are you starting a new business?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Team Gopher, May 18, 2005.

  1. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Posts: 4,041

    Hi All,

    If you are starting a new Lawn Care Operation and need advise, I have a business consultant that will provide free business consulting to get you up and running.

    If you are interested, just post and let me know what you would like the consultant to help you with. I will pass this on to the consultant who will choose an LCO to help.
     
  2. funkey

    funkey LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    i need some help
     
  3. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Posts: 4,041

    Hi funkey,

    I read in your other post, you are going to start this summer. Have you created a name for your business yet?
     
  4. Braxton

    Braxton LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Posts: 81

    I supose this is worth a try. I just started this spring, and I need help with figuring out a pricing structure as well as advertizing/targeting markets. I want to grow my part-time, underfunded business into a full-time, well-funded business with employees, etc. in five years or less. If someone is willing to help me put a solid plan behind this for free, I'm listening.

    Braxton
     
  5. jmt34

    jmt34 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    I could use some advice also.
     
  6. mad_wrestler

    mad_wrestler LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 339

    Clean Cut Lawns LLC here. I started 6 weeks ago. I started off with a newspaper add. That generated some one time landscape jobs and 3 routine lawns. I then put up 50 chloroplast signs and they seemed to work. Had a couple mulch jobs created by those. I continued with the newspaper and it did OK. I decided to make a flier and pass them out. By far those have had the best results. I am up to 12 routine customers with quotes every day. I have a great acceptance rating. Our prices are mid to high high range for the area. Very pleased customers though. I need to get more customers. This is primarily for my brothers college next year and I have not hit my goals in numbers up to this point. Your help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks
     
  7. firecapt13

    firecapt13 LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Posts: 96

    i would be interested in help also
     
  8. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Posts: 4,041

    Hello all and thanks for the response.

    Let's create a business plan first and from there our consultant will be able to use that as a road map to see any potential problems and also offer suggestions.

    Here are the business plan questions.

    Business Description
    - Give a one paragraph description of your business.
    - Where is your business located?
    - What services does your business offer?
    - What value does it add to the marketplace?

    Management Abilities
    - What are your qualifications?
    - How will your experience contribute to the success of your business?

    Business Strategy
    - What is your business strategy?
    - What are the strengths of your business strategy?
    - What are the weaknesses of your business strategy?
    - What are the key strategic opportunities you have identified in your marketplace?
    - How will your business take advantage of these strategic opportunities more effectively than your competition?
    - How do you intend to maintain your competitive edge?
    - Describe the key challenges you face and how will you overcome them?

    Legal Structure
    - Will your business operate as a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or an LLC?
    - How will your legal structure decrease your business's exposure to risk?

    Financial
    - How much will you personally invest in your business?
    - How much money are you seeking from banks?
    - How much money are you seeking from private investors?
    - How long until you plan to break even?
    - How long until you plan on making a profit?
    - What will your start-up costs be? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
    - What is your sales forcast for each month of the entire year? List each month's goal.
    - What will be your monthly operating expenses? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
    - What will your monthly fixed costs be? Be specific, describe each and the cost.


    Mission Statement
    - What is your business?
    - How will your business succeed?
    - What values are important to your business?
    - How does your business improve the lives of your customers' and employees'?

    Marketing Slogan
    - What is your marketing slogan?

    Market Analysis
    - What are the positive NATIONAL trends that will affect your business?
    - What are the negative NATIONAL trends that will affect your business?
    - How will you take advantage of the positive trends and deal with the negative trends?

    - What are the positive REGIONAL trends that will affect your business?
    - What are the negative REGIONAL trends that will affect your business?
    - How will you take advantage of the positive trends and deal with the negative trends?

    - What are the positive LANDSCAPE INDUSTRY trends that will affect your business?
    - What are the negative LANDSCAPE INDUSTRY trends that will affect your business?
    - How will you take advantage of the positive trends and deal with the negative trends?

    Customer Analysis
    - What is your current customer base?
    - Who are your target customers? (age range, education level, occupations, average home value)
    - What zip codes do they live in?
    - What do your customers want?

    Competition Analysis
    - Who are your competitors?
    - How many employees do they have?
    - What is their estimated sales volume?
    - What services do they offer?
    - What is the quality of their product?
    - What is the price range of their product?
    - Who are there customers?
    - What are their strengths?
    - What are their weaknesses?
    - Are they a direct or indirect competitor?

    Labor
    - How many employees will you start with? Full or p/t?
    - What will the hourly labor wage paid to employees be?
    - What will your total annual labor hours be, see below?
    * Jan total billable hours =
    * Feb =
    * Mar =
    * Apr =
    * May =
    * Jun =
    * Jul =
    * Aug =
    * Sept =
    * Oct =
    * Nov =
    * Dec =

    * Yearly total billable hours =

    Equipment
    - What equipment will be needed?
    - How much will it cost to obtain this equipment?
    - Where will you store the equipment?
    - How much will it cost to store the equipment?

    Advertising / Promotion
    - How will you advertise or promote your business?
    - How much will you spend doing each per year?
     
  9. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Posts: 4,041

    Here is a business plan Prosvcs had filled out in the past. This may help you with yours.


    Business Description
    - Give a one paragraph description of your business.
    We are a full service Landscape maintenance company. We provide services for every season. We focus on high maintenance properties located in affluent neighborhoods. We do not attempt to compete on price.

    - Where is your business located?
    Elkton, MD

    - What services does your business offer?
    Design / Installation
    Mowing
    Aeration
    Over-seeding / re-seeding
    Sod
    Spring / fall cleanup
    Tree services (Contracted)
    Applications (contracted)
    Snow / Ice management

    - What value does it add to the marketplace?
    We are the only company in the area to offer single point of contact for all landscape maintenance needs. In addition, we offer 12 month billing cycles for budgeting purposes

    Management Abilities
    - What are your qualifications?
    I have been working this business part time for 5 years.
    Masters degree in computer science
    15 years as a federal IT contractor

    - How will your experience contribute to the success of your business?
    I am very good at ascertaining customer’s true needs versus their perceived needs and steering them in the right direction.
    I am very well versed in all types of politics from a contractor’s standpoint. (This will serve well when bidding on commercial contracts).

    Business Strategy
    - What are the key strategic opportunities you have identified in your marketplace?
    This area is a boaters paradise, There are a lot of summer vacation homes in this area.

    - How will your business take advantage of these strategic opportunities more effectively than your competition? I have always focused on providing services for the vacation homes, This will continue to be my primary target. The customers want no excuses for the properties not being done. I provide better than average quality and on-time delivery. Most of these properties are owned by out of state businesses, so they should be really receptive to the 12 month billing cycle.

    - How do you intend to maintain your competitive edge?
    Always providing on time delivery of service (The number one complaint I hear when bidding jobs).

    - Describe the key challenges you face and how will you overcome them?
    Gaining enough customers to provide enough cash flow for the first year will be the biggest challenge. I have put together what I thing is a good marketing plan.

    Legal Structure
    - Will your business operate as a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or an LLC?
    Sole Proprietor this year, S-corp, next year, C-corp in three years.

    - How will your legal structure decrease your business's exposure to risk?
    This year, I will have no protection

    Financial
    - How much will you personally invest in your business?
    I have already paid the insurances for the year out of pocket.
    I have already purchased all equipment. Own it

    - How much money are you seeking from banks?
    None

    - How much money are you seeking from private investors?
    None

    - How long until you plan to break even?
    Equipment already paid for itself.

    - How long until you plan on making a profit?
    This year
    - What will your start-up costs be? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
    Insurances (Auto, Gen liability) $4000.00 already paid
    Advertising 3000.00 already paid (All materials are waiting to be distributed)
    Trailers / Mowers / Misc. Already paid


    - What is your sales forcast for each month of the entire year? List each month's goal.
    Really can’t forecast at this time. I can only list what I absolutely have to have in order to cover expenses. (My salary is also considered an expense.
    May – Dec = $8500.00

    - What will be your operating expenses? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
    Fuel = 600.00
    Maintenance = 250.00
    Equipment Replacement = 600.00

    - What will your fixed costs be? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
    Phone – 100.00
    GL ins - 1200.00
    Commercial Auto Rider – 100.00
    Advertising – 300.00
    Salary – 7000.00
    Taxes – 2100.00


    Mission Statement
    - What is your business?
    We provide Best Value proposition for all of your lawn and landscape needs throughout all four seasons.

    - How will your business succeed?
    Maintaining our commitment to quality services and customer service

    - What values are important to your business?
    Customer Satisfaction
    Best quality
    On-time delivery

    - How does your business improve the lives of your customers' and employees'?
    We give them their weekends back

    Marketing Slogan
    - What is your marketing slogan?
    Really don’t have one

    Market Analysis
    Haven’t really done any

    Customer Analysis
    - Who are your target customers? (age range, education level, occupations, average home value)
    Most are business owners
    400,000.00 + home value

    - What zip codes do they live in?
    21921

    - What do your customers want?
    On time delivery
    Quality service (Bragging rights, my lawn looks better than yours)

    Competition Analysis
    - Who are your competitors?
    Most are retired folks with a single mower doing it to supplement income. One large company with 4 crews of 2 ppl each.

    - How many employees do they have?
    12-14
    - What is their estimated sales volume?
    ??
    - What services do they offer?
    Full Service (They have pest lic.)

    - What is the quality of their product?
    Nothing special (Mow, Blow, GO)

    - What is the price range of their product?
    40.00 half acre

    - Who are there customers?
    Anyone that calls

    - What are their strengths?
    Low prices, full service

    - What are their weaknesses?
    No commitment to quality

    - Are they a direct or indirect competitor?
    direct

    Labor
    - How many employees will you start with? Full or p/t?
    myself and daughter

    - What will the hourly labor wage paid to employees be?
    I need salary of 6000.00 monthly
    Daughter will be paid $10.00 hrly (Will work when I need her)

    - What will your total annual labor hours be?
    Hopefully 60 man hours weekly after 1st month

    Equipment
    - What equipment will be needed?
    Mowers
    Trimmers
    Blowers
    Hand tools
    Truck
    Trailer
    Plow

    * Dodge 2500 Diesel (180,000 miles and 560 RWHP)
    * Home Made Salt Spreader
    * Meyers 7.5 w/pro wings

    * 28 ft enclosed trailer w/ 5KW genset / Welder / torches / Air Condition / Fridge

    * Kubota GF1800 (60")
    * Kubota F2400 (72")
    * 21" Honda
    * Echo Backpacks (2)
    * Echo Line Trimmers (2)
    * 48" Core Aerator
    * 48" spike Aerator
    * 48" lawn roller
    * Honda ATV

    - How much will it cost to obtain this equipment?
    0.00


    - Where will you store the equipment?
    Enclosed trailer at residence

    - How much will it cost to store the equipment?
    0.00

    Advertising / Promotion
    - How will you advertise or promote your business?
    Newspaper (Currently running)
    Door Hangers
    Post it notes
    Bus cards
    Yard Signs
    Truck / Trailer lettering
    Word of mouth

    - How much will you spend doing each per year?
    Newspaper (Currently running) 2000.00
    Door Hangers 700.00
    Post it notes 200.00
    Bus cards 200.00
    Yard Signs = 400.00
    Truck / Trailer lettering
    Word of mouth
     
  10. Braxton

    Braxton LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Posts: 81

    - What services does your business offer?
    Design / Installation
    Mowing
    Spring / fall cleanup
    Debris Removal
    Flower bed/landscape renovation

    - What value does it add to the marketplace?
    We offer competitive services and pricing for our community. We plan to be in this for the long-term, giving a stable source for landscaping and lawn maintenance needs.

    Management Abilities
    - What are your qualifications?
    I have a degree in interdisciplinary studies, and five years experience as a grade school teacher. In that role, I have experience working for and with large numbers of people, as well as managing large numbers. In addition, I have experience getting a job done with very limited resources.

    - How will your experience contribute to the success of your business?
    As a teacher, my strength lies in communication. Not only can I listen and ascertain an individual’s specific needs, but I can inform and educate to potentially help a client better understand their own needs.

    Business Strategy
    - What are the key strategic opportunities you have identified in your marketplace?
    The area that I live in is located centrally to three larger communities/cities, one of which is growing at an enormous rate.

    - How will your business take advantage of these strategic opportunities more effectively than your competition?
    In order to be successful, I intend to expand my business into one or more of these larger communities as I grow and have the ability to do so.

    - How do you intend to maintain your competitive edge?
    Competitive pricing and top quality service.

    - Describe the key challenges you face and how will you overcome them?
    Low start-up capital. I plan to grow my business slowly in the beginning, taking on little or no debt. It will grow as I can grow it, and no faster.

    Legal Structure
    - Will your business operate as a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or an LLC?
    Sole Proprietor in the beginning, LLC or S-corp as I grow into the need.

    - How will your legal structure decrease your business's exposure to risk?
    I purchased a one million dollar liability policy.

    Financial
    - How much will you personally invest in your business?
    I have been paying insurance out of pocket, and have invested in the initial equipment. I have a truck, mower, and trimmer as well as assorted hand tools. I do not yet have a trailer, and I load my mower in the truck bed. I will invest in a trailer when I can pay cash.

    - How much money are you seeking from banks?
    None

    - How much money are you seeking from private investors?
    None

    - How long until you plan to break even?
    This year.

    - How long until you plan on making a profit?
    This year or next.

    - What will your start-up costs be? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
    Insurances (Auto, Gen liability) approximately $1000.00
    Advertising $500.00 already paid
    Equipment $3000.00 Already paid


    - What is your sales forecast for each month of the entire year? List each month's goal.
    Can’t forecast at this time. Currently I have less thatn $400/month cotracted, but I have done around $1,000/month in miscellaneous landscaping jobe the first two months.

    - What will be your operating expenses? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
    Fuel = 200.00/month
    Maintenance = 50.00/month
    Saving for expansion = variable, as able


    - What will your fixed costs be? Be specific, describe each and the cost.
    Phone – 45.00
    GL ins - 500.00
    Commercial Auto – 400.00
    Advertising – 700.00



    Mission Statement
    - What is your business?
    We offer top quality lawn and landscape care.

    - How will your business succeed?
    Personal attention to each customer; every phone call returned, every concern addressed.

    - What values are important to your business?
    Quality Service
    Meeting the customer’s needs


    - How does your business improve the lives of your customers' and employees'?
    We free time that they can better use.

    Marketing Slogan
    - What is your marketing slogan?
    “What could you be doing if you weren’t mowing?”

    Market Analysis
    Rural community in close proximity to rapidly growing college town and two other small cities.

    Customer Analysis
    - Who are your target customers? (age range, education level, occupations, average home value)
    Middle age, upper middle income families with more to do than time to do it.

    - What zip codes do they live in?
    ??

    - What do your customers want?
    A property that “keps up with the Joneses”

    Competition Analysis
    - Who are your competitors?
    Three large companies in my own community as well as the normal assortment of “here today, gone tomorrow” (I hope) companies.
    One small company that is to be reckoned with.

    - How many employees do they have?
    I do not know
    .
    - What is their estimated sales volume?
    I do not know

    - What services do they offer?
    Full Service
    At least one of these has an applicator’s lisence, or at least I assume they have it as they do applications.

    - What is the quality of their product?
    One is excellent, one is below average, one I cannot say. The small company mentioned is absolute highest quality, and while I believe that I can match it, I do not believe anyone can beat it. It’s what I would want for my own property.


    - What is the price range of their product?
    40.00 acre

    - Who are their customers?
    Anyone that calls

    - What are their strengths?
    full service

    - What are their weaknesses?
    Price for all, quality for one

    - Are they a direct or indirect competitor?
    direct

    Labor
    - How many employees will you start with? Full or p/t?
    myself and wife

    - What will the hourly labor wage paid to employees be?
    I work for what profit I can turn, as does my wife.

    - What will your total annual labor hours be?
    Depends on how fast I grow. Currently less than ten per week.

    Equipment
    - What equipment will be needed?
    Mowers
    Trimmers
    Blowers
    Hand tools
    Truck
    Trailer
    Skid steer

    - How much will it cost to obtain this equipment?
    $10,000.00-$20,000.00


    - Where will you store the equipment?
    Barn at my home

    - How much will it cost to store the equipment?
    0.00

    Advertising / Promotion
    - How will you advertise or promote your business?
    Newspaper
    Door Hangers
    Business cards
    Web site possibly
    Truck / Trailer lettering
    Word of mouth
    Video advertising at local restaurant

    - How much will you spend doing each per year?
    Approximately

    Newspaper $300.00-$500.00
    Door Hangers $100-$500
    Bus cards $100.00
    Web site $20.00
    Truck / Trailer lettering
    Word of mouth
    Video $250


    Everything here is a best guess, and some things represent ideas rather than die hard plans. The future equipment will depend entirely on how fast I can grow. I have one company that has spoken to me about subbing jobs if I can get/rent a skid steer with a harrely rake.

    Braxton
     

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