Hi! My name is Jonathan Pototschnik, and I understand you are looking for information on how to start a lawn care business. I want to share a couple of quick things with you. I am the one that put together the package and wrote the guide. And now, I want to tell you why I might be a little different than a lot of the other information that you’re going to come across, and why I think I bring a different perspective to it.
I’ve been in the lawn and landscape business for quite a few years and have built a multi-million dollar company. We are in commercial and residential and are pretty diversified with both middle and high end properties. In our company, we have built a team of pretty incredible people. And, we really pride ourselves in our sales and marketing.
My background has been in ownership of many different companies in the service industry. I also now own a company called Service Auto Pilot. My partner and I built software that runs all of the marketing, scheduling, invoicing and billing for service industry companies.
I know what it takes to build a lawn care business. I’m not just going to tell you how to schedule clients and what equipment to buy. 95% of companies fail because they don’t know how to market their business.
Most guys hate selling. They hate pounding the pavement and knocking on doors. I agree. It’s horrible. So why not build a marketing system that drives all the prospects to you? These people are already ready to buy…all you have to do is close the deal.
I’ve been in business for many years so I will tell you how to bid properties. Everything from commercial to residential to big apartment complexes. You can’t just eyeball everything. I know how to do it. In the beginning, we were scared out of our minds. We wanted to get the clients but didn’t want to get slaughtered if we underbid them!
I can tell you exactly how to do that, what it will take to run your business, and how to put a system to it. I can tell you why, if you don’t get out of the business of doing all the labor and all the work yourself, that you’re going to be miserable five years from now. I can address all of that stuff. For hardly any money, you can get my unique perspective. I’d love to share it with you. If you don’t like it, send it back. I’ll give you every dollar back.
If you’re evaluating the industry, what I recommend is that you take a look at what I’ve got. Go out there and take a look at what else is out there as well. Pay attention to the guys that are really in the business and running a real company. You want to hear from the guy that started the $50,000 business and grew it to a $3 million dollar business. That guy had to go through all kinds of pain, and all kinds of experiences, and he’s been there and done it. You want that guy to show you the road map from when you’re little bitty, to when you get big. That’s what you want.
I also recommend that you just start reading everything that you can. Do a Google search and find all the industry trade journals and subscribe to all of them. They are free. Go buy a book by Dan Kennedy and learn how to market your company. You can also buy marketing books on Amazon for under $10. Learn what a PNL is and a few things about accounting. Start getting familiar with finance. Then, begin searching for lawn service software and find out what is out there for you. Of course, we have software for you, but this will get you started and informed of all of your options.
I’m giving you a whole lot. But, if you really are dedicated and you really want to turn this into something…if you don’t want to work for The Man and you don’t want to be frustrated…if you want to build a life that’s fun and cool and exciting…then you’re probably willing to do some of the extra stuff.
This is going to make you an expert. You are not going to be one of the 95% of guys that fail…you will be one of the 5% that knows what it takes to build a successful lawn care company.
Everybody needs our service. There’s grass everywhere, trees everywhere, and irrigation everywhere. Everybody needs us. I will teach you how to sell a market, how to price and estimate, what equipment to buy and how to run it. Once you know those tricks, you’ll make it in business, and you’ll really create something that’s pretty cool.
So take a look at it. If you don’t like it, send it back for a full refund, no questions asked. You’ve got a full year to try it out. I didn’t do this to get rich. I did this to earn your trust, so that hopefully down the road you will look to us when you want marketing advice or a software system to run your company. That’s why I did this. It’s just honest advice from my life experience.
If you’ve got any questions, shoot us an email and let us know how we can help you. We would love to hear from you.
Does the fact that I am a female owning and operating as my own crew, does that discourage people when I advertise?
No way. Don’t let this bother you. It’s an advantage!
I’m going to make the assumption that you currently provide residential lawn care service.
I can tell you with certainty that the female of the household is most often influencing the buying decision. Most women are either looking for the new lawn care service provider or they are telling their husband to get it done.
Just because the husband makes the call — that doesn’t mean the lady of the house wasn’t the one that made it (finally) happen. She probably did the research and told him who to call.
This isn’t how it always happens but the statistic is well over 50%.
So. This is your competitive advantage. If I were you I would promote the fact that your business is female owned. This is very rare in the lawn business (especially the part about working in the field while you build your business).
All of your door hangers, your website, and your marketing material must have your personality in it. Make yourself the celebrity of the business and play it up.
Use this advantage to set yourself apart. Moving forward I would even look for ways to hire women to help you build, run and do the work of the business.
Most lawn care companies all look exactly the same to the consumer. They all say the same thing. You have an opportunity to get attention and look different than all the rest.
Who knows… there may be a few guys out there that wrongly assume your quality won’t be that of a male owned business. Who cares?!? They aren’t the customer you want. All you have to do is connect with a small percentage of the marketplace, treat them well, give them great service and good quality and they will be very loyal to you.
And they will talk about you to their friends!
I promise… if you think this is a negative you have to stop telling yourself that. This is an advantage.
1) Figure out your business name.
2) Register your business name with GoDaddy.com.
3) If you can afford it – register your business as an S Corp or LLC from day one. Budget $300 to $400 if you use a service like LegalZoom.com.
4) The same is true for your trademark. If funds are tight I would at least file the LLC or S Corp and hold on the Trademark.
5) If you register a different LLC or S Corp entity name than the name you plan to call your business you must file a DBA (use LegalZoom.com).
6) If you can’t afford to form an LLC or S Corp register for an assumed name certificate at the county courthouse. You can use your social security number. As soon as you can afford it… file to become an LLC or S Corp.
7) Setup your business bank accounts from day one. They are nearly free. This is very important. First file as an S Corp or LLC or Sole Proprietor or Partnership (Assumed Name Certificate at the courthouse) and then visit the bank and setup your business bank accounts.
8) If offered, take the credit card the bank offers with your business account but do not use it. File it away only to be used for emergencies. Debt (too many high monthly payments) runs more small business owners out of business than you would expect).
9) If you are starting your business with a partner consider a Buy Sell Agreement.
10) File for a sales tax permit. (you can generally do this online in your local city)
11) Look for a great inexpensive software tool that has the potential to run all facets of your business as you grow. Obviously we recommend Service Autopilot (http://www.LawnServiceSoftware.com). Regardless of which solution you ultimately chose this is critical.
12) If you are just getting started and you are not using Service Autopilot consider buying QuickBooks day one and getting your business off to the right start financially. By the way, at http://www.lawnservicesoftware.com/ you can get free software that when you’re small will allow you to delay the purchase of QuickBooks – it will do everything you need for now.
13) Create a simple file folder structure in a small two drawer file cabinet and keep all of your paperwork and files organized. If you wait until the end of the year to record your financial records in QuickBooks and organize your bank statements and paperwork you will be miserable come tax time. This is one of the easiest ways to minimize costly tax mistakes.
14) At year end clear all of your file folders from the file cabinet and put them in a box. Start all of your file folders fresh for the new tax year. Label the box. This will help keep all of your important paper work organized by tax year.Once again, if you are not using Service Autopilot consider setting up QuickBooks so you can use their built in credit card charging functionality. Service Autopilot automates the process for you but if you are not a Service Autopilot user QuickBooks has a fairly easy to use manual process. Accepting and charging your clients credit cards is a great way to speed up your businesses cash flow and get paid fast and on time.