2 yr old existing company in need of tune up

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by plantations lawn & garden, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. plantations lawn & garden

    plantations lawn & garden LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    hi there! thanx for looking at my thread:usflag:
    i own a 2yr old company in new york called plantations lawn & garden experts
    im looking for a tune up on a bunch of things i.e. but not limted to.
    good to best ways to land quality clients, advertising from cheapest to most expensive,as well as least affective to most affective,how to evaluate prospect employees.:confused:

    i want to also get commerial accounts,and stay busy earning money for me,business,expenses etc..i didnt make to much for the past 2 yrs and i feel if this 3rd year dont have a good turn around then i most likely will sell off.
    my company also has a in house master gardener from cornell university,she is a major asset to my company.

    if i missing something ask me i need to know what im doing wrong i
    i have about 10 clients and a number one people who call when they need some thing.

    i do the follwing services.
    lawn maintenace
    non-toxic fertlizer
    sod installation
    seed installation
    soil testing
    aerating slit type
    lawn rejuvenation
    hedge trimming
    hedge installation
    landscape design
    plant installation
    delivery of mulch,manure,peat moss,straw,gravel,stone,
    pond installation
    pond cleaning
    water garden installation
    clean up storm,spring,fall
    tree take downs, in open areas away from home
    tree trimming
    tree planting
    wood chipping
    yard waste removal
    rotation of compost pile
    retaing wall
    paver walk way
    snow blowing
    power washing
    gutter cleaning
  2. plantations lawn & garden

    plantations lawn & garden LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    come on guys 58 views and not one reply something any thing
    you cant tell me no one is willing to help me out with advice. im just like a lot of you trying to work for my self in need of a mentor.one cant live on 10 clients ill be happy with 45 clients.i know i soud if im begging but i have ran out of ideas
  3. mowing4rlife

    mowing4rlife LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    The best way to get your name out there these days is to use all free sources of advertisment on the internet. The internet + word of mouth will help you become very succeful. Ninety-eight percent of the work i have recieved off the internet and it has been free.

    Check this thread on lawnsite i posted to show you what i mean:

  4. mowing4rlife

    mowing4rlife LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    I also used magnets for my truck, business card,post cards, and this year i am going to try door hangers. This is going to be my 3rd year too, and at this time i just offer the general mowing service( mowing,weedeating,edging, and clean up). I mow lawn up to an acre at this time.
  5. Greenboy24

    Greenboy24 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 297

    First off, your grammar and ability to communicate effectively needs to greatly improve if you want to get anywhere in any business. I understand this is just a post on the internet, but there are a lot of spelling errors and areas which do not make sense until read multiple times. If these type of errors exist in any business correspondence then it will negatively impact your company.

    You need to know your cost of doing business (the better you know these numbers the better you will be able to manange the company. How much does it cost you to send out an emplyee for one hour after you account for their wage, the taxes you pay on their behalf, the cost of workers comp etc...

    What are your minimum prices? Do you have minimums? Do they align with your actual cost of doing business?

    Do you look at income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements on a regular basis? Any effective manager/business owner will view these weekly if not daily.

    When hiring an employee, first of all do you know what you are looking for? This may seem like a dumb question, but you would be surprised how many small business owners don't really know what they want in an employee and end up hiring the wrong person. You need to know what you want in an employee and put it on paper. You will also need to provide the employee with a list of expectations and you must hold them accountable. You must have systems in place that cover certain situations such as, vacation time, sick days(when does he need to call in by, what happens if he doesn't) you will also need to discuss drug/alcohol policies, etc... there is a lot that is required to successfully hire an employee so that everything is laid out on the table and you have made your expectations clear. If you don't do this you are only asking for trouble.

    If you only have 10 clients I would ask why you have an employee at all? Unless these are large accounts, which it does not sound like they are, then why do you have her on board? From the sounds of it you're paying her money you don't have.

    You will need to put goals on paper. This will iniclude gross sales, net income etc... they should be realistic and they should be able to be explained. For example if you are doing 100k in gross sales and think that you can boost that to 150k next year you need to know how you are going to get that extra 50k in sales.

    Commercial jobs are just like any other job once you get in touch with the right person. You will need to meet with them to go over the scope of work and then provide them with an estimate. Simply doing commercial work does not mean you will instantly make a ton of money. Don't tackle something that is to bifg for you just because the money sounds high. If you bid 30k for a commercial contract and win thats great unless it costs you 28k or more to do it. This goes back to the importance of knowing your numbes so that you can accurately bid work commercial and residential.

    Contracts, got to have them. Residential maintenance not so much in my opinion, but you must set up contracts on all commercial jobs as well as all residential jobs over a certain amount. You must also have a payment schedule. For example if you are doing a 5k walkway set it up (in the contract) so that you get a deposit of lets say 1500. You will get another 2k once the area is excavated and the base is in. Then the remainder when its complete. You will need a payment schedule that makes sense for your company and can be applied to nearly any job. for jobs costing 5k-7k this is the schedule for jobs 7k-10k this is the schedule etc...use numbers that make sense for YOUR company.

    Word of mouth is the best advertising, however that will not come until you have done some quality work. Websites, in my opinion, are inexcusable not to have. ADvertising is different for all different areas. One way that works well for nearly any area is to talk to other contractors and small businesses in your. Networking and becoming involved in a community can do wonders for a business. Join the local chamber of commerce and be an active member.

    You need to respond to people who contact you in a timely manner. If you don't work certain days or only have ceratin hours then include the hours on your voicemail so people can know when to expect a call back otherwise they will move on.

    You need to work your company profit into your numbers as an expense. What I mean by this is that if your year end goal is for the company to net 24k then you need to put put away 3k a month (8 month season).

    You should be on payroll. It amazes me how many business owners don't pay themselves a regular paycheck. You should also contribute to a SEP IRA or some other type of retirement account on a regular basis. You should also be saving money in a liquid account in case something were evert o happen. Just like the business money you need to budget your personal expenses.

    Budget your expenses AND LIVE BY IT. Have a certain criteria that a purchase must meet in order for you to buy it so that you don't buy a ton of useless things that are not really needed. You would be surprised how much money could be wasted on useless small purchases that add up over the course of a year.

    Some more on advertising, what are your competitors doing, not to say copy your competitors, but you may want to explore some of their methods.

    Efficiency can make or break you, know the services that are most profitable, know where you are losing money etc...

    Keep in mind all the numbers I used were just examples, the reasoning behind them is the important stuff.

    There is A LOT more info needed to run a business properly but this should get you started.

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  6. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,379

    i'd say you aren't off to a good start if you only have 10 customers in 2 years...i started last year with 2 customers and went up to 15 or so just in a month or two. all i did was put an ad in the newspaper, put a few flyers out(which didn't work), and put my business cards where i could post them.
  7. tyler_mott85

    tyler_mott85 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 582

    You offer too many services.

    Narrow yourself down to one or two aspects of landscape management (lawn maintenance, landscape maintenance, irrigation maintenance, landscape install, etc) and learn those areas. Outsource all others until you're better off. If you're not making money offering the 35 different services you listed you need to learn how to make money at a few before you worry about a lot.

    Don't let people talking about their fliers and door hangers fool you, the best way to get business is to network. Talk to people. Be friendly and memorable but not annoying. Not something that's easy to learn and some people can't do it. If you're scared to talk to strangers get over it.

    Frankly I get the feeling that you don't have the foggiest clue how to not only run a business but how to offer lawn care or landscaping services. That's brutally honest but that's how you come off to me. Do not be deterred. Maybe go ahead and shut down and go work for some other companies for a few years.

    What is your history in this line of work?
  8. plantations lawn & garden

    plantations lawn & garden LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    i am not good in grammar but hey how many in the lanscape business is unless you have go to collage for ba,mba.right
    ok sorry i didn't go into all detail.i have done the door hangers before.i have handed out over 1100 of them.as for business cards on cars in parking lots on cork boards in businesses.i have given customers in groups of 5,i send holiday cards.thank you pages.i use to belong to the chamber of commerce got one job out of it and the Realtor never paid.all the calls i got from coc was others selling there services was a total waste
    i have networked with other companies before butt i had a competitor come up to me in broad day light and "there isn't enough food in this town for to people to eat" and since then any other contractor say there going to hand out my cards seems that they threw them away.and those contractor differently got work from me cause i check back with those who ask for cards to clear faith.
    have my truck lettered on both sides of my truck taking up the bed,tail gate.i have the yard signs on all of my properties year round. cant put them on telephone pole cause is against local laws.
    i don't have any employeesdont know why you thought i have any I'm completely solo expect during walk ways,my min. rate is $75/hr pay taxes,i know what last year expenses are,kind of hard to pay a regular pay check if you phone doesn't ring,just cause i put out signs cards & stuff that does say how to the phone to ring.
    i have polices in place for drugs/alco no tolerance and tart. got all that
    the master gardener is my mother i don't pay her nother she volunteer.she also do volunteer work at the nurseries and does coop extension at cornell,she does its cause she loves plants.
    i do all contracts in all my work no matter what it is it keeps my customers honest.
    i am thinking website but needs to be Free for now cant afford the expense
  9. plantations lawn & garden

    plantations lawn & garden LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    work history i used to run a crew for west point ny yea 1600 homes,as well as a gutter crew for the same number of homes.
    i used to work for aother out fit doing codo apts.i used to do seel erector set for bridges proior to that stuff.yes you right need a sales man on commission based.
    in my area everyone who does landscaping does pretty much everything and all my clients want the on stop shop
  10. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    I agree with greenboy 24,So not true, you don't have to be a college grad to have good grammer amd communication skills, but you damn sure better have them if your going to be a successful businessman, Mine isn't perfect by any means, but it is on all my business stuff for sure.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012

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