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Is it too late to change my name?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by JHLC, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. JHLC

    JHLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    I have been debating on changing the name of my business and I wanted to get some of your opinions. I have been doing lawn maintenance solo for six years and am to the point were I need to hire someone or stop taking on work. I want to advertise heavily next season and hire a helper but I think if I am going to change the business name I need to do it first. My name now is my first and last name lawn care. I feel like it just doesn't have a very professional sound to it. I have been thinking about it for a while now and have a few names in mind but I haven't settled on one yet. Some people I have talked to say that I have "branded" my name and that by changing it now I would loose any name recognition that I have. I have found that most of the calls I get now are from people who say that they saw me working down the street or from referrals from other customers. I don't see the new name effecting these calls. Any help would be appreciated.
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I would suggest a subtle change along the same lines of what you have now, such as shortening it to your initials first, then expanding... That's what I've seen small business owners do to prevent the loss, usually it takes two changes (about 2-4 years apart)... Take your time between the first and final change, a few years, otherwise it fails to blend smoothly.
    As for customers who ask, it's a formality, just some minor internal changes, might be hiring a worker.
    Here is how it works:

    Example original name: John Doe Lawn Care
    Example first change: J.D. Lawn Care
    Example final change: J.D. Lawn Care & Co.

    You might also keep your name and first go: John Doe Lawn Care & Co.
    Maybe later shorten it to: J.D. Lawn Care & Co.
  3. Mrs. H

    Mrs. H LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 708

    David did this after 3 years.

    His first lawn care (1992-1997) was Dave's Lawn Service...which he hated, because he hates being called Dave. It just sort of evolved as a way for people to identify him...and most people would call him Dave not knowing he really hates it.

    But, when he restarted in 2000 he thought of Eufaula's Finest Lawn Service...besides the fact that the police think they have some sort of ownership of being called the "Finest" and they would make remarks when he was around them he never had a problem with identification...people remembered he was Dave.

    But...in 2003 when he had had a partner buy into Eufaula's Finest...and then we bought the partner's shares back (We created an LLC)...there was such a nasty mess, he wanted to make sure everyone knew he was still standing. (The ex-partner is to this day claiming to have put David out of buisness...:rolleyes: ) So, he leagally changed Eufaula's Finest to Hartzog Lawn Co. (Except we havn't changed the LLC info...though it is still ours, its an expense we havn't gotten around to yet...probably will bite us one day...make a mental note to fix that) so no one would be confused. People would call and say..."I thought he was done, but I see it's in the phone book, and I KNOW that is David."

    We learned through all of this too that you can have numerous names under the same tax I.D. number as a sole-proprietor.

    So, if you really feel strongly about changing the name, an evolution of the name shouldn't be too big a concern. Maybe just send a little letter to your exsisting customers telling them to make their checks out to the new name, and that you're still you.

    Good luck comming up with a great name. I think that was the hard part.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I ain't never figured that one out...
    I have a similar situation, someone who did help me some when I first started is still running around talk about having 'taught me everything I know...' At some point early this year I had a customer look at my truck and trailer like ooo and awww, and I was starting to feel really good because I had my 'new' 95 slt laramie and the Z loaded wow right? Yeah, then they said 'wow so such-and-such really sold you ALL of this?' I was like 'huh?' and they're like 'yeah well such-and-such said to have sold you everything you have...'
    I was too stunned, I really should've turned around and left right then, things only got worse afterwards, so it still comes around :laugh:

    Only thing I do know is people ain't stupid, they hear what comes out of one mouth and then they see what's going on, they make up their own mind as to what must've happened... So I think it hurts them in a backwards way, thou at times I still get upset about it.

    But it sure sets my pride straight, wow and lol, maybe that's what this is for.
  5. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Messages: 1,657

    The guy that taught me how to clean windows 20 years ago works for me. :) here and there anyway.
  6. Mrs. H

    Mrs. H LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 708

    Yeah, I know. This guy does the same thing to David. Gets under his skin about every 6 months...or just when we havn't thought about it in a while.

    "Yeah, I bought David out. He was broke. I put him out of business."

    I told David about 4 years ago that there was NO way that guy was going to put him out of business. Now, that guy's losing accounts left and right to David. They just call up and say they need better service. I send David out for the bid...and then we learn who we're getting the account from. I think he's learned to just sit back and let the work come to him. :)
  7. causalitist

    causalitist LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 610

    im "budget lawn care" right now.
    i have logos, t shirts, etc ... was good when i first started 2 years ago, but im sure you all know the downfalls of a name like that. i know after a while a name loses its original meaning and becomes the work you do, but i cant help but think im limiting myself to calls from cheapskates.
    funny thing is, im actually not cheap at all. prices are towards the top end of the market around here, so every once and a while someone says "you call that budget!?!" ahhaah
    but im suprised how many people i get that dont know how much a lawn should cost, and just assume im the cheapest.

    ive thought about the fact that i can have "multiple business's "(names) .. im toying with just sending out flyers next spring with a more classy name and seeing how it goes... i wouldnt even have to tell my current customers. all i would have to do is get a second business checking account. hmmm...

    curious to see if i might get a different type of customer.

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