How to Start and Run a Landscape & Garden Maintenance Business

Written by Jack Stone


Continued from page 1

Arrange your work hours so that you have time to start your part-time business. You can start on week-ends, but an ideal schedule would be to have two or three weekdays off and work nights so that you can put in some hours onrepparttar other days.

By now you should haverepparttar 117372 time, equipment, andrepparttar 117373 knowledge (or working on that by studying). Now you needrepparttar 117374 work. To get this you need to advertise. How and where you advertise depends on your budget and your market.

For gardeners and landscapers I would recommend that you start with residential work and add commercial work later. For interiorscapersrepparttar 117375 work is almost all commercial.

To acquire residential work there are several ways. They are presented below in order of cost and are rated for effectiveness.

*Word-of-mouth. Recommendations. Cheapest and best, but requires that you already have done some work. *Door-to-door. Cheap, but ineffective and time consuming. If you have no alternatives then pick new areas with new homes and upper income areas. *Flyers. More costly than door-to-door, but no more effective. *Newspaper classified ads. Very effective. Try to use a small direct mail weekly that allows you target specific zip code zones. Weekly direct mail publications with names like Pennysaver, Advisor, etc. are your best bet. Your money will be better spent than inrepparttar 117376 large city daily. *Yellow pages. Very Expensive. Not a good place to put limited dollars when just getting started, but effective at later stages of your business growth.

Most successful service business that are growing get most of their leads (prospective customers) from word-of-mouth and newspaper ads. A classified in a direct mailed weekly can be as low as $30.00 per zip code zone. I would recommendrepparttar 117377 type of weekly that consists mainly of classified ads and display ads.

To acquire commercial work is completely different. This requires print advertising in local business magazines or upscale monthly magazines that reachrepparttar 117378 upper income people in your city. It also requires direct mail campaigns torepparttar 117379 businesses you are trying attract as customers and direct (door-to-door) solicitation. An ad inrepparttar 117380 Yellow Pages is a must for attracting commercial work.

If you advertise inrepparttar 117381 Yellow Pages userepparttar 117382 phone company Yellow Pages and not an imitation. You money will be much better spent.

Once you start advertising you will not immediately get work. First you must bid onrepparttar 117383 job, that is giverepparttar 117384 prospective customer a summary of what you intend to do and what it will cost. This isrepparttar 117385 part that will make or break you.

The lowest price does not always getrepparttar 117386 job. In fact, we don't recommend trying to get work by price alone. Charge what you are worth, what you what, and what quality work will pay in your market. Letrepparttar 117387 competition work for less. The person that gets repparttar 117388 job is usuallyrepparttar 117389 person who givesrepparttar 117390 most professional presentation. This means knowing what you are doing. Being able to estimaterepparttar 117391 time and materials necessary forrepparttar 117392 job. Presenting yourself and your service in a professional way.

Always be on time for a bid. Never miss a bid (if something does come up, call and changerepparttar 117393 appointment). I won more jobs because nobody else showed up then you would care to know about. Just being there is halfrepparttar 117394 battle.

Dress neatly. Wear a uniform, if possible. Sears sells uniform shirts and pants in many different colors. It does not have to have your company name on it to look like a uniform (although that is a nice touch). Be conservative in your appearance and hair style. Remember, even in your own business you are not completely your own boss repparttar 117395 customer is. Oftenrepparttar 117396 job goes torepparttar 117397 personrepparttar 117398 customer felt most comfortable about.

Look professional. Carry a clipboard to take notes. Have some sort of pre-printed estimate sheet to provide torepparttar 117399 customer. Use a brochure (if you can afford it) to describe your services. Have business cards.

If you have done all this, then do not sell yourself short. Charge an appropriate rate. Don't worry about those who will not pay your price. You only need those who will.

From here on in it is simply a matter of acquiringrepparttar 117400 work and doing it. Do an excellent job and you will have more work then you can handle. Asrepparttar 117401 work fills up your available work hours start considering your move to leave your present job. Perhaps find a part-time job to fillrepparttar 117402 gap. Eventually you will have no need for an outside job. Your business will provide for all your needs.

As your business grows you can grow with it. Move carefully and do not overextend yourself. Keep your overhead low. Only spend money when it is an investment that will return profits. Eventually you may hire employees, salespeople, rent an office, etc., but by that time you should be making enough money to afford it.

Once you have started and are moving successfully forward, your next problem will be growth and how you handle it. Rapid growth has killed many businesses. But if you keep a close eye on your books, watch which jobs are profitable and which are not, know exactly why and where you are making money or losing money then you should have no trouble.

Good Luck! __________________________________________

Aboutrepparttar 117403 Author:

Jack Stone is a Contributing Editor for ProGardenBiz Magazine, an online magazine for professional gardeners and landscape contractors. Visit ProGardenBiz to find out how you can get a free subscription, start-up guidance, business ideas and inspiration at http://www.progardenbiz.com.

Jack Stone is a Contributing Editor for ProGardenBiz Magazine, an online magazine for professional gardeners and landscape contractors. Visit ProGardenBiz to find out how you can get a free subscription, start-up guidance, business ideas and inspiration at http://www.progardenbiz.com.


I Survived the Landscape Industry Trade Show

Written by Henry Siegel


Continued from page 1

1:30pm: Wandering aimlessly, adrift in a crowd flowing down a sea of color, suit and ties, pretty girls, and hawking salesmen. Where's Pete??!!

2:00pm: Found him. Some kind of Wheel of Fortune game. A pretty girl on either arm. Pens in both hands. We escape inrepparttar nick of time. I think someone is chasing us throughrepparttar 117371 crowd, but I'm afraid to look back.

2:30pm: My arms feel like lead. I notice large bulging bags attached to both hands. Bags filled with sample products, PVC glue, sprinklers, miniature lawn mowers, brochures, pens, badges, lei's, and business cards. Pete has bags in either hand also. Filled with contracts, promissory notes, credit applications, and delivery dates.

3:17pm: My putting is off. I take four strokes to sink a par three hole. Where am I? Oh, another contest.

4:25pm: I am nodding my head in agreement. An engine roars to life. I nod again. My hands are firmly stuffed in my pockets. Someone is tugging on my arm. My hands are slipping. A pen is wavering in front of my face. PETE! PETE!! Pete is pulling me away. What's this? Pete is pulling ME away? A salesman inrepparttar 117372 background is raving and waving a credit report at Pete. Pete is hustling me towardrepparttar 117373 door.

4:45pm: We are nearingrepparttar 117374 exit. Behind me I hear many people shouting Pete's name. Sounds like a stampede. I don't look back. No pillar's of salt for me.

4:55pm: We passrepparttar 117375 Information booth onrepparttar 117376 way out. I notice repparttar 117377 "Just Looking" buttons being offered. Why now? I think I missedrepparttar 117378 most important booth.

5:00pm: We reachrepparttar 117379 truck. With great effort we load our bags intorepparttar 117380 back. It's now full. Pete mentions that this wasrepparttar 117381 best landscaping trade show that we have ever attended. Landscaping? We're plumbers!

THE OUTCOME

Joe Friday finishesrepparttar 117382 landscaping trade school he signed up for and receives his license. His new truck and equipment arrives. He sells his plumbing business. A year later he is rich.

Pete Gannon changes his name, social security number, and driver's license. He gets a job at a bank as a loan representative.

NOTES:

The names have been changed to protectrepparttar 117383 innocent.

__________________________________________

Aboutrepparttar 117384 Author:

Henry Siegel is a Contributing Writer for ProGardenBiz Magazine, an online magazine for professional gardeners and landscape contractors. Visit ProGardenBiz to find out how you can get a free subscription, start-up guidance, business ideas and inspiration at http://www.progardenbiz.com.

Henry Siegel is a Contributing Writer for ProGardenBiz Magazine, an online magazine for professional gardeners and landscape contractors. Visit ProGardenBiz to find out how you can get a free subscription, start-up guidance, business ideas and inspiration at http://www.progardenbiz.com.


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