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What's Going On.....Geeeezzzzzzzzzzz

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Nelson, May 16, 2002.

  1. Nelson

    Nelson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 278

    Is it because it has not rained here in Florida in twenty something days? Or very competetive.... or this is the way it goes in 1st year of business? Please someone let me know?

    I have passed out Flyers, Doorknob Hangers, Talked to relatives, Ask my little bit Of customers I do have for referals?

    Add in local papers Then 2 top it all off........

    I get a phone call from 1 of my very few customers telling me that he will not need my services no more...I mean I am very punctual with what accounts I do have...I just do not understand?

    This customer has a few hedges... That I do not even charge him for.... He tells me w/him being in & out of the Hospital...That it has taken a toll on his money situation... I am like u r still gonna need your grass cut? He always complaments me on my punctuality. Other LCO was always late or just did not show up when promised?

    I just need to air out.....But it is getting to me...I am not wanting to go back 2 a full time job in the Industry I was in, cause I hate the thought of working for the man.....

    They say it gets worst before it gets better? I hope I am @ the worst part now? Sorry for the long post...Thanks for anybody's info that has gone threw the same situation I am going threw now as far as 1st year at Lawn Service business.... I am trying to keep my chin up though.....

    BRIAN GALLO LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    Hang in there man, it'll get better. Did you consider possibly doing some ladscaping work until you get some more lawn accounts? Grab anything you can...mulch jobs, shrub pruning, planting etc... You might also want to target some other neighborhoods, even if they are a bit out of your way. Good luck to you! ;)
  3. Nelson

    Nelson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 278

    Yeah..... Brian I am trying every & anything.

    Not trying to sound like a cry baby but.....It gets 2 me.

  4. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    Seriously though....

    Is there a local Chamber of Commerce? I used to belong to one. Relatively cheap dues, published ad in quarterly booklet, member mixers, etc. I just didn't need the $120/yr expense anymore, so I stoped being a member.

    You may want to try this. News travels fast in the Chamber.

    Good Luck!
  5. TJLC

    TJLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,308

    The bad thing down here is it seems that all customers care about is how cheap you will work for them. It's hard to compete with illegal lowballers,but I will not lower my prices to compete with them. Being a legal, legit business (licensed, insured, pay all taxes) really means nothing to potential customers. They want you to do it for what the last guy did it for. Sad but true. Hang in there, when it starts raining you should pick up business. I have never advertised and I have plenty of work. Good luck
  6. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773

    Hey, I think I'm gonna try that Chamber of Commerce thing...

    Anyway, Nelson ... I've been following your tribulations with interest and I sympathize with you. Some weeks, some months, and even some years I just feel like what I'm doing isn't working. Geezzzzz is exactly right.

    Until last week I had some problems getting returns on my flyers. Suddenly, a flurry of activity. Some I've closed, some I've turned down, and some have been appalled that I can charge what I do. Doesn't matter, I charge forth.

    I'll tell you what the worst part of business is. It's not getting turned down on quotes (if you know what you have to make). It's not losing customers (these things happen -- people run out of money or run out of town). It's not the long hours or the customer complaints (I love complaints because I get to show my knowledge to the uninformed :) ).

    It's when the phone doesn't ring. At all. For days. For weeks. I can take anything but no solicitation. At least if I'm getting turned down I'm out quoting (and, hopefully, figuring out what's wrong). But if the phone just won't ring, there's absolutely nothing I can do. I can't will it to happen.

    My worst fear was (and still is) that this is one of those years. The wife has joined me in the business, I've crunched numbers to sheer perfection, I'm closing about half my quotes, and my systems are tearing up the countryside.

    But it is to no avail if the phone won't ring.

    It's been impossibly dry out here. The economy simply isn't booming. The seedy little illegal startup companies are out in force. It might just be one of those years.

    Two weeks ago I sat down with the wife. What do I do, what do I do? Relax, she says. If it's one of those years she'll go back to work and handle the phones at night (whilst I bound headlong in the field forevermore) until we hit the boom. She believes in our systems, even when my faith sometimes falls short.

    Nelson, I don't have an answer. Sometimes the darn thing won't ring, and sometimes for months at a time. It's frustrating. What you might have to do, if this isn't your year, is work somewhere part time while you build your company. Rome was not built in a day (and neither was, I suspect, Union Turf or Lewis Landscapes ;) ).

    Don't surrender. Thousands of companies go under every year. This could be your year to relinquesh a dream, or you can be one of the chosen few who rise to the top through the toughest of challenges, and come out ahead.

    Besides, there will be many more tests ahead... :D
  7. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    Nelson, not a huge help, but it can't hurt. How about signs on the truck? I don't just mean the small magnetic door signs, but rather large wood signs on the sides of your pick up bed extending the sides up higher.
    Or on your trailer sides and back.

    Just something to get your name and phone number out there and something for people to see when your in traffic and at a job.
    They shouldn't cost too much.

    I want to put some on my truck bed, but I don't have stake pockets on the bed. Will probably put one on the trailer rear gate soon.
  8. Nelson

    Nelson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 278

    TGCummings, TJLC, TLS,

    Thanks 2 u guys...I take all info w/ a positive note.....


    Sounds like u have been there & done that....... lol

    TLS I will ck w/ the Chamber of Commerce............
    sounds like a good idea.....

    Thanks again peeps + 2 Lawnsite itself.......

    Wow... what did some of u guys do w/out Lawnsite......
    when starting your own business?

    I am glad I ran into this site...I feel blessed...That is a good thing though.....OK enough already.................:blush:
  9. ADMowing

    ADMowing LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 175

    Nelson, it rained today, so maybe we're in luck!

    We are in a shortage right now also. Customers are moving and we are not picking up new ones at this time because of the drought. Yards just don't need to be serviced -- so people think. We try to inform people that if they don't take care of their yards now, when the rain starts, the weeds will take over. We've got to keep the weeds cut down. We are mowing yards from 3.5 to 4 inches tall to help shelter the root systems.

    This is a bad year to start 'cause things are slow for all of us, I think. But when the rain starts, you'll get the business. If you really have your mind set to be an LCO, then don't let anything get in your way. DO IT! It is a rewarding business when it rains and grass is growing. Don't give up! Best of luck to you!

  10. Brickman

    Brickman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,249

    Nelson this is your first year, so that is a big part of the story right now. Hold your chin up, take on what you can reasonably. I had some low payers, PITA customers at first. One piece of advice I will pass on that was given to me several years ago when I was new came from a guy that was in the biz for many years and had the goods to show how successful he was. Nice house, trucks, huge shop. He told me when you are new and don't have that much work you can't be as choosy as you would be and will be when you get a lot more work. He told me $5 was $5 and even tho it was maybe too low, you were getting your name out, and people were seeing you. He felt it was better to work for less and then increase prices when your amount of work got higher.

    This is year 7 for me. One thing that I will tell every body that is serious in making this work, the one bit of advertizing that has brought me the most work. GET IN THE YELLOW PAGES ASAP. When I did that, the phone never stopped ringing.
    This is the driest year in a long long time around here, I am so busy it isn't funny. I turn work down on a daily basis. Mostly sprinkler repairs and turn ons. Every body I talk to is the same way. Several weeks out on sprinkler repairs, once the lawns start getting water and growing then I expect that I will be turning down lawn mowing as well, since I am full up on that account too.

    Good luck, keep your chin up. Feel free to email me if you have other questions.

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