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Starting a lawn care service business

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ZCP

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@Johnny boy is the example of 'get shit done' ....... take lesson all that are 'thinking' about starting a business ..... .get started.
 
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ShamanKing

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@Johnny boy Amazing journey so far. I'm curious how often do you run into trouble with your tools breaking down on you both physically or mechanically? And say if there was a Pick-n-Pull for lawn mowers would you pay a visit v.s. ordering a new part online.
 

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@Johnny boy Amazing journey so far. I'm curious how often do you run into trouble with your tools breaking down on you both physically or mechanically? And say if there was a Pick-n-Pull for lawn mowers would you pay a visit v.s. ordering a new part online.
Yeah stuff breaks down. I just buy a new mower or whatever broke. I don’t have time to care about fixing it.
 

ShamanKing

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Johnny boy

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Applied for an EIDL (economic injury disaster loan) from the SBA the same day it went live. Now, I got approved for 24k over 30 years at 3%.

F6378A12-9158-4241-813E-A09984CCEDB1.jpeg

The loan was approved and I should be getting funds soon. I already have my second truck and trailer, and I’ll be putting a grand into the equipment for it. Then, I’ll be putting 2 grand into ads which are getting me a huge ROI. I should be able to fill up two crews worth of work and profit around 80,000 net 12 months from when they are at capacity. I’ll be able to take that and easily invest into a 3rd and 4th crew for 2021. At 4 crews I would net 200k+.
 

Gidoza45

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Dec 6, 2018
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Update: our second crew started working today. Everything went smooth. We are at 9500/mo in revenue. The goal for two crews is to be at 16,000.
Awesome! What is your hiring process and your process for training the new hires to make sure they do quality work?
 
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Johnny boy

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Awesome! What is your hiring process and your process for training the new hires to make sure they do quality work?
1. Hire based on gut feeling and specific needs of that moment in time. Sometimes a guy who’s experienced is needed more than a guy who is reliable. Sometimes the other way around. You just interview people and try them out and replace when it doesn’t work. No science to it. My biggest tip is to create a job for them that doesn’t rely on them being great. Have great systems that can allow for employees to be retards and still have things work out.
2. I work alongside the least competent people and the best guy runs the other crew. I show everyone how we do things and I give the other crew the easiest work (for now). Slowly we raise everyone’s level of competency, then give them autonomy while stressing quality over speed, then as I add more customers to the schedule I impose time goals based on how much customers are paying. 8k a month per crew is the goal capacity. If we are working full time and can’t get there I say “stay under 60 minutes at Bobs house” in our notes and it goes like that. Quality control is done by occasional drive by’s and customer complaints. No complaints = no problems 99% of the time. This is not a game of perfection. It’s a game of “good enough”.
 

ZCP

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franchising next summer @Johnny boy ?
might be some people on here that could start those franchises for you in their cities?
 

Johnny boy

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franchising next summer @Johnny boy ?
might be some people on here that could start those franchises for you in their cities?
Not next year. Maybe 3-4 years from now. Maybe more. No real brand equity and the name is location specific. Needs to rebrand, build a name across the state, then use the franchise model to expand to multiple states. All in due time. Right now is the time to grow as a single location and build up revenue, then use profits to do other things like buy a commercial location and build on it, standardize and brand all the equipment, trucks and trailers, and create/test detailed systems for every little part of the business operations. That’s something better saved for 2022
 
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ZCP

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@Johnny boy what if an aspiring forum member hit you up and wanted to be your initial test case in another market? could you use their desire to build a business to make this plan happen sooner?
why wait? let's go!!
 

Johnny boy

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@Johnny boy what if an aspiring forum member hit you up and wanted to be your initial test case in another market? could you use their desire to build a business to make this plan happen sooner?
why wait? let's go!!
I would be happy to coach someone and give them every detail about how I run my business and give them as much help as they needed but under a different name and I wouldn’t ask for any money from them. I’m not afraid of any competition. Hell, they could do it in the same city as me. There’s plenty to go around.
 

ZCP

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thanks @Johnny boy . you are doing to do awesome! your reply is why i look forward to riding on your corporate jet one day!
----------------------------------------------------
all we can do is lay the gold bar out in the middle of the street .....
it is up to the person to walk out there and get it.
 
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Bobby_italy

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I would be happy to coach someone and give them every detail about how I run my business and give them as much help as they needed but under a different name and I wouldn’t ask for any money from them. I’m not afraid of any competition. Hell, they could do it in the same city as me. There’s plenty to go around.
I'm gonna hit you up after summer, we've looked into expanding in a multi-service business.
 

Juan Pimentel

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Residential.
Does commercial have lower profit margin in your area? I know you want to grow fast so maybe selling some commercial jobs can help you. Im not talking big apartment or shopping centers yet but maybe some some mom and pop shops who are responsible for the landscape maintenance. In my experience this customers are easy to deal with , don't want any deals and never complain. You bill them a little higher than residential customers and they will gladly pay. This market is ignore by the bigger companies since they are chasing shopping center , hoas , and apartment complex. I don't know you area but its something to think about.
 

Johnny boy

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Does commercial have lower profit margin in your area? I know you want to grow fast so maybe selling some commercial jobs can help you. Im not talking big apartment or shopping centers yet but maybe some some mom and pop shops who are responsible for the landscape maintenance. In my experience this customers are easy to deal with , don't want any deals and never complain. You bill them a little higher than residential customers and they will gladly pay. This market is ignore by the bigger companies since they are chasing shopping center , hoas , and apartment complex. I don't know you area but its something to think about.
In my experience

1. Commercial customers don’t like our contracts because they are BRUTAL. It’s basically “you have to pay for the whole year and satisfaction has nothing to do with it”. Residential customers don’t even read our contracts. They just sign on an iPad.

2. Usually larger lots. We have walk behind mowers. That’s because larger machines create a larger cost per new crew. I do not have unlimited money yet unfortunately so I have to allocate funds effectively. I have calculated a higher overall profit serving residential because I can buy cheap mowers, get a cheap truck, get cheap labor and grow much quicker as opposed to waiting a long time to be able to afford the $5,000 mowers that handle large properties. I can have 3 crews with small mowers pulling in $100,000 of net profit but I cannot say the same if I only had one crew servicing large properties.The math just doesn’t support it right now to take on big properties if growth is my goal, which it is. That also is based on liability. My employees are kind of dumb. What happens if they break my $5,000 mower? I don’t want to give them the chance.

3. Net 30 pay. Nah. We get paid upfront for the month. If it’s not on a card we don’t want it. I’m not a secretary or a clerk or a debt collector. I don’t sit around and make sure everyone sent their checks. I take the money each month automatically with recurring payments.

If it’s a small yard, paid for by a card and there’s a signed contract that we have written, then I don’t care who pays. Business, residential, black, gay or alien. Everybody’s money is green.

Not worried about complaints. That’s why we have good marketing systems which feed us plenty of customers. Got three new leads today. That’s why we bill at the beginning of the month.

To answer your question simply, we will gladly take on commercial clients but I’ve found they often don’t want to signup with us. And that’s just fine.
 

Juan Pimentel

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Understood. As for easy gain to capital I recommend you have a Chase Small Business Account and right away get a business credit card if you haven’t already. Chase will give you about 2k in bonuses for banking with them and setting up all their services. You can get their merchant account and not have to always use third party services. They offer recurring billing through authorized.net for free. As for the capital part chase business credit cards with boost up for business credit fast. So 0 apr on everything from blowers to Bobcats (if you ever go into the side of business.) This happen to me after one month of opening my account.
You know what your doing so if my advice is useless then take it for what it is. I just want to give back on the value i get from your post.
 
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Johnny boy

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Understood. As for easy gain to capital I recommend you have a Chase Small Business Account and right away get a business credit card if you haven’t already. Chase will give you about 2k in bonuses for banking with them and setting up all their services. You can get their merchant account and not have to always use third party services. They offer recurring billing through authorized.net for free. As for the capital part chase business credit cards with boost up for business credit fast. So 0 apr on everything from blowers to Bobcats (if you ever go into the side of business.) This happen to me after one month of opening my account.
You know what your doing so if my advice is useless then take it for what it is. I just want to give back on the value i get from your post.
I’ll be looking into that. I just got a 24k loan from the SBA so that helps expansion but I’ll take as much debt as I can right now for the business. The rate of return is so high I would be stupid to not pour as much money as possible into it. I appreciate the post.
 

M.M.M

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May 1, 2019
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I would be happy to coach someone and give them every detail about how I run my business and give them as much help as they needed but under a different name and I wouldn’t ask for any money from them. I’m not afraid of any competition. Hell, they could do it in the same city as me. There’s plenty to go around.
My brother and I got our trailer and booking setup. Having some trouble in the sales part. When I arrive to do an estimate should my sales process be based on what the customer wants done or us the professionals taking a look and upselling them monthly service?

Thanks !


Would love for you to check out our site.
 

M.M.M

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May 1, 2019
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From reading your replies I'm guessing messenger objective are better than lead generation? In your offer have you found a difference between offering discounts or advertising as a premium full service?
 
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consignia

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Congrats for your initiative and success, and thank you for sharing with us, It's quite motivating
 

Johnny boy

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From reading your replies I'm guessing messenger objective are better than lead generation? In your offer have you found a difference between offering discounts or advertising as a premium full service?
don’t know we’ve only done discount advertisement as our facebook ads.
 

Johnny boy

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Congrats for your initiative and success, and thank you for sharing with us, It's quite motivating
Wait another couple years it’ll be a lot more motivating when I’m driving a lambo from cutting grass
 
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Gidoza45

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Dec 6, 2018
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I’ll be looking into that. I just got a 24k loan from the SBA so that helps expansion but I’ll take as much debt as I can right now for the business. The rate of return is so high I would be stupid to not pour as much money as possible into it. I appreciate the post.
Do you have to pay that SBA back?
 

Johnny boy

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I have the option to get a similar amount but I been throwing the idea around. Trying to see if there is a catch.
Is your business profitable? If so, then you’re an idiot for not maximizing the capital you can put into the business. If your business is not profitable then you need to fix that first
 

Gidoza45

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Dec 6, 2018
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Is your business profitable? If so, then you’re an idiot for not maximizing the capital you can put into the business. If your business is not profitable then you need to fix that first
Yes it is just wasnt sure about getting a $28,000 loan. I was skeptical about the possible hurdles that will have to be undergone each year for tax season.
 
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