I did it.

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by PTP, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Posts: 1,379

    Unless I have to give out my first paycheck in order to qualify, I am now an employer.

    I narrowed 50 applicants down to these two. I decided that I don't really like the whole process and so I hope that these guys are keepers.

    The only thing that I need now is customers. In about 2 weeks my ad campaign goes into high gear and I proceed to do everything that I can to get these guys some work. Maybe it was stupid of me to build everything up like this without any customers but I think that I can do it. Over the winter, I set up a new billing system, formed an LLC, changed my business plan, purchased new equipment, and pretty much built an entire business except for the customers. If all continues to follow the plan, I hope to add 300 accounts this year. If it goes particularly well, the number will be about 450.

    Ready or not, here I come.


    P.S. I am not totally an amature here - been doing this for 4 years now but it is all or nothing this time.
     
  2. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,416

    wow... for once, someone's plan has me almost speechless. almost...

    300-450 accounts this year, based upon advertising that has not yet begun in high-gear? we're past the point of telling you that you might have gone about this backwards, but if you can afford it so far, what the heck.

    what i'm most interested in is that i'd love to know your marketing approach to pull in those, shall we say, "lofty" numbers, as well as if your pricing will be market-rate.

    thanks,
    tony
     
  3. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,416

    ptp, i'm doing a read of some of your related threads and now i have a better understanding of your strategy. i'd still like to know your marketing plan to get there this year, if you'd care to share.

    thanks.

    tony
     
  4. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Posts: 1,379

    No magic here.

    Last year, I was able to get 35 lawns or so with less than 1000 flyers. I didn't keep track of the # of flyers. I figure that if I put out 10,000 this year, then I should be able to get my 300. But what if I put out 30,000? I can't think of any good reason that I cannot hit my goal but for some reason my knees are still shaking. If 30,000 won't cut it then I go to 50,000. Failing is simply not an option. Worst case senario is that I let my 2 guys go :cry: and start sweating. I did that last year and I can do it again.

    Based on last years experience, I figure that if I build it, they will come.

    If someone else tried to build a business the same way that I am doing it, I would probably advise against it. It is kind of like betting the farm at a table in Vegas. The difference in my case is that I have a good idea what cards the dealer is holding - I saw them last year.

    Wouldn't you agree that it would be a much greater disaster to have 300 accounts ready to sign up but you can't service them? The guy who plays it safe and grows slowly has absolutly no chance of gaining 300 accounts. At least, I have a chance.
     
  5. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,213

    How big of an area are you going to cover?? If you have a dense population you might make it. Do you really think your company can service 300 customers in the second year of opperation? I wouldn't want to be your banker or the person answering the office phone after about 150 customers have been signed up. Good Luck!!

    Gene
     
  6. LLCO

    LLCO LawnSite Member
    Posts: 55

    In a service industry, I am overly concerned with word of mouth.. If you have customers that you can not service that word of mouth can quickly steamroll especially in startup. If you were well established, then you can admit to a mistake show that you have a proven track record and move on. In the startup stage, I view this as dangerous.

    May I ask how you have structured your back office and business processes to facilitate this kind of growth. Would you be able to make 270+ estimates in a 2-3 week period of time? Are you sure that they will be able to contact you (i.e. voicemail, etc.)? I am not trying to po-po your ambition but trying to understand it to better emulate it in my own business plan..

    BTW.. from what I am able to research, a 3.5% close ratio on flyers is very aggressive in a service environment.
     
  7. PMLAWN

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    I would be concerned about that good of a close ratio. Are you pricing right
     
  8. ALarsh

    ALarsh LawnSite Silver Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 2,412

    According to what most people say on here, you are going to have to put out 45,000 flyers to get 450 calls. In order to service 450 people, you are going to need multiple crews. I think you may be growing this too fast. I would say a good goal for you this year is to have your two guys working a full schedule. If your market is not saturated with lco's, add another crew on in the middle of the season and get them working on a full schedule. Getting 450 calls would be a nightmare, setting everybody up, having the ability to service all of these people weekly is impossible with your current setup. I wouldn't want to get all of these calls and have my quality terrible because we have soo many clients to service, leaving a sour taste in some of these potential clients mouths. You can still burn yourself out working at the desk.

    Thats just me though.
     
  9. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,416

    "Wouldn't you agree that it would be a much greater disaster to have 300 accounts ready to sign up but you can't service them?"

    interesting take on that. you have a different motivation than most i see, so who am i to tell you that you shouldn't take on the overhead in advance of any customers. from your original post in this thread, i had an idea that you had put some thought into your strategy. that's the reason i looked at some of your other posts to better guage it before offering up any more.

    now... if it were me, i'd get the customers and then scale to suit. equipments always an easy ramp-up, but obviously the labor is key to have at hand. for me, i am heading into this as our first full year on the lco side (i own other businesses), with an initial mailing/flyer/insert distribution of 10,000 4/4color 6x9 postcards. i have 13 customers going into the season, the product of fall clean-up and snow removal customers that signed on. all other customers will be generated from the distribution, as well as 2x2 display ads in the local suburban papers.

    tony
     
  10. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,416

    in some of his other posts his pricing strategy seem to be a bit on the lower end, with very tight overhead.

    as for doing the estimates, i skimmed one of his posts that said it would be primarily over the phone estimates, with little regard for the property. if that's no longer the case, i'm sure he'll correct me.

    these were culled from primarily the justmowit-intensive lowballers thread, so it seems to be similar to their strat.
     

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