How Long until 100?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by RedWingsDet, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. RedWingsDet

    RedWingsDet LawnSite Gold Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 3,556

    How long did it take most of you guys to get 100+ accounts. Its only my second year. I have about 30. Once I get 100 I will let a crew do those 100 and hopefully it'll all just keep multiplying. I made a stupid mistake of dropping 20 people this year, but oh well, life goes on. My goal is upwards of 500 someday

    I know it's all different for everyone, but on average how many years did it take you to hit 100?
  2. christmas79

    christmas79 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 208

    Took me about five years to get 175 accounts and another 3 years to get two crews going :blob3:
  3. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    I think it depends upon what you mean exactly when you say 100?
    Are these 100 quality accounts, or are these just any 100?
    To get 100 QUALITY good paying nice lawns I think it is hard to do.
    We had 100 lawns by our 3rd year. Were they all good ones? heck no, definitely not.
    And with the high population of elderly in this area, we feel we have an extremely high turnover rate due to deaths. So it's hard to constantly keep the number up.
    We currently have 88 customers, and this is our 7th year, and I can honestly say all of these accounts are good paying quality ones.
    Don't worry about the number, worry about quality.
  4. kclawnmowerman

    kclawnmowerman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    About 2 seasons. I just handed out alot of flyers and ran ads in local paper. I actually had about 220 but i let the deadbeat customers go. Dont waste time on deadbeats they allways want you to do something for nothing. I am currently at 143 weekly accounts. I will get to about 200 and hire another crew.
  5. south jerz

    south jerz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    I am in only my second year as business owner but have worked in the green industry for about 8 years. In my first year I had a little over 30 accounts with essentially zero advertising. A handful of accounts were from a very small amount of flyers I distributed. I built off a nucleus of about 10 friends and family accounts through my customers' word of mouth and partly through very selective advertising (only to people I knew in town, flyer signed by me; not pushy or confrontational, just letting them know I was there among the LCO's in my area if they were looking for work to be done)

    This year I put my thinking cap on and really worked on a flyer and company name that would make the customer trust me and feel they were getting a deal from me. The flyers had a 3% response and I closed most of the sales leads. I believe success in flyer advertising is linked to targeting generally middle-class areas and presenting a no-frills company that offers affordable, basic yet reliable and professional lawn service without annoying/pointless/toothless contracts (at least offer "no contracts" as an option; mandatory contracts turn off many homeowners).

    With the help of my little sis and her friend over about two weeks I distributed ballpark 2500 flyers in three 1 square-mile areas. I picked up 35 new mowing accounts no problem and I'm going to say around 20 mostly small landscaping jobs. I stopped the advertising for a while (have not yet continued) and ended up leveling out at 65 accounts. I have shifted focus exclusively to lawn maintenance, so what I think I should've done from the get-go is advertised no-landscaping on the flyer and tried to really fill my mowing schedule early in the season. Essentially we work about 3 days a week, which is nice and gives leeway for weather, but here in NJ rain is typically sporadic throughout the day and even then seldom lasts more than two consecutive days. Almost every rain day you can get at least 5-6 hours of work in if not more.

    One factor for me was that I was commuting 3 hours from school (full-time college student) in the beginning of this season so I had to try to balance my ambitions in the business with those in school. Unfortunately the business side won out a few too many times and my GPA took a little hit, but still survived.

    My point is if I had acted only slightly more aggressively and for just a week or two longer I could've easily picked up over 100 accounts. My career may not be in landscaping so I want to be cautious how deep into this business I get myself.

    I don't know anything about your market but it may be tougher in more rural areas. I live on the western edge of South Jersey near Philadelphia and have several million people living within a 35-40 minute drive of my house.

    Work on making a great flyer and get it out large scale (part of this process for you could be making a series of flyers with different company messages and different company names and testing the responses; once it's perfected go large scale). Don't just count on yourself to distribute them, hire young trustworthy neighborhood kids, maybe 14-16 years old, to help you; it will be worth it.

    Although there are success stories in both specialization and "all-inclusive" (nursery/design/build/maintain) lawn care/landscaping companies, I would recommend at your age/experience level and likely limited amount of capital to focus nearly 100% in either landscaping or lawn care. To succeed as the all inclusive biz you really should hit the ground sprinting which is hard for a younger person still in school.

    Good luck with your business. I have read a few of your posts and I am very seriously impressed with how much a high-schoolers company seems to have its act together.

    TURF DOCTOR LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Are you talking about a 45 buck account,or a 250 buck account.
  7. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    I thought you hated mowing, premier? Aren't you making more $$ off of landscaping?
  8. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,399

    About 3.5 months. Average bill is $30 per mow.

    This year, I will sign up over 200 customers but will loose about 25% for various reasons.
  9. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,731

  10. ChadA

    ChadA LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 521

    Not there yet but will be there no later than my third year. Thats my goal anyway.

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