For those of you who work a job in the winter/spring....

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Jon99, Dec 21, 2002.

  1. Jon99

    Jon99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    How do you handle phone calls from potential new customers???? I am starting up a lawn business in the spring but will also be working a 9-6 job thru the tax season for a local CPA firm... I am concerned about people calling and then I am not able to visit them until Saturday....How can I work a job during that part of the season and launch a business at the same time????
  2. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,051

    I have my phone line forward all the calls to my cell phone, the most important thing for a customers is to be able to rech a person when they call sometimes it doesn't matter if you're not going to be able to look at theri property the same day.

    What about early in the morning, they don't have to be at the property for you to give'em a price unless you or they wanted to, sometimes I've look at properties as early as 6:00 am or as late as 9:00 pm, call'em back as soon as you have a price and if they agree to tell em you'll stop by saturday or sunday to meet with them, bring a contract with you that day.

    That usually works for mowing, landscaping is different as long as you return their call they'll usually agree to wait until the weekend for you to go there and see what kind of work they want.
  3. Lawn Specialties

    Lawn Specialties LawnSite Member
    Messages: 208

    I use voicemail and return all calls within 24 hours (same as I did when I still had a full time job) and as long as you do most people won't have a problem waiting a couple days for a quote if you explain that you are "busy". I wouldn't suggest telling them you have a full time job unless they specifically ask and in that case always tell them the truth but reasure them you will be able to keep up. Just make sure your able to prove it.
  4. stslawncare

    stslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    from DE
    Messages: 1,484

    leave a voicemall, either on cell or answering machine
  5. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,938

    Many people call a few lawn services, and the first one there gets the job.
  6. Jon99

    Jon99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    This is a seasonal job I landed a few weeks ago, working from Jan 6 thru April 15.. While it pays well, it is square in the middle of the season where I would hopefully pick of some accounts... I can easily check my voice mail a few times a day from the job and call the people back right then.. It seems the only pain would be I might have to check out some yards when its dark out or wait until Saturday...
  7. Downeast

    Downeast LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,163

    When I started this spring ,I put a cell number, and a hard line number in my add. By summer I had only the hard line in the add.

    Both numbers have voice mail.

    I am a carpenter , and was able to get my employer to give me fridays off to tend to my business .So i had a long weekend to deal with it.

    I would allways return calls as soon as possible, and try to schedule a visit to get the scope of the job with the customer on site. I would tell them that is was important for me to walk the grounds with them so that I fully understand the work they want performed to be as accurate on the estimate as I can. It also opens the door for more discussion on the shape of their lawn.
    For more work.Aerations ,overseeding , pruning ,mulching, discussion of spring and fall cleanups,and herbiced,pesticide apps , if you are licensed. Also non license aps such as limimg,and straight fert apps ( Check your state laws on apps.) I would try to schedule the appointments , so that I had time to shower and put on clean clothes , before meeting with them.
    Be on time. I had no problem with meeting the customers in the evening after work.

    As Lawn Specialties said dont offer unless they ask.If they ask tell them the truth and be up front with your other job and experiance in the lawn care business.

    If you make good money on your other job use that so you dont have to take every job that comes down the pike.
    Get your pricing guidlines down and stick with it. If you dont need to do the lawn care to put the food on your table , take advantage of it and pick your cliental. If you look at a job and it looks like a pita ,hills and such ,it will be worse than you thought. Dont take it, or charge a lot.

    And beware of the customer that say's they expect you to pick a weed if you see one. That translates to, they think weeding is free.

    Some people take the first lco to come along but not all.

    Good Luck
  8. cclllc

    cclllc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    I work fulltime all the time at a factory but I work 2nd shift.I mow in the morning.I tried 3rd but I felt tired all the time.I started on days and mowed at night and wk/ends but didn't have the time I needed.My point is it depends on how bad you want something as to how you can schedule the jobs.Also be honest with your current customers and any new potential ones.Let them know that you are doing 2 jobs.That also lets them know you aren't afraid of work.I know some of you are going to argue that if you can't make it on 40 hrs than you can make it period.I just like staying busy.I like the money rolling in also.This year I have worked more ot at the factory than I ever have and still managed to keep my lawns up.I'm not bragging but just trying to show everyone that if you want something bad enough you will find away to get it done.Some say I don't have a life but I think one day it will pay off.I have a couple of guys helping me parttime so that helps.Make sure you get back to the phone and atleast call them back.Sometimes words will leak out that you aren't reliabe.I try to tell them if I am interested or not.Good luck next year.

    LLMSERVICE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    I too, work another job...and I travel extensively by air or road with that job.

    Most clients leave a message or call my cell phone. However, I make a point of turning my business cell off while I'm at my day job for professional reasons. I do check the messages on that 3-4 times throughout the day. My fiance also helps out while I'm away.

    Most clients will leave a message and I make a point of returning calls within a business day. Heck, I've returned calls to clients from 1000 miles away while sitting in an airport and they think I'm in town.

    Most clients do not expect you there right away. As long as you return the call promptly, arrange a time to meet them soon and stick to that time, you should be alright.

    Best of the season to all!
  10. Mowing Freak

    Mowing Freak LawnSite Senior Member
    from S.E. Ks
    Messages: 459

    For the past 2 summers since starting to mow, I had to work full time. I told people that I work full time and am working on going full time in the mowing business. 99% of them understood and worked well with me. The 1% wanted immediate responses and results but didn't want to pay anything for lawn care. I did loose money on jobs, but you can take that as a learning experience. You still have your full time job to pay the bills. I mow on weekends mostly and customers don't mind that, just tell them it will be sat or sun before you can get on their lawn. They understand and once you get them set on a schedule, then it is easier. If you have the few that call when they want it done, then tell them, it will be sat or sun before you can get to them. (I had to have these types of accounts so I could get started). I plan on going full time this summer and have some good leads to check out. If it don't work out the first year, stick with it!!! If you are serious about mowing, it will come around. Advertise in the paper and don't let the ad stop at the end of the summer as the more people see your name, the better. I advertise during the winter too. Has worked for me. I already picked up an account for next summer as this was a Christmas gift to her parents, and possibly will get 2 more accounts from this same person. They called in Nov! Hope this helps!

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