2018 rambling update and thoughts for new season

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by axitguy, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. axitguy

    axitguy LawnSite Member
    Male, from Ontario
    Messages: 53

    Hi everyone. I'm back with another rambling update and thoughts for new season starting April 2018.
    Minimum wages went up to $ 14.00 per hour in Ontario Canada and as usual everything else went up to cover that extra cost to employers putting the minimum wage worker right back where they were in poverty??

    I'm 65 and not the best health with heart issues so I'm hoping I can put a little cash into some persons life by hiring a part time helper this year that is stuck in the minimum wage cycle.

    Last season I started with low pricing for grass cutting and experimented with higher pricing to see what the market would bear in my area to determine a fair price for this upcoming season. With that said I will be adjusting 2018 rates and increasing rates for some past customers and reducing rates for other past customers.

    As I mentioned in a previous post I will be implementing a simple contract for weekly and biweekly mowing service. The contract may be a hard sell but I will be pointing out the positive benefits to both parties to the potential clients and how the contract resolves any misunderstanding about the service.

    I have years of experience in repairing small engines and I have the tools and space to work on them so this season i will be adding gas push mower and riding mower repair to my grass cutting service in hopes that between the two I will less down time from rain days that last year became rain weeks at a time. I look at it like a win win situation in that a lot people that cut their own lawns still become customers in one form or another and create both increased income for me and both services of grass cutting and small engine repair promote and feed each other. At least that's my hopes.

    Some people say I'm lucky to be mechanically inclined but truth is sometimes it is a financial necessity and other times it can be a curse in it;s own little ways. Last year I had to switch a riding mower tire that just was a nightmare removing and reinstalling to another rim. Two of us turmoil ed over it for an entire day using pry bars and big screw drivers. I have since collected about a dozen used tires in good shape and all mounted on rims not to mention some 12 inch trailer tires mounted on rims. Thanks to that bad tire switching experience I looked around my scrap material piles and did a little research on the Internet with the intent on constructing a homemade tire changer. As it turns out I had enough materials and mechanical aptitude to build my own changer. It still needs some tweaking and testing when warmer winds prevail but the basics are together. I will try to post pics here of it in the unfinished state.

    My next project is to build a scissor table to lift and work on riding mowers with out wrecking my knees or laying on the ground working in confined space under one but that's another story. I have lots of bed frame rail and car pump jacks I can use so material is not an issue.
    Well that's my rambling update. Thanks for reading.

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  2. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,208

    You mentioned lowering prices for some customers.
    Why would you do that?
     
  3. Rockchoplawn

    Rockchoplawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 495

    I would not offer biweekly and definitely don’t lower current prices for customers! You would be better off leaving the lower prices ones than doing that...

    I am guessing this is your second season from the sounds of it. May want to add other services your helper is capable of, while you focus on the lawn mower repair, shop and other office tasks.
     
  4. axitguy

    axitguy LawnSite Member
    Male, from Ontario
    Messages: 53

    You are correct this is my second season and learned so much from last season.
    I won't be returning to the lower priced ones this year unless they agree to new higher prices and a signed weekly contract.
    I am only thinking in the $ 5.00 to $ 15.00 range increase and only $ 5.00 decrease to keep the good higher priced customers I had last season that have asked me back at the end of last season. The decrease is sort of a bonus for signing agreement and payment plan of three times with first payment up front upon signing the new agreement.
    Since I am doing this as part time to supplement income from a tiny pension I feel two services are enough to handle.
    Thank you for your input. I appreciate all comments
     
  5. Copper Creek Cuts

    Copper Creek Cuts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    It may work out better for you if you offer a free cut as a reward to your loyal customers. That plus a hand written thank you note might have more of an impact than a price reduction. Depends on the customer I guess, but I think the other folk's point is that lowering prices on several customers could add up to a huge loss that you have to make up. Ultimately the business and decision are yours though, so let us know how you handle it!
     
  6. axitguy

    axitguy LawnSite Member
    Male, from Ontario
    Messages: 53

    You might be right. I have time to seriously give it more thought. I was just trying to think of ways to make my prices relatively even across the board or maybe do by square footage. In past I tried estimating by time it would take , however sometimes a smaller lot can take up more time than I estimate it will. One thing I am firm on this year is using a contract this year for scheduled cutting. No more of this crap of weekly or biweekly clients trying to extend it to ounce a month for the lower price and I get there it is like a hay field. I try to get $ one dollar per minute overall.
    Thanks for your ideas and thoughts. Very Helpful. I sent Christmas cards out to my customers with a simple happy holiday message. No business message.
     
  7. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,694

    I don't understand your wheel contraption:dizzy: What can it be used?
     
  8. axitguy

    axitguy LawnSite Member
    Male, from Ontario
    Messages: 53

    Used to change tires up to 12"
    If you cant't figure out the basic idea from pictures then you are probably just not very mechanically inclined but I will try to explain it.
    A tire fits over the top of the flywheel in the picture. then a few collars and another flywheel inverted will fit over the threaded rod ( not shown in pictures) will hold tire down tight. The next step is to use a pry bar to go around the tire and lift tire off the rim.
    In the second post you see a tire on the ground with a bar against the bead and a leverage handle used to apply pressure to the dead and break it so you can use the top part of the tire changer to remove or replace the tire from a rim.
    Like I said it is not a complete build yet so when it's finished I will post better pictures and a video link showing it being used.
     
  9. Cdlong27

    Cdlong27 LawnSite Member
    from South
    Messages: 131

    Lost me at lower prices.... Sounds like you're not "business inclined".
     
  10. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,694

    Thanks I would be interested in some schooling on building a tire changer
     

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