Next year will be my first year in business full-time. I have enough accounts right now that I can survive, but I will certainly need to add some if I plan to make any money. I have several ways planned to add accounts, one of which is networking (just to expedite the process). There is a guy that I know that supposedly has been in business for 14 years, and all he talks about is how busy he is. For some reason though, he still does this part-time, and he mostly only does landscaping. I am looking right now to just offer full-service lawn care next year (mow, fert, aerate) and do only smaller landscaping jobs such as throwing down some mulch once in a while or trimming shrubs. We had talked earlier in the year, and he told me that if I needed any help to come and talk to him. Well, figuring that he only does landscaping, I thought that it would be a good way to get some more business cards out there for lawn service. So, I stop by his house the other day and talk to him. Tell him that I will be getting a 60-inch Z next year, probably an Exmark, and what I would like to do. First of all, he argues with me about the whole Exmark/Toro situation. He tells me I am completely wrong, and that Toro makes Exmark. He has a 52" Toro Z-Master that is probably about 5 years old, and proceeds to tell me that the Exmark and Toro is the exact same machine. Of course I know different, but not wanting to make him mad I just go along with what he says. Then we get to talking about getting some new business. The next thing he tells me is that I should take a loss the first year, then basically make up some excuse the next year as to why I need to raise my prices (insurance went up or higher gas prices, etc.). He said this way people will be able to see what kind of work I do, and won't mind the price increase. The last thing that we talked about was fert, which he apparently does. He proceeds to tell me that he only uses granular, and never liquid, just because it is too expensive. The worst part though, was that he tells me that I will never be able to get a lawn free of all of the weeds, and will probably have to call ChemLawn in to get it looking good. I am thinking by now......I am not going to bust my --- and not make money. I don't care what he says, I am going to price the work according to what the market will bear, so that I can make money and won't be stuck explaining to the customer why I need to change the price of her lawn from $25 to $35 in a year because I decided to underbid it on purpose the first time. Regarding the fert, I have seen ChemLawn's work and also from what I have read here I am not all that impressed with it. Furthermore, I look at it as if you can't make a lawn look good, then why are you even offering the service when it could ruin your reputation. Like I said, this guy has been in business for 14 years and is supposed to be so busy, yet he continues to work his full time job year after year and not pursue this full time. My instinct is to never go talk to this guy again and work on getting accounts other ways. I am interested to know what you guys think about this, so please let me know.