Hypothetical: You're starting over from scratch...

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Ex-golf guy, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. Ex-golf guy

    Ex-golf guy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    Ok guys, I know this looks like my first post, but I am a semi-regular visitor who had to start fresh under a new handle to overcome a little paranoia about asking a question like this. I hope everyone can understand that and help me like you would if I used my regular handle with the 100+ posts attached.

    I've worked in many different areas of this industry, golf, large full service companies, distributors etc... I have a 4 year B.S. (ain't that the truth) in Turf Management and I am comfortable with both my knowledge of turf and the lawn care industry in general. Some things are happening that have me thinking it is finally about time to get out there on my own, starting out as a solo fert & squirt operation. Here's some of the things on my mind... then I'll ask for opinions.

    Working my current job and starting this business, even on a very small scale on the side, is nearly a logistical impossibility. In light of that, once started I will need to grow this thing as fast as possible in order to get income to a survivable level. Assuming you can keep up with the workload what would you do marketing/sales related to grow as rapidly as possible, but obviously not being able to spend a complete fortune on advertising?

    I've seen too many guys go overboard spending on equipment starting up, but I also don't want to spend a single dime on junk that would have to be replaced quickly if things really took off. So with both frugality and functionality in mind, what equipment would you start off with? Through industry contacts I could end up with a deal on a PG Magnum too good to pass up? If that were the case then I would probably be thinking along the lines of a decent used 200 gal sprayer and a used with life left 3/4 or 1 ton pickup. I do already have a Lesco spreader, a couple backpacks and some of the miscellaneous things like that.

    That's just a couple to get started... will post more as this thread moves along.
  2. Ric3077

    Ric3077 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,113

  3. a plus bob

    a plus bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 1,160

  4. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,195

    Do not deal with cold and indifferent people. There's enough warm fuzzy people around as not to have to deal with cold prickly people.
    Give your clients more than they expect, be on time, make sure your clients understand what you are doing and WHY. Overcome any and all objections before they arise. Size up the age, ability, and mind of your clients and then give them some type of bargain that will not cost you nothing but time such as pruning the foundation plantings or mulching them if they will buy the mulch. Ask them to recommend you to their friends...You'll have more work than you will know how to handle. It's the same for every business.
  5. Maple Wood

    Maple Wood LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 322

    There are lots of ways to start, but you want the best way for your situation.

    Is this to be started on a shoe string budget or is there some seed money?

    Negative cash flow is the number one killer of new business. So you must protect yourself from this problem.

    One piece of advice is to get set up to take credit cards. Don't carry anyone or as few as possible. With the customers credit card on file, charge it the day you do the app. If you keep your receivables down it will help your cash flow tremendously.
  6. david shumaker

    david shumaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 721

    I was giving away some freebies to some customers just to be nice, but it back-fired on me and now some of them want everything extra free. How do you prevent this situation?
  7. Ex-golf guy

    Ex-golf guy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    I've got a lot of ducks to get lined up before going down the Z vs. T road. At least here on lawnsite the PG seems to be the forgotten machine, and like I said before the deal may be too good to pass up.
    In between a shoe string and some seed money. I don't have a big cash reserve, and I'm not going to take on a mountain of debt, but a little debt for smart spending will be tolerable.

    I absolutely plan on taking credit cards, along with having a very informative website (groundwork has already been laid), an E-Newsletter, "call" ahead text and e-mail options, anything that can make things easier for the customer and keep me in contact more often.

    I will add more again a little later.
  8. EVM

    EVM LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 371

    I have a friend who is on his second perma green, the other one fell apart. He could have bought one Z and still be in good working order.
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,229

    You are on the right track--go for it. Do your treatments on Monday--spend the rest of the week on sales and marketing. Pass out brochures. Door to door--whatever it takes. Try to get some concentration. Only do accounts within 15 minutes of your location. Short drives make profitable customers.
  10. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Posts: 6,057


    Very good advice...especially when just starting out!

    I had a lot more fun when ONLY working close to home!

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