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Still Struggling

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by allenh60, May 31, 2005.

  1. allenh60

    allenh60 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    I am still trying to become rich with just 3 customers. :cool2: All marketing techniques are welcom. Hey, I was wondering, if any of yall work in the Central Florida area, what do you do in the off season? I started this business with intentions and hope to never have to work for someone else again. I have blown the idea of being well off financially up in my head as well as my wife's. right now she is baring with me waiting on that big day to come when I can say,"Don't worry about the bills Baby, I'll take care of them." I have one 30 dollar biweekly customer to do today, but it's raining pretty bad so today will have to be made up, and then I have 2 30 dollar a week customers to do Thursday, and that is my whole work week. Also, I seem to have a problem with under charging . How do you estimate your jobs? I bid on a job where this lady wanted rocks laid in her whole front and back yard because she hates snakes and was tired of messing with grass. I looked at it and just guesed 2 days worth of hard work. So I told her 100 dollars for the first day and 50 dollars for every day after and told her I could probably do it all in 2 days. Well, That job took a week and a half of back breaking work. If I had it to do all over again I would have charged her 100 dollars a day.
  2. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,457


    All day of moving rocks for $100, how bout you come up here and work for me?

    First of all, you need to learn from each job you do. Bad or good, learn from each experience.

    Some suggestions based on experience.

    Write down everything. How much you bid, how long it ended up taking, how long you spent there on the job, how much gas you used, materials used. This is going to be your basis for bidding future jobs. There is nothing better than accurate records, guessing is NOT THE ANSWER. Write everything down.

    Only you can bid for you.

    I did this same thing when I first came here.....asking guy's to help me figure out how to bid.

    The bottom line was I had to do a few jobs and rip myself off a few times before I learned how to bid, but more importantly which jobs to even go for in the first place.

    Get ready to always be struggling with one thing or another. I've been doing this for ?6? seasons now and I still struggle with the new things I encounter each season. If you're not struggling with something you're not growing and learning. Learn to embrace struggle, it means you're working.

    SCAG POWER LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 343

    I mow in the Apopka, Longwood LakeMary, Osteen & Wekiva areas. Say you add 25% to what every you bill as a qt. The people will all ways try to beat you down.

    The Avg price is around $50.00 to $ 85.00 an acre some times you can get it some time not. Just remember you have to pay for a lot of different items when you are in this full time.

    Best advice try not to give it a way, see if you can partner up with other contractors in different fields. Some times they are so busy withy their own company that they do not have any time to work on their own yard.I picked up 2 of these for this year, they cut the check directly to my company from their company.

    Respect those people who all ready may be in your neighboorhood, don't go after there accounts , they may give you the over flow that can't handle. When they decide to clean there book always ask about the slow pays, this will help, some times when they are turning over accounts , they will introduce you too the people. Thats a good move, try too honor the pricing that they have unless it is way to low. :waving:
  4. allenh60

    allenh60 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    Thank You.
  5. allenh60

    allenh60 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    Oh yea, what do you do for money in the off season?
  6. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,457

    Contracts bro.

    You quote the customer $5000 to take care of their yard for the 10 month growing season. Split the $5000 into 12 consecutive monthly $420 payments.........


    $50 a cut, 40 cuts per year, that's $2000 divide that by 12 months = $167 a month.

    Get CONTRACTS, written signed agreements.

    I also have one of these [​IMG] that I can do alot with in the off season.
  7. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,510

    You are not alone Allen. My very first job last year was a spring cleanup. My bid was $60 and it took 18 hrs, figured on 3 hrs. That will learn you fast.

    I'm still struggling in this my second season and have mostly leftovers and pita's that well-established LCO's have discarded, and not enough of them. I almost dropped one of them last week as they really tried my patience, but thought better of it as it is some cash flow even if it isn't much per hour. I haven't been able to sell any customer on once a week so far.

    Guess that somehow we just have to hang in there until the schedule gets full and the old leftovers have to be dropped to make room for the new gooduns. Picked up a goodun last Sat. by word of mouth. Doesn't happen often enough.
  8. allenh60

    allenh60 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    2 of my customers are pretty much from word of mouth, the third was obtained by having a sign on the windows of my suburban. Here's something I don't get, I try to go about all of this in a professional manner with business cards and nicely printed flyers and written up agreements, and I only have 3 customers so far. I have a good friend whom is illiterate, looks like he was found in an alley some where and is always drunk, he just rides down the road drunk yelling out,"Hey! Need yur lawn mowed?", and he has 8 permanent customers. Strange how things work I tell ya.
  9. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,510

    Yeah man. Real nice card and 14 cents apiece, nice door hangers, business liability insurance, wash equipment twice a week. So what do the customers think of it? For the most part, "So whoop-tee-do."

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