I need some advice...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by FuzzyOne, Nov 14, 2003.

  1. FuzzyOne

    FuzzyOne LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 81

    I've been visiting here for the past few months and gained a lot of info. Thanks all! I have a few questions that I can't find the answers to though.

    I do lawn cutting including mulch and shrub trimming. Nothing major. I've been handling about 9 accounts for the past 5 years 1 day a week to make some extra money for my "hobbies". This year I finally registered a business name, changed my truck and trailer registrations over to commercial use, lettered my truck and finally obtained business insurance. I've always been legit with the state as far as sales tax is concerned and report my extra income. I plan on expanding to 2 days a week next season and do strictly residential properties.

    Here's my questions. I have a Scag 48" belt that I have owned since new with about 500 hrs. I put about $500 into it last year (clutch, belts, etc.) The mower runs like the first day I bought it. A few months ago I bought a 44" Mini-Z thinking it would replace my Scag. Since my Scag has been sitting in the shed since, I promised my neighbor who is getting into the "business" that I would sell it to him for $1600. But now I'm thinking that I want a 36" for 2 of my accounts since it gets tough to maneuver with the Z. Should I sell the Scag and buy a new 36" or can I possibly swap out a my 48" deck for a 36" since the mower is mint? Any ideas on the cost of doing this? I'd really like to have a reliable backup and the 48" is a pain to get through a couple gates.

    Second, I don't get involved in fertilizing and have no plans on getting licensed. Is it possible to work out some type of deal with a company for referrals? If I approach a small company and get some brochures or business cards from them to pass on to my customers that ask for the service, should I be getting something in return for the referral?

    Third, I plan on putting out some door hangers or fliers over the winter at select developments in my area. Is it a good idea to put an estimate for the lawn on the hand-out or just let them call if interested. So far all my accounts have been word of mouth but it isn't cutting it anymore.

    Last, is it a bad idea to offer a free cut to any of my people that get me another account for the season? Should I advise them that the referral needs to last the season and their last cut will be free? How do you guys handle it?

    Thanks for all the info. Looking forward to the replies....
  2. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,009

    First-<i>I'd really like to have a reliable backup </i>Answered your question.Keep it for a backup.
    second-I'm in the same boat.Wanting to sub out fertilzer work.Not many folks around these parts even want it.Don't ask for money from the fertilize business.IMHO.They're doing you a favor.If anything tack on the charges to your customer.
    third-Don't put estimates on your fliers.Let them call you for a FREE estimate.
    fourth-Offer a free cut for referals that SIGN a contract.Don't put the responsibility of someone else (the new customer) on your established customers shoulders.In other words,don't blame your current customer for someone else bailing out on ya before the end of the season.
    Hope this helps.As always,just my opinion :)
  3. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,410

    NickN just took the word rite off my keyboard. Good advise Nick. Couldnt have typed it better
  4. Shuter

    Shuter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,171

    I only offer fertilizer to customers who have had propblems with other companies. This is only an extra. For the other customers I have, some have a national chain and others have a local guy. If I use the local guy, he bills me and I add on for my cut when I bill the customer. Now I am not responsible for the actual fertilizer (only setting up the service), but I am still keeping the customer happy and yet making a few bucks.

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