What can i do

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by True Cut Lawn Maintenance, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. True Cut Lawn Maintenance

    True Cut Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 418

    Ok so ive bought my equipment, and have advertised in local free paper. Absolutly no business what so ever, ive gotten 2 calls total i dont know if because its dry and people dont want to pay to mow dead grass or what. IM down the fact of working for famially lord knows its not what i wanted to do but ill do anything for money

    Should i push for leaf removal this fall, i think there would have to be some money in that

    Ive also printed business cards, 4-H fair is next week might try to talk to some of the ppl i volunteer with
  2. cash_money

    cash_money LawnSite Member
    from usa
    Posts: 79

    try and have your friends to help you out. So if you tell a couple of friends then they tell their other friends and so on and by the time the get done u might have more then you want good luck. i would to fall clean good money their also try and do a couple of mulch jobs. most people want them done in the spring but you still could do some mulch jobs in the dry summer to have some income payup payup thats why i wait and do alot of my mulching jobs in the summer so the look good all some long and fall. good luck
  3. True Cut Lawn Maintenance

    True Cut Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 418

    Ive also put my name in with 3 real-estate companies

    havent gotten any calls

    ive got my serivces printed on the back of my business card as

    Lawn Mowing
    Sidewalk/Driveway Edging
    Mulch Application
    Hedge Trimming
    Garden Tilling
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Summer IS a slow time of year so the low response rate is normal. That and it takes time, it really does - 2 calls for a 1-week ad is ok say if it cost you around 40 bucks to run it, that's not too far off but there may be other venues as well which may work better for you.

    Since you have the equipment, maybe consider designing a flyer on your computer.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    You're fine on the services you offer, I think those 5 things you do is good.

    Some changes you might try (this worked for me):
    From Lawn Mowing to Grass Cutting
    Sidewalk/Driveway Edging to Edging & Trimming
    Mulch Application to Mulch
    Garden Tilling to Tilling

    Do you have a Core Aerator? If not, no biggie but if you do, then
    Aeration & Tilling
    would work.

    So then:
    Grass Cutting
    Edging & Hedge Trimming

    Now this presents another issue because your original format looks better, but NOW you can move it to the FRONT of your ad which is a much better place than the back, and do so sequentially as follows:

    * Grass Cutting, Edging & Hedge Trimming, Mulch, Tilling *

    So then also I would add -
    * Free Estimates *

    That last thing, ppls love to get stuff for free,
    yup, even if it's just an estimate.

    Now I would keep your business cards, you already paid for them and there is no sense in spending more on that, the above ideas are meant for like if you design a flyer or maybe you can tune up the newspaper ad some.
    Good luck.
  6. True Cut Lawn Maintenance

    True Cut Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 418

    for a spot in the classifieds in the free paper, cost me $4.00 for one week ( runs on tuesday and thursday)

    Local regular news paper is $10.00 for ten days for classified

    and to top it off i picked the driest sumer since 1988 to start mowing yards

    Oh forgot to add that i put FREE ESTIMATES on the front of my business cards
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Ok then those prices mean it cost you like 2 to 5 bucks per each phonecall you got, roughly speaking? That's not bad at all, sometimes I pay close to 10 dollars per call, not trying to scare you but what I would suggest is, if you can afford it for a bit is to keep running the ads since it is not costing too much and try and get used to it if you can, those are not bad prices to pay for that.

    A one-week trial run is a good thing because sometimes you pick the wrong paper and get NO calls but in this case, I would suggest running the ad as long as you can, week after week, after week, after week. I ran mine in the spring for 8 or 10 weeks straight and some guys run theirs the whole season. That's how we get going, just keep running the ad until you feel you've had enough (meaning your schedule is close to full and you're working all the time). Seeing how cost-effective your ad really is you might want to leave it the way it is, it really is doing pretty good for the money and although I suggested some changes, maybe best leave it alone before we make it worse :)

    The drought will ease soon, probably not tomorrow but certainly it could end anyday, and it can not and will not last forever. It will take some TIME and you just have to run the ad week after week, after week, lalala...

    Some more tips next post.
  8. True Cut Lawn Maintenance

    True Cut Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 418

    hey thanks for the help i appreciate it

    question, im waiting to get some business before i buy a trailer, but if i do get one what size should i aim for
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    As you get calls, since you're slow, I might suggest adjusting your prices (wait) until you are getting about 1 out of every 2 calls as a YES. WITH the exception of jobs that YOU say NO to (because you can't do it or for whatever reason) if after your 5th estimate nobody has said yes, lower your prices a LITTLE bit (not a lot). Then, give 5 more estimates and see how it goes - Keep doing that.

    Here's the trick:
    If more than half are saying NO, your prices are too high.
    If more than half are saying YES, your prices are too low.
    Try for 50/50, that should get you started but again, it takes time.

    Tax-wise, I wouldn't worry about it too much in your first year, you will likely be able to get away with simply declaring what you earned minus what you spent on supplies, so to speak. This is a great opportunity for you if you're living with your parents, you can take this year to build things up a bit and then next year build it up some more so by the time you're getting to be near 20 years old, you could have a pretty nice thing going (see I said it takes time, my first year was a bit rough too, the 2nd year was MUCH better). Hang in there, keep running the ad so long it doesn't break your bank.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    uhmmm, the trailer thing is a trick you think about some ...
    - I wanted one big enough for MOST jobs but not too big.. My truck is a 250/2500 3/4 ton series and pulls cars if need be, it is a tough truck with a v-8 and the transmission to handle some weight (I think it can haul 6 or 8 thousand pounds. So truck series is important - a smaller truck with a larger trailer will burn through the transmission within 6 to 12 months, every time. If you have a 150/1500 or smaller, keep in mind you may need bigger truck OR smaller trailer to keep from messing up the transmission.

    I do mulch as well and find the ONLY trailer I can pull AND hauls a decent load of mulch is a 6x12 with 2-foot steel sides. Also I had to put a class-III trailer hitch on the truck rated at like 8 thousand pounds because smaller hitches will break and NO bumper balls don't work, heh...

    Way I did it, I went to a local trailer dealer, that's all they do - sell trailers. I bought the trailer AND the hitch AND got them to put it on, paid like 1400 for it all AND got 1 year warranty and it was brand-new. Trailers only last 8, 10 maybe 12 years in this business so it needs to be good QUALITY.

    Looking around, here is a trailer for 600 dollars (without gate thou) and this is about the least QUALITY you might look for:
    Click photo to enlarge, comes with a tilt-deck (mine doesn't tilt) and it looks sturdy, even thou it is 15 years old it is in very nice shape but I don't think it has a gate and you want a gate!

    Because of mulch I picked the 6x12 because it is the LARGEST single-axle trailer, any larger and you go two axles and then it's more weight... Weight to me was important because of fuel mileage and transmission.
    Now here is a 6.5 x 10 which has sides like mine, and these kind will hold about 4 cu.yds. of mulch without spilling all over the road:
    And THAT one has a gate, you want that so you can (un)load mowers and for the wheelbarrow (for mulch).

    The one I got is the same as the above with those full sides but it is a 6x12 still most of the time I get 4 cu.yds. of mulch but if I want, I can get 5 to fit and the extra 2 feet is nice to have when you need it. 6x10 is big enough, 6x12 is a little better.

    So, depending on your truck series, either a 6x10 or a 6x12 but only get the 6x12 if your truck is at least 3/4 ton (a 250 or 2500) or bigger.

    Also the trailer dealer I bought mine from, I talked to ppls and the dealer was recommended because he has been in that location doing business for 20 years and is a good guy - You want to find someone like that, or buy a nice used one but of good QUALITY, check your paper there are usually some for sale and used is cheaper also if you can't find the sides you COULD build some sides out of wooden boards, too)... I have a friend bought one with the little sides and he built wooden sides but it is a lot of work, still something to consider.

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