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View Full Version : how to get a lawn mowing business going


mattlmow
03-15-2008, 09:19 PM
I NEED HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i am a 13 yr old guy in NE and I have been doing my neighbor's lawn regularly for a few years. Although I like mowing for them I want to expand on my "business". I have passed out flyers for the past year and still no results. Do any of you have any comments or suggestions on how to get a business started? And PLEASE DON'T TELL ME I'M TOO YOUNG.
Matt

cgaengineer
03-15-2008, 09:21 PM
Is your neighbor happy with their service from you? If they are, ask them to pass out some business cards for you. Do you attend church? If that is a good place to start too. You wont get customer overnight you have to work to get them.

capnsac
03-15-2008, 10:12 PM
on the flyer tell em your 25 years of age and that you are licensed and insured and that you have 10 years in the business. Its all the same to them, because you are licensed and insured and all that essential stuff, besides being 25, so what's a little white lie...

tyler_mott85
03-15-2008, 10:12 PM
I started my own thing about your age with just a couple family members. The best way I found work was to have my parents ask around their work. Once you get a handful of happy customers slowly but surely your business will travel by word of mouth. Its really hard to just jump in and be really busy in this business without a lot of money to make commercials with. Maybe make some Business cards and hand them out to EVERYONE you meet.

greenleaf1
03-15-2008, 10:35 PM
put the word out with your friends and family members, pass out fliers, post a local add or two. just try to get a few jobs quickly and make sure to do a good job. word of mouth is the best form of advertising. good luck.

greenbaylawns
03-16-2008, 01:44 AM
Welcome neighbor. Work hard and they will come

BravoMow
03-16-2008, 03:52 PM
i started at 15 pushing equipment up and down streets on top of two pushmowers. I wish i would have started sooner. you will do fine man. i used a polaris ranger at one point to transport stuff. don't give it up. its great money. you can probably almost make 15 bucks an hour if you work hard with what you got right now. good luck. post for more help if you need it

TheKingNJ
03-16-2008, 04:14 PM
how about enjoy your early teen years and don't worry about expanding your "business" to more then 4 lawns.

corbster
03-16-2008, 05:15 PM
on the flyer tell em your 25 years of age and that you are licensed and insured and that you have 10 years in the business. Its all the same to them, because you are licensed and insured and all that essential stuff, besides being 25, so what's a little white lie...

Wow, you sound trustworthy. Why would you tell him to lie??

capnsac
03-17-2008, 11:22 AM
Wow, you sound trustworthy. Why would you tell him to lie??

i was being sarcastic

snowshreadr4ever
03-17-2008, 12:01 PM
dont mention your age. I started at 11 with a couple lawns on my street. Through middle school my mom would drive me around to my lawns until i got my liscense. Just make a professional flyer. Sometimes you have to do a little extra like offer a discounted first cut/ trial cut to show you can compete with other companies. Lots of people would say to not under sell yourself but at 13, its not like you have major bills to pay. Pass out a professional flyer and do good work. This is all you need to do and you'll be fine.

topsites
03-17-2008, 12:05 PM
So for all that matters why not a McDonald's franchise?
What's the difference?

By the way, if you lie to your customers first off you might as well work for free.
Not that I'd expect you to understand the Yin and the Yang of things but it doesn't do much good to be dishonest, I am sure this much you understand.
Because just for example should you get hurt or better yet by accident cause some damage on a customer's property (say to their pretty Jaguar sitting in the driveway) and the customer just THEN finds out your true age and that you can not cover for it, they could, if they wanted to, sue your parents (even more so if they're in on it).

gandk06
03-17-2008, 12:27 PM
The fact that you are 13 may make it difficult to get customers other than people you know.
Stick with it kid. Maybe all you get is 3 customers for the summer. Great. As you get older more customers will come your way. Think of it this way. I you get 3 customers at $25 each, that is $75 more per week than your 13 year old buddies are making.

good luck.

BravoMow
03-18-2008, 08:02 PM
personally, i love mowing. i REALLY enjoy. if you just want to earn a few bucks, but not really work then keep it below 5 for sure... i know i enjoyed my early years, don't give them up!

kleankutslawn
03-18-2008, 08:32 PM
advertise to get your name out there.Go door to door

Enzo
03-18-2008, 11:16 PM
Like everyone is saying go door to door. I was plowing a neighbors driveway and another neighbor saw me and called me over. He told me his guy is always late and always comes up with some stupid excuse. I told him I was very reliable and I get the job done whatever it takes. I got him right away and I never told him my rates he just started paying me $75 a storm and $40 a week for grass. I do what I got to do and he pays. You need to build trust get to know more people by handing out flyers and like everyone else was saying word of mouth is the best way of advertising. Tell your clients you will cut the price every time they refer a new customer to you. every little incentive like that helps.

MowerJockey
03-18-2008, 11:41 PM
Matt,

Right now expanding your business is going to be kind of difficult because you cant drive yet so your autonomy is limited to your neighborhood. There are some good posts on here.

Here is my suggestion. Ask your current customers if it would be okay to put signs in their yard for a day or two after you mow. Many local building contractors do this. For example: "roof by John Doe company" or "Siding done by Jane Doe and sons". I think you get the point, but make sure your phone number is on it too. Put some signs in their yards for a day or two for passerby's to see. If necessary give your customers a dollar or two discount and then put it in your books as an advertising expense.

Another suggestion. Do you have access to a good camera? Do you have one or two yards that when you walk away you say, "Man thats my best looking yard"? If all your yards look outstanding then choose one, take some good morning or evening photos of those yards, flower beds, edging work, etc. Then do some scrapbooking with those photos. Now, go door to door and show those neighbors what their other neighbors property looks like when you get done with it. Get written permission from the landowners whose property you put in your book too.

Your competition is not necessarily another LCO, its your limited range because you arent at an age you can legally drive. If you learn the basic techniques to landing all the LCO business in your neighborhood, can you imagine what type of competition you will be once you are legal to drive? You will literally be deadly to your competitors! You may even become a standard setter for your area.

Good luck and keep your eyeballs on the constructive posts on this website.

Steve

Ed Ryder
03-19-2008, 12:57 AM
If I was a homeowner shopping for a grass cutting service provider, there's no way I'd hire a youngster to do this work. No way. However, I did get my start in this business when I was 12.

I focused on getting work in my own neighborhood. Back then I had several other kid competitors and there were no pros. It's different now though. Lots of pros.

Hmm... just make sure you protect your eyes and ears at all times. And a push mower is more likely to take off your toes than a walk-behind.

O'BrienLawn&Landscape
03-19-2008, 11:35 AM
I have a brother who is 14 right now and makes close to $400/wk. When he started he had a nice mower and would do good work. First impressions are a big deal so when neighbors see you driving around in the neighborhood on a nice mower and see that you do nice work then they will come to you. You just have to focus on the lawns you do now and make them look better than everybody elses in the neighborhood.

powernoje
11-06-2008, 08:35 PM
HI, That is great advice. I am 13 also and I had the same thing happen to me. Word of mouth is the best advertising. Post business cards at local buldings, That worked for me also.

Grits
11-06-2008, 11:15 PM
Come to Florida and buy my business. I would look for other businesses to start. Lawn maintenance is going downhill fast. RE: Lowballing. There are just too many lawn guys out there.

capnsac
11-07-2008, 03:58 PM
HI, That is great advice. I am 13 also and I had the same thing happen to me. Word of mouth is the best advertising. Post business cards at local buldings, That worked for me also.

You're only 13 with an equipment list that extensive?

Thomas Wall
11-07-2008, 04:35 PM
how about enjoy your early teen years and don't worry about expanding your "business" to more then 4 lawns.

Hey, That's great that you want you are business minded and would like to expand your business. Don't listen to TheKingNJ. I started at 12 years old, then my younger brother joined me, and now at 15 and 17, we have one of the most profitable lawn maintenance business in our town. Deffinitely ask your current customers to refer you, but also(if you have your parents permission and they know where you'll be) knock on the neighbors doors. My brother and I now make around $30-$40 per hour EACH doing lawns now. Also, look in your church, if you go to one. The 1st 10 customers that we had were widows or poorer folks. half of the time we did not even charge them, but we worked hard, and they told others about us. God bless, and the best of luck to you!

STIHL GUY
11-07-2008, 05:05 PM
prove to others that you do good work. dont ever leave out any trimming or clippings on the street. Dont let it get too long. if you do good work others will come to you

powernoje
11-07-2008, 05:12 PM
You're only 13 with an equipment list that extensive?
Yes, I have relly worked hard for it though. I started out just a few years ago with just a $25 push mower that I got at a garage sale mowing my greandparents yard and our neighbors yard.

capnsac
11-08-2008, 12:15 AM
Yes, I have relly worked hard for it though. I started out just a few years ago with just a $25 push mower that I got at a garage sale mowing my greandparents yard and our neighbors yard.

Good for you brotha, by the time you're 18 you gon' be a millionaire!

scagdude
11-08-2008, 09:15 PM
ya i am only 13 as well and i really love to mow. i go door to door and that is probably the most successful way of advertising for me besides word of mouth through my current customers

powernoje
11-08-2008, 09:25 PM
ya i am only 13 as well and i really love to mow. i go door to door and that is probably the most successful way of advertising for me besides word of mouth through my current customers
I am going to try to do some door to door advertising next year but I have never had much luck with it in the past. How do you like the stihl fs55r the echo and the husqvarna blower?

scagdude
11-08-2008, 09:29 PM
the stihls are great. next year i will be moving to the fs80 or 90r though because the 55r is not commercial use. it will be a good backup next year though. echo is also a great trimmer though but i think i will stay with stihl. the husqvarna backpack has worked well but i need more power. next year i will be moving to the stihl br550 backpack because it is very cheap with great power. that is what i would recommend to you if you are thinking of expanding. also you should look into a used 32 or 36" walkbehind if you are thinking of expanding. which redmax blower do you have and which stihl trimmer do you have?

powernoje
11-08-2008, 09:41 PM
the stihls are great. next year i will be moving to the fs80 or 90r though because the 55r is not commercial use. it will be a good backup next year though. echo is also a great trimmer though but i think i will stay with stihl. the husqvarna backpack has worked well but i need more power. next year i will be moving to the stihl br550 backpack because it is very cheap with great power. that is what i would recommend to you if you are thinking of expanding. also you should look into a used 32 or 36" walkbehind if you are thinking of expanding. which redmax blower do you have and which stihl trimmer do you have?
I just wondered how do you transport your equipment? I have the 28" wb and itis almost brand new but I rely wish I would have spent a few hundred bucks more and got a 33" or even 38". I am planning on purchasing a new blower and trimmer for next year. I think I am going to get the stihl fs100rx and the br500 or550. The red max actually broke so I am planning on getting a new stihl on monday for fall cleanups.

scagdude
11-08-2008, 09:49 PM
what is world lawn? i have never heard of them. the fs100rx would be a good choice and if i were you i would definitely go with the br550 if i were you. are you getting that now or are you looking at something else for cleanups?

powernoje
11-08-2008, 09:53 PM
what is world lawn? i have never heard of them. the fs100rx would be a good choice and if i were you i would definitely go with the br550 if i were you. are you getting that now or are you looking at something else for cleanups?
To see the world lawn go to their website they are not that big of a company. I am planning on getting the blower tomorow and mabe the trimmer too.

m&mmowing
11-08-2008, 10:46 PM
don't pay for advertising right now, at least not much. Use ways to cheaply advertise, through vistaprint is what i recommend. Print off 100 free postcards, and use them as doorhangers. then print the free business cards and put them up all over and make sure that you have them on you everywhere you go, EVERYWHERE. this way every contact you have can get a business card. get a free website, put it on your flyers/business cards, etc. go to my profile if you want to use salesgenie, easy ways to get a ton of prospects. be persistent, and do great work. just be smart, use up vistaprint as much as you can, it's really good stuff, and helps me out, price right, be smart.
good luck
www.vistaprint.com
www.salesgenie.com

scagdude
11-09-2008, 10:08 AM
so which blower are you going to buy along with the fs100rx trimmer?

powernoje
11-09-2008, 10:22 AM
I think I am going to get the br550.

Dunlaps LawnCare
11-09-2008, 03:40 PM
get a br 600

scagdude
11-09-2008, 08:51 PM
ya the br550 is a great blower and would be your best choice. when you get it on monday please let me know how it works out for you as that will probably be my next blower.

mattlmow
11-09-2008, 10:35 PM
thanks all for your advice and imput. next year i really hope to get started in the lawn business next year, so i appreciate all your advice

m&mmowing
11-09-2008, 10:50 PM
ask for sean's book for christmas, it's worth its weight in gold, and since it's an email take that as you will, but it's paid for itself 7 times over in about 2 jobs so far

topsites
11-10-2008, 01:49 AM
Dude...

I have to guess nobody has covered this...

But you have to be 18 years old to own a business.
I'm not making this up, it's the law.

You would first not even be able to sign any legal documents such as which are required to own a business,
have insurance, a driver's license might be helpful, not to mention OSHA and the operation of dangerous
agricultural machinery by anyone under the age of 18 (and it may even be 21 but I think it's 18).
But those violations assume that you're 16 or older, in most cases anyone 15 or younger is in violation of Child Labor Laws.

........................
What is the impact of child labor laws?

Most children under the age of fourteen (14) may not be employed (with certain exceptions like newspaper delivery). For children under the age of sixteen (16), there are restrictions upon the hours that may be worked. Minors (children under the age of 18) may not be hired to perform hazardous work. There are both state and federal laws which regulate the employment of children.

........................
Now go on back to school and study because I am telling you earning a little cash on your spare time
is all good but this is NOT what you want to do for a living.

powernoje
11-14-2008, 09:19 PM
I actually ended up getting a sh85 but I love it I would never go back to Rad Max.

bighaydenslawn
11-16-2008, 05:32 PM
I NEED HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i am a 13 yr old guy in NE and I have been doing my neighbor's lawn regularly for a few years. Although I like mowing for them I want to expand on my "business". I have passed out flyers for the past year and still no results. Do any of you have any comments or suggestions on how to get a business started? And PLEASE DON'T TELL ME I'M TOO YOUNG.
Matt

mattlmow, i am 13 and just got started this year. I used some crappy "garage sale" equipment and ended the year sitting on a pretty good nest. I am looking at a brand new ZTR and some new power tools. I started out with just my yard, and my neighbor said one day, "yours looks so good, will you do mine too?" i started and word spread all around the block. I ended the year with 5 big lawns and hope to double next year. Do a good job of mowing, trimming, and cleanup and word will get around. Also, dont overcharge.

lndscpr2243
11-16-2008, 08:59 PM
I started when I was 12. Mom use to drive me to accounts. By the time I was 21 I made more than both my parents. Keep up the hard work

brettslawnservice
11-17-2008, 03:46 PM
okay matt
i started when i was 10 it was hard i started with my own yard then my neighbor asked me to do theirs. And that was all i did until i was 14 i picked up another one this one was on the other side of the city so my mom and dad helped me when they could, and we got them done and they looked good. Then when i was 16 i got a little more serious and really started thinking about how I could get more customers. I would pass out business cards at stores to friends, family, just about anyone who cared. When i turned 18 iIstarted driving got my liscense and was really able to get the business off of the ground I started banging doors and asking people if they had someone who did there lawn. My city has tons of old people so the majority of them dont mow someone else does it and that means you could get the contract mowin(especially if they arent satisfied with their current yard guy). Right now i am no longer in the country i am living in brasil my brother who is 12 is running it. With the help of some of my friends there were people that were uncomfortable with him doing it and have found someone else but others had no problem with it so the thing you have to do is stick with it you may have a yard you dont like but do it and make it look good take pride in your work. and bang some doors let people know you exsist. and stay at it i was once told that it takes 3-4years of beating dooors and asking people until you are really established and before you know it you will be telling people you dont have time to do their yard. also for advertising try craigs list it works

best wishes

mattlmow
01-16-2009, 11:13 PM
again, thank you all for your advice. topsites,you are correct, but if i stick to a push mower and about 5-8 or so lawns a week, then i should be fine

juspayme
01-26-2009, 04:01 AM
how about enjoy your early teen years and don't worry about expanding your "business" to more then 4 lawns.

how about i started cutting at 10 . i enjoyed my teen years with money in my pocket when my friends were broke.

i had the nicest shoes and clothes and was saving cash at a young age,

LouisianaLawnboy
01-27-2009, 08:22 AM
YOU ARE TOO YOUNG! Just kidding. I started at 15.

Anyway, go to www.vistaprint.com and get some really cheap biz cards and pass them out. Look for the local classifieds and maybe run text ad.