Best way to Grow

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by LewisL230, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. LewisL230

    LewisL230 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    To start my story from the beginning I got laid off from my electrician job Dec 30th of 2010. I am 23 yrs old. I had pressure to find another electrical job even though I hated every second of the last job. The only job I ever had that I enjoyed was lawn care working for my uncle. I decided to stop listening to everybody and do what I enjoyed so I got a loan from my grandfather and started purchasing equipment. So far I have bought a 2006 Exmark Laser Z 60" cut with a 30hp Kohler. A brand new Robin 2250 trimmer, and a used redmax Blower. I also bought a 6'4" x 12' trailer. I use a 1997 Chevy Tahoe to pull everything. It wouldnt be my first choice but its what I had. I currently have 8 properties that I cut. Its money, but its definitely not enough to support my fiance and 9 mo old little girl.

    My question to all of yall is what is the best way to expand and grow my business. I am in the works of getting a DBA and insurance. I plan to advertise in the local paper and I would like to send out some flyers. I know there is a way to only send them to certain neighborhoods and things. I would also like to get some commercial properties. What are some good ways to land commercial properties?

    Any suggestions will definitely be appreciated. Thanks alot in advance guys.:usflag:
     
  2. fivestarlandscapes

    fivestarlandscapes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    With only 8 lawns I would not worry about dba or insurance untill you have more like 30. Make sure to keep at least 1k on hand in case of a broken window or property damage from the mower. Get a full time job and mow on saturday. At eight lawns you might not even be breaking even on paying off the equip, fuel, maintenace etc.
     
  3. LewisL230

    LewisL230 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    I really want to make this my full time job. I would like to have 20-30 yards next year. My fiance makes pretty good money, so we arent gonna starve. I would rather have a tough year financially and grow my business to success than get a full time job and have to neglect it.
     
  4. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,284

    I wouldn't just expand for the pure sake of expanding. If you can tough it out be a little picky about your customers. Set you pricing so you can make money and DO NOT take anyone who doesn't want to pay what you need. Sell service and quality or you can end up being like the other 1000's of guys who can only think "If I have 50 $15 lawns now then if I have 150 $15 lawns I'll be rich!" They cannot properly service these customers and either lose them or hire people to help and then just make nothing. There are two ways I have seen people successfuly expand. One is that they just know EVERYONE and get flooded with work, the others are those who take on the good work bit by bit. Figure out who you want to service (wealthy, old, small properties, etc...)and make your marketing strategy around that. If you have the flexibility of having a someone to support you for the time being do it right. Are you just mowing or would you do other landscaping work? If you want to "make it" on mowing it seems to be a volume game. Lots of lawns to make money. But lots of lawns cost more with equipment, employees, etc...
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
  5. LewisL230

    LewisL230 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    MD, I totally understand and agree with what you are saying. I would like to start doing landscaping also, but what I worry about with doing that is I don't feel completely comfortable in my abilities and knowledge. I have a little experience in landscaping, but not enough to feel totally comfortable. With that said, I will probably just stick to mowing for the time being. I plan to go full bore with advertising and gain more customers.
     
  6. Puddle of Oil

    Puddle of Oil LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,203

    Have you considered working for a landscaping company? How many acres do you cut? Not sure about your area, but mowing up here isn't exactly booming. I'd add some more services to your business, especially if your living off the biz. Like "md" said, get a full time job then when things pick up move to part time. Good Luck, its tough out their!
     
  7. SoGro

    SoGro LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    1)Main thing is networking, get your name out there through friends, family, facebook, signs. Let people know what you are doing. Eventually people remember that you are a landscaper and work just comes to you. It takes some time though
    2)Go sit at a home depot with sign in back of truck saying available to cut yard today
    3)Cut your accounts that you do have in later part of day and on thursday and fridays. Picked up quite a few accounts from guy coming home from work around 5 and looking at yard in middle of summer to tired to get out and cut himself. Still have to persuade him to go to weekly service but if reliable and personable it is doable.
    4)Craiglist, classified ads. I do not recomend yellow page ads bc they service to broad of area and most people throw away phone books nowadays.
    5)Flyers are cheap, but be careful some neigboerhoods have restrictions. Mailers are good but can be expensive.
    6)Call property management companies and banks. There are alot of vacant and foreclosed houses out there. You will need insurance to cut these properties most likely.
     
  8. DEPENDABLE LANDSCAPING

    DEPENDABLE LANDSCAPING LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,343

    Word of mouth! Offer your current customers incentives to help you grow.. do nice work, be nice, call every lead back, and be attentive to anyone who contacts you. I guarantee you will grow. Good luck to you.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  9. Evergreen321

    Evergreen321 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    offer special deals to new clients on flyers.. like a free pressure wash of their drive way on new weekly customers,, if you dont already have one,, invest a couple of bucks on a good commercial grade pressure washer! 3500+psi.. and craigslist.org is the best and dont just advertise your lawn service, make separate ads for pressure washing, or installing irrigations systems or whatever else you want to do,, specially in the slow season.. but just lawncare alone isint gonna cut it,, not even here in florida where it doesent snow... good luck buddy
     
  10. airsoft1779

    airsoft1779 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 152

    Honestly, I would work for a year with a bigger landscape company. This company should be what you want to be in 5 or 10 years. Surround yourself around people you want to be like. Learn how to do landscape installations, maintaince, all that stuff. As well as management skills and how to run the business. It's much more then just mowing grass, it's running a business and this is were people mess up.
     

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