Ok...Now What

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by BD Bone, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. BD Bone

    BD Bone LawnSite Member
    from USA
    Messages: 53

    Ok, this is the first year going full-throttle. We bought new truck, added the logo/# to the doors, got dumptruck, got professionally logo'd shirts and hats and the uniforms. We got all the equipment ready, Mulch stocked and in place. Ran ads in the local papers and ran flyers and have been campaigning. Have been doing this for several years part-time and now am crossing over. We have done mostly (ironically) commercial mowing/service and very little residential. We are slightly disappointed at the sluggishness we are finding in the residential market. Perhaps this is normal, but perhaps it is just simply that we do not know what to expect. What Now? Contemplating selling some bulk products or even bagged products. Any suggestions? Feedback? Related experience?

    Mrs. BD Bone (Wife to BD Bone)
  2. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    keep advertising and slowly you'll start picking up residential customers if you really want them. Most are just looking for the cheapest company or kid down the street to mow. My business mix 65% commercial 35% residential and all but one residential is high end. The residential market is in the toliet for the most part, lawns that were $30 just a few years ago are going for $20 or less thanks to all the lowballers around here.
  3. Prestige-Lawncare

    Prestige-Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 753

    Part of this is because every neighborhood has their own Tom, Dick or Harry that bought them a little trailer from TSC, loaded up their lawn tractor, or maybe even bought them a small ZTR, have their trimmer ... and are out in the SUZ, pulling their trailer around mowing for extra cash.

    There's a guy in my neighborhood who is doing this ... advertises like he's a big time operator, offers lawn treatment programs (though I don't believe he's licensed).

    Drove by one of his lawns today right after he finished ... and he hadn't even blown off the drive. He has a ZTR this year ... though he mowed in the same manner he did last year with the lawn tractor. He just drove in circles, gradually getting smaller and smaller as he got to the center of the yard.

    I'd be willing to bet he doesn't pay taxes on his income he makes from mowing .. nor does he probably have insurance either. In fact ... I believe he does this part time.

    Now don't get me wrong ... part time is one thing (if you are doing it legit) ... but to lowball, and make beer money or just extra cash and not be up and up about it ... kinda rubs me the wrong way.
  4. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    I don't think I would have gone full bore on a bunch of new expenses the first year going full time. It's a risk to make the move as it is, why heighten the expenes? That's just me though.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Keep advertising, but perhaps try some of the lesser-traveled neighborhoods.

    For example, my ad covers the whole county, but I find I get most of my customers in the little out of the way places... Just today I gave an estimate on a street I didn't really know existed (well yes I did but I've never driven down it in 20 years lol), and sure enough, gave a price and closed! Ok, maybe I drove down it once lol but it would've been by mistake, not that much down there but a few intersections but sure enough, homes alongside the street, whaddaya know.

    Meanwhile, in 6 years I may have done 2 jobs in Woodlake (this one's soooo popular) and Brandermill's another one where I have but 3 customers (out of like 2500 homes), and there are so many well-known hoods in the area I just don't get squat out of, Salisbury I have 1-2 customers (HUGE neighborhood, rich and fancy, probably 1,000 homes, idk)... Those are just examples, to keep things short I'll spare the names but I could name off a good half dozen well-known hoods where I don't have even 1 customer.

    But customers I have, at last count it was floating around 40. The other thing is, I probably turn down the most jobs from those well-known places, nothing but price shopping (likely because they know they can).

    I think a lot of Lco's think they need to get in like Flynn and try all out to get a LOT of business in big neighborhoods, failing to realize they kill themselves competitively, the fact that the hoods happen to be well-known is circumstancial, guess you could say they don't know any better or it's just what every Tom dick and harry think of when they first get going.

    So yeah, mostly the little out of the way places is where I get my customers, places I don't see another Lco all day long, and if I see more than 1-2 Lco's / day, I'm in the wrong neighborhood... If you can't or don't cover the whole county, keep doing different hoods and track the results, it will take time and some trial and error but I think that method would pay off.

    In the meantime, I wish you best of luck.
  6. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Messages: 1,657

    In my area of North America there still isn't a single leaf on any tree. All the yards are soaking wet and there is still snow here and there. I know why its sluggish here.

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