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View Full Version : Determined 18 Year Old With A New Business


pollak1322
09-29-2011, 12:02 AM
Hey guys, I've been reading on this site for quite some time now and finally decided to sign up. Im a 18 year old Eagle scout whose going to college that has been mowing lawns, mulching, pruning shrubs, snow plowing, and everything in between since I was 12. Over the years and with the addition of my license and truck, I have expanded out of my immediate neighborhood to about 17 accounts around my town. Last summer I bought my first commercial mower which was a dinosaur of a 48" Scag which now needs a new transmission among other things. Recently a very good family friend who knows my situation offered to loan me some money to buy a new mower. No strings attached, I pay him back a portion of each payment I get as I make the money, no interest or anything. I talked it all over with my parents and with their approval I now am the proud owner of a brand new 48" Scag Hydro. I have lots of other equipment that I've bought and accumulated over the years and this upcoming spring and summer I'm looking to further expand and really do this seriously at least while in college if not longer.

I guess I'm just looking for some advice on how I should go about doing this and what has worked and more importantly what hasn't worked for all of you guys that do this professionally and for a living. Also more info on when its appropriate to register as a real company, marketing, and that kind of information would be extremely helpful. Thank you!

masonenterprises
09-29-2011, 12:54 AM
Stay in School. Establish good credit. Thats all.

deerewashed
09-29-2011, 04:08 PM
don't lowball, advertise....advertise.....advertise.....advertise


p.s. sent you a message

aeration
09-29-2011, 10:06 PM
With 17 mowing accounts, one season should pay for a new mower. Definitely a new/used machine. Stay away from the money borrowing activity. Cash flow the business. It won't take long to get what you need if you save the vast majority of your revenue. Once you get the equipment you need, save a certain percentage every month for new equipment/maintenence. Its like a sinking fund. A pre paid expense so you will have the money to purchase new equipment and maintain your current machines.

pollak1322
09-30-2011, 12:55 AM
Thanks for the advice! The only reason why I went through with the borrowing of the money is because I'm confident that I can pay off the new mower within a season fairly easily. I do not want to owe money to anyone so from now on I dont want to buy anything I cant afford. As of now I have all of the other necessary equipment to get through the season so I dont plan on any other purchases besides any repairs. Ever since I started the business I have always put a percentage of my pay away in savings so I already have a good percentage of the mower paid off and I plan to keep managing my money in this way.

deerewashed
09-30-2011, 12:19 PM
a trailer, or larger truck would help you, along with a sulky.......proslide would be the best, but i have a single wheel and it works nicely.

pollak1322
09-30-2011, 12:44 PM
I have a decent flat bed trailer to haul around the mower but I find it easier to just put the mower in the bed of the truck that way I don't have to deal with maneuvering the trailer at some of my accounts that are tight as far as turning around. I also have a one wheel sulky but I haven't decided if I will switch it off between the two mowers or just buy a new one for the new mower. As for the truck I am in the process of trying to find a good deal on an f250 or 350 to buy once I get home from school for the year. The ranger worked alright with the small number of accounts I had but if I want to expand further a full size truck preferably diesel needs to be in my near future.
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All_Toro_4ME
09-30-2011, 12:49 PM
Since you're in college, take some fundamental/intro business classes and at least 9 hrs of acctg and finance. You'll learn the mgmt side of things as well as cash flow in vs out. This is critical for any business.

pollak1322
09-30-2011, 01:07 PM
Yeah currently I'm in a major called wood science and technology which has some business influence but not as much as I want so I plan on doing a minor they offer called entrepreneurship which covers all of the business aspects and it covers how to build up, run, and manage a small business which I think would be extremely helpful and useful.

fivestarlandscapes
09-30-2011, 08:25 PM
I would have borrowed $400 and fixed the other mower up. If your in college I would be focusing on college and not expanding a lawn business. Yes, one season will pay for the new mower but you could have just fixed the other mower and waitied untill you had more like 30 accounts to pull the trigger on a new machine. Now you have to worry about paying the family friend and If something happens.... I know guys with 40+ accounts that have never purchased a new machine but they are good with mechanics. Best of luck to you but make sure you are not skipping classes to mow lawns like I was. Im still mowing lawns.

pollak1322
09-30-2011, 08:57 PM
I couldn't skip out on classes to mow lawns even if I tried! I go to school in west Virginia 8 hours away from my hometown. I understand what you mean about fixing the old mower but its at the point where its so old that once I fix one thing on it another breaks. So in the longrun the new scag I think was the best option.
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DLONGLANDSCAPING
10-03-2011, 12:54 PM
How do you mow lawns in septemeber, oct and nov when your in school?
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pollak1322
10-03-2011, 02:46 PM
Well with this being my first year in college I've never had this problem before, however, I have an older friend that has been working in the landscaping industry for the past 8 years for an established and reputable company and on and off for me if I need him, so when I'm here at school thankfully he takes over the business and finishes up the season for me. I know I'm putting a lot of trust into one person but he has proven to be extremely reliable and even fixed a few minor things on the old Scag before we got the new one so it seems to be working out.

This brings me to another question that I've been thinking about. He told me a few weeks ago that he wanted to stop working for the company he previously had worked for and start up his own thing. His old boss is looking to get out of the industry and talked with him about giving the majority of his clients away to my friend. So with this opportunity my friend asked me if I would be interested in combining my small operation with his if he goes through with it and kind of do a joint thing. Because of the fact that I'm away now and he's been handling my work it seems that it would work out fine because he knows my clients and the ones that he'd take on from the old company he worked for. But with doing some research on here I see that everyone tells others to stay away from a partnership kind of thing because they never work out well. Considering my scenario, what are your opinions on the matter?

McG_Landscaping
10-03-2011, 03:04 PM
Well with this being my first year in college I've never had this problem before, however, I have an older friend that has been working in the landscaping industry for the past 8 years for an established and reputable company and on and off for me if I need him, so when I'm here at school thankfully he takes over the business and finishes up the season for me. I know I'm putting a lot of trust into one person but he has proven to be extremely reliable and even fixed a few minor things on the old Scag before we got the new one so it seems to be working out.

This brings me to another question that I've been thinking about. He told me a few weeks ago that he wanted to stop working for the company he previously had worked for and start up his own thing. His old boss is looking to get out of the industry and talked with him about giving the majority of his clients away to my friend. So with this opportunity my friend asked me if I would be interested in combining my small operation with his if he goes through with it and kind of do a joint thing. Because of the fact that I'm away now and he's been handling my work it seems that it would work out fine because he knows my clients and the ones that he'd take on from the old company he worked for. But with doing some research on here I see that everyone tells others to stay away from a partnership kind of thing because they never work out well. Considering my scenario, what are your opinions on the matter?

sounds like your friend has a good chance of taking over the other company as well as yours. not trying to be mean or rude but he knows all of your customers,they know him as well as the quality of work and he will be mowing their yard for half of the season. that kind of puts you in a tough scenario

pollak1322
10-03-2011, 03:54 PM
Yes I see your point but I have the advantage because he is using all of my equipment and I have been working for these people for the past 6 years. So even if he wanted to try and cheat me out of the work he couldn't because he has no equipment. I know from an outside point of view it might seem like he would try to do this but we've been very good friends for a while and I highly doubt he would try to pull that. Especially when im paying him for the work he's doing now instead of the customers just directly paying him.
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puffyhead929
10-06-2011, 12:43 AM
I had a "friend" who did my lawns while i was in my first year of college last year... he ended up lowballing and taking a bunch of my accounts and beat the hell out of all my equipment

pollak1322
10-06-2011, 01:20 AM
Sorry to hear that man. But like I said I know how much he's charging because I'm getting the checks from the customers sent to me and then paying him myself. And as far as the equipment, it goes back to my house every night so my dads able to check on it and so far when minor things have needed service he's gotten them fixed and even did some preventative maintenance and paid for it on his own like changing out worn belts and stuff like that.

Im not trying to be hard headed and ignore what you guys are telling me because obviously you have more experience, but so far things have been going well and everythings worked out.

Any advice on when to get insurance/registering as a legitimate business?