PDA

View Full Version : How did you start?And what year?


workaholic
01-03-2004, 06:28 PM
Just curious about how some started in lawn& landscape business. Did you start out slow and bought equitment as you needed or did you go all out and spend a small fortune and hope you got enough work to cover your operation?

pjslawncare/landscap
01-03-2004, 06:31 PM
Started part time to offset child support small and added a I grew. Full time now 11 years later

rodfather
01-03-2004, 06:52 PM
Started full time in 94 after full medical disability discharge from Fortune 500 company...spent a ton of clams too in case you're wondering.

mtdman
01-03-2004, 07:08 PM
There's an entire forum for telling your story and how you started. Lots of good stories there. Mine story is here (http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=50650). I started part time, slowly, and in my 3rd year went fulltime. I bought the equipment as I went, as I could afford it. I've seen too many guys spend too much at first and lose their shirts.

:D

EastProLawn
01-03-2004, 08:00 PM
Started part-time after my fulltime high paying job just up and moved to another state. I was working p/t for my father-n-law
and he started me off with about 12 accounts and I just grew from there, have been F/T for two years now and I love all of it except the the occassionl "low baller" or "scrub" but overall have no regrets.

TJLC
01-03-2004, 08:14 PM
I started my business in Jan of 1999. I feel very blessed to have started with good commercial accounts, commercial insurance and new commercial equiptment. It did help that I had about $7000.00 dollars in the bank from the sale of a Chevy 4wd truck that I sold right before we moved down here. I am NOT bragging, I just feel fortunate.

olderthandirt
01-03-2004, 08:45 PM
Started spring of 75, quit working at Ford on sun. Mortgage house on mon and started to look for work tues waiting to get the $$$ from the second mortgage took a few wks { no computers then}
Had a few jobs lined up and bought new equipment and never looked back. Not alot of competition back then only the rich and commercial ever used a "landscaper"

Mac

LB Landscaping
01-03-2004, 08:57 PM
Started PT a few years back and bought more equipment as time went on. Went full time 1 1/2 years ago and things have been going great.

dvmcmrhp52
01-03-2004, 10:38 PM
Just got tired of corporate politics.
Started 3 years ago, got serious 2 years ago and plan on making it a career this year.

sgallaher
01-04-2004, 08:37 PM
Started last year as a part time business. Have been cutting yards (family, neighbors) for since I was about 14. This year I am going to try and go full time. Once I reach a comfortable number of customers and signed contracts stating a comfortable amount of income I hope to quit. I am hoping that by mid summer I should be able to. We'll just have to see. This year I took out a 1/3 page ad in the Yellow Book. It comes out around May. A friend of mine in the business around my area said that was the best advertising he did, his phone rang non-stop and had to turn people away. He's been in the phone boof for a few years now.

rodfather
01-04-2004, 09:05 PM
Originally posted by olderthandirt
Started spring of 75


Damn Mac, wasn't that bout the time McDonalds sold their first 100 hamburgers...LOL? Glad to read your posts btw.

workaholic
01-04-2004, 10:09 PM
Originally posted by olderthandirt
Started spring of 75, quit working at Ford on sun. Mortgage house on mon and started to look for work tues waiting to get the $$$ from the second mortgage took a few wks { no computers then}
Had a few jobs lined up and bought new equipment and never looked back. Not alot of competition back then only the rich and commercial ever used a "landscaper"

Mac I DO GIVE YOU CREDIT THAT IS A LONG TIME YOU PROBALEY HAVE SEEN IT ALL...

mmacsek
01-04-2004, 10:38 PM
Originally posted by olderthandirt
Started spring of 75, quit working at Ford on sun. Mortgage house on mon and started to look for work tues waiting to get the $$$ from the second mortgage took a few wks { no computers then}
Had a few jobs lined up and bought new equipment and never looked back. Not alot of competition back then only the rich and commercial ever used a "landscaper"

Mac
I had about 20 accounts when I went full-time. Everybody said I had brass you know what. Nobody quits a trade in toolmaking to cut grass. I'd say you had cast iron you know what. LOL Matt

proenterprises
01-04-2004, 10:56 PM
Well, all in all-I have really been cutting grass since the time i was 12. Slowly grew a little more each year. The early years were good experience-learning techniques and how to use the gear and price work out.

start slow and work yourself big-dont over spend either-buy quality once, not junk twice.

goose
01-04-2004, 11:10 PM
Started in 1994 on my off days as a full time Birmingham fireman , business grew so I quit Jan 1, 1999 to go full time .It has been growing ever since. This Spring we should have a total of 9 crews .Looking back at the time I was doing about $60,000 a year,I never thought it would get this big by just going full time in 5 years . Alot of selling , aquiring and praying.So far so good.
Goose

JimLewis
01-05-2004, 05:26 AM
In early 1996, I was at a dead end desk job that I hated. After about 2 years I took a week off for my honeymoon and was the happiest I'd been in 2 years. I just hated working for someone else and being a peon. I couldn't see going back and I had been thinking of starting a lawn care business for years (many of family members own nurseries or landscaping companies). So I took another 2 weeks of my vacation to see if I could make a go of lawn care. Within those 2 weeks, I had enough accounts to equal my FT income. So I quit.

The really funny part of this story is HERE (http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=10522) though.

David Haggerty
01-05-2004, 06:09 AM
I started part time in '76. I had a good job as an outside plant engineer for the phone company. But with a new house and family, money was tight. I hated mowing the lawn, so I bought a used Snapper skiff, and took on one lawn to offset the cost of the mower.
Come to find out, I don't mind riding to cut the grass. So it just grew. In '83 the phone company closed the engineering office. I contracted as an OSP engineer for a couple of years, studied to be an HVAC technician. But always kept mowing. Lawncare just kind of took over. In '89 I bought my first 12' lawnmower.
Good thing I took it slow in the beginning. I didn't have a clue.

Dave

Doster's L & L
01-06-2004, 07:04 PM
You guys are real entrepreneurs!! Leaving a job to make your own money. I however, was fortunate enough that when dad was getting out of the lawn business, i was graduating HS in '98. So i got the business, after buying MY OWN equipment. I got 50+ accounts immediately. They were mow and go jobs though. After coming to lawnsite, i have learned that i am in a scrub infested market. I didn't know that you could actually make good money mowing. FYI average lawn cut here is $20 +/-. Some of you guys charge that as a minimum. Alot of you charge more than that. This year, prices are going up for me!
I have been landscaping for 3 years now and i will be running 2 crews (one mowing, one landscaping) in '04. This is my growth year. Good luck to all you guys!

TXLAWNBOY
01-06-2004, 10:35 PM
This will be my 3rd season. My 1st season I was part time while working at the Home Cheapo from 4 am to 1 pm leave depot be on a yard by 2 pm work till dark (usually 8:30 pm) eat, clean up, go to bed around 10:30 pm get up at 3 am start over. This year got tired of the B.S. of working for corporate America and went on my own. Paid cash for some equipt. financed some. Have about 35 good accts. and am expanding into commercial and planning for growth in '04.

thill
01-06-2004, 11:07 PM
TX,

That's a pretty tuff schedule. Surely you took time to go to the dirt track in Killeen?

Tom:D

TXLAWNBOY
01-07-2004, 01:23 AM
Thill,
You know I've lived in Copperas Cove since '91 and never been to the races'. That schedule was pretty tuff. the work week was from Mon. night thru Fri. night. So we were off from Sat. at 1:00 till Mon. night/Tues.morning. Most of the time we got off early on Sat. also. I was runnin' pretty ragged for about a year.

greenngrow
01-07-2004, 11:16 AM
Started in 1996. I started in this business by fert and squirt.
Now it has grown into the whole nine yards.
I am still part-time.
I tried to quit my job as a Ag Retail Store manager last March.
My boss just refused to let me quit. It was in the spring time and it would have put the store in a pinch. So we worked things out so I can run both businesses.
The agreement has been a great relief for me.
I will go full-time sometime soon the Lawn care business is getting to big.

mbricker
01-07-2004, 03:45 PM
Started part time while working maintenance in a Tyson tortilla plant. They cut out all o.t., my wife and I were addicted to the extra bucks, so I had to do something

Part-time for a year, grew to the point I thought lawn care was the better opportunity. Mostly I did landscape maintenance because I thought there were already too many mowing services in the area. And I didn't really have a true handle on what my expenses were and worked WAAAAY too cheap.

But in this area it seems landscape maintenance can be had for about $20 an hr gross, and there's no point in letting the mowers set on trailer to trim shrubs, when mowing brings in double that most of the time. biggest problem I have is lot of my customers are retired and I'm too soft-hearted when it's time to raise rates, or when there are extras that "will just take you a few minutes."

DJL
01-07-2004, 04:30 PM
This was my first year in business (03') and I consider myself part-time. Although, is there a definition of the difference between full-time and part-time. Does this simply mean you have no other job so you are running your business full-time. Or is part-time below some account threshold, say twenty accounts. Just curious....

rodfather
01-07-2004, 05:07 PM
My interpretation of "full time LCO" is that you do nothing else but that.

Mercury Lawn Serv
01-09-2004, 06:31 PM
Started 2yrs ago with two cust part time . Going full time this year

Yard Perfect
01-09-2004, 07:58 PM
6 years ago I closed down a 15 year Athletic Sports Store. While trying to define myself, I mowed a few lawns until I could find a real job. Within 6 weeks I had about 40 accounts and have never looked back. Began with equipment out of the garage, soon learned that homeowner stuff breaks fast. Sooo, I began buying quality commercial equipment and I couldn't be happier. This is also a growth year for me.

bayfish
01-09-2004, 08:57 PM
Began in 1992 part time, with 2, 21' mowers and 2 sons, 10 and 12 yrs old. They wanted dirt bikes and I told them we did not have the money for it. They started cutting lawns and it grew to about 20 accounts in 2 weeks. I helped them because I had to drive them around. We quickly grew to 2 riding tractors, wore them out and then a Toro 120 groundsmaster and 2 Toro w/b which I still have. The boys moved on to other things and I quit my job in 2002 and went full time in 2003. Bought a Hustler z in 03. It's great being self employed.

macaw
01-15-2004, 09:56 AM
I work in landscaping 13 years ( for someone else) moved to TN.
work in a factory for 9 years Then quit started lawn mantence business this will be my 8 year I love it

TreffertLawnWrx
01-15-2004, 10:28 AM
Grauduated High school in '99. Sold cars at a 1 Gm store for 3 years 2 of which I also started my business which I took full time this past spring ('03).
I traded in my Brand new Yamaha R1 with 800 miles on a new John Deere GS45 (54"), bought a 8' trailer, a FS85 split shaft trimmer and a BG85 handheld blower.
All of my freinds thought I was sooo stupid. "Oh, sweet dude youre gonna cut grass!".
This year I bought a 2000 GMC Sierra, Boss V-plow,a new Lazer Z hp, an new 16' trailer, backpack blower, walkbehind edger, chainsaw, another FS46 trimmer, JJ racks.......and buch of other stuff.
Im still in the growing periods and its not easy but at least I have the last laugh. Its amazing who really turns out to be true freinds and support you! In the future, I would like to keep operating solo with a helper but who knows. Scott

P.S. almost everything I know about the industry came from the help here on LAWNSITE!:cool2:

John B Laidlaw
01-15-2004, 02:22 PM
Great stories! Proof positive that when God closes one door, He opens a window some where else!

I started in '85 in my own business when I bought out my employer- He burned out- and grew the business to 4x what I purchased it for in 80's dollars!

Fast Forward:
Time and the great chase for the almighty dollar has me in a place now where I can perform part time and have my full time job to boot. Its been many miles and sites but its ironic that after all these years, I see on LS that the problems are still relatively the same as they were when I first started out; only the equipment is better:)

I really enjoy reading all the stories, even w/all the b*&&%*$# its great to see such spirit and drive.

Keep all the good work and advise!
John

dougaustreim
01-15-2004, 02:37 PM
Started small in 1973 and grew along the way, still relatively small compared to many in other areas. I think that makes me the oldest one so far in this thread

Doug Austreim

firststarlcld
01-15-2004, 03:00 PM
i am a only 21. i started part time when i was 16 after school and on weekends with a Toro 44" and a couple of handhelds. after i graduated i wnet full time for the past three years. and now have 6 work vechiles and make close to $185,00 a year. doing lawn maintenance, landscape design, irrigation snow removal in the off season.

rkbrown
01-15-2004, 03:01 PM
Now wait a minute, Doug. It depends how young you were in 1973. I venture to guess there are a few of us who could throw our teeth at some of these youngsters. :)

TotalCareSolutions
01-15-2004, 04:43 PM
Originally posted by mbricker


But in this area it seems landscape maintenance can be had for about $20 an hr gross, and there's no point in letting the mowers set on trailer to trim shrubs, when mowing brings in double that most of the time. biggest problem I have is lot of my customers are retired and I'm too soft-hearted when it's time to raise rates, or when there are extras that "will just take you a few minutes."

:D

dougaustreim
01-15-2004, 05:30 PM
56

Doug

Premium Services
01-18-2004, 07:00 PM
started p/t through school and full time since 2001 it just feels great to be outdoors and not in some office with a view the parking lot.

chimmygew
01-18-2004, 07:30 PM
I graduated from school in 1995 and a buddy I went to school with asked me if i wanted to go in biz and cut some lawns with him. Didn't really want to, but said what the heck. He didn't last past the beginning of September that year and now I am making a comfortable living at it and love what I do. Two years after he quit he saw how much I had grown and asked if he could jump back in with me. I said absolutely, I'll start you off at $6.50 an hour. Needless to say, he didn't want the job.