Following my new business

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Newby08, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. Newby08

    Newby08 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    OK, over the past 200+ posts I've been asked a few times or at least it has been mentioned, that it would be cool if someone would follow their progress through the year to see how things work. If you haven't noticed yet, I had to do A LOT of research and piss off some people with all my questions so my goal now is to make it easier for the new guys. I'm not worried about competition, there is too much work out there to be too concerned about that. Just in my own neighborhood nice lawns with minor weeds is out numbered about 10:1 by lawns covered with weeds. So the money is just waiting to be made. Although I am taking my location off my profile just because there are idiots out there more willing to steel work than come up with there own. So this is kind of my walk through the business.

  2. Newby08

    Newby08 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    OK, lets start with a little history...

    First of all, My family has been involved with horticulture for 3 generations now. In the blood I guess, So there is some family knowledge that has been passed down. My granddad owned a nursery as did my dad. I started my own landscape business when I was 19 when I just got out of high school with my dad as my mentor, still is. I worked doing that and loving every minute of it for 3-4 years. Then got hired as a full-time fireman in South Georgia. Shut down the business and headed south. Worked there for a year and came back home. Had a few good good customers that I just liked being around so when I would come up on the weekends to visit and care for their lawn. Then I got hired back near my home town in north georgia and got married. Kept the business goin for another year or so and then the wife had me shut it down. Did odd jobs here and there until this spring when I realized that other than fighting fire I belonged on the lawn. Here I am now, starting this new company and trying to base it off a new concept here in the south. Organics? this ought to be fun.
  3. Newby08

    Newby08 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    Well, I got to talkin to my dad again. Did I mention he's a smart man? He has owned and operated businesses since I can remember, and I can't think of one that didn't succeed. So with his guidance, and both our brains constantly coming up with new businesses to start, like father like son, we settled on chemicals. Knowing the labor, repairs, and overall costs of maintenance we decided to stick to the chemicals.

    My dad, having the history he has, knew some. I had worked with a chem company before doing aerations and picked up some knowledge from them. And then we started hitting the books, and as many of you know, the web. We tried to think of a way of setting us apart from everyone else, a step above the rest. Which brought us to organics. Then we realized that that wasn't normal around here, and looked down upon by the other chem companies. I could only find one other organic based company in North Georgia. Two things popped in my head... $$$$, and :confused:. See new idea hopefully means open market. But it also comes with limited knowledge to base off of, resulting in many many questions.

    Now, I have some knowledge about organics thinks to those many many questions mostly being answered by you guys here.

    So... what do you say we get started?
  4. Newby08

    Newby08 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    OK, the last business that I told you about... there was a minor problem involved. You see, I LOVED what I did. Loved the customers, and just loved being outdoors making lawns beautiful. There was one problem though... I think I loved it too much. You see, it was more of a hobby than anything else. And with the FD, I didn't really need the money. It was more of something to do on my days off. The wife didn't like that too much, and the books... what books? I put more money into the business than I ever came close to getting out. There were too big problems, one was sending out bills, and the customers that paid without bills... well most of their checks never really made it to the bank. Like I said, I didn't need the money, we were doing great just with the FD, so I didn't really care about that stuff.

    I didn't care... the wife though... I think you get the idea.

    Business down.

    So here I am again, knowing how things went last time, I make a preemptive strike against my laziness and hire on my first employee. Or should I say partner. This man has a lengthy business portfolio, financial backing, and all the advertisement you could dream of.

    Did I fail to mention that my dad owns 5 separate community magazines? So think what you want... I gave my dad half the business for many reasons, expertise, knowledge, he will handle the bookkeeping, thank God!, and all the free advertising a business could ask for. Plus, just the idea of a father/son business is something we have always dreamed of.

    So were off,

    The first adds hit last week, haven't gotten a single call yet, but I'm not to worried, the best form of advertisement by far is word of mouth. In one week I already have 10 - 15 customers and growing. This ought to be fun.
  5. Newby08

    Newby08 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    OK, now to the this is what I did this week,

    Started off pushing aeration hard. Not sure whether I am pricing right or not. I own my own aerator from my previous business so my cost is basically fuel. Again, started with word of mouth and if I have a slow day planned I will knock on doors around the neighborhood to try and generate more work. I am about out of scheduled work now so I plan on hooking up the trailor and just parking in a large neighborhood and go to houses saying, "Hi, I am out aerating in the neighborhood and was wanting to know if you might be interested?" Basically, along with the whole business name and everything of course. I have a 13 year old sister-n-law who I gave a handful of postcard advertisement and told her I would pay her $10 for every customer who signs up for service. She should be working it pretty hard, she seemed excited. I also plan on talking to some of my old maintenance buddies who don't do chems and making a deal with them for every customer they refer.

    I am spending a lot of my mornings in the office designing flyers and advertisements for handouts. So far I am waiting for my business cards, postcards, and door hangers to come in. My dad has found that the more professional the advertisement the more respect you recieve. I got some polos I found at Old Navy for $8 and gave them to a friend of mine to embroider so I will look uniform. The advertisements I made are top notch. Good pics, and two sided. Didn't cut any corners. Even the graphic artists who had to help me with some converting stuff was impressed.

    Working an extra shift at the FD this week so I will have to push it hard later on. Advertisement should be arriving about Wed. Two of five magazines have already hit. Still waiting for the other three. I have a full page ad on the inside back cover.

    Cross your fingers and pray things still keep going the way they are.
  6. Newby08

    Newby08 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    OK, here is the plan...

    As I have mentioned before, Organics is a new concept down here. I'm not sure if I'm in the right price range really, but we are making sure to cover our costs. I have had many people interested in it but nothing really bite yet.

    So, this is the plan. Right now we are focusing on traditional to bring the customer in. Just so you know, every form and advertisement makes it clear that we are organic based. And when I am talking to a customer I ALWAYS ask if they might be intrested and give them the usual speel about the perks of going organic. I have three programs right now...

    1) Traditional... any questions?
    2) Hybrid... Traditional pre-m and herbs (spot spraying) and organic ferts
    3) Organic... No traditional chems... period

    One thing about Organic though is I state that under normal circumstances the organic only option is only available after a healthy lawn is established through the hybrid program first. This will create a healthier lawn that will be able to withstand weeds naturally with out the use of pre-m's. This will keep their expectation levels down as they get use to the idea. Like I said, organics are basically unheard of here in Georgia. So everyone has their expectations of a weed-free lawn overnight.

    The traditional is priced the same as everyone else. Thinking of advertising that I will beat anyone's price if an estimate is available from another company. Not sure though,

    The hybrid is usually a quite a bit more, we want to make sure that we are covered.

    The organics should be cheaper, being that all the high costs are in the pre-m's, if I can get by without using them. Remember the whole self sufficient lawn theory? well this will be putting it to the test. I plan on making my lawn organic next year, will do hybrid this year, already have weeds from the neighbors invading my lawn like mad. I think I can almost start my neighbors front yard organic now though, its pretty healthy, I've been caring for it the past few years. With no pre-m so far this year there is I think maybe one or two weeds only. Thats what I'm talkin about! The back yard is a whole nother story though.:eek:

    So let the games begin...
  7. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Newby, It is official, you have to change your handle to "not so new" or "smarter than I use to be"
  8. Sardean

    Sardean LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    nice job Newby. Keep 'em coming...interesting reading
  9. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

    good work, and a nice read, just one question? are you going out of the fire biz? natures emergency cleaner FIRE

    dont worry about a few lurkers, let em steal theres more good people out there that are loyal and under stand a winner!
  10. GreenthumbGA

    GreenthumbGA LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    Though you may change your location, those who knew you before the conversion will allways know that you are from the best state in the us. Just not the best part of the state.

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