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  #11  
Old 07-07-2003, 05:11 PM
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Lawn Lizards Lawn Lizards is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 76
First of all, Jacksonville is a prime location for you to start the business. It is unbelievable how much they are building here. They are throwing houses up left and right, along with businesses, roads, etc. This is the next Los Angeles. Now is the time to get a business going in Jax.

A little history about my business to give you an idea. My friend and I started Lawn Lizards in July of 2000. We had a 1987 Ranger and used his mother-in-law's push mower and weedeater. We each spent $5.35 (total of $10.70) for 200 flyers. We rolled them up and passed them out. We ended up with 7 accounts by a few weeks into it. We spent $40 on an OLD push mower. Now we had a Ranger and 2 push mowers, etc. hahahaha We went for it, man.

We saw how it could be profitable if we invested in some decent equipment.

Those 1st 6 months, we weren't even a legit business. In November, we got the biz license and then it wasn't until February of 2001 when we put our credit together and took out a $6000 loan.

We bought a 5x8 trailor, a 48" Emark w/b, a 36" w/b, a Honda 21" push, Edger, weedeater, blower, (already had the hedge trimmer from the cash when we first started).

That's it, we hooked up to the Ranger and started. We advertised in neighborhood newsletters in Orange Park. We sent faxes to businesses, DOORHANGED like a son-of-a-b**ch!!! Dude, I tell ya what, that works.

By November, we paid off our $6000 loan. We had also, throughout the year, invested in another blower and some other small stuff.

*****The whole time, I worked as a pizza driver at Papa Johns. Perfect job for starting a business because I only worked from 5-9 at night and made good money.....
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  #12  
Old 07-07-2003, 05:33 PM
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Lawn Lizards Lawn Lizards is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 76
.......... I would work the lawn service in the day and get paid at night.

Oh, in the first year, we luckily landed a commercial account worth $975.00 per month. That is what really helped pay off the loan.
Got that from a management company lady who manages the complex I live in. (word of mouth)

So, last Spring (second year), we finally got into the Yellow Pages. We splurged ($180.00)/month advertisement. We needed it, wanted to make more $$$. The ad came out July 1st last year and by the end of July, we went from approx. 20 - 25 residential up to over 40. AND then, in August, we bid on another big commercial. 150 houses in a neighborhood association. All houses get mowed by lco. Well, we got it (same connection from the one before - now she gets us accounts). Well, that's a LOT of houses! So, we needed to finally invest again. We needed a rider. My partner knew a guy getting out of the biz and was selling a LESCO 54" rider, a 36" w/b, 5x10 trailor, and a couple crappy sticks (edger + weedeater). We got another loan and bought ALL of THAT for $5500. The rider itself was worth that.

SO, now we have a bunch of equipment to take on more work.

So the story goes on. We got the 150 houses and have done it since. Can you believe it takes us no more than 6 hours each time.

Oh, and at the same time as the loan and big account last August, we hired our first employee. We would have friends help every once in awhile and pay them cash, but we had a payroll service when we hired him.

Well, I could go on in more detail, but I will get to the point.

Here's where we stand right now. Exactly 3 years into the business. 1/2 year of getting started before being a real biz.

2 crews. w/ Dodge RAM1500 (white) and Chevy Silv. (white)
We just got both trucks, FINALLY. We have been using crappy ones. Guess what??? We only spent $12,000 on 2 trucks because one of our customers goes to the auctions and took us. CONNECTIONS will make you successful. We saved a ton of money and have awesome trucks.

2 owners
3 employees on payroll
---everyone gets paid 2 times per month. 15th and 30th
1 other helper every once in awhile, pay cash

Gross Revenue
1st year $25,499
2nd year $50,082
3rd year (so far) $45,040.14 (90% of 2002 already)

We start an account on August 1st for a home builder. 8 models, average of 25 spec homes. wkly Apr - Oct and 2x/month in winter
it's a good bit of $

So we are growing rapidly. Projected to easily break $100,000 this year. That's growth if you ask me.

Not bragging at all, just giving you some inspiration. I think it's crazy. I'm not from FL, either. I'm from Nebraska!

You can ask me whatever you would like and I will help you in any way that I can... There are PLENTY of lawns out there.... You win some and be ready to lose some, no biggy.
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  #13  
Old 07-07-2003, 06:24 PM
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Lawn Lizards Lawn Lizards is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 76
.......... I would work the lawn service in the day and get paid at night.

Oh, in the first year, we luckily landed a commercial account worth $975.00 per month. That is what really helped pay off the loan.
Got that from a management company lady who manages the complex I live in. (word of mouth)

So, last Spring (second year), we finally got into the Yellow Pages. We splurged ($180.00)/month advertisement. We needed it, wanted to make more $$$. The ad came out July 1st last year and by the end of July, we went from approx. 20 - 25 residential up to over 40. AND then, in August, we bid on another big commercial. 150 houses in a neighborhood association. All houses get mowed by lco. Well, we got it (same connection from the one before - now she gets us accounts). Well, that's a LOT of houses! So, we needed to finally invest again. We needed a rider. My partner knew a guy getting out of the biz and was selling a LESCO 54" rider, a 36" w/b, 5x10 trailor, and a couple crappy sticks (edger + weedeater). We got another loan and bought ALL of THAT for $5500. The rider itself was worth that.

SO, now we have a bunch of equipment to take on more work.

So the story goes on. We got the 150 houses and have done it since. Can you believe it takes us no more than 6 hours each time.

Oh, and at the same time as the loan and big account last August, we hired our first employee. We would have friends help every once in awhile and pay them cash, but we had a payroll service when we hired him.

Well, I could go on in more detail, but I will get to the point.

Here's where we stand right now. Exactly 3 years into the business. 1/2 year of getting started before being a real biz.

2 crews. w/ Dodge RAM1500 (white) and Chevy Silv. (white)
We just got both trucks, FINALLY. We have been using crappy ones. Guess what??? We only spent $12,000 on 2 trucks because one of our customers goes to the auctions and took us. CONNECTIONS will make you successful. We saved a ton of money and have awesome trucks.

2 owners
3 employees on payroll
---everyone gets paid 2 times per month. 15th and 30th
1 other helper every once in awhile, pay cash

Gross Revenue
1st year $25,499
2nd year $50,082
3rd year (so far) $45,040.14 (90% of 2002 already)

We start an account on August 1st for a home builder. 8 models, average of 25 spec homes. wkly Apr - Oct and 2x/month in winter
it's a good bit of $

So we are growing rapidly. Projected to easily break $100,000 this year. That's growth if you ask me.

Not bragging at all, just giving you some inspiration. I think it's crazy. I'm not from FL, either. I'm from Nebraska!

You can ask me whatever you would like and I will help you in any way that I can... There are PLENTY of lawns out there.... You win some and be ready to lose some, no biggy.
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  #14  
Old 07-08-2003, 06:01 PM
T-N-T Lawn Care T-N-T Lawn Care is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Jacksonville, Fl
Posts: 61
Lawn Lizards...

Tell me your secret! I seem to have come to a stop on gaining business here. All my customers have given thier referalls and I got most of them but not getting anywhere on flyers or more business. I tried yellow pages, one call.

Give me some tips. I would appreciate it.


I love what you told ztrguy. Great info.


Tina
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  #15  
Old 07-08-2003, 07:54 PM
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goodbeus goodbeus is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Jax., Fl.
Posts: 392
T-N-T, if I remember correctly, the bulk of your route was in Riverside..if so, let them go...to many people start there and charge next to nothing...I lost another one this week to someone cheaper..I was charging $20.00 per week, 25 min. to mow,trim,edge,blow...just a matter of time before I don't have anymore there...btw, I never got contracts or many weekly accounts in that area either...I've branched out and now only service weekly accounts and out of 86 accounts I do myself , 3/4 are contracts...
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  #16  
Old 07-08-2003, 09:09 PM
T-N-T Lawn Care T-N-T Lawn Care is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Jacksonville, Fl
Posts: 61
You know I was thinking that today as I watch a guy pushing his mower down the street with his gas can, going house to house. I should've told him to come to mine for 5 bucks. I didn't feel like doing it. Thanks for the tip. Do you use any company to help you advertise? I just don't have the time to do flyers anymore.

Tina
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  #17  
Old 07-08-2003, 09:17 PM
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goodbeus goodbeus is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Jax., Fl.
Posts: 392
I haven't marketed for 2 years now...word-of-mouth is all I use...kinda looking forward to gettin' out of Riverside just for the reason you posted...
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  #18  
Old 07-08-2003, 09:32 PM
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Lawn Lizards Lawn Lizards is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 76
Tina,

Do you concentrate in one area or do you spend a lot of driving time because you take whatever calls you get? This is a big factor. Once you start getting a few accounts on the same street or in the same general area, keep finding ways to target that area. Whether it be doorhanging the street, getting in a homeowner assoc., blah blah blah.

Another thing, make sure you have sign(s) on your trailor and truck. I see tons of lawn services going around without any kind of company name and logo. This is a must. How are you going to grow? Have a catchy logo. Something people will remember. You must spend money to make money. Be creative.

Do you have shirts? Hats? Make yourself look as professional as possible within your finances. It IS important.

Please tell me a little more about your business. If I can understand how you run everything, then I can see what areas of your business that may need a little help.
I am pro-entrepreneur. I will totally help you with your success in any way I can. I love sharing my experiences to help others succeed. Your contacts make you successful. Since I have been on this forum, I have learned so many little things and also verified many things that I already did a certain way. It's so cool.

Anyway, gotta get going for now. Have a great day tomorrow. I am up at 5:45am to be able to start the rider at 7:15. Mowing that neighborhood tomorrow. 150 houses. Crazy huh?

Later!
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  #19  
Old 07-08-2003, 09:36 PM
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Lawn Lizards Lawn Lizards is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 76
Oh, by the way, you asked what my secret is.

Well, if I had to sum it up really quick, it would be spending time at my desk whenever I am home and am not occupied with other things. Thinking is key. I am constantly thinking about my biz and what I need to get done to stay efficient. It's fun. The more organized you are in every aspect of your business, the more money you will make in the long run. Plus, you will be able to teach someone your job way down the road and be able to do other things while business is working for you.

I mean, that's the ultimate goal isn't it? That's why we started businesses, right?
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  #20  
Old 07-09-2003, 08:09 AM
T-N-T Lawn Care T-N-T Lawn Care is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Jacksonville, Fl
Posts: 61
lawn lizards.....

I have everything but the slogan. That's a good idea. As for targeting areas. Pretty much. I was targeting Riverside, but as you can see from the post above, that's not panning out. Too many bums. My schedule is this pretty much. A full day in these neighborhoods. Monday-Riverside Tuesday-Riverside Wednesday- Julington Creek Thursday-Baymeadows and Fridays-Arlington. I'm usually done by 5:00. I want to add more to expand some. I think I may be just targeting the wrong neighborhoods. The #1 comment I hear is you are to expensive. I charge $30-35 per service. I do believe that is average. I did have several commercial bids this year. Out of five I got one. One was the Best Buys in Jax and Organge Park, I thought my price was on fair side, but turns out someone bid a lot less than me and won the bid. They are pretty good sized lots. Not including the mulch in those places. The other was the Fuller Warren Building same thing. There was hardly any grass but hundreds of hedges and lots of mulch. I havn't mastered the commercial bids yet. I guess. I have somewhat gotten discouraged this year. I love what I do and am darn good at it.

I want your attitude(what i once had) back about the business.


Tina
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