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New Concept in Lawn Care Start Up. Need Advice!

Lawn Club USA

New Contributor
Dec 11, 2018
4
2
13
Hello entrepreneurs.

I am considering starting a new lawn care business in North Carolina.

This concept is based on memberships. For example: for $100 a month the new client becomes a member and is granted weekly lawn service that includes mowing, weed trimming, edging, weed control, periodic pruning of ornamental plantings, etc. The $100 monthly membership covers any size lawn, no questions asked.

Under this concept, Our members will share ownership in our business. Think: Partners serving partners.

At the end of every year when a client/member renews their service contract for an additional year, they are awarded ownership units in our company. As founder, I intend to maintain 50% ownership in the company and the 50% units outstanding would be issued to our loyal members.

Ultimately shares would inevitably be diluted when new shares/units need to be issued to grow business and revenues by bringing in new waves of members. But at the same time a member is diluted, his unit value goes up as membership and revenue increase. So, less is often more when member's units are diluted. But at all times the membership base will be 50% owners of our company.

The question I have is would it be in any way legally challenging to give your loyal client base shared ownership in a business. Remember, I am in North Carolina.

I would hope to soon start taking $100 deposits from our first 50 to 100 clients who sign up early for membership for the coming mowing season which will run from early March to the end of October. That initial infusion of cash would be used to purchase needed equipment for the coming season. I feel as if I would need to offer some sort of perk to these members who pay a first deposit in advance and I am considering what that might be.
 

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minivanman

Platinum Contributor
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Mar 16, 2017
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Booooooooooooooooo

Want to know if it will work? Get out the calculator and find the answer for yourself. Be sure and type in realistic numbers.

I will award you rep points for the worst idea of the year.... and I don't even pay attention to those points. lol Now I gotta figure out hot to do it. :)
 

DragoonDB

Contributor
Oct 17, 2018
22
56
25
Wisconsin
@Lawn Club USA: Make sure to write a proper intro. It would be great to know more about you and your background.

I'm with @minivanman. Maybe it's me - I'm just not sure I understand. You're providing a service that you're being paid for; in addition, you're going to give ownership of your business to your customers?

Calculating the costs and return are critical. Is average lawn size in your market helping or hindering at the $100/month? Will the addition of chemicals for lawn treatment blow up your cost structure? What about the manual tasks such as pruning? Are you comfortable with the due diligence that you've performed - and have you used optimistic numbers, or pragmatic/gloomy numbers for worst case?

At the giving away ownership - all bets are off. I don't understand the dynamics of why you'd introduce this. In what way does this help your business? Do you expect to gain additional business due to the fact you're giving away rights?

If I want my lawn maintained, I don't know that I want to deal with anything beyond seeing it maintained and a bill that I'm responsible for. I don't want to be hooked into anything beyond that - in fact, I'd prefer never to have to talk to the company again (do it right so we don't need to talk, and I'll cancel if I'm unhappy).

Again, feel free to share an intro, and any additional comments you have on this idea. I think you'll get a good amount of feedback from the thread.
 
OP
OP
L

Lawn Club USA

New Contributor
Dec 11, 2018
4
2
13
@Lawn Club USA: Make sure to write a proper intro. It would be great to know more about you and your background.

I'm with @minivanman. Maybe it's me - I'm just not sure I understand. You're providing a service that you're being paid for; in addition, you're going to give ownership of your business to your customers?

Calculating the costs and return are critical. Is average lawn size in your market helping or hindering at the $100/month? Will the addition of chemicals for lawn treatment blow up your cost structure? What about the manual tasks such as pruning? Are you comfortable with the due diligence that you've performed - and have you used optimistic numbers, or pragmatic/gloomy numbers for worst case?

At the giving away ownership - all bets are off. I don't understand the dynamics of why you'd introduce this. In what way does this help your business? Do you expect to gain additional business due to the fact you're giving away rights?

If I want my lawn maintained, I don't know that I want to deal with anything beyond seeing it maintained and a bill that I'm responsible for. I don't want to be hooked into anything beyond that - in fact, I'd prefer never to have to talk to the company again (do it right so we don't need to talk, and I'll cancel if I'm unhappy).

Again, feel free to share an intro, and any additional comments you have on this idea. I think you'll get a good amount of feedback from the thread.
 

Duane

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My advice? Don't do it.

I have a small yard and cheap lawn care service is $120/month. That only covers mowing, weed eating, edging, and blowing. If I want my bushes trimmed then it's closer to $140-$150/month.

If I want weed control, it's even more.

I understand what you're doing, charging a lower rate and extending it over the year because lawn care is seasonal, but I wouldn't do it that way or structure it that way. Offer a unique package for people based on the size of their lawn, this is not a cookie cutter 1 price fits all service. You will screw people with small lawns, and screw yourself on big lawns. Bad idea.

And you're giving up equity in your company for what?? For people being loyal customers?

You want people to be loyal and renew their subscription, offer an amazing service. You won't need to bribe people into resubscribing if the service is amazing. Besides, if the service sucks, they won't give a shit about equity in your company. They will only want you gone.

Plus, you're giving up 50% of the profits in your company for NOTHING. They are investing $0 in the company, just paying for the goods and services the company provides.
 

Jeff Noel

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Booooooooooooooooo

Want to know if it will work? Get out the calculator and find the answer for yourself. Be sure and type in realistic numbers.

I will award you rep points for the worst idea of the year.... and I don't even pay attention to those points. lol Now I gotta figure out hot to do it. :)
Click on his Rep Bank and enter the amount you want to give ;)
 
OP
OP
L

Lawn Club USA

New Contributor
Dec 11, 2018
4
2
13
Thanks for reply.

My reasoning for this outside-the-box sort of concept is to promote loyalty, referrals and ultimately growth in what is a commodity type of service business rife with competition and low barriers of entry.

Regarding chemicals, we would not be offering those services such as fertilizations, pre-emergent herbacides, etc but rather focusing on general lawn care and maintenance in the beginning. We may add on such services later, such as fertilization, herbicide treatments, sodding and seeding, ornamental plant installation, mulch or pine needle installs, etc.

I may ultimately dismiss the idea to share ownership and just go ahead with a more traditional business model but I still like the membership model where everyone pays a $100 monthly fee for services. That is a great deal relative to the price structure for lawn care in thius area. That is 25 dollars per weekly service. The caveat being that when we show up to see a new prospective property, we give smaller, less troublesome, more efficient properties a three-month exemption from membership fees during winter, where as larger, more time-consuming properties pay the $100 for 12 months. So we are not showing up to give the prospective client an estimate, but rather determining if they get the three-month exemption during winter months or not. This will ensure some revenue during the slow months of winter.

I am currently working for a landscaping company that does about 440k in annual revenue and after acquiring a good block of experience I am looking to go out on my own.
 

minivanman

Platinum Contributor
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Honestly, all you have to do is show up on the day you are suppose to show up and you will have more customers than you can service. And, you don't have to be cheap. If someone comes and tells me they can mow my yard for $15 and another person says they will mow it for $30 but I really know it's worth $35..... I'll go with the $30 person and if he shows up every time as scheduled, if he decides he needs to raise my price to $45, I'm good with it.... just keep showing up!
 

minivanman

Platinum Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 16, 2017
1,408
3,506
874
50
DFW
Thanks for reply.

My reasoning for this outside-the-box sort of concept is to promote loyalty, referrals and ultimately growth in what is a commodity type of service business rife with competition and low barriers of entry.

Regarding chemicals, we would not be offering those services such as fertilizations, pre-emergent herbacides, etc but rather focusing on general lawn care and maintenance in the beginning. We may add on such services later, such as fertilization, herbicide treatments, sodding and seeding, ornamental plant installation, mulch or pine needle installs, etc.

I may ultimately dismiss the idea to share ownership and just go ahead with a more traditional business model but I still like the membership model where everyone pays a $100 monthly fee for services. That is a great deal relative to the price structure for lawn care in thius area. That is 25 dollars per weekly service. The caveat being that when we show up to see a new prospective property, we give smaller, less troublesome, more efficient properties a three-month exemption from membership fees during winter, where as larger, more time-consuming properties pay the $100 for 12 months. So we are not showing up to give the prospective client an estimate, but rather determining if they get the three-month exemption during winter months or not. This will ensure some revenue during the slow months of winter.

I am currently working for a landscaping company that does about 440k in annual revenue and after acquiring a good block of experience I am looking to go out on my own.
If you are one hell of a salesperson, you might be able to pull this off but I don't think it is the best a calculator could come up with. I like asking my calculator which idea is best and go with what it says. The only time my calculator lies is when I don't give it the exact information to work with :)
 

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OP
OP
L

Lawn Club USA

New Contributor
Dec 11, 2018
4
2
13
Honestly, all you have to do is show up on the day you are suppose to show up and you will have more customers than you can service. And, you don't have to be cheap. If someone comes and tells me they can mow my yard for $15 and another person says they will mow it for $30 but I really know it's worth $35..... I'll go with the $30 person and if he shows up every time as scheduled, if he decides he needs to raise my price to $45, I'm good with it.... just keep showing up!
Thank you! Good advice!
 

Danny reds

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You're better off doing some network marketing man.

Your business idea makes no sense to me. Are you going to be selling the value of your product and service or the customer having ownership in your business for letting you cut their lawn?
 

Get Right

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I like your enthusiasm but what a nightmare of a business system.

If you are looking for ideas in this space, I have a few problems that you might solve:

1. Why is no lawn service all inclusive? Spray/mow/irrigate/install/soil test/etc.
2. Why does no lawn service charge by the results? I just want results and no work by me.
3. Why don't I ever get landscaping ideas from my lawn guy(s)? Make my yard look great, take my money.

I know several big lawn service company owners. Their service(s) are very basic and nothing to write home about. They all have bigger boats than I do... Imagine what you could do with a top performing business.
 

DragoonDB

Contributor
Oct 17, 2018
22
56
25
Wisconsin
Honestly, all you have to do is show up on the day you are suppose to show up and you will have more customers than you can service. And, you don't have to be cheap. If someone comes and tells me they can mow my yard for $15 and another person says they will mow it for $30 but I really know it's worth $35..... I'll go with the $30 person and if he shows up every time as scheduled, if he decides he needs to raise my price to $45, I'm good with it.... just keep showing up!
Bingo.

I think you're seeing a lot of consistent feedback here. I hope at this point you've thrown this idea to the wayside.

Your idea is simply overcomplication of a relatively straightforward business. minivanman is spot on.

Your market is saying:
"I want my lawn maintained. I just want to find someone reliable that will do what they say, take my money and never cross my mind again."

You're saying:
"I'd love to cut your lawn.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE - I'll setup a new quoting method that won't take your lawn into consideration, but a flat fee system that is far more complex than necessary.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE - I'll also give you a share in my business.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE - I'll keep you updated with quarterly feedback on how many customer "we" obtained and are servicing.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE - I'll keep you updated annually on what % of the business you own."

You think your idea is going to bring customers in and build loyalty. I see a guaranteed method to push them away.

When someone is about to give you money, shut up and take the money.

Where's that intro thread? :)
 

CareCPA

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Hello entrepreneurs.

I am considering starting a new lawn care business in North Carolina.

This concept is based on memberships. For example: for $100 a month the new client becomes a member and is granted weekly lawn service that includes mowing, weed trimming, edging, weed control, periodic pruning of ornamental plantings, etc. The $100 monthly membership covers any size lawn, no questions asked.

Under this concept, Our members will share ownership in our business. Think: Partners serving partners.

At the end of every year when a client/member renews their service contract for an additional year, they are awarded ownership units in our company. As founder, I intend to maintain 50% ownership in the company and the 50% units outstanding would be issued to our loyal members.

Ultimately shares would inevitably be diluted when new shares/units need to be issued to grow business and revenues by bringing in new waves of members. But at the same time a member is diluted, his unit value goes up as membership and revenue increase. So, less is often more when member's units are diluted. But at all times the membership base will be 50% owners of our company.

The question I have is would it be in any way legally challenging to give your loyal client base shared ownership in a business. Remember, I am in North Carolina.

I would hope to soon start taking $100 deposits from our first 50 to 100 clients who sign up early for membership for the coming mowing season which will run from early March to the end of October. That initial infusion of cash would be used to purchase needed equipment for the coming season. I feel as if I would need to offer some sort of perk to these members who pay a first deposit in advance and I am considering what that might be.
If you do this, please don't reach out to me to do your tax return.
How would you ever keep track of the ownership percentage of all the partners/owners (needs to be calculated per ownership unit per day)? Your returns would be 1,000 pages thick, even with just a couple hundred clients/partners.
 

DragoonDB

Contributor
Oct 17, 2018
22
56
25
Wisconsin
I like your enthusiasm but what a nightmare of a business system.

If you are looking for ideas in this space, I have a few problems that you might solve:

1. Why is no lawn service all inclusive? Spray/mow/irrigate/install/soil test/etc.
2. Why does no lawn service charge by the results? I just want results and no work by me.
3. Why don't I ever get landscaping ideas from my lawn guy(s)? Make my yard look great, take my money.

I know several big lawn service company owners. Their service(s) are very basic and nothing to write home about. They all have bigger boats than I do... Imagine what you could do with a top performing business.
@Get Right: Is there a way to like this 5 or more times? :)
 

SquatchMan

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This is needlessly complicated for a lawn business.

My brother and I did a lawn business when we were in high school and we got clients by just putting fliers on maybe 50 doors in our neighborhood. We kept them all summer by just showing up on time and doing a good job. No car either; we were just pushing the lawnmower down the street.

Dressing sharp for your first meeting (polo shirt, khakis, clean sneakers), showing up on time, and doing a good job is all you really need to do. The competition is awful.

The hardest part about the business is probably finding halfway decent employees at a profitable salary.
 

scott.legendre

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Aug 5, 2013
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The biggest issue i've ever faced in the lawn care business, having been paid to cut lawns, and then later paying others to cut my lawn, was handling payment, and constantly having to check/remind that its time to cut the yard again.

If i had automatic payments coming out of my account, and received text reminders that my lawn was going to be cut today/tomorrow, I probably would have stayed with lawn people.

Instead, I've now dropped $900 in quality electric lawn equipment (because i got tired of gas) and just go cut it myself quickly. This was due to the above frustrations.

Just for the record i went through about 5 lawn people, including my own brother, fighting with the above.
 

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