View Full Version : Re-Starting in Business

03-07-2006, 06:10 PM
I used to be a small time LCO many years. Then I was lured away by the Construction, Architectural design and drafting fields, where I found CAD and the “Personal Computer” and for many years fell in the glamorous world of IT (a short word for professional computer nerd) and Telephony (phone guy).

Now I find myself starting back into lawns and Landscaping. But first fade back many years…….

Back in ancient times, when I was first in the business, I started doing some of my neighbor’s lawns when I was 15 or 16. I had old Wheelhorse Raider 12 Garden tractor that leaked oil and sometimes overheated. Ended up rebuilding the engine. I would drive it down the road with an old Wheelhorse dump cart carrying an old beat-up push mower and a rake.

My first “Car” was a 1971 ford Ranchero, basically a ford Torino chassis with a truck-type bed. I would use a couple of heavy oak planks to load the tractor in the back and pile the other equipment around it.

Later on I had a 1978 4x2 Ford Courier truck. It had a 1.6 liter 4 cylinder engine that on a good day put out a whooping 60 hp. In those prehistoric days (pre- ZTR's) I towed a 5x9 utility trailer with solid sheet metal sides that weighted over 1000lbs. I carried a garden tractor, usually a Wheel Horse or Cub cadet that was in the 750 to 900 lb range with my home made vacuum system. I usually had a couple of old bobcat push mowers (at least 80lbs each), wheelbarrows, trimmers and a couple of brooms (mostly pre-blower days, at least for me). Occasionally I'd throw on an aerator or tow spreader or even a small York rake.

I used to get firewood with the Courier and my trailer heaped higher then the side walls. However when doing that, stopping had to be a pre-planned event…. No trailer brakes!

With it I literally did tons of work! It was a tough little bugger. Power is nice but I used what I had and made it work. After I got a Dodge W100 (a beefed up half ton) I sold the Courier to buy a car for my wife. We had actually camped out in the Courier traveling through New England for our Honeymoon. I sometimes I still miss that truck. But now I have my Titan with 305 horses to console me. And electric brakes on my trailer - I ‘m into a bit more safety now. (actually into safety a lot more now). A few other trucks and various other pieces of equipment followed for a while.

Fade back to the present:

I have a 2004 titan with plenty of power to tow my JD 790 with backhoe and 6’ york rake on my 7x16 tandem axle trailer. The Titan has been no trouble, but I only use it part time for towing and everyday to just travel to travel to my day Job. Seems to be the best deal for towing for its class. I bought the tractor two years ago to use on my family’s farm and my residential properties.

I did a few jobs for friends and family last year and really enjoyed it. I did a couple of lawn installs, a drainage system and some other backhoe work for landscaping. Now I am aniexoius to get back out there. I am getting burned out in the IT work and have three major goals.

1. Live a healthier lifestyle, away from long hours at a computer. Be more physically active on a daily basis. No gyms for me.
2. Do something I enjoy and makes other people happy.
3. Make lots of money. I enjoy working on the farm but need to put my daughter through an expensive University education.

To this end I found this web site and forums, and humbly ask for some guidance. For a first question, what is a good method for bidding or estimating a new lawn Install?

Right now I have the JD 790 (geared not Hydro), 6’ york rake, 7a backhoe, my truck and trailer, Couple of hand mowers, troy built horse rototiller and misc. trimmers etc.