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Old 04-30-2014, 12:19 PM
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BLC14 BLC14 is offline
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Nazareth, Pennsylvania
Posts: 108
First year flop

I'm just going to get started by giving a little background on me and what I've been doing. Throughout high school I worked for a landscaping/snow removal company. Now from since I was just a kid I had a dream about owning a law care business. so I figured working (part time)through high school for a company id gain the general experience/knowledge to get my own business going. So since the day I graduated high school which is 2 years ago now,I worked full time for a farm down by my house, learned a lot more then I expected about well everything while being able to stock pile the cash to start my business. So this year I wanted to take the plunge and get into this as my primary job. I bought the mower last January because I got a steal on it and had some family members asking for me to do there mowing. Last year I worked full time and did work them on the side. Ive got a part time job delivering pizzas( I hate it) and was hoping to be able to acquire enough yards this year to drop it. Then comes the advertising, I was weighing out options on what to do and what would get the most attention. I went with post cards and did the EDDM. expensive but if I got one customer it was all paid off in the year. I sent out 2500 of them to a localized area and got 5 calls back. 3 for mowing estimates, one for lawn installs(don't do that) and one for mulching. Didn't land any of them, but I was able to get a fairly decent sized commercial property. So now here I am with 4 weekly mowing accounts and one mulch job lined up and its hard to not feel discouraged right now by this first year. In general i'm just asking for some opinions on what I can do to acquire more customers and get my name out there. also just your guys input on the situation would be much appreciated. I just have this feeling that this first year is already a failure. Thanks in advance
2005 Chevy Silverado
Carry-on 6x10 trailer
Exmark Lazer Z X-series 27hp Kohler 60"
Toro 22" push mower
Echo handhelds
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:50 PM
TuffTurfLawnCare TuffTurfLawnCare is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Pittsburgh (South Hills)
Posts: 670
Do good work. Always leave your properties in perfect shape. Always smile and say hi to who ever see while at a customers property. As long as you present yourself as professional, clean and well spoken you should have no problem getting neighbors of current clients. Smile. Alot. even if no one is looking, remember, someone is ALWAYS looking.

If you need more customers in a hurry, you better get to advertising. Get door hangers made and put them out. More EDDM, fliers, etc. Sitting at home on LS isn't advertising. Get out there and go get your customer. Put your business cards in every pizza you deliver.
Just like everyone else on here, I have stuff that cuts, whacks, mows and blows. And way to haul it around.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:10 PM
HPSInc HPSInc is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 701
just because you don't fill your year up with work from the start doesn't mean you cant stay busy all year. I had a slow first year but picked up jobs along the way through referrals and just being seen working. Building a biz takes time.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:15 PM
larryinalabama larryinalabama is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ragland Al
Posts: 15,139
It took me 3 years to get a full schedule, hang in there.
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:04 PM
tiffanii tiffanii is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Chicago IL
Posts: 7
Any and every business, no matter if it is in the lawn/landscape industry or not, should have the mindset of "We are a marketing company, that does landscaping. We are a marketing company that does lawn care". Once you have the mindset of marketing yourself first and foremost, you'll be selling yourself and not just what you do. Create a brand, a logo, a catch phrase. Get certified and educated in as much as you can. Reach out and try to find a mentor in the industry. Go out and meet people face-to-face. There are hundreds of small companies and solo guys out there that are doing the same as you. If you want to stand out among the rest, do something to stand out among the rest. If you have a passion for lawn care/landscaping but not a passion business, then go work for a landscaping company. Read, a lot. Do your research. Read about entrepreneurs and read the books that they're reading. Look into snow removal for the winter, and holiday decorating/lighting. Many new guys don't start growing until a few years in. Don't let that discourage you. Organize what you want to do, what you want to accomplish and where you see yourself 10 years from now, 5 years from now, 6 months from now and plan it all out. Have a plan A, B, C and D. Good luck!!
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:20 PM
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Dr. Cornwallis Dr. Cornwallis is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Valrico, Fl
Posts: 843
You haven't flopped. It takes a couple years to build a business thats really turning a profit. As others have said, present your self as a professional and do the best work around, people will come with time.
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:33 PM
32vld 32vld is offline
LawnSite Gold Member
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 3,976
I had 4 customers my first year. I am starting my 4th year and it was worth the wait. Remember it is not about how full the schedule is. Rather that the customers you have are good ones.

Then you will have a decent gross.

You will hear this often that it takes 3 years for a business to take off.

EDDM is not cheap. Not saying do not do EDDM. Saying find more ways to advertise. The number of responses that you got from 2,500 pieces is about normal.

So you need to reach a lot more people. Also you are doing good if you get half the jobs that you estimate. Remember if you are getting every job your prices are too low.

You are having a normal start.
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:48 PM
windflower windflower is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: wilmington nc
Posts: 1,077
Might do some cold calling (sales pitch) at properties you would like to take care of. All they can do is say no thanks. Even with advertising a high percentage of new work will come from referrals. Hang in there, sounds pretty normal for a small business start up.
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:51 PM
jcory430 jcory430 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Middle, Ga.
Posts: 11
Craig's list is your friend. I have gotten a good amount of business there. Some great accounts, some not so great accounts. But the money still spends.

Last edited by jcory430; 04-30-2014 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:44 AM
32vld 32vld is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 3,976
Originally Posted by jcory430 View Post
Craig's list is your friend. I have gotten a good amount of business there. Some great accounts, some not so great accounts. But the money still spends.
CL only gets bottom feeder's where I am.
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