1st year went well...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by rkeguy, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. rkeguy

    rkeguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 130

    My first year has gone well and I had about 12 customers which came by reference or flyers in grocery stores. I have enjoyed reading threads on this site and the feedback has helped me develop different ideas in growing in the industry.

    As I sent out my final invoices last night I was pondering on whether to type a thank you letter or a hand written thank you card? I already have several clients whom told me at the last mowing that they would like me to continue in the spring. I only lost one client due to relocation and home was sold, but early next spring I will contact new owner and see if I can offer quote to continue. I do not have alot of customers but in my letter will offer a $10 discount for the first mow of the season to make them feel appreciated if I can continue to provide their lawn care needs.

    I have learned alot and have kept a detailed log on each property I maintained including time spent at each property. As the season progressed I could see myself being more efficient without effecting the quality of work.
  2. ndols2

    ndols2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    Good to hear that you had a good starting year, I send thank you cards, and X-mas cards to all my res. customers. remember, with out them you don't have a business.

    I think that they like thank you cards, and it give you a personal touch, witch seems to be lacking in the service industry. I try and talk to all of my clients on a regular basis. make sure there happy, and spin ideas with them about landscaping, flower beds, top dressing mulch beds. if your clients like you on a personal level, they are more likely to tell there friends about you.

    Keep up the good work, and you should do great.
  3. moneyclass

    moneyclass LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    Glad to hear that your first year went well....Im also new and will be starting out in a few months....and tips for me on getting customers? How did you advertise and what worked the best if you dont mind sharing?
  4. dontsayit_sprayit

    dontsayit_sprayit LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    i second moneyclass' question
  5. rkeguy

    rkeguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 130

    Thanks for the feedback. I think a hand written thank you card would be more personal, and I only have 12 to do so I will go that route. I also would talk with customers when they were home during mowing to inquiry if there was anything they'd like me to do differently and all were satisfied.
  6. rkeguy

    rkeguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 130

    I used flyers that were made in MS Publisher and placed on billboards in grocery stores, hardware stores, etc... Two of my yards came from referals and one from seeing my truck sign. I put an ad on my local Craigslist, but did not get many calls from that, and the ones I did seemed like they wanted yard mowed for little $. If I saw a yard that wasn't maintained I would stop and ring the door bell and if no answer leave a business card. I asked my family and friends to carry a few of my cards and if they know of someone if they would pass along business card. I had tint company print vinyl vision print and placed on rear of vehicle, which was alittle more than doing magnets but looks alot better. Spend time to create business card and get good thick card stock or check out vistaprint.com for business cards.

    I did not purchase any software and did all invoices and record keeping in MS Word and Excel. I kept a notebook in my truck and wrote down date, start/end times, and clients name then would do my billing and the end of month. Get seperate checking account for business only and maintain good accounting records so it will be easy when paying taxes. When I did my estimates for new customers I quoted a weekly and bi-weekly quote which I would write on a drafted Word document stating what would be done for $X.XX and signed. I would print off several at time and leave in my clipboard so I'd have available when giving quotes.

    Check with your auto insurance policy to determine if your coverage is adquate and see if they would underwrite a general liablity policy covering you while mowing. I got a 500K policy from Nationwide for general liablity costing $250 per year. I use my SSN for tax ID and have business license using DBA. Contact a local uniform store once your business card is complete and create a nice company shirt (I prefered polo in dark navy color) and leave one in vehicle so you can change if doing quotes after mowing.

    I feel that next year I could get my client list up to 20 by basic advertising as said above and more referals. Next year I will tell clients they will recieve discount each time they refer my services. They will be more willing to refer if they get something out of deal.

    Sorry to be long winded. I always maintained a professional image and was polite to everyone. The client does not want someone on their property that looks like they have been on a drinking binge.

    Messages: 1,343

    Good for you keep giving great service and you will only continue to grow. Good luck.
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  8. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,642

    I would just thank them on the final bill and if you do handyman or other winther options offer that.

    Christmas card is fine again offering winter servicdes.

    Do not offer any discount on next year services.
    Make sure you call them in the spring to contuniue services.
    Also drive by your accounts, I generally service my accounts 1 time per month in the winter.
  9. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    This was my first full season also, About middle ways in july or so I went to quickbooks for my record keeping as opposed to excel, I highly recommend it it makes life so much easier, I do all my billing with it through e-mail at the end of the month, check the ones to send and with one click all my billing is done for the month. Your accountant will love you too!
  10. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    Also Sounds like you need general liability for the business not just the vehicle, We're required to have at least a 1 million dollar G/L policy for pesticide license, don't know about there, also skip the WB go for a stander you'll be glad you did.

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