View Full Version : Getting started
02-08-2009, 11:04 AM
Hi, all. New poster here. I'm from Cincinnati, OH. Been in the trucking and Bobcat business (no employees) for 6 years. Naturally, business isn't so good right now. I am looking into starting a 1 man (me) mowing business. I have demo'ed Exmark riders and walk behinds and enjoy mowing grass. I also have 2 teenage sons who are interested in this. Problem is, I have no clue how to estimate or price jobs, or where to look for work. Instead of a ton of little residential jobs, I would rather have a few smaller commercial jobs, just enough to keep me busy until I see where it takes me. I was thinking of starting with a 36" walk behind and a 52" rider, weed whacker and blower. Any help or comments greatly appreciated, especially with estimating and forms and such.
Texas has no type of contracts for homeowners, only commercial jobs, I would call around to some mowing contractors and get an idea what they charge you, they could even give you a price on your home for example....$30.00 to $40.00 example, kinda give you an idea......
Commercial is alittle different, I know a huge job was bid at 12K a month, but was lost to a company run by to women(gay) to allow HUB.....bummer for the company that lost it....
Plus a search on this site would also help for forms, equipment ideas, etc.....hope it helps you, be aware you will face alot of comp-many people have the smae idea you have, and they already lost their jobs.....do a awesome job on your home, put some signs up of your company after you mow, might help....good luck...
02-08-2009, 12:32 PM
Thanks for the reply, Toy. I'll try a search. I'm sure you established guys are tired of the likes of me, but the kids need to be fed. Thanks for the help.
02-08-2009, 12:43 PM
This is advice that I should have followed my first few years. Dont start out too BIG. It only makes for long days and sleepless nights. Start out by getting a few residentials and a 22" mower that you can load in the back of your truck. Once you have been doing that for a year or two and you think you still like it, then get a little bigger. When I first started I went out and bought over 30K worth of equipment and spent the next 3 years struggling to pay it off. If I had to do it all over again I would start small and gradually build it up.
As for bidding and getting jobs, a local ad in the newspaper is a decent start. Also you can go door to door with a simple flyer. Before you know it you will have 5 or 10 yards. After that if you are doing a good job they will start refering you and then you will get rolling.....
hope this helps
02-08-2009, 03:18 PM
well i was thinking of using my own mower and putting it in my trunk to start off with. the bad thing is i wouldn't be able to get any big field jobs. can a non commercial mower be used that much - as opposed to somebody mowing once a week?
02-08-2009, 07:52 PM
If you've run a bobcat business, you'll figure this out quick..
Buy the gear right....used, very low hours. Those guys that "didn't figure it out," will have stuff for sale low priced. I call low hrs 350 and under.
I personally don't buy stuff with more. I've seen units going half price with 30 hrs on it twice this week. Buy like that. Sure you need the 36? I had a northern Ohio route semi-rural that the big units were all that was needed.
I used a 21" for ditches. Buy the big unit because it is your moneymaker...if the need arises for a 36".... there is never a shortage of those. If the dealer wants to sell you one he's "guessing" because that's what he sells most people...that is not a good enough reason to buy one.and waste $2,700. Wait until YOU NEED ONE. Don't guess ever on your equipment needs. Bidding the jobs will be easy once you have used your mower and learned how to run it good (a week). Then you'll know what your productivity capabilities are. Run your ads, go see the customers when they call. Quote using your productivity knowledge / appiled to that property and figuring how much you need to earn each hour. If the customer has a horrified look on their face...or is experiencing shortness of breath....you can say "is that too much?" and ask how much would they like to pay?" If their counter offer sounds reasonable, go with it. There is a lot of learning in the estimating process. Get started and get learning. No one can show you. You'll just need to figure it out. Smart people will adjust and will quickly figure out what the parameters of the Low-high range is in your area. Commitment is everything, a half-hearted effort will result in a half-hearted return. Attack the business like your life depended on it and you can do hundreds of thousands this year. I like Ohio. I always made a bundle there. I hate commercials. My favorites?....tiny residentials, with a huge mower....all in row.
02-10-2009, 10:37 PM
Thanks a million for the great advice, it is really appreciated. Sorry for the late reply, my computer died shortly after I posted. Thanks again.
02-11-2009, 11:50 AM
hello all, anyone else tired of winter and ready to start the Spring? Gotta a question 4 you guys. I have a small landscaping business, and want to branch out to do lawns this year. What would be a good formula to charge per lawn. Do you measure it? or just have an hourly rate? thanks 4 any help
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