Business help!

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by APLUS LAWN CARE, Mar 22, 2013.


    APLUS LAWN CARE LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from North Missouri
    Posts: 587

    I am a little bit frustrated and disappointed and I need some help! I am just looking for honest advise, please don't bash me or ridicule me. First off, let me tell you a little bit about my company.

    2011: I started my company in 2011. The 2011 mowing season went pretty well for my first year. I started with a decent number of accounts and I didn't gain any new accounts but I did make all of my customers really happy and all of them have been return customers so I must be doing something right as far as customer retention. I had about 15 accounts (about 50% residential, 50% commercial).

    2012: I did some advertising and picked up some new accounts and did okay. Financially, I didn't make any more money than I did in 2011 because of the severe drought. But overall, I would say it was a good season. I had about 25 accounts (about 60% residential, 40% commercial).

    2013: This is the year that I wanted to go big. I started advertising early and to the best of my ability. In fact, I am still advertising as heavily as I can.

    Now, it is still pretty early and I shouldn't be getting too worried just yet but I haven't got a single call for mowing or landscaping or any maintenance services. Compared to prior years, this is pretty unusual. I have about 10 bids in for commercial accounts for 2013, and so far 2 of them have been rejected.

    I have always been fairly confident in my bidding process but it seems like I am losing too many bids. I am beginning to think that I may be too confident in the way I do things and maybe I ain't doing things the right way. I don't know what I am doing wrong. Basically, I just need some business advice and any other kind of advise you can offer. I need to do good this year and I don't know if that is going to happen. My eyes and ears are open, so please help me!

  2. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,674

    I have no advice, but that sounds about right to me.
  3. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,466

    Most important thing is to maintain what you have. Sometimes its just timing. Has it been cold there and people haven't thought about outside work

    APLUS LAWN CARE LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from North Missouri
    Posts: 587

    Yes, it has been rather cold and in fact they are calling for quite a bit of snow for tomorrow. So I know that is why I haven't been getting any calls right now. I am more concerned with my bidding system.

    I generally bid residential yard at a rate of $50 per acre (about a $1.15 per 1,000 S.F.). Most residentials I bid around $35 - $50 per acre. Is this a good way to bid? I know a lot of people talk about knowing your expenses and I'm not sure how to figure tht but I do know that the last two years I have averaged around 9% profit margin. Is 9% good for this industry?
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  5. Ben Harris

    Ben Harris LawnSite Member
    Posts: 52

    You are far away from me location & price wise, we charge $45.00-$50.00 for half acre + $5.00-$10.00 more for basic RoundUp app. If I was doing an acre it would probably be between $80.00-$100.00. I could care less what a competitor charges if he wants to do it for $50.00 an acre he can go for it. If they want it done properly by a company who hires good well trained employees who are educated and that require higher wages, etc, they will choose us.

    Always make a game plan before you go into a sales call, you must be extremely confident. Do research on their problem, type of grass, etc. If you are prepared you will have a much higher success rate. Knowledge=power make the next guy look like he needs to read Landscaping for Dummies.

    Don't base your cost on your bidding success, I would say as of now your costs are already extremely competitive. It is really dependent on your expenses and how much you want to profit as a business owner.
  6. StockmanLawnscape

    StockmanLawnscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 131

    One thing that I always remember is that it's all about connections. Try to join your local chamber of commerce and show your face around town. Knowing the right people can grow your business a good amount. You never know who other people know. If you get hooked up with the right person, it could change your business. Just make sure you are professional, do extremely high quality work, and learn as much as you can. Never stop learning new things and adapting to situations. As far as no one calling, it still feels like winter. Most residential properties aren't thinking about their grass yet. In the mean time, talk to your current clients and try to upsell them on services. Good luck!

    APLUS LAWN CARE LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from North Missouri
    Posts: 587

    Thanks for the advice! We are obviously in different regions so our prices are quite different. But thanks for the advise about sales calls and being confident. That is something I need to work on some. I am really professional but I don't research into each customer.
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  8. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    I bid by the SF not per 1,000 SF. A property that is 10,000 sf is different then a property that is 10,999 sf.

    If you are bidding $1.15 a sf then a half acre should be charging $24 and $49 for one acre. Yet some 1 acre prop's you will bid $35 then other's you will bid $50.

    First problem is you are giving some customers a $15 discount. That is $15 dollars you are leaving on the table. That explains your profit margin.

    When the weather is slow to warm up things come out of dormancy later which makes people put off taking care of landscaping. So lack of customer response is normal for now. Just keep advertising.

    APLUS LAWN CARE LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from North Missouri
    Posts: 587

    I just got this month's issue of TURF and I found the article on pricing mowing jobs to be extremely helpful on bidding. I can better measure my costs and bid better. Thanks TURF magazine!
  10. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    hang in there !!!!!

    remember FORD motor company wasn't built in 3 years......

    sounds like ya need a business plan and stick to it.

    best of luck

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