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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mothernature, May 10, 2005.
mother, you know you wouldn't have read it there.
Mothernature, While many feel that pushing the "women owned business" angle may be over the top, if you play the game correctly you can use it to your advantage. If you plan to bid commercial work, get certified as a Minority/Women Business Owner (mwbo). I personally don't see the problem with using the system to your advantage.
My wife is the head of our business (on paper) and I do all the work. We do commercial only though. When I am bidding a job, I casually mention that we are a certified MWBO. We have it in small print on our brochures. It must be understood that many companies use the MWBO in their selection process. I have seen many, many, many cases of a firm picking a MWBO over price.
I'm not here to debate the fairness of the MWBO, just use it to help your business. Getting certified takes a little work, paper work mostly. Don't lie about being certified, you can get fined for this. Good luck,
You have some advantages here: The woman of the house RUNS the checkbook. The woman of the house DECIDES how the yard is going to look. And, The man of the house WILL DO ANYTHING to get out of doing the yard work. Use it ALL to YOUR advantage.
Mud gave you the best advice so far in this thread. I can't agree with him more. We mostly do commercial accounts, county and state jobs too and we have an advantage being a certified Minority/Women Business. I also work in the field mowing, planting, mulching, and sales. I dont do any of the field work in our excavation or plowing business but I am apart of the bids and sales for them.
hi Sheri, I found your job very interesting! I like it! Do you go to customers houses to give estimates? Do you run the bussines?How does customers see you and your job? I had a friend who did that and customers thought less of her for doing that I am just curios
Thanks for all the information...I will definetly check into the mwbo aspect of this...Where do you go to get certified for that?
Yes, I have had a few jobs that can raise an eyebrow or two.
I have no problems with our customers. Yes, I do the estimates on the landscaping, hardscaping, some excavation work. Hubby sometimes is there too. He mostly does the estimates for our snow and ice management, mowing, and excavation.
As far as working in the field most respect that I can keep up with the boys and sometimes out do them. I also have a bachelors degree in Civil and architecture engineering, and associates in, mechanical, and electrical engineering. I start back in school in June to get my Masters in Business Management. I always work and play hard.
Here is a link for info in your state.
In my state we have 2 types of certification for W/DBE: state certification and Federal certification. The state publishes a book listing W/DBE's by category. There are 2 certified landscape businesses in the state of Vermont. Both are women-owned.
There are set-asides for W/DBE contractors bidding any state or federally-advertised jobs. This means that the GC (general contractor) must EITHER award X percentage (usually 8%-10%) of the total contract to a minority business (and this amount may be split up among many subs to meet the 8%-10% minimum) OR be able to prove (with certified letters or faxes) that a reasonable, good faith effort was made to have minority businesses bid on the project. Most GC's mark up a sub-contractor's bid by at least 15%, so that they make money on top of the subcontractor's bid. These Federal mandates apply to many state jobs too, because federal money is involved in the project. The reasoning for these set-asides is to make it easier for minority businesses to compete with the 'big boys'.
I've done a few state jobs, some were bid jobs, others were not (there's a discretionary $10,000.00 cut off where, below that amount, bids aren't required - the GC can choose which company they want to do the work without going through the bid process). The upside is there is some serious money to be made if you're good at bidding. The downside is the mountains of additional paperwork.
I am a woman and my business name is "Lisa's Landscapes". I put out 150 flyers 2 weeks ago, 4 quotes already, and have secured 1 job. The other 3 quotes I'm still waiting on. So it works for me. I was a little nervous making it obvious I was a woman, but I was also having nightmares about some old guy calling me a liar after hearing my middle-school girly voice on the phone, as if I'd tried to trick him into thinking I was a man using my last name!! So, do use it to your advantage when you can because there are still many that feel it a disadvantage, but dont be unproffessional with it. Best of luck.