Community Questions! Leave your thoughts...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Insometry, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. Insometry

    Insometry LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Posts: 43

    Hey guys! I have my own business, but Im also taking part time business classes at the local community college. Part of my business class asignment is to ask other people in my proffession some questions.

    I think these questions would be interesting in learning the variety of people on this message board - and methods. A great thread to send beginner mowers to. Always good to share knowledge and experiences...especially when a grade is on the line. ;) If you choose to answer them - feel free to skip any you dont feel comfortable with answering.

    Alrighty - if you copy and past what is underneath into your text box - you can just type in the answers. Say as little or as much as you like.

    --------------------
    Name:
    Name of business:
    Area of business: (if you wish to simply say state or region of country that is fine)
    Number of employees:
    Years in business:

    1) What were/are your main challenges?

    2) What have been the most effective way to market your services?

    3) What trade or proffesional associations would you recommend?

    4) What financing sources have been helpful to you?

    5) In general, how do you price your service? (look at going price in market, set standard, simple estimate, ect...)

    6) How has your services changed since you started and why?

    7) Who is your target market and how did you identify them? (Describe your typical/ideal costumer)

    8) Do you feel this is a growing industry in your area? Nationally?

    9) Can you give a rough figure for approximately how much capital you needed to launch your business?

    10) If you were to start over today, what would you do differently?

    ---------------------

    Im excited to see the results!

    Thanks alot guys!

    Jonathan
     
  2. Insometry

    Insometry LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Posts: 43

    Name: Jonathan Heston
    Name of business: Heston Lawn and Mulch
    Area of business: Kansas
    Number of employees: 4 llc percentage owners
    Years in business:LLC first year. DBA last 6 years.

    1) What were/are your main challenges?
    Costumer service - communication with them.

    2) What have been the most effective way to market your services? Word of mouth system.

    3) What trade or proffesional associations would you recommend? I dont know.

    4) What financing sources have been helpful to you?
    My dad cosigning with a mower payment plan and a line of credit.

    5) In general, how do you price your service? (look at going price in market, set standard, simple estimate, ect...)
    Simple man hour estimation.

    6) How has your services changed since you started and why?
    More profesional with added equipment. Added a variety of services through sub-contracting. Developed more relational service (I.E. taking out the trash for some of my costumers)

    7) Who is your target market and how did you identify them? (Describe your typical/ideal costumer)
    Upper income home owners who want to maintain an image but dont have the time to do it themselves.

    8) Do you feel this is a growing industry in your area? Nationally? According to the recent stats - yes. Though growth is slowing down a bit from a few years ago, it is still steady. Possible problems this year is rising cost in equipment, gas and insurance. The slowing down of the real estate market. (Less new houses = less new contracts)

    9) Can you give a rough figure for approximately how much capital you needed to launch your business?
    I needed 7 grand.

    10) If you were to start over today, what would you do differently?
    Number one, costumer service and communication. Secondly, I wouldn't lowball price - figuring I was the noob and therefore the worst on the market. I would concentrate on charging a fair price where I took complete care of the costumer rather then assuming I couldn't, and charging a cheaper price where I wouldn't. Thirdly I would have networked and educated myself on the overall cost of doing business, and got a better estimation system down. (Still working on doing this) Over all, I would have developed a vision and goals for my service. I figured it to be simply a part time job - so who cares. If I had developed a vision, and worked toward goals, the business would be alot better off today as an LLC than it is now.
     
  3. Insometry

    Insometry LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Posts: 43

    46 views and nothing? Come on guys...this thread could be an awesome learning experience if everyone contributed a little.
     
  4. PGA

    PGA LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 710





    I hope this helps.
     
  5. K c m

    K c m LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 829

    Name:
    Name of business:
    Area of business: (if you wish to simply say state or region of country that is fine)
    Number of employees:
    Years in business:

    1) What were/are your main challenges? Mowing and labor are the easy stuff. It took a yr at least to learn proper selling methods and selling my services over the kid next door. when i entered the business i was a senior in hs with experience from a Golf course (cutting greens, trimming and some other stuff) but i wasn't aware of how much maintence went into each piece of machinery so that was a big time lerning curve. Kept costs down. and it helped that my dad new a lot about cars so he new the basics of 4 strokes. Lastly turning down jobs was a hard thing to do. When i entered college built it up in about 2 seasons. But instead of hiring another worker and investing in more equip i turned down jobs since i was a full time student and new i would be mowing into the fall semester.
    I forgot to mention that my personality is very friendly and in the beginning I was stuck doing stupid things for people who exploited my friendliness. Make sure you don't get cought up in being FRIENDS with the people. This is a business and must be friendly but also business oriented.
    2) What have been the most effective way to market your services? started with some fliers with standard quotes on it. Then just led to word of mouth

    3) What trade or proffesional associations would you recommend? Well I was very interested in welding so i went to some night school a couple years ago and became certified. Comes in handy when repairing equipment.

    4) What financing sources have been helpful to you? same as you 5 years ago

    5) In general, how do you price your service? (look at going price in market, set standard, simple estimate, ect...) WEll i am from Philadelphia Pa and there are tons and tons of row houses and side by sides. So i standardized my price list according to row or side by side. side by sides=15/week,25/bi-weekley, and 40 for once a month. side by sides 20,30,40, singles that are somewhat small 25,35,45. this is where the selling aspect comes into play.

    6) How has your services changed since you started and why?Under the table to legit. Probably get some $hit on this board for it but we all had to start somewhere. Other then that my services have changed from all mowing to some landscape installs and more hedge trimming. also the best way to make money in this business. i was thinking about getting rid of all my mowers and buying hedge trimmers and just keeping it to a professional hedge service but didn't make much scense since people want an all round lawnservice. but jump on that work if you can.

    7) Who is your target market and how did you identify them? (Describe your typical/ideal costumer)common scense says nice hard working people. the people i typically mow for are middle class union workers who are on their feet all day and don't feel like doing yard work on their day off.

    8) Do you feel this is a growing industry in your area? Nationally?After 5 years I have seen people come and go both scabs and big companies. Scabs are always going to be around and I apreciate their service because they take all the bad lawns. (roots, dirt and dust i don't need in my air intake). I like how they are out working hard despite what anyone says on this board. It has been about the same for 5 years now not a huge growth even tho green industry sales were in the short billions last yr. don't know the exact figure.

    9) Can you give a rough figure for approximately how much capital you needed to launch your business? Well I bought a olds bravada for 2k an exmark 36 for i think 24,26hundred, stihl fs-85 for i think 350 or 399, a stihl bg-65 for i think 2hundred something, and a trailer for 1600 (enclosed 14 ft) and of course the stupid murry 21 bagger for 2something. but you can get a trailer for cheaper depends on what mower u get. u can a small trailer for 5-700 if u get a quick 36 and a 21. and what kind of mower u invest in. Fortunately i bought an exmark and use high end products so no problems replacing anything (thank god)

    10) If you were to start over today, what would you do differently? if i knew how profitable this business was i would have not gone to college (however my degree is very valuable) Fortunately i was awarded a scholarship for swimming so that took president. I would Have bought more equipment and hired more employees and and really go for it.

    Hope this helps man good luck with this season.
     
  6. Insometry

    Insometry LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Posts: 43

    I forgot to mention that my personality is very friendly and in the beginning I was stuck doing stupid things for people who exploited my friendliness. Make sure you don't get cought up in being FRIENDS with the people. This is a business and must be friendly but also business oriented.

    On of my weaknesses as well. :(

    PGA - by education do you mean education in this line of business? Or just a general degree? (Im wondering because Im going through the same decision right now...keep at JCCC or stop. :()

    Great input guys!
     
  7. PGA

    PGA LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 710




    When I say "education" I dont necessarily mean a degree.

    I mean learn all you can about the field you are working in or going to be working in. Become educated not only in the science of turf management but also in the business aspect of what you are doing.

    Experience is great but knowledge is power.

    BTW I see your in KS. Are you at Johnson County CC?
     
  8. Insometry

    Insometry LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Posts: 43

    Cool. Thanks - I totally agree. (now. lol)

    Do you mean the Johson County Chamber of Commerce? No...not yet. I will prolly join Olathe first. I hear they are really strong, and they are closer to my homebase. Are you in OP?

    You dont have to worry about much comp. from me. My vision includes less properties and higher quality. I dont price cut/skim either.

    We should hook up sometime for lunch and talk about this crazy weather. :p lol
     
  9. PGA

    PGA LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 710





    I mean Johnson County Community College..

    F*** this weather! (excuse my language). I was all ready to start mowing and now Ill probably be out pushing snow at 2:00 tommorow morning.

    I guess Ill have to wait till next week!

    And dont worry about competition. There is more then enough business to go around for people that want to work hard and provide quality service.

    Check out the Kansas City! Thread in "Networking With People From Your Area" forum.
     
  10. Insometry

    Insometry LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Posts: 43

    Ahh!

    JCCCollege. Yes I am. Taking acounting, principles of management, opportunity analysis (this class), and fast trac business plan. Recommend acounting and fast trac to anyone and everyone.

    I totally agree with your statement about comp.

    I will be sure to check out the thread.

    The weather is screwy, but our brochures got delayed during the printing process. So they wont appear as late as they really are. lolol

    I almost got a truck and went snow this year. Glad I didn't...would have been hard for me to cover my costs (this year anyways). I bet snow comes through big next year...the trend of no snow has to be bucked sometime soon. You do residential snow? Maybe see if subcontracting that for my places is a win/win for us.

    What is your truck/name?

    Im actually running a blue van (ford e150) at the moment. :hammerhead: :clapping:
     

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