Advertise before you even have equipment???

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Dingo, Feb 11, 2000.

  1. Dingo

    Dingo LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 133

    I am getting ready to start a lawn service and I am a little worried about getting customers. Is there anyway that I could start getting customers before I have even bought my equipment? I could begin work just as soon as I buy my equipment and I have all the money for it. Its just that I am worried about getting a customer list. I don't want to spend 8,000 on equipment just sitting there while im waiting for the phone to ring. How should I approach customers?<br> thanks <br> Dingo
  2. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    Do you have any experiance? If you do, tell them what experiance you have and you are getting new equipment, but you want to see how many customers you will get before you decide on how big of equipment you will buy. If you have any pictures of what you have done, show them to your future customers. Pictures speak LOUDER than words and I have found them to be a good tool for selling jobs. If you have seen my site, you probably figured out I am a picture nut, but it has worked for me. :)<p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;;&gt;Eric@ELM&lt;/a&gt;<br>
  3. mountain man

    mountain man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 141

    DO NOT GO OUT AND BUY $8,000 WORTH OF EQUIPMENT WITH NO CUSTOMERS!<p>One of the worst things for a new company is to go out and spend a bunch of cash on machines, office, etc. If you decide that you want to do basic maintenance you can go get a used truck,used walk behind (see other discussions), a trimmer,strick edger and blower and go at it. <p>Even if you have plenty of capital don't buy a $8000 machine. A sub $3000 walk behind will be more than enough for you to get started with. I actually started with nothing more than a $499 Toro 21 inch mower with bagger, a trimmer/edger, blower and small truck payment. Had I hated the work, I would have been out less than $1000 (plus the truck payment). After I had a couple of accounts I was easily able to justify buying my 48 inch walk behind.<p>Remember that when you start out a ton of additional expenses will come up that you need capital for; general liability ins, incorporating costs, commercial vehicle ins, licenses, etc.<p>Many of the guys in this forum have been in business for some time that is why you see the discussions on the $8000 mowers. We should do $350,000 in revs this year but it will probably be another year before i can justify a $8000 mower based on our business plan.<p>One thing that is worth the money up front in my opinion is to set up a business phone line. It gives you a permant number to advertise immediately. I regret the fact that we started with a Mobile business line and then had to switch over to a business LAN line. I still have to keep the mobile line to forward calls to my LAN line. It would have been even worse had I started by using my home phone number.<p>Good luck and ask lots of questions. I was in your shoes not too long ago. <p>
  4. lbmd1

    lbmd1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Mountain Man gave you perfect advice. Start out with a used or new belt drive, some ramps and a pickup. Place an ad in the businessservice directory and go from there. Wait a year or two til you decide what direction your business is going in before spending any money on largermore equipment.
  5. Dingo

    Dingo LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 133

    Hey guys thanks for the responses! I have experience in lawn care. I worked for a company for about 1/2 a year. Actually I'll change that to I have SOME experience. Its something that I really enjoyed doing. The owner said I was one of the best workers he ever had and he wasn't just saying that cause that's not him. (not trying to brag) I take great pride in my work and work hard. So do you guys think it would be ok to put out flyers and then explain to the customer about my situation? Or will they think that I am unprofessional. I'm also worried that some people will not take me seriously because im a teenager. <br> thanks for y'alls help<br> Dingo
  6. Lazer

    Lazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,446

    I started young, too. I had over $20,000 worth of equipment when I was 17. (If only I would've bought Microsoft stock, instead!) If your as hot as you imply, go for it.<p>Buy the equipment (buy it right) and do it. Don't explain anything to anybody other that what you'll do for them and your fees for that. Customers want to hire somebody with something. You're not going to get many customers without equipment.<p>Use the &quot;Field of Dreams&quot; principle.<br>
  7. Barkleymut

    Barkleymut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,117

    As far as whether you have to have equipment before you begin mowing....Heck no. Do you demand to see the Dentists tools before he operates on you? No, you get a feeling when you talk to him or get a referral. All you care is that the job is done right and for a fair price. You can drive around without a mower and get all the customers you want, but when it comes time to mow you had better have that mower ready to go. I wish I would have started in February getting customers but that wasn't an option when I started. Assuming you live in a temperate climate you can get a few customers before you start and once you do start you can spend every minute that your not working putting out flyers. etc. You must decide what equipment to buy for your company, don't let any of these jokers decide that for you. If I had it to do over again I would have bought a bigger and more expensive NEW truck (yes I know that kills some of you). I would have started out with a 6x16 trailer and a new 48&quot; hydro walk behind. But anyways I started with a 5x10 trailer and one year later it is outgrown. Also image IS important, a new truck is going to look good for 10 years and with regular maintenance and a little luck you will be running it for over 150K miles. But if you buy a truck with 100K miles already on it you may be buying a timebomb. I sure don't have time to go fixing a truck during my busy seasons, so I'll continue to buy NEW trucks and NEW equipment. Because your customer doesn't give a damn that your exhaust rusted out and is being replaced.
  8. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 870

    I agree with Barkley,<br>Heck no you don't need mowing equipment to start mowing. Spend 23,000 on a new truck and ask the customer if you can use HIS mower. You don't need one. Most customers don't even care if you use equipment or not.<br>
  9. yardsmith

    yardsmith LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 628

    many good points here- I do disagree however on asking the customer to use their mower, esp. if you're 18 or older. A teenage kid may get away with that, but that's it. Also, you won't have very many customers willing to do that. I'd get laughed off the property if I tried that in my town.<br>When I call a plumber to come fix my broken pipes or whatever, I'd throw him out the door if he showed up & asked &quot;can i use your tools? I'm a plumber, but I don't have any plumbing tools.&quot;<br>That's what having a service is all about-mechanics, electricians, carpenters, bricklayers, etc. have 'tools of the trade'. That's the name of the game. they show up with their tools in hand ready to do the job.<br>If you're a teenager wanting only a handful of lawns for the summer only, then asking to use someone else's stuff may get you by. But what if you break their mower? A whole new set of problems. Get your own stuff.<br>I had a customer try to get me to use her mower once. My push mower was so much faster & I was used to it, etc. it took 35% less time with my mower. I tell them if they ever want me to use their stuff I charge 50% more.<br>My stuff is better, faster, & does a better job than the old Sears junk tractor. That's why I bought it. Sorry if I offended Kent lawns, but I think most customers would feel the same way. I wouldn't want somebody tearing up my mower; 'next thing he'd probably ask to use it on other people's lawns'. Get your own tools- you'll be happier & much more productive.<br>Smitty ô¿ô
  10. cjcland

    cjcland LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 278

    i think he was kidding yardsmith, <br>

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