Varundeep Singh may be graduating from Sheridan College in two weeks, but he’s already gearing up to launch the second season of his own company.
“There were a lot of mistakes I made last year that I really learned from,“ the 20-year-old founder and president of Brampton-based Young Entrepreneurs Landscaping and Lawn Care Inc. told YourMississaugaBiz.com.
Outside of studying business administration finance, the last year has certainly been filled with lessons for the new business owner.
Singh learned the hard way he was overspending on materials. “That was good for the client, but it was too much expense for me,” he said. Inventory control is crucial to maintaining proper cash flow. “If it’s more than proper amount, you are paying too much for that and the client isn’t paying for the extra.”
Adding to the problem were some “low-end” customers who would aggressively bargain even after finding out the cheapest price among 10 companies. “They will even tell you to use less superior materials for the job,” he said. “And it won’t last as long and it’ll be on your portfolio.”
This year, Singh says he wants to focus on high-end clients because they never bargain and they want the job done right.
He said it’s reasonable for customers who sign up for a bundle of services to ask for a small discount. But Singh now charges a small consultation fee for new projects, which he estimated yields a success rate of close to 50 percent.
Another hurdle was the inability to get financing from a major bank. “If you’re not a big company banks won’t help you at all,” Singh said.
Despite this, Young Entrepreneurs was able to fill a trailer with the necessary equipment for him and the three to four subcontractors he hires on a regular basis.
Young Entrepreneurs has also diversified his service offerings to include property maintenance, construction and renovations. “Maybe they’re looking to build up a deck or a fence, maybe someone wants to build up a new swimming pool, fireplace or patio in the back,” Singh said.
While 90 per cent of Singh’s business comes from private homeowners and 10 per cent is commercial work, he’s also partnered with other landscaping companies for their extra work. “Sometimes they contract it to me,” he said. “It’s sort of like buying a new extra truck or an extra crew.”
There’s also heavy competition for jobs with realtors. “They want the property to look good before they sell a home for the curb appeal,” he said. “They can help a lot.”
Work opportunities have also sprung up in the wintertime, such as salting and helping to string lights on and decorate outdoor Christmas trees. “People used to do it before,” Singh said, “But now they hire contractors just to do because they want to do it professionally and properly so it could last for five to ten years.”
Even though many of his clients hear about him through word-of-mouth recommendations, Singh spent about $4,000-$5,000 on advertising and marketing on websites like Kijiji.
While Singh suffered a loss last year from his mistakes, he still enjoys being his own boss and being able to set his own schedule.
His advice for other young people looking to start up their own businesses was simple: “Work hard.”
Singh also stressed the importance of networking. “The more people you know the better opportunities you have,” he said.