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Advertise now?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Doogiegh, Nov 10, 2001.

  1. Doogiegh

    Doogiegh LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 871

    Hey guys, I'm 27 and in NJ. I know it's late, but I want to know what you guys think about putting out some flyers this time of year to advertise fall/leaf cleanup. Around here, about 55-60% of the leaves are down, but many just came down yesterday from a big wind storm. I just want to target 1 neighborhood and make some spare money on the side, on weekends only. If I get 5 accounts, that would be alot. I'm using a used JD 30" RX75 riding mower with mulching kit and bagger, a Toro 21" personal pace mower, and a blower and line trimmer I already had. I also picked up a 4*8 trailer during the summer time. So far, I haven't done a single thing as far as cutting grass or leaves with customers. I do have a flyer made up as well as 4"*6" postcards that I could drop off in door handles or in the frame of the metal screen door (pse&g does that in this area all the time). So far, my total equipment spend is somewhere around $1000 (400 for the trailer and $500 for the JD Rider, everything else I already had for the property I currently live on.

    I want to try things out to see how it goes, cause I'd love to quite my corporate bullsh*t job and get into the outdoor world.
    I've been reading this website for about the last 2 months, so I know about the "need" to get liability insurance and be legit, but right now, with 0 customers, I just can't swing that. My hope like I said is to get maybe 5 residential customers with 1/4 to 1/3 acre of property to clean up and make $250 a weekend and then if it works out, go alot harder into this in the spring.

    If you have any advertising ideas, or advice, let me know. I figure for $25 on post card rate stamps, I could mail out nearly the entire neighborhood for a professional appearance. I know about not messing with mailboxes. :) Thanks guys
  2. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,544

    I just turned 28 and have been in business for 7 years. (started in third year in college).

    When I get burned out sometimes I wish I had a "bullsh*t corporate job" LOL!!!

    Yes- advertise now. Work you get now will get you started, those people who hire you for leaves now will be potential full-service customers. I still have a handful of customers from my first year, and I also started late in the season with flyers.

    My biggest boost came when I put an ad in the Yellow Pages. It seemed really expensive at first but after 2 years in the yellow pages my gross went from $20K/year to $110K/year with myself and a full-time helper.

  3. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    If you want to do fall work now is the only time to advertise. Enjoy the leaves, I know I do.
  4. Craig Turf Management

    Craig Turf Management LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 354

    Advertise all year long! Get your name out there in front of your potential clients. The noisy wheel gets the grease. There is always something for a lawncare provider to do, whatever the time of year. Leaves can be profitable. Fall clean-ups. Soil testing and pH adjustment. Are you going to provide a turf nutrition program for your clients? Let them know about it. Are you licensed to apply pesticides? If not, get your certification in the winter months. In my area, there are many opportunities to be educated in the winter months. Here in Charlotte, I'm still mowing every day. Can you prune shrubs and small trees? Many species are pruned during the winter. Learn to provide these services, then let people know that you can take care of them. And when you tell people that you can take care of them, follow thru and deliver what you promised and more. Develop a name for yourself, and in a year or two, you will either be turning away work or growing your business to a new level.
    Good Luck, Bill!
  5. ron

    ron LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 312

    Keep up the good work and clients will come.
  6. Prasino

    Prasino LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    What part of Jersey are you from? Im just curious
  7. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900

    Use your brains --- not your braun!!!!

    I would give anything to be able to go back 12 years to when I graduated Rutgers w/ honors in computer science and accept on of the offers I had to go corporate. I know I woud hate to work indoors and wear a tie, but it sure as hell would beat dealing w/ a group of ungreatful employees. Ask anyone in the biz --- employees suck. Tey want it all and don't want to work for it. I try to treat mine well 50% health care, vacation, holiday, sick ad yes a retirement plan where we contribute 3% of pay.
    Lesson learned, work for someone else, jobis finished when you leave office. ork fr yourself, you are never done working. You start ahead of everyone, finish later than them and oh yeah, then the office work, phone calls, complaints (occasionally).

    Keep it small, do it on the side, spend time w/ your family and enjoy your time out of work.

    Sory for venting, but I tel everyone who thinks about doing this full time DON'T DO IT!!!

  8. Sorry Bob but that isn't fair advice. I have had employees now for about 7 years and what you say is about 10% true. I have had the same guys for about 5 years nowand they are great. I pay them about 50% more than my competition and I treat them like people. Because of this, they treat me right too. There have been times, quite often actually, where I have been mad at them but I get mad at my wife alot too!

    If you want to use your brains and not braun, grow your company smart, use your brain. If you do it part time or "on the side" you will be using your braun because you will have to do the work yourself.

    What happens when you start to get old and You cannot work the hard work anymore? My employees have given me a better quality of life, not more money necessarily although that has been a byproduct, but more time at home with family. They do the work, I manage the company.

    I agree that solo is easier, less headaches etc. but think about your future. If your company runs itself with a little push from you every now and then, you have an asset worth something to give to your kids or sell if necessary.

    Read all you can about your industry and business. Learn, learn, learn and youwill be fine. Just my .02.
  9. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    Right now is when you can pick up the easy money. People start doing it themselves and quit doing it, or get tired of it. Thats when they are in a daze and hoping someone like you will drive buy. And believe me, now is the time when they'll pay whatever it costs to get this problem out of their hair.

    Go get em tiger! :p
  10. This is not suitable equipment for commercial usage.

    It will end up costing you more to fix or replace that crap vs. any profits received.

    Keep your day job. Before you even THINK of making any real money as an LCO you will need commercial grade equipment and at LEAST two of everything at the jobsite.

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