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rbarger
03-27-2006, 09:02 AM
I'm considering starting a part-time lawncare business in the Atlanta area. I have a full time job, but I could mow 1-2 lawns a day after work and a few on weekends. I'm just looking for a little extra cash. Do you think this line of work is a good idea for part-time work? All of the yards would be 1/2 acre or less and would be within 10 miles of my house. What equipment would you recommend?
Any help you could give would be much appreciated! :usflag:

Brendan Smith
03-27-2006, 09:57 AM
starting small worked for me. not that i'm huge or anything. i think that keeping a full time job with benefits, especially if you have a family, absorbs some of the overhead to begin with. if you have access to a photocopier or lazer printer at work and can get away with it, that is an excellent way to print fliers at no cost to you. as you grow you may find you want to change over to full time, in my case when my wife goes back to work and can carry the health ins. again, business will be large enough to support myself (and family) and i will be able to step in full time. as far as equipment, if you are seriously only going to do a few yards, whatever you can afford should suffice. i started with a p.o.s. troy built 42" rider that i had for my own yard, cheap string trimmer, and electric blower. first purchase for business was gas blower, then red-max trimmer (which i can't say enough good things about), then a ztr. the ztr didn't come till after the first year when i knew that it could pay for itself. i personally don't think it is wise to overextend yourself on equipment purchases to begin with unless you have money to burn from being in the sandbox or something. starting slow and upgrading as needed has allowed me to grow at a pace that i feel comfortable with. one last thing - don't underestimate the value of your time. good luck to you, and hope this helps somewhat.:usflag:

Coreyb
03-27-2006, 10:32 AM
you need to consider start up expense and if it will be worth it. mower, trimmer, blower, trailer, etc it all adds up. Also, what happens if it rains 2,3, 4 days in a row? if you are only mowing after work and on weekends, how would you catch up? just my 2 cents.

rbarger
03-27-2006, 11:06 AM
you need to consider start up expense and if it will be worth it. mower, trimmer, blower, trailer, etc it all adds up. Also, what happens if it rains 2,3, 4 days in a row? if you are only mowing after work and on weekends, how would you catch up? just my 2 cents.

That's the questions I 've been trying to weigh out. I was trying to stay under $4k start up costs if possible. Go new or used? I'm not in a big rush to make my money back and I don't need the money to live off of. I've got a full time job with benefits. I'm just looking for something to make some extra cash. That does bother me if it rains a few days in a row and then I've got to make them all up. From experience, say it rains a few days and you normally mow that yard on a Tuesday. You don't get to mow it until say Thursday. Do you start back up on the next Tuesday or do you now do it on Thursdays?

Sorry for the dumb questions. Thanks for the replies!

rfed32
03-27-2006, 11:15 AM
with the rain i leave it up to the customer i will call the cust. b4 it rains and ask them what they want...i would start with a used 36'' or 48'' walkbehind, i dunno what u will be driving, if you have a truck, make some ramps to start and just put it in the back, if u have an suv of van i would get a 5x8, 5x10,6x10 trailer...and pick up a cheap blower and trimmer to start out with...iuf u cld get a trailer used get that and get commercial grde trimmer and blower....good luck

Coreyb
03-27-2006, 11:35 AM
there are no dumb questions, just dumb people that don't ask. i'd go used 48" w/b, and a new trimmer and blower. go with a hand held blower, they're cheaper. the reason i would go new on the blower and trimmer is because i have not seen too many used ones that were worth it. mostly they are beat up and have alot of hours on them. you will fixing them all the time. before you jump in weight it out. if you have small children, you may want to consider something else, because before you know it, this will consume a lot of your time and you will miss the time with the kids. as far as scheduling. if a tuesday cut gets moved to wednesday b/c of rain. it would either cut again the next tuesday (it probably needs it b/c of the rain) or wait until the following tueday. once you start moving the schedule around it's going to be a huge mess. it tuesday is a rain out, cut is on wednesday along with all your other wednesday. this is why it's a little more difficult to do this part time. you want to minimize your re-schedules do to rain. hope this helps. keep asking questions, that's why we are here.

topsites
03-27-2006, 11:37 AM
you need to consider start up expense and if it will be worth it. mower, trimmer, blower, trailer, etc it all adds up. Also, what happens if it rains 2,3, 4 days in a row? if you are only mowing after work and on weekends, how would you catch up? just my 2 cents.

That's cool, but if it rains 4 days in a row and you're full-time with 50-60 accounts, how do we catch-up? :)

Same thing on a different scale, me thinks.

Coreyb
03-27-2006, 11:43 AM
12-14 hour days. landscapers come over and help mow. plus we will mow sat and sun which we do not regularly do. this guy is already going to have regular customers schedules for sat and sun.

Critical Care
03-27-2006, 12:03 PM
You can surely stay under that $4k figure, however if your desire down the road is to expand the business, then what you purchased for the $4k may not get you what you need. But, nothing wrong about starting small and growing large. Hey, I see that even Brendan must be using his 4-Runner for his business. So what the hey, if you’re mulching you can get away from using a truck or larger trailer for hauling off debris.

By the way, for edging and line trimming, here’s a trick. I have a walk behind edger, a stick edger, and an Edgit line trimmer edger, and for trimming I have a Honda and an Echo, which has the Edgit on it. You can save money and space in your truck, trailer, or whatever if you just go with the Edgit. The Echo I bought was $45 used, ran fine but didn’t have the guard on it. Instead of buying a guard I bought the Edgit disc and now for most of the time I can leave my dedicated edgers and Honda trimmer at home.

With only a couple of accounts per day, if you get rained out on the weekend would you be able to pick those up during the week after work? Or… take a cut in profit and miss one week? Most clients would understand.

Oh... here's the Edgit website. http://www.edgit.com/

rbarger
03-27-2006, 12:45 PM
I could skip a week when needed. Any recommendations where to look for deals on used equipment? What to look for?

Coreyb
03-27-2006, 01:39 PM
it's always nice to make friends at your local dealers, these are the guys that are going to get you up and running in case of a breakdown. the used machines they have probably were trade ins and they may know the history of it. if all else fails try ebay or the equipment section of the lawnsite.

rbarger
03-27-2006, 02:16 PM
Thanks for the info everyone.

daveintoledo
03-27-2006, 02:28 PM
yes, is it going to be easy, no.... you really don thave much to start with, but thats ok....
, you have to get insurance, and check your area for license requirments in your state, town, and county and save about 30 % of what you make for taxes.....

, you need a good mower, and you dont have much capital
a good used trailor

, getting customers isnt always as easy as it seems... you need to do a market analysis and see if there is even room in your area for a new company...

.... unless your out in the country, most people dont want you there on sunday, and some dont want youther on saturday either.... so if it rains... your screwed...

start slow and small, try and just get 3 or 4 customers, then let word of mouth take over....

.. plan on no free time at all, no time with the family, or boating or camping or whatever it is you do....
you will be working every minute there is light...

can you do it... yes but it is hard and takes alot of sacrifice.. if its just for some extra imcome, your really better off just getting a part time job because the first two or three years you will make no to little money....

but it can be done... welcome and good luck...:)

Freddy_Kruger
03-27-2006, 02:45 PM
you need to do a market analysis and see if there is even room in your area for a new company...


I could never figure out how to do something like that. I go from a point of view that says there's lots of work for everybody.

Some with questions like who is your customer, i figure anybody with money that wants my service.
Too much thinking for me.:sleeping:

daveintoledo
03-27-2006, 02:58 PM
I could never figure out how to do something like that. I go from a point of view that says there's lots of work for everybody.

Some with questions like who is your customer, i figure anybody with money that wants my service.
Too much thinking for me.:sleeping:

but are we in business, or a couple of teenagers makin money for beer.....

nothing good comes easy, quick search on the net will explain how and why you do a market analysis, its part of the business plan......

rbarger
03-28-2006, 08:10 AM
This might be wishful thinking. I live in a very nice subdivision. My subdivision has 124 homes. Subdivision next door 280 homes. I'm just looking for about 7-8 yards per week. Seems like I should be able to get that many yards close by. Again, I'm not trying to make a living. I get off around 3:30 everyday, so I feel I could easily do 1-2 yards a day if need be. You all are the professionals so you know better than I do. That's why I'm asking. :)

daveintoledo
03-28-2006, 08:27 AM
go for it, sounds like you want to give it a whirl.... lots of info here, read and search...like i said it can be done.... i started like that, i was able to get bigger properties in the country, and mow on sat and sun with out bugging anyone...

CutInEdge Lawn Care
03-28-2006, 08:49 AM
This might be wishful thinking. I live in a very nice subdivision. My subdivision has 124 homes. Subdivision next door 280 homes. I'm just looking for about 7-8 yards per week. Seems like I should be able to get that many yards close by. Again, I'm not trying to make a living. I get off around 3:30 everyday, so I feel I could easily do 1-2 yards a day if need be. You all are the professionals so you know better than I do. That's why I'm asking. :)

Have you thougth of load and unload time everyday? You get off at 3:30, home by 4:00. Load equip, now it's 4:20 halfway to first job and oh @#$@# I forgot the.... back to the house.

Trinity Lawn Care, LLC
03-28-2006, 09:23 AM
As sure as you made it through "RIP" you can get that many, and handle it. Just make sure you do it right even if you are only doing it part time. Do not leave room for the unpredictable and unexpected to cause you to go down. Plan, Prepare, and Execute.
Welcome to lawnsite. Welcome to the industry, and good luck.:)

Critical Care
03-28-2006, 09:43 AM
Rbarger, if you could capitalize on your subdivision and the one next door, that by far would be the best for you. Not having to drive distances could be your numero uno factor in making a good profit, especially when starting out. If I lived in your area I’d be tempted to spend a lot of energy just targeting these two subdivisions.

I have no idea how well this would work - and it may be a crazy idea - but if you named your business after the larger subdivision perhaps it would be more likely to land clients over there. As an example, if the subdivision name is “Prairie View Estates” you could name your business “Prairie View Lawn Care”. The residents might feel as if you’re their neighbor and would choose you over another lawn care company. Maybe?

Bottom line, devote your energy into landing accounts where you don’t have to drive far.

rbarger
03-28-2006, 11:05 AM
As sure as you made it through "RIP" you can get that many, and handle it. Just make sure you do it right even if you are only doing it part time.

Rob:
Are you ex-military? I went through RIP in 88 so I'm not sure I have the same intestinal fortitude anymore. :) I won't do a yard if I can't do it right, though.

rbarger
03-28-2006, 11:07 AM
[QUOTE=Critical Care]I have no idea how well this would work - and it may be a crazy idea - but if you named your business after the larger subdivision perhaps it would be more likely to land clients over there. As an example, if the subdivision name is “Prairie View Estates” you could name your business “Prairie View Lawn Care”. The residents might feel as if you’re their neighbor and would choose you over another lawn care company. Maybe?
QUOTE]

Awesome idea!