Thursday

Charm Your Way To More Lawn Care Business Profits

"Charm is the quality inothers that makes us more satisfied with ourselves." - Henri Frederic Amiel



Everybody and their dog can think of someone they know that is charming. This is the kind of person who always seems to be on the up and up. They are happy and have a skip in their step. They're someone we like to run into. We look forward to seeing them.

Not only is a person who is charming interesting, they also seem to be successful in their lawn care landscaping business.

Being around someone who is charming makes other people feel better. 

But the question that seems to arise in our minds is aren't these "charming" people being fake? Or even better, what the "heck" does this really have to do with a lawn care or landscaping business??

The truth is most charming business owners are genuinely authentic and are in fact very powerful lawn mowing business owners.

So the question is, just how charming are you?

A lot of people land in around 4-6 out of 10. Don't despair, you can raise your level on the scale of charm in a number of ways.

Smile. Give out compliments and be friendlier on the job site. Give your employees or customers sincere compliments. 

Charm just plain makes people feel better about themselves. So make it your mission to brighten the atmosphere of your company, your office. This will pay rich dividends in the long run.


Successful Lawn Business Strategies


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Lawn Care Business Tip: Why Defeat Can Be Good

Defeat in your lawn care business can be good, once in a while. 

Think about it.

There is no where to go but up!

Oftentimes we can be so down in the dumps that because we are sick and tired of being at the bottom of the barrel we pull out from within us such intensity and desire for change we astound everyone - including ourselves.

It seems to me that as we face difficulty, that is where change begins. That is where we make the decision that enough is enough!

This is where the miracle begins.

Here's an interesting point to consider. Most people don’t change themselves. They actually wait for change. 

This group of people wallow in their victim rants. They never seem to suck it up and resolve to change. To take control of their life. They refuse to take responsibility and as a result never seem to get to that place of "having enough".

If you are facing a problem right now, don't fear. This terrible state you find yourself in is only temporary. You can and will rebound from this failure.

This too shall pass, if you dig deep and resolve to see things through. You need to pull yourself up by the boot straps and start to put together a "come back" plan.

It's funny now but in a difficult moment a while back, I didn't think my mentor's advice was correct. He said that I should be thankful for my current limitations or failures. He said they were the building blocks from which to create greatness. 

Here's an example I absolutely rave about when talking to people who are facing what seems impossible in your lawn business.

Think of yourself as a frog in a jar of milk. If you keep kicking and kicking and kicking, pretty soon the milk will turn into a lump of butter and you'll be able to jump out. 

That's exactly why defeat can be good. We all have to keep trying and trying and trying. We've got to dig deep and make a decision that we are going through this and will come out on the other side alive and well.

Defeat can be good. At the same time, make sure that it’s working for your future not against you. The world makes room for those who know where they are going. Once you decide that your present situation is only temporary, doors will open to help you get back on your feet and move ahead in life.

I used to say, "I don't care." This is wrong when in a difficult place. We have to care. Keep your eyes focused on the successful outcome. Dig down deep within yourself and resolve to commit to winning.

Until next time...


Successful Lawn Business Strategies







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Sunday

Lawn Care Business Success: 3 Words To Help You Fast Track To Outrageous Profits

My mentor told me these three words would change my life. He said if I use them correctly I could fast track to success. Here they are: weigh, count and measure.

I have to be honest I didn't see what was so important about these 3 words when he told me. Then he explained further that these 3 words all have to do with keeping track. You see what your results are should dictate how you act and react in situations.

You know like measuring the response rate of an advertisement over a reasonable amount of time should tell you a few things - if you keep track.

My mentor went onto say that if I discover that my results are not to my liking there are only three places to look.

My philosophy needs to be in check. My attitude needs to be strong and on track. And my personal disciplines need to continually improve. Activity, attitude and philosophy create results and results are the name of the game.

Now on the topic of results I teach that we all need to make measurable progress in reasonable time. This is a great philosophy to adopt. Not too quickly and don't take your time. Do what you must in reasonable time.

Success is a numbers game. How many prospects have you talked to? How many calls have you made? How many customers have you thanked? If your numbers don't change your life won't change. If you'll start working on improving your numbers then in time you'll start to see the change you want to see.

The bottomline is that success and results all come down to numbers. It's the numbers that count. We've all got to make measurable progress in reasonable time and the numbers are the GPS system of our life.

Here's the best time to start. Right now. Don't wait, keep track now. Measure, count, and weigh all you can. You've got to add up some of your own numbers and ask yourself if you are moving along on time and in the right direction.

Keeping track keeps you on track.

Until next time...


Successful Lawn Business Strategies

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Thursday

Start a Lawn Care Maintenance Business Not a Franchise: Find Out Why

So you're thinking of starting a business huh? I am sure starting a franchise has crossed your path. According to “Entrepreneur Magazine” here are the top 10 franchise opportunities along with the “price of admission”: 

Franchise Rank Startup Cost

1. Subway  $74,00 to $222,800

2. Papa Johns      $205,000

3. Sonic DriveIn  $861,000 to $2,300,000

4. McDonald's  $506,000 to $1,600,000

5. Jiffy Lube  $214,000 to $273,000

6. Domino’s Pizza  $141,400 to $415,100

7. UPS Store / Mail Boxes Etc.  $153,800 to $266,960

8. 7 Eleven Varies

9. Jackson Hewitt Tax Service  $48,600 to $91,800

10. Dunkin’ Donuts  $179,000 to $1,600,000

* Source: Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 - 2007 


Some of these prices are outside what people feel comfortable paying. If you've considered starting a lawn care business then you've come to the right place.

Everything you need to know about starting, running, and profiting from starting a lawn business from the comfort of your home without it costing an arm and a leg can be found here:




Successful Lawn Business Strategies




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Tuesday

Can Mona Vie and a Lawn Care Business Mix?

The MONA VIE Buzz


I've gotten so many emails lately because people heard I am in Mona Vie that I have to explain why running another business could be a smart move for us green thumbs.

For a while I'd gotten wind of this Mona Vie company. Really, its been everywhere. The London Times, Vogue, Men's Journal, Wall Street Journal, Fortune, CNNMoney.com, MTV Cribs, etc.

I just couldn't ignore it anymore. How could I? I saw Boston Red Sox players with the drink in hand. I saw certified doctors raving about it. It seemed to be in the fridge of so many celebrities and famous athletes on MTV Cribs and so on.

Strangely enough one of my lawn care customers approached me about it. I went a little reluctantly to what Mona Vie terms a "tasting" of the juice but I was also mildly curious because of the buzz.

Truth is I was blown away. Can't put it any other way. In fact most people involved in the company constantly say they pinch themselves every day because of how their health and pocketbook has changed.

Here was this drink with 19 fruits in it, the backbone being the acai berry and all people were doing were drinking it and telling their friends. It sounded too good to be true. But the more I listened to a former zamboni driver talk about how he grew his business in 20 months to over $10,000 a week (Yes, thats per week), the more I began to believe it.

So I got in.

I make six figures a year with lawn care but I wanted to start a "drinking" business. How ridiculous is that?

In reality, it was one of the healthiest choices I had ever made because I for one don't eat a lot of fruit. Certainly not the right amount of servings every day and everyone and their dog knows fruit plays a giant role in a person's health but very few people take the time to do anything about it.

Besides, the healthier I can stay, the more I can carry out lawn care services which means all the more money I can make.

And of course being business savvy, I saw an outlet of marketing to my existing lawn care customers with the juice. ;-)

Within 7 days of signing up I had 2 tasting parties and 4 people signed up under me with more waiting to come out to my tastings. It's been growing like wild fire ever since and it takes very little time committment so that I can continue to grow my lawn care business and other endeavors.

If you find another business you like and it can work while you run your lawn care business then go for it. The more residual income streams you can create long term, the better your future will be.

If you're interested in the Mona Vie buzz check out the website below. This is definitely one of the top businesses to consider starting because there's far too much authentic media attention surrounding it.





https://www.mymonavie.com/acaiberryjuicedrinksuperfood/opportunity_powerofyou.asp



If you have additional questions about Mona Vie or any other home business then let me know. Lawn Care Business owners can have other business ventures outside of lawn care that they can pursue just do your homework about it first. My team and I will respond to all serious inquiries.

To your success!


Sincerely,

Daniel Pepper

Successful Lawn Business Strategies

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Lawn Care Business Video

Saturday

Turbo Lawn Mower

Sunday

Lawn Care Maintenance and Mowing Business: The Generosity Factor

Hard work without talent is a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy."

- Robert Half

 

There are always the nay sayers who mock the suggestion that giving away a free lunch with no strings attached is futile.

I think it depends.

Take a fancy steak restaurant for example. Yup, it would cost a lot to give away 500 free steak dinners in just one week. It wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest it could cost as much as $10,000.

But if those steaks are cooked just like the person wants and taste exceptionally good, hundreds of those people could turn into regular customers.

That means that the cost to get those customers is much lower with that "free lunch" method than through most other advertising approaches.

Any lawn care maintenance business owner could use this idea. Most won't.

Here's a story of a supermarket that did steal this idea.

With their new location up and running and in need of new customers in their new location, they gave away 5,000 quarts of milk, 5,000 pounds of butter, 5,000 cans of peaches and 5,000 packages of napkins.

Was this crazy?

You might be thinking how could they afford to give away all of those products. The money lost from doing so would be massive.

Hold on. Let me finish the story.

This supermarket created and printed up 5,000 coupon books. In each book were four coupons.

Each coupon was good for one week of the month. The first week was for a free quart of milk. The second week was for free butter. The third week was free peaches and week four was for the napkins.

No purchase was necessary to redeem these free items using the coupons. There were truly no strings attached. This was a genuine free lunch.

They mailed these coupon books to 5,000 selected families in the surrounding neighborhoods.

More than 3,000 coupons were redeemed the first week and nearly 4,000 by the fourth week.

Here's the kicker. Almost every person also bought groceries while they were there redeeming their free lunch.

The following fifth week with no free lunch coupons and also no other form of advertising, over 4,000 people shopped in that supermarket spending a total of over a half million dollars that week.

Ka-ching!

This is something to think about and I call it the "Generosity Factor".

Until next time...


Copyright Successful Lawn Business Strategies. All Rights Reserved.

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LIVE EVENT - Lawn Care Business Seminar Vancouver, BC / Anaheim, CA 2009

We're Rolling Out The RED CARPET and Inviting YOU...

Lawn Care Business Superconference!

2009 Live Training Events

Vancouver, BC, CANADA - February 2009 and Anaheim, CA, USA - March 2009

HOSTED by Lawn Business Expert Daniel Pepper

Join the most elite group of lawn business owners, young and old...

  • YOUR Big Business Breakthrough is waiting for you - here.
  • YOUR Greatest Opportunity Ever may be found - here.
  • The contacts. The resources. The real-world, actually doing-it experts.
  • The Newest, the Oldest, the Best, cutting edge, strategies.
  • And for beginners eager to get up to speed instantly or veterans wisely eager for comprehensive "check-up" and reaching the next level.


The only proven seminar revealing profitable strategies for a lawn care business for amateurs and veterans!


Click here for more information.

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Tuesday

Lawn Care Business: The Flying Lawn Mower

Thursday

Lawn Maintenance Business Tip: How To Charge For Spring Clean Up

The more you know the better. If you could gather prices from competitors who are offering this service that will help you gauge what your market is currently paying.

This is a key step for your lawn maintenance business.

The good news is that you shouldn't get caught in trying to be perfect. The price you decide to set may be too high or it may be too low but you can always adjust. There's plenty of business and it doesn't take much to make a lot of money.

Ask yourself what you want to make each hour and try to gauge how many hours a particular job would take. How much does it cost to dump the debris you collect? How long does it take you dethatch an area?

You see if you begin to systematically take notes on how long projects take you will be essentially giving yourself some very valuable information.

You start with recording one job and that will help you determine the next and so on.

Its not an overnight process but one job after the other and you'll be getting much more accurate with your bidding.

Don't get caught in the paralysis of analysis. Get out and do your best to guesstimate. If you're off, adjust for the next quote.

Through experience you'll be able to get much more accurate and your lawn maintenance business will get that much more profitable.

Does that make sense?

Hope this helps.


The Staff
http://www.howtostartyourlawncarebusiness.com/

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Tuesday

Lawn Business Help: What Do You Do When You're The New Kid On The Block?

QUESTION:

I live in a small town in central Texas @ 5,000 in population. I am a "new kid on the block" with a 4 mos full time lawn mowing experience for an expensive boarding school campus while residing in Wisconsin last year... I have noticed 3 active lawn mowing guys as my competition, the season is here, grass is starting to get really green, I only started to read the formula and there's so much to learn with little time. Not even half way into getting all the red tape cleared, (actually don't need a permit to mow in my county [of Coleman; no zoning ordinances on paper either]). I have the money for a trailer, push mower, blower, and trimmer, My target is towards senior citizens... I have absolutely no marketing experience nor any 'sales-manship' nature in me, I have created an ad flier and that's all I've got. Time and spring is not waitin' around, what can you tell me, in order to be able to still get ahead and have a profitable start.

ANSWER:

Well there is no magic potion or quick riches with lawn care. We wish we could give everyone success in a bottle but that just isn't possible because it always come down to individual lawn business owner.

What we can do is offer your some ideas that you can digest and decide if it's what you need to do.

Daniel started when he was 12 -- no marketing experience, no sales experience, nothing but the mower from his parents garage. Look at where he is at now.

If I was in your shoes I would be planning on saturating your market with weekly advertising. Being consistent is what counts. Dropping off flyers once a month or once a season will not cut it.

Look over this blog for some ideas on the bare essentials of an advertisement as well as some good advertising resources like books (of course continue to pull ideas from the course).

I would mow when I have to and hand out flyers when I am not mowing. Hopefully the amount of time I have to hand out flyers drops as new business comes my way. Or I would work at a part time job when I am not mowing, until enough new business comes in that I can work at
mowing full-time.

I would also suggest marketing your lawn business with as many forms of media as you can afford. If it's all about cheap or free advertising because that is all your budget can handle then you may want to look into:

Flyers
Craigslist
Facebook/Myspace
Free local classified papers online / offline
Bulletin Boards in Grocery Stores / Retail Stores/ Malls
Etc...

And always educate yourself about lawn business marketing. It doesnt matter that you dont know anything right now, but you have to learn or you will be eaten alive by any of your competitors that do know about marketing.

Whats it going to cost you to learn? $20 or $30 for that first book. Take action on the tips you learn from The Formula. Try to have as many things going as you can so that if one, two, or three ideas bomb, just one other may take off and bring in the business you need.

Also, advertise to any customers you already have. It's easier to sell to them than to find new customers.

Be persistent and don't give up. If you must, mow part time until the business justifies your full time attention. No point in going belly up when you can start safely.

You don't need a ton of customers to make a lot of money. You just need to profitably mow 10, 20, 50, 100+ and what you make just increases. Grow your list with care. Look after the customers who do say "yes" to you so they keep coming back each year.

Think about simply doubling your business each year. 10 customers this season, 20 the next, 40 the following, and 80 after that. Maybe you go to 160 for the next year and so on. How much could you make with 160 customers?

Be patient and never stop learning how you can become better at every aspect of running a lawn care business. Then take ACTION on what you learn over and over again.

The road to failure is paved with good intentions. In other words, people intend to advertise each week, but they don't. They intend to sell to their existing customers, but they dont. They intend on doubling their lawn business, but they don't do anything about it. Whatever you do, do something.

Do your due dilgence with the advice given to you above.

Hope this helps!



Sincerely,

The Staff
http://www.howtostartyourlawncarebusiness.com/

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Wednesday

Lawn Mowing Business Tip: S Corp, C Corp or LLC? Which Structure Is Right For You?

S Corp, C Corp, LLC : WHICH STRUCTURE IS RIGHT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?


When a person considers starting a lawn business, or when existing lawn business owners consider changing their business structure, one of the most common options they evaluate is the corporation.

There are several different types of corporations, the C corporation, the S corporation, and LLC. Which one is best often depends on the goals you have for your lawn business.

Corporations and limited liability companies ("LLC s") are preferred lawn business structures because, unlike sole proprietorships and partnerships, both offer liability protection. This means that the owner of a lawn maintenance company cannot be held personally responsible for the company’s debts. The personal assets of an owner are shielded from company liabilities.

In researching the various business structures, one inevitably comes across the S corporation. S corps and LLC's are similar in that they are both "pass-through" entities for tax purposes. The income of these type of lawn businesses are passed through to their owners and reported on the owners’ personal income tax returns, thereby eliminating the double taxation incurred by owners of a standard lawn care corporation, or C corporation. (With a C corporation, the net business income is subject to corporate income tax, and the monies remaining after the corporate income tax are taxed a second time when they are distributed as dividends to its owners who must then pay personal income tax.)

Let's start with explaining the difference between an S Corp and an LLC? And discuss which structure is right for your lawn care business?

The answer depends on your own unique situation. There really is no other way to say it. If operational ease and flexibility are important to you, an LLC is a good choice.

If you are looking to save on employment tax and your situation warrants it, an S Corp could work for you as the lawn business structure of choice.


Lawn Business Ownership & Operation

There are restrictions on who can be owners (also known as "shareholders") of an S corporation. An S Corp can have no more than 75 shareholders. None of the shareholders can be nonresident aliens. And shareholders cannot be other corporations or LLC s. This is important.

An S Corp is operated in the same way as a traditional C corp. This lawn business structure must follow the same formalities and record keeping procedures. The directors or officers of an S Corp manage the lawn business and an S Corp has no flexibility in how profits are split up amongst its owners.

Let us explain.

The profits must be distributed according to the ratio of stock ownership, even if the owners may otherwise feel it is more equitable to distribute the profits differently.

LLC s offer greater flexibility in ownership and ease of operation. There are no restrictions on the ownership of an LLC . An LLC is simpler to operate because it is not subject to the formalities by which S corps must abide. An LLC can be member-managed, meaning that the owners run the lawn care business. Or it can be manager-managed, with responsibility delegated to managers who may or may not be owners in the LLC . This may be more attractive to your situation. The lawn business owners of an LLC structure can distribute profits in the manner they see fit.

This may be a lot to take so we'll paint you a picture.

Let’s say, for example, you and a partner own an LLC called ANYBODY MOWING LLC. Your partner contributed $50,000 for capital. You only contributed $5,000 but you perform 95% of the work.

The two of you decide that, in the interest of fairness, you will each share the profits 50/50. As an LLC you could do that. If you had your lawn business set up as a S Corp you could only take 10% of the profits while your partner would take the other 90%.

Get it? Let's keep going.


Employment Tax: Savings vs. Paperwork

A major factor that differentiates a lawn business structured as an S Corp from an LLC is the employment tax that is paid on earnings. The owner of an LLC is considered to be self-employed and, as such, must pay a "self-employment tax" which goes toward Social Security and Medicare. The entire net income of the lawn business is subject to this tax at a rate of 15.3% (rate as of this writing).

In an S Corp, only the salary paid to the employee-owner is subject to employment tax. The remaining income that is paid as a distribution is not subject to employment tax under IRS rules.

What does this mean? There is the potential to realize substantial employment tax savings.

Let's say Billy owns a lawn service business. In keeping with the industry standard, Billy decides that a reasonable salary for a lawn business manager is $35,000 and pays himself accordingly. Billy's total earnings for the year are $60,000: $35,000 paid in salary and the remaining $25,000 paid as a distribution from the S Corp . Billy's total employment tax is $5,355 (15.3% of $35,000).

If Billy were the owner of an LLC , he would have to pay employment tax on the entire $60,000, equaling $9,180. But as an S Corp, he realizes savings of $3,825 in employment tax.

Not bad. But, listen up.

One might assume that these savings could be further manipulated by reducing the salary to an extremely low amount and attributing the rest of one’s earnings to distributions, but this would be a very big mistake. In practice, the IRS is careful to notice whether a salary is reasonable by industry standards. If it determines a salary to be unreasonable, the IRS will not hesitate to reclassify distributions as salary. Don't mess with the IRS. It's never worth it.

Still, while the potential employment tax savings may make the S Corp an attractive structure for your lawn care business, bear in mind that you would then have to deal with all the paperwork associated with payroll tax.

The payroll tax is a pay-as-you-go tax that must be paid to the IRS regularly throughout the year. This means on time or you will incur interest and penalties. The paperwork alone can be an overwhelming task for someone who is not familiar with it. If you expect to incur losses or otherwise experience a cash flow crunch during the year that would hinder you from paying the payroll tax when due, this could present a problem.

Owners of LLC's pay their self-employment tax once a year on April 15 when income taxes are normally due (or make quarterly estimated tax payments, if they expect to owe total taxes of $1,000 or more). Income tax filings are also relatively easy for the lawn business owners of an LLC. A single-member LLC files the same 1040 tax return and Schedule C as a sole proprietor. Partners in an LLC file the same 1065 and Schedule C as do owners of traditional partnerships.


Employment Tax

Employment/payroll tax on salary; no employment tax on dividends paid to shareholders.
Self-employment tax on total net income.



The C Corporation Vs. S Corp

The C corporation is the standard corporation. The S corporation is a standard corporation that has elected a special tax status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It gets its name because it is defined in Subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code. In order to elect S corporation status, Form 2553 must be filed with the IRS and all S corporation guidelines met.
While the C corporation and S corporation have many similarities, they also have distinct differences.


Similarities

Both offer the same limited liability protection for shareholders (owners), meaning that the shareholders are typically not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the lawn care business. Both are separate legal entities created by a state filing.

The formation documents that are filed with the state, which are typically called the articles of incorporation or certificate of incorporation, are the same whether the lawn service business will be a C or an S corporation.

To recap a bit, corporations have shareholders, directors and officers. Shareholders are the owners of the company and elect the board of directors. The board of directors oversees and directs the affairs of the corporation and has responsibility for major decisions, but is not responsible for the day-to-day operations of the corporation. The directors elect officers to manage the daily affairs of the business. Most states allow one person to be a shareholder, director and officer of a corporation.

Both are required to follow the same internal and external corporate formalities. Examples of internal formalities include adopting bylaws, issuing stock, holding initial and then annual meetings of shareholders and directors, and keeping the minutes from these meetings with the corporate records. Examples of external requirements include filing annual reports, which are required by the state, and paying the necessary annual fees.



Differences

1. Taxation

C corporations are separately taxable entities. C corporations file a corporate tax return reporting profits or losses, and any profits are taxed at the corporate level. C corporations face the possibility of double taxation when profits are distributed to shareholders in the form of dividends, as the shareholders must report dividends as personal income and pay tax on them at the individual level.

S corporations are pass-through tax entities. Pass-through taxation is discussed more below.

2. Corporate ownership

C corporations can have an unlimited number of shareholders, while S corporations are restricted to no more than 75 shareholders (some say 100, check with your local CPA or attorney).

C corporations can have non-US residents as shareholders, but S corporations cannot.
S corporations cannot be owned by C corporations, other S corporations, LLCs, partnerships, or many trusts. C corporations are not subject to these same restrictions.

S corporations can have only one class of stock (disregarding voting rights). C corporations can have multiple classes of stock.

3. S corporation Election

S corporations must make a timely filing of Form 2553 with the IRS. The IRS instructions indicate this form must be completed and filed:

At any time before the 16th day of the 3rd month of the tax year the election is to take effect, or;
At any time during the tax year preceding the tax year it is to take effect. An election made no later than 2 months and 15 days after the beginning of a tax year that is less than 2½ months long is treated as timely for that year.


An election made after the 15th day of the 3rd month but before the end of the tax year generally is effective for the next tax year. However, an election made after the 15th day of the 3rd month will be accepted as timely filed if the corporation can show that failure to file on time was due to reasonable cause.


Pass-through Taxation

As mentioned above, electing S corporation status with the IRS allows for pass-through taxation of the corporation’s profits. S corporations must still file corporate tax returns, but they do not pay taxes at the corporate level. The corporation’s profits are passed-through to the individual tax returns of the shareholders, and taxes are paid on those profits at the individual tax rate. If the corporation is reporting a loss, the loss is passed-through to the shareholders as well. Because S corporations do not pay taxes at the corporate level, this eliminates the potential double tax C corporations face when profits are issued as dividends to shareholders.

How's that for an explanation? ;-)

There is no one, magical entity that works for everyone. A CPA or a specialized tax attorney can assist you in choosing the right structure for your lawn business. The important thing is to consider the operational, legal and tax aspects of each structure as they apply to your unique situation.

Nevertheless, as you determine which business structure is the best for your business, there are both online and professional resources to assist you. For advice on which structure to choose, you should contact an attorney or accountant. For additional information visit NOLO.com.

Cheers!

The Staff
http://www.howtostartyourlawncarebusiness.com

Copyright SLC

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Thursday

Lawn Business Marketing Example

Hi Everyone,

Lets look at and analyze a lawn business ad and see how we can improve it.

The following is a sample ad we received recently. The sender asked for some advice so we're going to give some.



_____________________________________________________
COMPANY NAME
Professional, Affordable
Early Bird Special
Spring is around the corner.
We will:
Mow
Trim
-------
-------
Other services available such as:
--------
--------
Sign up before April 1 and save
$5.00 per visit
-Free Estimates-
Call Today!
555-5555
Satisfaction Guaranteed
_____________________________________________________
First off, this ad has many elements a successful ad needs. What we would suggest (in the end you make the call) is a little rearranging and adding a little more here and there.
First off, our advice has been termed outrageous. That's okay because the results have also been known to be outrageous. I don't know about you, but we believe it's all about results. It's all about persuasion. Getting a prospective customer's attention and moving them to call you.
Right? Whats the point of having an ad that doesn't make your phone ring?
So what we need is a killer headline. The truth is we like this company name. It just needs to be located in a different spot.
We like the promotion because everyone wants to know what the "special" is all about. What "deal" or "bargain" will an interested party get?
After we ran the ad past a few of us in the office this is how we would rearrange it for possibly better results. We say 'possibly' because you'll never know unless you try it and TEST it. That means you have to keep track of your results. Always, always, always ask people where they heard about you when they contact you. This way you'll know what marketing is working and what marketing is not.
You with us? Okay let's keep going.
This is the new version of the ad. You'll notice in this new example we have followed the age-old formula of ATTENTION - INTEREST - DESIRE - ACTION.
We catch people's attention with the headline. On average there are atleast 1500-3000 marketing messages being shot at your prospective customers every single day. You have to stand out of the crowd.
Once we get them to pay attention we have to stir up some interest. We then create a desire and end the ad with a call to action - pick up the phone now and call us.
_____________________________________________________
FINALLY!
A Way To Have The Best Lawn & Garden On Your Block...
GUARANTEED!
Are you looking for mowing, trimming,
shrub maintenance and other services?
Then look no further.
-----------------------------------------------
"My lawn has never looked better.
I am so happy with these guys and
my neighbors are impressed too."
- Mr. X, Somewhere County
----------------------------------------------
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!!!
If you book your service before April 1st
you'll receive 5% OFF all season long!
HURRY! Offer Ends April 1st, 2008 12pm sharp!
Call Today For Your FREE Estimate
555-5555
[COMPANY NAME]
*Only 37 New Customer Spots Available
_____________________________________________________
There you have it. This is a very basic overhaul of a lawn business ad but it's enough to get your creative going. There's a ton of variations you could use in this ad but you get the point.
Advertising is salesmanship in print. This ad has the job of convincing someone to call you. And in the end, the number of people who call as a result of this ad is the clear reflection of how good or bad it is.
We hope this helps!
The Staff

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Monday

Lawn Business Tip: Raising Money

I received an email asking about how to raise money for a lawn business.

Although I do go into greater detail about this in my lawn business course, here is a very basic list of ways to finance your business venture.

  • Tap into your savings
  • Ask for money from friends and family
  • Wisely use a credit card (do your due diligence)
  • Sell something
  • Apply for a loan at your local bank
  • Visit the small business administration
  • Have your customers pre-pay you

Speaking to the business owner who emailed me, you mentioned you already had the jobs but needed some advice about the money. Since you have the jobs, option 5, having your customers pre-pay you, looks like it may be one of the better choices for you to look into.

By asking for prepayment, you could smartly cover your costs as you grow your business. You might decide to ask for full or partial payment depending upon what you dare to do. That way you are jump starting your cash flow which sounds like it might just be the ticket you're looking for.

Of course, stopping into the SBA is also a very good idea.

Hope this helps.

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Thursday

Lawn Business Competition: How To Succeed In a Tough Market

Here's a question we received just the other day. Maybe it's the same question you may be asking.

"I'm having hard time getting people to let me mow for them. They keep going to the kids around the small town I live in. What should I do?"

This is a tough place to be in. And it probably appears to have no other solution than to slash your prices and shoot for the stars.

That is the WRONG answer.

There is another solution that might just do the trick. Listen up.

Don't cut your prices. Add value to your lawn business services. Make it so irresistible that someone who avoided your offer would be ridiculous.

What am I saying exactly?

If your competition are just kids, then that means they may not have the ability to get their hands on other lawn equipment. They might only be able to grab what they can from their garage (I'll explain what I mean in a second).

Or there is a good chance they are not smart marketers and don't have a clue about what I am about to suggest.

Either way, you should have the advantage even in your small town.

I can't promise a miracle here but from what I've learned and heard over the years, the following is a tip that has worked for some to tear their competitors apart.

Instead of just mowing, try creating a combination of services all for a profitable price for you and your lawn care business.

  • The kids in your area might advertise lawn cutting for $15. But you could push lawn cutting and garden bed clean up for $25.
  • Or you could try 4 lawn cuts and a FREE aeration.
  • Or you could offer paying by VISA or MasterCard through PayPal.
  • Or you could start to donate a small percentage of your income from mowing to charity. People like to do business with companies that care. When you advertise, let people know this.

Most people won't change who mows their lawn unless there is a reason to. It has to make sense and the previous ideas are persuasive ways of convincing them.

You see adding value is what separates the good from the bad lawn business owner. The best from the better. Use some creativity and see if there is a combination of lawn services that could profitably work for you and appeal to your prospective customers.

The bottomline is there is a way to win, you just need to persist and find it.

Hope this helps!

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Monday

Lawn Care Business Marketing Tip: How To Generate Business During a Slow Time Of Season

A question was recently posed to our group, "How do I generate business during a slower time of year?".

Here are our marketing thoughts in response specifically to John's question but anyone reading should be able to take something away from this.

As you know, anyone reading this, has to do your own due diligence when it comes to how you market and what your marketing budget is etc. You can take our ideas into consideration but in the end, you make the final call.

First of all, lets talk about the ad you sent in.

We really liked the fact it was in full color. It was clean and looked well presented. As you mentioned, it is coming out in a local book where you're the only lawn care business. That could be a big advantage.

No matter what, you'll have to keep track of it's results as we discuss below and always look at every marketing piece you have right now keeping in mind how you could improve it.

Let us give you some advice on how you can increase your marketing results.

There are volumes we could write about how to increase your business through effective marketing. Really.

It's a subject not easily explained within one post.

However, we will give you several tips that you can put to use right now.

The first is, what are the response percentages you have been getting from all your marketing?

This is a question most lawn care businesses can't answer. The bottomline is that the biggest step to better marketing for you is to test everything you do.

Test.Test.Test.

You must be able to know how each of your marketing weapons is doing. How many people called you from your flyer? Yellow Pages? Online?

How much business came from each? If you know these answers you will be able to tell where to put your marketing money and where to avoid putting it.

Keep track.

If you don't like certain response rates you're getting from a piece of marketing, change ONE thing in your ad and see how the results change.

The reason you only test ONE thing at a time in your marketing is so that you know what worked and what didn't. If you change more than one you won't know what it was that made the ad worse or better.

Secondly, its also very challenging(not impossible) to see your lawn care business as a customer does because you own it. You have to get into the minds of your lawn care customers and find out why they CHOSE your business over another. Find out what they like about your business and what they don't like. Then do everything in your power to become an even BETTER choice for them.

The reason surveying your customers is vital is it reveals information about your lawn care business so that you can work it into your marketing.

Think this is a dumb idea? One of the most successful marketers ever says he tries to find out 66 things about each customer. 66! Income, favorite food, hobby etc.

Now you may not have to go overboard like that but the point is the more you know, the more accurate your marketing. The more accurate, the more effective. The more effective, the more profitable.

Think about this as a consumer and not a business owner for a second.

Lets say you're looking for white shoes with velcro.

What ad below will move you to contact a shoe company.


AD#1

ANONYMOUS SHOE COMPANY LTD
Best Shoes In The County
Shoes, Boots, Gloves, Hats
Big Selection!
555-XXXX


AD#2
NEED WHITE SHOES?
We can help.Choose from
a wide selection of velcro
models. Come in and grab
your pair before they go.
LIMITED SUPPLY
ANONYMOUS SHOE COMPANY LTD
555-xxxx


This is a ridiculously blatant and a bit of a choppy example but it delivers the point. The more accurate the more attention you will give the ad. If you were looking for white shoes you may call both companies but you'll START with calling the second company first.

Everyone knows that most marketing gurus learn from other marketing gurus. Essentially, the marketing magic you need to know to sky-rocket your customer list is already sitting out there and you just need to find it. You just need to discover what will trigger people to call you even in a downtime. You need to understand what makes your customers tick and then deliver exactly what they want.

We learned from experience and from others. That's why we offer advice but we also aren't so arrogant as to not suggest other marketing sources.

3 we would recommend you look at now are - Motivational Marketing and anything from Ted Nicholas or Joe Sugarman (there are more but start with these).

Don't shun learning. You may be able to check these books out for free at your local library or may find it better to own them. Either way they may contain the extra explanation you need to boost your profits through killer marketing.

This may be a bit of a pain to most reading. Maybe you don't want the hassle of buying another book or visiting the library to pick one up.

Well, which pain would you rather have? The pain of "too little" business or the pain of picking up a marketing resource that could actually help grow your profits.

The final tip for you are 3 words -MARKET, MESSAGE, and MEDIA.

Effective marketing will come down to these 3 areas. If anyone of these is off, your results will not be AS GOOD as they can be.

MARKET - You want to make sure you're marketing to people who want or need your lawn care service.

MESSAGE - You want to make sure you're selling "white shoes" to people who want "white shoes" and not "blue shoes" or few to none will call you.

MEDIA - You want to make sure you're using the right form of marketing media to contact your customer. Classified ads may be the ticket. Or maybe door knob ads or both. You have to test and keep track of your results.

Since it's slow right now John where you live, chances are most of your competition is sitting back on their laurels waiting for things to pick up. This may be a great time to charge forward and pick up market share with very aggressive marketing.

Here's to your lawn service business success!

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Tuesday

Lawn Business Marketing Tip: Your Competitors Will Hate You

Sunday

How To Not Short-Circuit Your Lawn Mowing Business

There are obstacles to generating wealth with a lawn mowing business that can short-circuit your success.

One big obstacle you may face are incompetent people. You know what I mean? They can't seem to carry out ordinary tasks or responsibilities. Some of them are lazy or uncreative. While others are just plain "dumb" or so they come across as such.

Dealing with these sorts of people is terribly draining to the lawn business owner and all to common in the industry. These people can be your friends, employees, vendors, or someone else.

Another obstacle quite similar to the first one are "time wasters". These are people who waste or abuse your time. Often you leave spending time with them drained and having accomplished next to nothing.

Another obstacle are people who drain or divert your mental energy. You know those people who having nothing good to say. The "you're never going to make it" type of person. They can also be whiners or complainers. Again, these people can be your friends, employees, vendors or someone else.

All of them must go. As soon as you identify them do what you must to rid them from your lawn mowing business, your life, and distance yourself from them. Start a "zero-tolerance" policy right now and enforce it. Not going through with this will always cost you more than whatever temporary trouble and disruption occurs from you making changes in your friends, your employees, vendors, or others around you and your lawn business.

Think of your success as electric current. One disruptive person laying a finger on it anywhere along the line shuts down the entire flow of success.

Yes, I practice what I preach. I do my best to operate in such a way with my lawn business and my life. I will not tolerate interference with the electric current of success.

The majority of lawn care business owners tolerate others which causes them undue stress. And yet most continue on carrying out the same mistake without realizing how costly such tolerance is. It is very, very costly.

Do what you must to keep your electrical current of success flowing in your lawn mowing business and your life.

Copyright SL Corp. All Rights Reserved.

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