Will not offering fall cleanups lose customers?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by rdelahunr, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. rdelahunr

    rdelahunr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    I'm a high school student and am starting my lawn care business next summer. I will be a senior next year and will be going off to college after that. When I go to college in the fall or if grass starts growing early here in MN my brother will have to take care of the work, but the problem is that he is in football in the fall, so he will have to work on the weekends and will most likely not want to do fall cleanups due to the extra labor required. Will I lose customers by telling them I cannot do fall cleanups? I have an LCO that I purchased my mower from who is a good guy and will not steal customers that I would be willing to recommend to my customers. I won't have too many as I'm doing this for extra money and am unsure on how many will want additional services such as fall cleanups anyway, so if you know roughly what percent of your customers want cleanups that number would be helpful. Also, if there are only a few that want cleanups then I'm sure my brother can handle a small amount, but I need to know the best methods. Tarping seems like a lot of labor, so it's between buying a bagger or renting a leaf vac. What would you recommend?

    All your help is appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. nnusskern

    nnusskern LawnSite Member
    Posts: 214

    I would be upfront with them about it. I am in high school too and play football it sucked trying to do both but typically i would have to work til dark and all day on the weekends. So i do not think im playing next year so i can expand business but back on topic you might want to consider working for someone instead of only being able to do part of the season.
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  3. rdelahunr

    rdelahunr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    The reason I'm doing it is because the money I make far exceeds any other job at minimum wage. If it were me getting my lawn service I guess it would be a pain to have someone new do my clean up but if the normal guy does a good job then it would be fine. I have heard of people using their student status and trying to pay for college as a marketing strategy to get customers and being very successful with it. I think people are generally very supportive of students. Also, it's a quality learning experience. I will not be doing this for the rest of my life but would like to make money doing my own thing and learn how business really works and to learn to deal with people. I will be going into my senior year next year so I will still be able to work all fall until hockey at the end of October, but most grass is done growing by then around here.
     
  4. newguy123

    newguy123 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,094

    You never know for sure...some customers could be turned off but others may just be okay with it. What I would do if I was you would be to tell them you'll do the clean up and then sub-contract the work out. Just try to make $15-$20 for your time to bid the work and bill the customers. This way you're still servicing the customer(s) and making a little money from billing it, etc.
     
  5. nnusskern

    nnusskern LawnSite Member
    Posts: 214

    Yes you should make alot more than minimum wage as long as jobs are priced correctly. You may want to consider subbing the leaf cleanup to your buddy rather than having client hire him or someone else. I would advise against using you being a student to gain clients since then you come off as the neighborhood kid who mows. I dont tell them i just do everything as any other business would. And typically they find it cool when i meet them and they find out im still in high school.sorry if i came off to harsh or negative and good luck next year.
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  6. nnusskern

    nnusskern LawnSite Member
    Posts: 214

    I did not notice newguy123 before i posted my last post and i completely agree with him.
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  7. newguy123

    newguy123 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,094

    Well thank you...
     
  8. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,262

    Um yes of course it will cost some but that doesn't mean you have to do work you don't want to do. Over the past 23 years or so and 10 in business for myself I can tell you about half do not want us to do their clean ups. So when I have a list of 190 lawns I know I will have 80-110 clean ups.

    The trouble with not doing the clean ups is guy like myself will not take the clean up. I gave that up year 1 I have a short window to work in and it wouldn't be right for an existing lawn client not to get done because we got snowed out because I did a day or 2 of one timers.

    But that doesn't mean you can not find mow only lawns. There plenty out there and the new developments tend to have the lower % of clean ups since they typically have few or no mature trees. The older neighborhoods it's a little harder to avoid the clean up end of the trade.
     
  9. rdelahunr

    rdelahunr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    All your info was helpful, thanks. If I lose a few customers, so be it. I don't have a family or kids to take care of, personal bills to pay beyond business expenses, and don't want to work too hard. My family can afford my education and I will and always have worked to supplement for college and for play money. Part of me feels accomplished in being independent and making money, so I enjoy the work. I only plan to work 6 hours a day M-T as a target and get free radio advertising from my familie's network of stations, so getting customers shouldn't be too hard. I haven't advertised yet and have a few customers lined up and they are all bid to come out to around $50 an hour, so my rates are healthy. Again, I will become a senior at the end of next summer so I will be able to do cleanups if I choose come next fall. If I do opt to do them the first year, would a bagger on my Simplicity zero turn be effective? Also, it's like a 2004 and I can't seem to find a bagger anywhere. Would a Peco pro 2 or 3 for a ferris mower work, seeing as they're almost identical?
     
  10. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Have your brother bring in the football team and knock it out quick
     

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