Starting a Lawn Care Business with a $25,000 Budget | EP. 2
- This is the second episode of our two-part series on how to start a lawn care business, you guys if you haven't checked out part one, make sure you do that, the link is in the description below or hit the thumbnail right there, this is a progress update and this episode is gonna be amazing. (upbeat music) Nic what's been the best marketing tool for you in terms of return on your investment? Did that work out well as far as the budget at 25 grand? What would be one of the most profitable tools in this lawn care business? - It is right here on the side, I can just pull it off and start using it. - Right. Any reason you renting it and not buying it at this point? - How many square feet? 600. Probably just one.
- Just one. - This month, we're bringing in gross 15,000. - Easy breezy. We'll make some money. (upbeat music) - Nic good morning? - Morning. - Good.
Tell us a little bit about yourself for those that haven't seen episode one about what you're doing here and what are we after? - Okay, so my name's Nic Reed, I'm starting my own franchise of Augusta Lawn Care Services, you guys might've seen Mike Andy's episode on how he started the entire thing, this is just a progress update on the journey of me going through my first year. - Awesome, and what's your typical day look like at this point? And today walk us through what we're gonna do. - So today we have to go pick up some product at Home Depot, we gotta go to the rental place, pick up rental and then we'll be at the job site for most of the day. - And you mentioned we'll do an estimate as well. - Yeah, we do have one estimate to go drive by and do but a typical day is basically as soon as the sun rises, I'm out and about, and then as soon as it sets, I'm back at home doing office work.
- Man that's a full day. Okay. You guys, we're gonna go to Home Depot, we're gonna go to a rental business, we're gonna ask questions about the type of equipment you're looking to buy, looking to rent, why, it's gonna be fun. Let's do it (upbeat music) - We are just loading up, you always come home and you can take the stuff into the garage? Obviously grab it, just doesn't get stolen. - Maybe so it doesn't get stolen, but also just to keep it out of weather I just feel like it's better for the equipment, even though I use it in the rain all the time just to increase it's longevity. - You got all these fancy jacks and shovels that we showed you guys with Mike's episode.
- Oh yeah. - So check that one out so you can see how they are utilizing to meet with this stuff. - It's all about efficiency, right? I can show up to a job site, pop it out of the truck this is right here on the side, I can just pull it off and start using it, same with the blower, and it just saves the inside of the truck, just for debris. - You don't ever have to get in to take it.
- Exactly, the more jobs you can get done in a day the more money you make right? - Yep. (upbeat music) - Here we are at home Depot with Nic, Nic what are we doing here? - So we've got a couple of things to get, just some landscape fabric and staples. - Is the job site for today requiring this material or are you kind of looking ahead? - Yeah, for today, - for today, okay.
- So let's see, basically just getting weed barrier - One roll or just two, how many square feet, 600? - Probably just one, - just one, staples right here. You got them that's it? - That's it, easy-breezy, let's go make some money. - Thank you for shopping at the Home Depot.
- Thank you, - Thank you, - you as well. - So where are we going next? - Just so we know we're going to, - We'll head right across freeway to the rental shop and gonna to rent a sod cutter for the day. - Any reason you were renting it and not buying it at this point? - Yeah asset utilization, so I don't use a sod cutter every day, I use it like once a month maybe, so it wouldn't make sense for me to buy something that's 1500 to $3,000 when I barely ever use it, so it's a lot easier just to rent it just for the one-time job and then in the future whenever we do a lot more of that stuff I can own it, but at this stage it's just these few tools is what I need, what's most important.
- Okay, we'll dive into these tools, so let's hop in and head over. - Okay. - Awesome. (upbeat music) So we're here at the rental place, right? So you are renting, - the sod cutter. - Sod cutter, okay. - Basically so I can take two inches off of the lawn area and then we're going to haul that debris or get rid of it all, and then we're going to put landscape fabric and fill in the space with pea gravel.
Just so I can put like a raised garden bed. - Right, so it looks like we're about 150 bucks out. - (indistinct) - Thanks man. - So you obviously factor this cost into your job $150? - Yeah, because essentially if the client that I'm working for was to do it themselves, they would also be paying for the rental fee, unfortunately it's not a cost that I can eat.
- No I mean that's a huge cost. So if you didn't have this piece of equipment Nic what's the other alternative basically shoveling it? - Yeah, and I'm doing an area that's a few hundred square feet and you wouldn't really want to hand shovel it all. It would really take a toll on your wrist.
(sod cutter roaring) The right equipment for the job definitely makes all the difference cause I would have to budget so many more hours if I was to hand shovel it all. - Yeah. And it may end up being more expensive than with the rental. - That's right, No it makes sense. you got to have the right tools for the right job. (upbeat music) If you enjoy listening to successful people sharing their insights and tips, then you will absolutely enjoy our podcast that we are about to release, now once we go live, it'll be your chance to hear from these amazing people, sharing their journey to success make sure that you subscribe to our email list, so you know exactly when episodes are released by going to uplift.com/podcast.
(upbeat music) - While we're here actually let me ask you, what would be one of the most profitable tools in this lawn care business and is it necessarily the most expensive ones or what's important, what can you start with? - I mean the very minimum you're going to need a mower and a weed wacker, and a blower to go along with that but you can start mowing properties with that, and just with those three pieces of equipment if I wasn't doing anything else, I could have 15 mows a day five days a week and be making hundreds of dollars a day off of all of those. - Show me like one of the cheapest tools but actually one of the most profitable ones in the truck. - Yeah. - What would that be? - So I would say either the shovel or a leaf rake. - That's it? - Yeah you can clean up anything with this and it was $20 tried and true, and same with the shovel you can do a lot with it, you can load product, you can shovel out new product, you can clear out garden beds, put the new product in. - Let's go back into the store, I think that's the whole point, right? It's not the $300 mower or the $2,000 mower, it's a shovel and a rake.
- It's a common misconception in this industry is that you need a lot of nice equipments to start, you really just need a few basic hand tools and you can grow into the bigger stuff as you scale. (upbeat music) - In terms of scaling and growing a little bit, what's important to have we're standing here surrounded by a bunch of cool looking stuff, what would you go after? What would you recommend? You've got the basics, what's next? - Well one would be a chainsaw, I could use that to cut bigger stuff, I already have a pull saw smaller for limbs and stuff, and in terms of scaling to answer your question, it would be numbers of tools, so it's the same tools that I have but just more of them, if I'm going to have five people out mowing I need five blowers, I need five trimmers, I need five mowers, honestly the model that I'm going with is pretty simple, we're not doing a lot of big construction stuff where I would need backhoes and other massive equipment. - Keeping it small.
- So right now we're going to go do a quick drive-by, that means I'm not going to meet with the client I'm basically just going to go to their property, take a look around and it's going to be a mowing estimate, so I'll just get an idea of if there's any obstacles or things that we need to watch out for, and then I'll type it up later when I get home. (upbeat music) So I just pulled up to the place that we're going to be doing the estimate for, and basically I'm just going to walk around the property and I make sure that there's no large obstacles that are going to really like slow the crew down once we're there, and basically we go by square footage if it's all really easy access, but if there's Hills or if there's like a trampoline or there's a bunch of trees that we have to trim and go around, I have to factor those things in as well, and this is a estimate for recurring mowing, weeding, and I believe that's it. Unfortunately I can't bring the camera along to show you guys the process, this is a new client I haven't met them before, and so I think to show up on their property with cameras to be a bit intrusive, so we'll be back in a bit. - We've published a comprehensive guide on how to start a lawn care business from scratch, make sure you check it out, there's everything from how to start from zero, how to grow it, how to scale it and be successful in the lawn care business, the link is in the description below down there or check out uplift.com/blog. (upbeat music) You started with a $25,000 budget, right? That's on the first episode where we introduced Nic as you are here now did that work out well as far as the budget at 25 grand or did you have to make some concessions adjustments? break it down for us just once again how that was utilized. - After everything was all said and done and I started marketing, I had around 8,000 left.
And so I think in marketing since I've started I've probably spent around 3000 and that was since January and I've slowly ramped up that expense as time's gone on because now there's a big demand for people's lawns getting mowed, stuff starting to grow, so I had about eight grand left and I spent three of that, so I've had five left in the bank, which is good just for when I do need to hire an employee because we send out our invoices at the end of the month, and sometimes you don't see the money from the month prior to like a week or two into the next month. - I see. - So it's good to have some cash on hand, just so I'm not down to zero and not paying someone. This month we're bringing in gross 15,000, right around 15,000, and I haven't calculated everything but I know we're well above 50% profit margin, so I don't have a lot of overhead right now, I'm in a good position to start marketing more and to hire someone whenever I can. - The number is saying that's the owner, welcoming us into the backyard. (upbeat music) - This pea gravel in brick garden area, we're looking at continuing it so we're not going to do the brick part but we're just going to do the dirty work, we're going to cut in and they want to taper the brick off there and kind of run it around here and I think that we're going to do a curve and then run it straight and then run it to the fence.
- Cool. - So and then all of this grass is going to come out and we're going to dump it over there, lay it out flat on the ground and then we'll install road fabric, and then put pea gravel on top of it. - Unfortunately we won't see that today cause it's a big job, but we'll keep asking those questions.
What's the most expensive or factor of running this business, what cost the most to keep going? - The most? I would say for me right now is marketing. - What does that for you a month, three months four going? - Total since I've started I spent around 3000 and I've slowed down my ads a little bit because I'm booked out three weeks, and right now I'm spending money on advertising to try to find an employee, but that is where I spend most of my money all my equipment expenses, it's all really minimal, I haven't had to do any kind of maintenance, it's basically just fuel for the truck it's really lean right now. (upbeat music) Mike Andes was with us when we introduced you, is he actively involved in your day to day up to this point even now, how was he helping you grow the business? And I guess to follow up on that if he wasn't involved, how do you think it would be different? - Not on a day-to-day level, so all of the client interactions and everything I do basically all month is on me but we do a monthly coaching call which is really nice, so at the end of the month I just save any questions that I had in my head or that had just popped up from the month prior, it's like a Q and A session he answers all my questions, and then I go onto the next month. - How helpful is that? - It's extremely helpful, it kind of keeps me going in the right direction, cause sometimes like if I don't know my marketing budget or what I should be spending at a certain point in time, we can discuss that and it recenters me, It's like okay now I have a better idea of what I'm doing going forward. - So having that mentor is critical.
- Yeah. (upbeat music) - Did you know that 81% of consumers rely on online research before making a purchase decision? 50% of consumers end up going to a store within 24 hours out of which 20% end up making a purchase within a day, this means that if you don't have a website or if your current one is poorly designed, you're missing out a big chunk of the market but don't worry you guys because modern web media our sponsor for today's video, is there to help you create an optimized website that rank on search engines and help you generate more sales for your business, and by the way, don't worry about your budget, you know why? Because today they're offering a 20% discount on all of their packages if you use the coupon code uplift, so head on over to modern web media.com right now and see what they have for you, the link is in the description below. (upbeat music) - As far as clients, how many regular clients do you have now? And you said you're ramping up the prospecting for new ones so tell us about that.
- Yeah so recurring clients, mowing services on a weekly basis I have around 15. - Okay that's pretty good, so to say in a month three? - It's about a day or two, a day and a half worth of mowing just for myself, but that's what I want to ramp up for I want to start getting more of that recurring services coming in, projects is basically to fill a schedule while things were kind of slow, so I really want to transition and hammer in on that. - You want to stay busy in the recurring stuff throughout the summer. - I want to grow a client base, cause projects it's not really a client base, it's just kind of one off jobs, but if I can extract value from a client on a recurring basis for the whole season that's a lot more valuable in terms of when I scale, I can have an employee go do all the mows, four or five days a week and then I can have another truck and trailer just for this year, that's part of my plan and I can go be doing projects or estimates during the week.
- Okay. (upbeat music) - Nic what's been the best marketing tool for you in terms of return on your investment, what are you using? - So Google search ads and Google local services, I get notifications on my phone, it says new client calls, and then like five minutes later I'll get a notification that says new estimate scheduled from the command center, so it's really cool, I see a lot of those but Google search results, cause this time of year people are searching for mowing and if I'm paying to be up on the search results list, they're going to click on my website. - Let's dive into the details just a little bit what does that look like, what are some tips and tricks in doing that properly? - They're both different Google local services and Google ads, I do it all myself, but Mike puts out tutorials on how it should look and a rough idea of what you should be doing for this time of year, and so you set the budget you can pick the area the radius in which you want to target, Facebook you can target financial like income, so you can say the upper 50% of people because those are the people that are more likely to spend on lawn care. But you pick your radius you set your budget per day and it basically just shows it to whoever searches. - And that's been the two best tools for you, you're not doing anything else? - I'm doing Facebook and Nextdoor as well, but those are the for local services, Google ads Nextdoor and Facebook. - But the top would be the first two you mentioned, Google.
- Yeah this time of year for sure. (upbeat music) - On a weekly basis, what are you bringing in as far as average per customer would you say on those repeat ones, what does that look like? - A lot of the most I do, we're pretty small, so they're 32s $32 a week, - per customer? - Yep. - Okay. - And so some are more, I have some that are like 70 and then 30, 32 is the lowest, but I mean if I had to average all of that I would say probably between five and 700 just based off of those, and that's two days worth of clients for a moment.
The idea is so I can start dumping a lot more money into marketing starting April, like I've been slowly ramping up but I want to start like just pouring fuel on the fire, and I also need an employee to help me with that. And I guess that's what's slowing me down right now like right now I'm booked out until April 15th, I don't have enough work or I don't have enough manpower to handle the work. (upbeat music) - How do you stay in touch with clients? Do you use the software as a spreadsheet or just basic phone and you know who they are? - A service autopilot the CRM that we use, client relationship management. - That's through the whole franchise. - So mine's completely separate, obviously I have like a hundred people in my database right now and that I can send my estimates, all the jobs and the invoices like that basically takes care of everything, and then if I just have to talk to a client separately I'll just send them email from my business email but I'd say 95% of the customer interaction goes through service autopilot, starting out with all of this stuff inside that CRM is going to help down the road when I have 7,000 people in the CRM, and I don't have to transfer all of that information over from another one that you used when I was small. - If you want to sponsor our next video make sure you email us to firstname.lastname@example.org,
and we will get back to you pronto. (upbeat music) - Let's talk about briefly about hiring, you mentioned that a little bit in your struggle there, what are you looking to pay? Tell us imagine I'm the employee. what's my qualification, what are you looking for in terms of the person? - Preferably someone that has done some kind of laborist job because it can be really physically demanding and a lot of people if they haven't done that before, they might quit early on, and I need someone that I can have confidence in and just hire first and get it right the first time, I can't really afford to be hiring and firing, and I just need someone to hire and stick with me, and it's a tall order at this current stage that's why I'm having a difficult time. - Is there an hourly rate that you'll offering? - So it's not hourly, here in our market, we're doing 18 base pay and then we do performance pay, so 33% of the labor revenue from all the jobs. Opportunity to make a lot of money if you want to work hard, and someone that's willing to learn and just willing to do whatever it takes because a lot of the job's not glamorous. - I know Pacific Northwest, we're working under the rain, right now it's thankfully stuffing but that's pretty cool.
I hope that you do find the right page and keep doing that. (upbeat music) What aspect of growing your company do you think you should be more focused on in the next year or two? - In the next year it's going to be marketing and hiring, next year we're looking at having four people this year, I'm just looking to get one other person to work with me throughout the course of the year but the equipment I'm only planning on getting another truck and a trailer, and then just what other hand tools and small stuff that I use here, so not a lot on the equipment side, but just dumping money into marketing and really getting the name out there. - You keep bringing that up and that's I guess that's a very important part, just marketing and serving revenue with the basic services. - Spend money to make money. - There you go. (upbeat music) - Anything that comes to mind in terms of what you wish you would have known, that you know now that you can share with our audience? - I guess mistakes that I've been making recently is thinking that I can do more than I can, I was really banking on having help at this time, and I scheduled a bunch of projects that it takes more than one person to finish in a day, so those get pushed over obviously they have to get done but I have projects scheduled the next day and I can't move things around with different people, it's all on me, so basically my one free day a week, which is Sunday for the last three weeks has just been getting filled with overflow projects that I have to wrap up.
- It's a lot of work you guys so the mistake is what do they say, biting off more than you can chew? - I'm trying to grow really fast and make as much money as possible, and I'm scheduling a job that maybe would take one and a half days, I'm scheduling it all for one day and trying to finish it, so I can schedule another one the next day, I think I need to be a bit more lenient on that for myself until I get help. - Well that's a progress update for you guys about Nic, Nic we wish you all the success, thank you for sharing your tips and tricks and what you've learned already, and awesome. Thank you for your time, for us to hold you back you've got a big project you. - Yeah, I appreciate it.
- Well there you go guys, that is a wrap for another progress update for Nic's success story, he's not quite there yet, as you can see there's a lot of work involved and he's a very hard worker and we know you guys are too, so I hope you enjoyed this update, comment below with any questions, anything you guys want us to showcase, any other business to feature we're here for you. we read all that, if you haven't subscribed to our channel do so right now hit that like button and thank you so much for watching.