Pointers anyone???

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by DFed913, May 5, 2006.

  1. DFed913

    DFed913 LawnSite Member
    from KC, MO
    Posts: 15

    Hello everyone..my husband and I just started a lawn business. We're starting out with just basic lawn mowing, trimming, etc. and plan to expand services once we get our feet wet, so to speak. I'm happy to say that the very first day we actually said "we're in business" we had 6 jobs! payup (4 of those being from one builder)...IMO, I think that's good.

    So, I've been browsing these boards and learning ALOT..thank you all. Are there any specific pointers you'd like to throw out to us...things that might be overlooked in all the excitement??

    Any and all comments are appreciated.:)

     
  2. thill

    thill LawnSite Member
    Posts: 245

    Concrats and best of luck.

    The one thing we started with was always doing a little more than was expected. That coupled with constant push for absolute quality has launched our company into a terrific growth from the very 1st year.

    This is our fifth season and we are running five crews and just over 20 folks.

    Tom
     
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    This is how I operate, you do as you wish but I have learned the way you behave somewhat dictates the type of customers you will attract (cheat and you will attract cheaters, et. al.):

    Above all, be honest and never use your knowledge against the customer. What I mean is, even if you know you can get a 500+ dollar deal out of someone just because they don't know any better, of course you would do the work but the point is if they don't really need it, don't sell it just for the money. Do what is best both for the lawn and financially, do not be afraid to let them know it will take 3-4 years of consistent maintenance if that is what it takes, if it is financially wiser then you are the expert and you are hired because you're not just smart with lawns but good with their money.

    Do not allow greed to get the best of you, always quote the same prices to both rich and poor, either they can afford it or they can not.

    Do not be afraid, have no fear, do not let them intimidate you. With experience comes confidence and this helps the most, but until you have said experience, always do the best you can and know you will do so, this helps.

    In time you get better. One day you will say to yourself: you know I am getting good at this - Now you understand that hard physical labor, your experience and your knowledge, honesty and willingness to show up on time and get the job done does not come cheap. Charge a fair price and make a good profit, and always give them the best you can in exchange for this.

    Best of luck to you!
     
  4. DFed913

    DFed913 LawnSite Member
    from KC, MO
    Posts: 15

    THILL and Topsites...

    Thank you both so much for the warm welcome and good sound advice!
    I'm sure there's more where that came from, I'll be hanging around here for awhile...thanks again!
     
  5. Prestige-Lawncare

    Prestige-Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 753

    Good advice ... and very similar to where I have my life goals set too. This type of attitude and direction works well in just about all aspects of life.
     
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Perhaps other folks haven't had it like this, but back when I worked for someone else I found none of those things I said worked like that. In the real world, it seemed the only thing that works is backstabbing and brown-nosing and lieing and cheating and doing everything that is wrong.
    For so many years did I experience and live with this frustrating environment, I failed to realize how deeply it had rotted my own self and when I first started in business, lets just say it took years of working out in the elements before the garbage cleared from my mind. But the reason I preach those values is because if they don't work in the real world, I have found at least when you own your own business, they really do work! Now if you have employees things may not be like that, but if you're by yourself then you can run your business however you like and I have found the easy path is the honest one, the truth.

    It takes time to where you have refined your words so that when you speak the truth it comes out nice and smooth (trust me I know lol), but it gets better with time.
     
  7. 6'7 330

    6'7 330 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,822

    Honesty and integrity are a given, but that alone ain't necessarily gonna make a business run successful.You can have job a cutting grass, or you can have a career and successful business in this great industry.


    Know what your cost of doing business is, Materials,cost of labor which includes payroll, workers comp, when and if you hire employees.Cost of operating your machines , and trucks which is more then just gas oil and maintenance ,but also insurance depreciation etc.If you are serious Start educating yourself in the industry, if possible get some education in the green industry and landscaping, take landscape courses, Horticulture courses.You want potential clients and lenders for capital,you, or people you have working for you, know what they are doing in this industry, be it maintenance, installing landscapes etc . Learn what all state and local licenses you need.

    Do research on the industry in your area, where you stand against the competition. Learn your Demographics in your area. Learn specifics about your potential customers, things like are they aging baby boomer's two income family –rich middle class etc. Now days it’s easier then when I started to find some of this info, with the advent of the Internet.There are a 1001 things more I could tell you, but at this particular minute, my brain is not on full function mode.
    Good luck with your business.
     
  8. wski4fun

    wski4fun LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 323

    It always costs more than you think. Lots of little things you never thought of. Good luck.
     
  9. Budget

    Budget LawnSite Senior Member
    from Pa.
    Posts: 368

    Back up equipment, Nothing worse then not finishing a job. This is followed by maintaining your equipment, all trucks, trimers and mowers, ect. Provide qaulity work at the going rate for your area. Keep very good records of everything you do, insurance, mileage, gas, parts, and new equipment and what not. Talk to a tax advisor about what you plan on doing.

    Good luck
    Pat.
     
  10. DFed913

    DFed913 LawnSite Member
    from KC, MO
    Posts: 15

    Wow, so much good advice and kind words. It seems like you all "take care of each other" on this board - not withholding good information because of competition per se. I like that. Think I'll stick around :)

    One question though: I'm trying to find out how you all charge your customers - do you do a flat figure and figure out taxes later or invoice and add tax or what? I've read that some customers balk at the idea of "seeing" a tax figure on an invoice for a lawn care job. Trying to figure out the best way with least hassle.

    Thanks again!
     

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