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What Would You Do???

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Shorts, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Shorts

    Shorts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    I'm looking for some advice from some pros already out there doing this on a day to day basis.

    I have been in the auto industry for 5 years now. I have also cut a couple lawns on the side for cash on my day off. About a month ago I decided that I want out of the auto business and thought to myself, maybe I should just cut grass and do lite installs. So I went go on the computer drafted up a nice little one page flyer and hit the road for two days straight.

    The areas I hit are burbs south of Cleveland. The neighboor hoods are HUGE and all have postage stamp size lawns.I cut 2 lawns in the area right now at a rate of $25 to mulch $30 to catch. Like i said i went out with this flyer door to door and just slid it in the door, I passed out roughly 1,400 in two days. On the flyer was my name, what i do and the cost for that persons yard. I didn't print the cost, instead I hand wrote it in to make it look more personalized. The first couple of days I didn't get a response at all..no big deal, only thing invested was time and paper. Then the 3rd day hit, my phone rang of the hook.

    So after a week or so I am up to almost 100 people who would like to retain my services for next cutting season. These aren't 100 people interested, these are 100 people ready to sign a contract. I never expected this to happen but it did. I've read this forum from front to back and almost everyone suggests not going in this business full time right away. I am fortunante enought to already have a truck and I can pay cash for the equipment if need be.

    What do you suggest I do? Thanks in advance, I'm looking forward to your response.
  2. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,219

    to see how youre pricing how big are the yards that you do for 25 to mulch and 30 to catch and well go from there
  3. Shorts

    Shorts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Most yards are on avg. 70X100. There are some slightly larger and some slightly smaller though. Keep in mind that 70% of these properties are concrete drives, homes and detached garges. It take me 17 minutes to cut trim and blow my grandmas property on a 36 rider. So i would imagine it would take 10-13 minutes on a zero turn 42 - 48. Thanks for the help
  4. mythntr

    mythntr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    If the yards are small with good access to front and back for large equipment, and you set yourself up correctly, I see no reason why you couldnt do close to 100 by yourself. If there are lots of small gates, then a part timer to help a day or two would do it. Sounds like a great situation. Id probably set it up to where i had a36 hydro and a large rider. Cover front and back efficiently. Thats how i set up my crews. And a 21 along for the tight spots. Best money for you would be if you dont have to hire anyone. So with that number of lawns, you need some decent equipment.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    You are very UN- fortunate to have a truck and money for equipment because it will now take much longer to learn about pricing jobs to pay for ALL your overhead.
    10 to 13 min to do it all-- I would double that as a solo with park- unload- trim- back to trailer- edge- back to trailer- mow- back to trailer- blow- back to trailer- tie down- drive to next job.

    100 customers already?? DID they sign or just say so?
    With no reputation to show, I would guess that you got those jobs on price alone. Why are you lower than everyone else-- did you do a business plan to prove that you can produce work at 25$ and still make a profit.

    What to do??-- I would slow down and really look at the numbers of being in business and think hard about giving up your day job.

    Yes it can be done, but it is not as easy as you are thinking right now.

    Good luck.
  6. ChadsLawn

    ChadsLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,110

    Dam wish I got 100 clients out of 1400 fliers. I got 8 out of 1500 fliers.
  7. Shorts

    Shorts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    The times given were based on my current set up which includes a 1989 Toro rider, redmax blower and edger. As for price I didn't come in low at all. I came in right where the competition is as a matter of fact. Much of my response came from giving the address of the two properties I currently mow in the development. The 2 main guys that have the bulk of the business in that development are for the most part hacks. The clients are mainly older people and some of these crews out there half ass it just to get in and get out.

    As for 100 on my own....i'm sure I could do it when I get new mowers next season and if it never rains. Making up a days work would be next to impossible in this sitution I think.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    If the competition is so bad, why not be the pro that produces top quility work, at top prices, You will still get 30-40% of the people and only work 1/2 as much to produce better income
  9. Turf Terror

    Turf Terror LawnSite Member
    Messages: 113

    Roll the dice....
    Go for it.
  10. Shorts

    Shorts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    thats a good point however I would much rather enter the area at the going rate, give them a years worth of top notch service then raise pricing for year 2 and possibly add a crew.

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