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View Full Version : What ONE thing are you going to push for?


tiedeman
11-16-2004, 03:43 PM
What is the one thing that you guys are going to push for in the 2005 season? Higher prices, more services, dfiferent methods, etc. Just ONE thing though.

The one thing that I am going to push for is getting customers to sign up for 12 monthly flat rates. Since I will be getting out of the snow removal, I figure I really need to do this.

rodfather
11-16-2004, 03:52 PM
Mine?

Payment terms are Net 15. That means being paid by the 15 of the FOLLOWING month sir/ma'am...not any month you just happen to feel like choosing.

Another good thread bud.

twins_lawn_care
11-16-2004, 04:00 PM
going to push aerating more this coming year. working out the per hour profits of my first season, this was by far the best target. I am going to market heavily toward this one time service, as the weekly work is pretty much close to my capacity.

proenterprises
11-16-2004, 04:05 PM
i am going to really push advertising and getting ALOT more accounts.

1MajorTom
11-16-2004, 04:45 PM
Working harder to pick up more customers on the same streets that we currently are working in. The more houses that we can group together and service at one time without moving the truck, the more profit it will mean to us.

rodfather
11-16-2004, 05:01 PM
Working harder to pick up more customers on the same streets that we currently are working in. The more houses that we can group together and service at one time without moving the truck, the more profit it will mean to us.

Obviously a smart idea...but how are you going to try and accomplish this?

1MajorTom
11-16-2004, 05:09 PM
I am just going to hand select certain homes with desireable yards on the same streets we currently work on. Get their addresses, and mail out a postcard to them in early March. This will not be a big mailing.. only maybe 300 to 400 will go out. We have plenty of time in the winter to takes rides and get addresses into the neighborhoods that we want to increase service in.
Having accounts scattered all over the place is not the way to make money when being a small operation like ourselves.
And this year I noticed we lost some of our bunches due to death and moving, so I see the need to step it up and get busy getting more grouped accounts.

rodfather
11-16-2004, 05:12 PM
So, my next question Jodi is, are these props that you are targeting being maintained by the owner or by another LCO?

1MajorTom
11-16-2004, 05:21 PM
Well I would hope they are being maintained by the homeowner, it's not my gig to intentionally target someone elses accounts. See we live in an area which is comprised of MANY elderly folks. And every year, one of the elderlies will look over at his wife and say, "hun, it's time. I've done my duty, I'm no longer capable of maintaining our lawn." And at that time, I hope he has our postcard in his hand.

rodfather
11-16-2004, 05:24 PM
Good strategy...and they are the best payers too IMO. Good Luck.

1MajorTom
11-16-2004, 05:25 PM
Yes they are, no doubt about it. That's why we have very very little collection problems.

SCAG POWER
11-16-2004, 05:40 PM
First i will be sending thank you cards this next month to all my current customers. Thanking them for helping make my first season a good one. Then in the card ask for referral business since it is easyer to close this type of business.

Then it is net new adds or what people call new customers, with stronger profits built in too the various programs that i may offier.

Also i have been leaving an envlope under the door for them and the last mow of the month is when the money is do . I call them in advance add ask that they place their check in the envlope for the last cut.So far it has worked out good. payup payup

Rollacosta
11-16-2004, 05:57 PM
i intend on getting regular commercial contracts for all round grounds care and cut down on my headache tree work :)

lqmustang
11-16-2004, 06:22 PM
My main focus is to get my fert licensing over the winter, and then begin offering full service packages to my customers.

walker-talker
11-16-2004, 06:41 PM
We have plenty of time in the winter to takes rides and get addresses into the neighborhoods that we want to increase service in.
Jodi, I did this in the spring to target scalping customers. One thing that really helped was the use of a pocket tape recorder. As I drove down the street I would announce the street name....then just a list of addresses. Once you get home you can set up Excel and quickly document the information and then transfer them to mailing labels if you like. You could take it a step further and leave yourself notes on the recorder about each lawn...like fences or even quotes, if you desire. Just a tip...I will be doing the same this winter.

Kelly's Landscaping
11-16-2004, 06:54 PM
My focus this year expanding maintenance lawn cuts/fert accounts big jobs are nice but I like the steady income. I like not having to go hunting if I am hungry my goal this year is 10 k a week in lawn cuts and about 20 k a month in fert and squirt work. The other work I will do of course but I am not chasing it this year I want the safe money.

1MajorTom
11-16-2004, 06:55 PM
Jodi, I did this in the spring to target scalping customers. One thing that really helped was the use of a pocket tape recorder. As I drove down the street I would announce the street name....then just a list of addresses. Once you get home you can set up Excel and quickly document the information and then transfer them to mailing labels if you like. You could take it a step further and leave yourself notes on the recorder about each lawn...like fences or even quotes, if you desire. Just a tip...I will be doing the same this winter.

Thanks Walker Talker,
I like that idea A LOT. Thanks for sharing.

proenterprises
11-16-2004, 07:44 PM
Working harder to pick up more customers on the same streets that we currently are working in. The more houses that we can group together and service at one time without moving the truck, the more profit it will mean to us.


smart idea jodi. i would love this. i mean, being that im a student, i wont have time for a million lawns, but it would honestly be heaven on earth if i could get a street or two with upwards of 10 lawns. i could blow them out in one visit and keep travel to a minimum. thanks for the help.

Smithers
11-16-2004, 09:22 PM
Thanks, WALKER....you are the man!!!. Thank you, Jodi, as well....

your tape recorder idea will help me a lot over the winter. That's what i will be doing.

BMFD92
11-16-2004, 09:59 PM
for accounts and equipment

Jackman
11-16-2004, 10:07 PM
Nice to see you all have the drive to gain new customer that are close to your present however I hope you are respecting your fellow Lawn man and not soliciting his customers........ We have a guy up here now doing just that he is A-1 on my piece of shttt list....... Its just not right, advertise, reputation or word of mouth is rightious solitation is wrong when its another mans account.......

Kelly's Landscaping
11-16-2004, 10:38 PM
I do not target other landscaperís accounts but when we do a neighborhood that will be part of the out come. Most every account you have was someone elseís at one time or another that does not make you a piece of shtt. We all lose accounts from time to time sounds like you just lost a few. Suck it up and move on I will probably loss 20-30 accounts next season what I will not do is loss sleep over it or go around crying to the guys that get them. Nor will I lose sleep over the guys that lost the 100-150 accounts I will be adding next year. It's a free market economy your customers can leave you for some one else any time they please and I do not see anything wrong with that. Most times you get a call they had already made up their mines to dump the guy they had and you just happened to hit them at the right time with an advertisement.

That said what I will not do is quote some one a price if they are under contract with another landscaper. If they fired the guy fine I'll go for the account but if they are price shopping I do not play ball. Please try to see the difference. Also if I know the other landscaper I steer clear of the account out of respect.

breck75
11-16-2004, 11:40 PM
I am new to this, so I am going to try to get enough customers to justify a ZTR mower. Hopefully 15-20 accounts. This is not my only job so I don't want to start to big. Breck :D

Ryan Lightning
11-17-2004, 12:00 AM
Finding a good employee is on the top of my list.

alpine692003
11-17-2004, 03:11 AM
To drop all NEW residential accounts, keep the old residential accounts and only full service accounts.. THEN move on to become 90% commercial and keep existing residentials..

crawdad
11-17-2004, 05:36 AM
Nice to see you all have the drive to gain new customer that are close to your present however I hope you are respecting your fellow Lawn man and not soliciting his customers........ We have a guy up here now doing just that he is A-1 on my piece of shttt list....... Its just not right, advertise, reputation or word of mouth is rightious solitation is wrong when its another mans account.......

If I'm putting out flyers, I hit every lawn on that route that I want, unless there is a pro actually there working. I've even talked to some other LCO's, told them, "You're doing a great job, they don't need me."
I talked to one man,(obviously not a lawn company, just a guy with a couple pushmowers) he asked me how much I would get for that lawn over there, I told him I'd tell him, if he told me how much he paid for liability insurance. He didn't answer.
Crawdad

YardPro
11-17-2004, 05:56 AM
better employee retention

Jackman
11-17-2004, 09:18 AM
If I'm putting out flyers, I hit every lawn on that route that I want, unless there is a pro actually there working. I've even talked to some other LCO's, told them, "You're doing a great job, they don't need me."
I talked to one man,(obviously not a lawn company, just a guy with a couple pushmowers) he asked me how much I would get for that lawn over there, I told him I'd tell him, if he told me how much he paid for liability insurance. He didn't answer.
Crawdad

I hear ya on that, and can see that your the same as I in that you know the other lco's and have talked to them I am sure you also know which lawns they have..... Things are better for us all when we respect each other's accounts, there is plenty of work out there no need to try and take the accounts of your fellow lco....


Any way back to the original question I am pushing for new equipment and more services for the exsiting accounts that I have

impactlandscaping
11-17-2004, 09:38 AM
I'm with Rod..net fifteen means NET FIFTEEN..We have a larger commercial account that has been a client for 4 years now, who has gotten really lax with recievables. Usually they run 40 days from billing, and we get our money plus a late charge with no problem..but, ,. They haven't paid their bill since July, and owe me quite a chunk of money(Aug-Oct.).I stopped services at all of their locations a few weeks ago, and had an attorney we work for send a demand for payment letter 2 weeks ago.This is the first major problem with them , and will be the last...Next....

horseman201
11-17-2004, 11:41 AM
Mowing on a lake in our area and saw 8 people bare foot water skying behind two boats. I thought I was seeing things when I looked up and only saw two boats. I don't knowabout you, but we don't have that kind of thing happen in Middle Tennessee very often.

Smithers
11-17-2004, 06:57 PM
horseman, what does this have to do with anything we were talking about? :dizzy:

lawnranger44
11-17-2004, 11:55 PM
I'm pushing targeted advertising, hopefully by direct mail and flyers

tiedeman
11-17-2004, 11:58 PM
horseman, what does this have to do with anything we were talking about? :dizzy:

I think that it should go under the "weirdiest thing" topic :D

Lawn-Scapes
11-18-2004, 12:01 AM
Finding a good employee is on the top of my list.

Ditto.............

lawnman_scott
11-18-2004, 12:08 AM
Well I would hope they are being maintained by the homeowner, it's not my gig to intentionally target someone elses accounts. See we live in an area which is comprised of MANY elderly folks. And every year, one of the elderlies will look over at his wife and say, "hun, it's time. I've done my duty, I'm no longer capable of maintaining our lawn." And at that time, I hope he has our postcard in his hand.
Then he will drop dead. The wife will be sick of cold weather and move to FL, and call someone out of the yellow pages. That would be me. So for next year, I will just continue my ad.

LwnmwrMan22
11-18-2004, 09:44 AM
Um... I think I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum than most here.

This spring, there was a point where I was working 80 - 100 hours / week, doing maintenance. I did this, since last year I finally decided to drop my last employee after having them for 9 years. I had purchased some larger equipment and wanted to get a majority of it paid off this year.

I was able to pay off $70,000 + in debt this year on various things, now I'll have my cash flow back in order for next year.

The one thing I'm pushing for next year....



Taking the boat out, fishing with my 70 year old dad and my 3 year old son on Sunday afternoons, before I don't have the chance to.....

horseman201
11-19-2004, 08:49 AM
Sorry folks. I replied to another post and for some reason it wound up in here. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Smithers
11-19-2004, 08:52 AM
no problem, buddy.....it was just funny an unexpected.... :waving: :waving: :waving:

Roger
11-19-2004, 11:09 AM
My first priority is get out of the business and return to working at what I can do best and love, engineering.

However, being realistic and knowing nobody hires people my age, I expect to be mowing again. The best move I could make is to get a 48" w/b or stand-on mower to reduce my working hours.

An early post by Jodi, grouping customers, was the target this season and that effort was successful. I intend to do more consolidation next season.

tiedeman
11-19-2004, 11:13 AM
yup, I feel that is one of the best things you can do it group cusomters together as much as possible and reduce your travel time.

LwnmwrMan22
11-19-2004, 11:40 AM
yup, I feel that is one of the best things you can do it group cusomters together as much as possible and reduce your travel time.


Unless, you have a customer or 2 that pay for your travel time. I've got a Wal-Mart and a gas station that are both charged an extra $75 / mowing for drive time.

It was even listed in the bid as such because I did not want the properties.

The gas station I already perform services for the owners at 2 other locations, the Wal-Mart I was already in their system when the old LCO and manager had a "disagreement".

They are both 30 miles opposite directions from my home. Obviously I don't do them on the same day, but I do have routes for one day mowing in each direction.

GarPA
12-23-2004, 07:45 AM
improve EFFICIENCY..how?

-get organized and more importantly STAY organized even in the wild months when we're working 7 days a week to include:

1. get the enclosed trlr better organized and put things back where they belong...every hour of every day (oh sure..this should last about a half day)
2. generate more revenue with fewer customers (upsell all accounts)..drop mow-only customers
3. do the accounting work faithfully every week (oh sure..lol)
4. don't put off til tomorrow what you know should be done today...even the little stuff..its the little stuff that piles up and turns into big stuff
5. spend less time playing on Lawnsite and more time refining the business plan (no offense Shawn !!)
6. put "have a personal life and play golf" on my weekly schedule...and do it

good thread Tiedeman...I started a similar one here a year or 2 ago and we didnt get allot of input so maybe we can keep this one alive for a few more weeks...I'm all ears for ways to work smarter, not harder, and genereate more revenue per manhour..

Soupy
12-23-2004, 08:08 AM
If I'm putting out flyers, I hit every lawn on that route that I want, unless there is a pro actually there working. I've even talked to some other LCO's, told them, "You're doing a great job, they don't need me."
I talked to one man,(obviously not a lawn company, just a guy with a couple pushmowers) he asked me how much I would get for that lawn over there, I told him I'd tell him, if he told me how much he paid for liability insurance. He didn't answer.
Crawdad

On the rare occasion a guy ask me what I charge. I usually tell them a higher $ unless I know them and trust they won't lowball. I do this to get them thinking they are way to cheap, this will hopefully get them to raise prices were they should be. I figure they will still try to stay lower then me and that should put them just about were they really should be charging.

I did have a friend of mine (used to play ball with me) that I knew I could trust. He had some lawns next to me and when he asked me what I charged I told him (I was honest) and he was blown away by how I was getting $35 and he was only charging $20. I told him to raise his rates (I even said that if this causes them to contact me I would give them a high cost and then tell them I couldn't cut their lawn do to conflict of interest) and he did with no problems at all.

As for advertising, I blanket the neighborhood. I will take any account that calls me unless they belong to a select few. I always ask who they are currently using and if they are not on my list then I go for them. I can't help that people are interested in new service, If you are not low balling then it's not your fault if they jump ship. If the caller does have a friend using them when they call, I tell them that I can't help them and then call and report the customer to my friend.

Smithers
12-23-2004, 10:22 AM
One thing i will push for is getting more accounts starting early. I currently have only 5 accounts.

Also, i have a buddy who does only aeration and i plan on selling his services. One of my customers is an old lady that is a school teacher.....does not want anything done besides cutting grass. she is right next to another client, otherwise i'd drop her when i find more clients.

JustMowIt
12-23-2004, 11:43 AM
After 6 years of trial & error, we now have developed a volume business model that will not lose efficiency by adding customers. Pushing for a goal to increase our weekly & bi-weekly mow customers from a peak in 2004 of 2081 to 3,000 in 2005.

Smithers
12-23-2004, 11:51 AM
damn, Justmowit,

how many crews do you have? you must be a big boy, huh?

what do you mean by a "developed a volume business model that will not lose efficiency by adding customers"?

how did you do that?

Braxton
12-23-2004, 12:44 PM
Petrentz,

Here's a thread about Justmowit: http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=84975&highlight=tj+justice+justmowit

Read it, it's interesting.

Braxton

Smithers
12-23-2004, 02:09 PM
braxton, i read it....made little sense to me. i remember seeing that thread awhile back, but even then, i had no idea who or what they were talking about.

Who is Jim Lewis or whoever they were refering to? Also, they seemed to like cutting with 21"ers.....strange.

K.Carothers
12-23-2004, 02:55 PM
2 things.
1) Mulch all my accounts-zero bagging!
2) Budget my salary so it includes the off season.

redoak77
12-23-2004, 03:00 PM
I am going to get my core group of customers signed in to 12 month contracts, Hopefully.

Richard Martin
12-23-2004, 04:08 PM
I am giving serious consideration to hiring an employee. I am 1 cheap truck and a trailer away from having enough equipment for 2 crews. My gross income is within 30% of a buddy of mine who has 2 employees. I turn away enough work every year to start another crew just because I don't like the job or I am already booked up. I would probably work the employee with me for a couple/few months to get him trained and then send him out on his own on my B and C grade jobs. I was thinking about paying him/her around $10 an hour to train and then $6 an hour plus a commission based on productivity when he completes training. The commission would probably be:

Cost of job minus complete costs (including my costs to pay him the $6 an hour) divided by 2.

So if he completes a $60 job in 60 minutes:

$60 cost of job
-$18 an hour it costs me to operate (I already know this)
-$10 an hour to pay him with workers comp and SS taxes
=======
$32 divided by 2 leaves him with
$16.00 plus his $6 base pay for a total of
=======
$22.00 an hour.

Not all jobs would pay this well. Some may be better and some may be worse. It depends on how much he gets done.

GarPA
12-23-2004, 04:21 PM
good ideas Richard...I have 1 employee who has earned weekly productivity bonuses almost every week for 2 years.,,,most of it however is landscape related i.e. mulch installs, plant installs, flowers etc. On the maintenance side of things he does not earn as large a weekly bonus but he's still earning more than most of the other grunts in my area..and he's worth every penny I pay him. He does almost perfect work and is great with any customer. Given how much revenue he genereates for me he's easily worth what I pay him and probably more. I'm trying to grow him into taking over for this old guy in a couple of years...we'll see.

rodfather
12-23-2004, 04:27 PM
I'm trying to grow him into taking over for this old guy in a couple of years...we'll see.

Just because you can remember when McDonald's sold their first 100 hamburgers Gary doesn't make ya old...LOL

PMLAWN
12-23-2004, 05:26 PM
Looking to buy a piece of property so we are not so spread out. My shop is in my garage, I have 3- 10 x 20 storage units, an outdoor storage spot ( both 5 miles from the house) and I have 2 outdoor storage spots in the HOA boat storage lot. I'm doing too much running around, moving stuff, so I want to get a building/lot to keep everything at one spot. This will save me almost 1 hour of time each day that my foremen are driving.
That and add about 20% to maintenance income.

GarPA
12-24-2004, 04:16 AM
Just because you can remember when McDonald's sold their first 100 hamburgers Gary doesn't make ya old...LOL

Hey Rod...watch it old buddy...as I recall your last birthday put you in the Geezer category...