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A little nervous - what to expect?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by bluestempm, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. bluestempm

    bluestempm LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    I have everything set up and ready to go, all of my equipment is purchased and my flyers are going out Tuesday. Business is registered and insured now I just need the work.

    Like the title says I'm just getting a little nervous and wondering what I should expect.

    I have 3500 flyers going out and probably 3000 more by the end of next week. Iv received about 3 flyers from competition already, however the snow is still on the ground and temperatures are just starting to stay warm enough to speed things up. Hope I'm not too late.

    Hoping to get 20 or more weekly contracts signed in order to make this work. Also I know I will get some one time jobs to help me out.

    What do you guys think I should expect in terms of response from my flyers? is 20 contracts a reasonable expectation for someone's first year in the business? I think Im going to make out all right just nervous/anxious/excited all at the same time!
  2. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Posts: 2,574

    Do you have the equipment to service the type of clients you sent letters out to, or did you just get a bunch of zip codes and sent fliers to everyone?

    I've heard stories of startup guys sending out fliers and get calls from landowners with 5+ acres to cut when all the guy has to cut with is a 48" mower.

    I know you have to get your name out there, but practice quality work, no BS, and be honest with yourself and others on what you can/cannot do. Your reputation will build your clients to the type you want to have, not begging for the "who cares how it looks" crowd.
  3. Utah Lawn Care

    Utah Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,399

    I can tell you I sent out 1800 post cards and got 2 new clients. I put out several hundred door hangers last year and got 0 new clients. This year I have put out hundreds of door hangers and got 0 new clients. I have got some aeration, and 1 time jobs but that's not really what I am looking for. I put a half page thing in the local coupon clipper going out to 18k homes. I have got 1 new clients from it this year. I guess my point is that there is a lot of competition out there. It's possible you may meet your goals, but where I live you would have to hit 10,000 homes with marketing pieces 5 different times to get 20 clients.
  4. bluestempm

    bluestempm LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    The flyers were targeted to a neighborhood which is a 2 minute drive from my location. Demographics selected were senior owned homes with an above average income. I know the neighborhood quite well and know that I will be able to service any property in there with no problem, given the equipment I have.

    I have handed out flyers myself, no where near as many, and have had response. Maybe its different up here, fingers crossed.

    As far as other means of getting work, I have an ad running in the community newspaper, it will be up for a month next week, and I have gotten MAYBE one phone call from that. Any other options I might have overlooked?
  5. TheLugNutZ

    TheLugNutZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 410

    craigs list, facebook, google, webpage
  6. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,439

    Agreed. Even if you don't have a web site (yet), claim every bit of available online real estate that you can. Create your free Google/Bing/Yahoo Local pages, Facebook Page, etc.

    For a great list to get you going, hit https://moz.com/local/search (formerly getListed.org - moz recently acquired them) and you're on your way.
  7. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    If you still have snow on the ground you will have a short growing season compared to many members to your south. That said as you become more familiar with the neighborhoods you have customers in as long as you do the best job you can and be honest with your customers no amount of additional advertising will compare to the response you will have from a happy customer. All the best.
    easy-lift guy
  8. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,669

    There was a time when we all basically used 48's to cut 5 acres.

    There wasn't always ZTRs ya know.

    Very few companies that weren't regional or national companies actually ran to big Toro Groundsmasters, Howard Price and Excel WAMs, even fewer outfits that owned those mowers would bother to cut residentials.

    Sure, the three wheel STHM types were semi common… but there were plenty of dudes out there with 48s

    I STILL see guys with 21's cutting an acre…makes me cry.
  9. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Posts: 2,574

    We were in that boat until about 8 years ago, not on a professional side but personal.... My grandparents have around 460 acre farm, with about 12 acres of "yard". On the weekends there was usually myself, my dad and grandpa on anything from a 38" Dynamark to 44" Murray... Those were the days! hahaha. Then my grandpa finally broke down and got a 60" finish mower for his old Kubota 7100... Wow, we were living the high life!
  10. PicturePerfectLawns

    PicturePerfectLawns LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,308

    I don't know if you've read any of my write ups this year. But I can tell you I wouldn't stress about gaining customers. I thought living in Texas, due to all the illegals mowing lawns for $20.00 down here, surely I wouldn't be able to achieve my goal of 20 customers. I surpassed that with nearly 60 customers in my first year. I can tell you the Flyers were the best thing I did. Why? Because I was able to target the exact areas I wanted to work. Funny story, one day after passing out nearly 1,000 flyers and all day of walking, I had 15 flyers left in the car. My girl was tired, I was tired, we were beat for the day. Almost dark time, I told her I'm going to get these last 15 flyers out somehow before I get to the house. I drove and kept driving until I found a neighborhood we hadn't hit yet. Passed out them 15 flyers, landed three customers from them within one week on that 15 flyers we almost didn't pass out. After working on that street for less than a few weeks, I had people pulling up to me, word of mouth, winded up with 7 on that one street we almost passed up and went home. I can tell you I had a great success from Craigslist, but the work was more "spread" out. If I we're to give you any advice, it would be use this time now before gaining customers to get a plan together for billing, scheduling, and keeping up with paper work and clients and be organized before the clients start rolling in. Worst mistake, I started without using Jobber, then had to convert all my data over, enter customers info., etc. Stay organized and prepared for when the customers do start rolling in. I wish you the best of luck! Another thing I learned, if you are anything like I am, your first year you will take a lot of work that you won't take later on down the road. When you start building your customers, I promise you you will want to me a lot more picky with your customers. Remember every customer isn't worth your troubles. Be picky and weed out the bad ones as you start building them up. I have a customer I had to drop, she thinks I'm a fence repair man, a weed pulling man, a plumber, and the whole nine yards when I show up because I'm a man with equipment. :hammerhead::hammerhead: I had to tell her all in the same day, I don't fix toilets, I don't fix fences unless I'm paid big money for it, and I can't pull the weeds when I mow. After that day, she got a letter saying she wasn't fit for my company and I could no longer service her property.

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