Hiring Door Hanger Distributors On Commission

Discussion in 'Employment' started by SydneyLawnCare, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,072

    I like the "out of the box thinking" but do you have any idea how to handle the volume of calls you will receive? 50,000 flyers should get you around 375 calls for more info. If you're decent at sales you'll close 70% of those sales that's 260 new customers to work for. 26 new customers is a big undertaking for a startup business but 10X's that is crazy. The other thing is if you underbid half of those you're already DOA and you don't even know it.
  2. biodale

    biodale LawnSite Member
    Posts: 177

    Oh my oh my oh my. I have enjoyed this post. I know you think you have a great business plan for a lawn care business. Let's say you have the marketing nailed. You have some money because the printing of 50,000 flyers cost a certain amount of money. I am assuming you are using nice card stock and maybe color to attract attention. The big boys tell me it cost $150 to get a customer with their promotions, discounts, gifts, and overhead. So the Trugreens and Brickmans would spend $37,500 to get 250 customers. But what do they know, they are only the biggest and best at marketing in the lawn care industry. So if you can beat them at the marketing game, your company will soon be driving Trugreen and brickmans into bankruptcy and that would be ok with me. Maybe your company will sponsor a super bowl add in a few years.

    It is interesting to me how you are solving your labor problem. I pay my employees more than the standard for the industry and I still can't find reliable, hardworking, trustworthy employees with common sense. My employees arrive late, ruin equipment, have their driver's licenses suspended, etc. on a practically daily basis. You would think anybody could mow a lawn. Most of my employees I would not let mow my own lawn. I seem to be working full time fixing the problems they cause and putting out fires. But you have found a way to pay your employees nothing while still getting the job done. You are awesome. Tell me HOW YOU DO IT.

    The next thing. The cost for handling the employees compensation in this way in fines, penalties and interest will amaze you. I hate L&I. The mafia is easier to deal with. Compensation in whatever form must equal at least minimum wage. So if your commission does not equal minimum wage you will be on the hook for that. It is perfectly legal to pay commission only as long as the compensation is greater than minimum wage. How do I know. Last year I paid one employee commission only for what do you know SALES. At the end of the season he turned me in to L&I and state unemployment agency. I said he was an independent contractor. To be an independent contractor he would have had to have his own business license and work for other people or companies than me. Since he just worked for me he was classified as my employee and I ended up paying his unemployment and back wages.
    For the actual lawn care: You have contacts that will do the work for you. So you will charge your customers enough that you can pay someone else to mow for you. Lawn mowing doesn't bring in much profit. I will be surprised if you can find someone who will lower their prices enough to give you a cut of the mowing profit. If you can, great. You have that covered.

    I guess you are the man. If this works for you I want to have your first franchise.
    Good luck. You are going to get a schooling.
  3. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,072

    You do know he's not in the US, and all these labor laws may not apply in Australia.
  4. CL&T

    CL&T LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 493

    Just a quick Google search indicates that they may be even more strict and on the side of the employee. Looks like minimum wage is $13.21/hr and the Australian dollar is worth $1.04 US so it's really the same. I know there have been guys on this board complaining about how American equipment costs almost twice as much there as it does here. So that few thousand he has won't get him very far at all.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  5. Dragon Rider

    Dragon Rider LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    What we have done is made a donation to the local Scouting organizations in our area to do door hangers. You get with the scout masters, tell them what you want and then they watch over the scouts during the process. Just a way to get yourr name out there while giving back to the community.
  6. newguy123

    newguy123 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,094

    It seems to me from reading the first few posts in particular is that though people were offering Sydney some advice, some were also snide and rude at the same time. No wonder this guy's offended, I would be too. We're supposed to be professionals. Which means not only in our business conduct but our "professional" character and attitude.

    With that said, if Sydney doesn't want to take advice from some, no big deal. We don't need to resort to "name-calling" because we're professionals and we're better than that.
  7. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,353

    Good lord......
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. georgialawn88

    georgialawn88 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,075

    hahaha sydneys giving everyone good laugh over in the business forum. great advice syd:usflag:
  9. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,353

    Wonder if they have access to Lawnsite in Australian prison?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. nozzy

    nozzy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 67

    I did some insanely dumb things when I was 17, and there was almost nothing I didn't know. At that age kids think that if people don't agree with them it is only because they don't really understand the situation or they're afraid to try things a new way. If I can give you a little advice it would be to hand out the first 2 or 3 thousand of your fliers yourself so you aren't on the hook to anyone for anything. See how it goes, see what your response rate is, and see how you deal with the 15-20 calls that those fliers should get you. Ideally there is nothing dated on those fliers you had printed so once you have all of your systems in place for dealing with calls, subs/employees, complaints, billing, insurance, taxes, new bids, and on and on and on, you can then roll out your second round of fliers. Dropping even 5 thousand fliers in the first few weeks of business is WAY too many. Be careful and don't assume because the math works out and the numbers look exciting that you can just scale your new business has high as you want to. There are countless variables and each of us discover even more of them all the time. There are very few uneventful, average weeks in this business - especially at first. Most of the surprises aren't the kind you hope for. In my first month in business (1995) I wrecked my truck because I hadn't pulled a trailer before and didn't realize it would take A LOT more time to get stopped on wet pavement with a full load of wet grass in it, and later that month I hit a mostly buried steel stake with my brand new (financed) mower while cutting tall grass. This resulted in a bent drive shaft and over $400 in repairs. Fortunately the very kind owner of the mower shop gave me a loaner to use while they were fixing it. You probably wont make those mistakes but there WILL be others - I can promise you!

    Get yourself up to 7 or 8 lawns a day, and do the work yourself. That will still leave you a few hours a day to further develop your business and research questions that are sure to arise. It isn't nearly as exciting as the anticipation of what will happen when 50,000 fliers hit the streets, but it would be loads safer and smarter.

    I think most people would agree that they knew a hell of a lot less when they were a teenager than they thought they did. Chances are you aren't that much different from the rest of us. Try to ask questions only when you want to hear an honest answer. If you already know what you are going to do, just do it and then feel free to share the experience with others when you see how it turns out. If you don't know what you are going to do and you choose to ask for help, try to be open to criticism and suggestions. People are much more likely to try and help someone that seems to actually want to listen.

    Best of luck, and if you do still decide to drop all 50K fliers with the help of people that you hope to be able to pay, I'd be very interested to hear how it all goes. Either way it should be one hell of a story.

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