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CollegeCash
11-25-2007, 08:08 PM
Hello. I am 15 years old, and I am considering going into the lawn care business (and be fully legal) next year when I get my driver's license. If I do go into business, I will only do it while I am in high school. After high school, I will go off to a college that will most likely be hours away to study for an unrelated career. Basically, I am asking if it is worth going into business if you know you will only be in business for 2-3 years.

Also, I won't be able to start next year until mid April because that is when I turn 16 and I won't have someone to drive me around until then. A truck, insurance for the truck, and a string trimmer is all the equipment that I can use of my parent's. Everything else I will have to pay for with my own money. I estimate I will have 2-3k dollars saved up from other stuff by then. If I don't start a lawn care business, I will just get a minimum wage job somewhere and save up for college (and a few other things:))

Sorry for the long rant. Any opinions are appreciated!

PS: About how much is liability business insurance for a first year lawn care business?

daveyo
11-25-2007, 09:03 PM
At your age basically what your saying is can I make some money mowing lawns legit. I say don't do it, go for a solid paying summer job, be responsible and sock your money away. Way less responsibility and money out of your pocket. I won't get into the logistics of owning your own business but believe me your better off working for someone up and through college

topsites
11-26-2007, 02:14 AM
No, you shouldn't.

Running a business requires dedication, a solid plan, determination, and a whole lot more, not the least of which is a long term commitment, much like marriage preferably it's forever.

Marcos
11-26-2007, 02:31 AM
Oh, I don't agree 100% with the man from N.J.
You sound like you have a head on your shoulders with a decent idea of where you're going.
(Honestly, you speak a better dialogue than I had in 1979, at the age of 15!)

You didn't say what your college study and your ultimate goal in your "unrelated career" was. (?)

Maybe running a mowing / maintenance biz for a couple years could build up some of the things you'll need later:
* people to people negiotiating skills
* learning what it takes to satisfy a client / win new ones
* time management skills (truly being ON YOUR OWN)
* budgeting / planning skills
* learning taxes / insurance / 401K etc.
..........and there's more I can't think of this late!

So...
Are you just looking at mowing lawns?
No fertilizing or landscape cleanup or anything else?
I guess you're looking at business insurance, like you said.
But you also need a mower, maybe two if you want to have 'big guy' / 'little guy' combo to do big yards w/ smaller fenced in areas
And you need a blower too.
What else?
A stick edger?

fool32696
11-26-2007, 02:55 AM
No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

daveyo
11-26-2007, 05:47 PM
You didn't say what your college study and your ultimate goal in your "unrelated career" was. (?)




No but he did say it WASN'T lawn care.

Marcos
11-26-2007, 07:16 PM
No but he did say it WASN'T lawn care.

O.K. Mr. Obvious!!!!
But maybe he's ultimately looking at a career goal in which some of the things he'll gain, in many aspects of business and customer relationships, from being out on his own ON HIS OWN DISCIPLINED SCHEDULE for a couple of years would REALLY serve to benefit him later.

That's the kind of stuff you don't get working at Taco Bell!

KS_Grasscutter
11-26-2007, 07:22 PM
No way. Not for 3 years or whatever. I have friends making $7 an hour at Sears. I would think that would be the way to go. $7 an hour with no business expenses and all the other hassles of dealing with customers, etc. Makes me wanna go get a job at Sears...

echeandia
11-26-2007, 07:54 PM
You should not start a business if you plan on running it for only 2 or 3 years. It takes longer than that to get it going. Just get a part time job like the other posters suggest.

Gator Lawn
11-26-2007, 09:28 PM
Go for it little brother. You don't have to marry a mower to make money doing this stuff.

I don't think you can build a real business in only 2-3 years. Hell, most never make a real business out of this. I only know of a handful that make real money....but you can make much more than your buddies flipping burgers. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't envy the burger boys. I did it in HS and now wish I had the opportunity and market to cut lawns back then.

If you really have 2-3K and access to a truck your vision is very doable. Now is the time to start shopping for a spring start. Every failure starts trying to sell now. Check out craigslist.org. The great deals are starting to come in. If you buy right and maintain it well you can sell in a few years and break even....maybe make a few bucks.

Who knows, maybe you can figure out how to beat the odds and build a real business. I put myself through engineering school by doing property maintenance and got spoiled by the whole "work for yourself" concept. Never looked back.

Dodge Truck
11-26-2007, 09:54 PM
Absolutely go for it...as long as you take the time to make it a success it will be much more profitable than taco bell or whatever. Most of these guys are just pissed that they didn't have the opportunity or initiative to tackle their own business at a young age. :clapping:
Why would you not take on something to better yourself. Not only will you be making more money but you will be learning valuable things that will help you later such as:
You'll be a step ahead of most kids your age and that will benefit you when you try to get into college, not only will you have a better chance of getting into the one that you want to but you will also have a better chance of them paying for you to go there (saving you thousands) because of the uniqueness you bring to the table of running a business.:cool2:
Also you will be learning, like someone already stated some very valuable business skills that can be applied to any business.
If you are not willing to put in the time,:weightlifter: its a lot more than just the work, then don't do it but if you do then set yourself up for success for the rest of your life.

Advertise, advertise advertise!:waving:

Krehling's Prop. Maint.
11-26-2007, 10:35 PM
as a general rule of thumb, on average it takes about 5 years for a new business to start making money. just something to keep in mind. its not in what you make its what you spend

CollegeCash
11-26-2007, 11:34 PM
So...
Are you just looking at mowing lawns?
No fertilizing or landscape cleanup or anything else?

I will probably just do the basic stuff like lawn maintenance, mulch installation, fall clean up, and stuff like that. I might do fertilization and aeration, but all I know about it is what I've read on here.

I guess you're looking at business insurance, like you said.
But you also need a mower, maybe two if you want to have 'big guy' / 'little guy' combo to do big yards w/ smaller fenced in areas
[/QUOTE]

I could use my dad's Murray Rider (13.5 HP/40" cut), but I don't feel like I can do a good job with it. I was going to try to get a used walk behind. I have seen some 36"-48" belt drives on eBay sell for $500-$800. Example: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=250190101899&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=015
Are these about wore out, or do they typically have enough life in them to last as long as I want them to?

QUOTE FROM Dodge Truck:
"You'll be a step ahead of most kids your age and that will benefit you when you try to get into college, not only will you have a better chance of getting into the one that you want to but you will also have a better chance of them paying for you to go there (saving you thousands) because of the uniqueness you bring to the table of running a business.:cool2:"

Wow, I never thought of getting my college fully paid for! Do you really think this would happen?

I appreciate everybody's opinions, and would like to here more of them!

Marcos
11-27-2007, 12:06 AM
Go for it little brother. You don't have to marry a mower to make money doing this stuff.

I don't think you can build a real business in only 2-3 years. Hell, most never make a real business out of this. I only know of a handful that make real money....but you can make much more than your buddies flipping burgers. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't envy the burger boys. I did it in HS and now wish I had the opportunity and market to cut lawns back then.

If you really have 2-3K and access to a truck your vision is very doable. Now is the time to start shopping for a spring start. Every failure starts trying to sell now. Check out craigslist.org. The great deals are starting to come in. If you buy right and maintain it well you can sell in a few years and break even....maybe make a few bucks.

Who knows, maybe you can figure out how to beat the odds and build a real business. I put myself through engineering school by doing property maintenance and got spoiled by the whole "work for yourself concept". Never looked back.

I won't call you 'kid' because no kid makes these kinds of decisions any longer.

Remember, if you make smart buys on equipment, are smart in finding theright types of clients (that pay you), and take care of your equipment so that after you graduate you can either sell them, or use them at the house you can then later afford because of your new job (nice to dream.....:rolleyes:) you got after you graduated!

Always plan ahead...but allow for some free style realistic dreaming!

Marcos
11-27-2007, 12:21 AM
But you also need a mower, maybe two
And you need a blower too.
A stick edger?

What else would you have on your 'needs' list should you decide to move forward?

A trailer for your mowers?
Maybe a class V trailer 'Reese' hitch setup for your truck?

What else to start?

CollegeCash
11-27-2007, 12:57 AM
What else would you have on your 'needs' list should you decide to move forward?

A trailer for your mowers?
Maybe a class V trailer 'Reese' hitch setup for your truck?

What else to start?

My dad will buy a newer (1990s) 3/4 ton (or half ton if he can't find a good priced 3/4 ton) next year because our 7 MPG 1977 GMC is rusting to pieces lol. He will put a towing hitch on it because we need that for a cattle trailer anyways.

Here is my equipment / needs list:
Stihl Blower (which size, new or used?) $200-$550
Stihl edger (Must I have this?) (new or used?) $150-$350
Used trailer $500-$800
Used walk behind $500-$1200
Hedge trimmer (if I have any money left) $300+-
String Trimmer I'll use my dad's FC-55 Stihl until later
Business License $50-$150 (not sure)
Insurance $500 (guess?)
And last but definitely not least, advertising. (need suggestions on what to do)
I will probably have to buy everything used in order to stay in my budget. I may even have to start out with a cheap stupid 21" mower:cry:.

On the advertising, people claim to get a 1-3% return on fliers, doorhangers, and stuff like that. Do they mean that 1-3% call, or they actually 1-3% customers?

Thanks for all of your help!

Dodge Truck
11-27-2007, 08:48 AM
So...


QUOTE FROM Dodge Truck:
"You'll be a step ahead of most kids your age and that will benefit you when you try to get into college, not only will you have a better chance of getting into the one that you want to but you will also have a better chance of them paying for you to go there (saving you thousands) because of the uniqueness you bring to the table of running a business.:cool2:"

Wow, I never thought of getting my college fully paid for! Do you really think this would happen?

I appreciate everybody's opinions, and would like to here more of them!
Yes it can and has happened, you may not get full buts its possible but even getting it cut in half is great

Gator Lawn
11-27-2007, 11:36 AM
Skip the hedger until later. Don't skimp on the mower. This time of year you should be able to get a very good one for $600. You can make payments on the insurance. Don't start it until you start working.

You won't get a college ride for cutting grass in HS. It takes grades.

Dodge Truck
11-27-2007, 11:39 AM
Skip the hedger until later. Don't skimp on the mower. This time of year you should be able to get a very good one for $600. You can make payments on the insurance. Don't start it until you start working.

You won't get a college ride for cutting grass in HS. It takes grades.

No duh it takes grades, but colleges will be impressed that a kid is running a successful business, if you're just cutting the neighbors yard that won't help you. But colleges will be impressed by prospective students who run businesses not just lawn biz but any biz, they are interested in the biz aspect not what it actually is

CollegeCash
11-27-2007, 10:49 PM
Skip the hedger until later. Don't skimp on the mower. This time of year you should be able to get a very good one for $600. You can make payments on the insurance. Don't start it until you start working.

You won't get a college ride for cutting grass in HS. It takes grades.

Did you mean edger or hedge trimmer?

I make A's and some B's and take harder classes (they're not actually hard, they just require more work). They will actually get hard next school year :cry:
I think it could help me get into colleges and get scholarships as long as I can prove that I did it. Colleges have been known to turn down people with 4.0s just because they didn't have any/enough after school activities.
I do see your point that I can't disregard school to mow lawns, though. I agree with you there.

Gator Lawn
11-27-2007, 11:30 PM
I can tell you first hand that the schools look at grades and test scores first. In marginal cases they consider the extra-curricular stuff. If your grades and test scores are borderline and you have started cutting grass you are best to just continue cutting grass. No sense throwing good money after bad.

Yea, I call a hedge trimmer a hedger. Hate using them. Too much like gardening.

93Chevy
11-27-2007, 11:45 PM
Hey, if you really have the ambition, I say go for it. You seem to know the risks involved with this. I plan on start to mow this coming year part time for some extra money. I've always wanted to have my own lawncare biz and I hope now is the break I'm looking for. I know I'll get blasted for thinking that a college kid can make money part time mowing legit, but I know the risks.

As mentioned earlier, this will improve your character a lot. You seem to have a good head on your shoulders and it's always good to know how to take care of equipment, do finances and taxes, and have good people skills. I wish you good luck and hope you do better than I did and actually go for it!

CollegeCash
11-28-2007, 12:00 AM
I can tell you first hand that the schools look at grades and test scores first. In marginal cases they consider the extra-curricular stuff. If your grades and test scores are borderline and you have started cutting grass you are best to just continue cutting grass. No sense throwing good money after bad.

Yea, I call a hedge trimmer a hedger. Hate using them. Too much like gardening.

So do you just not trim hedges?

Gator Lawn
11-28-2007, 12:13 AM
So do you just not trim hedges?

No, don't do gardening.

CollegeCash
11-28-2007, 12:24 AM
No, don't do gardening.

Wouldn't you loose business by not doing hedges and minor gardening?:confused: What specific services do you offer?

jiggz
11-28-2007, 12:49 AM
I hoestally think your getting lightyears ahead of your self with the trailor and walkbehind talk.. LOL you dont know if you have any coustomers yet


maaan all you need is a cheep ass 21' mower 200$ KEEP YOUR BLADES SHARP
a dumb Stihl handheld blower under 200$
no you dont need an edger.. ((but you will have to learn how to edge with your pops line trimmer))

just throw all this **** in the bed of the truck.. get involved in your community talk to people.. sign them bitches up..



easy

CollegeCash
11-28-2007, 01:01 AM
I hoestally think your getting lightyears ahead of your self with the trailor and walkbehind talk.. LOL you dont know if you have any coustomers yet


maaan all you need is a cheep ass 21' mower 200$ KEEP YOUR BLADES SHARP
a dumb Stihl handheld blower under 200$
no you dont need an edger.. ((but you will have to learn how to edge with your pops line trimmer))

just throw all this **** in the bed of the truck.. get involved in your community talk to people.. sign them bitches up..



easy

WOW, I would value your opinion, but your language just totally ruins it.:rolleyes:
Great way to refer to your customers...maybe you need to go for better ones :laugh:

EJH
11-28-2007, 06:16 AM
no way !! you would never believe how much money that you will have in all of your stuff !!!! if you would like get some exert cash in you pocket then i say to buy $ 200 push mower and a cheep weed-eater somewhere ..
then do really small jobs.. 15 min tops!!!! the one thing always to remember with mowing is that it outside work!!!!!!!!!! (( THE WEATHER!! )) can make you or break ya!!! NO RAIN no work!!!! LOTS OF RAIN hard to keep up :dizzy:..... then throw in break downs in on that, then gas $305gal
here...... i could just keep on going on the cost what it takes to run on..
lots of lawns to be mowed !!!!!!! good luck!!!!

over and out !!!!

Stillwater
11-28-2007, 08:02 AM
No, don't do gardening.

Why Not......?

Stillwater
11-28-2007, 08:04 AM
I can tell you first hand that the schools look at grades and test scores first. In marginal cases they consider the extra-curricular stuff. If your grades and test scores are borderline and you have started cutting grass you are best to just continue cutting grass. No sense throwing good money after bad.

Yea, I call a hedge trimmer a hedger. Hate using them. Too much like gardening.

Really?.......

Marcos
11-28-2007, 12:53 PM
I hoestally think your getting lightyears ahead of your self with the trailor and walkbehind talk.. LOL you dont know if you have any coustomers yet


maaan all you need is a cheep ass 21' mower 200$ KEEP YOUR BLADES SHARP
a dumb Stihl handheld blower under 200$
no you dont need an edger.. ((but you will have to learn how to edge with your pops line trimmer))

just throw all this **** in the bed of the truck.. get involved in your community talk to people.. sign them bitches up..


easy

( In my opinion this works if you're wanting to stay below the bar of the customer's expectations!)

93Chevy
11-28-2007, 03:19 PM
I don't see any problem with using cheap equipment, as long as you do professional work and conduct yourself professionally, the customer might be willing to overlook the fact that you're using cheap equip, as long as they're happy. Depends on the account as well.

Gator Lawn
11-28-2007, 10:51 PM
Wouldn't you loose business by not doing hedges and minor gardening?:confused: What specific services do you offer?

By the same logic, I lose business by not doing all the other things I don't do.

I did property maintenance in college and I did everything, and I mean everything, pertaining to property maintenance/refurbishing/repair. Paint, drywall, floors, lawns, roofs....everything. I had a couple big property management firms that I contracted with. It worked well as a solo with temp help sometimes. I billed huge money compared to what I would have made working a real job. The problem is that that kind of work requires a huge skill set. I could never grow it to a real business because I couldn't find the quality help.

That is the problem with a do-it-all lawn service. It's not rocket science, but some aspects of lawn care require knowledge that the mower pusher doesn't have.

I believe the solo or solo/helper(s) should be competent in and seek all the related work. I just have a different tack.

I'm too old do this work myself. I'm building a business modeled after JT's justmowit.

Gator Lawn
11-28-2007, 10:59 PM
duplicate post