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Thinking of starting up again

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Swampy, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. UniqueLawn&LandscapeTN

    UniqueLawn&LandscapeTN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    Do I really need a helper? Probably not...I may try this year to do most of the lawn maintenance myself and only use the help in "HAVE" to situations and landscape jobs...Ive noticed alot of people on here have started out working solo unless a partnership deal or something....Swampy, the more I think about your suggestions on the pay scale, the more it makes since. No matter whether you own your own business or not, you want paid for the time you work!! I really appreciate all the constructive comments, keep them coming...I need all the advice I can get!! Thanks ALOT!!!
  2. Set Apart Lawn Care

    Set Apart Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 189

    I used service magic a few year ago, worst leads ever. I did get a few regulars off them but my money would've been better spent elsewhere. A couple suggestions:

    1. Pick some target areas and focus on them. Areas near your house or business place. When I started I had no job or money so I took on anything, I'd spend half the day driving. Now I have one subdivision with over 20 yards, and all have atleast a few. This makes everything so much easier to manage, cuts down on gas, gives you more billable hours, etc.

    2. I know this is beat to death on this forum, but as far as advertising goes, good quality door hangers have been the best for me. Again they allow me to focus on specific neighborhoods as opposed to internet leads, yellow pages, truck signs, etc. Not that those arent good, just not as good.
  3. UniqueLawn&LandscapeTN

    UniqueLawn&LandscapeTN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    I tried the door hanger deal last year and actually had them designed so that I could write the estimate for that particular yard on the back of it so that people would know up-front the cost of our service...out off about 300-350 that were all personally hand delivered in local subdivsion targeted areas, I recieved "0" ZERO return!! This year Im going to try the EDDM route and sending out 5,000 postcards in groups of 1250-4 times...or 2500-2 times....nobody in my areas are doing that yet and I'm hoping that will gain me an edge on the others??? I'm also looking into a website but i'm not sure the return on that will justify the cost??
  4. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Posts: 1,899

    Swampy, it sounds like going back in business is what you want. If you do, it's all or nothing. What I mean is that you give it all you've got if you plan on succeeding. Fact is, you're a startup.....again. This means you need to put your nose to the grindstone till it's bloody. And when the "pain and injury" show up, you persevere. Remember: Winners never quit, and quitters never win.
  5. No Weeds Left Behind

    No Weeds Left Behind LawnSite Member
    Posts: 119

    I started up last year doing it part time. I got about 8 accounts just from craigslist. Pretty good advertising and its free. One problem with it is some of the people on there are looking for a deal and don't wanna pay for quality, but that's ok you just have to shrug them off. I learned a lot last year. My biggest problem was underbidding my self I would look and a yard and say, "Oh I can knock this out in about 45 min." Needless to say with a 36" walk behind actually walking 45 turned into about an hour and a half after edging and all. Doing it full time would be awesome I think but I am a long way from that in my opinion. I don't like the idea of going into a bunch of debt and just making ends meet. My advice, unless you have the clientele, is to maybe do it part time until you get the good customers that will pay your bills for you. I am blessed that I work 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. so it works out pretty good for me. But if you have the customer base to do it full time go for it.
  6. Swampy

    Swampy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,435

    Yeah I honesly only tried doing two types of advertising, and those were the worst in the world (AT&T advertising solultions tried it two years before, and Service Magic). I never tried doing door hangers or EDDM, it might be something to consider. I did get stuck in that situation like most bid to just get the job, in fact I was underbidding myself. Alot of those customers where cheap or late payer's, not the greatest customers at all and I should have just came clean with them and say "hey this isn't going to work out, I'm ending our service agreement effective xx/xx/xxxx", or gave them the quality of what they were paying for. But getting rid of those few to focus on the great customers that offer or have the potential to offer more, and that refered me to their friends and family.

    Note I won't be leaving my full time job, granted the pay is okay, but the benifets are what really keep me there. Plus there is a enough time around when I'm scheduled for to run this part time for now.
  7. imow in NC

    imow in NC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 56

    Swampy: Buy into Sean Adams Lawncare Success. it is well worth the 19. per month. I started out small and had tunnel vision to begin with, It was like walking through "Swamp Mud" on a daily basis. Was not looking at the overall picture. 5 years later I am debt free "Business wise" myself, 2 employees, and sleep better at night than ever before. I have enough work to keep us busy annually and a 42% profit margin net. Oh yeah, no long treading in swamp mud, but riding the escalator!
  8. CreativeLawncareSolutions

    CreativeLawncareSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,025

    You should have received about 3-5 calls. You were unlucky. You really need to be putting out thousands of them. 300 is 1 days work.
  9. UniqueLawn&LandscapeTN

    UniqueLawn&LandscapeTN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    I bought one of Sean's books 6 years ago, the first time I even thought about the Lawn & Landscape Business...It is FULL of very good information and now that you brought that up, that is exactly what I need to do...go back and look through and read it AGAIN!!:hammerhead:
  10. clydebusa

    clydebusa LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,660

    I agree with this somewhat. I put % back for each thing, then get the leftovers. This way it is like a bonus each month. I write myself monthly checks. I had some business classes in college and have a excellent CPA. I agree with the meeting with Chambers and all, but having lunch with successful business people is a big plus. Good luck.

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