View Full Version : Looking for advice on getting into the lawn cutting business

12-02-2007, 07:16 PM
I am moving to Florida in January and i would like to work for myself down the road. I have worked for myself for the last 16 years here in the northeast doing international moving but i am getting to old and the ole back aint what it use to be to continue in this line of work. My plan is to get a full time job and do lawn care on the weekends till i can get enough accounts to do it full time. So the advice i need is this i have a opportunity to purchase the equipment below and with the 6 accounts that come with the equipment i will be able to make the loan payments to pay off the equipment. i can get this equipment for $25,000 and pay it off in 5 years without adding any new accounts. I figure i could do up to 15 accounts on the weekend with no problems and do a very good job on each lawn as quality is the key i think. Then i can build from there does this sound like a good plan? I have maintained my own lawn but i know doing it for a job will be different. I do enjoy being outside and have always had a job that involves driving and never being in the same place. I am lookig foward to your responses i have learned alot here just reading all the posts.

Thank you
Richard Kramer

2005 Ford F-150, XLT 5.4 Triton V8, 2x4, Super Crew Cab, 45872 Miles
- 1990 Pace Trailer, 16' Tandem Axle, Side door, Rear Ramp door, (2) Trimmer Rack, Spare Tire, AC, Electric hook up, carpet
- John Deere Commercial Zero Turn Mower, Mid-Mount, Z-Trak 737, 24 HP V-Twin Kawasaki, 54" Deck, Airless caster wheels, $435.00 full check & tune up on 4/5/07, 342 Hours
- 2007 Stihl FS 100RX Trimmer (Like New)
- 2007 Stihl BG 85 Blower (Like New)
- Stihl FC 75 Stick Edger

- Business Tools:
- Business Computer Disc: Blank Invoice on Letter head, Equipment pictures, Business Card Template with business logo all set in place, Account Information Spread Sheet, Business Logo designs, Equipment List and Spec Sheet

- Accounts:
- Only 6 accounts come with the business. All my customers are happy with the service and will stay happy as long as the job gets done. The accounts are being given away for FREE. There is no extra costs for these 6 accounts. I collected $6200.00 from these 6 accounts in 2007.

12-02-2007, 07:37 PM
Not sure if cutting on sundays will work as sooner or later the HOA will have something to say... you may be able to do 15 in 1 day though, $25k price seems fair as the truck is worth about $17k but unless the truck will be your daily driver I dont think you need that much of a truck for 1 day of work

12-02-2007, 10:44 PM
Sounds like a good deal for what you're getting, but do you want that nice of a setup for one or two days of work? Crew cab truck, trailer with ac, great stuff but like privatelawn said, if your not going to use the truck as a daily driver I would put together something less elaborate

Gator Lawn
12-02-2007, 11:18 PM
Little johnny down the street can handle those 6 accounts with a $300 investment. 5 years to pay it off? Not what I would do. I think all you will be doing is stepping into another's failed business attempt.

I'm getting old also and I can tell you yard work is no cake walk, especially down here where the heat is stifling in the summer.

12-03-2007, 04:52 AM
i will use the truck as my everyday transporation and my plan is to get more accounts ASAP enough to get a full day in on saturday as i never thought about sundays not being a day i could mow. I figure maybe if i get a few accounts that are not in community developments i could do those on a sunday and all depending on the full time job i get (some are 4 days a week 10 hrs a day) i would then have another day to add accounts to or even do a few accounts after work if i get out early. I also have 3/4 acre of my own to do so i figured this mower would really help me out there being i have to get one for home anyways. As far as the heat goes i know how hot it gets i lived in ft lauderdale in the 80s and did flat top commercial roofing 120 deg on the roof i like the heat. So i just figured since i do want to build this into a full time deal and this equipment seems like a good deal it was a good idea to get it now. Was just wondering if anyone had any experiance with the John Deer ZTR mower that is being offered is it a good dependable machine? And how does the other equipment offered stack up is that also decent equipment?

thank you
Richard Kramer

12-03-2007, 07:02 AM
[QUOTE=rlk3331@earthlink.net;2053089]i will use the truck as my everyday transporation and my plan is to get more accounts ASAP enough to get a full day in on saturday ... As far as the heat goes i know how hot it gets i lived in ft lauderdale in the 80s and did flat top commercial roofing 120 deg on the roof i like the heat. ... Was just wondering if anyone had any experiance with the John Deer ZTR mower that is being offered is it a good dependable machine ? And how does the other equipment offered stack up is that also decent equipment ?

Like the others have said, what you'll be getting for the price is a good deal. The fact that you know how the heat is down in Florida and you like working in it, bodes well for you. Go ahead and get the equipment and good luck in your endeavor.

Regarding the equipment, the JD 737 and other stuff will hold up to commercial work ... go for it, don't look back, and good luck !!

12-03-2007, 10:52 AM
The equipment is some of the best you can get, but depending on the accounts you have and will get, you might need to get a smaller mower for some tight spots

12-03-2007, 11:00 AM
It's a good plan but I also think it's too slutty.
You don't need a XLT / SLT, I got one my 6th year but it's a 1995 and I only paid 2500 for it, worked on it for dang near a month to get it all right, spent another 1500 in the process, but I'm only out 4000 and that's blue book, paid cash in full, see what I'm getting at.

First I'd get a more basic work truck, skip the loaded features, then get a 44" float deck Wb with a velke and forfeit the Z.
Save yourself a good 10g right there.
With some of the extra cash get a 3/4 ton (a F-250 / D-2500 / 2500 gmc) because that 150 isn't made for it, too light a p'up.
Keep the bg-85 handheld for summer but then get a br-600 backpack blower, you will need that come early spring and fall.

I think the rest is fine, but skip the AC on the trailer, I think covered cuts you out of hauling but that's your choice.

Because even then that 15g gonna take 3 years to gross, working on the weekends the weather isn't always cooperative on Saturdays either, heh.

Also if you save hard you might not have to finance, that would be a big plus as well.
You'll be better off, I think.

12-03-2007, 05:55 PM
It looks like the price is justified based on the truck and equipment (maybe the mower is worth $5K and the trailer and handhelds are worth $2K. Plus...maybe you could offer him $20K and get it done. FYI, I had a '05 150 supercrew xlt this summer, and it was an awesome vehicle (sold it for a plow truck). You gotta ride in style!

Like Topsites said, planning to work Saturdays only may be a problem when life interupts your plans. You need to think about that.

It only makes sense to me if you plan to advertise, hustle, work hard, and get some more business. Unless you grow it, work it, upgrade things, by the time you pay off your loan, your business (the equipment) will be worth less than $10K.

I'd hop on that deal.

12-04-2007, 10:44 AM
Is there anyone here that operates in the fort myers area?

I want to be licensed and insured from the information i have gathered i need a tax license for each city i plan to cut lawns in (ex fort myers,cape coral, ect) is this correct? And the cost for these are around $30 a year. Is there any other licenses i need? As far as insurance i need a general liability policy on the business and a commercial policy on pickup and on the trailer is this correct? Is there anyone in this area running a similar operation that could ball park me on the total cost of these insurances and am i missing any other insurance i might need (i will be a solo operation so i wont need workmen's comp).

Is there a way to figure the cost of fuel i am thinking on 1/4 acre lawns to be safe a gallon of gas per lawn (ex 20 lawns 20 gals 3.50 a gal = $75)

How much can i expect to spend on general maintenance of my equipment?
i can change oil and grease myself but as far as tune ups and things of that nature i would need done.

more questions to come i am sure

I want to thank everyone here you all are great i am learning alot reading posts on this site

Thank You
Richard Kramer

Gator Lawn
12-04-2007, 11:15 PM
I just don't think you can make money working 1 day/wk and still pay for all the static expenses. You haven't even considered the depreciation of the equipment. By the time you pay it off, it will have little value.

12-05-2007, 07:38 AM
I understand what you are saying but the way i am looking at it is this. I will need a vehicle when i move there and i also need to buy a mower for for the 3/4 acre lot that my new home sits on so i will have to spend at least $7000 for a decent vehicle and another $500 to $1000 for a riding mower for my lawn. So knock that off the price of the business and i am really getting it for $17,000 with 6 accounts that pay $500 a month. I will be adding accounts 4 to 6 ASAP to get the income up to near $1000 a month. My full time job work schedule will be either 4 days a week 10 hours a day or 5 days 7am to 4 pm so i will have either another full day to mow or do a lawn or 2 after my full time job. Doing it this way i can pay it off in nearly half the time and as far as depreciation of the equipment i dont see where that really matters its the amount of use. If properly maintained this equipment should last minimum 7 years if not longer. Now as far as insurance goes i called my agent yesterday if i just bought a car my premium would be around $700 a year and to get a general liabilty policy and commercial insurance on the truck and trailer it will be around $2000 a year so its only a $100 a month more over the car insurance. So to sum it all up by doing it this way i will be able to learn the trade and not feel pressured by to many accounts at the start and have the time to go the extra mile for the customer and do a great job and build a good reputation on quality work and as i learn and get better i could add a few more accounts from there. Its not like i am strapped for cash i just dont like to use all my hard earned money on equipment and financing does help on taxes. Thank you for all the responses so far please keep them coming i am learning alot.

Richard Kramer

12-05-2007, 09:57 AM
I think you have a realistic plan for a part time operation. Go for it. Your plan will allow you to pay for the equipment, the truck, and maybe some beer money. If you see it as a part time job to pay for the truck, mower, etc, then it seems realistic, and will most likely work. If you could get up to 15 or 20 lawns you may actually make a little part-time money.

I wouldn't worry too much about repair bills. But plan to keep some money in reserve to repair the mower, truck and trailer when they break. If you need to replace the mower engine, it will be maybe $2K (can someone confirm?). I have about 40 large lawns, a ztr, and spent maybe $300 on mower repairs this year (coil/carb). Keep in mind that you also may need to drop a quick $400 to replace a trimmer or blower here or there since you have no backup equipment. If the mower needs extensive repairs you may need to rent a mower, which costs $125/day around here.

The only part that doesn't make business sense to me is to run and depreciate the expensive mower. However, if you just want to own the snazzy mower, and are willing to work weekends to pay for it, that is your decision to make. And, if your plan is to expand, the mower will allow you to grow without pain.