Need to grow the biz.....input?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Lowe Mowing, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. Lowe Mowing

    Lowe Mowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    I have 55 residential yards that I have been doing over the past 5 years. Making pretty good money in my opinion in relationaship to my age, 19 at the present moment. But now that I am older, I am starting to see the big picture with this business and what it really takes to be successful in this field. I have been looking at some new advertising methods and I was just wondering what you guys thought were the best methods. I would like to reach 200 plus yards this year and I was wondering if you guys could help me out with some ideas. Thanks for all your time and help.
    Chirs Lowe
    Lowe Mowing
  2. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    Referrals...send me your email address and I will send you a copy of our referral letter that we use each Spring. We have never advertised in 12 years.:waving:
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    In regards to marketing, I think the best thing you can do is flyers. Create a nice flyers (black and white photocopies work just fine) and start passing them out in neighborhoods where you are already mowing. Repeat this every 4 months. That's how we grew fast in the beginning.

    I admire that you set high goals. But I really think they are a little unrealistic. I used to set goals like that for myself (to go from 55 to 200 in one year) and then I quickly found out there was no way for that to happen. Once I got even close to 80 or 90, I was so freakin' busy I couldn't see straight. You can't quadruple the amount of accounts you have, with no experience hiring and managing emplolyees, having accounts managers, handling butt-loads of accounting book work, etc. and expect to be able to handle all of it. You'll soon be so overwhelmed with it all that it starts to fall apart.

    I can't tell you how many customers we've LOST over the years because we were growing so quickly that I couldn't keep a good handle on my business.

    And here's another thing! More accounts doesn't usually equate to a whole lot more money for you. In fact, growing quickly like that will usually equate to you making LESS money, at least for the short-term (first few years). Trust me on that one. I've learned the hard way. The faster you grow, the more trucks you need, the more operating capital you need, the more your accounts receivables become a huge problem, the more equipment you need, a bigger shop, more insurance, everything just starts going crazy! And before you know it, you're making all this money, but it's going out the door faster than you can make it. Every time you turn around another insurance payment is due or the crew just broke another mower and you need to buy a new one or you need to buy another truck, or whatever. It's always something.

    I'm just telling you from experience to pace yourself. Maybe set a goal for this year to reach 90 customers. And keep every single one of them (as long as they are not crazy) happy! Do that, and you'll just start growing off of just referrals. You won't even need to market anymore. If you can keep 90 customers totally happy and run that business efficiently, you'll probably find that you'll get a good 3-5 referrals a month from those 90 customers, without even asking. Then, it just grows from there.

    But honestly, be scared of that much growth. I wasn't. I didn't listen when people told me that. And I've paid the price. Slower growth will make you more income (for you to keep, not your business) and will keep you a lot less stressed and a lot more happy.
  4. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    Thnaks for taking the time to share that Jim. A lot of us can learn from the "has been" LCO here on LS.

  5. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,439

    is that a cheap shot or are you joking?
  6. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,912

    Your getting some great advice ... best I can say fore anyone wishing to grow their business ....

    Especially if at a younger age n your whole life in-front of you .... go to a local community college and take some classes or get a 2 year degree in Business Management

    This is meant only as another tool ..... which thou may not solve all issues ..... gives one insight to-wards what it takes or is required to run a business or even better get people skills which helps in learning how to manage people & communicate with those we interact with daily

    Later if really motivated than you can go finish a 4 year degree

    In this whole process you'll meet with other business people & teachers whom will open you up in conversation to ideas which relates to good communication skill, ability to adapt to change, motivation ability & all the other brain energy we must have to run a successful business

    Good Luck
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I think that was a cheap shot.

    Not sure what your problem with me is, Matt. Or why I gotta be a "has-been". I was just trying to help a younger kid out. If you got some contrary opinions let's hear them!
  8. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

  9. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    I really believe he meant someone who "has been there" Jim.
  10. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 976

    I would only hope as much. Jim gave some very sound advice, but that's his norm. I'm sure Jim has posted some advice in the past which I would disagree but I just can't seem to find it.

    Oh, and Fantasy Lawns. Great advice. I've been considering going back to college for my business degree. Even at the age of 39 I realize that there's still so much to learn.

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