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  #1  
Old 09-16-2012, 12:57 AM
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mhubert123 mhubert123 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 24
Looking to start in 2013, any help would be appreciated!!! Thanks!

I know that I had already said i was going to start my own company sometime ago, but things happened that made it impossible for me at the time to start up my own lawn care business. BUT, I am finally at that point to get up and try this for real for the 2013 season! I am going to be turning 18 in December and want to start small like cutting around my neighborhood, then slowly work my way up. With that being said, I have some questions for anyone who's willing to help me out by giving me some advice/answers to some of my many questions.

1) Should I buy an Exmark Metro 32" or 36" or spend a little extra for a Turf Tracer 36" or 48"? (Keep in mind that i'll be buying used for now either way.) Their aren't that many gates around my area. And when we get a good rain, the ground usually stays wet for a day or two after it stops. And we have a few good size hills in my neighborhood.

2) What kind of handheld Equipment should I get? a backpack blower, push, or a hand-held one?

3) What are some extra basic services that you offer to your lawn maintenance customers? Leaf removal, etc. anything... Also, what do you charge for those services?

4) What for you has worked the best to advertise on a budget? I'm thinking of getting a couple of shirts made. Having some kind of refer-a-friend special on the back of my business cards. But in your case, what works best for you?

If their is something I missed, let me know in your post, even if its something minor, i'd like to get this right!

Thanks,
Matt.
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2012, 12:16 PM
32vld 32vld is online now
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Location: LI NY
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"1) Should I buy an Exmark Metro 32" or 36" or spend a little extra for a Turf Tracer 36" or 48"? (Keep in mind that i'll be buying used for now either way.) Their aren't that many gates around my area. And when we get a good rain, the ground usually stays wet for a day or two after it stops. And we have a few good size hills in my neighborhood."

Larger always better, gates and tight spots have to be considered.
20" push for the tight areas, 42-48" for the open areas. Avoid buying on credit.

"2) What kind of handheld Equipment should I get? a backpack blower, push, or a hand-held one?"

Money? A good hand held you will get by. Back pack better.

"3) What are some extra basic services that you offer to your lawn maintenance customers? Leaf removal, etc. anything... Also, what do you charge for those services?"

Edge, mom, blow. Clean ups, fert, beds, hedge trimming, tree pruning.

"4) What for you has worked the best to advertise on a budget? I'm thinking of getting a couple of shirts made. Having some kind of refer-a-friend special on the back of my business cards. But in your case, what works best for you?"

Flyers. Offering a free cut for a referral has not gotten any new business for me.
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  #3  
Old 09-16-2012, 09:06 PM
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LandFakers LandFakers is offline
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Location: CT
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Keep cost down as low as possible. A used 48" metro or Viking should work well. Find a crappy $100 21" for spots you can't get in other wise. The handheld blower is fine for weekly maint. But in fall you'll be trying to blow your own sail, so if you can afford it a BP blower would be better. You have extra cash to be made with debris removal, leaves, tree and shrub pruning, mulching,fertilization, heck even weeding gardens if you like that stuff. And the cheapest way to get your business out there are flyers and just walking around neighborhoods close to you and knocking on doors. It will build character and the worse they can say is no! Good luck
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  #4  
Old 09-17-2012, 01:14 AM
GSO LAWNEN4CER GSO LAWNEN4CER is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: GSO NC
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Dont finance nothing at this point. Pay cash for all you need. You dont want a huge monthly bill and no-slow work. I see a ton of guys going under like this.
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  #5  
Old 09-19-2012, 03:42 PM
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spitfire3416 spitfire3416 is offline
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Central Jersey
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I always recommend door hangers. Fliers kinda suck because you're not allowed to put them in the mailbox (at least in NJ anyway) If you have some money behind you go big but not too big. I always hear people say start small but screw that I got 45 accounts in my first year and made a killing. I usually pick up between 15 and 20 customers per 5,000 door hangers. My first year it cost me $550 for 10,000 door hangers. Paid two kids $8 an hour to help me pass them out and paid them about $1500 between the both. So all in all it cost me $2000 to pick up 45 customers. From that $2k I spent on advertising I grossed about $70,000. So don't be afraid to drop some bills on marketing. Craigslist helped too which is free. I posted an ad everyday for 2 months at 5pm and was getting calls left and right.

Forget the hand held blower. Get a back pack blower, weed whacker and a decent sized mower. You said that their really aren't any gates around you so why get a smaller mower. If you really need something for a smaller area pick up a used push mower for $50. The referrals are a good plan. Make sure you put them on your business cards and drop them in with the bill every month for your customers. Offer different packages of service as well. Bronze,Silver,Gold,Platinum for example. You can offer weekly cutting and spring/fall clean ups for your smaller package and as you move up offer more. Silver you can offer cutting, spring/fall clean ups, fertilizer. Gold you can offer same thing but with weed control and aerating. Get the idea? I base my pay on $40 per man per hour. That's just me though.

Some small misc. things that are a MUST need.

- Barrels (2-3)
- Shovels (flat and spade)
- Spreader for seed/fertilizer
- Hedge Trimmer
- Rake
- Wheel Barrow
- Pitch fork
- Lopper
- Grass catcher for mower
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  #6  
Old 09-19-2012, 04:04 PM
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TriCountyLawn TriCountyLawn is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: NW Indiana
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Get insurance before you set foot on a job

As already said, get a 48 or 52 walk behind (belt drive will save you a ton) and a 21 mower for small stuff. I would get the best back pack blower right off the bat cause you need it.

Get a attachment type trimmer so you can edge and trim with one machine.

The whole referral thing has never worked for me.

Fully plan on working another job or working part time to get it going.

What are you going to be towing/trailering with?
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  #7  
Old 09-20-2012, 05:04 AM
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123hotdog 123hotdog is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Bristol TN
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I would buy all my equipment used and don't finance anything. The brand is irrelevant. Buy good quality stuff. I personally don't recommend a push mower. I always said if there was two things I would do different it would be to spend a hundred bucks on t-shirts right away and get a good 36" walk behind to start with and just mow neighborhood lawns in the beginning. I don't buy two stroke equipment used, never have. I have never bought a new mower, but have never bought a used one that was used commercially. I hope this helps. I wish I coulda found this sight when I first started.
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  #8  
Old 09-23-2012, 05:59 AM
rbljack rbljack is online now
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 513
Ive been lurking this forum for a while now, and feel that I can provide some advice on how to get started "on the cheap" because thats exactly what I did.

Id get a poulan pro (or similar brand) multi use tool and buy it NEW. Get the weed eater, edger, and blower for that machine. Fall is a great time to pick them up because wal mart will clearance that stuff out in about a month. If they have the hedgetrimmer attachment or pole saw, then grab them too. That will get you the basic tools you need, and then Id pick up the best 21 inch mower you can afford and self propelled is a must. New or used, its up to you. BUT i feel that starting out with NEW equipment decreases the number of headaches, and allows you to enjoy your equipment a bit more knowing what you have. I have hearld a lot of people that like the hondas, but they are pricey. You can get by with a pickup truck and a set of ramps, but id recommend a trailer. Just depends on the funds you have to work with. The 21 inch mower is my recommendation for the yards I do. Most are residential and small. You must consider the lawns and customers you have before deciding on which mower.

Once you have the mower and three other tools, immediatly start saving as much as you can to "reinvest" from your mowing jobs. First purchase should be a commercial trimmer ( i like the stihl, but everybody is different). Then get a commercial edger. Hold off on the backpack blower, and continue to use the blower attachment on the cheap poulan pro power head (or whichever you decide ) unless your doing a lot of leaf clean ups. Buying new or used on these items is up to you. I picked up a two stroke stihl commercial edger for 120 bucks, and its been a GREAT machine so far.

Going this route provides you with better equipment designed for commercial use, AND the other unit with the multi attachments becomes your back up. That multi use tool will save your bacon on those days when those other tools break down. And it WILL happen!

After that, its time to upgrade to whatever size commercial mower you think you will need, and get that dedicated back pack blower. I still havent purchased these last two items...LOL. You know what they say about opinions...everybody has one. Well I just gave you mine on how to get started. I mow as a side business, and have about 15 lawns to take care of. If that is your intended starting point, the equipment im talking about will be fine for a start. hope this helps.

Last edited by rbljack; 09-23-2012 at 06:08 AM.
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  #9  
Old 09-23-2012, 03:09 PM
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mhubert123 mhubert123 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 24
Let me say Thank you to everyone for your input so far!!!

@rbljack: There are several small time operations that have just a truck with ramps and a 36" Commercial walk behind in the bed. I most likely will be doing this until I can get a trailer. I'm looking at a 5x8 or 6x10 open trailer at first. The attachments would work great I think for my needs and cost effective also.

@TriCountyLawn: I'll be towing with either a 2000 F350 Crew cab, 7.3L diesel 8' bed, (SRW). Or a Ford Ranger.

@123hotdog: I'm very glad to have found this site, its been a great help to me!

@spitfire3416: I love using CL, not only for buying stuff, but like you said using it to your advantage, and I'll be ding that.

For everyone who has given me advice thus far, thank you and I am going to pay cash for Everything.
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  #10  
Old 09-24-2012, 06:02 PM
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TheBetterDoorhanger TheBetterDoorhanger is offline
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Well if you are in the market for any printing, check out A'Deas Printing, our website is www.adeasprinting.com. We have some specials on door hangers and also on some of our other products. We have a special right now for 1,000 4.25x11 door hangers with the band-it product for $99 and comes with some free design work if needed. If you would like any pricing or any additional information or even a free sample packet let me know! I'd be happy to get any of that your way! My name is Glenda and my email is glenda@adeasprinting.com or my number is 1-866-778-4254
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