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  #1  
Old 11-09-2011, 09:48 PM
ekbaker ekbaker is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Lawrenceburg, IN
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Going all in!

Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum and this is my first post. I have been reading the threads and have learned a lot from you all.

My husband has been in the lawn mowing business for fourteen years. Although he would like for it to be his sole income, he just hasn't marketed himself to obtain any more than part time work. Over the course of the past couple of years he has lost clients because of deaths, not bidding on bigger accounts or the accounts are too far away to be worth his time/gas.

It has come to a time where he needs to decide if this is what he wants to do or not. He sees the potential for growth, but his pessimism gets the best of him. All he knows is the work.. And he's great at it! Every lawn he touches is beautiful and really shines against the neighboring properties.

After talking to him for hours at a time, we figured out that what he needs is for someone to do the marketing, find the leads, make the phone calls, do the bookkeeping etc. That's where I come in.

So... now we are going all in! His goal is to do this full time in 2012. We are so excited about our bright, limitless future! With that being said, here is where we're at.... Have logos-check, business cards-check, letterhead-check, envelopes, tshirts and decals-check, database with friends, family, acquaintances, past accounts, current accounts-check, already obtaining leads-check.... We will be going to get mowing insurance again and checking with D.O.T. to see if we need #s. We have a lot of the no brainers covered. We plan to market, market, market over the winter season.

Here's my dilemma... I know nothing about the mowing business. Marketing, bookkeeping, letter writing, client retention; that's my forte. But knowing where to look for companies seeking bids is the problem. Once I find the work to bid on, my husband will do the # crunching, the measuring, and the eyeballing to come up to a decent price. He told me that the contracts go up for bids early in the year and to watch the paper. Really? The paper? Isn't this 2011? The local paper can't be the best advertising resource.

My question to you... Where do you learn about contracts going up for bid? Any assistance is appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2011, 10:08 PM
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Greyst1 Greyst1 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekbaker View Post
Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum and this is my first post. I have been reading the threads and have learned a lot from you all.

My husband has been in the lawn mowing business for fourteen years. Although he would like for it to be his sole income, he just hasn't marketed himself to obtain any more than part time work. Over the course of the past couple of years he has lost clients because of deaths, not bidding on bigger accounts or the accounts are too far away to be worth his time/gas.

It has come to a time where he needs to decide if this is what he wants to do or not. He sees the potential for growth, but his pessimism gets the best of him. All he knows is the work.. And he's great at it! Every lawn he touches is beautiful and really shines against the neighboring properties.

After talking to him for hours at a time, we figured out that what he needs is for someone to do the marketing, find the leads, make the phone calls, do the bookkeeping etc. That's where I come in.

So... now we are going all in! His goal is to do this full time in 2012. We are so excited about our bright, limitless future! With that being said, here is where we're at.... Have logos-check, business cards-check, letterhead-check, envelopes, tshirts and decals-check, database with friends, family, acquaintances, past accounts, current accounts-check, already obtaining leads-check.... We will be going to get mowing insurance again and checking with D.O.T. to see if we need #s. We have a lot of the no brainers covered. We plan to market, market, market over the winter season.

Here's my dilemma... I know nothing about the mowing business. Marketing, bookkeeping, letter writing, client retention; that's my forte. But knowing where to look for companies seeking bids is the problem. Once I find the work to bid on, my husband will do the # crunching, the measuring, and the eyeballing to come up to a decent price. He told me that the contracts go up for bids early in the year and to watch the paper. Really? The paper? Isn't this 2011? The local paper can't be the best advertising resource.

My question to you... Where do you learn about contracts going up for bid? Any assistance is appreciated!
I use the newspaper and it has served me well. I hear and believe that websites are more producing than the NP. I also hit the pavement. I feel like it keeps me closer to the loop. The loop is where you need to be, getting there is the challenge.
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2011, 10:16 PM
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cpllawncare cpllawncare is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Greenville, SC
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Go to your local Score office, Chamber of commerce, BBB, SBA someone should be able to help you or at least point you in the right direction. Also try your local gov't offices,

Last edited by cpllawncare; 11-09-2011 at 10:21 PM.
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  #4  
Old 11-09-2011, 10:20 PM
SDLandscapes VT SDLandscapes VT is offline
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network network network

it's not what you know it's who you know.......
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  #5  
Old 11-09-2011, 10:24 PM
HPSInc HPSInc is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Buffalo, NY
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Locate property management companies in your area. see if they have anything to bid. They will tell you what they have and when the current contracts end etc. they are the ones who oversee and keep things running smoothly for the commercial properties you want. some are small places where you can get away with one or two workers tending the property with basic equipment or you have some where you would need a decent amount of men/equipment to handle the job. . or sign up for you states bid list. you can then bid commercial state work. atleast thats how it is here in NY. you can bid work on all state homes and agencies. I have two small commercial accounts and both pay 10 grand a year with raises already included each year for a 3 year contract. They are the smallest two commercial accounts the property management company i work with has. Their largest accounts pay 100k per year for mowing/maintenance/snow removal. With more accounts you could shake a stick at in the 20-50k range. I work solo and can mow my two small accounts the same day by myself about 1.5 hours each place. obviously thats once i have got the places clean and its just routine mowing, trimming, edging and blowing off. But weeding the beds can add another halfy and if im not in a rush i walk around and nit-pick and detail the places up. so even at 2 hours a week its a good pay day. They pay me 1 time each month. In the middle of the month. the only kicker is you need good insurance and workers comp. but the steady work/pay IMO makes up for it. plus it opens up the window to bid all the extras a place would want. mulch jobs,soil repair, plants etc. Your talking thousands in extras.
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  #6  
Old 11-09-2011, 10:24 PM
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LawnoftheMonth LawnoftheMonth is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Houston, Tx
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My business is more residential so I can't help you on commercial contracts but I wanted to say best of luck in 2012 to you

I never bothered with the NP or YP, just google adwords, doorhangers and word of mouth has worked for me.
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  #7  
Old 11-09-2011, 10:40 PM
ekbaker ekbaker is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Lawrenceburg, IN
Posts: 4
These are such great suggestions.

We live in a small town (Lawrenceburg, IN), where everyone knows everyone! Sometimes that's negative, but in this case it can really work to our advantage. I have already in just a couple of days, received some great referrals. One being a roofer, that has some residential income producing properties. Another that is in the property management bus. with properties from Cincinnati to Louisville. My neighbor is on the school board and seems to be willing to help us out there. My husband worked as a volunteer fire fighter and then part time, so he knows some folks in the city.

I appreciate the suggestion about the chamber of commerce, and BBB, etc. Those are some awesome suggestions. I also was very excited to see that we may be able to get on a list through the state... I am definitely going to check that out!!

Networking: I'm thinking about getting with a referral group. What do you all think about that? Is it a waste of time? Or do you think it would be beneficial?
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  #8  
Old 11-09-2011, 10:45 PM
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cpllawncare cpllawncare is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Greenville, SC
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Everybody says word of mouth!!!! yada yada yda!!!!!!!!!! That's not how you get started, it's too slow if your trying to build a business from the ground up, Eventually YES word of mouth works, but in the beginning you have to focus on getting your name out there, door hangers, getting in people's face, talking to people on a daily bases, post card campaign's, driving around knocking on doors, these types of things first, then you can settle back and rely on word of mouth. I wish people would quit telling the new guys to start work on word of mouth! Sorry for hijacking the thread just had to get that out LOL
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  #9  
Old 11-10-2011, 12:48 AM
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jequigle jequigle is online now
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Location: Kingston, NY
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Is the business registered as an LLC? Do you have licenses needed for the cities or towns you will be doing business in?
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  #10  
Old 11-10-2011, 07:43 AM
ekbaker ekbaker is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Lawrenceburg, IN
Posts: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpllawncare View Post
Everybody says word of mouth!!!! yada yada yda!!!!!!!!!! That's not how you get started, it's too slow if your trying to build a business from the ground up, Eventually YES word of mouth works, but in the beginning you have to focus on getting your name out there, door hangers, getting in people's face, talking to people on a daily bases, post card campaign's, driving around knocking on doors, these types of things first, then you can settle back and rely on word of mouth. I wish people would quit telling the new guys to start work on word of mouth! Sorry for hijacking the thread just had to get that out LOL
You are so right about this!! I was in the real estate biz for five years. It was the same way, as is with every entrepreneur. This is exactly where I am starting. We are going to market the heck out of it for the next couple of months.

Thank you for your comment.
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