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  • #991830
    propertymaintenance
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    Hello Community.
    Long time reader but first time poster. Any advice is highly appreciated!

    I’m looking for some feedback: from those of you with a bit of experience. I have had a few business trials and fails over the last few years chasing something that ‘fits’ and I have been working on an idea for some time now and I’m interested in some outside input from those who might be able to see threats or opportunities I can’t see.

    About me: I’m only young, but have plenty of formal business training, a few (failed) businesses under my belt and a good understanding of the basics.. my area of expertise is in marketing/branding/sales but I don’t necessarily want to work IN that industry as I have found it unfulfilling in the past. I enjoy working with my hands and running a business..Oh, by the way, I absolutely hate working for somebody else as an employee – it just is not in my nature. I’m an entrepreneur at heart!

    My goal: For a long time I have had big goals and this has perhaps caused a lot of my failure (unrealistic expectations, big competitors, low budget, etc).. after going through a lot of financial restraint I am currently ‘in the cubicle’ earning an hourly rate but miserable.. so this brings me to my current goal: BECOME SELF SUFFICIENT! I’m no longer seeking millionaire status but rather to replace my current wage self employed so I can feel happy and build my own business. We’re talking a regular $500 a week here to get started on my own and I would be over the flipping moon.

    The Idea: Okay, so this might seem a little.. old school, but having been through plenty of other ‘new and exciting’ businesses that I did not enjoy and ultimately failed I am looking at going back to basics – which is in Property Maintenance. Essentially the services provided would include Law Mowing & Care, Professional Carpet Steam Cleaning, Window Cleaning & End of tenancy cleaning.. basically the essentials for landlords/property managers and the elderly (or just those who are happy to outsource these services!)

    Notes – It appears as though these types of services ARE popular in my area and being utilised. I have seen plenty of pro-lawn mowers out and about, always seeing carpet cleaning vans around and know of at least one other cleaning company that is doing okay with end of tenancy clean ups. What I have identified is that none of these competitors are really ‘dominating’ the market place.. not very good branding (if any) no websites, this kind of thing (the area is specialise!)

    So I’m interested to know what YOUR thoughts are on this type of business. Remember, I’m not seeking world domination at this point, but if I could make $150 a day (take home) I would be doing cartwheels!

    Do YOU currently pay for these types of services? (lawn mowing, deep carpet cleaning, window cleaning?) How frequently? Do you believe there is a strong enough demand for this kind of business to operate above ’16 year old mowing lawns’ level?

    What type of price would you expect to pay for somebody who does a great job?

    What is it you would be LOOKING FOR in this type of business? What would stand out to you as a point of difference and make you pay a little more or switch from your current service provider?

    Do you think these few services make a good combination to get me through all seasons? or am I splitting my focus to much? Any suggestions for finding new business?

    and most importantly.. can you see any reasons why I should avoid this industry all together? Am I on the right track? Have you identified any opportunities here I might have missed?

    Thank you SO much if you took the time to read my long rant and I hope to hear from you all soon!

    #1183577
    MissSassy
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    Hi and welcome

    It is important to remember that this type of work is hard and physical and just as difficult as any other business to find and keep customers.

    Focus on one area rather than trying to offer all areas you have listed and come up with a plan to spread the word. Your competition is not the 16year olds, there are many pro teams of lawn mowers and naturally the prices vary.
    There is no point being the cheapest as you won’t be in business very long, your equipment will require repair, maintenance and replacement over a shorter time than you may expect or realise.

    Like any business you need to be happy to do it all day every day and promote yourself too – this is something only you can decide on yourself.

    #1183578
    propertymaintenance
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    MissSassy, post: 214291, member: 52888 wrote:
    Hi and welcome

    It is important to remember that this type of work is hard and physical and just as difficult as any other business to find and keep customers.

    Focus on one area rather than trying to offer all areas you have listed and come up with a plan to spread the word. Your competition is not the 16year olds, there are many pro teams of lawn mowers and naturally the prices vary.
    There is no point being the cheapest as you won’t be in business very long, your equipment will require repair, maintenance and replacement over a shorter time than you may expect or realise.

    Like any business you need to be happy to do it all day every day and promote yourself too – this is something only you can decide on yourself.

    Thanks for the reply, I appreciate your input.

    Healthy, physically able and love this type of work – I have selected this type of business because I believe it is what I would enjoy most and could set up reasonably quickly with a small budget.

    I’m prepared to do the work and to invest the time & energy required to grow the business. Thank you. :)

    #1183579
    bb1
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    propertymaintenance, post: 214286, member: 67411 wrote:
    The Idea: Okay, so this might seem a little.. old school, but having been through plenty of other ‘new and exciting’ businesses that I did not enjoy and ultimately failed I am looking at going back to basics – which is in Property Maintenance. Essentially the services provided would include Law Mowing & Care, Professional Carpet Steam Cleaning, Window Cleaning & End of tenancy cleaning.. basically the essentials for landlords/property managers and the elderly (or just those who are happy to outsource these services!)

    !

    you wont find many service business’s of this nature that would provide such a wide range of services, f anything I have cut back my offering. I think the primary reason being is you will need to invest in much more equipment, which would be sitting idle at home. In my view pick one or 2 complimentary services, and make them you strong points. You also have the issue of either having to carry all the different gear, or having to go home and swap gear over. All this is time wasting.
    Plus you need to consider advertising multiple services rather than just one or 2.

    propertymaintenance, post: 214286, member: 67411 wrote:
    Notes – It appears as though these types of services ARE popular in my area and being utilised. I have seen plenty of pro-lawn mowers out and about, always seeing carpet cleaning vans around and know of at least one other cleaning company that is doing okay with end of tenancy clean ups. What I have identified is that none of these competitors are really ‘dominating’ the market place.. not very good branding (if any) no websites, this kind of thing (the area is specialise!)
    !

    I see 2 sides to this comment, “”No one is dominating, due to branding, etc”

    1. Not sure if you have seen a small business called JIM’s or VIP, I think that blows one side of your argument out, but having said that there is a reason they aren’t more dominant, and that is that not everyone wants to go with the “dominant”players, they have trust in the small independents, and would much rather go with them, its a perception thing, bacuase all the Jim’s guys I know are great people, trustworthy and do a great job (should I say that, its true so why not). And even if the perception was right there are good and bad in the big players and the independents as well.

    2. Yes there are heaps of Indies with little branding, and not dominating the market, but they are servicing there customers quiet happily, and making a good income out of it. Do we want to dominate, well my perspective is no. You yourself have mentioned what income you want to make, sorry but that also is definitely not domination.

    propertymaintenance, post: 214286, member: 67411 wrote:
    . Remember, I’m not seeking world domination at this point, but if I could make $150 a day (take home) I would be doing cartwheels!
    !

    Yes you are right that is not domination, and most in the business would not bother opening the garage door in the morning if that was all they were earning. A good operator would be aiming for much more than that in a day, and even dodgy Joe down the street would as well.

    propertymaintenance, post: 214286, member: 67411 wrote:
    Do YOU currently pay for these types of services? (lawn mowing, deep carpet cleaning, window cleaning?) How frequently? Do you believe there is a strong enough demand for this kind of business to operate above ’16 year old mowing lawns’ level?

    !
    I can only realistically comment on lawn mowing and landscaping. But it does vary by season. Most but not all are on 2 weekly cycle, but during spring a heap go to weekly, which creates scheduling nightmares, when you have a full day job which suddenly takes a full day per week. Or currently in winter some drop to 3 or 4 weekly. T
    Than your pruning jobs are generally 3 to 4 monthly.
    Window and carpet cleaning I would guess, but just my guess, are adhoc on consumer demand.

    propertymaintenance, post: 214286, member: 67411 wrote:

    What type of price would you expect to pay for somebody who does a great job?

    !

    I would love it if I could get someone to come mow my lawns and clean my house for $20.00 he says tongue very much in cheek

    propertymaintenance, post: 214286, member: 67411 wrote:

    What is it you would be LOOKING FOR in this type of business? What would stand out to you as a point of difference and make you pay a little more or switch from your current service provider?

    !
    Quality reliable service, and as an example reliable may actually mean missing a week. I have regular clients who want it 2 weekly no matter what, but I have educated them that weeks like last week (nearly 100mm of rain) I will not turn up, been I will make a mess of there place and it would look bad. Sure I loose a weeks income from that job, but I have a much happier customer, even though they were happy for me to do it.

    propertymaintenance, post: 214286, member: 67411 wrote:

    Do you think these few services make a good combination to get me through all seasons? or am I splitting my focus to much? Any suggestions for finding new business?

    !

    As per my earlier comment I think narrow down the services

    propertymaintenance, post: 214286, member: 67411 wrote:

    and most importantly.. can you see any reasons why I should avoid this industry all together? Am I on the right track? Have you identified any opportunities here I might have missed?

    !

    Personally having spent 27 years in corporate world, nothing wrong with any of the industries you have mentioned. Been your own boss is great, although in reality I have over 80 bosses at any given time, but I run my business to suit me, as long as I provide the service.

    #1183580
    bb1
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    MissSassy, post: 214291, member: 52888 wrote:
    Hi and welcome

    It is important to remember that this type of work is hard and physical and just as difficult as any other business to find and keep customers.

    .
    Definitely it is not sitting behind a desk operating a keyboard all day, you must keep that in mind, but there are definite other benefits. A lot of office jobs are hard mentally rather than physically so thing about what you want

    MissSassy, post: 214291, member: 52888 wrote:
    .
    Focus on one area rather than trying to offer all areas you have listed and come up with a plan to spread the word. Your competition is not the 16year olds, there are many pro teams of lawn mowers and naturally the prices vary..

    Yes limit your focus, but one thing that I picked up a long time ago, go for a business with repeat custom, and then if you look after you clients you have much less cost on advertising,etc. I currently only do limited advertising for 2 main reasons, one that I am only looking for replacement work for sold properties, and 2 most work is coming from referalls.

    MissSassy, post: 214291, member: 52888 wrote:
    There is no point being the cheapest as you won’t be in business very long, your equipment will require repair, maintenance and replacement over a shorter time than you may expect or realise.
    .
    And another reason for not been the cheapest, I have competition that charges half of what I do, to come up with the same income as me, they have to work twice as many hours, twice as much wear on the equipment, twice as much wear on their body. Sure they most likely win more quotes than me, but I know what I would rather be doing.
    #1183581
    propertymaintenance
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    bb1, post: 214307, member: 53375 wrote:
    Definitely it is not sitting behind a desk operating a keyboard all day, you must keep that in mind, but there are definite other benefits. A lot of office jobs are hard mentally rather than physically so thing about what you want

    Yes limit your focus, but one thing that I picked up a long time ago, go for a business with repeat custom, and then if you look after you clients you have much less cost on advertising,etc. I currently only do limited advertising for 2 main reasons, one that I am only looking for replacement work for sold properties, and 2 most work is coming from referalls.

    And another reason for not been the cheapest, I have competition that charges half of what I do, to come up with the same income as me, they have to work twice as many hours, twice as much wear on the equipment, twice as much wear on their body. Sure they most likely win more quotes than me, but I know what I would rather be doing.

    Bert – Thank you for such an informative reply. I couldn’t have asked for better insight. I will definitely take your feedback into consideration and plan accordingly. Thank you very much.

    #1183582
    bb1
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    propertymaintenance, post: 214286, member: 67411 wrote:
    The Idea: Okay, so this might seem a little.. old school, but having been through plenty of other ‘new and exciting’ businesses that I did not enjoy and ultimately failed I am looking at going back to basics – which is in Property Maintenance. Essentially the services provided would include Law Mowing & Care, Professional Carpet Steam Cleaning, Window Cleaning & End of tenancy cleaning.. basically the essentials for landlords/property managers and the elderly (or just those who are happy to outsource these services!)

    !

    Did forget to mention one thing here, and it again is my personal approach, I avoid (did I say AVOID) end of tenancy work and real estate agent work. Happy to do body corporate work.

    Why end of tenancy and real estate (sorry any real estate agents here, but happy to debate), are the worst payers, and more guys and gals in the industry get stung this way. Plus it is not repeat business, you have to go out and win each job, whereas regular home owners are repeat business.
    And just to go against my own observation, there are guys who do quite well just focusing on this areas,

    #1183583
    Anonymous
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    Bert, you are such an asset to the community here – thank you for sharing your advice so generously!

    [USER=67411]@propertymaintenance[/USER] , you’ve got lots to think about there!

    Hope it helps and that you enjoy being part of our community.

    All the best,
    Jayne

    #1183584
    My Guy
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    Interesting Read!

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