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View Full Version : if a new guy asked you....


bobbygedd
02-13-2004, 06:49 PM
if a new guy asked you, how much money he would need to get started in lawn mowing only, what would you say? i'll use my area for an example. the lawns average 4-10 k. he will be doing mowing only. he has 20 grand to his name, and will be trying for 30-40 lawns for startup. don't give me an equipment list, tell me how much money he will need to get started and provide a proffessional mowing service to his clients. a proffessional mowing service=mow, edge, wack, blow. also, spring and fall cleanups. he will also provide thatching, slit seeding, aeration, and starter fert. services. thank you

Lawn Dog2001
02-13-2004, 06:58 PM
used 1/2 ton PU in descent shape $5000
New 48" belt drive WB $2500
Commercial straight shaft trimmer $250
Commercial hand held blower $200
Quality 21" push mower $500
6' x 10' open trailer $600
SS spreader $350
Rent aerator, dethatcher, and slit seeder when needed.

Total
$9,700

olderthandirt
02-13-2004, 06:59 PM
I would sell him 30 of my worst accounts for $19,000 that leaves him a grand for a mower and a broom then tell him to take out a loan for another 10K for the other things or loan him 10K at 10% a month, he should make it back in a couple of weeks with all the $$$$ he will be making.

Mac

clcare
02-13-2004, 07:10 PM
I would tell him to drive by lawndog's house and scour his garbage...lol

Lawn Dog2001
02-13-2004, 07:19 PM
Originally posted by clcare
I would tell him to drive by lawndog's house and scour his garbage...lol

Hey..I have a box of old flyers Im throwing out. He can scratch off the phone# and name. :D

Zach76
02-13-2004, 07:31 PM
I started for under $5000. Spent the biggest chunk on a Scag 36in belt drive. Ramped that up into the back of my truck along with a couple used trimmers and a used blower (all of which I'm replacing tomorrow with brand new stuff. YEAH!)I just rented the aerator and de-thatcher when I needed them.

hole in one lco
02-13-2004, 08:12 PM
a legitimate business 15000.

Evan528
02-13-2004, 08:14 PM
Originally posted by Lawn Dog2001
used 1/2 ton PU in descent shape $5000
New 48" belt drive WB $2500
Commercial straight shaft trimmer $250
Commercial hand held blower $200
Quality 21" push mower $500
6' x 10' open trailer $600
SS spreader $350
Rent aerator, dethatcher, and slit seeder when needed.

Total
$9,700

Id say replace the hanheld blower with a redmax back pack 7001 and spend 150 bucks on a push mower......

Wells
02-13-2004, 08:23 PM
Bobby, Is this guy your talking about, is it YOU by chance.

You know a guy, and you use your area as an example. One can only conclude the guy in question is Bobbygedd...

And will this guy be using the ULTIMATE MOWING MACHINE??


Just messin with you again bobby..

bastalker
02-13-2004, 09:34 PM
I could start a buisness with $10,000 no problem. With the money I made durin the cuttin season, I could buy a half way decent used leaf vac, an a couple of good blowers for fall cleanup. I might have to build a leaf box for the back of my pick up, an pitch fork the leaves out.

The money I made from fall cleanup would buy a pretty good used plow truck. The money I made from snow plowin would buy a decent mower for the following season. I got 2 pretty good mowers now, might as well get more customers.

The money I made from cuttin would buy a decent dump. I could use it for top soil, mulch, etc... an build a leaf box for that now. Man I dont have to use a pitch fork anymore......I can pick up a few more fall cleanups...

The money I made from the cleanups, would buy me a lazer now, or close to it. etc........

paponte
02-13-2004, 09:36 PM
I would think it would all depend on your perception of "professional". Mow, edge, wack, blow can be done by any Joe Blow and would not be considered professional in my eyes. That would mean the old man down the block that does his own lawn, with the extension cords is also considered a professional, based on your concept. :confused:

greenback
02-13-2004, 09:51 PM
Originally posted by hole in one lco
a legitimate business 15000.
thats a legitamate number, i started for 14,000

bobbygedd
02-13-2004, 09:55 PM
when i say "proffesional", i mean, leaving a finished product, that looks like it was done by a proffesional. i could never understand, how some guys say, "mowing is a loss leader." or, "mowing isn't profitable." i can only conclude, that you are investing entirely too much money on trucks and equipment, or, you opened up a mowing business, and don't want to get your hands dirty. just the idea of spending 15-20-30 grand to start a lawn business is , in my opinion, rediculous. remember, i said 30-40 lawns, not 500. i see it time and time again, these guys spend big $$$ to start out, can't make thier payments and feed thier families, so they have to quit and work for someone else. why would you spend that kind of dough, when your products are nickle and dime services? there is one outfit around here, got all new trucks year before last, new equipment, big time. that big storm we had last year, he said if it didn't snow that week, he would have lost his house!!!!! he was that far behind on his mortgage, but, he needed new trucks and equipment? it's called work! it's called sweat! there's no way around it

sildoc
02-13-2004, 09:56 PM
3000 min up to well the skys the limit.
Most people have a vehicle any ways so you really cant count that. you can start out with homeowner equiptment and do a good job and as you make more money start buying commercial equipt. Spend some on advertising and shirts and signs on vehicle and you have half of us when we started. give off a personable and professional image and what you use (as long as it looks good) doesn't matter much to the customer, only to the operator. and everything I mentioned is all had for under 3 grand. Profesional looking advertisement and a profesional apperance upon giving bids is the number 1 thing to getting started and landing jobs.

paponte
02-13-2004, 10:07 PM
just the idea of spending 15-20-30 grand to start a lawn business is , in my opinion, rediculous. remember, i said 30-40 lawns, not 500.

If you are starting from scratch, those dollar amounts are not fetched at all. By the time you buy truck, trailer, equipment I would agree with lawndog and say you are in the $10K range. Now you have to buy a route. Unless you are just going to roll the dice, and HOPE you accrue houses.

lawnman_scott
02-13-2004, 10:13 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
when i say "proffesional", i mean, leaving a finished product, that looks like it was done by a proffesional. i could never understand, how some guys say, "mowing is a loss leader." or, "mowing isn't profitable." i can only conclude, that you are investing entirely too much money on trucks and equipment, or, you opened up a mowing business, and don't want to get your hands dirty. just the idea of spending 15-20-30 grand to start a lawn business is , in my opinion, rediculous. remember, i said 30-40 lawns, not 500. i see it time and time again, these guys spend big $$$ to start out, can't make thier payments and feed thier families, so they have to quit and work for someone else. why would you spend that kind of dough, when your products are nickle and dime services? there is one outfit around here, got all new trucks year before last, new equipment, big time. that big storm we had last year, he said if it didn't snow that week, he would have lost his house!!!!! he was that far behind on his mortgage, but, he needed new trucks and equipment? it's called work! it's called sweat! there's no way around it

I agree, start with starter equipment, if your just starting you dont know if it will work. Then if it doesnt you have all this equipment to sell for 1/2 what you paid for it a year ago. And if mowing is a "loss leader" why would you evan think of spending all that money on equipment.
1/2 ton truck $2000
36 belt $800
blower $400
edger/weedeater split boom interchangable $300??? im guessing, i never owned one
Hedge trimmer $200
trailer $500
total $4200

KLMlawn
02-13-2004, 10:14 PM
I think Lawn Dog had it pretty much on the head ... about $10K for equipment and say another $5K for Licenses, business insurance, certifications if you are planning on offering pesticide services, and advertising.
That will leave you $5K to use to pay your way for the first month or two till you are actually making the money back and enough to put some $$$ back in the bank.
I service about 50 accounts weekly, they are full service, and I pull up in front of everyones house with about $80K worth of truck, trailer and equipment. I am fully licensed, insured and certified ... I don't owe anything on any of that and I am doing well into 6 figures with what I have.
That is just a preview to the potential ... go for it!

bobbygedd
02-13-2004, 10:18 PM
"roll the dice?" so, you think building a customer base is a crap shoot? i disagree. so, u spend 10 on equipment, and then how much on a route? another 10 k? 15k? and then, u get the same 25 bucks for a lawn as the guy who spent 5k total, and built clientel through a little elbow grease. yea, but he only does 10 a day, you do 20, and when your'e all done payin your bills you made the same he did. only one difference, when the poop hits the fan, he wont lose his 5k rig, but you can't pay your loan payment on the 30 grand, your stuff is gone

KLMlawn
02-13-2004, 10:26 PM
I don't know about anyone else, but what don't you understand about ..."I don't owe anything on any of that and I am doing well into 6 figures with what I have."
I thought that was a pretty self explainitory sentence.
Oh, and yes, building a customer base IS a crap shoot, you are never guaranteed anything , even if you buy accounts, you have no way of "making" them stay your customer if they don't choose to.
You only get the same $25 if you are foolish enough to let your services go for that little, then no wonder you can't afford to buy nice, new, clean, reliable equipment when you need it ...

paponte
02-13-2004, 10:28 PM
"roll the dice?" so, you think building a customer base is a crap shoot?

ABSOLUTELY! You show me 1 guarantee that says after you buy all your equipment and only spend 5K, that you will absolutely without a shadow of a doubt make your money back. If I spend $30K total with route and equipment, not only do i have EVERYTHING I would need, BUT I also have 50-75 SIGNED contracts stating that not only will I pay off EVERYTHING within X amount of time BUT I will ALSO be GUARANTEED to MAKE additional money this season.

bobbygedd
02-13-2004, 10:34 PM
not really. wheres the guarentee on that? people can cancel, die, move. you can get too sick to work. i've seen it all too often, the guy with all the nice stuff can't pay his bills, seen it all too often. he charges everything. gas, ferts,equipment, repairs....then he's hidin from everybody. i bought most of my mowers from guys who couldn't pay the bills.

Kelly's Landscaping
02-13-2004, 10:44 PM
Start up costs is what ever you have to work with you can spend 250k as easily as you can 5 k but I agree with you bobby donít spend money you donít own borrowing money to start the business is a risky idea. And you need to have a income fast so you will need advertising money weather its door hangers which I despise or flyers I donít like them either or yellow pages or news paper ad or direct mail or radio and TV ads some how you gota get your name out. Allot of people talk about referrals and some of the older companies are out of touch and give that as advice to the younger guys. I picked up probably 30 referral accounts last year this year that may be closer to 75 referrals but the thing to understand if you donít work for them you cant expect them to refer you. In other words if you have no customers you will have no referrals.

Start up costs will differ from person to person allot depends on what they expect from the new business if you buy belt driven 48s you are saving allot of money over a nice ZTR and if you have modest growth then you should have np with that kind of equipment but say you added 75 accounts in the spring you would find your self unable to do your lawns and your side work because you arenít efficient enough. So I think allot of the start up cost depends on what you plan on doing with the company some people take 10 years to reach 100 accounts I had 65 my first season and plan on 250 this season. It depends on you how fast if at all do you want to grow if it doesnít matter then you can easily start your business with 10 k my partner and I started with 70 k none of that was loan so we have no payments.

lawnman_scott
02-13-2004, 10:53 PM
Originally posted by KLMlawn
I don't know about anyone else, but what don't you understand about ..."I don't owe anything on any of that and I am doing well into 6 figures with what I have."
I thought that was a pretty self explainitory sentence.
Oh, and yes, building a customer base IS a crap shoot, you are never guaranteed anything , even if you buy accounts, you have no way of "making" them stay your customer if they don't choose to.
You only get the same $25 if you are foolish enough to let your services go for that little, then no wonder you can't afford to buy nice, new, clean, reliable equipment when you need it ...

I think he is looking at start up costs, not what someone can do after 20 years in business.

KLMlawn
02-13-2004, 11:14 PM
Lawnman _ scott, I haven't been full time in this business that long, I have been in the business, but not fulltime for myself.
I registered my business 4 1/2 years ago. And I started with about $10K in equipment, and it has grown quickly ...

Tbarchaser
02-14-2004, 12:02 AM
You can spend 4k in the spring and in one year gross 20k a month with very little debt! Don't laugh or bash...We have done it!

Persistence, Planning, Professionalism=PROFIT

Persistence- Don't take no for a answer, keep hammering your target audience until you have a presence.

Planning- Set weekly goals for residual accounts. If you don't hit that goal this week, then add the remaining to next week and work that much harder.
Put yourself on a schedule of growth. When x mower will be added, when x employee will be added.

Professionalism- Sell yourself to your customer, manners, image and perceived knowledge will be the determining factor in your success.