Ken, the program has added much value to getting started. We have a small lawn care business in Virginia and with the impending retirement from the Army we are moving to Florida to start up there. Great information, a few little changes to make, and off we go. Thank you!
Thank you for the great tips in your book - the formula came in very handy in givng a quote for a 1 1/4 acre yard with roses, hedges, fruit trees, tons of bedding plants and lots of grass! We thank you again for writing the book and for all the great tips... AND - being born again Christians we really, really LOVE that you reference the Lord and faith - far too often people are afraid to include those references
Chuck and Michele Williams
Plant it Green Care
Ken,That is a great book! I read it and it is very professionally done...nice work!
Awesome book for beginner, Highly recommended and VERY reputable and Honest
I really liked your book. I think it hit home and
the more others know about it the more they will read it.
My association with you has tripled my business and moved me ahead at LEAST 3 years from where I'd be if I tried to figure it all out myself. Using the techniques in your "How to start a lawn care business" program has definitely saved me time, frustration AND MONEY! Thank you!
-Jeremy Mushero, JM and Sons Lawn Specialists
How to Start a Lawn Care Business a Whole New Way! is the title of the book and it is one of The Lawn Blogs must reads. There are a lot of books on this topic out there but only a few can capture its reader. This book when you start to read it you want to finish it...you are able to take something with you, and apply it to your business. Great job Ken! We look forward to any future works.
-The Lawn Blog
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Starting and Running a fun, profitable
lawncare and landscape business
Make $60-$80 per man hour doing what you love
Chapter 2 part 1: Who are you? Who are your clients?
Define your market - define yourself :
Who are you as a company? Are you the guy who specializes in cemeteries and schools and other municipal properties? Or are you the one who takes care of that "select group" of wealthy, particular clients who very few have the skill and patience to serve? It's SO important to define yourself FIRST or you'll have a "mixed bag" of clients and you'll make many errors in judgment as to how to serve each type.
You can be general or specific, but start defining now. We cater to middle to upper - middle class, middle to old age, particular but not "spoiled". This is where we experience the best money, most enjoyment and greatest client satisfaction. On the corporate side, we cater to small properties who are loyal to a company who gives great service. We want companies that say "ok, he did our property JUST the way we liked it last year, I see no reason to ever put this property out to bid". I stay away from companies that put their properties out to bid every year. You MIGHT keep it if you give "knock em' dead" service, but chances are, saving money will always win in the end. Stick with small and loyal, you'll be glad.
DO occasionally take clients "above" your target, just not below. Defining yourself is another way of setting your "terms". For instance, our rate is our rate. We don't dicker. We say HOW the work gets done, the client gets to dictate the end result. I am paid on time. I do what's best for my family, I live by the golden rule and I clean up my messes and take 100% responsibility for my life. Notice there are no "or else's" at the end, no "back doors". THEN they would be called "conditions". These are NOT conditions, they are "terms". There is no room for any alternative and we do not give the alternative space to exist. Period. Most of your personal terms would be the same whether you were married, single, childless or patriarch over a brood of 11. They "define" you, and adhering to them strengthens you and compromising them weakens you.
Metaphysically speaking, when you define yourself, you invoke the great "I AM". When you firmly define yourself, you will begin to find situations drawn to you that fit your definition. You'll get calls from the "right" clients, you'll be in the "right" place for the president of the condo association to stop and talk to you, you'll happen to be the ONLY contractor that answered his phone that day when the new homeowner next door calls.
Chapter 2: Intro
I have 8 subcontractors who handle a variety of items such as mulching, hedge trimming, loaming and seeding, hydro seeding, walkways, tree installation, chipping, lawn treatments and hopefully more and more as I become more comfortable and find more competent, reasonably priced contractors. My goal at the end of 3 years is that I personally help out in the spring and fall for a few hours doing the spring and fall cleanups, then do estimates and manage the rest of the year.
I make an average of $60 PER MAN PER HOUR which is nearly DOUBLE what most other contractors make in this area. In fact, I make an average of $70 per man hour on spring and fall cleanups and basic maintenance, AND my overall prices are either the same or only slightly higher than my competition. I increased my hourly rate from $25 to $60 in ONE WEEK, and it was the most life changing, liberating experience of my career!
Chapter 3: How I went from making $25 per man-hour to $60, $70 and more per man hour almost overnight.
It was the summer of 2002 and we'd just lost our largest account, a small string of burger king restaurants that were scattered over 100 miles, the only purpose of which was to give my men something to do when times were slow. We either broke even or lost money at $25 per hour. I'd lost the accounts by announcing an increase to $30 per man hour. So suddenly I found myself with a 2 person landscaping crew with about 20 hours of work per week! Our average hourly rate for this crew was $25-$30 per hour. So I gave them each $800 bucks in cash and thanked them, apologized and set them free. That left my main"long term" employee, Troy, and myself to handle all the mowing and landscaping.
So as we began digging into the fall cleanup work later than year, we discovered something strange and wonderful. Fall cleanups that had taken 12 man hours the year before were taking us 5-7 man hours now that Troy and I were doing them. THAT'S HALF THE TIME OR EVEN LESS!! Now granted, we'd also introduced a new zero turn for vacuuming vs. our walk behind with the trac vac deck mount, but later, we discovered that EVERYTHING was taking much less time. Edging, mulching and hedge trimming were taking 20-40% less time. Almost overnight, our average hourly rate shot from $30 per man hour to $60 per man hour, topping $100 PER MAN PER HOUR on some spring and fall cleanups. Now I have to tell you, I would NEVER have had the courage to increase my rates like this, even over FIVE years, so this little occurrence was truly a gift from God.
What this did was give me one of my best lessons is listening to the beat of my own drummer. It's so vitally important that you question every belief and ask yourself "is this the way it really has to be?" I firmly believe that 90% of what we think and believe was "put there" by our parents, peers, the books we read and the show we watch. I am also a big believer in the law of attraction which says that your reality is a result of what you believe, NOT the other way around. I suddenly felt "free", like I had suddenly been let out of a prison. I was getting $60-$80 per man per hour simply because I wanted to and chose to. No other rationale or justification. My prices were a BIT higher than much of the newer competition but not much. We were also much more efficient, and I mean MUCH more. Troy and I had a system down so well that I swear I'd day dream through the day and be surprised when it was time to go home!
So then here we are with all this EXISTING work that we've double our hourly rate on. Now we need some new work, which was the next mental and spiritual breakthrough. Suddenly I'm looking people in the eye and telling them my hourly rate when 2 weeks ago I was telling them HALF THAT amount. Scary, right outside my comfort zone. But I did it and here I am!! Now a buck a minute per man is my "mental minimum". When we earn less than that, even a buck less, I figure out why and do my best to see it never happens again. We focus on quality, quality, quality. We make enough money, so we don't have to worry about that. We make sure we deliver "knock em' dead" service and let the money take care of itself. In fact, making enough money encourages us to "repay" our wonderful clients with better and better service. It keeps that feeling of "deserving" high.
The law of attraction says that our inside dictates our outside, so it's vital we are clear that we deserve what we're making. We will only end up making what we think we deserve, no more no less.