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buckeyes04
10-27-2004, 01:54 PM
Is there still business out there for us newer guys? I see lco's everywhere.

SystemXpert
10-27-2004, 03:30 PM
Yes,

There is always business, the real question is what can you offer? How do you create value? Why should a customer decide to select your service over a competitor? That is the real challenge.

Sure there are Lco's everywhere, but don't be afraid to compete.

SystemXpert

tonygreek
10-27-2004, 03:36 PM
There's none, so giving up seems to be your only option.

I could be wrong, but don't you have a similar thread you started in another forum? Instead of this pity thing you're working, pull yourself up by the proverbial bootstraps and get out there and sell or deliver flyers instead of posting the "woe is me - how do I get business?" posts. At this point, it seems you may be better off working for somebody for a year or two in order to get a handle on things and have steady income.

Now, with regard to developing your business, how about figuring out an angle of attack for generating leads? For starters, what city are you in?

Tony

Carolina Cuts
10-27-2004, 03:43 PM
he's right.... there is not enough business for all the LCO's out there.... but if you still want to put out flyers.... put my name and # on them...$5.00hr/cash :cool2:

buckeyes04
10-27-2004, 04:00 PM
Thanks Systemexpert for your input. I appreciate it.

tonygreek
10-27-2004, 04:11 PM
as i'm typing this, i see no actual responsive dialog, other than "thanks for the input", which you also do in your other similar thread. how is that helping you? i guess you'll respond to someone that says "buck up, it'll be alright", but if someone questions you, the posts are ignored?

i've already typed the below, so what the hell...

at some point i plan on starting a thread on this, but here's the gist of it (a quote from a high-end residential construction trade i receive):

"Extraordinary companies transcend commodity by offering more than just a product. They defy comparison by doing what their competitor's can't or won't do."

All you have to do is read this site for more than an hour and you'll see what the "can't" in that statement might refer to. Exploit other's weaknesses for your own gain. I do it in every facet of my businesses and always have used this as a guiding principal. It just means doing a bit of legwork to figure it out.

Tony

buckeyes04
10-27-2004, 05:45 PM
Well, all I wanted was some encouragement as to whether or not there was business out there. Your response to my first thread started off say, "Theres none, so giving up is your only option". What kind of an answer is that? Either your just being sarcastic or you are responding in an a manner that makes you sound bitter. So, I only thanked the guy who had some positive things to say. It's irrelevant as to what city I live in. And as far as why I am not out in the business yet, because I plan on starting next season. I am in the process of gaithering information for my business plan. I want to be fair and professional. I'm not about to go out there without any kind of knowledge. So what not ask all of these questions. I can learn from your mistakes. And what are you on here giving me negative feedback when you should be out there working on your business.

buckeyes04
10-27-2004, 05:57 PM
:rolleyes:

tonygreek
10-27-2004, 07:18 PM
well, you are seeking the same encouragement in another forum, so i would assume you would be interested in a constructive dialogue and not just "you can do it! atta boy! go get 'em tiger!". what good does that do you?

and yes, "give up" was sarcasm. you asked and absurd question. of course the only answer is "get out there and try. give 'em hell!".

as for city relevance, it is absolutely not irrelevant:
a.) city size can be broken down to market size
b.) workable days for lawns can help you forecast revenue. think cleveland has the same mowable days as cincy?
c.) if you want possible leads, you might try networking. great way to get additional work. especially if you are in cincy, cleveland, or columbus as i do no business there, but have loads of people that could be potential customers. thus the question of what city.

and you are rather presumptive to think that i am not currently working on any of my businesses. two run themselves, and the lawncare is ramping up right now (32 ads in various papers running this week, as well as 2 with inserts), with fall clean-ups in process and snow removal contracts being the marketing du jour. i also have the pleasure of researching this site while sitting on conference calls. so before taking that shot at me, you might realize that you are in the start-up phase and we are not. you are typical of a few on here who only want the lollipops and butterflies without going through the legwork. easier to whine about your trepidation than trying to grab what you want. but since you clearly have the start-up and marketing experience to guide you, atta boy. good luck....

tony

LLCO
10-27-2004, 10:43 PM
Buckeye.. If I had to guess, you and I share the same locality.. could be wrong.. could be right. I also am aware of the tremendous number of lawn care and landscape groups that are out there (even more in Cleveland). In this environment, it takes a true entrepreneur to be successful. Here is the Webster's definition
en∑tre∑pre∑neur: one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise

It is possible to be come very successful in this environment even with the level of competition that is out there. A perfect example of this is 5Seasons Landscape who was featured in Lawn and Landscape Magazine a few years back.. If you travel east on Rt70 (just past the Pickerington Exit)you can see the buildings they are building. I met them about 2 years ago and at that time they had 1/3 of what they have today. It can be done, by taking risks..

Tony brings out some great point..in a very direct way.. but great points. Tony's quote "Extraordinary companies transcend commodity by offering more than just a product. They defy comparison by doing what their competitor's can't or won't do." is one that will stay with me for sometime. I define a commodity (as does Webster) as an unspecialized product. In a commodity service market, you have to differentiate. Customer Service, Price, amenity, inclusion of services that other do not, value added, niche markets (organic fertilization), etc are all examples of a ways to take advantage of the market.

Your opening statement did seem odd to me to come from an entrepreneur. Although I did not see it as borne with trepidation, it did have a negative tone. I have not met too many entrepreneur's that have a negative slant at the on-set of any venture. Most entrepreneur's I know would say "Here is my plan, convince me why I should not move forward!".. I read your statement as "Convince me I should begin planning." I could be completely wrong and it could be this forum that gives that opinion.

If you are risk averse, a commodity business is not a business that is good to try a start. I do not know you or your history. You could started many businesses that are very successful. I think that Tony picked up on, as did I, a negative first impression of the industry. I would not recommend a commodity market to anyone as a start up if you have a negative first impression of a market. I also get an impression that you may be slightly risk averse. That also does not bode well for startups in a commodity market.

Tony also brings up a good point that you may have looked past given his direct approach. Tony mentioned working for an LCO for a year or two to get a handle on your areas of concern.. I think this is a great idea with a slight twist.. work for yourself on the side for a year or two.. you can pick up a small trailer, 36" walkbehind, and trimmer, blower, etc. pretty reasonably around here. Grab 5-6 accounts and practice. It will be tough weekend work but you will get a good taste of what is involved. You will have little overhead and you will most likely come close to break even (with insurance, taxes, normal expenses, etc but without a salary) but you will gain valuable experience.. (if you say you cant, I am here to say you can because I have done it.)

Again, directly put but accurate is Tony's statement about the relevance of the city that you work in. His subpoints on a,b,c were only the top of the list that I had that were market specific.

Lawnsite will give you things to think about but not a business plan to success. Take what you can absorb and see how it applies to your market.

This is all my personal opinion. I am very small.. learning things every time I load up. Someday... it will reap rewards.. big rewards.

buckeyes04
10-28-2004, 09:48 AM
Well, I do appreciate what you have to say. You have a lot of good things to say. I am going to start in the Central Ohio area. I do know of the Five Seasons Company that you are refering to. I did notice that they kind of came out of no where with there business. I will admit that I do have somewhat I a negative attitude towards the business only because there are so many other companies out there. I know I am pretty nieve when it comes to this business, but mainly because I have done it for before. I have gotton the practice for the last 9 months cutting my churches 3 acres. So I have learned a lot about the mower and what makes a nice cut. I a guy at my church that does it on the side. He has been doing it for years. So he has a lot of good things to say about it. Like anyone going into business there is some fear of failure. I would be lying if I said that there wasn't a little bit of fear. I have up with some services that I don't of anyother companies doing. But my question would be, can you offer too many services to people? Meaning should I not have so many options to choice from? Secondly, since I will be a solo company now, would it be dumb to sub out other services such as fertilizing? Lastly, I have read so much stuff on here, that there is a lot of inconsistancy as far as how people feel about the business. Your the first person that I have met on here from Central Ohio. Thanks again.

tonygreek
10-28-2004, 10:05 AM
LLCO, first off let me say that your post is one of the best i have ever read on this site. Everyone would serve themselves for the positive if they realized this is a commodity business and formulated a strategy to combat that. Glad to hear that quote had resonance with you. When I read it the first time it really hit home with me and remains the only quote I've ever physically torn from a magazine in order to throw on a bulletin board.

And please let me explain and clarify the genesis of my directness as it is a result of his same thread in a different forum where he actually engages in no dialogue. The message board medium does not lend itself to slowly drawing thoughts out of someone. Person A posts something, Person B responds and probes A for more. "A" finally responds with little, B finally says "do you want help or just a pat on the back.". Thus my directness. This is rhetorical and in no way a shot at you or blowing my own horn, but how long would it have taken this thread to arrive at your post content if things remained status quo? No need to reply on any of this as I really don't want to detract from Buckeye's thread and I see he just responded and things seem on track.

Great post and as I said in another, hopefully when time allows, we can start this thread as it's own topic based on the commodity aspect.

Regards,
Tony

buckeyes04
10-28-2004, 10:53 AM
So Tony, Maybe you can answer my question about offering too many services to people? What about subing out jobs that I can't do?

tonygreek
10-28-2004, 03:55 PM
is this going to be a full-time venture or part-time to start? only source of income?

buckeyes04
10-28-2004, 03:57 PM
Part time.

tonygreek
10-28-2004, 03:59 PM
btw, i find it hysterical that i've been dinged for this thread.

sunshine, lollipops and butterflies are what people must want to see.

buckeyes04
10-28-2004, 04:19 PM
BTW? Who is that?

buddhacj7
10-28-2004, 04:20 PM
By the Way

buckeyes04
10-28-2004, 04:20 PM
Why are you complaining about getting "dinged with this thread". Why don't you look at it like you are helping someone out. Why would you be in the "Just Starting in Business" Forum if you don't want silly and nieve questions?

tonygreek
10-28-2004, 04:38 PM
i'm not sure of what you are trying to say, buckeyes. and i do look at it like i'm trying to help someone. that's why i'm here.

my point is, what have i said here that precipitates a negative feedback (as in the silly "reputation points")? i'm not complaining, as i truly do find it damn funny. some people only want the warm'n fuzzies. if they don't like reality, then they should say so and i'll go nuts with the patronizing bs. signing one's name would go along way so i know who needs the verbal massaging of their emotional well-being. if it was you, please let me know so i can move on to other things.

so...... is this going to be your only source of income or are you going to start as a part-timer while having other income?

LLCO
10-28-2004, 11:00 PM
I appreciate the kind comments. I look forward to contributing to the Commodity discussion. I too feel that others do not share the vision and honestly, will become a true opportunity for me as some point.

Buckeye... there was a question there I would like to give an opinion and a couple other comments so bear with me..

Can you offer too many services? I think that only you can truly answer that question.. In my start, I will not offer landscape solutions.. I tried it earlier to learn and did a couple nice jobs but it was way too tough for me and I did not have enough experience myself to sub part of the work out. I bit off a little bit more than I could chew on those.

My advice would be to focus, learn, expand. You mention that you cut your churches 3 acre plot. I think this is a great start. My first was a friends shopping center that is on a 1/2 plot that there was not much to do but cut, trim, blow. I then picked up a few of his rental properties and as soon as I got my ZTR, I realized how differently those things can operate in a 1/2 acre plot vs. 40 x 70 lot with houses tight on either side (sometimes you have to be real careful where you discharge that grass - especially with old aluminum siding ;) ). For me, cleanups, mulch, aeration, etc are good easy services to add on to lawn care in the beginning. I personally think that fertilization is a must. But there is a ton to learn. The initial cert is pretty easy in Ohio (compared to other states - not necessarily an easy test). I do not think that I could go much deeper than that in the first 2 yrs. I would prefer to perfect that and focus on growing that business. As that grows, I would add additional lines (landscape solutions, trees, pest control, etc.). This is just a perspective on me and my goals - not to be selfish but I don't know your skills / ambitions. If you have a unique niche of services, you may be best served starting there and adding other services at time permit... just make sure that the market is ready to the extent that you think that they are for your niche services.

My thoughts on sub-contracting. If you can gain (or keep) accounts by offering services that you do not have the skill or time to complete and maintain or enhance your reputation, it seems to be a good idea. This assumes that you can do it cost effectively. If you find that area is substantial part of your business, you may want to look to bring it in-house. For me, irrigation is a perfect example. It will be necessary to sell and maintain irrigation but I have no interest in developing the business at this point. The design and installation is too complicated for me to think about now. But, if I find that I can sell in irrigation easily on installations down the road, I may bring it in-house..

Fear.. so much has been written on this.. harness your fear and let it motivate you. If you can't that may be a good warning sign. Here is a good article: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/0,4621,308680,00.html

If you get a chance, go visit another LCO in another town. Cincy, Dayton, Cleveland would all be good choices.. There was a guy on the board from Cleveland a while back that was a great resource for me (Doug.. i think his name was). Might cost you a lunch but it could be the best money spent. Sean Adams is also another great resource. Don't be afraid to email him. When I have in the past, I have always gotten a quick reliable response back.

I live in the south end and work in the north end (day job). If you ever want to get together, let me know and I will see what I can work into the schedule.

Good Luck!

buckeyes04
10-29-2004, 10:28 AM
Thanks for your patience.

I got to church with a guy that does it on the side and has done that it for years. I may have a couple other resouces that I can hook up with to help guide me.

Right now I am just going to be doing this part time. I work a full time job, but it's only 4 ten hour days a week. So that leaves me evenings, a day off during the week and Saturdays.

I probably won't bring much "in house", becaues I want to focus more on my role and what services I can do. I may sub out fertilizing and aerating, but that's about it. I'll probably do a lot of reading and studing from books between now and spring. So hopefully, I can get a big jump on things.

Thanks again.

pbillings
11-01-2004, 04:05 PM
well, you are seeking the same encouragement in another forum, so i would assume you would be interested in a constructive dialogue and not just "you can do it! atta boy! go get 'em tiger!". what good does that do you?

and yes, "give up" was sarcasm. you asked and absurd question. of course the only answer is "get out there and try. give 'em hell!".

as for city relevance, it is absolutely not irrelevant:
a.) city size can be broken down to market size
b.) workable days for lawns can help you forecast revenue. think cleveland has the same mowable days as cincy?
c.) if you want possible leads, you might try networking. great way to get additional work. especially if you are in cincy, cleveland, or columbus as i do no business there, but have loads of people that could be potential customers. thus the question of what city.

and you are rather presumptive to think that i am not currently working on any of my businesses. two run themselves, and the lawncare is ramping up right now (32 ads in various papers running this week, as well as 2 with inserts), with fall clean-ups in process and snow removal contracts being the marketing du jour. i also have the pleasure of researching this site while sitting on conference calls. so before taking that shot at me, you might realize that you are in the start-up phase and we are not. you are typical of a few on here who only want the lollipops and butterflies without going through the legwork. easier to whine about your trepidation than trying to grab what you want. but since you clearly have the start-up and marketing experience to guide you, atta boy. good luck....

tony
Hey Tony......Sounds like you know your sh__. I have put some similar threads on this website. Hopefully, I will be in the same type of lawncare situation your in now. As a newbie ( not a newbie yet ), I have butterflies in my stomach wondering how it will all pan out. I wouldn't want to sound like I was whining...I think the guy asking about the prices in the area wasn't at all a bad question. I would hope that this is what this website was for..Anyway, i think you've answered my threads will good expert advise and it was highly appreciated. I'm sure this other guy knows he has to do alot of legwork and sell himself better than anybody...........Just a word from the peanut gallery