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Lawn service business

Discussion in 'Business Models, Niches, Industries' started by Johnny boy, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. Lex DeVille
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    Lex DeVille The moments that define you have already happened. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Do you have competitors? Why not just hire their best employees and pay them more?
     
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  2. Veloman
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    Veloman New Contributor

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    I just sold my lawn business. Your numbers can vary so much. There is great potential. I could do $600 days myself with a push mower. The key is really good routes and multiple jobs per stop. I did it with all battery equipment. Cue the disbelievers. Its effective for small properties.
    I sold because I didn't want to do it anymore and wasn't up for hiring help. Employees are the hardest part. Soo many poor workers out there.
    Btw 95% of customers don't want to pay cash. 5% check, the other 90% want cc or online like PayPal.
    There are tons of third party companies who can fill up your schedule for you, you just won't get paid as much. Some pay better than others.
    Just remember this is probably the industry with the lowest barrier to entry. There is good and bad with that. Ultimately I surprised myself and did better than I imagined.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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  3. minivanman
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    minivanman Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    What type battery powered mower/weed eater/edger did you have? With our smaller lawns here in Texas I'm a firm believer in battery powered. I think we could give a little more specific answers if we knew what town/state the OP was in. For example, if we knew his location we could either suggest 3rd party companies to work with or not.
     
  4. Carlitos
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    Carlitos Contributor

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    OP take this from someone (myself) who has never worked for a lawn maintenance company until now.

    I recently moved out of NYC and went to visit my parents down in Atlanta I was on vacation really, and ended up finding a job in a matter of days. I saw how much opportunity there is now, high demand of jobs available in many industries, but ton of shortage in good workers.

    The lawn company I work for has been struggling in finding good workers, keeping customers happy, some of their current customers continue to cancel with them. This company only gets customers by contracts, and the average monthly cost for basic lawn maintenance is about $250.

    The hardest issue in this business is keeping good reliable trustworthy employees. You need to have a system together so that each and one of them can follow it of how you want things done. You also need to have a system of how employees would be held accountable when they fail to do their job.

    Your Foremans in my opinion needs to be your best employees and pay them well. Make your Foremans work for it in order to achieve that position. A lot of companies fail to do this, they randomly select their Foremans by either favoritism, or "who was here first in the company."

    You need a strong sales team, they need to be constantly out there getting deals closed. Also don't ignore digital marketing.

    This is so far what I have at the top of my head. I am actually mindblown how fast you were able to get customers by digital marketing and simple ad posts.

    I am also in the process of building a similar company but providing many cleaning services including lawn & landscaping maintenance.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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  5. Carlitos
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    Carlitos Contributor

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    Would you mind sharing your process of selling your lawn business?

    How long did you had it and managed it from start to selling it?

    How would you able to come up how much the business itself was worth?

    What asset was included in the business deal?

    How many accounts did you have?

    Were your accounts under contract?
     
  6. minivanman
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    minivanman Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Dang, you won't disclose a state yet you want him to bake you a cake and eat it for you too?
     
  7. Carlitos
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    Carlitos Contributor

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    I am not sure what the issue is but I happened to make 2 different posts to 2 different members. Fairly I believe I gave OP enough points with me currently working in the industry to help him out, not sure what is OP going to loose with not knowing where I currently reside which I decided to disclose it now.
     
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  8. Veloman
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    Veloman New Contributor

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    I just posted a Craigslist ad and threw up a number of two months revenue. Assets were equipment, brand, customer accounts which were not under contract, web domain name. I had a lot of responses. Even with no employees. About 120 accounts, basic lawn mowing. Mow edge blow.
    I met with the buyer a few times and worked a few hrs with me then decided to purchase. We filled in a generic purchase agreement which had payments in installments over 3 weeks that he and his helper worked with me.
    We weren't too formal with it all. I had been doing it for 2 years.
     
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  9. Johnny boy
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    Johnny boy Contributor

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    Exactly.
     
  10. Johnny boy
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    Johnny boy Contributor

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    What did you stop doing that you did when you initially started?

    Example: “I used to do large jobs but found small jobs to be more efficient” or “I used to take most jobs but changed to only taking certain types of jobs”.
     
  11. Johnny boy
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    Johnny boy Contributor

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    Update: a kid replied to my job ad and said “I will not let you down”. He’s kept in touch. I’ll be working all day Thursday and told him I’ve got $100 waiting for him if he can come work. He’s got experience in landscaping and he needs a job.

    I’m checking out a used truck for $2000 tomorrow. Should be decent for what I need. Gotta use my lunch break to go to the bank tomorrow.

    Already have the trailer and equipment for a small team. Bought the more expensive stuff used.

    On “job” days I do the lawn business from 7pm-9pm after work and on my “off days” I work from 8am-9pm for the lawn business. I’m working 80 hour weeks right now but let’s be honest, you don’t do much work as a car salesman. Still, I’m busy to the point where I often forget to take off my shoes before falling asleep..not good haha.

    If the kid follows through on his promise to “not let me down”, I’ll have no problem scheduling more jobs next week. I can spend my off days bidding and looking at jobs in person instead of working my off days. We’ll see...
     
  12. Johnny boy
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    Johnny boy Contributor

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    Are you asking what state I’m in? If so I’m in Washington.
     
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  13. minivanman
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    minivanman Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Good! I hope you found the needle in the hay stack!
     
  14. Andrew W
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    Andrew W Contributor

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    OK. First off, the most important thing not to do is weeding. Your employees will hate it, you will hate it (it will take forever to do correctly, more money out of your pocket), and lastly, there's no good way to price it aside from hourly work. It is just a really difficult thing to gauge how much work will be necessary to complete it.

    The second things that you want to avoid are those overly crazy people who need their lawn "just so." If you come across someone like this, avoid the headache and just politely decline or something. Also insurance comes into play here, if the property is wealthy be sure not to break anything, it's risky man. Up to you though, some people like working until it looks perfect, if your workers are like that, more power to ya!

    In general though, the most lucrative part of the business for us was just mowing. We offer a flat rate price at the beginning of the season specific to each customer's yard. Then we have a pay-as-you-go model, each time we cut, they would pay. The project work (weeding, mulching, etc.) are just not worth the time unless you can find some prices from some more established lawncare companies and see how they are doing it. Mowing is easy, weedwhacking is easy, and you can charge whatever you want. So say you charge $50, your people working the same yard at the same time can cut that yard in 1 hour and you'll be out of there quick and and ready for more lawn. You cannot do that with project work and slamming these huge numbers and project price estimates in their faces is a huge turn off unless you can back up your claims for that price.

    Keep in mind, mowing is different from all other aspects of landscaping. Landscaping is to make the place look beautiful as the #1 motivator, mowing's motivator is time. People don't have time to mow so they'll pay you. Keep that in mind. Establish trust in your clients, if they ask something early on and they need it done ASAP, get your people there ASAP. You can slack later but the initial relationship needs that fire, if they think you are looking out for them, they will look out for you. GOOD LUCK WITH THIS!
     
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  15. Johnny boy
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    Johnny boy Contributor

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    So true with the weeding. My second job I did was weeding. I spent 4 hours on it and said “f*ck this”. It seemed like a somewhat hard job but at least I charged $200 for it. I’ll have to finish up on Thursday and I’ll be bringing an employee to do it with me.

    And I’ve been getting mostly people that just “need a mow”, no crazy people yet thankfully.

    I’m getting insurance for up to 1,000,000 in coverage in liability, as well as workers comp and vehicle insurance for the truck/trailer. So rich peoples houses are going to be an option for me.

    Thank you for the tips.
     
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  16. Ken Elshoff
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    Ken Elshoff Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    There was a dude in a facebook group I belong to and he owned a lawn care business.

    He split tested yard signs, testing out 'pitches', then he tracked which sign generated the most calls. That became his control. So, he replicated it and then tested different 'offers', tracked results, replicated the winner and then split tested colors.

    Anyway, this culminated in him creating the ideal sign based on all of his split tests.

    Once he had the winning combination, he made a bunch of signs --replicas of the winning combination -- and placed them around town.

    It resulted in 60 new customers in 4 days.

    I'm going to try to upload it in this post so you can see the ultimate, kick-a**, winner of several splits tests, amazing, business generating sign.... :)

    PS. He said the phrase "dirt cheap" DID NOT attract low-budget callers. In fact, I am pretty sure he quoted his normal prices to caller s....and almost no one realized -- or cared -- that he was charging MORE than his competitors. So, dont be a scaredy cat ...and at least test it out.

    PPS. Yes, Dirt cheap is a pun relating to the dirty business of lawn care. That's clever.

    PPPS Yes, the black and yellow color scheme speaks to the subconscious mind as being a legit business.....because people will relate it to the yellow pages.
     

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  17. Ken Elshoff
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    Ken Elshoff Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Also, if "bandit signs" (like the yard sign I posted above) are allowed in your community, then remember this hard lesson I learned: people LOVE knocking down your signs, especially if they are stapled to telephone poles (at busy intersections, of course).

    So, consider using a tool like this: SignStapler.com so you can hang the signs high on poles, well out of the reach of pedestrians.

    NOTE: Its not my company and i am not affiliated with them. Just know that they exist. You can build your own replica, too. I think there are instructions on youtube.

    PS Also, most states/counties have traffic studies done every few years. They often post them online. Find the traffic study for your county so you can see which roads have the most average traffic daily so you can place your signs at super busy intersections.
     
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  18. Johnny boy
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    Johnny boy Contributor

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    My post says a dollar amount ($30) and says I’m having a “sale” only for (insert where the ad is posted). It’s killing it. I still bid very high but close them with “I’m insured, you don’t want to run the risk of your property being ruined or someone getting hurt, also, we are satisfaction guaranteed”

    Works like magic.
     
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  19. Johnny boy
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    Johnny boy Contributor

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    Also, I do my bids in person so if there’s any negotiation, it’s in person, not them shopping around for the best deal (just like car sales)
     
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  20. minivanman
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    minivanman Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Good opportunity for someone to make some money from the sign stapler guy. He needs a good website that will actually show how the thing works. :)

    Yes, I like doing all my bids in person too. Hopefully the lawns are no bigger than ours here in Texas for $30.
     
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  21. Johnny boy
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    Johnny boy Contributor

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    I never quote a lawn for $30 unless it’s the size of a closet and is less than a mile from my house. Neverevereverever.
     
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  22. minivanman
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    minivanman Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Ours are the size of a closet. Some of the houses here are so close I bet they have to share property taxes. :)
     
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  23. Johnny boy
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    That sounds impractical and pointless
     
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  24. Lex DeVille
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    Lex DeVille The moments that define you have already happened. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Impractical, maybe. But the point is to solve your problem, which you haven't done.

    You assumed you could just hire anyone who wants a summer job. Impractical and pointless ..

    Either he couldn't make it happen on his own or he is someone else's reject. Impractical and pointless.

    You have no system for getting good people so you're wasting time and putting stress on yourself. Impractical and pointless.

    Doing the same thing you already did and wasting more time and money ..

    It will probably work out this time tho.
     
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  25. CPisHere
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    CPisHere Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Employees is definitely the hardest part of a service business. It took me a year to figure it out in my business. My turnover was insane, customer complaints were through the roof - now it's pretty smooth sailing!

    First thing was I had get good at hiring. There's no simple answer here, it's just developed over time - spotting flakes, etc but the job ad you use also makes a big difference to who you attract. The second thing I had to do was get good at training/on-boarding, and I found the key was to create a bond right away & re-enforce why this was a great opportunity for them & our company values throughout the first week or two with lots of checking in. Once onboarded, it's easy to maintain that relationship & provide feedback.
     

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