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Just starting for 2007 - Looking for comments/advice/criticisms on Business Plan

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Tyler7692, Dec 25, 2006.

  1. Tyler7692

    Tyler7692 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,086

    Hello! I am 20 years old and am currently in the process of starting my business, Hart Lawn & Landscape Co. Where do I start?

    My only equipment is as follows:

    -2004 Bobcat 52" ZTR Rider
    -Cub Cadet "Commercial" Straight shaft weed eater
    -Craftsman 200 MPH blower
    -Numerous seeders/spreaders/shovels/rakes and a few small (21" cut) push mowers.

    I realize this isn't exactly the optimal equipment to start with, however, I have read countless times NOT to invest in equipment until you actually have to need to purchase.

    My plan is to go door to door throughout neigborhoods hanging door tags and handing out business cards. I plan to speak with everyone I can.

    I am handling this business in an extremely professional manner. I have a service contract (Which I would like comments/criticisms on if anyone cares to look at it)

    I plan on tackling as many residential customers as possible. I have NO experience whatsoever as far as bidding is concerned on commercial properties, however, I would really like to secure some commercial contracts (Do you sign a service agreement with a business?)

    I intend to have a "personal-friendly touch" in my business, especially towards valuable residential clients. I believe it helps secure long-term and successful relationships with customers. I am the type who will send Christmas cards to residential customers - - - "Happy Holidays from your friends at Hart Lawn & Landscape"

    I intend to keep prices reasonable, however, I am NOT going to "Lowball" anything. Its not worth it in the long run, nor is it worth my time. When someone brings up my price is to high, I will kindly respond with "As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. If you want professional, dependable lawn service from an insured, experienced company, choose us. If you'd rather have a fly-by-night guy cut your lawn, go for it. 'Cheaper' isn't exactly synonomous with 'Better'.

    Here is a picture of my business card:


    Once things are somewhat up and running, I'd like to get more equipment (Like a quality 36" WB.....say eXmark or something along those lines?)

    What is THE BEST way to get your name out and attract business? I am going to do the old fashioned door to door, but I would also like something economical that will really make the phone ring off the hook. As part of a test, I called all of the LCO's that have a classified ad in the newspaper and pretended to be a newspaper employee doing a survey on how well their ad was doing for them. The replies were unanimous...the small classifieds don't do a damn thing. I have also heard advertising in the phone book is a waste of money.

    I am treating this like a car salesman would...I will be carrying business cards with me 24/7 and any chance I get to promote my business, I will.

    Another key element of my plan is UPSELLING. By getting some residential clients, I can potentially upsell mulching, aerating, landscaping, spring/fall cleanups, small decorative ponds (My personal specialty interest), overseeding, hedge trimming, and numerous other jobs. I can also get their winter business by clearing the snow off their drives.

    When do you guys usually start going out and "getting the business"? When is the deadline before most people already have someone to maintain their lawn?

    My slogan is intended to be personal and it is also intended to allure potential clients into thinking that Hart Lawn & Landscape is PROFESSIONAL (Which, like I said earlier, I intend to be extremely professional)


    The slogan serves yet another purpose- to make potential clients feel as if they are of a higher class (Bad way to word it) because they are contracting a "professional crew" to maintain their premises.


    I want to "register" this business as an LLC. This is where I get lost. How do I go about making my company "official" (With the government, IRS, ect.). As far as the city and county is concerned, I am fairly certain I don't need a license or any other form of "registration," but I know I have to somehow become official with state and federal govt. This is the part where I really need direction.

    Any suggestive comments or criticisms are more than welcome and all help is GREATLY appreciated.
  2. Ed Ryder

    Ed Ryder LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 541

    1. I would never give senior discounts. Or any discounts for any reason, ever.

    2. Creating an impression of a big company when you are not is something that would not appeal to me if I were a purchaser of lawn services. It would cause me to disqualify you.
  3. Tyler7692

    Tyler7692 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,086

    I appreciate your opinions.

    The "senior-discount" is only a ploy to lure customers. It may be dirty, but there really is no genuine discount.

    Also, are you implying that you would not purchase lawn services from a big company, or are you suggesting that I have falsely represented my business as a large company? Or both? I am very interested in your opinions and thoughts, so please enlighten me as to the direction of your second statement.

    By representing myself as a professional business, I assumed it would be "easier" to attract commercial clients, and by offering friendly, personal service I figured it would clench the patronage of residential customers.
  4. Lawn 'N' Order Landscape

    Lawn 'N' Order Landscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    I think what “just another lawn guy” meant was that if you pretend to be a bigger company (more than just you) and the customer finds out that it is just you they will likely turn you down because you mislead them.
    As for getting your company INC, LLC or whatever you decide to chose I would talk to a lawyer they will tell you what you need to do for the local, state and federal governments in your area. I would also highly recommend getting insured. I hope this helped let me know if you need anything else.

    Lawn ‘N’ Order Landscape Inc.
  5. Military Lawns

    Military Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 321

    First "Professionalism" is everything because it leaves a lasting impression with your customers and you are projecting a solid image. I agree with the discount thing although it is possible to give discounts. I offer certain discounts but only after I have surveyed the intended lawn and it is usually a bundled packaged deal outside of my regular service. In other words for mulching and weeding if it is a one off thing.

    Other than what I have said if you get it like you say, then I see you being highly successful.

    Happy Holidays-

  6. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,581

    I just wanted to say that reading your post inspired me to look at what I'm doing a little more. I see things I screwed up on this year (my first year), and intend to correct for '07. I definately say stick to your guns on the senior discount thing, I advertised it last spring and got alot of calls from seniors, but once they know there is a discount, most seem to keep picking and picking for more and more discounts and seem to lose focus on what is actually happening, they just want to tell you all about how they dont have much money, are on a budget, need to pinch pennies, etc. It just seems to get your relationship started out all wrong. I have more senior customers that I never told about a discount, and some are my absolute best customers, we have a great working relationship.
    I also agree with you about maintaining a professional appearance and business. You can always grow the business, just dont go out and portray the business as something it isnt. If you are a solo op., dont use the "we" and "our business" terminology, People like to speak with the owner or manager, and are happy that the guy they are talking to is the one who will be doing their work. Just my 2 cents. Good luck, look forward to hearing from you later in the spring to see how things are working out.
  7. Mow"N"Bud

    Mow"N"Bud LawnSite Member
    Posts: 138

    Check out my thread called "My take on it". It is still fairly recent and the last time I looked it was still on the first page.
  8. Prestige-Lawncare

    Prestige-Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 753

    Tyler ...

    I'm not going to comment on any of your points in specific at all ... though I feel that is what you are looking for in your post. What I mean by that is that you are looking for feedback from others here on Lawnsite in regards to your plan ... and I can really appreciate that.

    What I am going to say is this. If your drive and effort towards your new business venture is as good as your plan, you will succeed my friend. You seem to have given this some serious thought, and have learned quite a bit from reading some of the posts on this forum. It also appears to me that you have weeded through some of the "not-quite-so-good" information that pops up from time to time in a forum such as this.

    I salute your effort so far, and your desire to not only make a name for yourself, but to be successful in your dream. I have seen way to many young men that are older then yourself that have no desire or drive to even work at all. It seems that the work ethic today isn't what it used to be 30 years ago ... and people with the drive and desire that you have are so good to see.

    Best of luck in your venture ... I am sure you will do well.

  9. barefootlawnsandlandscape

    barefootlawnsandlandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 296

    To get your name official, at least in my state, you need to go to the county courthouse you are going to base your business out of and get a D.B.A. certificate. Then check with the city and see if you need any licenses. I am just finishing up my first year myself. The best advertisement I had was in the newspaper classifieds and though the newspaper's weekly free mailer. You will have to be picky with some of these calls, but as you get a few you will learn the right questions to ask to know if it is even worth a trip to give an estimate. I just started an add in the Christian Business Directory and Yellowpages, we will see how those go, the Christian Business Directory has already paid for itself with one landscaping job.
    I would suggest to get a better blower. I bought a BR600 right out of the chute and haven't regreted it one minute. It will save you time.
    The last suggestion I would make is to not offer too many services in your first year. I noticed you were doing weed control and fertilization also, assuming you are liscensed, this could take up a lot of time and energy. If you are doing it for customers other than your normal mowing customers then it can put a strain on your routing and scheduling.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
  10. Ed Ryder

    Ed Ryder LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 541

    People who falsely represent themselves are a big turn-off to me. The slightest misrepesentation is all that it takes, and I want nothing more to do with them.

    When you lie, it leads to bigger lies. And it gets hard to keep track of where your story is.

    Why would I want a dishonest person working around my property? They could steal from me. If they found my wife's missing earing they might just put it in their pocket instead of hand it over. If they broke something or damaged something of mine, like dent my car, they might just pretend it didn't happen and deny it if confronted.

    I absolutely want nothing to do with businesses that misrepresent themselves.

    I also would never lower myself by conning the public into thinking they were getting a better deal if they were seniors. I don't want the bargain hunters anyway. Around me there are plenty of seniors who can afford to pay the correct price.

    It's a beginner's mistake to attempt to create the illusion of big and established.

    I also have firsthand experience in the things that can go wrong when a company is mispresented. I had a different kind of business - with a partner - beginning in 1989. He lied like crazy because he considered it the easiest way to get the business going and give an impression of credibility. I could barely stand this, but he was getting results and I just couldn't win him over to being more honest. We had a successful start because of him. But all the lies brought him stress. His small lies had turned into huge lies. And he began to slip up - causing him great embarrassment and loss of face. Eventually this guy self-destructed and I closed our business.

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