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Building A Landscaping Business
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Westcoast99 Offline
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Thumbs Down Building A Landscaping Business
I have been doing landscaping for the last five years and wanted to share some advice and lessons I have learned. I am approaching 30 and have less and less desire to do the manual labor myself. This is partly because it takes energy away from my main hobbies when I get done working all day- lifting weights, playing basketball, and golfing in the summer. So I am netting less right now because I have employees doing most of the work. That being said, I think landscaping can be a good route for younger guys right out of high school or in their early twenties who want to work for themselves.

1.) Advertise in retirement communities. Over 55 communities usually have some type of monthly newsletter that goes out to all of the residents. This has worked for me. Handing out fliers door to door has not worked at all. Put in the advertisement senior discounts and free estimates. Use a "dog whistle" to imply to the older people that you are not an illegal alien by putting your anglo name "John Smith" in the advertisement. "Call John".

2.) Offer people a lower rate or discount if they allow you to dispose the yard debris in their yard debris container usually picked up by the city or county every week. This allows you to work without hauling a trailer all over town, which while more professional, can also be a huge drag in tight streets and also a major liability if you have employees driving. In regard to employees driving- most General Liability Insurance policies have an addendum option where you can pay more to have some of the liability covered of an employee driving their own truck while working for you. I paid extra for this, it was like $250 more.

3.) Call up the local high school football coach and tell them you are hiring. Have him put up a listing on their locker room bulletin. Have them do the grunt work. At that age they are way less likely to complain, and are just happy to have a job. What I do is have them rake leaves and weed while I operate the machinery. Buy these kids really good lunches. I usually pick up insane pizzas or order popeyes. They will think you are a baller because you bought them a $10 pizza.

4.) Buy a new Japanese truck like a Tacoma. They will run forever, have good gas mileage, are durable, and you can write off the depreciation on your taxes. There are more expensive commercial mowers you can buy, but I just use basic Honda mowers because they are durable, parts are cheap to get, and also they are light enough where myself or high school kid can pick them up and put them in the truck. I like the Stihl brand for tools.

5.) I do not do annual contracts with customers. There are pros and cons to this. The major cons are that it makes the business harder to sell and also takes away any earnings in winter months where work is rare. There are a few bigger accounts where I regret not doing this. Yet, for the average suburban sized house I like it because I can charge strictly based on the service performed each visit, which can vary drastically depending on the season. This is important for example if you live in an area with a lot of trees and raking leaves in the fall months can literally double your time spent there.
12-19-2018 01:59 PM
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