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wrestlingcoach
02-02-2005, 12:18 PM
Coach’s Lawn Service - Business Plan

Description of Business:
Coach’s Lawn Service Company is an established quality lawn maintenance service. Coach’s Lawn Service is a partnership of Steve Anderson and Earl Shockley. The company has been in business for 7 years and all equipment has been paid for in full. Our services include mowing, trimming and edging the property while blowing off adjacent sidewalks, street and driveways. The service is high quality and consistent “same day of the week” service. Coach’s Lawn Service has 35 residential accounts in the town of Sand Springs and west Tulsa, while we have 4 commercial accounts in Tulsa.

Marketing:
Several different avenues will be taken to market our service.
1. We have already purchased a listing in the Hometown Directory of Sand Springs for $70.
2. During the mowing season from March 15 to June 30, we will purchase a classified ad in the Sapulpa Herald and the Sand Springs Leader, which will be $120 each.
3. We have already purchased 10,000 fliers to distribute to target neighborhoods at a cost of $225. With a ½% rate of success, we plan on adding 50 new cookie cutter yard accounts.
4. We are in talks with an established lawn business in Sapulpa, which is 12 miles south of Sand Springs. We are planning to buy his equipment $4-6,000. The purchase would also include 18 accounts in Sapulpa and 1 in Sand Springs for no extra cost but with no guarantee that the customers will stay with us. The equipment list to be purchased: 61” ZTR, 33”ZTR, 16’trailer with electric brakes, 2 push mowers and variety of handheld equipment (the exact details or still in the air).

Our Competition:
There are 5-8 different lawn service companies in our area. Some are “Mow and Blow” companies that only provide the most basic services. Most of these companies have low cost pricing and provide shabby and untimely service. The “Full Service” companies provide mowing, shrub maintenance and chemical applications to the lawn. The “Full Service” companies usually have higher prices and are on yearly contracts.

Business Philosophy:
Our general business philosophy is that we will pay CASH for everything. We have produced a profit each year of our business. Last year we had a 13% profit even after buying $23,000 in new equipment. We will not be in debt!

Operating Procedures:
Since Coach’s Lawn Service is a partnership of Steve Anderson and Earl Shockley, all major decisions will be made with a unanimous vote of these two such as equipment purchases or major job bids. The general operation of the business will be left to the judgment of one of the two for on-site decisions of the job. This year we are planning to run 2 crews during the summer with the following set-up:
Crew 1 - big properties Crew 2 – little properties
Lead by an owner w/ 1 or 2 helpers Lead by an owner w/ 1 helper
Company ¾ ton truck Company ½ ton truck
16’ trailer 12’ trailer
61’ Scag turf tiger 44” Toro walk behind
52” Toro walk behind 32” Toro walk behind
36” John Deere walk behind 21” Push mower
2 shindaiwa trimmers 2 shindaiwa trimmers
1 Stihl edger 1 Stihl edger
1 Stihl blower 1 Stihl blower



Business Billing Procedures:
The income and expenses will be kept on computer using Medlin Accounting software. The two owners will make the daily entries. The invoicing / billing will be mailed at the end of the month.

Personnel:
We already have 3 part-time employees, which 2 of them worked with us last summer majority of the time. The third employee helped out on the major commercial account one day a week when all five of us did it together. The company plans of hiring 2-4 more employees so that the 2 original helpers can become crew leaders and the 2 owners step out of the daily maintenance work and just manage the business.

“Service Guidelines” for our customers:
1. Standard Service: Mow, trim, edge lawn and blow off sidewalks and street.
2. Day & time of mowing: We usually work Tuesday through Saturday. We are in certain areas during certain days of the week. We will usually mow your lawn that particular day of the week. Since both Steve and I are teachers and coaches, our schedules are usually the same. But if for some reason we cannot mow that day we will call and reschedule the next day. Remember if it is pouring rain, we will reschedule the next day.
3. Wet Grass: Our commercial equipment will cut wet grass easily. After a rain or heavy dew, we will be mowing. Our biggest concern is not to rut your lawn. If you request us not to mow your lawn because of heavy rain or dew, we may not be able to get to it until the following week.
4. Rain: We try to finish our routes each day unless it is pouring rain. When there is a light mist or sprinkles, we will be mowing. If it is pouring rain, we will reschedule the next day, so that means we may be one day later than normal if there is a rain delay in the middle of the week.
5. Payment: You may pay by cash or check. Several of our clients put cash under a mat or in the grill, if they are not home. We can bill you at the end of the month. We will send an invoice to your home, and we expect payment within 2 weeks or services be suspended.
6. Prices: Prices are based upon your lot sizes, accessibility and easiness. Since we use major commercial equipment the gate size is a major concern. If we use a bigger mower the amount of time is a lot less and you pay less money. The price is also based upon just plain discharging of the grass, no bagging or mulching.
7. Damage: If we damage something on your property, you must let us know within 2 days and we will be glad to fix it. If it’s a major thing, our liability insurance will cover it.
8. Complaints: If our work is not satisfactory, please let us know in 24 hours. We will come back and correct the mistake. Remember the only way we can know if there is a problem is by communication, so by all means call.
9. Skips: You may want to skip a mowing because of some reason. You must notify us preferably by 24-48 hours. Remember if you are a weekly client and skip more than 3 times, the price will increase $5.
10. Cancellations: We do not have contracts. We will mow your lawn from week to week and year to year. But if you want to cancel our services, please call us. Also if you cancel before the 5-trip minimum, then the one-time mowing rate will apply.
11. Flowerbeds, hedges & odd jobs: These are available at an extra charge. We can give a one-time bid or bill out at $25 per man per hour.

Future Expenses, Plans and Ideas:
1. Renew business liability insurance in July, $1,000.
2. Renew workers compensation in April, $1,200 and to finish paying this year’s off, $400.
3. Renew commercial truck liability, $1,200 in March.
4. Add ¾ ton 1985 GMC quad Cab truck, already put $200 deposit on it and owing $1200 on February 15.
5. Buying established lawn business in Sapulpa for $4-6,000.
6. Fix / weld all trailers, free cost just us welding.
7. Have employees pass out fliers.

wrestlingcoach
02-02-2005, 12:26 PM
Crew 1 - big properties Crew 2 – little properties
Lead by an owner w/ 1 or 2 helpers Lead by an owner w/ 1 helper
Company ¾ ton truck Company ½ ton truck
16’ trailer 12’ trailer
61’ Scag turf tiger 44” Toro walk behind
52” Toro walk behind 32” Toro walk behind
36” John Deere walk behind 21” Push mower
2 shindaiwa trimmers 2 shindaiwa trimmers
1 Stihl edger 1 Stihl edger
1 Stihl blower 1 Stihl blower

MMLawn
02-02-2005, 12:37 PM
It doesn't look like to me what you have put together is a "business plan". What it appears to me is a "Fact Sheet" for your business that also includes very short term wants/goals (within the next few months) and it also looks as a guideline sheet ,maybe for your customers? Most business plans are much more detailed and have both long term and short term goals for the company.

What exactly is the purpose of this sheet to be able to give more comment?

FrankenScagMachines
02-02-2005, 12:40 PM
That looks great Coach! I really like that a lot. I will be doing something similar soon. I like the way you two are focused and know what you are shooting for and planned out. Thats exactly what every business needs. The last two seasons, I have been small time and played by ear, taking what I could get and doing everything I could in the amount of time and money allotted. This season, as I graduate and go full time, there are several goals I would like to reach, and a business plan is the only way to define your business and it's goals.
Thanks for the encouragement and sharing that with us! I really had no idea how to write a business plan, I am ashamed to admit but it is true.
Thanks,
Eric

On edit: I gather that you are not showing this to customers. If so, there are several things I would edit out. If you want my opinions let me know.

marko
02-02-2005, 12:53 PM
Just read your rules and they sound fairly straight forward. I am doing something along these lines this year (pre priced mowing for particular lot sizes) I would loose the large equipment statement #6 and re-word it to say if our equipment can not fit.... or something like that. A lot of people do not care for a big ZTR on their small cookie cutter lawns. Most also could care less on the details of why your mower wont fit through their gate, they just want the price. My attitude is going to be high volume, and the approach that I am the pro, I know what Im doing and I will cut your yard when I need to. If its raining and Im cutting, then dont even ask, it's ok to cut. In the past checks were a PITA for me (200 client base fert and squirt only) and going to the bank every day or so, chasing late payers etc. I am going to try cash same day of service or credit card only. This might help out a bit for you since it seems your time is valuable while you are mowing since you teach and coach as well. Do you really need to buy the lawn care company and MORE mowers? Could you do some HEAVY advertising in your exsisting route and try to get more same street/same routes accounts? 18 accounts is not a whole lot, and it will be taking you out of the area by 15+ miles, especially if you cant do them all in a day and have to go back. Good luck in your endevor and keep us posted. Sounds like you have a plan and goal so that is half the battle.

tonygreek
02-02-2005, 12:54 PM
i'll agree with mmlawn. what you have is your 2005 operation statement, which is great if that's what the intent is.

a business plan is more like your current and long-term guidance. basically, something that you can review now and again to make sure you are not straying too far off of your intended path and are meeting or exceeding your various goals.

one thing that stood out was something as seemingly innocuous as the welding comment: "free cost just us welding"
you have to view everything with some associated cost so that you are fully aware of the impact. for my, i try to do everthing on my own once, so that i know what the reality of my time cost is. recently, i replumbed by bathroom due to ancient pipes. i did it on my own, but it took 5 times as long as a plumber would have. my time cost was significantly higher than if i would have just hired a guy to do it in the first place. if this was taking away from my actual business work, i'd be operating at a loss.

"Last year we had a 13% profit even after buying $23,000 in new equipment."
was this after your salary? i saw nothing in the above re: your compensation structure, so i just wanted to be sure you are accurately viewing profit. if you've come this far, i'll assume you know the definition of profit, so just making sure.

chefdrp
02-02-2005, 01:21 PM
if you are showing this to cliens and future clients i wouldnt show them all your earning things and purchaces. They dont need to know that.

Green-Pro
02-02-2005, 02:06 PM
I agree with MMLawn & Tony, it looks good and well thought out, but only in terms of goals as they relate to the current business year. Go to www.score.org or www.sba.org, and check out the sample business plans they have online and you will see the difference between yours and what these folks recommend. Detailed business plans for your personal use or to obtain financial backing can be quite long (rewriting/tweaking mine & it's 40 pages, double spaced, not complete). I had one I completed, for personal use not financial backing, personal use IMO should be just as detailed, it should be treated as a living document to help guide your business and help point out where adjustments possibly need to be made. You guys are certainly doing the right things as far as initiating a plan though, good work coach. :waving:

-Geoff

Runner
02-02-2005, 02:48 PM
Actually, I don't think that this was intended for the customers. It looks like it is just a summary for us to review for input. It is closer to a fact sheet than a business plan, however it has some business plan traits to it here and there. The only part that is actually intended for customers is probably the section that reads "“Service Guidelines” for our customers:"

There are a few things that I noticed that may bring up future concern, or that may want to be considred ahead of time. The first one was where I read;

Business Billing Procedures:
The income and expenses will be kept on computer using Medlin Accounting software. The two owners will make the daily entries. The invoicing / billing will be mailed at the end of the month.

The part that raises the red flag is "The two owners will make the daily entries."
This is a recipe for crossed lines, potential for either double billing or wasted time with overlapping, or worse yet, something getting missed. Now, there is no problem with both of you REVIEWING the entries, but it is much more eficient if only one is doing the entries...better focus, and knowing what's going on.
Second, is your "payment methods". It is written as:

5. Payment: You may pay by cash or check. Several of our clients put cash under a mat or in the grill, if they are not home. We can bill you at the end of the month. We will send an invoice to your home, and we expect payment within 2 weeks or services be suspended.
As a professional service, skip the "putting the cash under the doormat or grill" routine. Save that for the paperboy or the kid down the street. Tru-green doesn't do it, the cable company doesn't do it, and the electric company doesn't do it (otherwise, they would just have the meter readers lifting doormats all over the city).

Also, your damage info on your customer guidelines could use a bit of revising. It reads as...

7. Damage: If we damage something on your property, you must let us know within 2 days and we will be glad to fix it. If it’s a major thing, our liability insurance will cover it.

The part of you saying "you must let us know within 2 days" is basically a waste of ink, because it is bunk (no offense :)). There is no close timeline as to information of damage. If Mr. Jones doesn't walk around the back of his shed for two weeks before discovering that one of your guys ripped his downspout off with a mowerdeck, it doesn't change the fact that it still happened.
Also, within this same statement, don't mention freely that "If it’s a major thing, our liability insurance will cover it."
Having insurance is a great thing. Mentioning to your customers at some point (if necessary) is ok, too. However, don't try to drill it home to them that everything will just be covered, because you can open yourself up to more claims by "invitation" that way.
Anyhow, it sounds like you guys have good thing going, and I wish you all the best of luck not only in this upcoming season, but all others to follow.

Precision
02-02-2005, 08:26 PM
Two things that have already been mentioned but bear repeating.

Pay yourself first and pay yourselves for your time, especially now that you are trying to bow out of the mowing. Otherwise you will end up running a company for free.

NEVER ever tell or worse yet put in writing that your insurance will pay for something. First off it might not and secondly if you have that in a contract or the client quotes you as saying "don't worry my isurance will cover that" they may deny the claim. Insurance guys are weasels and they might just say you were in collusion to defraud based on your statements.

Otherwise you have thought out the now rather well. But don't be deluded into thinking that is a business plan. That is more of an outline of what you have and some ideas as to what the near future might bring. Still way more than most people have, so good for you.

stumper1620
02-02-2005, 08:42 PM
Runner made some great points,
Its been pointed out but I just thought I'd mention this is more like a one year business outline for the partnership but a true business plan should have your intentions & goals for a minimmum of 5 years, My own personal opinion is set that 5 yesr goal high. if in 2 yrs you are not at the 2 year goal, adjust the time line but not the overall goal.
just my .02 :waving:

DennisF
02-02-2005, 09:47 PM
If you are going to present this to customers then you need to drop the statement about major damage to property and that your insurance will pay. That is an invitation to a lawsuit. Some people will read that as a quick way to some easy money. The last thing you need is a customer or two filing an insurance claim on you. You could quickly find your business un-insurable, which would put you out of business. JMO.

tonygreek
02-02-2005, 10:25 PM
i think we can safely assume that this is not meant for customers...

deereman
02-02-2005, 10:44 PM
Out of all the letters that I have read that are similar to yours , I would have to say that you have given this some serious thought. I applaud you for that simple reason. I have read some things that people wrote and I think to myself how could they run a company? Good luck on your venture hope all works well for you, however I think that I would raise my man hour wage , With all that insurance costs , fuel, and just wear and tear. Not to mention the company must make a profit , even if you are debt free this is very important if these are long term goals . for that sake even if they were short term goals you still need to turn a profit. good luck...................... :)

wrestlingcoach
02-03-2005, 12:14 AM
Thanks for the comments.

This mainly for for me and my partner to have in front of us for next year's plan.

Now the "service guidelines" I plan on giving to new customers with some NEW additions and deleting a few lines from the above mentioned suggestions.

I realize now that this is way short of a full business plan. I have been looking at some on the internet from other type of businesses but I have not found an example of lawn maintenance.


Just wondering if someone out there could share their business plan with us.


The above post is really making me think what do I need to plan on in 5 years.

thank you for any other suggestions

Green-Pro
02-03-2005, 12:41 AM
Just wondering if someone out there could share their business plan with us.

Coach, if what you are looking for is an example of a business plan, again I would highly recommend checking out www.score.org & www.sba.org. These two sites have full, complete business plans. In addition to that you may want to consider investigating a bit more by actually visiting a local score chapter, score is comprised of volunteers that are retired business men and women, they posses a wealth of information and are willing to look over documents presented to them such as business plans, and offer constructive criticism. Best of all as far as I am aware they are a free service comprised of volunteers.

Good Luck,

-Geoff

Eho
03-02-2005, 01:26 PM
Just wondering, if you guys are teachers, do you mow all of these in afterschool hours? How do you have time to mow and teach? What are your hours. Thanks
Eho