I have equipment and accounts...how do I make it GROW???

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Toastpuppy, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. Toastpuppy

    Toastpuppy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    Well...I got my little lawn serivce started up last year. I work as a full time firefighter in central florida, and am now running my slowly growing business on the side. I am not looking to "get rich" or anything like that, but why does anyone go into business for themselves???.....to turn a profit, right?
    I have about 15 accounts, most of which, I have had since i started, and are so far very pleased with my work...keeping in mind I have done all my learning through trial and error, which I know is dangerous, and researching on the internet. I do all the basics, along with hedges, herbicide, etc... The business is picking up a little now that it's getting warmer again though.

    So here is what I got...
    I just upgraded to a 3/4ton diesel truck, got an 18ft enclosed trailer (getting logos put on it this week), and i'm buying a used 60" ExMark this week too. I also have a 36" Bunton walk behind, stihl edger, trimmer, ect.... you get the idea...all good stuff.
    I mostly work by myself, but my brother (who is about to be a firefigher too) wants in on the business, as soon as he can get his probationary stuff done.

    So here is the question...
    I got the equipment, this big trailer, some accounts, a name, a kick ass logo, and some ads out in the local paper....Now...how do I really expand?
    I have the means to do it, it's just a matter of getting more business. I have enough that I can pretty much knock everything out that I have in one day by myself. I'm not looking to kill myself out there, but seriously...theres got to be more out there! Am I just being too impatient? or am I missing something. I've got ads, the image, and more importantly...the quality.

    I have some good yards and some bad. I dont want to start pawning off the bad yards until I can get more of the good ones, but all the good ones seem to be being taken care of by the "BIG PROFESSIONAL COMPANIES" with 5 guy crews and a buch of rigs all over the place.
    I am in a BOOMING town, but can't seem to land the newer, nicer accounts.
    I got the big impressive rig now and by the end of this week, I will definately look like a big name company, with the equipment to back it up.

    WHAT DO I DO?

    Thanks,
    Tommy
    Douglas Lawn Service - St. Cloud, Fl
    douglaslawn@yahoo.com
     
  2. bigmudder77

    bigmudder77 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 297

    you need to get your name out there more offer the people like 20% off a mow with every referal that lands a contract. or a free mow i wouldnt offer a free mow for every contract you get cause you might get to many or spend to much money doing it. but people will get your name out there faster than flyers and junk like that. another thing is to get signs made and put in the lawns you mow so people can see how good of work you do. the other thing is you can call business and put bids in and make good money from that. other than that word of mouth is gonna be your best bet.
     
  3. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    The age ole Question.....

    I have been having good luck with newspaper ads and when I cut a lawn I go pass out flyers some times as much as the next street over...

    also word of mouth has spread like wildfire for me..... Just let people know you do lawn work....
    It seems everywhere I go I'm talking lawn work... if I go to get a hamburger at the local DQ I ask them. I got to the supermarkett I ask them...

    Just keep getting your name out there...

    Best of luck
     
  4. Toastpuppy

    Toastpuppy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    Thank you very much for the input!
    I was thinking about the free mow with every referral, but like you said, someone could get a lot of free work and just get me some shitty contracts...good thought though.
    I do like the discount idea too...20% sounds good...maybe 25% to even it out.

    how about contracts? anyone got a sample contract or anything I could look at?
    I don't do any contracts at all yet, and I probably should, but I don't know how to put one together or what to include on it. I haven't really looked into the contract thing yet, b/c all the people I work for now have been very cool so far..........so far.

    Thanks
    Tommy
     
  5. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    dont know how it is in your area but here in Texas noone wants to sgin a contract..

    Now granted I dont have any BIG commerical accounts but I do have hand shakes on 2 commerical accounts one of them is 1600 a month.. 800.00 a visit.

    remember your work will speak for itself.... as for the freebys I shy away from that.. granted your area is diffrent than mine.

    I'm not the boy pushing the mower down the street knocking on doors....BUT I have recived several jobs going to business walking in and saying who does your lawn work... then I tell them it looks like SH$%..... and I walked out 2 hrs later with 150-200 in my pockett......

    talk to everyone you meet....

    DAve Thomas said dont even talk to people who cant purchase your product..

    Good luck
     
  6. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    You really should protect yourself with a contract for an account like that. It just makes sense and protects you...

    Not the proper way to get new business, and a REAL good way to make a lot of enemies.

    But I agree for the most part, getting your name out. Name recognition is why a lot of the larger commercials have big companies. They don't really look much I don't think, they already know the names of the top guys in the area. Gotta put your name in front of people continuously before they will even remember who you are or what you do.
     
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I would just keep doing exactly what you are doing, it only takes time.
    Keep the ad running until at least end of May, the entire time.
    Beyond that it's up to you, but for me it peters down by end of April and you can pick up a few stragglers but also come along those who just lost an Lco (use your imagination, thou some are ok out of the bunch, not all of those are bad news), I run my ad from 20th of March through end of May, then EOW through end of June, and that is it for me but some guys run theirs year-round, I don't.

    Ok, not entirely true, the link at the bottom of this page runs year-round but it's new :)
    http://dir.yahoo.com/Regional/U_S__...opping/Shopping_and_Services/Home_and_Garden/
    Can't tell you for about a year how it will do lol.

    But yeah, just keep on track, I think you'll do fine.
     
  8. Norris Lawn Service

    Norris Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Word of mouth, let your customers that you have now know that you want more, and chances are they will brag to there friends, and so forth
     
  9. xtrim

    xtrim LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    It is all about image, Central Florida is booming, but with it comes tons of competition. My 1st instinct was to target new neighborhoods with flyers, when I got to the 1st door, there were couple of flyers there already from other LCOs

    You just need a competitive advantage over your competitor's, need to distinguish yourself, and people will come.

    As of contracts, I don't do them. Makes you work harder to keep the costumers, and its rare that they bail on you. As long as their grass is trimmed, they don't want to bother finding another LCO.
     
  10. Rickco

    Rickco LawnSite Member
    Posts: 135

    I wouldn't give any discount for referals,We don't. Just keep doing a good job for a fair price and the work will come. Retaining exsisting customers is just as important as getting new ones. We do not advertise,except for lettered trucks and trailers and grow 7-10% a year. Just wait until you get your new trailer/billboard!!payup
     

Share This Page