How much is age a factor?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by advantage landscaping, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. advantage landscaping

    advantage landscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 215

    This came up in another thread so I thought I would put it in a new one. I know there are a lot of young guys on here ( myself being 16 ) and I think the hardest part for us is people not wanting to pay higher prices because we look younger. I do a job thats at least five times better than what the 4 Mexicans do next door and they are 30 years+ at least. But I am sure someone, for the same price, would have them do it than have me...

    How do you deal with this? I have tried to do a lot of my quoting over the phone especially if the person isn't always home. What do you guys think?
  2. privatelawn

    privatelawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 301

    Im 29 but look younger maybe about 24 or so, I have always noticed being young had me losing a few bids... I started doing everything over the phone, bids are done by phone, there is nothing for customers to sign, my time isnt wasted doing bids. About half my customers have never met me. Its been 1 year since I started business and have almost 100 customers and I quit looking for new customers a long time ago.
  3. RedMax Man

    RedMax Man LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,053

    Age has affected many jobs that i've priced, I'm not positive that it was the only factor but i'm sure it did impact the customers disicion whether or not to hire me. I've had customer ask me when i hand them the bid, " how old are you". Some are impressed but others think i'm a bit out of my mind or won't be what i say i will be. I'm 18 and 6'2" so some that though i was in my 20's are surprised.

    I had a friend's father once tell me, " i hire you just because your young" afterwards i though to myself i wonder if thats why some people do hire me and then when i'm older will i lose all my accounts to the next junior. So far that hasn't happen and the customers have been loyal for the most part.
  4. PlantGuys

    PlantGuys LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    IMHO, it's not your age necessarily that people will notice, but the level of your maturity. If you stand behind your work (professionalism), show up and do what you say you will (integrity and dependability), and treat people with respect, I don't see any reason why you can't be successful in the residential market.

    However, if you venture into the commercial side of the industry, age is very much a factor. While I don't know an exact age, I think 25 is a good age- and the automobile industry sets this age as their mature driver age.

    Just my two copper pieces.
  5. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Posts: 736

    I believe you missed the point on the other thread. It was not JUST your age that was brought up. It was the mix between your age, no insurance, no commercial equipment except a scag mower and charging the same as a company backed with experience and equipment.

    Again I will make the point that made you start this thread. While you are young with no to very little bills, this would be a great time to charge half as much as a grown company. In all reality you would be profiting about the same because you don’t have the same over head as a company with employees and payments. When you see a company making 50-75 dollars an hour while mowing, that is not what they are pocketing. They have shop payments, employees to pay, gas to drive all over the place, where and tare, electricity and so many more (not to mention you probably don’t pay taxes on what you make). If you have employees they are 10x harder on equipment then you are… it isn’t there’s so they don’t care about it, therefore more parts, labor, and down time that you don’t have.

    By charging less you will get more customers, begin to grow, spread your name, show that you are a reliable company, and start to be able to afford insurance and other things needed. Then you can begin to raise your prices as you build a stronger name for your self and able to compete with surrounding companies, not just the Mexicans next door as you put it.

    Again I will say what I said before, I don’t care if you are making $500.00 an hour, if you only work 10 minutes a week your not doing what needs to be done. If you profit $15.00 for every 30 minutes that you work, you are doing great (if you can get very little to no drive time between job sites) There for with no over head, a normal $30.00 lawn you can do for half that, make a nice pay check and pick up more customers. Again if you read the other thread you will see that it was recommended to only do this in a subdivision where you will have little to no drive time. Knock out 2 or 3 lawns without moving your truck and maybe 10-15 without driving more then a mile. Trust me, most people are willing to pay 15 dollars to a uninsured company to mow. Again do this to get income so you can grow, then slowly raise your prices and most of the people wont leave you because they know you’re a good worker no matter your age.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    I think no matter how good of a job you do, you'll always be looked at as a kid...and a lot of customers will just naturally expect you to work for less money than an adult-run business. Just the way it is. I know I would have a hard time paying a high school kid $40 to mow my lawn.
  7. advantage landscaping

    advantage landscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 215

    haha so actually I think we are in the same boat for this. You're talking about taking half (15) for a 30 or 35$ lawn. I am doing that now - its just 40 or 50$ instead of 80 - 100$.

    Also I do all my mowing on a fairly odd schedule. I have lots of time during the summer for working but - once the school year starts, then sports, homework, and so on, there's no more time. So I have to get everything done quickly in one or two days. I don't have all week - I wish I did but I figure #2 in my class will get me somewhere other than landscaping for a job when I'm older even if I like doing it...

    I am looking at a trailer for next year. I had one purchased (signed the title and all) before the insurance company (car insurance) said they couldn't insure it, and therefore I couldn't get the plates for it. I am going to try to go to a different company because I would really like to get one for the same reasons mentioned on here, it makes you look much more professional even if you are 16, or 61.
  8. DSLND

    DSLND LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,205

    People around here seem to be impressed, rather than nervous. I'm not the fourteen year old wearing no shirt, basketball shorts, and tennis shoes. Image is a lot in my company. I always have jeans, company t-shirt (tucked in), hat, sun glasses/head phones, and always wear boots. I have found that by showing people the work i have preformed in the past can blow they away. I tell them that i may be higher than a regular guy mowing for money, but the after results are worth it. I keep my equipment running at top preformance, and try to keep it some-what clean. I never show up to a property on Sunday morning, or after 7:00 at night. Because 80% of my work comes from "word of mouth" they already know i am young, ambhitious, and always deliver A+ results. When people ask, "how much of that equipment is your parents?" they are normally blown away when i say "none, i have paid cash for everything." What has been working for me is displaying myself in a professional way, and making my customers excited about hiring me.

  9. dwlah

    dwlah LawnSite Senior Member
    from Argo Al
    Posts: 558

    Im with plantguys on this one I picked up 2 accounts because "that kid just quit showing up" didnt really want them but they were close to other accounts
    I think age may have something to do with it the kids today have a lot going on besides working you have school and all the stuff that goes with that family stuff like vacations/long weekends
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    That's what it's all about, right there you have goals, ambition, a plan and the means to execute it all in one neat package. You think highly of yourself, you make sure your equipment is at the very least up to the minimum maintenance specifications at all times and you're willing and able to go above and beyond the average, and you do, time and again!

    Because that's the thing, average folks can be found a dime a dozen, run of the mill and call the next guy and it's always the same old song and dance, maybe one verse short of cry me a river. Then along comes someone real good, nobody notices at first but over time it does show, hey, you know, this guy does it right always, first time, everytime, his mower never breaks down mid-cut, his equipment always runs good, and that is when word of mouth finally starts to work for you.

    So once you realize you can do better than anyone else, I think you got it made. That's my same goal, is to become one of the best solo service providers to some of the most elite clientele in this town, those who not only can afford it but appreciate the extra that is done and also think highly of themselves.

    Because I feel so long you always strive to improve and better yourself, in time you should start to notice how the rest always fall short of your work, to the point their best doesn't come close to your worst.

    It's a long hard road, but once you're there age matters none, other than a few questions perhaps.
    Now that's what I'm talking about!

    Other notes: the worst part is having to fight off the riff-raff :laugh:

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