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does age matter?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by yokes, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. yokes

    yokes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    I am sort of a rookie at lawn maintenance and want to do this for a living.
    I know that I need to charge competitve rates for my service to make a living at this but I feel since I am younger that I wont be able to get new customers by charging what an established company does. I am I right or am I just thinking too much into it?
     
  2. jim dailey

    jim dailey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 614

    Wish I was 21 again. Don't let some customers dictate your rate.YOU set the rate. Sit down and figure what your labor rate needs to be. Look at all of your expenses, and go from there. Debt is your worst enemy. Carry as little debt as you can.Also, look at the going rate in your area...what the market will bear for certain tasks. Spend your time building your business...not just being a nice guy by doing favors for people at the cheapest price. OH YES, I am 55, started at age 40, and love it and want to do it forever...JIM.
     
  3. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    There are several members here running full fledged businesses and they are in their mid teens and late teens. Don't let the customer dictate your prices. You're better off walking away than lowering your price. Once you lower the price it's over. Everyone they talk to will know you cut so and so's yard for less and will expect the same price they got. It will be tough but stick to your prices if you do good work or do what one highschool kid here does, he actaully partnered with a guy older than him and taught him how to sell the jobs and when they are done the kid goes up and collects the money. I was out for a walk one day and they had just drove away and the lady said wow that guy and that kid do good work and I said ya the kid found a good employee. She laughed but I didn't let her in on it.
     
  4. cleancutccl

    cleancutccl LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 698

    I'm 22 so I know where your coming from. The way to handle it is act like you are the one running the business, look professional. Don't think that your age has anything to do with it, because it doesn't. If you do a good job, take care of your customers, and create a positive image for yourself you have nothing to worry about. Personally I have gotten many accounts from older LCO's just because the customer fealt that the other LCO might not be doing it much longer.
     
  5. pgiambat

    pgiambat LawnSite Member
    Posts: 70

    I read your question and formulated a thought in my mind only to read the exac thought in the above three posts!! VERY good advice.

    Sell yourself!! Anyone can just "cut, blow & go". Treat your customers like gold because they are. Do a good job, of course. ACT like you are a company because you are.

    Act like you care and you'll get customers alright, show them you really do and you'll keep them forever!
     
  6. yokes

    yokes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    Thanks for the response guys.
     
  7. Groundcover Solutions

    Groundcover Solutions LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,254

    Age dose not matter! I have people all the time think that some of my employees are the boss. They will go up to them and ask a question and my employee will just point and say that is the boss. I get strange looks and people comment about my age all the time, but once they see the work we do all is good. We strive on quality and productivity this is what matters not age. As long as you can run the biz and do a good job you are set. JMO
     
  8. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,260

    I am 18. This will be my first year working for only myself. The way i plan to deal with my age is to know more about the prodcut i am selling then my older competitors. If i am installing a retaining wall, i will tell the customer the things that i do differently than other companys to insure a better finished product. I am just going to be high knowledgeable in what i am selling.

    Matt
     
  9. JRSlawn

    JRSlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 632

    ill tell you one thing good luck trying to make a ton of cash in the maintaince here in akron. I am trying to get into more installs and sweeping everybody mows open the yellow pages. As far as age I have had huge corporations tell me that I am the most professional person they delt with and I am only 18 so go figure. (Acme Fresh Markte)
     
  10. mottster

    mottster LawnSite Member
    Posts: 191

    Sorry to bring this one up from the graveyards but i couldn't resist myself.

    I would not want to start in this industry if i was not young. The only way you can start a company in this industry is if you A: are able to do the wokr yourself at a pace that is higher than the average person. or B: You have some big ass pockets backing you. And since most people wiht a lot of money dont really think about starting a LCO there is a lot of hard work involved in starting a Service based business. Now im not saying that some of you guys that are in your 40's, 50's or beyond cant kick some grass like the rest of us. Now stating that....Keep in mind that the average person starting out in lawn mowing will probably have only a truck and push mower and some ramps and maybe a curved shaft trimmer and a push broom, i know thats how i started out.

    My next point is this; I am 20 years old, i began my own lawn care when i was 12, pushing my mower behind my bike. when i was 18 i joined the company i wokr for now. My boss is turning 21 in May. We are looking to do 850,000 in sales this year! And he started the same age i did! Now i guarantee you that the reason that he made it so much farther then me in the same time is just this. I was afraid, like you, to over charge. I was so excited to get a chance to even bid a yard that i would say the first price that came ot mind, just so i could have that extra cash. My boss once told me that the most important thing about growing a business. Is to act bigger than you are. Heck he may have only had a push mower and had his dad drive him around after school. but he ran that business like he was already in a truck and trailer and had all sorts of nice big mowers and stuff. So here is his company, 5 years after incorporating and we're doubling our size every year.

    So price like the big guys, act like the big guys, do whatever you need to do to earn the respect of your customers AND competitors, and you will be a big guy. I have so often been working and a fellow LCO will drive by and spit at our trucks or throw stuff at us while we're driving. All because we out bid them on a property. While the companies that we're friendly with, we talk to frequently. And if we bid against them on a few properties, one may win bid and another a different bid. But at the end of the day we're still this business for the same reason. To grow a successful business while maintaining the highest in expectations of Quality and Customer relations.

    Some companies are just in htis for themselves....they treat everyone but themselves like dirty, and they may jump ahead for a while but time after time i see those guys lose business and eventually fall out of business.

    Create good relations and dont let anyone tell you that you cant do anything and you'll do great.

    *whew*...im done.
     

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