getting first crew out .. help please:)

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by causalitist, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. causalitist

    causalitist LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 610

    next spring will be my third year. i use a small 1/2" yellow pages ad , and passed out 2500 flyers ... ended up with 35 customers this season. im in school the beginning and end of the season , so it really sucks that this is all i can handle(3 days work) with school 1/4 the season.

    i plan to get a bigger yellow pages ad and pass out my remaining 7500 flyers during spring break (early april) and then unfortunately do all the estimates over the phone, might mess a few up but i wont have time since thats final exams time. i then plan to work like crazy once schools out may 10th ... with what should be 5 days work with a helper if i land 50 accounts out of the flyers.

    then my only option is to either keep doing what im doing and then drop the accounts down to 30 in the fall .... not good ... or get another truck and crew out. you guys have any advice for getting my first crew out? i have the money for a decent truck/quik 36 and misc ... the people i've had help me to date arent that good. 2 are slow and just generally suck, but they want the work bad, and the other is my dad, he works like mad and is good, but not reliable at all .. so i cant use him.

    should i just put an ad out for an experienced person with a good driving record? im thinking like $12/hr ... and a helper for him at $9-$10/hr. from what i've seen it's not easy finding good workers in this field. very high employee turnover at the company i used to work for.

    i have insurance and 99% of my customers are on credit card. so im doing things right. do you guys have and advice ? thanks alot, obviously this has been on my mind a ton lately since dont want to stay where im at business wise.

    im thinking put an ad out for a good worker in spring and do a ton of interviews, have the person work with me for a month, then do half the accounts by themselves and then finally let them do all but the the big ones i can get with my bigger mower. .. hopfully a few months before fall so i can find someone else if it doesnt work out.

    this is really nerve wracking since i basically have one summer to make the transition or i must drop the accounts. hopefully some of you more successful guys with a few crews out can give me some tips. thanks alot guys.
  2. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 537

    i did the same thing kinda last year . what happened was i was solo and had 97 res. and 1 comm. was able to take care of all this with the help of a helper 3 days a week. my full time night time job went to 7 days a week 14-16 hours a day. i hired another helper and trained my current helper at the time to do my job. it took 5 weeks and felt it was time .the first couple of months went fine. then my customers would coplain that the service was not as good as it was befor. i had no choice but to go with it and help as i could. i keep telling the crew to shape up or the worst would happen. it did i lost most of my customers over the winter months. here in northern ca. we take care of lawns all year long no snow no freezeing weather. so now i have a partner and have made changes to make this job first . think of the choices you make it will change you for good...
  3. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    drop the yellow page ad...
    single worst advertising dollar you can spend...

    we will do over $1M this year and all we have is the small free one line yellow page ad that comes free with your phone line.

    yellow pages will get you a lot of calls from people price shopping.
  4. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 537

    The Yellow Page Response Is True All I Got When I Had That Add Was Shopping For Prices Not Much Of A Response That Way . Good Luck
  5. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Posts: 5,407

    I think the yellow pages response will vary from town to town. What may work for you may not work for others in different towns.
  6. amtrucker22

    amtrucker22 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 69

    We got very little response from the YP's. Most of them were from people that were out of town. We also got 1 commercial account that stayed with us for 2 cuts.

    Needless to say we will not have an ad in this coming up YP book.

    I also agree with lawnworks that the results are probably regional.
  7. causalitist

    causalitist LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 610

    ok thanks, i'll consider just keeping my small yp ad.

    so then what other forms of advertising do you like? i'm thinking flyers or direct mailers ... except that direct mailers are 10 times more expensive. for me i guess advertising isnt the problem, ive gotten the typical response from flyers so i'll concentrate on those.

    shane mapes:
    thats obviously what im scared of.. what did you finally do to resolve it? did you just drop your other job and concentrate on quality control? man, theres got to be a way to get people to work decent!

    so should i just stay right on top of em and if enough complaints roll in sternly warn em and then dont hesitate to fire em and replace ... maybe 3 or 4 times? obviously ill be reasonable.

    should i talk to all my customers about the transition and strongly encourage them to call if things arent how they like?

    man, this is scary ... anyone else have experiences with this? tips/ideas?
  8. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 537

    hey i did not stop working full time job. it is a union job and i make real good $$$ so what i did is slow down the hours at night job to 50-60 per week. then i got a partner and hired a pt. helper . basically started over this year and i'm going from here.what i would do is let the customers know whats going on and tell them to call if anything is not right. it was hard to get off a 16 hour job and go drive by the customers front lawns a look @ what going on and hope it looks good in the dark.but thats the price of working for yourself and the man. hopefully by this time next year will be down to just lawn care. i love this work........
  9. All_Toro_4ME

    All_Toro_4ME LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,578

    not trying to get off the topic but what are you studying in school?
  10. sancho_man_orlando

    sancho_man_orlando LawnSite Member
    Posts: 216

    I have 2 yp ads from different phone companies coming after me since they didn't generate enough for me to pay the large bill. I am in collections for these ads and DO NOT recommend them...

    You can get a better return from community classifieds, flyers, vehicle lettering, t-shirts, etc.

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