What Would You Do In My Situation?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DBM, Mar 13, 2001.

  1. DBM

    DBM LawnSite Member
    Posts: 66

    What would you do in my situation? I've got a bit of a problem here. It's my first year and intend to go part-time unless business allows me to go full-time. The problem is my budget is tight and only allows me to purchase a 36" walk-behind (this allows me to cut the smaller gated properties). The problem is it isn't cutting season here yet and I've already bid on a couple of residential properties I can't possibly quote competitively due to size.
    Should I screen them out over the phone, recommend them to a reputable competitor, sub it out, sell my wife's car to buy larger equipment or what? (hope the wife doesn't see the selling the car idea).
    Case and point I had to bid $100 a cut for an acre with alot of difficulty and trimming (I figured 3 hours work minimum). Even this is less per hour than what my goal is.
    Senior Members, what would you do?
  2. keep the big ones. if you only get big ones then sign them to contracts and maybe go and finance a larger machine. or if that is your only big one that you get then maybe keep the 36 and just go and spend the three hours at the big places or however long it takes you, save up and get a machine that suites your needs.
  3. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    I would be honest with potential clients and let them know that due to the size of your operation currently you will be subbing out the larger acerage lots to another contractor.

    I would let them know that due to the unanticpated surge in business, that you have be hired XYZ Lawn & Landscape to handle these accounts in an effort to keep your clientele happy.

    If you cannot sub out the work then just refer them to potential LCOs you feel will suit their needs. Let the customers know that you appreciate the offer, but are unfortunately not equipped to handle properties of their size at this point in time.

    Many potential customers will appreciate the honesty and still pass your name along to friends and family when asked for a reference to a contractor. They will also be more likely to check back with you in the event they discontinue service with your referral or even next season to see if you can handle the accounts at that time.

    Good Luck this season!
  4. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    The only one that can truly answer your question would be you and your wife. Somehow I don't see her voting to sell her car :)
    You say your budget is tight, but is there any way you could finance a larger piece of equipment? If you can without maxing your credit out, that would be the way to go.

    If there is absoluetly no way for you at this time to get the larger size, then decide if those larger properties that you looked at, are ones that you would want for the long haul. If they aren't, then just recommend them to someone else.
    But if you would want those clients for a long time, then bid them as competitively as you can; if you get the bid, grunt it out until you get the larger equipment. If you're serious about getting into this biz, it shouldn't take you too long to acquire enough accounts to make the money and upgrade your equipment.

    Good luck.
  5. Acute Cut

    Acute Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 980

    Oh yeah, sell everything you and your wife have to get a mower. Come on now. So many people only look forward and get bigger, fastr, and so forth. I am the guy that always tries to set back-ups because i want to be prepared for the worst. I did my first two years with 21" mowers. It is not unthinkable to do this. TALK to your wife. Your 'wants' and her budget may not be realistic. Get a sulkey of some kind and save yourself some tiredness because you are only doing this part time. Because you are part time (And this includes some of us full timers too) you dont have to have the biggest fastest thing out there. More productive equip is nice, but not essential to get started. We can all tell you to get the 72" Lazer and you would be a happy man because you could show your wife the threaad and try and convince her.

    The biggest mansion must be built from the foundation UP!
    Good luck on your descion
  6. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Posts: 4,831

    I bought a new 38" mower JD Lawn Tractor when I started way back when. I then went and started getting customers. I should have done it the other way, got the customers first I guess since I got more work than I could do with that little 38". The next year I got a 50" and still had to much work. This business is hard to plan. I guess it is better to have a small mower and too much work than a big mower and not enough. Good luck in what ever you do.

  7. DBM

    DBM LawnSite Member
    Posts: 66

    I was joking about selling the car, I like being married.
    I didn't even think about the referral business, thanks for that info. I believe in being honest and upfront and that's always been my way in doing business and life. Another question, it's pretty quiet right now, should I screen these people over the phone or make the effort to visit them in person and make the bid anyways? You never know right?

  8. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    I heard that on public t.v. one day. If all you have is a 36 target smaller properties.............heck, ask the other LCOs in your area to send the gated properties to you if they dont want to bother with them. Find a niche and stick to it, you may find you can make really good money concentrating on all the small stuff, develop a system, have everything organized and hit it running!
  9. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    There is no better teacher than experience. In other words get out there and go to work. You will find out soon enough if your doing it right or getting the shaft. This type work is best learned on the job. I started with real estate companies................I dont do real estate companies anymore cause I learned real quick what they wanted.............see what I mean. Get out there so people can see your work. Your going to make mistakes and cut your throat, thats part of it.
  10. LScom Addict

    LScom Addict LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    If you dont have the start-up collateral and expense funds I would stay where you are in your current position and save the extra money needed to go full time next season.

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