View Full Version : New guy needs advice

06-03-2007, 01:16 AM
A little bit about myself before I ask any questions:

My name is Chris and I'm a certified teacher in Michigan. I graduated college a few years ago and cant find a teaching job, the teaching market in Michigan is completely saturated. My only other true love other than teaching is lawn care. I have 4 years experience in the lawn care industry while I was in college and am one of those guys who mows his yard 4 times a week. I have an awsome wife who is behind me 100% about the idea of starting a new career in lawn care. She has a great job that she loves which will provide stable income and insurance for us. We also live in a county that has a population of 500,000 people so there are pleanty of lawns to mow.

My Questions:

1. I have around $2000 that I would like to spend on a new/newer 36" walk behind, is this realistic or am I going to have to dish out more money?

2. What is the best marketing tool for finding residential properties?

3. How do you guys find out about commercial bids like banks or small businesses?

Thanks for any help you can give!

06-03-2007, 08:34 AM
Welcome to Lawnsite:waving: :waving: Check out a Thread called Michigan LCO's because there are lots of guys from your area. They should be able to help you a little more on a mower and getting accounts. It's going to be different in your area compared to my area in mid-Mich. Good Luck

07-15-2007, 08:20 PM
Ive noticed when I first started out that flyering yourself is the best way and least expensive to get clientele. You should be able to find a decent used mower in that price range. You would also need to get a trailer, trimmer and a blower to start out. Good luck!

Leisure Time Lawn Care
07-15-2007, 09:18 PM
I agree, start out small and build from there, Remember thet we are just about half way into the mowing season.

I agree with LSCINC, Thats all the advertising I did. This is my first year back into the business and I have 53 commercial/Residential accounts that I maintain weekly

Good Luck

07-15-2007, 09:39 PM
1. I have around $2000 that I would like to spend on a new/newer 36" walk behind, is this realistic or am I going to have to dish out more money?

You can get a Quick 36 for a tad more than 2K depending on which engine you choose. I don't recommend them for commercial use but they are decent mowers. There are numerous things that will affect the price. New/Used, Belt Drive or Hydro, Single or dual hydro, construction, durability, engine choice. If you want a dual-hydro 36" with a 13-15HP engine, the likes of Scag/Exmark/Toro, plan on spending more than double of that 2K.

2. What is the best marketing tool for finding residential properties?

Flyers, and lots of them. Also I have found that ads in local newspapers work fairly well. They're not overly expensive, example - I have a 2x4" ad in one and it costs me $39 per week. It hasn't brought me a ton of business, but enough to pay for itself several times over.

3. How do you guys find out about commercial bids like banks or small businesses?

You need to make contact with the business, either by walk-in or phone, find out who the person is who is responsible for overseeing the property management. You can then contact them and find out if they are accepting bids.

07-15-2007, 10:27 PM
Thanks for the help guys!

I'm still looking for a 36" but in the meanwhile I've picked up my first weekly mowing client. Its a small yard I can do with my 21" and it will be a great yard to have going into next year.

My wife is a graphic designer and has already made me some very nice looking business cards and started on my website somervillelawncare.com

I cant wait to get into the swing of things next season. Thanks again guys!

07-15-2007, 10:31 PM
...I graduated college a few years ago and cant find a teaching job...

Move here to Loudoun County VA. There is a teacher shortage and starting salaries are in the mid forties.

07-16-2007, 12:11 AM

Those are some great starting salaries. Most of the south is experiencing teacher shortages, but here in Michigan its awful. Job openings in my area are recieving 500-700 applicants per opening with salaries starting around $30,000 (which I would be happy with)

The only problem is that my wife has a great job making good money that she loves or else we would be heading south. I love doing yard work though and hopefully can build it into a nice business over the years.

07-16-2007, 12:16 AM
i would go for a used scag hydro walk behind 48'' or 52'' deck. this mower is small enough to get in tight areas but big enough to knock down some real grass . wait till spring and have about 5000 flyers made up by a print shop and smack em on doors. after that you will keep growing work gets work. get a hydro walker for sure.

07-16-2007, 12:28 AM
well if you have a truck perfect...if not get your self a trailer nothing to big to start out...if u can pick up something used and cheap get it what ever it is get it...if you have the truck dont get the trailer bild a nice set of ramps and get your self a nice walkbehind 48''...and get some a commecial trimmer and hand held blower....

for gettin bussiness i put out flyers once you get costomers there will be word of mouth...but flyers everywhere....

as for commercial i go out of the pcn...2000 bucks a year for a paper with all public bids...my cuz and i split it...he does demolition...i figure if its in there its a big job and worth it so i look and bid....

but dont take on more than you can handel and good luck

07-16-2007, 02:08 PM
not sure how big your lots are but if they are a decent size id try to go bigger than a 36", maybe a 48" used but in great shape. should be able to get a nice machine arount that price. try to find a good dealer and ask them if they know anyone selling one and this will help you start a relationship with a dealer which is important. you will be dependant on them when it breaks and it will break. good luck, hopefully you in an area like mine, lots of landscapers but much more work than we can handle. we're at 100 accounts and turning them away weekly, no one to pass them off to. just got a call for a 30 unit condo.

as far as marketing, stop into nurseries, or try and team up with a fertizing co, eveyone likes to have a name or card to pass out to customers to help them find someone if they are full or dont provide that service

07-16-2007, 05:18 PM
I opperate in the Grand Rapids and Rockford areas. I got all my business through flyers, business cards, and word of mouth. My one piece of advice, is to not expand too quickly. Make sure you can handle the demands of a larger company without having it take over your life.

Good luck! Hopefully I will see you out there,
Alec Kolenda
Turf Management by Paramount

07-16-2007, 06:28 PM
I totally disagree, flyers are not the way to go. They help, but most residential neighborhoods get bombarded with lawncare flyers all the time. Most homeowners this time of year already have their lawncare needs met. I would recommend getting in touch with some realators and leaving them some cards to give to new homeowners, or to mow them while they are listed or landscape them to help them sell. I have gotten lots of great work from that and developed good relationships with those customers.

As far as a mower goes I would suggest a hydrostatic 48" walk behind. It will get in the majority of gates and should be reasonable priced. I bought a John Deere HD75 for $1500 with 500Hrs when I started. I still have it, plus have added a JD757 60" and a JD HD45 36". This is only my second year at this full time, but I really enjoy it. I would also let people know that you have your degree. It will seperate you from all the other "yard cutters" out there and you should be able to charge a little more. Just keep your truck, trailer, and equipment clean with signage and you should get some business. Good luck with your new venture. If you have any other questions Email me at Grassgroomers@gmail.com.

07-16-2007, 09:56 PM
In my experience, realtors do not supply a LCO with profitable jobs. They are loyal to no one, and will drop you in an instant if you do not nearly lowball to get the work.

Flyers work fine. I started around this time last year, and by the end of the season had 15+ accounts. True, this is not the best time to start, as many homeowners already are set with a LCO for the rest of the season. But, you always get some from dissatisfied customers and customers who are sick of mowing in the heat. Best course of action is to hit them with flyers now to put the bug in their ear, and then once again just before spring hits next season.