second year in biz.. how to build?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ceaman, Jan 22, 2002.

  1. ceaman

    ceaman LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 131

    I did a search to no avail...and I have this question.

    This is my second summer in biz for myself. I started mid season last year with only a handfull of clients. I am hopefull on keeping the clients I have and eager to look for new clients. I have plenty of time to worry about it since it isnt snowing and all of the hard work and investment I put into snow removal and deicer seems to really be paying off!

    Anyone have any sugestions on what stratigies to use to bid new accounts. With my limited experience I hate to bid. Even though I have bid and plowed for 10 winters I still had the jitters, so I offered a 10% discount off of their previous contractor if they showed me an invoice. Many people shot fair with me.... A Few felt it was unethical to ask to see another contractors bill. Then a few the bid was just way to cheap.

    I am currently advertising in the local papers, fliers at the grocery and hardware stores, and on all of my equipment. I missed the deadline for the yellow pages this year. (How many calls do you get from yellow pages alone?)

    thank you in advance for any comments.
  2. eggy

    eggy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,085

    You will find it takes years to build and grow, sometimes I get disaponted at groeth it seems like all the other LCOs get contracts handed to them and we fight to get each one, however we have had steady growth each year, and building a solid base, if we lose a account it is not a killer, one thing I found is mailing a letter to the company you would like to place a bid with, the newspaper did almost nothing for use but cost time with accounts we would rather not have, Time it takes to build, they say about 5 years.....
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    First of all, who is your target customer? Commercial or Residential? I'll try to answer your questions a best I can. But I do strictly residential, so my advice is set accordingly.

    As for how to bid, you can do a search on that here and find many threads on the subject. The basic way to bid in the beginning is look at a job, try to figure out how many you'd spend their each month, and multiply that number by the hourly rate you want to make. Then you may want to add on costs for hauling grass away if it's a big place.

    For instance, Suppose I estimate thatI will be at a place for an hour per week, every week. And I want to make $35 per hour. Then, I'd figure $35x4=140. The estAimate would be for $140 per month. If I had to haul a significant amount of grass away each week then I may factor that in as well.

    p.s. this rate would be my year-round rate. That's all we do anymore. We just take year-round accounts, even though amount of time spent per month goes down during the winter. In the beginning I would give two estimates. One, for maybe $140 / mo. if it was seasonal, and another, for $125 / month if they wanted year-round service. Most people chose the year-round estimate to save money each month. So once I had plenty of year-round clients, I just began only giving the year-round bids.
    As for yellow pages ads, I've run three of them throughout the years. Small and Very Large. None of them produced the results I expected. We got more calls from flyers and our trucks than we did from the $700 per month ad. The really crappy thing about yellow pages is that you pay every month, even though you receive almost ZERO calls for about 5 months of the year. That kinda hurts.

    As for other advertising, you mentioned some good ones. Don't expect too much from the grocery store ones, though. But you should really get into doing Flyers. Do a search here for Fliers or Flyers and you'll find a ton of information. They are the best form of advertising and also very inexpensive.
  4. ceaman

    ceaman LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 131

    I spoke with my attorney about my contract and he said that he would like to see other contracts that are being used by other companys to Modify mine to help cover liability issues and also various aspects of lawncare (of which he knows nothing because I handle his lawncare, landscaping, snow removal)

    I have searched the subject but found little info to go on.
  5. summitgroundskeeping

    summitgroundskeeping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    Sounds like you are doing okay so far. Hey, should have asked me if it would snow, been tellin' every contractor I know that IF it snows it will come in like March. If you want to expand, you must bid. Just see how much you have to charge to cover expenses and profit. That's all you can do. Don't feel bad, I still get jitters before a race. Target a good demografical area and market yourself.
    Good luck
  6. ceaman

    ceaman LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 131

    Hows come if you mention contract help either here or plowsite the post goes dead? I am not asking for someone else to give me a perfect contract, the perfect advertising strategy or anything that is a trade secret..... But I thought we were all here to help. we arent competeing agentst each other ...

    help out more pease
  7. LoneStarLawn

    LoneStarLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,415

    You should start another thread about that subject. There is also some past threads that talk about contracts and wording.

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