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moneyclass
10-19-2011, 10:14 AM
HI everyone i'm new here actually my first post been browsing thru this site alot and getting lots of good info but my question is.....

Just lost my job few months ago and there is seriously no jobs out there so been thinking of next spring starting a landscaping biz. I have no knowledge and no equipment any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Georgia Lawn
10-19-2011, 10:37 AM
moneyclass,
sorry for the job loss, this is however the perfect time to get up your clientele. First you need to get some basic knowledge, maybe read a book from home depot about lawns. Once you have a understanding of how high to cut the grass and how to edge a yard start getting your clients lined up. We used flyers to get our customer base up. If you are looking to get clients for mowing try putting out a flyer for fall yard and leaf clean up. This is a great way to up sell them maintenance services in the spring while giving you a little income. Some will ask you if you do other services any way. Try to put out as many flyers as possible like 10,000 asap. Good luck, spend a little money on your flyers and get some money coming in.

JDiepstra
10-19-2011, 11:03 AM
Do you have money to buy equipment? Whats your budget? Do you have anything??? Tow vehicle? Trailer? Mower? Anything? And what is your motivation to get into lawncare? Is it something you have a passion for or does it just seem easy to get into?

moneyclass
10-19-2011, 11:05 AM
Thanks!!! Yeah ive been reading you need to spend alot in marketing to get your name out there.

Any advice on some equipment to start buying?

moneyclass
10-19-2011, 11:10 AM
Do you have money to buy equipment? Whats your budget? Do you have anything??? Tow vehicle? Trailer? Mower? Anything? And what is your motivation to get into lawncare? Is it something you have a passion for or does it just seem easy to get into?

My budget that I have is around $7000. I have a ford ranger that I am going to use to get started i know done the road I will need a bigger truck. I really dont have any major equipment just my push mower and weed whacker that I used for own lawn. I figure what I need to get started is:

trailor
commerical mower
weed whacker
back pack blower
edger

Sound right or anything else?

JDiepstra
10-19-2011, 11:28 AM
My budget that I have is around $7000. I have a ford ranger that I am going to use to get started i know done the road I will need a bigger truck. I really dont have any major equipment just my push mower and weed whacker that I used for own lawn. I figure what I need to get started is:

trailor
commerical mower
weed whacker
back pack blower
edger

Sound right or anything else?

Seems reasonable but I still think we need way more info to help you out. Where are you located? What are the average size lawns that you think you will be servicing? For example, tons of guys in Florida cut small lawns with 2 21" mowers all day long. In Michigan we have tons of guys towing around 2 60" zero turns and mowing all day long. This could be a difference between a 3/4 ton truck and a 16' trailer or just keeping your Ranger and getting a 10' trailer. Need more info buddy! :cool2:

moneyclass
10-19-2011, 11:41 AM
Seems reasonable but I still think we need way more info to help you out. Where are you located? What are the average size lawns that you think you will be servicing? For example, tons of guys in Florida cut small lawns with 2 21" mowers all day long. In Michigan we have tons of guys towing around 2 60" zero turns and mowing all day long. This could be a difference between a 3/4 ton truck and a 16' trailer or just keeping your Ranger and getting a 10' trailer. Need more info buddy! :cool2:

In the cleveland ohio area. We have like half acres or like .3 acre lots nothing super big. With keeping my ranger I cant tow to much so was thinking of getting like a 5x8 trailor. and am looking at like a 48 or 52 inch zero turn mower.

Would you recommend a used mower or buy one brand new? Do mowers go on sale in the winter?

JDiepstra
10-19-2011, 11:46 AM
If I were you I would get a walk behind to start off with and not a zero turn. If you are somewhat mechanically inclined I would get a used one off craigslist or something like that. You can grow into a zero turn if your business thrives. Keep your costs down as much as you can because you will find that you are going to need to buy more and more stuff at you grow. Mowing seems to be a foot in the door to more profitable jobs like mulch, bush trimming, etc etc

moneyclass
10-19-2011, 11:59 AM
If I were you I would get a walk behind to start off with and not a zero turn. If you are somewhat mechanically inclined I would get a used one off craigslist or something like that. You can grow into a zero turn if your business thrives. Keep your costs down as much as you can because you will find that you are going to need to buy more and more stuff at you grow. Mowing seems to be a foot in the door to more profitable jobs like mulch, bush trimming, etc etc

Thanks for the help!!

bad93blaster
10-19-2011, 12:52 PM
You might want to get a handheld blower to start and a good 21 inch mower. You don't. Really need a backpack blower until you do cleanups
Posted via Mobile Device

White Gardens
10-19-2011, 01:00 PM
Even though you stated that there isn't any jobs in your area, I would still try and find a part-time job in the mean-time to supplement your income.

jsslawncare
10-19-2011, 01:38 PM
Wait a minute, It's not that hard to get into this business is it? I mean everyone that loses their job can take their homeowner mower and do it right?

cpllawncare
10-19-2011, 07:11 PM
I have a ranger and I pulled a 5x10 this whole past season loaded with my 700 pound grandstand,and all my other stuff, I wouldn't try to pull much more though, it's not so much the pulling that is the problem as much as the stopping, The next truck and trailer I get will be full size and tow package for sure. Start off very slow your first year you're gonna be amazed at what you're going to need to learn in this business, This was my first full season and let me tell you I was almost overwhelmed with learning information and researching stuff and am still nowhere close to feeling comfortable with the knowledge side of the business. Customers expect you to have all the answers to their landscape and lawncare problems. I've always taken a lot of pride in knowing my stuff, so this was a new deal for me, I spent a lot of time saying I don't know, but I will find out, this year, so just be prepared. I wish there was a local school here to teach a lot of this stuff, so far this site has been my school / go to for tough questions and tough situations, that you will inevidently find yourself in. Good luck and don't be afraid to ask questions, there is a ton of experience on here and most are willing to help anyway they can.

moneyclass
10-19-2011, 07:12 PM
Even though you stated that there isn't any jobs in your area, I would still try and find a part-time job in the mean-time to supplement your income.

Actually im on unemployment for a year so dont really want to get a job lol. But when that runs out early next summer I want to have my lawn care biz in place to start providing me with income. I have all winter to learn the biz and what to buy and be starting spring time next year.

moneyclass
10-19-2011, 07:15 PM
I have a ranger and I pulled a 5x10 this whole past season loaded with my 700 pound grandstand,and all my other stuff, I wouldn't try to pull much more though, it's not so much the pulling that is the problem as much as the stopping, The next truck and trailer I get will be full size and tow package for sure. Start off very slow your first year you're gonna be amazed at what you're going to need to learn in this business, This was my first full season and let me tell you I was almost overwhelmed with learning information and researching stuff and am still nowhere close to feeling comfortable with the knowledge side of the business. Customers expect you to have all the answers to their landscape and lawncare problems. I've always taken a lot of pride in knowing my stuff, so this was a new deal for me, I spent a lot of time saying I don't know, but I will find out, this year, so just be prepared. I wish there was a local school here to teach a lot of this stuff, so far this site has been my school / go to for tough questions and tough situations, that you will inevidently find yourself in. Good luck and don't be afraid to ask questions, there is a ton of experience on here and most are willing to help anyway they can.

Thanks for the info. Yeah this site has already been helping me out alot.

newz7151
10-19-2011, 07:24 PM
Actually im on unemployment for a year so dont really want to get a job lol. But when that runs out early next summer I want to have my lawn care biz in place to start providing me with income. I have all winter to learn the biz and what to buy and be starting spring time next year.

Wow, talk about setting yourself up for flames.... If you're lazy enough that you think you're going to just sit on Unemployment benefits for a year instead of being out looking for and trying to GET a job again, you'll certainly never make it as a legitimate lawn care business.

cpllawncare
10-19-2011, 07:24 PM
My budget that I have is around $7000. I have a ford ranger that I am going to use to get started i know done the road I will need a bigger truck. I really dont have any major equipment just my push mower and weed whacker that I used for own lawn. I figure what I need to get started is:

trailor
commerical mower
weed whacker
back pack blower
edger

Sound right or anything else?

You don't really need an edger right off, learn to edge with your trimmer, I can probably edge just as fast with my trimmer as with an edger, it takes some practice though.

c3wlandscaping
10-19-2011, 07:31 PM
[QUOTE=moneyclass;4191490]Actually im on unemployment for a year so dont really want to get a job lol.

And we wonder why this country is in the shape it is. If you think lawn care and landscaping biz is easy money wait till it is 100 degrees and 90% humidity for a week straight. Or it has rained for a week grass is a foot tall and you are getting calls from people wondering why thier grass isn't taken care of. Better yet, underbid a job just to get it and suffer with it all year long knowing that everytime you unload your losing money. there is my two cents

cpllawncare
10-19-2011, 07:34 PM
Actually im on unemployment for a year so dont really want to get a job lol. But when that runs out early next summer I want to have my lawn care biz in place to start providing me with income. I have all winter to learn the biz and what to buy and be starting spring time next year.

I got layed off in 08 and have never drawn a cent of unemployment! I went straight to full time lawncare and a part time job, there is no need to wait your just wasting valuable time that you could be out there getting customers and learning hands on, it's really the only way your gonna learn this business, don't be like so many other's! be a doer not a wanna be or I have time to do it later kinda person, if you have time later you have time now.

moneyclass
10-19-2011, 07:50 PM
I got layed off in 08 and have never drawn a cent of unemployment! I went straight to full time lawncare and a part time job, there is no need to wait your just wasting valuable time that you could be out there getting customers and learning hands on, it's really the only way your gonna learn this business, don't be like so many other's! be a doer not a wanna be or I have time to do it later kinda person, if you have time later you have time now.

Oh trust me if i could start it now I definitely would but i live in ohio and its going to be snowing prolly in a few weeks. So what i was going to do while we are going to be in winter for the next few months is learn the biz since I dont know to much about it.

moneyclass
10-19-2011, 07:52 PM
Wow, talk about setting yourself up for flames.... If you're lazy enough that you think you're going to just sit on Unemployment benefits for a year instead of being out looking for and trying to GET a job again, you'll certainly never make it as a legitimate lawn care business.

Actually I have been looking for jobs for the past few months and theres nothing here thats why i started thinking of a biz to start. Trust me if i could find a job i would take it and not even worry about starting a landscaping biz.

a job with benefits.....hell yeah ill take that right now if someone wanted to give me that.

moneyclass
10-19-2011, 07:54 PM
You don't really need an edger right off, learn to edge with your trimmer, I can probably edge just as fast with my trimmer as with an edger, it takes some practice though.

Yeah i heard landscapers dont edge to much. From what I heard they edge at the beginning of the year middle and end. And all between they use the weed whacker.

cpllawncare
10-19-2011, 08:06 PM
Yeah i heard landscapers dont edge to much. From what I heard they edge at the beginning of the year middle and end. And all between they use the weed whacker.

I edge my lawns everytime or every other time at the least, it's way faster than letting them get out of hand and have to redevelop a new edge, besides it just looks better.

cpllawncare
10-19-2011, 08:10 PM
Actually I have been looking for jobs for the past few months and theres nothing here thats why i started thinking of a biz to start. Trust me if i could find a job i would take it and not even worry about starting a landscaping biz.

a job with benefits.....hell yeah ill take that right now if someone wanted to give me that.

I don't know what field you're in but, there are jobs out there maybe not exactly what you want but their there, I've seriously thought about going back to a so called "REAL JOB" but I'm enjoying self employment too much right now.

larryinalabama
10-19-2011, 08:52 PM
If lawncare is not your passion I would find something else. All your gonna do is waste money on equiptment, find something less expensive to get into

FoghornLeghorn
10-19-2011, 08:54 PM
Yeah i heard landscapers dont edge to much. From what I heard they edge at the beginning of the year middle and end. And all between they use the weed whacker.

Uh, what? I edge every week on every property. And don't think you can get a good, clean edge using a trimmer. You can get close, but you won't get straight, crisp lines like you will with an edger, and you definitely won't get a 2 inch dig in the ground at the edge of the sidewalk.

Man, you really don't know anything about this business if you're making statements like edging 3 times a year.

And don't think you can learn the lawn business by reading about it via us talking about it on this forum.

This business is not the same as mowing your grandpappy's yard. This stuff is hard, dirty, frustrating, and tiresome work.

Georgia Lawn
10-19-2011, 09:32 PM
Moneyclass
you can try doing some snow plowing up there for the winter to get a feel for how the customers are going to be and maybe sign them up for a contract for the spring. The best way to learn the biz is to get in there and see what works best for you and go from there.

stickleylawncare
10-19-2011, 09:43 PM
I wouldnt step on another persons property unless you can afford some kind of business insurance, even if its the cheapest you can find. If you only have 5-6 accounts, just takes one small accident, one broken window.. dinged car etc and you are down for the count when you are just starting out.

lifetree
10-19-2011, 09:54 PM
... Just lost my job few months ago and there is seriously no jobs out there so been thinking of next spring starting a landscaping biz. I have no knowledge and no equipment ...

Sorry about the loss of your job, however, I seriously suggest you not try to establish an LCO !!

GMLC
10-19-2011, 10:02 PM
You may want to work for another lawn care company first before diving in. Its not rocket science but there is a learning curve for some. Then the next step is actually running a business which is rocket science for most...

newz7151
10-19-2011, 10:34 PM
Oh trust me if i could start it now I definitely would but i live in ohio and its going to be snowing prolly in a few weeks. So what i was going to do while we are going to be in winter for the next few months is learn the biz since I dont know to much about it.

If you're not going to start off shoveling snow, what do you think you are going to do next winter when the grass is covered by all that white stuff? Sure can't claim unemployment from your-self. Grab a shovel or buy a walk behind and get to moving (what i understand they call up there) "white gold".

cpllawncare
10-19-2011, 11:16 PM
I would say judging from your post your not ready for self employment! If your not willing to get going and get going now you will never be ready "LATER" as you say, time is money in this business! there is no room for procrastination if your truly a entrepreneur.

superdog1
10-20-2011, 08:39 AM
I got the same idea you had in March of this year. I read everything I could find and then re-read it just to be sure it sunk in. The first rule is this:
Everything everyone on here said would happen did, and then some!!!!

I ended up working all summer. I did NOT make the big $$ I thought I would. I busted my ass from sun up till sun down. In the end, I had to buy another mower (My Cub Cadet RZT died 1/2 way through the season) to the tune of $7000 for a Scag Vride 54". As it turned out, I made just enough to live and put gas in the mowers.

My only saving grace was that my house and truck are paid off. With that in mind, I did a lot of work by hand that others wouldn't touch without machinery. I learned the hard way, as everything went wrong no matter how hard I planned ahead. I went over and above what other LCO's were doing to make my clients happy. While the customer was smiling, my bank account wasn't, as they quickly learned to take advantage of my goodwill. There was always just this one little extra thing the client would ask me to do for free. It could be as simple as removing a few branches they cut down and piled up to one lady who wanted me to trim all of her bushes for nothing, as she felt I should include that for all the big $$ she was paying me ($25 a cut, inside a fenced in yard where the grass was always 10 feet high because her 3 dogs were crap factories and it had to be bagged and removed EVERY time, not to mention the little "Doggie" land mines I had to mow/walk over).

I think next year will be a little better, BUT, it was a really expensive first year learning curve. Some advice I can give you is that you DO NOT have to take every single person who calls you. You will learn very quickly if a location is not worth your time. They could be slow pay, perhaps always leaving all of the kids toys all over the yard (Which you will have to pick up to do a decent job). Maybe they will always wait until the yard is 10" high before they feel it is time to have it cut (This will save them $$ and cost you a LOT!). Do not be afraid to tell the customer that they need to pay you more or find another LCO!

I do know that it seemed like a really easy thing to do, I mean, after all, how hard can it be to cut some grass and get a check right? Let me tell you, that is only 1/10 of what it takes to do this. I especially love when it rains for 3 or 4 days straight and all you can do is sit there and watch out the window wondering if it will ever stop? I also love the calls for "one time cuts" because the house is for sale or they are on vacation or their mower is broke, whatever.... you get there and find out it hasn't been cut in 2 months and they only want to pay you $20. You almost have to do it, as you just wasted the time and gas to get there!!!

Look, it's not all doom and gloom and obviously others do it and make a living at it, but you can bet it's not easy and unless you work for someone else for a year or two and learn the ropes, you are about to enroll in the good old "School of hard knocks" and will earn a nice little diploma for it, Lol

moneyclass
10-20-2011, 09:47 AM
I wouldnt step on another persons property unless you can afford some kind of business insurance, even if its the cheapest you can find. If you only have 5-6 accounts, just takes one small accident, one broken window.. dinged car etc and you are down for the count when you are just starting out.

What is a estimated cost of insurance?

stickleylawncare
10-20-2011, 09:52 AM
What is a estimated cost of insurance?

You can probably get a basic general business liability insurance for 300-700 a year. Just shop around, check Travels, Blackbear, USAA, Statefarm, Nationwide, etc.

moneyclass
10-20-2011, 10:01 AM
I got the same idea you had in March of this year. I read everything I could find and then re-read it just to be sure it sunk in. The first rule is this:
Everything everyone on here said would happen did, and then some!!!!

I ended up working all summer. I did NOT make the big $$ I thought I would. I busted my ass from sun up till sun down. In the end, I had to buy another mower (My Cub Cadet RZT died 1/2 way through the season) to the tune of $7000 for a Scag Vride 54". As it turned out, I made just enough to live and put gas in the mowers.

My only saving grace was that my house and truck are paid off. With that in mind, I did a lot of work by hand that others wouldn't touch without machinery. I learned the hard way, as everything went wrong no matter how hard I planned ahead. I went over and above what other LCO's were doing to make my clients happy. While the customer was smiling, my bank account wasn't, as they quickly learned to take advantage of my goodwill. There was always just this one little extra thing the client would ask me to do for free. It could be as simple as removing a few branches they cut down and piled up to one lady who wanted me to trim all of her bushes for nothing, as she felt I should include that for all the big $$ she was paying me ($25 a cut, inside a fenced in yard where the grass was always 10 feet high because her 3 dogs were crap factories and it had to be bagged and removed EVERY time, not to mention the little "Doggie" land mines I had to mow/walk over).

I think next year will be a little better, BUT, it was a really expensive first year learning curve. Some advice I can give you is that you DO NOT have to take every single person who calls you. You will learn very quickly if a location is not worth your time. They could be slow pay, perhaps always leaving all of the kids toys all over the yard (Which you will have to pick up to do a decent job). Maybe they will always wait until the yard is 10" high before they feel it is time to have it cut (This will save them $$ and cost you a LOT!). Do not be afraid to tell the customer that they need to pay you more or find another LCO!

I do know that it seemed like a really easy thing to do, I mean, after all, how hard can it be to cut some grass and get a check right? Let me tell you, that is only 1/10 of what it takes to do this. I especially love when it rains for 3 or 4 days straight and all you can do is sit there and watch out the window wondering if it will ever stop? I also love the calls for "one time cuts" because the house is for sale or they are on vacation or their mower is broke, whatever.... you get there and find out it hasn't been cut in 2 months and they only want to pay you $20. You almost have to do it, as you just wasted the time and gas to get there!!!

Look, it's not all doom and gloom and obviously others do it and make a living at it, but you can bet it's not easy and unless you work for someone else for a year or two and learn the ropes, you are about to enroll in the good old "School of hard knocks" and will earn a nice little diploma for it, Lol

Hey THANKS for your comments I really enjoyed reading it. Yeah you are right it will be the school of hard knocks but I guess I have to go out there and learn it that way. I never even thought about the doggie land mines lol.

moneyclass
10-20-2011, 10:02 AM
You can probably get a basic general business liability insurance for 300-700 a year. Just shop around, check Travels, Blackbear, USAA, Statefarm, Nationwide, etc.

Thanks!! Thats not to bad

moneyclass
10-20-2011, 10:03 AM
Mower help.....With just starting out do you recommend a sit down zero turn mower or a walk behind mower?

Jay Ray
10-20-2011, 10:27 AM
I got the same idea you had in March of this year. I read everything I could find and then re-read it just to be sure it sunk in. The first rule is this:
Everything everyone on here said would happen did, and then some!!!!

I ended up working all summer. I did NOT make the big $$ I thought I would. I busted my ass from sun up till sun down. In the end, I had to buy another mower (My Cub Cadet RZT died 1/2 way through the season) to the tune of $7000 for a Scag Vride 54". As it turned out, I made just enough to live and put gas in the mowers.

My only saving grace was that my house and truck are paid off. With that in mind, I did a lot of work by hand that others wouldn't touch without machinery. I learned the hard way, as everything went wrong no matter how hard I planned ahead. I went over and above what other LCO's were doing to make my clients happy. While the customer was smiling, my bank account wasn't, as they quickly learned to take advantage of my goodwill. There was always just this one little extra thing the client would ask me to do for free. It could be as simple as removing a few branches they cut down and piled up to one lady who wanted me to trim all of her bushes for nothing, as she felt I should include that for all the big $$ she was paying me ($25 a cut, inside a fenced in yard where the grass was always 10 feet high because her 3 dogs were crap factories and it had to be bagged and removed EVERY time, not to mention the little "Doggie" land mines I had to mow/walk over).

I think next year will be a little better, BUT, it was a really expensive first year learning curve. Some advice I can give you is that you DO NOT have to take every single person who calls you. You will learn very quickly if a location is not worth your time. They could be slow pay, perhaps always leaving all of the kids toys all over the yard (Which you will have to pick up to do a decent job). Maybe they will always wait until the yard is 10" high before they feel it is time to have it cut (This will save them $$ and cost you a LOT!). Do not be afraid to tell the customer that they need to pay you more or find another LCO!

I do know that it seemed like a really easy thing to do, I mean, after all, how hard can it be to cut some grass and get a check right? Let me tell you, that is only 1/10 of what it takes to do this. I especially love when it rains for 3 or 4 days straight and all you can do is sit there and watch out the window wondering if it will ever stop? I also love the calls for "one time cuts" because the house is for sale or they are on vacation or their mower is broke, whatever.... you get there and find out it hasn't been cut in 2 months and they only want to pay you $20. You almost have to do it, as you just wasted the time and gas to get there!!!

Look, it's not all doom and gloom and obviously others do it and make a living at it, but you can bet it's not easy and unless you work for someone else for a year or two and learn the ropes, you are about to enroll in the good old "School of hard knocks" and will earn a nice little diploma for it, Lol

Yup. The lessons of the first season are priceless, and no way to book learn them. It takes more muscle, blood, sweat, tears, and greasy hands than folks can imagine. This is always with you, but as your skills get honed, the money does improve and you can sometimes recognize chaos personified (customer from hell) at first glance, but not always.

Still, if it's no worse in the morning than it was last night, consider it a good day:laugh:

Jay Ray
10-20-2011, 10:38 AM
Mower help.....With just starting out do you recommend a sit down zero turn mower or a walk behind mower?

I used a wb exclusively for a couple of seasons. Low cost, low maintenance, and lost 50 lbs. the first season. Used it a few of times this season. A wb without a sulky will get you on a lawn while it is still too wet and soggy for a rider.

That don't mean you have to do it like that. You get to make all your own decisions.

moneyclass
10-20-2011, 11:09 AM
From my reading from this site.....it looks like when people start out they buy a walk behind and after the biz grows they buy a sit down mower.

Exact Rototilling
10-20-2011, 11:57 AM
There is not enough background info here. How old are you? Live at home...parents ...grandmas basement ? What was your old job?
What are your current skills?
Posted via Mobile Device

moneyclass
10-20-2011, 12:07 PM
There is not enough background info here. How old are you? Live at home...parents ...grandmas basement ? What was your old job?
What are your current skills?
Posted via Mobile Device

Im 30 yrs old. Own my own home. My previous job was in a machine shop fixing machines so im somewhat mechanically inclined.

I own 5 rental properties which pay for my living now so dont really need to make alot of my landscaping biz. and can go a year without taking any profits from it and can reinvest it back into the biz to keep growing it.

stickleylawncare
10-20-2011, 01:11 PM
I would start with a good walk behind, its going to fit on more properties, easier to not screw up a yard with etc. I wouldn't get a riding mower unless you have large enough accounts to justify it really. We bought have a 60" rider this year mainly for one really big job, but its too large for the majority of our accounts and we will be getting another, bigger walk behind for those next season.

I guess, just dont run out and buy a rider just because you can afford it... only buy one if you really NEED it.

stickleylawncare
10-20-2011, 01:13 PM
I own 5 rental properties which pay for my living now so dont really need to make alot of my landscaping biz.

Rentals are a good investment. Thats actually what we are doing in reverse. All of my income after living expense go back into buying rental property. They are right now just paying for themselves for the most part, but its more a long term retirement plan than a money maker for me.

moneyclass
10-20-2011, 01:30 PM
Rentals are a good investment. Thats actually what we are doing in reverse. All of my income after living expense go back into buying rental property. They are right now just paying for themselves for the most part, but its more a long term retirement plan than a money maker for me.

Oh yeah i like rentals. And yeh a good retirement income too. Ive been buying them for the past 10 yrs. I have 4 out of my 5 paid for so im super happy. Once they are rented out and all things are fixed all you have to do is sit back and collect rent.

moneyclass
10-20-2011, 01:31 PM
I would start with a good walk behind, its going to fit on more properties, easier to not screw up a yard with etc. I wouldn't get a riding mower unless you have large enough accounts to justify it really. We bought have a 60" rider this year mainly for one really big job, but its too large for the majority of our accounts and we will be getting another, bigger walk behind for those next season.

I guess, just dont run out and buy a rider just because you can afford it... only buy one if you really NEED it.

Yeah Im looking into a cub cadet 52". Any opinion on that?

stickleylawncare
10-20-2011, 01:52 PM
I personally have been very happy with Exmark... I think most of the major commercial brands are all solid, each probably has something that its better at than the other. What was important to me was quick,easy, and close contact to a good dealer. For me it was down to Gravely or Exmark, and Exmark had a better, closer dealer for me.

moneyclass
10-20-2011, 01:56 PM
I personally have been very happy with Exmark... I think most of the major commercial brands are all solid, each probably has something that its better at than the other. What was important to me was quick,easy, and close contact to a good dealer. For me it was down to Gravely or Exmark, and Exmark had a better, closer dealer for me.

Very true...thats why im looking at a cub cadet the dealer is like a mile from my house. Ive also seen alot of people having exmark.

MDLawn
10-20-2011, 02:31 PM
Either I am completely confused or dont remember everything I just read. First you are jobless, then on unemployment, and now you own 5 rental properties that pay for your living and will bank your retirement? I'm no IRS official but if you are collecting money from rental properties that is income and probably shouldn't allow you to be on unemployment, but again I'm no IRS person and maybe its all "cash".

So this business is just for "kicks"? Do you want this business to turn into something or is just "filling the gap" until you find a "real job". There is no money to be made if you are not in this for the long haul, I dont care what anyone says. Good well paying clients don't just pile up and good marketing costs money. I'm really just confused why you need this if your rental properties are paying for your living? I'm only part time so I'm not going to say much else but I've been in this industry for 10 years. I wish everyone who starts out the best, but like another said, if you dont actually like this industry its just not going to work out well.

MDLawn
10-20-2011, 03:27 PM
Yeah you are right it will be the school of hard knocks but I guess I have to go out there and learn it that way.

This is the consistent problem with this industry. If someone reads enough they should be able to avoid those pitfalls that others consistently make. No one will tell anyone to charge this or charge that, but most will explain how important it is to know your costs of doing business (not just the money you use to buy equipment). Too many fall in the trap of "My overhead is low so I can charge less". They miss the boat completely. It should say this "My overhead is low so my profits are that much higher" But everyone is falls victim to the word "No". They go on a few estimates, especially for mowing, and get "No" to their estimates eventhough they crunched the right numbers. Instead of moving on to find the customer that fits them they go against their better judgement, and their numbers, and lower their prices. Why? So they can get that fuzzy warm feeling about getting a "Yes" and having customers. Then just like the other guy said, they lose their shirt on the work or barely scratch some pennies from it. Most continue this cycle and either work every minute of their life or fail. The worst part is it affects the rest of the industry.

moneyclass
10-20-2011, 06:27 PM
Either I am completely confused or dont remember everything I just read. First you are jobless, then on unemployment, and now you own 5 rental properties that pay for your living and will bank your retirement? I'm no IRS official but if you are collecting money from rental properties that is income and probably shouldn't allow you to be on unemployment, but again I'm no IRS person and maybe its all "cash".

So this business is just for "kicks"? Do you want this business to turn into something or is just "filling the gap" until you find a "real job". There is no money to be made if you are not in this for the long haul, I dont care what anyone says. Good well paying clients don't just pile up and good marketing costs money. I'm really just confused why you need this if your rental properties are paying for your living? I'm only part time so I'm not going to say much else but I've been in this industry for 10 years. I wish everyone who starts out the best, but like another said, if you dont actually like this industry its just not going to work out well.

Lol sorry for confusing you.....but yeah you have it right. Im on unemployment and I do have a few rentals....and yes they pay cash....so yeah alot easier to hide if you know what I mean.

The landscaping biz yeah I want some extra money and will be like a full time job for me in a way. Along with my rentals but there not to much work anymore.

Glenn Lawn Care
10-20-2011, 06:44 PM
My budget that I have is around $7000. I have a ford ranger that I am going to use to get started i know done the road I will need a bigger truck. I really dont have any major equipment just my push mower and weed whacker that I used for own lawn. I figure what I need to get started is:

trailer
commercial mower
weed whacker
back pack blower
edger

Sound right or anything else?

I would just start out with what you have... You can put all that in the bed of the ranger until you have a need for commercial equipment. You can get a had blower to start out with as well, they are usually pretty cheap. I would just advertise like crazy with that $7k IMO

moneyclass
10-20-2011, 06:53 PM
I would just start out with what you have... You can put all that in the bed of the ranger until you have a need for commercial equipment. You can get a had blower to start out with as well, they are usually pretty cheap. I would just advertise like crazy with that $7k IMO

What type of advertising would you recommend? I know for sure I am going to put my name on my truck.

MDLawn
10-20-2011, 08:21 PM
Im on unemployment and I do have a few rentals....and yes they pay cash....so yeah alot easier to hide if you know what I mean.

So you're defrauding the government. Not sure I'd be posting that on an open forum. Do you intend on just taking cash with the landscape biz? Have fun with all this when you get caught. I know a few who were doing the same thing you are and each got caught. Ended up in a mess and I'm sure they are watched every year. Sorry man a lot of us do things the right way because living here allows us to pursue whatever we like. Taxes take a lot but it gives us that freedom to do what we please.
Posted via Mobile Device

moneyclass
10-20-2011, 10:01 PM
So you're defrauding the government. Not sure I'd be posting that on an open forum. Do you intend on just taking cash with the landscape biz? Have fun with all this when you get caught. I know a few who were doing the same thing you are and each got caught. Ended up in a mess and I'm sure they are watched every year. Sorry man a lot of us do things the right way because living here allows us to pursue whatever we like. Taxes take a lot but it gives us that freedom to do what we please.
Posted via Mobile Device

Good point.....I claim all my rent that I recieve.

MDLawn
10-21-2011, 07:54 AM
Im on unemployment and I do have a few rentals....and yes they pay cash....so yeah alot easier to hide if you know what I mean.

Good point.....I claim all my rent that I recieve.


These two statements kind of go against each other.

Turf Commando
10-22-2011, 12:58 AM
These two statements kind of go against each other.

LOL
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facework84
10-23-2011, 11:45 PM
I got the same idea you had in March of this year. I read everything I could find and then re-read it just to be sure it sunk in. The first rule is this:
Everything everyone on here said would happen did, and then some!!!!

I ended up working all summer. I did NOT make the big $$ I thought I would. I busted my ass from sun up till sun down. In the end, I had to buy another mower (My Cub Cadet RZT died 1/2 way through the season) to the tune of $7000 for a Scag Vride 54". As it turned out, I made just enough to live and put gas in the mowers.

My only saving grace was that my house and truck are paid off. With that in mind, I did a lot of work by hand that others wouldn't touch without machinery. I learned the hard way, as everything went wrong no matter how hard I planned ahead. I went over and above what other LCO's were doing to make my clients happy. While the customer was smiling, my bank account wasn't, as they quickly learned to take advantage of my goodwill. There was always just this one little extra thing the client would ask me to do for free. It could be as simple as removing a few branches they cut down and piled up to one lady who wanted me to trim all of her bushes for nothing, as she felt I should include that for all the big $$ she was paying me ($25 a cut, inside a fenced in yard where the grass was always 10 feet high because her 3 dogs were crap factories and it had to be bagged and removed EVERY time, not to mention the little "Doggie" land mines I had to mow/walk over).

I think next year will be a little better, BUT, it was a really expensive first year learning curve. Some advice I can give you is that you DO NOT have to take every single person who calls you. You will learn very quickly if a location is not worth your time. They could be slow pay, perhaps always leaving all of the kids toys all over the yard (Which you will have to pick up to do a decent job). Maybe they will always wait until the yard is 10" high before they feel it is time to have it cut (This will save them $$ and cost you a LOT!). Do not be afraid to tell the customer that they need to pay you more or find another LCO!

I do know that it seemed like a really easy thing to do, I mean, after all, how hard can it be to cut some grass and get a check right? Let me tell you, that is only 1/10 of what it takes to do this. I especially love when it rains for 3 or 4 days straight and all you can do is sit there and watch out the window wondering if it will ever stop? I also love the calls for "one time cuts" because the house is for sale or they are on vacation or their mower is broke, whatever.... you get there and find out it hasn't been cut in 2 months and they only want to pay you $20. You almost have to do it, as you just wasted the time and gas to get there!!!

Look, it's not all doom and gloom and obviously others do it and make a living at it, but you can bet it's not easy and unless you work for someone else for a year or two and learn the ropes, you are about to enroll in the good old "School of hard knocks" and will earn a nice little diploma for it, Lol

This person has some good points. When I first started, I was so excited to get any calls, that I would take ANYONE as a customer, and tried to offer all services. But, this ended up being a headache in the end and not very profitable. Stick to mowing, edging, and trimming your first year. Maybe learn to prune hedges, and do small limb removal. But don't try to do it all, and be everywhere at once, because you will be broke and tired. Try to stick to a narrow geographic area, you don't want to have accounts all over the place, 30 miles from you on one side and 20 miles on the other side. Thats not very good business model.

With all that said, DO NOT blow all your money right off the bat.
I recommend doing it cheap at first to give yourself some time to grow your business and learn the different aspects like marketing, collections, scheduling,etc. You may end up hating it. You may end up being successful, at which point you can look at upgrading your equipment and maybe adding a second crew.

Since this is the offseason, you could get a decent used rider or walk behind for a couple grand or less. For a trimmer, buy new. You can get a brand new Echo PAS 225, or a Stihl for less than $300. The Echo PAS is just a power head that can accept different attachments such as a pole pruner, edger, and hedge trimmer attachments. The Stihls usually have detachable shafts as well. Be sure to get a STRAIGHT trimmer shaft, they are more functional.

For blowers, again, you can do it cheap. I don't have anything fancy, I use a $70 weedeater blower and it works fine. I can't see the justification in a $300 backpack blower to save 2 minutes here and there to blow off some grass clipping.

As another way to cut costs, starting off, try to get away without using a trailer. You have a truck, so unless you are doing mulch or hauling debris, I don't see the need for it. You should be able to put a 48" walk behind and a smaller push mower in most pickup beds. I found that for most of my accounts, due to their size, it was faster to mow with my push mower, so I just put the mower and trimmer in the back of my wagon and get 35mpg instead of 15mg with my other vehicle towing a trailer.

moneyclass
10-24-2011, 06:58 AM
This person has some good points. When I first started, I was so excited to get any calls, that I would take ANYONE as a customer, and tried to offer all services. But, this ended up being a headache in the end and not very profitable. Stick to mowing, edging, and trimming your first year. Maybe learn to prune hedges, and do small limb removal. But don't try to do it all, and be everywhere at once, because you will be broke and tired. Try to stick to a narrow geographic area, you don't want to have accounts all over the place, 30 miles from you on one side and 20 miles on the other side. Thats not very good business model.

With all that said, DO NOT blow all your money right off the bat.
I recommend doing it cheap at first to give yourself some time to grow your business and learn the different aspects like marketing, collections, scheduling,etc. You may end up hating it. You may end up being successful, at which point you can look at upgrading your equipment and maybe adding a second crew.

Since this is the offseason, you could get a decent used rider or walk behind for a couple grand or less. For a trimmer, buy new. You can get a brand new Echo PAS 225, or a Stihl for less than $300. The Echo PAS is just a power head that can accept different attachments such as a pole pruner, edger, and hedge trimmer attachments. The Stihls usually have detachable shafts as well. Be sure to get a STRAIGHT trimmer shaft, they are more functional.

For blowers, again, you can do it cheap. I don't have anything fancy, I use a $70 weedeater blower and it works fine. I can't see the justification in a $300 backpack blower to save 2 minutes here and there to blow off some grass clipping.

As another way to cut costs, starting off, try to get away without using a trailer. You have a truck, so unless you are doing mulch or hauling debris, I don't see the need for it. You should be able to put a 48" walk behind and a smaller push mower in most pickup beds. I found that for most of my accounts, due to their size, it was faster to mow with my push mower, so I just put the mower and trimmer in the back of my wagon and get 35mpg instead of 15mg with my other vehicle towing a trailer.

THANKS!!! Good info there. Thanks alot!!!!

moneyclass
10-24-2011, 07:01 AM
One thing that I was thinking was I spend say 5000 on equipment and stuff and go out there and first year only make 5000 and I dont like the biz anymore I made my money back and i could quit the biz and have all this commerical equipment for my personal house and it would basically be free stuff.

White Gardens
10-24-2011, 08:30 AM
One thing that I was thinking was I spend say 5000 on equipment and stuff and go out there and first year only make 5000 and I dont like the biz anymore I made my money back and i could quit the biz and have all this commerical equipment for my personal house and it would basically be free stuff.

Doesn't work that way. If I had a nickle for everyone who says, "Oh just buy it, if you've got a couple of jobs to pay for it, then it's paid for." What happens is those people don't realize that those jobs also pay your expenses. I might have 5 jobs that paid for my mini-skid, but in reality it takes about 15 jobs to pay for it after my expenses.

Your not figuring in fuel expenses, equipment repairs, insurance, office supplies, etc....

So lets say you spend 5k on equipment. You would need at least 7 accounts at 30 dollars a week, at 30 mows a year to get at and a little above your 5k mark.

What about living expenses? Even if you have other income coming in, you would probably still need to have at least 10 more accounts at a 30$ average to supplement any other income you have already.

So lets figure fuel expense, equipment repair and other overhead. So you might be looking at another 5-6 accounts at a 30$ average to cover expenses.

So your looking at roughly 23 accounts at a 30$ average to break even on operating and to give yourself a supplemental income.

Ooooops, forgot about that drought that hit your area, so you lost about 10 mows for each client, and now your looking to have at least 35 accounts or more to break even.

Now, in my 6th year of business, I only mow 5 accounts. Consistently it's been 5 every year since I've started. I've gained a few, and lost a few. But, my business isn't centered around mowing and I don't advertise or push for anymore mowing accounts. Even if I don't push for mowing accounts, I'm still surprised that I haven't gotten up to 10 accounts yet either by word of mouth, or have requests for that service. You would think 10 would be obtainable even if I cost a bit more than the average mow service.

Not trying to be discouraging MoneyClass. We all have to start somewhere. I just feel that you think that it will be easy to get started and going with a mowing business, and that's not the case at least anymore. If anything, my post is only trying to get you to realize that it can potentially take a lot of work and effort just to make your money back in this current economy. Your posts make it sound just like any other guy I talk to who is going to start a mowing business, think they are going to make a killing, and then fail.

....

Patriot Services
10-24-2011, 08:32 AM
Ever hear the old adage "you have to earn 2$ to keep 1$"?
Posted via Mobile Device

MDLawn
10-24-2011, 11:40 AM
Ever hear the old adage "you have to earn 2$ to keep 1$"?
Posted via Mobile Device

I would think more like earn $5 to keep $1, but I get the point your are making.

I purchased quickbooks to keep track of my stuff and it doesn't lie as long as you keep track of stuff. Operating gets expensive and is probably more expensive the less accounts you have, because less money is coming in, kind of like what White Gardens was saying. Things take time to pay off and you'll need to make more than $5000 to pay it off, even if it's only $5500-6000 it's still more that needs to be made. Most of my money made, as a part time business, paid for home improvements or keeping my wife home with our son when he was a baby. I think I was lucky to keep about 20% of what came in, then that amount got taxed :hammerhead:. I had a bunch of equipment too (mowers, trailer, dump trailer, handhelds, etc..) that ate away at profits. But you've got to be in this for a while before good money starts coming in.

clydebusa
10-24-2011, 06:35 PM
hi everyone i'm new here actually my first post been browsing thru this site alot and getting lots of good info but my question is.....

Just lost my job few months ago and there is seriously no jobs out there so been thinking of next spring starting a landscaping biz. I have no knowledge and no equipment any advice would be greatly appreciated.

wow ...................................

JContracting
10-24-2011, 08:27 PM
wow ...................................

My thoughts exactly.

I got the same idea you had in March of this year. I read everything I could find and then re-read it just to be sure it sunk in. The first rule is this:
Everything everyone on here said would happen did, and then some!!!!

I ended up working all summer. I did NOT make the big $$ I thought I would. I busted my ass from sun up till sun down. In the end, I had to buy another mower (My Cub Cadet RZT died 1/2 way through the season) to the tune of $7000 for a Scag Vride 54". As it turned out, I made just enough to live and put gas in the mowers.

My only saving grace was that my house and truck are paid off. With that in mind, I did a lot of work by hand that others wouldn't touch without machinery. I learned the hard way, as everything went wrong no matter how hard I planned ahead. I went over and above what other LCO's were doing to make my clients happy. While the customer was smiling, my bank account wasn't, as they quickly learned to take advantage of my goodwill. There was always just this one little extra thing the client would ask me to do for free. It could be as simple as removing a few branches they cut down and piled up to one lady who wanted me to trim all of her bushes for nothing, as she felt I should include that for all the big $$ she was paying me ($25 a cut, inside a fenced in yard where the grass was always 10 feet high because her 3 dogs were crap factories and it had to be bagged and removed EVERY time, not to mention the little "Doggie" land mines I had to mow/walk over).


Something I will be including in my resi service agreements next year is that (per occurrence per service visit) there will be a $5 or $10 charge (not sure how much I will have it) for dog crap in the yard because I HATE getting in my mower's tires and on my work boots because then I have to take the extra time and wash the tires for however long it takes to get it out. One account in particular I've had that happen.

I think next year will be a little better, BUT, it was a really expensive first year learning curve. Some advice I can give you is that you DO NOT have to take every single person who calls you. You will learn very quickly if a location is not worth your time. They could be slow pay, perhaps always leaving all of the kids toys all over the yard (Which you will have to pick up to do a decent job). Maybe they will always wait until the yard is 10" high before they feel it is time to have it cut (This will save them $$ and cost you a LOT!). Do not be afraid to tell the customer that they need to pay you more or find another LCO!

I do know that it seemed like a really easy thing to do, I mean, after all, how hard can it be to cut some grass and get a check right? Let me tell you, that is only 1/10 of what it takes to do this. I especially love when it rains for 3 or 4 days straight and all you can do is sit there and watch out the window wondering if it will ever stop? I also love the calls for "one time cuts" because the house is for sale or they are on vacation or their mower is broke, whatever.... you get there and find out it hasn't been cut in 2 months and they only want to pay you $20. You almost have to do it, as you just wasted the time and gas to get there!!!

Look, it's not all doom and gloom and obviously others do it and make a living at it, but you can bet it's not easy and unless you work for someone else for a year or two and learn the ropes, you are about to enroll in the good old "School of hard knocks" and will earn a nice little diploma for it, Lol

JContracting
10-24-2011, 08:42 PM
My recommendation is this before you buy/do anything: Decide whether you actually want to own a business or do this for a year, be a lowballer hack, realize you paid people to mow their lawn, and fail, thus ruining the market for those who have a legitimate business.
Anyway, know your costs... low overhead + efficiency in all aspects = more profit. Research, research, research and don't stop researching. Get registered with your state (DBA, Corp, LLC, etc., (my biz is an LLC and that's what I'd highly recommend), where do you live anyway as you don't have a location listed? Obtain an FEIN & State tax ID (in MN you collect sales tax on most lawn services so I charge & pay sales tax, you may not...) Get a commercial liability insurance policy, get advertising (why buy equipment when you have no work lined up), get the advertising out and never stop.

borwicks
10-24-2011, 09:07 PM
good luck. MY 2 cents.
If you dont know if this is your passion???!!!!!!
All you need is that ranger, some insurance, 21" mower, blower and trimmer and maybe a license or 2.
Load it all in your truck find some 5k yards and go to town.
This limits your investment and keeps your costs low.
Keep your route tight. Less than 50 miles per day.
Plan on mowing about 2 per hour. Well i Hope..

Good luck

MDLawn
10-24-2011, 10:36 PM
No it doesn't but a lot on here do. :laugh:

Dave


Wonder what the percentage would be from the hundreds of thousands of posts!

borwicks
10-25-2011, 12:04 AM
Wonder what the percentage would be from the hundreds of thousands of posts!

When it involves money. a lot. I think for general help stuff. Very little.
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ralph02813
10-30-2011, 01:55 PM
@moneyclass, I wouldn't spend money on a trailer until maybe later in the year. I work out of the back of by truck using homemade ramps with store bought tips they cost me about $100.00 I have a 36 ferris walk behind, a redmax weed whack and blower total equipment coast well under $5K ooops also an excho 30 " hedger - put your dollars on a good blower, spend the $500, you will be happy you did.

cpllawncare
10-30-2011, 03:09 PM
@moneyclass, I wouldn't spend money on a trailer until maybe later in the year. I work out of the back of by truck using homemade ramps with store bought tips they cost me about $100.00 I have a 36 ferris walk behind, a redmax weed whack and blower total equipment coast well under $5K ooops also an excho 30 " hedger - put your dollars on a good blower, spend the $500, you will be happy you did.

So far I've put the biggest amount in my mower, set it up for mulching, therefore less blowing even on leaves, and now that the leaves are falling boy am I glad I did, I spend very little time behind the blower, mostly mulch and go! and with the Toro it's fast and easy! My customers are impressed also! no big piles of leaves in front of the house this year!

Exmarkboy13
10-30-2011, 08:28 PM
i would atleast buy_

A commercial mower
A commercial trimmer
A commercial blower
A commercial edger

Where in Cleveland are you?? Brooklyn?