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View Full Version : 18 and looking to get started-ADVICE?


RJ937
01-04-2008, 12:03 AM
Hi, I'm 18 years old and am very business oriented. I am not afraid of responsibility nor is it anything that I am not used to already. To give you a little background on myself, I have grown up in a great environment and learned many things in the small amount of time I have been around. I lost a brother in the war in Iraq in 2005 and since then have grown much closer to my faith and realized that life is short and I want to live it how I would like to.
With that said, I am new to this site and the lawn care industry. I do not have the knowledge needed to successfully start and maintain a healthy, competent business right now, but I do have the business end of it down. What I need from all of you on here is good, helpful advice on any and everything you can think of that I will need to know.

First, I am setting aside about $8500 to get this whole thing kicked off for this summer of 2008. With this I need:
1) A good starter truck- I have a ton of background with cars, mechanics of them, and especially the performance industry(mostly imports, drifting, etc.)
2) A lawnmower to start with-this includes: brand, size, hp, zero-turn, and what I should look for as far as option/expandability.
3. Trailer size/options
4. Contracts
5. Licenses(other than a small biz license) I will need and types of insurance
-Along with these, please feel free to tell me about anything else I should take notice of.

For now to start with, I plan on only doing mowing, trimming, laying mulch, and leaf removal. I already have a few family/friends that have told me they will accept my biz for residential and commercial mowing for them. I know I have the right mindset to take this business and grow it and make it successful through determination and hardwork. Please keep your opinions to yourself regarding how young I am or anything that I did not ask about above. Thank you all in advance and I look forward to someday being the one giving the information out to people looking to start out like myself.

Big C
01-04-2008, 12:17 AM
I am also starting my business in spring of '08, the best advice given to me was to have a business plan and not to get over my head in startup expenses, this is the advice that was given to me and I am structuring my business as such......hope this helps.....good luck!!!!!!

ALarsh
01-04-2008, 12:27 AM
RJ- The best thing you can do is sit back and use the search function. There are plenty of threads that have listed all the answers to the questions you have just asked.

Good luck!

btw, i'm 18 also.. I've been doing this for a couple years now and it is completely do-able at this age.
My equipment is on this thread if you want to take a look: http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=197296&page=4

In a couple short years you can be there too!

RedCastle
01-04-2008, 12:32 AM
1st i'm going to say sorry for your loss I was in the military for 9 yrs and had 2 friends blown up over in iraq thankfully they r still living.

Big C said it best!!

if you aren't prepared business wise u r going to flop...

as for what u will need

truck.
trailer- depending on equipment u but a 6x14 would do ok
since u r mechanicly inclined u can get some angle iron and muffler clamps and make racks and tool holders

need shovel spear and flat, nice wide flat aluminum shovel
stick edger, rakes pick axe, chain saw, back pack blower ( i like the eb 7001) gas cans- 1 for mixed fuel for your trimmers and blower

mowers- exmark makes some nice ones but check for ppl selling them in the want advertiser. Wright makes a nice stander and you can find them around easy. for a rider i would recommend atleast a 42" but if u had to get a 36"

u can also get walkbehind mower again i would recommend atleast a 42"

a nice 21" mower for those yards honda is pretty good for commercial mowers

think i answered a cpl of your questions

oh also either quickbooks or gopher software

insurance if you check with you state liscening it should guide you but generally you need GL insurance which stands for General liability and of course the vechile insurance is then under business as well but it's better to have it then not..and don't go for under a million in liability insurance better to have enough then sell your stuff.. check the small business acssociation website.

Grits
01-04-2008, 01:20 AM
This is something you probably don't want to hear. Go to college, the grass will be there when you get done.
Also, I wouldn't do business with family or friends.

StihlGreen
01-04-2008, 01:04 PM
Like ALarsh said bro, the search function is your best friend!! Don't lose that attitude and you will be just fine.

All_Toro_4ME
01-04-2008, 01:21 PM
Read read and read some more. Google everything you can think of to learn about the green industry. Use the search feature on this site as well. On your equipment, go to the manufacturers website and read everything about the specs for the type of mowers that manufacture has to offer. You will learn a lot about the equipment this way. Do the same for the string trimmers, blowers and whatever else you need. Then search those brands on this site to see how they perform commercially in the field for us. Hope this helps....

tcalb2
01-04-2008, 06:43 PM
this is my thoughts, take them for what they are. I'm 23 and this is my second year in business. I found the following out my first year hope it helps:

- Be careful who you hire to help you. Sometimes hiring friends and family seems like the most confortable at first but this type of situtation can cause problems, I still haven't talked to one of my friends after he burned me on a big job last year.

- No one you hire is going to work as hard as you.

- Make sure to get a confortable amount of weekly lawn accounts before the season starts. The money from them will help to hold you over if you don't have any mulching, plantings or clean ups to do.

- Where I live you don't need any licenses to cut lawns and do maintenance. It is a good idea to get liabilty insurance enventually.

- Grow slow and try not to get too a head of yourself. More businesses fail because they run out and buy a bunch of new equipment on credit and bury themselves in debt. I would know I buy their equipment when they go out of business. ha.

- With that said buy the best well made equipment you can aford.

- Understand how much your operating costs are. How much you have put into the company and how soon you think you should pay yourself back for the investment.

- Don't lower you prices to get jobs. I did this all season long, on hardscape projects. It works but you loose in the end. You end up working for nothing. Sometimes it is better to walk away from a job then to take it for lower then you bid it.

Good Luck
Take care of yourself and update us on how your doing.

RedCastle
01-04-2008, 07:06 PM
tcal i don't mean to throw the topic off but your from RI huh East Greenwich? I got alot of friends that way as i'm originally from RI.

RJ937
01-04-2008, 07:45 PM
Thank you for the advice so far guys! As far as the comment about college goes...I am actually attending college for a business degree and also just enrolled to go to paintless dent school and ordered my tools. My older brother is an engineer and within his first year of getting out of college with his masters he was making $60k a year. So believe me when I say I know the importance of education. I will look into the exmark mowers and do some more searching on that. I have a large list of local companies I am going to call to see what their rates are and things like that. I also have a family friend that owns a lawn care biz so I plan on going to his house and checking all of his equipment out etc.

All_Toro_4ME
01-07-2008, 12:01 PM
Thank you for the advice so far guys! As far as the comment about college goes...I am actually attending college for a business degree and also just enrolled to go to paintless dent school and ordered my tools. My older brother is an engineer and within his first year of getting out of college with his masters he was making $60k a year. So believe me when I say I know the importance of education. I will look into the exmark mowers and do some more searching on that. I have a large list of local companies I am going to call to see what their rates are and things like that. I also have a family friend that owns a lawn care biz so I plan on going to his house and checking all of his equipment out etc.

sounds like you have a good plan in place, keep us informed.....

echeandia
01-07-2008, 10:24 PM
I don't think you have enough capital to purchase the things you mention. A decent used truck will run at least $5000. You also need to pay for handheld equipment, insurance, business registration, vehicle registration, advertising, printing, accounting software, office supplies, etc. If I were you I would write a business plan so that at a minimum you can think everything through and get it down on paper.

mattmus4357
01-08-2008, 09:36 AM
I don't think you have enough capital to purchase the things you mention. A decent used truck will run at least $5000. You also need to pay for handheld equipment, insurance, business registration, vehicle registration, advertising, printing, accounting software, office supplies, etc. If I were you I would write a business plan so that at a minimum you can think everything through and get it down on paper.

If your parents will co sign, then you could always go to the bank and take out a business loan. That's what I had to do because I didn't have enough cash to get started. It's worked out well for me because I don't make payments in the off season, I make double payments during the mowing season. This is my second year in the business and I should have it all paid off this year.

RJ937
01-08-2008, 10:46 AM
Well I do not have any problem at all with the finances for this business. I have no need for a business loan. The number I estimated to set aside was just that; an estimation. I can raise that as much as I want. I am not willing to take more than $15,000 out of my account for this business and I plan on keeping it under $10,000. My family is very good friends with all of the salvage yards in the area and I used to work for one that is very close to my house. So for me to get a decent truck and fix it, paint it whatever color I would like, etc. is not a problem as I mentioned before that I have quite a bit of background in this. As well as many of these yards will get trailers and things like that and the local trading post has at least 12 trailers in it that are very reasonably priced. As far as office supplies go, I already have an office set up in my house for all of my current business activities( I am involved with another business as well) and so far I cannot think of anything else that I am missing in that office. There are some small things you listed that I did neglect to have written in my plan as far as vehicle registration and printing. I have a nice hook up for printing and advertising but theres no way out of vehicle registration :hammerhead:. Thank you for pointing these things out for me though and making sure that I took them into account!:cool2: