DiGiT Lawncare ... my story!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by DiGiTLawncare, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. DiGiTLawncare

    DiGiTLawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    Hey everyone how is it going? I am not new to the site by any means I have been around for going on two years now I believe. I used to be a part owner in another lawn service and we split directions and went our seperate ways.
    A little background about me.. I just turned 20 years old and am in school here at the community college in Jackson, TN. I have got the equipment to run a lawn care business
    >Dodge Cummins 3500 Dually
    >24ft. Enclosed Edge Trailer (W/Decals already)
    >1 60 in. Cub Tank
    >1 44 in. Cub Enforcer
    >Echo Power Tools
    >The basics!!
    Anyways I am facing a real dilema right now as I have a good job with a transportation company and basically pay for all of my equipment out of pocket and am not going to have time to keep up the yards I have now period. I do a lot of office work and want to run the lawn business from basically my office. I have a friend of mine who used to service about 25 yards and he lost all of them when he became very sick two years ago and had to give them up. He knows I hold my work to very high standards that he is going to have to meet, if he is going to take over the operations side of my business.
    I have let my yards go by the wayside this winter and have not really been focusing on them as I have been working 60+ hours a week at my current job. I am thinking I can retain about 15 of them and add lawns from there. I have about 4,000 flyers left from last year that I plan to kick off an advertising campaign with. I want to have 25 or more yards to start him off come growing season in the spring. I also have just put a 4 month ad in the paper as well as contacted a yellowpage rep. I am contacting the customers I wish to keep and asking for referals directly from them and I am encouraging this with some added bonuses for them. I am paying Currey my friend weekly to help with stuff to get ready for the season while I am at work.
    I understand that I am going to have to keep a close watch on my customers and make sure the work is being done to standard as well as keeping them happy in everyway I can.
    I also understand that I am not going to make any money off this business for years to come and I do not plan to. I actually am trying to do this to simply cover expenses pay my employee put a little money in the bank and to cover my @$$ this winter. I in reality will probably loose money this year but you have to do what you have to do right? haha Sounds crazy I know.
    And yes I will have insurance and work comp as I am bringing on an employee.

    Now is the part I am going to get flamed for.... and in reality that is ok with me because it is for survival of my lawncare business in order to pick up the accounts I need to keep my guy busy and be able to pay the bills.
    I am basically going to work for minimal profits in order to get the work I need to stay alive. I am not going to low ball by anymeans but I will be cheaper on quotes than probably 85% of my actual competition that are legetiment lawncare businesses. I plan to build this business on Customer service and quality work. I have to first get in the door to give myself a jump start and then prove that I am striving to be the best company out there, I believe when I do these things I can bring my prices up to more profitable margins.
    ( Also all of my equipment is going to be paid off this year so that will help me out a lot!!!! )
    Also I am by no means an english major so I would rather not hear constructive criticism on my typing ability. I am a business major and have grown up around business, not writing essays. ( I do have a family member who has a masters in english though and she goes over all of my customer letters for me!!!)

    Constructive criticism will be read and taken into account.... I do not like negativity there is a difference. Thanks

  2. Sunstate Lawn

    Sunstate Lawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 143

    This is a pretty sound business principle. I always thought a cheaper price would get you off the ground and a you could drop less profitable accounts when it's time. I personally haven't done that but I've read posts on here of people who have. You're a business major, so you should really be the best qualified to make decisions like that.
  3. DiGiTLawncare

    DiGiTLawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    Thank you for the positive comment. Yes I am applying this method in this business simply for the fact that I can cover my expenses through my other job. If this was my only source of income and it was dependent on putting food on my table than I would surely take a less aggresive approach to jump starting this business. I am almost willing to spend a few thousand the first few years to have a very profitable business in the long run. Like I said I am going to be building this business on customer service and offering a quality service at first with cheaper prices then slowly sneaking them back up to fair market prices. Hopefully then I will have an outstanding reputation and the same thing will not happen to me that I actually did to others in this business. I know it sounds selfish but... I look at business as simply dog eat dog. May the strong win.
  4. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,204

    We all have to lower prices when we bring on new crews but I am a little at a loss in what you are doing long term. Do you plan to stop your present job and go with this full time at some point? If not I don't see the point of running something on the side when you are working 60 hours?
  5. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,898

    60 hours a week at a FTJ with 20 lawn maint accts? Ambitious...hope there is enough week for you. The 20 accts alone would be close to a FTJ if they were bigger accts.
  6. DiGiTLawncare

    DiGiTLawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    No I am not actually going to be mowing this year or years to come for a main source of income to me. I have a guy that worked with me last year that I am putting to work full time on my equipment and I am footing the bills. I trust this individual and am looking towards the next few years as a growing stage. Like I said I have been around people who build and sell companies for a living my whole life. I am more or less going to build this company with intent to sell in 8-10 years. If no buyers are available for the price I am looking for at the time I should have a profitable business and will simply keep it going under me. I will be doing the estimates for the time being and all the billing as I have an office job or sorts right now and it will not interfer with my current job. But NO i do not plan on stopping my current job to work with this full time. I am a 20 year old workaholic that has been in love with money since I was 5 years old. That is the truth about me. I bought the equipment and got into lawncare two years ago and made decent money doing so... I then had an opportunity to get back into the transportation business and I basically kept enough yards to pay for my equipment so I would not be out any money on my equipment.
    Well I eneded up having a guy help me out because I was tied up at my FTJ. So I came up with the conclusion why not explode this thing and see if I can't build this business with out me directly being on the job. Like I said if it does not work I will not be out anymore money than I was paying for my equipment over the winter when the lawn business was not making a dime.
  7. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,370

    This is my question, also !!
  8. DiGiTLawncare

    DiGiTLawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    I answered it in my above post... Thanks

  9. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,204

    Kinda curious about your 60 hour job that would allow you time to run an outside business while on the job. I guess you will be okay if you got a good loyal crew chief a source of workers and some money to invest to expand. There is a company in Austin that did it once sold out to Trugreen and started back up 7 years later to do it again. The only important thing to them is the number of customers under contract.
  10. DiGiTLawncare

    DiGiTLawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    I am at the office 60 hours a week for my job in the transportation industry. I do have ample time befor/after/during work that I will be able to do billing, scheduling, and take phone calls from customers. We work on phones and computers all day at my current job and it is me and my father in the office. And yes I know that I am going to build a few years then start pushing towards customers I can get on a contractual basis because I know that you cannot really sell cut to cut residential customers. We do have a TrueGreen here that has just merged with one of the bigger LCO's here in Jackson and thats sort of what I have running around in my head...

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