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matt321
09-27-2005, 01:56 PM
I am just getting ready to start a lawn care buisness. I already know i have to have a license. i want to know if I should just do chemicals or mow and do chemicals. it is just me and i dont know if i would have enough time. also if i jut do chemicals about how many accounts will i have to have to make good money. if any body can give me some helpful tips on getting started i would appreciate it.
Thanks

Mscotrid
09-27-2005, 02:30 PM
Matt,

You have asked a wide open question. How many customer? that depends more on square footage than customer count. Do you want to focus on residential or commercial? What type of services do your potential competitors offer? Do you want to focus on upscale properties or turf in general? Check out your competition, find your niche and set your sites on being the best

Mowing gets you in the door but as a whole it tends to be the least profitable. With that said being a one man crew you will be able to keep your cost inline. What type of program do you want too offer

matt321
09-27-2005, 03:35 PM
i want to focus on both residential and commercial.

GreenUtah
09-27-2005, 05:33 PM
Matt,
The chemical side of this business is skill related. If you have no experience at it yet, you likely have no skill at it, regardless of ability to obtain a license. This means A) You run a very high probability of damaging lawns, quickly bankrupting you and your company B) You will lack the skill it will take to troubleshoot problems and make a correct fix, leading to rapid cancellations and evaporating goodwill for clients you do manage to sell C) you will not be able to afford the insurance, leaving you to once again roll the dice(see A) and the list goes on and on. The reason you see so many here speak of the higher margins on the chemical side is because they are charging for their expertise not their labor. What expertise do you have?

Mowing has low entry costs for residential servicing. It will also allow you to make more $$ per client and learn by watching some of the issues that turf has in your area. Combine this with continued learning and it will begin to make sense to you, what I'm telling you about now. Mowing will give you a cash flow that you can make future plans around. Stay with the resis, grow smart with little debt and you'lll be in a much better position for the long run. Chems are not the road to riches for the inexperienced, but far more likely the road to ruin.

matt321
09-27-2005, 06:22 PM
hey greenutah how does anybody get started in the buisness. im sure when you started off in the buisness you didnt have alot of experience. how did you get into the buisness.

amtrucker22
09-27-2005, 06:32 PM
hey greenutah how does anybody get started in the buisness. im sure when you started off in the buisness you didnt have alot of experience. how did you get into the buisness.

A lot of people who are in the chemical side has worked for a company that gave them this experience.

It is not impossible to do this (starting with no experience) but it usually is a costly and a trying experience.

GreenUtah
09-28-2005, 11:56 AM
hey greenutah how does anybody get started in the buisness. im sure when you started off in the buisness you didnt have alot of experience. how did you get into the buisness.

I started out mowing and humping sod in the Las Vegas summers while going to school. I then worked for a small spraying company for a year then into a national company for three more before I went back out at it on my own. I had a branch manager, operations manager and a corporate agronomist to give me the proper decisions and lead the way while I went through the company's agronomic training program. I have people that have worked for me through the years that have taken the same route and have their own companies and I also have had guys come in a mow for 2 months then get the smell of what they think is the pimp life and head out on their own. Let's see, one is now detailing cars, one does maintenance at a storage unit and I saw one mowing lawns for a city recently. Your future, your choice.

farmerphilco
09-28-2005, 05:55 PM
Just start mowing, starting out in chemicals is a large gamble and the odds are against you. Get some insurance, license, etc. and a mow, trimmer and blower and go to town. Its cheaper to find out that you do not like mowing than it is to find out that you do not like chemical applications.

phil

amtrucker22
09-28-2005, 06:17 PM
I use Quickbooks Pro and do not have too many problems. If I had to do it all over again I would probably look at Gopher.

GreenUtah
09-28-2005, 07:56 PM
Matt,
I am not trying to deter you from entering the green business. There are valuable lessons to be learned having your own business. You asked where we thought you'd have success starting out and I replied with a warning about a risky part of your proposal. The majority will not stay in for more than a year or two and it's not related to mowing as work, but rather a complete and total lack of understanding of what's truly involved. You may have read posts on this site that say, "if I started all over, I'd just do chems, or sprinks or whatever" but if you asked the question THIS way, what would you do if starting all over without any of the technical knowledge you have now and three kids to feed, you'd get an entirely different answer. You want to spray, fine...we're just asking that you learn something about it first, through working for someone or going to school..I don't think anyone here is in your market,so we have nothing to gain or lose by telling you one way or another. so keep that in mind as you read.

matt321
09-28-2005, 08:38 PM
does anyone know if they offer 2 year school for lawn care in souther indiana.

matt321
09-29-2005, 06:22 PM
is there a 2 year schooling for lawn care in southern indiana

GreenUtah
09-29-2005, 07:25 PM
Matt, not sure what offerings the local community colleges have there, but a visit to their websites or a phone call will probably give you the answers for that. You are looking for horticulture, botany, turf or agronomy classes.

grassyfras
09-29-2005, 10:23 PM
Purdue is at your door step. One of the best in the country. Not two years though inless they have some other program.

Oasis1
09-30-2005, 12:01 AM
hey grassyfras where are you at it Stl. Im in Belleville Ill and for a two year program here i'm in a hort program at our local collage and we can make it last as long as we want or as short as we want.

grassyfras
09-30-2005, 12:54 AM
Ya I was doing that for a while at ST. L community college. Im in West County. I realized I really dont like plants so that degree will be no more! Adios

ThreeWide
09-30-2005, 08:23 AM
If you cannot find the time for a formal education program, I recommend the Certified Turfgrass Professional self-study. You purchase the material and take exams on your own schedule. Not that the certification means anything, but you will have a good base of knowledge after completing it. This will also help prepare you for the state pesticide testing, as that is required for licensing.

The folks here speak the truth about mowing versus applications for a solo operator. My first year starting out was simply limited to mowing. I found out quickly that mowing is not the best scenario for solo. Sure, you can make good money but it caps out too soon. You can only do so much yourself in a week. The worst part about it was mowing has zero flexibility with scheduling. I equate it to a ball and chain. You have to be there every week come heck or high water.

My customers actually showed me the light by accident. Had a few ask about chemicals, so I looked into it. To make a long story short, nearly all of my business is now applications. It all depends on what type of clients you have, but with residential you will need 200-300 accounts to equal the income of full-time mowing. Many variables are involved in that.

Some here might frown on this, but I had zero prior experience in this field. But turf had been a hobby of mine for years, so I had a strong interest to begin with. Long before being in this business, I would spend hours a day just reading the latest info on turf management.

Also, it helps to find someone locally who also runs a similar business who is willing to be a mentor. There is more than enough business to go around in this field. I have found that others are normally willing to offer advice when needed.

GreenUtah
09-30-2005, 12:05 PM
ahhh..sorry Turf, I forgot about that resource (CTP) being offered through PLCCA with your home state university. With the merge, are they still goign to offer that?(PLCCA), maybe I should go poke around their site so that I know..lol

matt321
09-30-2005, 12:37 PM
where can i get the Turfgrass Professional self-study books at.

ThreeWide
09-30-2005, 06:02 PM
Go to this link

CTP Stuff (http://www.landcarenetwork.org/cms/certification/ctp.htmlhttp://www.landcarenetwork.org/cms/certification/ctp.html)

GreenUtah
10-02-2005, 06:55 PM
try this one

http://www.landcarenetwork.org/cms/certification/ctp.html

for some reason, the one turf put up doubled the addy

matt321
10-02-2005, 07:02 PM
did you take this course utah. if so did you like it. did you learn from it.