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Start a 2nd Lawn Care Company?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by whoopassonthebluegrass, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,214

    Having crazy thoughts as I'm out working in the heat. :dizzy:

    Rather than give you a novel to read, here's the short version:

    I've built my brand as a high end service. A service that, while not shrinking, is not growing in this recession where frugality is suddenly "in".

    Rather than alienate my existing clients or risking them cutting out services, I'm considering building a completely separate brand that will cater to the needs of the recession.

    I'd establish a separate company with a separate #, separate advertising, etc...

    Any thoughts on the matter?
  2. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,744

    This thought crosses my mind with the Christmas lighting. Offering a lesser design with lesser products for lesser money:hammerhead:

    Then I come to my senses and realize that even if it were run completely seperately ultimately it is my face on the company and I dont want to risk losing what I have built for what might only be a short term gain.

    I dont think you would be able to keep the two entities seperate for any extended period of time nor would you be able to not end up with a big merged business plan that wouild not benefit either company.

    I have given into the fact that I am not a company for the customer that only cares about the bottom line. We will try to work with you but at the end of the day everyone needs to realize we offer a higher quality service with a higher quality product and that comes with a higher value. I do feel we lose work sometimes because of this but in most cases when I go look at the job that was done by the lesser money guy:dizzy: I would not be comfortable with putting my name on that service, no matter what I felt the business plan was...
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    I think we have all thought about the same things. Grass is always greener, you know. I had a colleague here in town with more money than he knows what to do with. He did just what you are suggesting. And he went big time with it yellow page adds, panel trucks, good signage and he sold a lot of work.

    Problem was the clients would talk to the guys if they spoke any English and always wanted this or that fixed sprinkler wise or something trimmed. He said it would take longer to remind them of the contract and tell them no than to do the work. As you can imagine it slowed the work way down. So he decided he would bill for the extras... that just made matters worse because then they would hold up payment because of a silly 5.00 sprinkler head. So that required a call at least or a visit, more wasted time. Long story short he ended up loosing some good accounts on his high end service side because he was neglecting them while dealing with the other numskulls. He canned the whole operation on less than a year.
  4. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 2,517

    I like the idea a lot, but you will have to be VERY organized and get help just dealing with the day to day customer BS.
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,212

    Do everything twice? Separate trucks and signs and invoices and paperwork. Separate license and insurance.

    May I suggest you have a periodic sale or special deal. Offer an economy lawn plan from your same company--bare bones. Cash in advance. Three applications. No guarantee. All options are optional at extra cost. No special trips available, or trip cost is a dollar a minute. No call aheads. No hand sprayer, spot spray or tiny area detail work. If you want, you can imply that weed control would not be as effective--if you need to convince customer to stay with the full program. And if they want special tratments or grub control--they need the full program. And every year send them a letter that tries to convince them to go with the greater benefits of the full program.
  6. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,214

    Thanks for the response, guys. Here were the thoughts I was having.

    My existing plan consists of EVERYTHING:
    * 6 ferts - all liquid except winterizer
    * 5 weeds
    * Grubs prevention
    * Shrub/Bush/Ornamental Spray
    * topical insecticide for the continual sod webworm outbreaks
    * 2 pre-ems
    * Round-Up all the concrete cracks and roadside

    What I was thinking for this secondary business is this:

    * Buy another name through the state.
    * Use all my existing equipment, b/c my truck never got badged this year.
    * Use the Google-Voice phone # I got - so that I still only use my one phone.
    * Sell a simple, budget-conscious plan of 5 granular ferts and 2 weed sprays.

    I recognize that I'd have to have a clear contract that allowed me to charge for callbacks of any nature, etc. And I'd have to educate them that 2 weed sprays a year will only keep things in check.

    But, (and I know I'll take heat for this because some choose not to believe me) I can spread granular fert on a typical 5-6k lawn in 3-5 minutes per lawn.

    Thus, if I price it right, my input of time and materials might be just as lucrative as my high-end business. PLUS I get to charge for extras. The only catch would be reeling in a significant # of clients...

    Any additional thoughts? Is it just unrealistic?
  7. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 2,517

    If your business is 100% quality based right now then I think you would regret sticking your flag in any lawn that chooses the econo package. Depending on the area I would think it could hurt your business.

    On a side note, 6 apps of fert is pretty crazy unless your doing it TGCL style and using all fast release. Grass would be out of control around here with that much fert.
  8. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,214

    It'd be a flag for the new shell corp. :laugh:

    We treat every 6 weeks. Right on par for the environment here. As for out-of-control, I custom blend my ferts. I don't do the Nitrogen-Surplus-Program.
  9. THC

    THC LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,020

    My brother in law has done that in a different service business. In fact he has 3 or 4 different company names. He's VERY successful (so who am I to criticize...) but there are some things about it I don't like.
    He has Large yellow page ads for every one of them (this year they put two of his half page ads right next to each other:laugh:, he's pissed because they look very similar in design. They were instructed never to place them together.
    Anyway, because he has different names he has to have different phones. Sometimes the same people will phone all his companys because they are price shopping. They have to disguise there voice or pass the phone over etc. The same people do all the work so they have velcro patches on their t shirts and no lettering on any of the vans.

    Interestingly, some of their "cheap" advertising ie. ugly coupons, are the most successful but they really do have one major company and 3 smaller ones. His thinking is that he is saturating the market and the yellow pages.

    I don't know. He makes a 100x the money I do but I like lettering and sticking to one name. I actually do 4 different services but all under one name.

    Edit: I have another thing to say to you, you could just ad a "just mow it" service to what you already have. Check out Jaimie's Lawn Care... some good Ideas there I was thinking of implementing.

    Whopps, I see you were talking about fert not mowing (ingore me:laugh:)
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2009
  10. big acres

    big acres LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    The thought has come up with us too, but it sounds like a logistics nightmare. Our neighbor (different service) in the office condo has four numbers for his North, south, east, and west metro locations... of course they all ring to his cell. Not exactly the same concept, but makes him sound bigger than he is.

    I think you are better off promoting "window pricing", that is your high-end and low end service being sold as two options in your proposal. One has checkerboard lawn, the other is mow and go. This shows that unlike many, you KNOW what good service is and can provide it, but can also dumb it down to meet their pricepoint. Just be sure to spell out the difference in what they should expect.

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