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lastimado landscapin
05-07-2003, 11:15 PM
I have a horror story. This is my first year in the lawn/landscaping biz. I started out the year great. i put out about 500 flyers in a wealthy neighborhood, and got atleast 12 phone calls. only about 3 of them where for lawn mowing. the rest where cleanups, and mulching. Sounds like a good start, right.
I though i was smart. I did all of my marketing before i bought all of my equipment, so that i would know how far into debt i should go. So i get all my stuff including the most crucial part, the truck to haul it in. i decided to buy a ford f350 stake body dump off of a friend, cuz it had a new engine, and pump. the only bad thing was the body was really rough. so we agreed that he would have it painted before i got it. he says, "it'll be done in a week", this was at the end of march. I only end up getting the truck and putting my sign on it yesterday, over a month late.
At first i was trying to stall until i got the truck, because every day he told me it would be another day until we could pick up the truck. finally i just let all the calls go to voice mail. i have a couple people that i said id give estimates to, but never did. this is a helluva start for my business. its aleady may, and it seems like everyone has their lco's, and most have their mulch.
I feel like bagging the whole thing and starting over next year. What should i do? i dont know how to deal with this? do i try to salvage the accounts that i blew off, or do i get a bobcat, and try to make some money with lawn installs? I hope someone can make sense of my story and give me some input.

lastimado landscapin
05-08-2003, 04:40 PM
well it looks like i wont be needing anyones help. I went to use the dump today, and it wouldnt dump. It seems like this damn thing is the root of all of my problems. I mean I got it a month after the guy told me I'd get it, and now the the thing wont dump. I essentially have a huge *** stake body truck. I going to return this peice of **** to its owner. I dont even care if he gives me my money back. this thing ruined a potentially profitable first year. I guess i'll just have to get a job, and suffer through it til next season. I dont see how i can possibly turn this one around.
sorry if my post sounds like eor from winnie the pooh, but i cant afford to buy prozac.:(

The Good Earth
05-09-2003, 12:04 AM
Relax, my brother.

What isn't the truck doing? Sit back and look at this objectively. It is probably something simple. I am more than certain that you can get the problem solved and still make a good bit of coin.

Patience is a virtue.

But if you still want to give the truck away, I'll take it!! :D

JimLewis
05-14-2003, 03:32 AM
Yah, I agree. Look into it more. Maybe it's nothing big. Maybe it's a $500 fix. Maybe it's a $5000 fix. Who knows until you have it checked out?

Don't give up hope. If you can get the truck working I'd say go ahead with the business. In my area, things are just getting started. And around here you can land lawn accounts from March - Aug. or September even. The only thing that matters is how much you're willing to put into it. If you made up 20,000 cheap (but nice looking) flyers and handed them out for 2 weeks or until they were gone I bet you'd be up to your eyeballs in work and busy as heck in no time. The thing is - most guys give up after 300 flyers and just assume it's not worth it. It IS worth it! Just keep at it.

Part of this business is being able to consistently overcome obstacles. I have a new one each week!!! Sometimes small. Sometimes very big. But I've managed to create a very good business precisely because I never gave up and I always found ways to solve all of my challenges. Some of them were VERY creative solutions. Especially when it came to money. And sometimes I wondered how I was going to pull it off. But I always do and it's paid off.

JimLewis
05-14-2003, 03:36 AM
Oh, and as for your original question - "can I get these accounts back?" - probably not. I wouldn't worry about it. Just get new ones. As I said before, hand out a ton of flyers. You're bound to get business. It's just a numbers game and the only thing that matters is; Are you willing to keep handing them out all day - day after day? Because if you are - it is bound to pay off. It always has for us.

If you're unfamiliar with flyers or how well they work, do a search here on lawnsite for "flyers" or "fliers" or "advertising" or "marketing". There are a gazillion threads about flyers.

yerturfsux
05-14-2003, 07:05 PM
Yeah, I agree with these guys. Let me help ya out. Three months ago I said to myself: Ok, to hell with working on a golf course all summer watering greens again. I've been in the biz for about twelve years and finally took the plunge and said LATER! In three short months I have had to hire several laborers and beg for loans that were impossible in the past. Let me just tell you this, the best thing to target is builders. I got in with one and cannot begin to tell you the rate of success I've had in only 3 months. I will now have to hire more people, and buy/lease more equipment. Trust me when I tell you that there has been many days where I wanted to say screw it and go work for someone else again. BUT, I can tell you that there has been many more days when I drive down the road and just laugh at where I currently am. KEEP YOUR HEAD UP!!!! and good luck.

lastimado landscapin
05-14-2003, 07:14 PM
so if i still get out there and hand out more flyers, you think i'll still be able to pick up business? I know its been a tough start for people because of the weather, so i was thinking maybe i still have a shot at picking up some accounts. Im not sure what time of year is too late. thanks for the encouragement guys. I was ready to throw in the towel, because of the dump truck. i finally gave it back so now looking for a new truck and starting fresh.

JimLewis
05-15-2003, 12:11 AM
Let me just tell you this, the best thing to target is builders. Ouch! I totally disagree with this comment. We have had a few threads here on lawnsite about working for builders. And let me just summarize - 95% of the people who responded had very negative experience working for builders. So I'd be leary of that!

so if i still get out there and hand out more flyers, you think i'll still be able to pick up business? Yes, I think so. I can't say for sure. I don't know your area specifically. But around here, we're puting out flyers right now and picking up 2-3 accounts per week. I think now's a better time than 2 months ago was. Landscaping is just finally starting to boom now that the weather is a bit nicer and the war is over. Before, nobody was calling. And like I said, it's just a numbers game. If you hand out enough, they will come.....

lastimado landscapin
05-15-2003, 04:25 PM
thats reassuring news. I really want this business to take off. Im tired of factory work, and i want to build a solid business that will take care of me, and my brother. I day dream at work, about sitting on a mower all day, and raking in the bucks. Im going to pay all of my friends to put flyers out for me. hopefully my next thread wont be about where to get accounts, but where to stick all of my money after if fill up my matress.

yerturfsux
05-15-2003, 05:38 PM
Let me tell you a little story about landscaping and builders. My good friend is 30 years old and a millionaire becuase 4 years ago he got in with a builder.

lastimado landscapin
05-15-2003, 08:04 PM
is that the whole story? can you give me some details. what does he do for them.

yerturfsux
05-15-2003, 09:50 PM
I am assuming you are asking me this. His company includes full installs, commercial/residential maintence, snow removal, blah-blah-blah. He's loaded and it was becuase he was able to get in with the largest builder in the area. In addition to this, once he does a full install, it is guaranteed for a year so maintenance is covered for that time period. Not to mention several large shopping areas, etc. If you would like to go forward, you can...trust me. I've always said that if you want to fail, everything is in your favor, if you want to succeed it's not. You have to go get it. I literally advertised once in a paper that was issued once per week. Now, after three months, I'm booked. So, don't get discouraged. Try this: Go to a builder and be honest and tell him your intentions. They were there too. Most builders I know started with building an 8x10 deck. Now they are huge. SO GO GET EM!