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View Full Version : Starting lawn care\fed up with corporate crap!


jemvai
08-19-2008, 01:45 PM
First off I would just like to say this site is overflowing with information. I found it two weeks ago and just registered now, I was reading so much on here I forgot to register..

OK, I was driven out of a fortune 100 company with 2 other guys after working there for 8 years doing IT work. So I want to start my own Business in lawn care , for now just mowing, trimming and hedge trimming, edging,fall cleanups.

I am not totally new to this I worked for a lawn service for two years many years ago. I also have many friends who have there own business doing this. I love being outside and mowing, working in yards, and what guy does''t love equipment??. I currently have have the equipment needed except a trailer, and commercial mower,I am thinking a 52 inch ztr and a 48 inch WB. I have everything else.


Anyway, I will be going solo for the first year or so, and I am wondering one thing.... What do you solo guys do if you are sick or want to take a vacation?

I live in a area in CT that has good size lawns and allot of money. I have a business plan almost finished,and I'm working out insurance and all that fun stuff. a friend of mine owns two store front business with a huge mailing list that I can use, and my wife is a great web designer. I have a name and logo almost finished.

I am just a little worried about this time of year getting started. what are you guys thoughts on this??

Thank you all who read this post.

billslawn89
08-19-2008, 01:58 PM
being solo, if i am sick or not feeling good, i go to work, on taking a vacation, if you are just starting out, no time for vacation. here in florida, i take short vacations on week-ends when not busy, otherwise, i feel i am on vacation doing my job! you MUST like what you do to be a success! :drinkup:

jemvai
08-19-2008, 02:19 PM
That's kind of what i figured, I have to problem with it ...The wife will just have to adjust.. lol

larryinalabama
08-19-2008, 02:22 PM
Im also tired of this corporate mess, I plan on going full time next spring. I had a business with 65 accounts in So California in the earley 1990s, as far as taking a week off it was no big deal people understand. A lenghtly illness would be a problem, to keep your accounts youd have to find someone to do them, so just dont get sick.
It is a little late in the year to start but why get another job just to quit next year.

J.A.G LAWNCARE
08-19-2008, 08:36 PM
get started this fall with leave clean ups .......might lead to spring mows

tradeyouraccounts
08-19-2008, 08:38 PM
In some home service industries like the pool service industry for instance some guys bill monthly for 4 weeks every month so youíre billing for 48 weeks a year. So that gives you 4 weeks that you could take for vacation or sickness and do it in the off season. If you were to work all 52 weeks youíd be giving 4 weeks service away for free. Could work depending on where youíre at and how itís introduced to the customer.

jemvai
08-19-2008, 09:08 PM
Thanks for all the comments guys, this place is a goldmine. I was thinking also start with leaf cleanups and hopefully keep customers for next year. How any of you guys use contracts . I think that's the way I am going to go. Everything spelled out for the customer in writing so there's no suprises. Extra services on a jobber basis.

What do you guys spend on gas a year, i thinking Solo with two mowers just an estimate, say 60 lawns. i know it varies greatly but... what are some of you guys cost. just trying to get all of expenses figured.


Your thoughts.....

Thanks

CustomKare
08-19-2008, 11:15 PM
Jem,

Good luck. You're already onto a good start by asking questions. Usually there are no dumb questions but occasionally we'll see a few out here.
We will be sure to let you know when you ask a dumb question.

4th year LCO part time. I too am working for "the man" and I'm burned out.
Just not enough revenue to replace what I have with the Ole' 9-5 right now.
(31 Accounts.)

Keep an open mind......there are costs to running a business. You have to re-invest in your business and then pay yourself. In the beginning you will lowball and lose your ass on jobs but you will feel you made money...you will learn you lost when you look at your TRUE COSTS.

By year 21/2 you will feel very comfortable on pricing. I'm a slow learner it took me year 3 to not get burned as often.

Don't mortgage the farm to buy equipment. Understand the weather can kill you. Too much rain or not enough.

Run a tight route. Diversify using add ons such as mulch installs, bed prep, aerations and possibly snow if it happens in your area.

Like now in the Midwest, it's dry as hell. I'm not mowin' much. If this was my single income I would be a bit nervous.

The freedom with this gig is great but you have to be disciplined to work when it's hot, when your sick, sore and tired. Learn to listen to football on the radio.

I love doin lawns, others on here do also but it's not as easy it appears and a ton of people get in and out. In my 4 years alot has changed. Pricing is falling backwards and I believe more people are opting to do it themselves to save a buck.

Hope I don't sound negative.....just realistic. I had and still have people give me advice on here and I filter what makes sense to me and run with it.

Good luck

bigw
08-20-2008, 12:49 AM
Thanks for all the comments guys, this place is a goldmine. I was thinking also start with leaf cleanups and hopefully keep customers for next year. How any of you guys use contracts . I think that's the way I am going to go. Everything spelled out for the customer in writing so there's no suprises. Extra services on a jobber basis.

What do you guys spend on gas a year, i thinking Solo with two mowers just an estimate, say 60 lawns. i know it varies greatly but... what are some of you guys cost. just trying to get all of expenses figured.


Your thoughts.....

Thanks

I dont know about the rest of these guys but i can tell you where i live "residentials" just do not want to hear about any contracts. most will not agree to sign one because they do not want to be locked into one.
I find that it works better for both me and them that way, for one it helps to close the sale when you tell them they are not locked into a contract and 2 you can drop a pita as fast as a snap of the finger when they give you too much crap or dont pay on time without being sued for not keeping your end of a deal. Now this is just my first year but ive been as high as 62 accounts "no contracts" and only 2 late paying customers and one i just took to court and i won,you dont need a contract to get paid for services renderd you just need the invoice and then its her job to prove she paid not yours to prove she didnt.
Bottom line you will get many more residential customers if you dont make them sign a contract. Do a nice job be polite,be personal and you wont even have to worry about 99% of your customers...theirs always 1 or 2 that are a pain but then you just dump them and make room for the next!

larryinalabama
08-20-2008, 07:56 AM
Hey Bigw nice to see you posting again, 60+ accounts your first year is great.
I dont use contracts eighter. I charge by the week, bill monthly, that way the customer gets what they pay for and I get what I work for. Some months you will service 5 times why dor 1 for free. Slow months you may go 1 or 2 times whay should the customer pay for a full month.

Frue
08-20-2008, 08:20 AM
I dont know about the rest of these guys but i can tell you where i live "residentials" just do not want to hear about any contracts. most will not agree to sign one because they do not want to be locked into one.
I find that it works better for both me and them that way, for one it helps to close the sale when you tell them they are not locked into a contract and 2 you can drop a pita as fast as a snap of the finger when they give you too much crap or dont pay on time without being sued for not keeping your end of a deal. Now this is just my first year but ive been as high as 62 accounts "no contracts" and only 2 late paying customers and one i just took to court and i won,you dont need a contract to get paid for services renderd you just need the invoice and then its her job to prove she paid not yours to prove she didnt.
Bottom line you will get many more residential customers if you dont make them sign a contract. Do a nice job be polite,be personal and you wont even have to worry about 99% of your customers...theirs always 1 or 2 that are a pain but then you just dump them and make room for the next!

you talk as if you have been doing this for 10 years LOL!

Frue
08-20-2008, 08:24 AM
I would make sure this is what you want! You are sick to bad work anyway, long weekend to bad work or lose your customers, break your leg all I have sick time saved up. yea right.
everybody wants cut on friday and everyone wants landscaped tomorrow or we will find someone else.

Just giving you the real side of things been doing this since 98.

bigw
08-20-2008, 09:31 PM
you talk as if you have been doing this for 10 years LOL!

Whats the difference how many years i have been doing this, you either use contracts or you dont and i for one have found that they dont work with residentials and like i said in my other post thats "what i do" what others do is fine by me. You dont need to have a business for 10 yrs to be a good businessman.

jemvai
08-20-2008, 09:49 PM
Well said bigw . I am thinking just contracts for maybe small comm accounts that I could handle.

RayoVac
08-20-2008, 10:16 PM
Jemvai,

I am sorry but I don't have any answers to your questions, just a few questions for you. I too have been working for Corporate America for well over 20 years. I am in IT as well, now in a network engineering capacity. I have been hanging out lurking around here for a few years now. Many times I have contemplated quitting IT and starting a Lawncare, Landscaping company.

My questions to you and others:

Being in CT I assume you have snow in the winter? I do being in the lake effect area of Lake Michigan here in Indiana. What do you plan to do in the winter? I am confident in my abilities to get customers for lawn maintenance, landscaping etc. but I am not sure I am excited about plowing in the winter given the inconsistency and the competition with the big plowing companies with contracts.

I am not sure how long you were in IT, but in this area my position pays about 70K a year. I am lucky not to need Health Insurance as I have it through my wife. Through your searches here or maybe comments by others do you feel that within a year or two, that you could earn the kind of money you made in IT, or do you have plans to make changes to your income needs?

So my two main questions summarized, what do you plan for the winter months and do you think you can live the same level of existence in being a solo LCO?

I already have an Exmark ZTR with Bagger, Blower, String trimmer, trailer etc. If I got started my main needs would be a walk behind and edger. I have sat on this fence for many years... seeing a guy that made the leap, I am interested in your thoughts.

Rayo

Frue
08-20-2008, 10:50 PM
Whats the difference how many years i have been doing this, you either use contracts or you dont and i for one have found that they dont work with residentials and like i said in my other post thats "what i do" what others do is fine by me. You dont need to have a business for 10 yrs to be a good businessman.

LOL Take it easy what you were saying is what a seasoned vet would say. You are one in secure dude. enjoy reading your post.

bigw
08-20-2008, 11:06 PM
LOL Take it easy what you were saying is what a seasoned vet would say. You are one in secure dude. enjoy reading your post.

My bad it just sounded like you were being a smart @@@, you know like many on here usually are.
I stopped coming on here for awhile because i swear i could make a post or just simply say the sky was blue and with out a doubt within 3 replies someone would start some BS and i got sick of it....anyway sorry, guess i still have my defense's up.