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AAR Lawn Services
06-14-2007, 10:28 PM
Hello everyone. I am thinking of starting up a lawn mowing service in the Riverview Florida area with a business partner. We both currently have full time jobs working Mon-Fri and would like to start part-time on the weekends. Eventually we would like to make this into a full-time business once we're able to obtain enough customers. In order to do that though we each would need to be able to a pull a $40,000 salary per year out of the company in order to cover our cost of living. Is this a reasonable goal? Would it take a long time to achieve?

I'm also looking for some equipment suggestions. I already have a 00' Chevy S10 V6 with class 3 hitch we will use as a vehicle to tow with. I also have done some research on mowers on this site as well as others and I like the specs and price on the John Deere 727A w/ 54" deck. Most the residential yards in my area are only 1/8 or 1/4 acre so I don't want anything too big. I hear Husqvarna makes good trimmers and blowers but haven't done too much research into them yet. Also what size trailer is recommended? Would a 12' or 16' do fine?

Thanks in advance
Ryan

AAR Lawn Services
06-15-2007, 01:13 AM
Anyone want to help the noob?

Or did I ask too many questions?;)

1MajorTom
06-15-2007, 01:24 AM
If you are going to try this, try it alone. Say no to the business partner.
That's step #1.

If you are going to be sticking to just mowing, the best way to make money is to have the tightest route you can. Hard to establish in the first couple of years, but that should be your goal. Travelling here, there and everywhere to mow a lawn won't get you very far.

Keep reading Lawnsite, every piece of equipment has been talked about on here. You will learn the pros and cons of the equipment, you will just have to use the search feature.

Know what costs you will have to run this business. Advertising, fuel, phone, equipment, truck, maintenance expenses, office supplies, insurances, accounting fees, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on and on.

Btw, just so you know, I don't advocate doing this part time. It's research, research, research, then jump right in.. sink or swim fulll time.
Hard to get a real business up and running when you are working a full time job. You can only spread yourself so thin.

Good luck.

AAR Lawn Services
06-15-2007, 01:49 AM
Just curious, why drop the business partner? That would double my start up cost and he already has a little experience in commercial mowing, I have none.

fiveoboy01
06-15-2007, 03:02 AM
Because partnerships are nothing but trouble. Listen to Jodi and anyone else who tells you NOT to do it. Likely they have been through the same crap.

Yes once in a while they work. Most of the time, the two partners end up bickering, one's not happy cause he's doing "all the work", disagreements come up, one thinks he should get more pay than the other, etc etc etc.

AAR Lawn Services
06-15-2007, 10:12 AM
I've worked with the same guy before and we've been good about equal work/equal pay. It would be really hard for me to cover all the start up costs on my own, if not impossible. I'll definitely take your advice into consideration though and look into the possibility.

What do you guys do business as? Sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation?

Runner
06-15-2007, 11:43 AM
The advice about the partnership thing is not only real, but it is absolute sound advice. You can do one of two things....You can listen to this advice, and be glad you did in the future (without actually realizing it), or you can follow the route that MANY others have on here, and o with the partnership, anyway. Then you can join the ranks of those many who write back in saying they should have never done it, and how they regret all the time wasted, and that they would be so much father ahead if they had just started out on their own. Do a search, and you will come up no less than than a few hours of reading of partnerships that went down after time. You can take this advice from me, because I learned first hand. Granted, this was over 20 years ago,...but the principle is the same.

AAR Lawn Services
06-15-2007, 03:17 PM
Do a search, and you will come up no less than than a few hours of reading of partnerships that went down after time.

After doing a search on here and reading through about 10-15 threads I've found completely mixed opinions on partnerships. I've found that about half have good opinions and success stories and the other half negative. It seems to me it all depends on who you partner with.

In my situation quitting my job and jumping right into this full time is a huge risk especially w/o a partner. I would absorb 100% of the risk if I don't get the amount of business I hope to get and I also wouldn't have anything to fall back on. I have a mortgage and other payments that I cannot afford to miss. If I didn't have those type of financial obligations it would be much easier for me to leave my job and try this on my own.

Your Lawn First
06-15-2007, 04:44 PM
If you are going to try this, try it alone. Say no to the business partner.
That's step #1.

If you are going to be sticking to just mowing, the best way to make money is to have the tightest route you can. Hard to establish in the first couple of years, but that should be your goal. Travelling here, there and everywhere to mow a lawn won't get you very far.

Keep reading Lawnsite, every piece of equipment has been talked about on here. You will learn the pros and cons of the equipment, you will just have to use the search feature.

Know what costs you will have to run this business. Advertising, fuel, phone, equipment, truck, maintenance expenses, office supplies, insurances, accounting fees, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on and on.

Btw, just so you know, I don't advocate doing this part time. It's research, research, research, then jump right in.. sink or swim fulll time.
Hard to get a real business up and running when you are working a full time job. You can only spread yourself so thin.

Good luck.

I agree with everything here except the full time part time thing, you can start part time no problem that is what I did it I would say the smartest way until you build you customer base, you will have to leave you job a little earlier then you think but yiu can do it part time.

AAR Lawn Services
06-15-2007, 04:50 PM
I agree with everything here except the full time part time thing, you can start part time no problem that is what I did it I would say the smartest way until you build you customer base, you will have to leave you job a little earlier then you think but yiu can do it part time.

That's good news to me. The earlier I could leave the better. I know I will enjoy this much more than what I do now.

Your Lawn First
06-15-2007, 05:01 PM
It's not for everyone but I sure as hell like it better then working for someone else. Good luck

Bigray
06-15-2007, 05:12 PM
you asked if u can make 40k yearly doing this, yes, that is possible, just depends on your expenses, and how hard you are willing to work. BOTTOM LINE... IMO

AAR Lawn Services
06-15-2007, 06:42 PM
you asked if u can make 40k yearly doing this, yes, that is possible, just depends on your expenses, and how hard you are willing to work. BOTTOM LINE... IMO

I'm a hard worker and don't mind doing 6 day weeks even if that's what it takes.

In Florida, is it ok to advertise this late in the season? Grass grows year round here, the difference is you have to mow at least once a week in the summer and only once every two weeks or so in the winter. The grass in my area has actually only just started growing fast this week since our rainy season just started.

M&SLawnCare
06-15-2007, 08:03 PM
As said avoid the partner. I started out mowing with my best friend who i thought was also a great hard worker. That lasted about 2 years and now i'm solo. If your insistant about going the partner route, cover your @$$. Write up a contract before you spend a dollar on the busness, outlining the expectations and responcabilities each of you will have. Write in a section to cover what happens if you decide to split up. Anything and everything you can possibly think of (even when the maintence on equipment is done and by who) include. Odds are very high it wont work out, and if that happens this way you both have a writen way out and how to handle it.

Second off startup costs can be very low, just get used comercial equipment, or even residentual equipment if an absolute must, and upgrade as you can. Avoid financing or debt. You want to start off with as little overhead as possible, even if that means lesser grade equipment untill you have the contracts signed to support upgrades.

I disagree with going full time. I'ld start part time and work up. You will not make enough the first year or so imo to cover your living costs, so unless you have money saved, you want a second source of income.

A 6X12 trailer will do you fine, however thats a fairly small truck to tow it. I'ld keep an eye open for a used larger truck, but the S10 will work for the short term. It just wont last long pulling the weight day in and day out.

As far as brands I like echo trimmers and backpacks. They tend to be on the cheaper side but are quality and will last. If you do a search though you'll find threads supporting every major brand out there. So go with whats avalible in your area and in your price range. Any commercial grade should serve you well.

Hope that helps.

Bigray
06-15-2007, 08:31 PM
AAR, i know your area out their, u need to ck. out CUTTER POWER EQUIP. they will have your equip. needs covered.

as far as advertising no prob. doing it now the rains are just starting. my ad may start in 1 or 2 weeks myself.

btw. i have a gravely 36" WB FOR SALE

fiveoboy01
06-15-2007, 08:34 PM
I disagree with going full time. I'ld start part time and work up. You will not make enough the first year or so imo to cover your living costs, so unless you have money saved, you want a second source of income.



I disagree. It's very hard to devote all your resources to your business when you're working an extra 8 hours a day at a full-time job. I'm still doing it and only because I need to pay the bills.

Next spring I'm quitting my full time job whether or not I have enough work to keep me busy full time. Financially I should be able to be in the spot I need to be in. Frankly, my advertising has been pathetic this year and last year because after working 40 hours a week then cutting grass/doing estimates/billing 30 hours a week in addition, I'm beat. I will be able to devote much more time to advertising, contacting potential customers, and other administrative work. I guarantee I will pick up at least 3 times the workload that I have right now, next year.

I do understand what you're saying, if a person has bills to pay they have to do what they gotta do. But it's harder to apply the effort if your time is limited by another job.

Scenic Excellence
06-16-2007, 01:20 AM
sorry to impose in your thread but i have a question about partnership.

i have a friends brother that is fully licensed for spray of fertilizers and weed killers, i am not. in order for me to be able to full fill the customers wants should i have an agreement with him that he has his business and i have mine we just coinside with each other on the contracts were he takes care of the fertilizing and i take care of the mowing and trimming and so on?

Bigray
06-16-2007, 08:51 AM
this is a situation where u would sub / hire him to do the spray fert. he must invoice you. and you in turn add that to your cust. invoice.

lawnman_scott
06-16-2007, 10:39 AM
I'm a hard worker and don't mind doing 6 day weeks even if that's what it takes.

In Florida, is it ok to advertise this late in the season? Grass grows year round here, the difference is you have to mow at least once a week in the summer and only once every two weeks or so in the winter. The grass in my area has actually only just started growing fast this week since our rainy season just started.This is about the best time to advertise. It has been very slow latley getting new customers, but the last two weeks I have gotten alot of calls. I have found that the best times to get customers are july-sept when its hot and rainy.

Stillwater
06-16-2007, 10:07 PM
bail on the partnership!

Stillwater
06-16-2007, 10:08 PM
sorry to impose in your thread but i have a question about partnership.

i have a friends brother that is fully licensed for spray of fertilizers and weed killers, i am not. in order for me to be able to full fill the customers wants should i have an agreement with him that he has his business and i have mine we just coinside with each other on the contracts were he takes care of the fertilizing and i take care of the mowing and trimming and so on?

get your own LIC

Sandgropher
06-16-2007, 10:22 PM
I agree with the no partnership advice, i also believe if you have a full time job you should keep it for a while,,mow each day after work and once each day is full(after work full) and Saturday also (full) then you can leave, this gives you 2 days of work each week (resheduled them say mon,tues ) then work to fill the other days, it will be murder for a while and you will be exhausted at the end of each day, it depends on how badly you wish to do it. :)

AAR Lawn Services
06-19-2007, 12:42 PM
I agree with the no partnership advice, i also believe if you have a full time job you should keep it for a while,,mow each day after work and once each day is full(after work full) and Saturday also (full) then you can leave, this gives you 2 days of work each week (resheduled them say mon,tues ) then work to fill the other days, it will be murder for a while and you will be exhausted at the end of each day, it depends on how badly you wish to do it. :)

I work until 7pm everyday, but I don't start until 10:15am, so I'd have to do some in the morning everyday. I don't mind putting in alot of extra work to get started at all. I really like the idea of being able to work more independantly than I am.