Number of accounts

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Mark McC, Apr 18, 2004.

  1. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,565

    I'm a bit nervous at this point because I have only 12 accounts. I need 33 to make a go of it, would prefer forty.

    I have an ad going out in the May edition of a senior-oriented print publication that hits 30,000 or so households. It's a quarter-page ad that I'm hoping will help round out my client list.

    Anyone care to comment on whether I'm in deep doo-doo/not in bad shape at all?
  2. gramps

    gramps LawnSite Member
    Posts: 241

    Too early to tell. Think, if you gain two neighbors at each of your 12 acct.,there's your 36. How come 36? I like about ten more than I can handle. Aim high. Do great service. They will come.
  3. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,565

    Hi Gramps,

    I intend to distribute flyers in the neighborhoods where I already have work to beef up my list without adding to the drive time. I am really focusing on making sure I don't leave a job without ensuring that it looks razor-sharp as well. That way, the flyers can say "I did your neighbor's place at XXX Main St. Can I do yours?"

    As far as how many I can handle, I'm not sure. Right now, that ExMark 36 Metro is kinda beating the stuffing out of me, but I'm also sure I'll get stronger. I'd better, anyway, or my wife will have to drag me through dinner this summer.

    My guess is that I can handle 40 a week by myself without too much difficulty. I've read posts by others who are doing 15 or so a day without help, but I can't see me doing that much without a zero and a larger trailer or just a larger trailer to accomodate both the Deere L110 and the ExMark. The Deere is a homeowner item, but on flat surfaces, it really does nice work.

    I'm just jittery because this is pretty expensive to get into without making some serious jack. My flyers now also offer "vacation lawn care," but I'm not sure how much that'll draw.
  4. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,381

    You should get about a .2% response from advertising in printed publications. That means with 30,000 you should get about 60 phone calls for bids (this is an average based on demographic studies). If you bid competitively you could probably expect to get about 1/3 of the bids you make. This means that on average you should get about 20 new accounts from that ad.

    But you will find that most of your new business will come from word of mouth. Your current customers are your best source for advertising. Do top quality work for them and word will travel quickly. I know this to be a fact because I am currently turning down new business. Many of my current customers are still recommending me to friends and neighbors and I am flooded with voice-mails every week from customers that want lawn service because "so-n-so said you do excellent work."
  5. environment

    environment LawnSite Member
    Posts: 146

    wow, im in the same spot
    exact same spot
    11 customers
    and need many more
    only i have one employee
    so im making zero profit

    unfortunately i do construction work here and there
    and i start a big one on wednesday so i need a good employee to aid in the jobs, but when things get slow i have to take money from my profit to pay the guy cause maintenance sucks, once maintenance can hold his payroll ill be ok, at least ok enough to survive and actaully get a profit

    im still toying with firing my employee and just picking someone up when i need the extra help
  6. Turf Medic

    Turf Medic LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    Make sure that you get your current customers' permission to use their name or address on your fliers. I would even get it in writing so it doens't come back to bite you in the butt later on.
  7. LynyrdSkynyrd

    LynyrdSkynyrd LawnSite Member
    Posts: 179

    51 Homes. Serviced weekly. Same people as last year. Just lost one account due to the homeowner passing away and place was sold.
    3 Cemeteries. Serviced every two weeks.
    1 Apartment complex. Just picked it up Friday. Did a quick mow and blow today for they wanted it done before tomarrow (Sunday). It will take about two hours to do it right.

    None of the homes are large and all 51 can be done in 3 days if I push it.

    One cemetery takes a full day by itself. The other two can be gotten in a single day.

    It is not killer money. But I am happy with it.
  8. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,565

    Thanks for the input, Dennis. I'm taking my time with each job to make it look tidy and something the homeowner can be proud of. I just don't like nasty calls and I don't like losing customers.

    Enviro, this is all I do, my writing career is kaputzskie. Nothing like living and dying with just one pursuit to make one really pursue it.

    Interesting point, Medic. Nothing like asking ahead to indemnify oneself. I hadn't thought of that.

    Lynyrd, you can do 51 in three days? What kind of mowers do you use? Please don't tell me a 36" wb is your biggest mower.
  9. Dependable Lawncare

    Dependable Lawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 84

    I don't know what the biz is like in your area, but I was probably about in the same boat as you this time last year, but by the end of the year I was loaded up and pretty expensive bidding any more props. I handled around 30 by myself fairy comfortably with a 36 Exmark hydro. This year I have only 21 but a few are bigger commercial accounts. If you do good work....they will come.
  10. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,565

    Dependable, how big were those 30 jobs? I have a number of customers on lots that are a quarter of an acre at best, and figure I can do eight of those a day without too much difficulty.

    I guess the two things I want most from all this are 1) to make a good living, and 2) to have my customers rave about the work.

    I figure that if I can make (2) happen, (1) will take care of itself. Then I can get a paint job on this poor ol' truck I'm driving. I gotta get a picture posted so you guys can see what this beast looks like. It's pretty hilarious.

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