Starting Out - Landscaping - Contractor Talk

Starting Out

 
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Old 01-19-2020, 05:05 PM   #1
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Starting Out


Looking to start a 1-2 person hardscaping business specializing in paving, retaining walls, drainage, and grading.

My business plan consists of designing a nice website, putting it up on Google Maps, and waiting for people to essentially search up "Landscaping companies near me" or something similar and go with that.

How realistic is this?

I'd most likely be working a fulltime job in the meantime to pay the bills while I wait for the calls to come in. Having done flyers in the past for another business it was a total waste of time and thousands of dollars...
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Old 01-19-2020, 05:39 PM   #2
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Re: Starting Out


I'd love this too. I'll work my day job and bank money on the side using others labor waiting for my go ahead.

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Old 01-19-2020, 06:16 PM   #3
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Re: Starting Out


Its a mediocre business plan.

In order to rank on google you need to GIVE MONEY TO GOOGLE. You may get some calls but in the real world the way to make the phone ring is to pay for it.

Once you get a call, especially early on, you need to come running. You should answer the call on the first or second ring. Be ready to bid within a day or two. Ready to work at the drop of a hat and NEVER EVER MISS DEADLINES. This is what makes for happy customers; that leads to more sales.

If you chase two rabbits you probably won't catch either.

That being said, the marketing should drive the work. In other words, you market for different services and see what sells and what makes you money. Once you dial in the magic combination that works for you you double down on it.

This is the way.
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Old 01-19-2020, 06:37 PM   #4
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Re: Starting Out


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Originally Posted by Metro M & L View Post
Its a mediocre business plan.

In order to rank on google you need to GIVE MONEY TO GOOGLE. You may get some calls but in the real world the way to make the phone ring is to pay for it.

Once you get a call, especially early on, you need to come running. You should answer the call on the first or second ring. Be ready to bid within a day or two. Ready to work at the drop of a hat and NEVER EVER MISS DEADLINES. This is what makes for happy customers; that leads to more sales.

If you chase two rabbits you probably won't catch either.

That being said, the marketing should drive the work. In other words, you market for different services and see what sells and what makes you money. Once you dial in the magic combination that works for you you double down on it.

This is the way.
I ran a business before, successfully so I understand things like building relationships, doing a good job, not overpromising and underdelivering etc. However, in that business it is well known that people from across town will never use you. Think of a laundromat. People will use the one closest to them. So in that particular case, all my initial customers were from google. Since I was good at my work my reputation spread and word of mouth grew the business over the years.

Landscaping is new to me. I am not sure if it is as "local". I'm not sure how to get the first customers. I have no doubts that I will do a good job, show up on time, be professional, and make good connections. I'm just curious how to get the initial clients.
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Old 01-19-2020, 07:05 PM   #5
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Re: Starting Out


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I ran a business before, successfully so I understand things like building relationships, doing a good job, not overpromising and underdelivering etc. However, in that business it is well known that people from across town will never use you. Think of a laundromat. People will use the one closest to them. So in that particular case, all my initial customers were from google. Since I was good at my work my reputation spread and word of mouth grew the business over the years.

Landscaping is new to me. I am not sure if it is as "local". I'm not sure how to get the first customers. I have no doubts that I will do a good job, show up on time, be professional, and make good connections. I'm just curious how to get the initial clients.
What was your other business and why did you leave it?

You need to do some marketing. Set up proper SEO for your website, pay for ads online and possibly in local print. Network, network, network. These types of businesses are built on referrals.
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Old 01-19-2020, 07:10 PM   #6
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What was your other business and why did you leave it?

You need to do some marketing. Set up proper SEO for your website, pay for ads online and possibly in local print. Network, network, network. These types of businesses are built on referrals.
I can't talk about it at all (the other business) since there are still legal questions to be answered in progress...

I have some decent understanding of how to build a good web page, putting in the right words, ranking higher on the SEO algos but I'm no expert working for a big ad company. In terms of network I can be really great or really **** at it depending on the context. For example in my previous business I was able to build quite a few excellent (like we became good friends), many very good, and only a few (under 5) bad relationships (some were my fault some were not). However, if I went to a trade show or a social function like that I'd freeze up and act weird.

But ya I'm not worried about referrals because I do good work, am reliable, don't look and act like a moron, and I'm good at building relationships with my clients. Just getting those first few...
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Old 01-19-2020, 07:16 PM   #7
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Re: Starting Out


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Landscaping is new to me.


. . . I have no doubts that I will do a good job, show up on time, be professional, and make good connections. I'm just curious how to get the initial clients.


Just plant a couple trees and throw some bark around?




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Old 01-19-2020, 07:19 PM   #8
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Re: Starting Out


Maybe try calling on some local landscape designers/architects to see if they need help with any projects and just to introduce yourself. And then set up both free and paid digital marketing, ie facebook, instagram, Houzz, Google, etc...
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Old 01-19-2020, 07:26 PM   #9
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Re: Starting Out


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Maybe try calling on some local landscape designers/architects to see if they need help with any projects and just to introduce yourself. And then set up both free and paid digital marketing, ie facebook, instagram, Houzz, Google, etc...
Can't afford paid advertising. It is what it is. I've noticed that all the social media pages that small businesses have have no activity from authors nor users...however, I will look into joining a facebook group or something similar so thank you for spurring that thought into my head just now!
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Old 01-19-2020, 07:27 PM   #10
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Re: Starting Out


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I'd most likely be working a fulltime job in the meantime to pay the bills while I wait for the calls to come in.
How are you going to run the new business while working full time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nseraf View Post
Landscaping is new to me.
Since landscaping is new to you, how are you going to accomplish the installs? I think you should get some experience and save up some capital before striking out on your own.
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Old 01-19-2020, 07:47 PM   #11
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Re: Starting Out


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How are you going to run the new business while working full time?



Since landscaping is new to you, how are you going to accomplish the installs? I think you should get some experience and save up some capital before striking out on your own.
I would imagine I wouldn't get much work at the beginning so I'd work on weekends. If I need to I'd take days off if I can't finish in 2 days (12 hour days).

By working for other people this year and next year. I wouldn't start until at least one year of experience under my belt.
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:32 PM   #12
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Re: Starting Out


Moonlighting on your employer is probably not going to go over too well.Try just being a good employee for someone for a year or two, gain some experience, make sure landscaping is what you want to do and save some coin. Then come up with a business and marketing plan.
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:39 AM   #13
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Re: Starting Out


Quote:
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My business plan consists of designing a nice website, putting it up on Google Maps, and waiting for people to essentially search up "Landscaping companies near me" or something similar and go with that.
No offense, but if you took that business plan to a bank they would laugh you out of the building.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:40 AM   #14
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Re: Starting Out


His business plan isn't much different than mine when I started. No reason to sh on it. He just needs to tweak it a little bit.
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Old 01-20-2020, 02:41 PM   #15
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No offense, but if you took that business plan to a bank they would laugh you out of the building.
No offense but I don't need to go to the bank. I've ran a successful business so I kind of get how these things work. What a snarky toxic forum this is.
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Old 01-20-2020, 04:34 PM   #16
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Re: Starting Out


How Realistic?

The business plan seems to work. The lack of funds for paid advertising and lack of any hands on or management would be concerning. I've seen some good contractors without hands on but not tradesman, GCs.

If your self performing with your own men there are a number of things that could go wrong with compaction, plants dying etc... that you'd be liable to. I'd get on a crew for a bit.

Anyway -

Good website and SEO seems to be the big thing now, Metro knows his stuff with that.

Personally if I started a business anywhere in the country I'd be at the HBA, Chamber etc... networking and handing cards out constantly. Network - get other people work. Get them what they want and they will too. I've built a multi million dollar business using this method. Jeffory Gitomers Little Black Book of Connections is a good place to start on connecting

Check out Mark up and Profit by Stone and Running a Succesful Construction Company by David Gerstal as well as his Nail Your Numbers. Great resources.
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:05 PM   #17
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Re: Starting Out


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Originally Posted by nseraf View Post
No offense but I don't need to go to the bank. I've ran a successful business so I kind of get how these things work. What a snarky toxic forum this is.
Snarky ? Maybe , this is the internet after all.

You have something going for you , that is experience in running a business. Many good tradesmen have a poor understanding of good business practices, and as a result don’t do as well as they could.

I am curious as to why you are so resistant to the advice given here . I am also curious why you have chosen landscaping , given that you say you have no experience in the field. It would be a lot easier to start with something you at least have some knowledge of . Landscaping might look simple from the outside, but there is a huge amount of knowledge that needs to be gained to become successful , you don’t even know what you don’t know at this point .

I am in no way attempting to discourage you , and I only wish the best for you in your endeavors. I only wonder if there might be a trade you already have more hands on experience with.
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:13 PM   #18
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Re: Starting Out


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How Realistic?

The business plan seems to work. The lack of funds for paid advertising and lack of any hands on or management would be concerning. I've seen some good contractors without hands on but not tradesman, GCs.

If your self performing with your own men there are a number of things that could go wrong with compaction, plants dying etc... that you'd be liable to. I'd get on a crew for a bit.

Anyway -

Good website and SEO seems to be the big thing now, Metro knows his stuff with that.

Personally if I started a business anywhere in the country I'd be at the HBA, Chamber etc... networking and handing cards out constantly. Network - get other people work. Get them what they want and they will too. I've built a multi million dollar business using this method. Jeffory Gitomers Little Black Book of Connections is a good place to start on connecting

Check out Mark up and Profit by Stone and Running a Succesful Construction Company by David Gerstal as well as his Nail Your Numbers. Great resources.
Well as I've mentioned several times already, I plan on working for someone else for 1-2 years. I understand how being a boss works and all the responsibilities that entail.

Networking is something that I'm really good at or bad at depending on the context. If I am in a social function, I become autistic. If I'm talking with my clients on site or at a casual location, I'm quite good.
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:28 PM   #19
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Re: Starting Out


One thing I would bring up is landscaping has a warranty rate. As a home builder I exclude it from my contracts, coeordinate for free but I do not mark up or warranty at all.

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Old 01-20-2020, 05:29 PM   #20
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Mark UPS are very high in landscaping here. It's a good business but make sure to account for and set aside for warranty.

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