First Year In Business

Discussion in 'Original Pictures Forum' started by osmann_lawn, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    Are people even thinking about there lawns for next year? ya i have someone making me postcards with some kind of way to get people in. "sign a contract and get 2 cuts for free." i dont have a 4WD truck or else i would. I have a snow blower though that is newer. thanks for the info once again!
     
  2. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    I always to a good job everybody always tell me that. I am a bit of a perfectionist.
     
  3. BPS##

    BPS## LawnSite Senior Member
    from WY
    Posts: 828

    Make sure your 2nd free cut is well into the season.


    Other wise some folks could take advantage of your free mowings.

    I wouldn't bother with a contract on residential unless your customers want it.
    Keep your residential relationship informal.
    Around here residential customers don't want any thing to do with a contract for lawn care.
    Its never bit me in the butt for residential.
    Commercial.... yes, have a contract.


    Use your snow blower for side walks and driveways. Find some one with a plow that you can give your bigger driveway projects to.

    Constantly think outside the box for a solution.
    Building your biz will consume A LOT of your thinking.
    It still does for me. I've done over 50 properties a week this year.
    One management company for 28 of them.
    I should retain most of those thru to next year with the addition of 2 maybe 3 LARGE apartment complexes.
     
  4. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    yeah that would make sense, don't want to get ripped off. I don't plan on doing any commercial property until i get bigger mower. the lawns i do now i dont have any contracts with. They all like to come out and talk to me when i am done. Its kinda cool to have a good relationship with the customers. do you mow residential lawns every week? or do you call them before you go? some of my people i mow for i usually have to call before i go. Some just say do it every week. Wow that is a lot of accounts. that is awesome for you! how long did that take you to get? would you say it is a little harder to get accounts now a days because of the economy?
     
  5. BPS##

    BPS## LawnSite Senior Member
    from WY
    Posts: 828

    How I got the 28 for one company.



    Back in May I got a paniced phone call, "is there any way you can mow a lawn for me before 5pm"?
    Its already 3:30.

    The house was going up for sale and the photographer was coming over at 5 to take the photos.

    I got there and mowed it.
    Turns out its for this management company with lots of 2 plexes and 4 plexes.
    Most of them are on one street. I mow 3 and move the truck. Mow 3 and move the truck.
    I have very little into fuel between jobs and give them a great price and I make good money too.

    During May things were pretty slow and I was really hating on the economy. Not sure what happened after that but I've gotten some really good prices and plenty of work this summer.
    A lot better prices than some folks are getting in other parts of the country.
    My area is actually doing pretty well with oil exploration and finds, along with a huge commercial park going in. Several thousand acres.

    As for your mowing schedule. I try to keep every one on a weekly or two weekly schedule with the exception of spring and fall when growth is slower.
    Theres no way I'm calling every body I mow for every week to see if they want me to mow that week.
    The agreement is that I mow on a set schedule unless they call me other wise.
    I tell all of them that I'm some what flexible and if they are having a gathering or what ever they need the mow date moved around to let me know as far a head as they can and I'll do my best to accommodate them.
     
  6. Mikegyver

    Mikegyver LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,810

    Let me preface this w/ this: Everything that I say and will say on this thread or any thread is constructive criticism. Its not trying to tear you down...its helping you learn from my mistakes.

    You will get these...my 2nd commercial is one of these. 8 hrs for one guy!

    Why are they your favorite? Whats to like? They really are not commercial grade and I PROMISE you will tear your hair out in the long run w/ these mowers.

    Why a bigger mower? Many commercials you cannot do w/ anything bigger than a 36" or 21". I cannot see myself getting a 52-60" in the majority of my yards..too small! And its not that the areas are too small. Its the little nooks an crannies you have to get into.

    My advise- Start small, get good equipment, and NEVER WORK FOR PEANUTS. Get legal, pay taxes, and have fun.
    Mike
     
  7. BPS##

    BPS## LawnSite Senior Member
    from WY
    Posts: 828

    Mike two of mine are going to be at least 8 hrs for two guys.
    TONS of trimming to be done with large apartment complexes.
    The one thing I don't know how to figure into the equation is that next spring I'm buying
    a 60'' ZTR to go with my 48'' Walker.
    How much that new ZTR will increase production is a huge unknown for me.

    Good pointers for osmann or any other guy just starting out.
     
  8. Mikegyver

    Mikegyver LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,810

    Thanks. I try to help people avoid all the tough stuff i have had to go through starting a small business. I have had a lot of stuff happen this year...hard drought...lots of paperwork....just keeping the bills paid. Its no piece of pie!

    Trimming gets to be a pain on the large places. A good trim guy is worth his weight in gold.

    On the production...here is how i look at it. The places you cannot fit the 60" in and have to go and get the smaller mower or have to trim are a pain. I prefer multiple smaller machines to 1 bigger machine.
    Mike
     
  9. BPS##

    BPS## LawnSite Senior Member
    from WY
    Posts: 828

    For the most part the places that the 60'' can't get to neither can the 48''.
    They are going to be trimmed any way.

    The 48'' Walker with bagger will be used around the building fronts where we don't want grass clippings getting tracked inside.
    The 60'' should more than up production enough on the bigger areas to offset the down side of not getting it into all the small areas.
    Next year this time I'll know a lot better.
     
  10. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    I just happen to really like the cub cadets. Exp the tank. I have mowed a lawn with it once (borrowed from neighbor to try it out. Worked great, fast & looks good. Why do most of you guys not care for them? I also like Gravely and Ex mark. I just think that doing commercial lawns they expect a zero turn rider. I believe the cub cadet lawn tractor does a pretty nice job cutting. I know its not the same as the zero turn but its not shity either. Ya i know starting small is good so that you dont get killed with loans and bills witch a lot of times forces landscapers to go out of business. It takes time i get that part i just wish it would happen faster!! I have never mowed a lawn bigger than 2 acres. Around here were i live its a lot of country side so a lot of people do it them self. but there is a lot of rich community the next town over 10 min away. I just got my business cards today from fedex office. they turned out really nice i was really surprised. Tomorrow i am going to go around to the different stores in the area and put the postcard on the bulletin boards. It wroth a shot either way. When i get my postcards made maybe ill put some on there too. Does it look bad if you put postcards in peoples mail boxes without an address/postage? trimming an 8 hour property would suck. how much do you get for something like that?
     

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