Comment / Criticism... Just dont hurt me too bad

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by ProSvcs, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. ProSvcs

    ProSvcs LawnSite Member
    from MD
    Messages: 84

    I have been doing this part time for approximately 5 years while working what everyone around me calls a "real job". I WAS working as a computer consultant making extremely good money. I did not do lawncare last year because I was traveling alot. Anywho.. I quit my job last month due to some unresolvable issues with the client. Soooo, I have decided to go full time with the lawncare. I would like others opinions that have been in the business awhile.

    This is the plan....

    I plan on getting the truck lettered, and making signs to put in front of local developments where I would like to work. (I just bought a vinyl cutter to make all of my own signs).

    ADs in the local paper

    Fliers / Doorhangers (Start Door to Door in early Feb depending on weather)

    I am in the process of finding out about cable advertising as well.

    I already own the following:
    32' enclosed trailer
    Kubota GF1800 Front Mount Mower with 60" deck (1200 hrs)
    Echo Trimmer
    Echo Blower
    Spreaders (Drop & Broadcast)
    Wheelbarrows / Rakes / Shovels
    Gas Edgers (2)
    Truck Craft Dump Insert
    Meyer's 7.5 w/ Pro Wings
    Buyers V Box Salter

    I am still making payment's on
    2001 Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel

    I already have Pro Services LLC registered
    I will get the local licenses as spring approaches

    I have already obtained the Business Liability
    I still need to get the commercial liability for truck

    My daughter will be 18 this year and can run mowers, skid steer, backhoe with the best of them.

    Younger Daughter (15)

    Son (15)

    I am also planning on purchasing another Kubota ZD21 w/52" deck

    I have figured that I will need approx 70 customers in order to meet expenses including my salary and payroll (Less if I can get the type of customers that I like.)

    In the past I was not dependant on this to pay the bills so I was able to pick and choose my customers and I only chose the picky ones (The ones that had an attitude that their lawn must look the best in the neighborhood)

    With everything described above, what is the concensus on the plan. Is it doable to pickup the number of customers needed??

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks Much

  2. ProSvcs

    ProSvcs LawnSite Member
    from MD
    Messages: 84

    Thanks for all of the replies and suggestions. Since I was completely out of the business last year, I was hoping to get a feel from some of the more knowledgable folks than I about the advertising methods and if I it would be possible to pick up the number of needed accounts.

    Thanks again
  3. Randy J

    Randy J LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,124

    Hey Jim, I can't tell you whether you can get the number of customers you want or not, but I would say there's plenty of business out there, IMO. Sounds to me like you have a pretty good setup, with equipment and employees. Do you have any savings that can help see you through until you pick up all the customers you want/need? What's the status of your old customers? Can you start by visiting them and letting them know you're back in business and would like to start servicing them again? Sounds like you've concentrated on competing based on quality, and not cost in the past, and I would continue this practice. Don't take customers just to build your client base, instead work those "quality" customers, and seek referrals from them, as well as their neighbors. If you can get some of your older customers back, you might offer them a discount, or free service of some kind (trim the shrubs, areation, etc.) if they get you a referral. I think if you're willing to work hard, especially these first couple of years, you'll have no problem.
  4. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    It can be done but it sure won't be easy. I would not count on gaining 70 new customers by spring, maybe by persistence and quility of work its possable to have them by fall. I would concentrate on getting 35 quility customers and that won't be easy ,but alot easier than 70 I think your looking at 3 yrs to gain 70 good customers

  5. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,267

    It sounds like this is something that you really want and know what you are doing.You have experience,equipment and hopefully you can get a couple of past customers back.But 70 high end customers the first year might be hard to get.But it does sound like you are ahead of a lot of guys that are just starting out.

    Good luck to you.
  6. Fishin LCO

    Fishin LCO LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Messages: 143

    I agree with the others 70 is little high of a target for first year. One other thing to consider you can have few customers if you can sell them on all the extras.
  7. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 1,796

    Sounds like you're really off to a good start. Why the cable ads? Don't think that would be worth your time or money. Sounds like you want mostly commercial accounts which would be the way to go but you may need to fill the gap to the amount of clients you want with residentials. Do yo have a lot of apartment complexs there? Areas generally aren't large but they always seem to have more shrubs that slow you down. If you have your pest app. Lic. already you can take care of that with growth regulator though. What capactity will your younger sons be filling? There are ways they can help without running any equipment such as door hangers, doing your online ordering for you and so forth. Kids are great with computers these days. Since you have prior experience that will help alot. Good luck. :waving:

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    I agree with Mac, 70 customers might be possible for you, but more toward the end of the season. If you have the resourses to do some heavy advertising you could well get that many by year's end. Currituck has good advice as well, sell as many services to each customer as you can, get by with fewer total customers.
  9. ProSvcs

    ProSvcs LawnSite Member
    from MD
    Messages: 84

    Thanks Much....

    If (and it is a big IF in my area), I could sell all of the ancillary services, I could get by with probably 50 customers to make ends meet easily. however, I dont count on being able to sell full service to all customers, this is why the 70 customers.

    As for commercial, I have never done commercial so I dont know how close I would come in the bid process (My prices are typically a little higher than most). Also, commercial I am assuming would want references which I really couldnt provide.
    If anyone has any tips for getting in the door on commercials, I am definitely an eager learner.

    As for money to carry through.
    Currently I have enough cash on hand to last till June / July....

    Again, Thank you...
    I was really needing a sanity check to make sure that I was not out line with the goals.

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