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polarismalibu
11-26-2009, 09:23 PM
Hi all this is my first post on this site!

Im graduating high school this year and and thinking i would like to start a landscape company that could start small and hopefully grow to do all services! I am going to be doing my second year snowplowing and plan on doing that on my own next winter so would like to start something this spring!

Just tell me any tips and pointers and anything i need to purchase or should purchase ( starting out small )


Anything that would help me out i would really appreciate it!!

Thanks
Tim

93Chevy
11-26-2009, 09:28 PM
Tim, I'm Tim too :waving:

First, what kind of experience do you have? Have you done landscape or construction related work before?

After we get an answer to that question, I can help you out more.

polarismalibu
11-26-2009, 09:36 PM
Tim, I'm Tim too :waving:

First, what kind of experience do you have? Have you done landscape or construction related work before?

After we get an answer to that question, I can help you out more.

I worked for a few weeks for a friend of mine's dad for fall clean ups and i have installed irrigation systems for the company im currently plowing for!

I have also done a bunch of lawns all summer for people i know and really take pride in trying to make them look like something a pro did. so this is something i am serious about doing!!

93Chevy
11-26-2009, 09:38 PM
Well I'm glad you're excited for it. Next question is what do you have now? As far as vehicle, trailer, any kind of equipment?

With your experience, I might suggest working for a landscape organization that specializes in design and hardscapes. Lawn management is easy to learn, but it's always good to know how to install hardscapes.

polarismalibu
11-26-2009, 09:44 PM
Well I'm glad you're excited for it. Next question is what do you have now? As far as vehicle, trailer, any kind of equipment?

With your experience, I might suggest working for a landscape organization that specializes in design and hardscapes. Lawn management is easy to learn, but it's always good to know how to install hardscapes.


I have a 2003 F250 crew cab, 2009 20' featherlight trailer, pull behind core plug and a spikier, stihl trimmer, blower and chain saw

At the end of the plowing season after i make some more money im going to get a mower

polarismalibu
11-26-2009, 11:01 PM
Also to get a general idea of pricing what is the average market rate for mowing? i know that it varies but i just want a general idea so i can try to see what a potential profit could be to buy equipment with!

polarismalibu
11-27-2009, 03:20 PM
Anyone????

punt66
11-27-2009, 03:42 PM
Markets are all different. But most solo guys use thr $60hr mark when estimating. I have a $35 min. But as i see on this site, many markets will not accept a $35 min. I average around $84hr mowing.

punt66
11-27-2009, 03:43 PM
also, once you make some posts you will be able to use the search feature and can find all the info you need.

polarismalibu
11-27-2009, 05:11 PM
also, once you make some posts you will be able to use the search feature and can find all the info you need.

yeah i know that from plowsite but it wouldn't let me on hear

punt66
11-27-2009, 05:14 PM
yeah i know that from plowsite but it wouldn't let me on hear

i think you need 10 posts, so just go around and say "nice truck" a few times hahaha

AzLawnMan
11-27-2009, 05:23 PM
I understand an hourly rate for myself and others who are established in this industry, but for a newbie it doesnt make sense. Do whatever you can for a fair price. I have lived by these words for awhile now and they seem to make sense to me when bidding a residential account. "Do I need it? Do I want it?" If you ask yourself that question while bidding, you may get 2 different prices, one price if you need it, and another if you want it. I only use hourly rates for Commercial accounts and other factors as well. But if residential is gonna be your start point, then find out what they were paying the other guy. I always ask these questions to new customer. 1. What were you paying before? 2. Why are are you looking to make a change? 3. What are your expectations? I have been in this business for half my life and those answer will help me determin my price. Be fair to the guys who have been doing this and stick to the industry prices, butdo what you have to do to eat. Good Luck.

polarismalibu
11-27-2009, 10:30 PM
What AZ said about the hourly rate. You can not just guess a price. You have to evaluate your expenses, your revenue, your cost to operate each piece of equipment per hour, what your salary is (which is apart of your expenses). Many more calculations. This is a good site, but you have to have a business plan, this site can not be your business plan.

I'm curious to your area in the state?


I'm Maple Grove

KCLandscape
11-27-2009, 10:40 PM
Go to school and become anything else....

KCLandscape
11-27-2009, 11:43 PM
Hey kids,
I said that as a joke and to get a response. And it worked :-)

I love this business. You need to know your numbers and what will make you a profit.
I have some of the best customers in the area. And so do most of my competition. There is more than enough work to go around as long as you are professional and honest, with integrity.

PSTroke - have been doing this 20 + yrs. No need to try and read into others situations. And my name is on my company because I want my customers to know that they are dealing with the owner that has a capable and valid right to be servicing their property. What is your situation, and how do you qualify yourself for what you do?

Not trying to be harsh, just wanting the honest truth for everyone to comment on. That is what these forums are all about anyway, right?

polarismalibu
11-27-2009, 11:54 PM
see im not sure how i would even start pricing with fuel and time without ever doing it before. once i got going with something i think i could figure it out easy then!

punt66
11-28-2009, 05:34 AM
I understand an hourly rate for myself and others who are established in this industry, but for a newbie it doesnt make sense. Do whatever you can for a fair price. I have lived by these words for awhile now and they seem to make sense to me when bidding a residential account. "Do I need it? Do I want it?" If you ask yourself that question while bidding, you may get 2 different prices, one price if you need it, and another if you want it. I only use hourly rates for Commercial accounts and other factors as well. But if residential is gonna be your start point, then find out what they were paying the other guy. I always ask these questions to new customer. 1. What were you paying before? 2. Why are are you looking to make a change? 3. What are your expectations? I have been in this business for half my life and those answer will help me determin my price. Be fair to the guys who have been doing this and stick to the industry prices, butdo what you have to do to eat. Good Luck.

You dont work by an hourly rate. It is used for estimating. So if you think the job takes 35 min to complete its $35 a cut. But i am higher then that. Of course thats with commercial productive equipment. Dont make it complicated. People will say you need to know your expenses and charge accordingly. Thats hogwash. The market will pay what it pays and doesnt care what your expenses are. Its a numbers game. To make money you need volume and productivity.

XLS
11-28-2009, 09:20 AM
punt66 is 100% right , miss jones will only pay what she is willing so take it or leave it.
we have guy that are at $70.00 an hour to 225.00 an hour it depends on your location and your average lawn type/size in those areas .

93Chevy
11-28-2009, 09:58 AM
You dont work by an hourly rate. It is used for estimating. So if you think the job takes 35 min to complete its $35 a cut. But i am higher then that. Of course thats with commercial productive equipment. Dont make it complicated. People will say you need to know your expenses and charge accordingly. Thats hogwash. The market will pay what it pays and doesnt care what your expenses are. Its a numbers game. To make money you need volume and productivity.

Yeah I agree. Say all you have is a push mower when you're starting out. Mrs. Jones has about 7k of lawn to cut. All in all, it takes you 45 minutes to mow, trim and edge around her beds, tree rings, and sidewalks, and blow off.

Then Jimmyjohnbillybobkenjack from next door has a 48" Viking and can get done in 17.5 minutes.

You can't charge her more because it takes you longer. She's only willing to spend maybe $25 or $30 because in her experience, somebody WILL cut for that price. Say you charge $30 the first year, then buy Jimmyjohnbillybobkenjack's 48" Viking. Just because you will get done in half the time doesn't mean you can charge 1/2 as much. Mrs. Jones may not understand that, and if she's old, she won't like the big mowers on her property. She probably won't want to pay you as much because she's used to it taking you 45 minutes and she thinks her lawn looks better with the push mower.

Oh wait, that happened to me. No wonder it sounds familiar.

XLS
11-28-2009, 10:02 AM
93chevy thats nice aint it lol i love the cheap-ones myself . I love the "your guys came out today and i didnt even see them they was gone so fast ,next time do you think they can slow down " yeah sure NOT hehe

93Chevy
11-28-2009, 10:05 AM
Yeah, because we know that if we slow down, the grass will look better! As long as the yard looks nice and there's no turf marks, I'm going as fast as possible!

XLS
11-28-2009, 10:18 AM
hehe we have a unit with slicks on them , where the lawns are flat and so amll it is almost imppossible to turn and not tare the ground so we shaved the tread off one and made greens tires on it

XLS
11-28-2009, 10:19 AM
our units are designed to be efficent at 5 to 7 mph so they are to go 5-7

Stillwater
11-28-2009, 11:11 AM
You dont work by an hourly rate. It is used for estimating. So if you think the job takes 35 min to complete its $35 a cut. But i am higher then that. Of course thats with commercial productive equipment. Dont make it complicated. People will say you need to know your expenses and charge accordingly. Thats hogwash. The market will pay what it pays and doesnt care what your expenses are. Its a numbers game. To make money you need volume and productivity.

Hogwash? Numbers Game? if so he needs to know what those numbers are otherwize how else is he going to know if he is winning that game as you say. You guys that agree with this need to go back and read the original post and you will see he wants to start a landscape business not just a mow and go. This advice sits with a 14 year old who lives with his parents and has no desire other than getting playstation and blockbuster money. This guy better get a Gi Joe grip on his costs and expenses If for only paying taxes and getting licenses and paying his bills. This is a young adult we are talking about hear.

This guy needs to immediately get a grip on this and his life's goals. if he ever wants to move out of his parents house eventually have his own home someday, maybe even a kid. He needs to get a jump on this sooner rather than later. Hey I am all for keeping it simple like you said but he needs a business plan now not later and this is the advice you guys should be giving him. he needs to compare what his costs are and compare it to what the market in his location will get him. What good is buying good decen't equipment and investing even the modest amount of front end cash if he doesen't even know if he can support it let alone buy food, Self employment in this industry might not even be for him if it can't support what is important in his life. Short term, mid, term or even long term. It is better he find out this now before his parents have that sit down with him where they say time for your own place. This guy deserves better advice.

punt66
11-28-2009, 02:00 PM
Hogwash? Numbers Game? if so he needs to know what those numbers are otherwize how else is he going to know if he is winning that game as you say. You guys that agree with this need to go back and read the original post and you will see he wants to start a landscape business not just a mow and go. This advice sits with a 14 year old who lives with his parents and has no desire other than getting playstation and blockbuster money. This guy better get a Gi Joe grip on his costs and expenses If for only paying taxes and getting licenses and paying his bills. This is a young adult we are talking about hear.

This guy needs to immediately get a grip on this and his life's goals. if he ever wants to move out of his parents house eventually have his own home someday, maybe even a kid. He needs to get a jump on this sooner rather than later. Hey I am all for keeping it simple like you said but he needs a business plan now not later and this is the advice you guys should be giving him. he needs to compare what his costs are and compare it to what the market in his location will get him. What good is buying good decen't equipment and investing even the modest amount of front end cash if he doesen't even know if he can support it let alone buy food, Self employment in this industry might not even be for him if it can't support what is important in his life. Short term, mid, term or even long term. It is better he find out this now before his parents have that sit down with him where they say time for your own place. This guy deserves better advice.

what the hell are you talking about? Ok, a succesful LCO (me) will not give advce. Happy now? hahah

Stillwater
11-28-2009, 02:42 PM
what the hell are you talking about? Ok, a succesful LCO (me) will not give advce. Happy now? hahah


In post # 17 you told him he doesen't need to know his expenses and costs a succesful LCO like yourself must know the importance of knowing those figures at all times.

polarismalibu
11-28-2009, 03:12 PM
what the hell are you talking about? Ok, a succesful LCO (me) will not give advce. Happy now? hahah

why wont you give advice im not even in the same state

Green Industry Pro
11-28-2009, 03:15 PM
Hey polarismalibu. Im 16 and Im trying to start a L&L business for my career aswell.I would tell you more info about myself but we are asking ecxactly the same questions pretty much

XLS
11-28-2009, 03:16 PM
hey guys if you read his post and consider his age ,i am not sure he grasp what he is talking aboutanyways landscaping is his goal yet he goes into lawncare i think he fails to understand the difference's at this point so let him learn by trial and error

XLS
11-28-2009, 03:18 PM
still water you can startup with almost 0 overhead at his age so why does he have to worry about the numbers yet ,get accounts and let it be

polarismalibu
11-28-2009, 03:22 PM
hey guys if you read his post and consider his age ,i am not sure he grasp what he is talking aboutanyways landscaping is his goal yet he goes into lawncare i think he fails to understand the difference's at this point so let him learn by trial and error


i know the difference i want to be able to do both and be able to do all kinds of services! if i can start something a guy i know said he would do irrigation and run that for me

integrityman
11-28-2009, 03:23 PM
My best advice in starting up is to stay within your financial means. It's fine to purchase decent used equipment.

Take good care of your stuff.

Kiss your customers behinds as much as possible. Be sincere. Be honest.

XLS
11-28-2009, 03:27 PM
i hope he is certified polaris just bid on what you are comfortable doing and be honest with yourself if you cant do something dont act like you can , start cheap and let it grow . i would be glad to help you out as long as you understand its only time and money you waste if your wrong .

Green Industry Pro
11-28-2009, 03:27 PM
Like I said Im new aswell but I would suggest setting up a mainstay service or two and make money doing that simple service.Once your established, then you can spread out and do different services.I wouldnt suggest doing to many services at once since your starting out.

XLS
11-28-2009, 03:31 PM
it takes up more of your time on the mowing side of the business but mowing creates cash flow maintenance accounts brings mowing accounts mowing accounts rarely bring maintenance accounts you will want keep it simple for your area

Stillwater
11-28-2009, 03:33 PM
still water you can startup with almost 0 overhead at his age so why does he have to worry about the numbers yet ,get accounts and let it be

I understand what you are saying but he is not a child anymore and deserves real world advice to be successful do you agree?

XLS
11-28-2009, 03:34 PM
how big of an area is your 36" walks mowing on an average lawn ???

XLS
11-28-2009, 03:36 PM
wow my bad remove that post it was suposed to go to my thread , sorry

Still water i do agree but from ignorance comes knowledge and he will only learn by doing .

XLS
11-28-2009, 03:39 PM
some of these guys on here are to harsh and bash at everything someone has to say or ask . i can do a landscape equipment purchase for less then $1200 or go as high as 12 k this is a small investment or go as high as 12k it depends on what someones needs are and some onesw wants are.

polarismalibu
11-28-2009, 03:40 PM
i was thinking to start with i would do mowing, fall clean up, plugging, and if i can do the irrigation with the guy i know and then plowing

XLS
11-28-2009, 03:43 PM
so what about this landscaping you planed on doing ???? where is this at ??

XLS
11-28-2009, 03:46 PM
one is called a landscaping company ,the other is a lawn care professional.
you must first uderstand the challanges you will face before you can face them , a blind man can get lucky crossing the road but to walk t everyday will become dangerous.

polarismalibu
11-28-2009, 03:47 PM
so what about this landscaping you planed on doing ???? where is this at ??

im still thinking about that! it is something i want to do but maybe the second year

XLS
11-28-2009, 03:48 PM
one plants bushes and the other cuts grass .simple hints to help you out.

XLS
11-28-2009, 03:50 PM
truth is landscaping business make more profit and have a higher rate of survivability if hey transistion into maintenance because they can invest their profits to cover bigger expenses of mowing divisions.

XLS
11-28-2009, 03:53 PM
we challanged a guy in our business 2 years ago to start a landscape division within his area . he used $1800.00 cash and paid taxes on 47k year one by himself using general labor on the bigger days. you would truly struggle to do the same mowing

punt66
11-28-2009, 03:54 PM
In post # 17 you told him he doesen't need to know his expenses and costs a succesful LCO like yourself must know the importance of knowing those figures at all times.

You are miss understanding. Many guys on here say to base your price on your expenses and what you would like to earn. My point is, the market tells you what they are willing to pay. Going any less then that then you will not do well as a legal lco. He will only learn his numbers based on his style of service. A persons expenses have little bearing on what to charge for mowing. That was his question untill you went off on your self indulgent rant.

XLS
11-28-2009, 03:58 PM
punt66 is right again you expense's is only covered by your volume of services not your per hour rate or anything else.

polarismalibu
11-28-2009, 04:32 PM
ok so this something i could do then and have success with?

XLS
11-28-2009, 04:59 PM
it all depends on you

KCLandscape
11-28-2009, 07:17 PM
I have done well doing both landscaping and turf maintenance. Landscaping=shovel and a truck with a plan for design and a way to get materials on site and installed.

Mowing/maintenance needs more equipment and manpower.

I prefer to do both to keep the bordem away. I am also always working both angles and trading accounts with others depending on how it works into my preferred mix of services. The ones who offer no advice but snide comments should be ignored. Go with your gut and do what you want, and you will prosper!

punt66
11-28-2009, 08:24 PM
ok so this something i could do then and have success with?

of course. Stay at home for a while. Work a regular job to begin with while your building your business. When your ready to go full time then jump in. You dont get clients overnight so be patient and keep marketing.

polarismalibu
11-28-2009, 09:56 PM
Thanks guys!! I have some time before spring to thing about this stuff some people i know are trying to talk me into doing concrete/landscape stuff so im not sure but ill figure it how and give it a try! live is about taking risks so that what im going to do!

punt66
11-29-2009, 07:59 AM
be careful of your spelling and grammar when it comes time to write estimates and contracts.

polarismalibu
11-29-2009, 03:00 PM
be careful of your spelling and grammar when it comes time to write estimates and contracts.

Yeah I know you get going to fast on the computer

punt66
11-29-2009, 04:16 PM
Yeah I know you get going to fast on the computer

i hear you. I do the same on here once in a while.