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People :-(

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawncare3, Sep 11, 2003.

  1. lawncare3

    lawncare3 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,981

    I have went out to advertise aeration and had people tell me they would. :) Well I recently went past these properties and they all have hired non english speaking labor. :angry: :angry: I don't know how I can make the money back I paid for my aerator with everyone with an aerator getting all the business. I also have one guy I mowed his lawn for my minimum because his mower broke and I was trying to reel him in. Well he also had someone else do it. Next time he wants me to mow for him it will be @ $50 a cut. Is there a way I can get business?

    I was thinking of putting "english speaking" on all my future fliers. Does anyone think that would work better?

  2. lawnkid

    lawnkid LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 935

    Man you must be doing someh\thing wrong if all of a sudden they all flock away, try going door to dorr, it works the best and charge what you need to, you'll get more clients don't sweat it. I wouldn't have bought an aerator though if you're only gonna do a couple jobs a year, I would just rented one on a specific date and told people that I will be aerating on this day and plan for another day just in case the weather is bad that first day.
  3. GraZZmaZter

    GraZZmaZter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 740

    Do NOT put english speaking on your fliers. People WILL get the wrong impression.

    Also, get these people to commit on paper that you are the one that gets the job.
  4. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647

    What is it you're trying to do?

    Buy an aerator and go out and aerate your entire town and they should all pay you for it?

    If they call, you go estimate, get it approved in writting.

    If you're doing this deal over the phone saying your charging a flat fee of $75 and don't show up for 2 weeks or even 1 week, sure they gonna get someone else.

    Stick with your all season customers, but do try to solicite the neighbors for all your services.

    Look at it this way -

    Say you have 30 lawns that are all season, now you want all the work you can get from all of them, you're already working for them so why not do it all for them.

    Now you have the 30. So the following year you gain 6 more, year after that you gain 4. That is 40 lawns 2 years later, but your doing everything for them. And this happens year after year.

    I wouldn't try to sell aerating to the entire town, when 80% of the other landscapers are doing it for their customers.
  5. greenman

    greenman LawnSite Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    What you should have done is advertise the aeration, get the jobs scheduled all at one time, and RENT the aerator.
  6. chefdrp

    chefdrp LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,384

    thats what im going to do. Just line them up and rent one. I have a lco friend that also will be doing it. We are going to use the same machine.
  7. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    If you have the aerator hit the streets on Saturday with your machine. Give people a price and say I can do it NOW. They have no time to look for low ballers. Weekend is good time to get neighbors interested.
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Well, first of all, it's about time you got used to the "non-english speaking labor" as you put it. Hispanic imigrants are here to stay and their numbers will only increase in the coming years. That's a fact. They do god quality work, work harder, are more reliable, and have better character than most of their American counterparts. So it's only natural that they are taking over certain industries and becoming fierce competition for you.

    But let's forget about that for a minute and just address the issue of why you lost these jobs people said they'd hire you for.

    Like others have said above, you should do the aerating ASAP as soon as the client says, "Go." If you can do it on the spot - DO IT! If not, do it the following day!

    I must also agree that it may have been wiser to rent an aerator first until you had mastered the aerating business enough that you were constantly busy doing aerating and could warrant buying one. But I suppse it's too late for that. So I regress....

    There are several successful aerating businesses in my area. All they do is just core aeration and de-thatching. And some of them make a pretty good living at it. I have a friend who owns one such company. Here's how they do it;

    They have a guy who puts out a few hundred flyers (bright, neon color door hangers) every day with, "Neighborhood Aeration Tomorrow!" in big bold print at the top of the flyer. Then, below, the flyer says, "We'll be in the neighborhood aerating lawns tomorrow. The cost to aerate your front lawn only is $______. The cost for front AND back lawn is $______. If you'd like us to aerate your lawn, please leave this flyer, along with a check made out to AAA Aeration on your garage door tomorrow. We will come by and do the work before 5:00 p.m. tomorrow."

    And that's it!

    They typically aerate 20+ lawns per day with that method. Their prices are pretty cheap (half of what I charge for aerating). But when you line up 20 or more in one day, all in the same neighborhood, that's good, instant money!

    So that's how the pros do it. Take it for what it's worth.
  9. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    I wouldn't try to aerate the entire county. With my business, customers first SIGN a service agreement for the weekly mowing service. After that everything from weed control/fert, beds and shrubs, fire ant control, tree and shrub trts, etc.. is available. Yes I turn down a lot of business each year probably close to $20K. Potential customers will call especially for the weed control/fert saying you do my neigbors lawn so nicely I want you to do our weed control/fert also but my lawn service doesn't do it or the franchise "spray and goes" don't get the weeds on post control. The bottom line is they want to pay slave labor rates to an unisured operator but have a beautiful lawn. My response to these potential customers is that, "I am not in the habit of making the work of the competition look better than it should. If you would like our weed control/fert service we also must have the mowing contract." This year this policy has been so successful that next year all new customers will be required to have us mow with the weedcontrol/fert. No more mow and blows.

    Take your existing clients, make those accounts look as good as they can within the restrictions of what they are paying for and when someone asks for a stand alone service simply reply, "The reason this account looks so good is because we come every week and do such and so and I really don't want to make your service look better than what it can by doing this for you and them. However if you are interested in having a service that can satisfy all your needs and a lawn as nice as this one you may want to fire them and call me." It takes guts and discipline not to jump on a one time job but if you stop doing it eventually your accounts will be all "B" and "A" customers rather than just "C". If one of my customers can find an idiot that is willing to aerate the lawn or do a major clean-up for pennies on the dollar of what it should be, that does not insult me or threaten me. I just stand back and laugh. My momma taught me "If you are going to work hard, at least don't lose money while you're sweating."
  10. Ozi_Brisbane

    Ozi_Brisbane LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Very interesting point you are making, xpnd.

    I am still in the startup phase and so only have one regular mowing client, and a lot of calls where clients want me to come in to do pruning, weed control and general gardening because their mowerman doesn't do it or doesn't do it the way they want.

    Right now I feel that I cannot turn such one-off jobs down. But it seems to me that there are plenty of mow-and-go crews out there while I'm left to pick up the pieces and have no regular cashflow to speak of so far because mostly I do the stuff that the mow-and-go guys don't do.

    I am hoping that some of those jobs will turn into regular mowing jobs in the long run so that's why I am doing them at the moment.

    However, I think you have very good points. The lawn is one thing, but the overall looks of the garden are another. If others see the shrubs that I pruned and the weed-free paths etc, they might think its the work of the 'mow-and-go' guys they see turnig up every few weeks and get the impression that it's his work and not mine. After all, the "mow and go" guy makes lots of noise with his machinery while there and so draws attention to himself, while my spraying and pruning is practically soundless. So no attention as to my presence and quality of work.

    But there could also be another side to the story. Maybe some clients want to test out your service before they give you the entire maintenance job from A to Z. I had that happen.

    It would be possible to turn such occasional small jobs down when you are already established, but not when just starting out. And I would agree with your approach at that time.

    Kind of reminds me of a recent job where the customer wanted me to mulch and weed, while she was paying a "mow and go " guy a hefty sum for his mowing but who does nothing else. I was then pushed into lowering my price because she was already paying a lot of money for the mowing and so had little left to do the rest of the work.

    It is impossible to make a living from these piecemeal jobs.


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