wanting to do this "for real" please help me out

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by cuttinggrassiscool, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. cuttinggrassiscool

    cuttinggrassiscool LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71

    hi,
    well this all started for me about four years ago as a 15 or 16 year old kid pushing the lawn mower around the neighborhood. it worked for me, i didn't want a job and it made goo money we found five or six within pushing distance and took our parents lawn mowers to start. i guess this is irrelevant here but i find it funny we soon moved up to our first rig, a go kart with lawn trailer, complete with advertising. but now i am almost 19 and my friend/parter is 17. however it seems we have just gone nuts on equipment(look at the sig) as we are only looking at a return of 10 lawns in the spring.(see we never really did any advertising at all) i never kept good books so i cant tell you if we really made any money but it seemed like it. now my question is this
    What can i do to change that?
    Allow me to elaborate for you. i would like to become licensed and insured first off. and i looking to land about 50(or more) new mowing jobs as well as up-sells such as mulch, flowers, bed renovations etc. i would like to work just lawns four days a week me my friend and a helper and then the up-sells the rest of the week. to do this i plan on "hitting the streets hard" i am planing to distribute 3 to 5 thousand door hangers in the coming months supplemented by an add in the local paper. i am also considering something along the lines of soliciting at a local supermarket. i planned on selling myself in a similar way as college pro painting (c). but even so i wasn't sure if people would look down on us for this. we do have some solid references and are possibly going to receive one commercial account. now i have a few specific questions
    • i have heard that you can get very very cheap insurance trough the farm something or other, does any one know of this?
    • i am in rhode island of any one knows anything area specific about legal startup
    • my area is fairly saturated, can i still expect the response of 1 to 2 % from door hangers.
    • would you recommend any thing else/what do you think of my plan?
      well i am sorry for the long post, thanks for your time and help and good luck to you all.
      Chris
     
  2. SouthJerseyLawns

    SouthJerseyLawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    When we started we chose specific neighborhoods that we wanted to work in and saturated the blocks with door knockers. Yes you will see a small return but once you are in and you have your logo and number on your trucks, the calls will come. In our first year we ended up with 73 customers just from door knockers, church bulletin ads, and word of mouth. Make sure you have the right equipment for the jobs and learn to keep good books, certainly if you want to be legit.

    Insurance will be expensive but you don't need a huge policy in your first year. It depends on what kind of jobs you are doing and where. Find out what the state minimum coverage is for RI and use your best judgement. If you need any more help feel free to email me at southjerseylawns@comcast.net.
     
  3. RedWingsDet

    RedWingsDet LawnSite Gold Member
    from Detroit
    Posts: 3,556

    I will tell you that you will need alot more than 5k flyers. This past year we put out something like 30,000 flyers and only had around 30 lawns, and 35 plowing accounts, but had quite a few renovations.
     
  4. SouthJerseyLawns

    SouthJerseyLawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25


    When did you put your flyers out and what kind did you use? I put out about 300 and landed 20. I used gropro.com for that stuff. They have a well designed door knocker and it really looks professional. Of course it could just be the difference in markets.
     
  5. RedWingsDet

    RedWingsDet LawnSite Gold Member
    from Detroit
    Posts: 3,556

    I just used the 8.5 x 11 that I had made up at the local paper. It was something like $125 for 5000. IMO, the cheaper it looks, the more work you will get, its all in the customers head that you're cheap, so they will call
     
  6. CrumleyLandscapeMgmnt

    CrumleyLandscapeMgmnt LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Sounds like you need to get with South Jersey on when and where to put out flyers. A .22% return versus a 6.67% return is a Huge difference. If you had the same results on 30,000 that would be a whopping 2001 accounts. But we all know that would NEVER happen.
     
  7. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587


    with that kind of return, chances are good your prices are too low....
     
  8. SouthJerseyLawns

    SouthJerseyLawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    Actually no. We priced about $5.00 more than most of our competition. The difference is that in the neighborhoods we chose, the clients would prefer to pay a little more to have a more professional looking and acting company. We have taken a whole new approach to providing better service and selling our image. We have a sharp logo, clean trucks and equipment, and my guys are in uniform. In addition we got that kind of return because I did more than pay some kid to put flyers on doors. I went out myself and talked with potential customers if they were outside and actually knocked on the door if their lawns looked terrible.

    I was a restaurant manager for 10 years, so I took that view of customer service and introduced it to landscaping. We outshine our competition and we are able to charge more. You'd be surprised how many people would gladly pay more if they trust you more.
     
  9. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    if you got the chance to actually talk to them, this would explain the high rate of return..... that really is the best way if you can do it..... i have mine circulated in local newpapers with exact areas targeted.... wish i could go door to door, but just havent got the time.... i know sometimes you can close the deal right there ....payup
     
  10. cuttinggrassiscool

    cuttinggrassiscool LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71

    well first off thank you all for your responses. i was a little worried that i had been to wordy and would not got to much of a response. thanks for the email south Jersey lawns that is much appreciated. i have someone looking into the farm bureau for insurance next week(she works at a union office so she has a little information already) and if that doest work i am going to go around to the agents. one question i had that may have got skipped over was about marketing. i was wondering if you think that like setting up a table outside of a local suppermarket and trying to market our selves as college students who are looking to learn a trade and business while paying towards college. maybe for the people who like to help out the community. in our area we have well established companies that would be tough to compete with and then the "lawn boys" maybe that could help us get our niche. and i will target certain neighborhoods. thanks again for the advice
     

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