PDA

View Full Version : How Did you Start?


turfman33
07-12-2002, 07:46 PM
I started out with a Craftman 21" (not self propelled). and a ryobi weed whacker with the edger attachment. Plus a cheap Home depot blower. Put it in my Town and country van after the seats were taken out, and away I went.

How did you start out. Thought it would bring some interest to see how we all started and where we are now.

Steve:D

grasscutter
07-12-2002, 09:01 PM
i started mowing lawns in while still in elementary school. i mowed neighbors (also my teacher) yard for one dollar. total time to mow was about an hour. no string trimmers, only a slot on the left side of mower deck. my mower was a 20 inch craftsman with the wind up start and a 3 hp techumseh. those were the days ...

Just Cut
07-12-2002, 09:15 PM
I started out with out anything, I got an account appx 20000 Sq ft
and purchased a craftsman lawn tractor with a 42" cut, a ryobi string trimmer and a used hand held echo blower, a snow mobile trailer and a escort to tow it with, the next season I purchased a exmark WB, 6.5 x12 trailer and Stihl trimmers,backpack blowers, edgers, third year I went full time in the lawn Business:)

Toatlandscape
07-12-2002, 09:18 PM
I started with a 21" craftsman, weedeater and blower in the back of a Chevy S10. Mowed lawns as a way to fill out the afternoon. I had a job that I got off at noon and needed something to do until the wife got home. That was 6 years ago now I do it full time and could not be happier. It was the best thing I've ever done.

Heller Landscaping
07-12-2002, 09:55 PM
I started with an old neighbour dooing odd jobs. my bro. then beged to be able to cut his back yard. after 1 year he was the only one that could cut his grass i was not able to yet. once we spent 4hr. and got payed $10.00 each we were about 15yr old. then the big job come weeding for a dr. that my dad knew $10.00 each!!!!!!! after 1or2 years later we got the job of cutting his grass. we bought 2 21" craftsman self-propeld we spent 8hr cutting charged 165. that was how we stared.we have now gotten alot bigger but still room to grow.

jsaunders
07-13-2002, 07:05 PM
14 yrs old /25 now 21 inch snapper self propelled toro trimmer. Was driven around by mom or dad charged 7.50 hr. Funny thing is the toro trimmer still runs good just had first problem with it.- throttle cable broke- I guess it was time to replace something:D

TFL
07-13-2002, 11:09 PM
I started with a Murrey 12/38 a homlite weedeater and an electric blower. Wow i have came a long way in a short time.:)

Firefighter Dave
07-13-2002, 11:59 PM
It all started when I was about 10.... Dad made me start cutting the lawn, I was a big boy now.... :D

No really, I am just starting now with a K-mart Special, Ryobi weed whip, and a Sears Hand Blower working out of my Expidition. Next year I am hoping to get a 6.5 X 10 trailer, X-mark 48" Walk Behind, and two Echo BP650's, and a great edger! Hoping for 24 customers at $30 a cut! Ask me this again next year.....


Dave
:blob2: :blob2:

SLS
07-14-2002, 01:03 AM
Started 3 years ago by putting out flyers in my neighborhood to make extra money to supplement my income from selling old collectibles on Ebay (summer is slow on Ebay...winter is great!). Things just snowballed from there. I used a Scotts 1642 tractor towed on a small golf cart trailer that started its life as a boat trailer. Had a curved-shaft Weedeater trimmer, a Craftsman blower, and a MTD 21" 3.5 hp pushmower. All pulled with a 1991 Ford Ranger.

Have since moved on up to a Exmark Lazer Z 60", a Exmark Turf Tracer HP 36", and Redmax stuff....with a 6.5x12 trailer. Insurance too. The best part is that it is all paid for....excellent tax write-offs. :)

Will be stepping up to a bigger (full-size) truck at the start of next season...and maybe an enclosed 16" or 20" trailer. Or possibly one of those cab-over's with the landscaping type body (decisions, decisions...). Debating on whether to hire a helper next spring or stay solo...but that's another matter altogether.

For all of its quirks (weather, LONG hours, weird customers, ect) I love this business! It has been good to me.

Now the wife does the ebay thing (I join in during the off-months) while I get to get out of the house all day! :laugh:

Oh yeah...THANK YOU, LAWNSITE AND ALL OF IT'S EXCELLENT MEMBERS!!! Most of my growth is directly atributable to information I have gathered here. I cannot imagine how much time, money, and effort I have saved because of the wealth of excellent info shared here. Without Lawnsite I would not have grown nearly as fast...and probably made some big mistakes that I would still be paying for today. Some of the most important decisions I have made about my business were reached because of the valuable info shared by my fellow members. :D

dr grass
07-14-2002, 02:31 AM
i started when i was 10 years old. i found a lawn mower in the trash. i got it going and started pulling that around with my bicycle. that, of course, was a few years after i started my " snow removal" service. i thought 10 dollars per driveway was really something back than .... lol

shep

Brickman
07-14-2002, 01:45 PM
I started in 96 with $500 worth of Wal Mart equip. I spent two weeks working out of my car trunk because the used pickup I bought had not shown up yet. At the time I was only working Sat.

I used the Ranger pick up for a few years, then bought a small trailer big enough for 2 21" WBs. After a while a larger trailer, a larger truck, and then a larger trailer and then a larger truck. Now I am using a 16' trailer and a 2000 F250 PS truck.

And in the next few days I should get paid what I was asking for the biz and then the head aches of lawn care will be over for me. I am sick and tired of PITAs, I am burned out, and have lost heart in what I do. For me now it is just a job until I get paid and can move on.

awm
07-14-2002, 02:06 PM
piddled off an on since i was a kid.
1979 or 80. i think . i put my add in the local paper . in six wks i had all i could do in my off time.same add today would probably, ,possibly, produce one acct per month..

ipm
07-14-2002, 02:17 PM
I started with a Craftsman 21" mower, bent shaft weed eater, push edger, and a broom, no truck a Buick regal. The funny part is one of my customers said "Aren't you going to blow the drive and walks?" I said no mam blowers are banned in this neighborhood(noise pollution). You did not know that. Needless to say that did not last very long.

This is for the guy who is burned out. I have been there. It has been a rollercoaster ride and it will always be. I let my first business go and went to work for someone else. I figured hell, how easy can that be, get up, go to work, come home. I won't have the headaches, paperwork etc. etc. That did not last for more than 2 years, and here I am again. Only this time I recruited to my weakness. I am good at what I do but I also have weaknesses(paperwork, cust. service etc.) Anyway I could ramble on and on. Every day I wake up and ask myself where would I be if I had not let my 1st biz go??????? That is what fuels me>> And people say to me Oh, you cut grass, and I say No I am a business owner.

Toroguy
07-21-2002, 01:14 AM
I started really, really young.

I was a small fish, so to speak, in a big pond. I didnt have alot. But looking back I had it all.

My memory of this is very vague, but as you'll understand later, very common.

My arms, seemed not to respond back then?

I also felt as if my legs were tied?

Somehow, I managed.

The competition were all the same, didn't notice me.

I saw what they were up to, I noticed the egg, and went to it, they followed, I won.

I'm here. Where are they?

Thats how I started:eek:

RMDoyon
07-21-2002, 01:51 AM
At 33 years old, after 6 wonderful years in field sales for a Fortune 500 company I took a promotion to headquarters making $60k plus bonus per year stuck in a cubicle and cut off from customers and fresh air.

After a year of that I decided to start my own business. Thanks to Lawnsite, my hobby became my livelyhood and I have never looked back.

However, I do credit my former employer for teaching me all about sales, management, marketing, accounting and how to run a profitable business.

Roger

TJLC
07-21-2002, 07:31 AM
I consider myself EXTREMELY lucky and fortunate to have started my biz with all comm equipment and comm accounts. I started in Jan. 99 and now am very overloaded. Good luck to anyone out there thinking of starting their own business.

Ax Man
07-21-2002, 07:43 AM
I was working for my uncle dragging concrete forms around muddy sites when his steel supplier had shipment probs.
So i went to work for a college buddy for a week. What a difference!
A couple years later I bought a used 48 bobcat wb, Diesel toyota pu, redmax trimmer and blower. Haven't stopped since though my equipment has.
(I still use the blower and trimmer15 years later!)

MOW ED
07-21-2002, 10:19 AM
As a firefighter I found that I had some spare time when off. I certainly won't retire poor but I don't make 150K a year either. With 2 small girls and one on the way I needed to bring in some food money. I saw a scrub mowing my neighbors lawn with a Honda that he pulled on a 4' trailer, the guy was mowin for cash. I figured that I could mow and make money too so I researched equipment and called LCO's in other cities for the rest of that year to learn about the biz.
No Lawnsite back then in 1995 so I learned the hard way. Bought a used homemade 12' trailer, a new Toro lawn tractor and pulled it with an 85 Jeep. Put letters in newspaper boxes on the mailbox poles in target areas and came out with 12 customers. It took me 16 to 20 hours to do those customers per week. Worked my tail off on days off from the firehouse trying to keep up. My reputation for good work got out and word of mouth helped me get to where I am today.
The Toro started showing accellerated wear after a year and a half and I traded it for a Walker. Cut my mowing time in less than half. Its been steady increase in profit from there. I have to contain growth because I want to keep quality work at a managable rate.
Found Lawnsite in 2000 and try and share my experiences with all interested.
I really enjoy reading all posts and have made some great on-line and off line friends here.

anythinglawns
07-22-2002, 02:00 AM
I started out working for my uncle. Finally after a long hot day at close to the end of the season he took me aside and said. "Jason, you will never make any money in this business working for some one else". He then told me that if I would buy a mower of any type that he would give me 3 of his yards the next season to get started. So to start the next season off I had a generic 21" mower I bought at a yard sale and a trimmer I borrowed from the same uncle. I put an add in the paper and purchased some radio adds as well. Within 2 weeks I had more than I could do with my push mower. Within a month I had more than I could do with my new brite red 46" Murray rider. I then went to the bank took out a loan, purchased new snapper commercial equipment and took off.

BigJim
07-22-2002, 05:15 AM
3 years ago we were shifting towns,I had sold my previous business,my wife had a job interveiw in a few days time,we found a house we liked,we hadn't sold our previous one yet,we signed up for the new house on the spot.I figured I better get an income fast,in that days paper was a lawn mowing franchise for sale,I bought that on the spot too!,started cutting lawns the following Monday.Kept that franchise until March this year,sold it and said goodbye to 80 customers on the Friday,Took over a new franchise area on Monday, and met 80 new customers.:)

DaddyRabbit
07-22-2002, 10:03 AM
:p I started out w/nothing and I still have most of it left. :p

a+elawnserviceww
07-22-2002, 09:29 PM
my brother and i bug are dad when we were 13 to cut lawns so he said yes so we got my dad craftman mower 22inch and are stihl weedwacker and we went. then we knock at some doors and ''ask would you like your lawn cut'' when they ask how much we said you name the price when were done so they said ok.and we did not blow the grass off .so then we got ten lawns that week and as that year went on we got ask from other people can you cut are lawn and how much we said the same thing, by the end of the year we had 18 lawns. in the mild of the year we got a home lite blower . and let me tell this year they sold the company to some other company in a nother country and they are hard to get parts a warnety work done SO DO NOT BUY HOMELITE.

a+elawnserviceww
07-22-2002, 09:29 PM
my brother and i bug are dad when we were 13 to cut lawns so he said yes so we got my dad craftman mower 22inch and are stihl weedwacker and we went. then we knock at some doors and ''ask would you like your lawn cut'' when they ask how much we said you name the price when were done so they said ok.and we did not blow the grass off .so then we got ten lawns that week and as that year went on we got ask from other people can you cut are lawn and how much we said the same thing, by the end of the year we had 18 lawns. in the mild of the year we got a home lite blower . and let me tell this year they sold the company to some other company in a nother country and they are hard to get parts a warnety work done SO DO NOT BUY HOMELITE.

sbvfd592
07-22-2002, 09:35 PM
8 y/o my dads push mower the one with no engan its like a rotary mower the persons house down the road for 5 bucks and a coke!!!

RMDoyon
07-23-2002, 12:34 AM
Originally posted by a+elawnserviceww
my brother and i bug are dad when we were 13 to cut lawns so he said yes so we got my dad craftman mower 22inch and are stihl weedwacker and we went. then we knock at some doors and ''ask would you like your lawn cut'' when they ask how much we said you name the price when were done so they said ok.and we did not blow the grass off .so then we got ten lawns that week and as that year went on we got ask from other people can you cut are lawn and how much we said the same thing, by the end of the year we had 18 lawns. in the mild of the year we got a home lite blower . and let me tell this year they sold the company to some other company in a nother country and they are hard to get parts a warnety work done SO DO NOT BUY HOMELITE.


That was a rough read...

Roger

RMDoyon
07-23-2002, 12:36 AM
Originally posted by DaddyRabbit
:p I started out w/nothing and I still have most of it left. :p


Well said!

Roger

brucec32
07-23-2002, 12:47 AM
I started with a pair of rusty scissors and knee pads.

steve122
07-23-2002, 12:58 AM
read and ad in the paper one winter. Local housing authority was advertising for bids on mowing. Told a felllow union member who had a small mowing business about the ad. Saw him couple of weeks later at union meeting and he said he had to much work wasn;t going to check on it. Bad weather, nothing to do, called em up just to be nosy. Guy I talked to said a man and wife team had the contract, it was for two years, took them 3.5 days to mow all of the units and they were paid $1250/wk. I was bustin my but for $750/wk carrying brick and mortar in the heat and mud. Looked at all of the sites, put in a bid, won it and went out and bought a used up grasshopper w/ outfront deck, 52" toro walk behind that was well used, weedeater, handheld blower, bought some insurance and was in business. That was 6 years ago and I wish I was carrying brick and mortar on a lot of days. Now have three crews and a whole lot of headaches. Am probably going to pick best accounts and scale way back after contracts are up in two years.

Darryl G
07-23-2002, 01:44 AM
I first started by pulling the family push mower around the neighborhood for a couple years when I was a teenager. My re-start came last year when I got laid off. I started doing yard work for people I knew while I looked for another job. I wasn't planning on mowing, but the mother of one of my customers asked me if I could mow her lawn. Before I knew it, I had 6 accounts to mow. I mowed with a 6 HP 21 inch White Outdoor push mower and a Ryobi split-boom trimmer/blower/hedge trimmer. I already had the above equipment for personal use, along with an 85 Chevy 4 WD 3/4 ton pick-up, a 1998 John Deere 855 compact utility tractor with backhoe, front end loader and 5 foot brush hog (I have a REALLY big "yard"). Already having all of the equipment I needed certainly helped me to get started.

Basically, I had so much fun last year that the wife and I decided to go for it this year. I pretty much rebuilt the truck, bought a 6 x12 trailer, 48 inch Exmark TTHP, new blower, trimmer, hedge trimmers etc., got my contractors license, insurance, etc., and here I am.

Brickman
07-23-2002, 09:01 AM
RMDoyon


Well said, that was hard to read. Proof that most people need to pay attention when they go to school. To be honest the reason I did not join LS the first time I looked at it was because of the POOR spelling and grammar of some of the posts. I make mistakes too I admit that, but for the whole post to be one screw up.................... some posts I will start reading, see that is how they are and totally skip reading them.


I can't say that I started with nothing, and still have most of it. That wouldn't be true, but I am just as BROKE now as I was then. :mad: :( :(

a+elawnserviceww
07-23-2002, 11:06 AM
my brother and i keep on ask are dad if we cloud cut lawns down the shore in NJ. So then he said yes when we were 13. So that day we go has craftsman mower and are old sthil weed wacker that we got off a guy for nothing. Oof we went. So we knocked at some doors with high grass and said would you like your lawn cut and they said how much do you charge and we said name a price when were down. then they said OK we did the lawn and they name a price. so by the end of the day We had 10 lawns.. so my dad bulided us a wagon for the back of the bike with bed frames. So we cloud carry are lawnmower in it had a ramp to for the mower to get on the wagen , a rack for the weedwacker and shelf WE ALSO FOUND IN A THE TRASH for the 2 gas cans . the wagon work good. as the year went on people stop us ask how much do you charge to do a lawn an we said you name a price when were down. then they said OK we did the lawn and they name a price. as the year we got a a blower at home depot. SO WE BUILT A RACK FOR THE BLOWER. and by the end o f the year we had 15 people. So over the my brother made a website. flyer and busines cards. so spring came and we hand out flyer to some old lawns we cut last year and some new ones . Then when we got some new people we had shirts made up. then we had about 20 people and WE told them the price. So then we had about 20 people. so then we got a Toro 32inch belt driver 15hp mower, so one of us road the bike with the wagon and other drove the mower to the houses are weedwacker broke so we had to buy a new one. the other one was get fixed. so we bought a sthil, So by end of the year we had 30 pepople. This year so we had to buy a new 22inch mower. So we bought a craftman with a hona it like the Toro person pace. We have about 60 people so know are dad help us and drive us around. so we bought a new enclose trailer 6 feet by 12feet. we built are own weedwacker, blower rack that can fold down and shelf that hold the gas.

RMDoyon
07-23-2002, 11:19 AM
"So over the my brother made a website. flyer and busines cards."


I'd sure like to see those marketing pieces...


Roger

sc lawncare
07-23-2002, 12:16 PM
I just started this year - late (June). Craftsman self-propelled, Ryobi trimmer and edger and backpack blower all out of the back of my van. My customer base has dwindled to three, but I expected the bottom of the barrel customers with a late start. Using this for extra money while my wife goes to school (I'm a mid-level manager in a sales organization). Been rainy in Texas, so cutting time has been extended over most years.

Trying to decide if I should upgrade my equipment and stay in this business as I learned pretty quickly my stuff would not do for a large customer base. Disappointed (but not surprised) at the userness of the customers who hire you to cleanup their overgrown lawns and then fire you two weeks later so they can now do it themselves. As I said, by starting in June, I should expect the dregs. Happy and frustrated at the same time, but not sorry I did it. At least I can afford the fix-up my old van needed, as I've replaced about every moving part on it this summer!!

Any thoughts/feelings/responses appreciated!!

Steve C.

SC Lawncare