What to expect in the first year

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by green-pa, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 733

    I was wondering if I could get some opinions on what I should expect as far as return on my flyers ( once grass is ready to be cut) and my first year. Is an avg return like 1-2%? If I have an above avg flyer and work really hard putting em out all over the city can I expect 15, 20, or 30 customers my first season, or is that an unreasonable #? 10 would be enough to at least break even for me and pay the bills I need paid. When I say 10, 15, 20, ect, I'm talking an avg of lawns cut per week. I know many of u guys have 50-100 customers but what did u start out your first year with? I'm mainly interested in hearing from those who just started with the most basic setups; 21in, blower, trimmer. As that's what I've got, but will upgrade as biz grows. Like if I put out 5,000 flyers vs only 2,000 flyers, that surely WILL make a big dif. right? About 250% more call right?
  2. Ecoscape01

    Ecoscape01 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 375

    I'm new and starting out small like you. The weather was warm here last week so I put out about 200 flyers. I got one call for an estimate and then it snowed the day I was supposed to give it - 75 one day, snowing the next. Anyway, just today I put out another hundred or so and I'm teamin up with someone throughout the rest of the week. I'll let ya know how that goes but I don't think there is a science to this. It seems like it's hit or miss. My guess is that word of mouth is really gonna be the biggest determining factor in the number of accounts I/you/other newbies get in our first year/season.
  3. Novaowner

    Novaowner LawnSite Member
    Posts: 70

    I'm just starting out too! I put out just over 1,000 flyers on this past Saturday.......I got 2 calls. Both were for estimates, one for contract lawn mowing, and the other for some mulch and seeding. It's early still, some lawns have been cut, the majority hasn't been.
  4. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,096

    The more flyers you put out the better. 1-2% return is avg. If your flyer is above avg, you might get 3-4% but I wouldnt count on it. Good luck!
  5. lurch

    lurch LawnSite Member
    Posts: 221

    I just started about a month ago...i started with two 21" pieces of crap and now i have two commercial Cub Cadet 21" (bought used), Echo SRM-2100, MTD Edger, a hand held blower, and a 4'x8' mesh 4' sided trailer. I've done this by looking for deals and putting feelers out in my neighborhood. I've only put out about a total of 300 flyers and posted FREE ads on craigslist. I now have about 10 weekly clients....I've done good with what i've had...i fought hard for it by doing quality work and sticking by my word....
  6. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    set some realistic goals, and try and achieve them, .... you cant expect too much your first year, and you really shouldnt want too much....

    you will have a better chance of making it at a slow steady rate of growth, so you can learn as you go...

    some guys get 60 accounts with no experience and are overwhelmed and fail

    most business dont make much money the first couple of years.....so if you make a bit of dough, look at it as better then expected,
  7. AllSeasonsMaintenance

    AllSeasonsMaintenance LawnSite Member
    Posts: 40

    so you make flyers and post them all over, like telephone poles,stores etc?
  8. Novaowner

    Novaowner LawnSite Member
    Posts: 70

    I posted my flyers in newspaper boxes and if they didn't have that, sometimes I could roll them up and place them through a hole on the mail box post or stand. If there wasn't a hole to place it on the post, I used a short piece of tape. I didn't touch any mail boxes since it's illegal to touch them, from what I understand anyway. I think my flyer isn't the greatest, but I seen someone elses in this one neighborhood which was a half sheet of paper and I felt a little better about mine. I don't have alot of money to use on advertising right now, the local paper here charges quite a bit and I've run an ad in there.
  9. ALL-American

    ALL-American LawnSite Member
    from Houston
    Posts: 23

    I am also new to business. I posted about 500 doorhangers and only got two calls. One for yearly contract and one lady called for mulch price. I tried to "upsell" mowing service to the lady who called about mulch, but she told me that my price of 25$ was double of what she paid her guy to mow a week. I wanted to say" yeah I can tell by how crappy your lawn looks" but just smiled and thanked her for thinking of us. Residential is a hard nut to crack here in houston(south). Damn illegals!!!!!!!....oh well, not the end of the world. just keep plugging away.

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