Words of encouragement for the new people

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by SangerLawn, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Posts: 736

    I just wanted to take a moment to talk to the new people who are loosing interest or simply having problems getting started. I read a post from yard girl and she brought back some memories that I wanted to share with you guys and girls.

    4 years ago I lost my job; I was a local quad axel dump truck driver. I just bought a new truck, had a house payment, and of course a family to take care of. I was stressing big time. I was sitting around the house one night trying to figure out what to do and it hit me, after high school I went to work for a chemical lawn care/mowing service and quickly became a service manager. That was many years ago but I thought what the heck; I don’t have any thing to loose so I started going door to door.

    All I had was a $100 junky push mower from lows, a weed eater brand trimmer, and a broom…yes a broom. To top it off we were in one of the worse droughts the state of Indiana has seen in years. This is no joke, when I would stripe the lawns the stripes would be gold and dark gold.

    My first 2 or 3 weeks I didn’t pick up a single customer. Finally I got my first one; I told him I would mow it for free as long as I could use his lawn to show other possible customers. Now remember, I was going door to door every evening, passing out flyers during the day and now the only lawn I had was a freebie.

    After about 2 weeks I got a phone call from someone saying the guys lawn I was mowing recommending me. That was the first paying job I received. That same week I ended up getting 2 or 3 more, things were starting to look up. I continued to get at least 1 lawn a week for a few weeks. Out of no where I couldn’t get any more customers, things came to a complete stop as far as new lawns go. I think that year I gained something like 15 lawns.

    The following spring I was shocked that every one of my customers wanted me back. I started passing out flyers about 1 week before I planned on mowing. The phone started ringing. With in a month I was able to afford my first commercial mower. It was a very used 36 inch scag hydro. By the end of that year I was around 45 customers and bought a troy built zturn mower from Lowes to go along with my scag. 2 years later (present day) I have several commercial mowers, employees, and turn down work because I am so busy.

    Here is the point to the above story: :dizzy:

    I never once looked at what other companies did. I knew how I worked and I was determined to make lawn care work for me. Why did this work? Simple, I know how important a person’s reputation is. In 4 years I haven’t lost a single customer due to dissatisfaction! I know and my customers know I will do my best every time with no excuses. It is that reputation that landed my first paying lawn and every lawn since then.

    I know getting started can be frustrating and can even cause a person to get discouraged. Don’t give up and do every job in a manor that your kids would be proud to say there dad/mom did that job. If you stick to that standard it will not be long until you will never have to pay for advertising again. The customers will seek you out because they know and see the job you do for there neighbor, friends, and family.

    God luck and keep pushing forward.:weightlifter:
  2. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,012

    This is something that every person starting up or interested in starting up should read.

    A lot of us got started this way. I remember having all of my Troybilt equipment piled up in the back of my Ford Ranger and feeling nearly embarrassed when I would pass someone with all that fancy equipment.

    It doesn't matter. Do what you have to do to get the work done.

    There's not a lot of people that make it in this business, but even if it just gets you by until you can get a better job, then so be it.
  3. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Posts: 736

    I left out this part mainly because I forgot but thanks for the reminder lol

    The first commercial property I got was given to me from a friend of mine who was under contract and got sick. Of course I couldn’t start small! I still mow this property now with a 60 inch mower and 2 guys trimming. It takes 4 and a half hours for us 3. When I first mowed it I was using a troy built 50 inch. I rigged up mud flaps to make a home made striping kit. I posted pictures of it somewhere on here. With the troy built and doing it myself it took all day long.

    Anyway, on the corner of this property there is a McDonalds. It seemed like every day all of the lawn services in town would go there to eat. I could feel every one of them talking about me as they stared….funny part is a few of them are out of business now.
  4. airsoftamazon

    airsoftamazon LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    Hey, I love this post! Especially about the part where the guys at the Mickie D's are laughing at you. I sometimes feel that way on the road when those guys pass me on the road and laugh at my little red wagon. It's a small 4x8 and I've designed it for everything I need just like my old set up which was considered standard stuff that most would carry. It's all I need for myself, but I just can't help but notice that they all stare out there.

    STIHL GUY LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Posts: 5,225

    this is a really good post. for all the new guy make sure you keep a positive attitude. it may take some time but soon enought you will have a well built business if you play your cards right
  6. Scag413

    Scag413 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,283

    Great post man....I have an ad in the local newspaper and yes I got enough work from it to pay for itself very quickly but mostly all of my customers come by stopping and knocking on the door. You have to go to them. Especially if you are already in the neighborhood you can knock $5-$10 off your price and that makes a huge difference. But the key is to actually make personal contact with people.
  7. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Posts: 736

    The most important thing you need to get out of that post having to do with McDonalds is this. Most of those guys laughing at you will never make real good money because they are working for someone else. You may not be making a lot of money now while they laugh at you but you are on your way to making the big bucks as long as you keep pushing forward.

    Another very large tip:

    I see post on here all over the place where people are wanting to get bigger mowers and equipment they don’t need. DON’T DO IT!!! :nono:I made a major mistake my second year and financed a lot of stuff that I did not need simply because I seen the money coming in. I am still trying to pay things off. Don’t get me wrong, I am still making a very good living but I had 1 year of stupidity in financing and I will be paying for it for a total of 5 years. do you best to save and pay for everything with cash. :usflag:
  8. gmeeks

    gmeeks LawnSite Member
    Posts: 52

    This is a very good post. This year is my first also and it is very slow. I have 2 full time accounts that is VERY satisfied and I have done a few here and there for people that is going on vacation and there mower broke down but thats it. I have had a couple of landscape jobs though. I would love for my business to grow and prosper. The county that I live in their is mainly one company that gets the majority of the work. There has got to be something that I can do to take some of that work from her. But alot of the yards she has is every other week for $40.00 a trip and it looks like CRAP, just to be honest with you. I would never leave a home with things looking like that. But I am one of those people that does not want to mow every other week because it doesn't look well maintained and it doesn't reflect good quality on my company. And furthermore I can't see myself competing with her at those prices. She has teenagers working for her that just don't take pride in what they do.

    I was hoping with fall coming up that I could do something to try and get the fall cleanups away from her and showing how good of a quality job that I do that I may carry some of this until next season so I can get some of her work. I am really determined and willing to do what it takes that I am asking for all of your opinions and suggestions so tell me what you would do in my situation. Thanks in advance
  9. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    If your doing so well then why all the financing. Large mowers produce. A WB or a push will never find its way on to my trailer. Neither will a depot ztr. Buy a good used ztr with a min deck of 52" and 25hp and never look back. It doesnt take long to pay off a mower. I bill out more than double per month then what i paid for my ferris ztr. Dont buy twice.
  10. airsoftamazon

    airsoftamazon LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    I hear ya! That's my plan, spend as little as possible. Make as much as possible. Of course, I am planning a new upgrade design for my "little red wagon" but it'll be much cheaper than buying a whole new trailer set up. As far as the guys laughing at me, you are right, at least I own my business and run it responsibly since I have over 10 years management training. My potential is limitless. There's always a cap in this business if you are working for someone!

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