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Afamilylawncare
05-01-2003, 09:10 AM
I am trying to land my first client for my business, i am using a exmark 36 deck to cut and i could use any advice or lead information i can get. I am very motivated as I want to leave my graveyard shift job however i have 3 small children and a wife. she is apprehensive but i think i can make it work. I make $19/hr at my current job and i know i could more than double that here. I need all the advice i can get from pricing to anything. Good luck to everyone in the endeavors.

btbej
05-01-2003, 11:11 AM
I am in the exact situation you are in.... I am 26, 3 kids, mortgage, stay at home wife (she supports my plan),and I have a day job making around $46k per year. I want to emphasize PLAN! I have been talking to succesful lawn care specialist in my area and they have given me so much knowledge and then I cam across this sight which has more information than I will probably ever use.

After working on a business plan for the past 2 months I have been told over and over to take it slow. You can not jump into the lawncare biz with two feet. First year get 5 customers and Take Care of Them! 2nd year pick up 10 more account, 3rd year make a stab at 30 and you have to determine what you can live off of.

I started marketing 2 weeks ago and picked up 3 customers immediately just from word of mouth (not really marketing). So I figure that 2 more customers will probably come along in a month or so. I am keeping the day job as well (that is what pays the bills) and putting all the money made this year into a "no touch" bank account so I can buy equipment (a decent mower) and get away from the trusty craftsman 16" push mower.

Keys to making it work that I have gotten from the experts on this sight and in my area......1. Stay out of debt [do not go out and buy equipment immediately and do not purchase equipment through loans, credit cards, etc till you have a good customer base 5 or so] 2. Be professional and go the extra mile for those first 5 customers [you may not make tons of money off of them, but their word of mouth will pay for itself in the long run]. 3. Take your time and let the business grow itself [don't try forcing something because you will most likely be just let down if you rush it].

Sorry so long but this information I think is needed for the newbies!

Gr grass n Hi tides
05-02-2003, 09:29 PM
For what it's worth, I posted this a few months ago talking about how I started full time:

I'm new in this business too, so for about a month or more I read the lawnsite posts (new & archived). I've also been talking to a couple of local LCOs for a long time to get a feel, plus listened to perspective from just about everybody that gave it. After all of that I decided to:

(1) Buy a modest yellow pages ad although some would argue it is not a good idea;
(2) Had door hangers printed (3 per page at my local printer - they come with the little perforated cut in the corner & door handle hole at the top);
(3) Had business cards printed, of course;
(4) I'm on the phone calling everyone I know to let them know about my service;
(5) Obtained my pesticide license right off the bat so I can offer a more complete service;
(6) Got a small order of embroidered hats and short sleeve polo shirts (small orders can be had in the winter only in my area, in the spring/summer when business picks up they have minimums of 5 dozen & up);
(7) Doing some direct mail to new owners of property whose names came from the local Register of Deeds office.

We'll see how it goes. My whole thing lifts off next week, although I may be a little late in the game this year for landing commercial accounts. I had no control over that.

I put as much time into the "paper" end of things as I could this winter while I waited on the majority of my funds to become available.

Also, just read a great thread about "Blackburn Signs" which is a lawnsite.com sponsor! Everyone with a huge thumbs up. Those guys put out the yard signs you can leave with your Co. name on it. I may go with a few of those. They're affordable and professional looking.

Advertising-wise, I didn't want to wait two or three years to find out what works

BobR
05-03-2003, 08:59 AM
BTBEJ - Has all the basics covered, Just one piece of advice 'don't quit your day-job' at least until you see how the wind is blowing. I have been in the 'arena' since 97 (when my job was abolished) starting out with three customers, at this time I have 23 accounts and am not accepting any others. I work alone and the wife (gainfully employed with benefits) is truly upset when I am not at home for dinner at (what she feels) is an acceptable hour. Can you make an acceptable living at lawn care? Yes, BUT it is going to take time for you to build your customer base. Lots of great information is on this web site READ and LEARN.
BobR