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Name change anyone?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by derekslawncare, May 30, 2016.

  1. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    As the title would suggest, just wondering if anyone has changed the name of their company as they grew and if so, how it went. I've been in business for twenty years and other than adding INC to the end of my name 10 years ago after establishing the corporation, I've always been Derek's Lawn Care.

    My situation now is that 4 years ago, I started offering roll off dumpster rentals after buying my latest truck to make better use of the Swaploader hoist it has, but also with the intent to some day phase out of lawn care services (for the most part) and replace that income with income from the dumpsters as my summer income. Well, my back is telling me it's time to start making the change and I am already getting calls from people who find me online after searching for dumpster rental and ask confusingly when I answer, "Do you rent dumpsters?" Obviously, Derek's Lawn Care, Inc isn't the first thing that jumps into people's minds when they want a dumpster, so it confuses some people.

    So I'm thinking that it only makes sense to get rid of Derek's Lawn Care and change to something that would more align with my services such as Derek's Property Maintenance or something along those lines. So I would be snow and ice management in the winter and dumpsters in the summer. I would still keep a few of my really good mowing customers, but maybe enough that I would be able to get all of the mowing done in one day. That way, it would be much easier to keep up with my lawn accounts this time of year when it rains 4,5 or 6 days a week and I'm killing myself trying to keep up with 25 or so accounts all by myself between storms.

    As for why I would keep some, I have some commercial accounts that want to deal with one company for everything (snow, mowing, fertilizing and weed control), so that way, I could still handle and keep them, but it wouldn't be something that I advertise and gear my SEO around.

    My biggest concern is that I've established myself in the area and everyone who uses me knows my truck and name, so I don't want to "fall off the face of the Earth" and not be found by those who only use me periodically. Obviously, it would be a name change only meaning my phone number would stay the same, so anyone who has done business with me in the past and has my number in their phone or where ever, would still be able to reach me.

    So what do you think, am I worried about nothing or is it a valid concern? I'm thinking that I would send notices out to all who have used me in the past that I still have records on alerting them to the name change, but other than that, I'm not sure what else to do to make sure that I keep the customers that I want to continue to service and not lose any. Opinions please..................

    SHAWZER PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,118

    Dereks Lawn Care and Dumpster Rentals Inc . Might be the easiest way .
  3. peteo1

    peteo1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,657

    Make a secondary company.

    Dereks Dumpsters, a subsidiary of Dereks Lawn Care
  4. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    What I'm wanting to do is to get out of lawncare. It's getting to the point that I can't physically ride a mower 10-12 hrs a day 5-6 days a week and still be able to walk comfortably by the end of the day. Also, competition in our area has gotten stupid with low ballers. So I don't want it in my name because I don't want new customers calling me for quotes. Like I said, at some point, it will only be offered to a select few in order to keep them as a client for the other work they have that I do want. I am full for the season mowing wise and am turning work away on almost a daily basis. I get sick of answering the phone so I can say no or having to listen to messages and then return calls to say no. I don't want it in my name, because I don't want to show up in searches for yard related jobs.
  5. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 6,709

    When I was starting oot and trying to come up with a biz name I was told by a friend not to handcuff yourself by having a industry specific name in the company name. As you know biz focus does / can change over time and I'm sure your finding oot trying to distance yourself from a service you're no longer selling and scaling back.
    I've seen bizznezes re-brand themselves and they typically do it by "DBA" (doing biz az). This does a couple things such as not having to reestablish vendor accounts, credit, bank accounts,etc....
  6. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    OK, thanks.
  7. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,216

    Derek's Property Maintenance would be a good choice if you will always be aligned with dumpsters, snow plowing, etc. Since you are having physical problems, perhaps you can get rid of most of your customers at the end of the cutting season.
    Do you have a website that will need a name change?
  8. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    Yes - derekslawncareinc.com

    I didn't even think about that. Guess I need to look at what is available URL wise. Thanks for the heads up.
  9. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,216

    I went to your website. You need to do 2 things >>>

    1) Keep your current web address as long as you are in that business and when you are not in that business you still need to keep it so that when someone types it in >> they will be directed to your new web address that deals with dumpsters

    2) You should start looking to secure a web address that deals with dumpsters.

    Good Luck / Rick
  10. dieseld

    dieseld Senior Member
    from 90210
    Messages: 627

    I changed my business name 20 years ago while I was growing leaps and bounds. Best thing I ever did. I made a much bigger mountain out of it than the mole hill it was in my customers eyes. My name is Derek also, and it is not part of my company name.
  11. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    OK, thank you.
  12. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,401

    Exactly why I have property maintenance in my name. You can redirect your URL to a new address.

    You can also spin off. I have a other name for roof cleaning.
  13. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    Yeah, you know what they say, "If I knew then what I know now. ....." Back in high school when I started mowing for spending money, I came up with Derek's Lawn Care. I wasn't quite as forward thinking back then. Thanks for the opinions guys, I think enough of you have said it's not that big a deal to change.
  14. gasjr4wd

    gasjr4wd Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    If you have that many customers still, making X amount of $, why not sell the lawn company and get $ out of it rather than just letting it die? You could sell the clients or the company w/name.
  15. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    Only 25 accounts gross about 50k a year. I will sell off some of the equipment, but I'm keeping my zero turn to mow my house as well as the few accounts that I keep. I'm thinking of cutting back to 5-8 accounts a week. A small enough number that I can knock them out in one day so when it rains, I'm not killing myself to get caught back up. The accounts I keep will be good ones that are easy to do. The rest wouldn't be enough to be of interest to anyone (I wouldn't think). Then I can really concentrate on building my roll off business, which I enjoy and get rid of the lawn maintenance, which has become a huge PITA.
  16. gasjr4wd

    gasjr4wd Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    I bet they are worth something to someone.
  17. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction Senior Member
    Messages: 765

    Hey Derek, just my 2 pennies worth. Keep your logo, font, color, and everything else the same for your new name/company.

    I'll use Ryan lawn care as an example in our area. They also have Ryan tree service. Their logo is the same (other than different name in it) same red trucks, same font, same everything except the name. People know it's a different service, but still know they can "trust" Ryan lawns.

    It keeps your current customers knowing who you are, and your new customers either won't know the difference or will associate your new company with your old.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
  18. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    Yeah, I had already planned on keeping everything else the same. Basically just going to exchange "property maintenance" for "lawn care". Going to take some tweaking to get it to fit right though.
  19. gasjr4wd

    gasjr4wd Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    ...I still think you should sell the clients you don't want...
    I know printing companies do this often.
    But I get you may just want to make it easy and drop them.
  20. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    I am of the same mind as many others on this site, IE- how can I guarantee that those clients would want to stay with whoever I sell them to? If I were retiring and selling the company, in which case they would be buying the assets, equipment and company name/reputation, that would be one thing. That isn't the case here. I'll be selling a few pieces of equipment that I won't need anymore to service the clients I intend on keeping, but that's it. Think about it, after I cherry pick the customers I deem "worth keeping" would you want to buy what's left over? Probably not.