Well Said Antiskell - word of mouth is the best form of advertising. But it's a two way street also...do a good job and all the neighbors / businesses will see your work and hear about you. Do a bad job and they will see and hear about that as well.
Another good thing that has worked good for me is the local news paper / service directory. I run an ad all month for $100.00 and I get a ton of work of it....My business name, info and website is listed. Where everything is digital these days including the local news papers they read my service directory ad online and can click right onto my website. I also have a contact us link / tab on my website...The person or business can put there question, name and contact info down and it goes to my email which then goes right to my Iphone so i get their email almost the very moment they press send....So I'm able to respond to customer very fast if I'm not on a mower that is. I've actually asked customers how they heard about me, why they picked me over someone else. And about 99% say the website and the contact us link....people are busy at with their family, work, kids...ect they like being able to go to contact us link fill in their information for the service they want and press send and have someone call them back.
As far as a website goes you can get a pretty basic website. I found someone that even does business logos for way cheap and she does an excellent job. She did me four logos for $75.00 and I got to pick which one I liked most. So I placed the logo on the website to give it more of a professional look.
I'm fairly new to trade as well I Bought good used equipment (I've got eXmark and a smaller Hustler mower to fit past those small backyard gates with big backyards. And I'm very anal about the maintenance part...lol. Check tire pressure, check oil, change oil & filter every 40 - 50 hours of use, pressure wash the deck... and keep it clean.
Learn everything you can, read books, watch you tube videos, read & post on lawnsite.com or as my wife calls it lawn porn....lmao because I spend so much time reading and posting. Most of all listen to Pro's on this site....I'm far from that but they know what they are talking about....I've got much respect for them.....It's ruff and hot but hang in there and don't give up and you'll be fine.
Originally Posted by Antiskell
The state you live in dictates taxes etc....dont cheat the man, getting bit will haunt you for life.
Find a good insurance agent, someone who wont pawn you to a minion, make sure they listen. Then work with them to figure out what you need for coverage....dont forget injury, disability and workmans comp if you have employees......dont pay under the table, if someone gets hurt its a nightmare.
As far as equipment.....dont buy crap, i still buy quality used stuff. Find a good repair shop and buy what they sell, this way parts are all most always on hand and you are back up in no time. You can buy 5 used walk behinds of good quality for the cost of one ok z turn new. A big mistake many make is financing a butt load of brand new equipment and having to few customers to pay for the gear.....dont work for your equipment, it works for you....my repair shop sells toro and echo .......toro owns exmark so he always has what i need and knows my equipment.....dropping off a case of beer every now and then always is appreciated as well. Get some good hand tools and learn to do the small repairs on your own. Do your preventative maintanence.......keep stuff clean. Change your air filters and oil when you are supposed to. Go easy on your hydros, those pumps are expensive repairs
As far as upgrades...im a huge exmark fan....they have done me very well, they hold up to good care and to abusive workers. A good walk behind can be had used for 1000-2000 bucks, a good used z turn 4-5000...exmark numbers. Buy what you will use the most, if you only use a z turn for one yard....why bother, i use a push on two properties for 5 minutes each, hence my hunk of junk. Watch your spending on equipment.....and know that you will have repairs. The bigger the machine the bigger the repair cost. Also make sure the machine you buy has an engine fit for commercial duty.......a 72 inch z turn is no good with a 17 horse briggs replacement.
Your equipment will do more in a week than the average homeowner will do in a year....i like stuff with big motors, they dont strain to get through the day, think about a 4 cyl engine in a sedan vs. a 6 cyl......the 4 uses less gas but works 50 percent harder to do the same job....adding 50 percent more wear and tear
Last but not least, go slow, do what you can handle......its a lawn, nobody is gonna die if it isnt green enough. Be nice, dont take abuse, not everyone can be made happy.