Rototilling
12-13-2011, 12:30 PM
Seriously....I would not limit yourself to lawn care just because of a layoff or downsize. The economy continues to get worse and I believe many posters here on Lawnsite struggle silently to pay the bills [long time bigger operations to Johnny upstarts] and stay up beat. Many arm chair experts here. It takes time to get a lawn biz dialed in. My take is to continue part time and looking for something else full time. In all honesty I really donít know if there is much future in what Iím doing outside of keeping it a small family run type business with low overhead.

:waving:

casey humphrey
12-13-2011, 12:54 PM
I was a Maintenace man for years in the apartment industry. I think I am going to include handy man service as well what do you guys think?

Jimslawncareservice
12-13-2011, 01:38 PM
Depending on what you do and what laws there are in your state, you have to have a licence to do some jobs.
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mowerbrad
12-13-2011, 02:35 PM
Be very carful offering too many services. If you start taking almost any work that comes your way, you will quickly become a "jack of all trades and master of none". If you want to do lawn care full time, focus on that and don't start branching off into home imlrovement as well. Feel free to expand your services, but do it on the lawn care side of things, start offering fertilizer apps (with proper license of course). Or get into small landscape installs/improvements. If you truely want to do this full yime and for the long haul, you will have to make your company able to accommodate most requests from your customers.
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alexschultz1
12-13-2011, 09:57 PM
dig your knuckles in and get 'er done. I was terrified of my future when i was laid off, however i make almost double what i was at my previous job. Heres the key to success, wake up at 7, work, come home at 5. Repeat monday - friday. If you dont have a lawn to cut its because your not focusing on growing your business. The only time i feel unsuccessful is when i have free time, so now when i have free time, i work. Pass out flyers, make calls, do bids, anything to make the money start flowing.

soloscaperman
12-14-2011, 12:37 AM
dig your knuckles in and get 'er done. I was terrified of my future when i was laid off, however i make almost double what i was at my previous job. Heres the key to success, wake up at 7, work, come home at 5. Repeat monday - friday. If you dont have a lawn to cut its because your not focusing on growing your business. The only time i feel unsuccessful is when i have free time, so now when i have free time, i work. Pass out flyers, make calls, do bids, anything to make the money start flowing.

I totally agree on this.

Swampy
12-14-2011, 03:04 AM
dig your knuckles in and get 'er done. I was terrified of my future when i was laid off, however i make almost double what i was at my previous job. Heres the key to success, wake up at 7, work, come home at 5. Repeat monday - friday. If you dont have a lawn to cut its because your not focusing on growing your business. The only time i feel unsuccessful is when i have free time, so now when i have free time, i work. Pass out flyers, make calls, do bids, anything to make the money start flowing.

I got in that bender for a bit. It sucks, yeah its my first year by on my own, it felt like I sunk a ton of money into the business. I had realized though its all start up. And yes I did the classic newbie mistake of offering services when I should have focused on the "basics". During the summer I didn't have that much as far as lawn accounts, 12 to be exact and a few short ones (mow my house till the house sells). I was planning on pushing snow this winter, there was some interest in it but not enough to justify it, but also now it will allow me to hit my laundry list of things I want to accomplish this winter and prepare for next year. I plan on doubling my account load for next season, write up a contract/agreement for next season instead of using Office Depot's genaric form, and more....

Just the onslaught of winter bored is killer.

ringahding
12-15-2011, 03:04 PM
Call this guy! Richard Hansen Hansen's Lawn Care (http://www.hansenslawncare.com) He can point you in the right direction

casey humphrey
12-15-2011, 03:39 PM
How does one charge for gutter cleaning? I have seen this offered A LOT with lawn care contractors. Do you charge by the foot? Or by the hour?

Also Hanson Lawn care? What is that all about? Is this a subcontractor deal?

casey humphrey
12-31-2011, 08:45 AM
Well I have been laid off now for a 2 weeks and there is now snow to plow and I am going nuts all the mowers are ready to go maintenaced and lubed up I even bought a used 02 52 ztr so I have 3 peices of equipment now. This winter slow season kinda sucks!! What do other guys do to pass the time? I am going to wait till mid Jan. to start the roster of calls and hand out flier and to start my market plan. I was told not to start to early as this stuff just gets pushed aside. I have a note book of ideas and numbers to call this is what happens when you get the too do list done from the wife HAHA There is not even enough ice to go ice fishing gerr. What are other LCO's do to pass this short time?

soloscaperman
12-31-2011, 07:18 PM
Well my mower and truck has about 4 coats of wax and I had so much time I jacked my mower remove the tires and started cleaning the frame and waxing it as well!! Where is this snow!!

clydebusa
12-31-2011, 07:27 PM
Bad time of the year for startups and bad economy! Hope you have a year worth of salary to fallback on.

soloscaperman
12-31-2011, 07:31 PM
Bad time of the year for startups and bad economy! Hope you have a year worth of salary to fallback on.

I started my business 3 years ago "this was when the economy dipped" and I am not even 100% stable. Business is growing but slowly. Too much competition in my area and the rich are cheap. Guy once said on this site that either you gotta charge real cheap to get a new customer or pull an ACE out of your sleeve. I am only getting customer's from high quality and one on one personal friendly service. I have very good hand selected customers but I need bulk though.

clydebusa
12-31-2011, 07:39 PM
Well I do it all. Unlike a previous LCO post, I am a jack of all trades. I do construction, LCO, tree trimming, property management, parking lot stripping and I have rent houses. My suggestion is to branch out and figure out what you can do that other can't and make money. This worked for me. Last year and probably this year I will take down x-mas lights were other LCO put them up and now are gone. Another friend of mine buys used equpment during this time of the year and sells in the spring. Good luck!

soloscaperman
12-31-2011, 08:05 PM
My friend is a LCO and he buys street bikes in the winter and sells them for more in the Spring.

casey humphrey
12-31-2011, 08:09 PM
I hear ya I was a Maint. supervisor for management companies for years I see all these venders and the bids they put and the jobs they get and said self why can't I do that? So There is a handy man side of my biz too I just dont advertise as musch as the lawn and snow. I just enjoy lawn/ snow more

clydebusa
01-01-2012, 10:02 AM
I hear ya I was a Maint. supervisor for management companies for years I see all these venders and the bids they put and the jobs they get and said self why can't I do that? So There is a handy man side of my biz too I just dont advertise as musch as the lawn and snow. I just enjoy lawn/ snow more

Sounds good, that is what I was trying to get across Is to be diverse, and who knows you might run into something you like better and make more money. I am the opposite, LCO is my least favorite. I started in 82 so the summers get long and hot and I enjoy AC jobs if possible. I have told several guys starting out, there is enough work out there for all, just getting the money is the hard part.