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Starting up Questions and suggestions.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by MikeC89, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. MikeC89

    MikeC89 LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 5

    OK, here it goes. I have been trolling the site for a couple weeks now reading must say lots of great information on this site!

    I plan on opening up shop this coming season. Have access to any equipment I need family owns a small engine repair shop that deal walker, exmark etc. The equipment I will be starting with is a exmark 60", f350 dump body, trailer (of course), two trimmers(shindaiwa's for the universal attachments. power broom etc.) , back pack blower, pretty much all of the necessities. I have already went to the city hall and registered my DBA.I also have my budget MOSTLY(i know I will not totally figure this out until i am up and running) figured out so I will not be going in completely blind under bidding jobs. I am waiting until closer to the season to open my insurance, no point in paying if I can not use it at this moment?? I plan at the end of February to start advertising in the local papers, and early to mid March I am going to have 5,000 door hangers printed and go door-to-door. Not my best idea ever but I have actually posted on Craigslist trying to buy out some contracts for the upcoming season no luck yet. I did have a guy call and offer some subcontract work for bank properties at $25 a yard?? Skeptical on this anyone ever done this?

    On to my questions:

    1- Anyone have any suggestions as to my advertising plan to date, things I should change etc?
    2- Would you suggest residential at first or going balls to the wall and trying to bid everything I can get?
    3- How would one go about finding the bidding opportunity for foreclosures along with commercial properties? Contact the banks/realtors/and business owners directly?

    I am from North East CT, so if someone ever has to much work (unlikely, but worth a shot) maybe we could have a sit down and work something out?

    Thanks in advance for any input!
  2. coastie12

    coastie12 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    I do bank cuts here in Michigan. Usually the way bank cuts go is the bank gives the cuts to a property preservation company then they sub it out to vendors aka the little guy. $25 a lawn isn't bad but is that initial cuts or re-cuts? Some companies pay more for initial cuts than they do for re-cuts.
  3. MikeC89

    MikeC89 LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 5

    Only had a quick chat with him, I believe I will be getting more for initial cuts because he was saying if it is 12" or more do not cut, take pictures etc. The only thing is in my neck of the woods we don't really have the small city lawns. I figured out my price/hr and $25 is nowhere near close to it.
  4. dvkeller

    dvkeller LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    We do bank cut for national co. Lots of photos, lots of picking apart you photos so they can reduce the fee they owe you. And cut at agreed price are up to 1 acre. Take about a year to figure the system so your able to get most of your agreed fees. Be real carefull f you are dealing with safeguard company
  5. MikeC89

    MikeC89 LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 5

    Seems like bank properties are more of a hassle from everything I have been reading? For commercial account will you guys contact the business's via telephone or send them a letter etc? Thanks
  6. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,613

    to each their own but i would never fool with any customer where i can be underbid year to year or when the contract runs out. my goal is loyal customers not customers looking for the cheapest price out there.

    everytime i see people cutting mcdonalds, taco bell, burger king, banks, etc. ...you know all the commerical lots they are the worst looking people using the crapiest equipment out there and doing a terrible job making like $25 a cut. why would anyone wanna fool with that when you can cut mrs. so and so's yard a mile or two away from your own house for $125 a cut?

    is it just to say hey man look at me i got all these commercial accounts? lol

    i have 3-4 commercial accounts but i charge my normal rate and it's not up for rebid ever. i wouldn't fool around with that rat race. you can't depend on that to make a living.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  7. newguy123

    newguy123 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,096

    Well not knowing your market, I would only assume that residentials have a higher profit margin (speaking to mowing only.) Every market is different so this might not be true for you. However, knowing you have access to larger commercial equipment I'd say go for everything you can, but on commercial make sure you know how to bid right. It's easier to underbid on a commercial site than a residential, due to the obvious size difference.

    Good luck...
  8. dvkeller

    dvkeller LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    i cut those accounts with a $18000.00 VENTRAC, with a $2400 mower deck pulled by a $ $23000 Dodge, i don't cut them for $25 but not all of us are the worst looking people using the crapiest equipment.
  9. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,763


    I looked for a smily with a pat on the back but couldn't find one :drinkup:
  10. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,763

    IMHO start with residential and maybe small commercial accounts (banks, professional buildings, or even municipal properties etc...) Your marketing plan sounds decent, if you don't have a website or FB I'd start one and spread the word about it to everyone you know. Good luck, just remember you can bring your company up the hill fast, but you can also slide down the hill faster if you aren't careful.

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