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albyrussell
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Recent Start Up
#1

Hi Guys,

In recent weeks I started a lawn mowing & garden care small business.  Includes Landscaping Solutions and Pressure Cleaning.   Before I started I sourced a good lawn mower trailer on Gumtree with ramp and cupboards each side.  Had it sandblasted and sprayed.  Then had signwriting applied each side.   Came up really well.  For me, I had to look professional so the trailer ticked that box.  Then organised a uniform for myself (and wife).   Just not done the logo and embroidery/screen printing yet.  At this point in time I run a Masport President 3000, Stihl FS110 whipper snipper/blower/trimmer and good quality cyclone hand tools.  I'm at a point now, even with only a handful of customers, of needing back up equipment as I'd be stuffed if the Masport blew up or any other equipment for that matter.  So I'm off to double up what I've got...with commercial gear though.  

 

It's been interesting to read the forum particularly with other start up lawn rounds.  One of the hardest things for me to do was pricing various jobs.  I was pleased to read some of the prices people said for hourly rates etc.   Seems I was right in the ball park there.  In the last 2 weeks I've had requests from clients about charging $25 per hour...there is simply no way I'm wasting my time for that pittance....and neither should anyone else.  It lowers the bar for everyone involved in this business.  I think sometimes you have to do an hourly quote and sometimes price up the job in total....no two jobs are the same!  Anyway, that's me....looking forward to Spring!


Posted 26 July 2016 - 01:48 AM

crocster
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Recent Start Up
#2

Welcome Alby and good luck.

 

Looks like you're already a Gumtree fan - I've sourced all my backup gear through Gumtree and there's some bargains to be had if you're not in a hurry - run a daily search to email to beat others to the punch - my most recent purchase was an HRU216D mower, UMK425 whipper, HHB25 blower all low hours, regularly serviced and immaculate from an old gent retiring to a home unit - $900 the lot.

My main source of business is also through a free Gumtree ad.

 

Yep quoting is a pain when you're starting up - I've survived my first season without many bad underquotes (I worked for an hourly rate  if I wasn't sure) and am looking forward to spring to get amongst it.

Croc


Posted 26 July 2016 - 06:18 AM

Nugget640
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Recent Start Up
#3

Hi Alby,

 

Great to hear. I'm just starting out myself. I too have bought all the good Cyclone tools. I now am on the hunt for a good mower...maybe a HRU215 Honda. A good Whippy and hedge trimmer etc. I am also tossing up between a few trailers

 

Let us all know along the way. Will be good to hear some more stories

 

Cheers Brett


Posted 27 July 2016 - 05:27 PM

lawnorder
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#4

Hello! Im in the same boat, I kind of fell into Strata property lawns by accident. Along the way I took on more private lawns like friends and relatives. I too am unsure of quoting for jobs. Is $49 per quarter acre block reasonable or not? thats for a mow, and trim.

 

I know you have seen similar lawn care services, but I had my design made from a fellow off ebay and he is doing up some car magnets for me....

 

Cheers

Tez

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 07:22 PM

crocster
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#5

Hi Tez,

 

Welcome and good luck - I'm in my first year back in the mowing game - pricing is tricky when you're starting out - you don't want to sell yourself cheap but you don't have a lot of business and it feels like any business is a bonus because you'd be doing nothing otherwise - when I started out last October I would sometimes mow for 3 hours for $100 (travel included) - now I'm getting a lot faster and have invested in gear to cut the job time down and I try to work on $60/hr minimum - I'm not completely there yet and next spring I plan to bump my rates for existing clients and drop the duds as I get new, better quoted work - getting a compact run is important too - it's a process for the first few years I reckon - just got to survive and learn.

 

Looking forward to spring though

 

Cheers


Posted 27 July 2016 - 08:13 PM

crocster
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#6

Tez, check out Vistaprint for advertising too - I use them and am very pleased with the price and service.


Posted 27 July 2016 - 08:19 PM

Nugget640
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#7

So you advertise with Vistaprint Croc?

 

Do you mean with business cards and flyers? or advertise with them, as you list on their site??


Posted 27 July 2016 - 08:23 PM

crocster
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#8

I've got all my advertising made by them so far Nugget - business cards - flyers - mag signs for the side of the ute - the website has a lot of templates that allow you to design your own - overall I'm very pleased with the service, price and prompt delivery - they have a very good online business model - they also do Facebook business pages and websites I but haven't gone there yet - might give it a try next spring - beats walking around the streets with a backpack full of flyers.


Posted 27 July 2016 - 08:28 PM

albyrussell
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#9

This is my trailer.  I think it looks pretty professional.  Signwriting both sides about $520 incl. GST.  Looks the goods I think.  Good idea to get yourself a logo as well I think.  Combination padlocks to rear ramp and both cupboard doors....a must!   Also get yourselves a trailer hitch lock...a must also!

I used PVA 40mm plastic pipes to secure my rakes, shovels etc....works well and looks good.

 

Magnetic signs for your car?   Don't.   Get vinyl signage.

 

A trailer?  Think about storage space for your bits and pieces.   I have top and bottom shelf both sides on mine.  Keep blower and trimmer bottom shelf.  PPE and small tools on top shelf.  Other side is for jerry can of water on top shelf with tap for washing hands and fuels, oils etc on bottom shelf.  Works brilliantly for me.

 

Put 4 eye bolts through a piece of 90mm by 45mm treated pine as solid anchor points for holding wheel barrows, mowers etc. which also have holes for the pipes where rakes etc. are.  My Husqvarna ride on fits easily.

 

I went orange to be different and stand out from the crowd.   Purely personal.

 

Vistaprint for all your flyers and business cards etc. Real cheap and real good.

Tools of the trade.  For me?  Stihl...there is no substitute for quality.   End of story.

Push mower?  Honda Buffalo HRU216 picking up Sunday.   Husqvarna ride on.

Advertising?   Definitely get yourself a Facebook Page.   Gumtree Paid Ad.

 

Anyway, these are my thoughts and preferences......hey everyone is different.   Love to keep hearing your stories guys.  Cheers

 

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 02:42 AM

lawnorder
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#10

Thanks for your help you lot. Where would we be without the internet these days? 

Another thing I am interested in. My logo being Lawn Order. I want to register the name with the ABR. I am worried about the IP Trademark thing. I see there is a registered trademark as LawnandOrder.com.au There is so much legalities. 

Cant I make keep my lawn order design, put the signage on my truck, use the same for a website etc. I am logged in ready to register the business name but am worried about the site stating there are costly damages in using a similar name. Am I reading this wrong?

 

Thanks again for your help. Id be lost without this site!

 

You guys rock!


Posted 28 July 2016 - 08:55 PM

crocster
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#11

Hi, wish I could be of assistance but probably best you get legal advice - your name "Lawn Order" might not impinge on the other person but I'm not qualified to say - please let us know how it pans out.


Posted 28 July 2016 - 09:03 PM

Rob the Lawn Man
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#12

I worked at ASIC and business and consumer affairs in a former life. BCA used to personally check the business and company names registers to ensure they were not offensive, misleading or confusing, or an attempt by the applicant to pass themselves off as a competitor or an affiliation with an entity that they were not.
Under the newer system, ASIC, the onus is on the applicant to make this determination as name availability is computerised. Just because you slip it past them doesn't put you in the clear.
The is also patents, trademarks and design or intellectual property.
Overseas companies can and have had a go at small business to protect their names and intellectual property.

Tread carefully
Posted 29 July 2016 - 06:58 PM

Bruce
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#13

Thats great advice Rob, thanks for sharing your knowledge. I didn't know about the shifting of the onus of responsibility. The international name thing did happen with a WA olive oil business not long ago with Virgin going after them in 2 years of legal battles for their business name. http://www.perthnow....85ad66bb63b2e23

 

Lawn Order, I tried to register the "Lawn and Order" business name a decade ago, but no luck under the state based laws because there was another business using the name. It may still be registered? And theres that whole TV show thing to worry about now too?

 

Alby, love the trailer mate, exceedingly professional  :)


Posted 29 July 2016 - 07:39 PM

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albyrussell
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#14

Thanks Steve, was looking for weeks on Gumtree when this one popped up.   Couldn't get to it fast enough!!  A new one of these is $10k!!!  Paid $2K....still grinning from ear to ear!


Posted 29 July 2016 - 07:53 PM

Bruce
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#15

I never swear mate, but I just let an out expletive when I read what you paid for the trailer. Well done. Sometimes in life everything just lines up perfectly, and shows us the right way forward. Make sure you charge in accordance with your professional image. You're off to a flying start, looks like you've got a prosperous future ahead  :)


Posted 29 July 2016 - 08:01 PM

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crocster
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#16

Gotta love Gumtree - if you're not in a hurry, set up a search for the item you want - tick the box which says "Send me email daily with items that match" and sit back with your morning coffee - I've bought everything I'm using for this round of contracting (bar a new UMK425) on Gumtree - this week I picked up a never used air compressor worth $300 from someone who bought it to do up a kitchen and changed his mind, for $130.


Posted 29 July 2016 - 08:16 PM

albyrussell
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#17

Thanks again Steve.  I hope you put $1 in the swear jar.....haha.   Crocster is a Gumtree Guru as well.  For all those looking for gear, check out Gumtree.   I look every day and like Crocster, I put Email Alerts for items that match what I want.   Stuff changes everyday on Gumtree.  I'm off to do some volunteer work for a Facebook Garden group Sat. 31st.  Take some photos of the trailer at the job then put on Facebook Page.....all helps!   Guys I just attended a Facebook for Business forum....learnt a lot about how to set up your FB page as well as advertising.  I recommend it.  Logo:  I got a logo from the net and got it neatened up through an Images Group.  I'm about to make a few changes to the logo which includes words, BUT first thing I did was pay $50 for the licence fee to use the logo.   Obviously free if you design your own.   Licence fees vary depending on the dpi (quality) of the image.  I got my logo just by searching on Getty Images.  Found the cartoon witch I wanted and paid $50 for licencing.  The maximum for the same image (700dpi) was about $775.   Prices will vary depending on the picture/drawing/cartoon.   It's all about "branding" yourself for your business.   Your logo must go on everything.  It identifies your business instantly.   Get seen.  I have nothing on Monday, so I am going to park up with my trailer at the local busy intersection during the morning peak hour.  That's advertising....that's customers....and costs me nothing.   I'll let you all know how I go.  


Posted 30 July 2016 - 07:38 AM

markp
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#18

2 grand that is great, when I first looked at the picture  my thoughts were he has spent a few bob there, but at least he is doing it right. well done. I will give you 2 and a half for it and throw in a carton...


Posted 30 July 2016 - 12:45 PM

drewebb
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#19

2 grand that is great, when I first looked at the picture  my thoughts were he has spent a few bob there, but at least he is doing it right. well done. I will give you 2 and a half for it and throw in a carton...

3 and a trojan  :D


Posted 30 July 2016 - 05:10 PM

albyrussell
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#20

Hi Mark

Yes I paid $2K for the trailer which was white.  Got a complete sandblast and two pack spray job for mates rates at $1500.  Still grinning about it.  Also got the wheel bearings done and did the mods for the rake, shovel etc myself.  Very very happy with it.


Posted 30 July 2016 - 09:04 PM




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