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  #1  
Old 12-17-2013, 12:36 AM
tk2aci tk2aci is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Raymore, MO
Posts: 8
Forever Green Professional Lawn Care

Hello all,

My name is Terry. I have recently exited the corporate world after 17 years in investment related business (financial analysis and trading). It has always been a dream of mine to be able to work outside doing something I enjoy while being in full control of my future. Through much prayer and thought I feel as though now is the time for me to move forward with this opportunity to start my own lawn care business. It is going to be tricky for me as my wife currently stays at home and home schools our three kids (10,8 & 5). Because of that it is imperative that I get in the green fast and have as good a plan as possible. My goal for this year would be 50-75 residential clients and possibly one or two commercial clients. My step dad has done a small business for the last 8 years so he's provided some guidance. He also has a couple of friends that have 6 figure mowing operations with just one helper.

I have purchased a brand new 52" Wright Stander-X, a new 36" Wright Stander Intensity, a Husqvarna 580BTS blower and a new 77x12 utility trailer. I will be pulling it this first year with my 04 Toyota 4Runner. I also have purchased a Toro 826LE Snow Blower and a hitch cargo carrier to pull it around. I live in a suburb of Kansas City, MO. I will be taking the Certified Applicators Exam in Feb. I have a website www.forevergreenkc.com, business cards, some vehicle & trailer signage. I also have some Yard type signs for Snow removal which I will put out just before storms at key locations entering and exiting upper end subdivisions. Goal is to use snow removal as an avenue to promote my lawn business.

I have just kind of started in the last month so don't have many clients. I've done a couple of leaf jobs from friends and Craigslist. I also have a couple of lawns lined up for next year but haven't truly pursued or targeted that yet. I have also got my commercial account setup at the Grasspad where I will purchase fertilizers and seed.

I know this was sort of long but I just wanted to introduce myself and what stage my business is at and what all I have done to this point. If you can make any obvious observations of something I'm missing or overlooking feel free to let me know. I'm excited about this forum and the wealth of experience and knowledge that seems to be available here. A little more about me.....married with three kids, love to hunt and fish and go camping with the family. Also love my Mizzou Tigers!
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  #2  
Old 12-17-2013, 02:38 AM
A. W. Landscapers, Inc.'s Avatar
A. W. Landscapers, Inc. A. W. Landscapers, Inc. is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 1,304
Welcome from Fort Worth, Texas.

"50-75 residential clients and possibly one or two commercial clients" is a pretty lofty goal for your first year in business. Good luck.
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Scott
A. W. Landscapers, Inc.
www.awlandscapers.com

Hustler X-One 60"
Wright Stander RH 36"
eXmark 21" ECXKA21 Mower
Stihl FC110 Edger
Stihl FS90 Trimmer
Stihl FS55R Trimmer
Stihl HS56C Hedge Trimmer
Stihl MS391 25" Bar Chainsaw
RedMax EBZ7100 Blower
Earthquake 16" Rear Tine Tiller
Honda 9" Mini Tiller FG110
2014 GMC Sierra Denali HD
7' x 16' Enclosed V-Nose Trailer
6' x 12' Dump Trailer
Equipment & Work thread: http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=415830
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  #3  
Old 12-17-2013, 07:18 AM
Vecchio Lawn Care's Avatar
Vecchio Lawn Care Vecchio Lawn Care is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Bel Air, MD
Posts: 494
Forever Green Professional Lawn Care

If your family is relying on you for all the income, keep your current job and work in the lawn industry on the side at first. 50-75 lawns is possible but very far fetched. Also unless you have benefits from your old job after you leave your going to pay out the ass for insurance (medical). Big businesses do not grow that big in one season or even two.
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Doesn't matter what kind of equipment you run as long as you get the job done correctly and up to par.
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  #4  
Old 12-18-2013, 12:50 AM
tk2aci tk2aci is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Raymore, MO
Posts: 8
I understand it will not be easy and maybe I'm biting off more than I can chew. I've got a little bit of a buffer. I'm a pretty driven individual and I feel as though I'm getting some good counsel/advice from people I respect so I think I've got a pretty good chance at succeeding. I know there will be struggles and likely moments of self doubt but I'm determined to keep my eye on the prize and do what it takes to make it work. Great reward comes form great risk! Thanks for the advice.
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  #5  
Old 12-18-2013, 05:33 PM
Mike Lery Mike Lery is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Oxford, Connecticut
Posts: 33
TurfWizard

Hello Terry,
First, let me wish you good luck in your new pursuits. Good for you for having the drive and the fortitude to pursue a dream. I am to a degree, doing the same thing and I believe that we can help each other.
I'm sure you have considered how many hours each week it will take you to find, secure, service and nurture 50 to 75 clients in your first year. Have you given any thought to how you will (find the time to) manage the information that will exist?
I have a solution that I would like you to consider. I am a partner in a new enterprise called TurfWizard. It's an information management software that has been developed for the landscaping industry. It will securely capture all of your customer data, provide you with a robust schedule/calendar, allow remote updates from the field and convert all your finished work to invoices in just a few simple steps. The price is all inclusive and technical support comes with the service. It's only $39.95/month.
We would appreciate an opportunity to demonstrate the system for you and now is the time you (we) should get started.
If you think we can help you, and we can, please visit the website at www.turfwizardllc.com or call me at the office at 203.888.1903. We're located in CT but luckily, technology is global.
Best of luck to you Terry.

Mike
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  #6  
Old 12-18-2013, 05:53 PM
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THORNTON SERVICES LLC THORNTON SERVICES LLC is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Morgantown WV and surounding areas.
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I agree with the comment about keeping your current job till you can no longer do so , most jobs all you have to do is give a 2 week notice , if the jobs schedule does not work for the lawn service , get another job that will give you benefits and scheduled work till you no longer need it , when you work a job you are inadvertently networking with people , I worked for as company for the first 3 years I had my business and hated to quit , the thing I miss the most is the people , you meet so many people when you work for companys these are opritunitys to make contacts and let people know about your part time business and give out your cards , I still do the commercial work for the company I use to work for , stay busy the worst thing is being ready to work and not having it , and you will not pick up business without networking and being out there weather it be in the lawn business or another business , get your vehicle door magnets on as soon as possible and hand out business cards to everyone you meet. Medical benefits are important unless your contacts are going to hook you up with clients and you are sure you can get to your target number I would be very scared to take this risk you are taking , also with no truck to salt and snow plow in the winter I think things will get much more difficult for you , I wish you the best of luck but please be careful being over confident, going to fast, and diving in to uncharted and un familiar waters head first can have harsh and permanent consequences. Good Luck
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  #7  
Old 12-18-2013, 11:35 PM
tk2aci tk2aci is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Raymore, MO
Posts: 8
One thing I've found with networking and talking to everyone I know is that not everyone lives near me. I'm fortunate to live in an "Upper End" Neighborhood and hope that I might possibly have some sort of an home field advantage based on that. I've targeted 5 of these type neighborhoods within 15 miles of me that I'm hoping to secure the bulk of my work from. I've done some leaf jobs for some people I know but hey have included some drive time if you know what I mean. My goal is to get the majority of lawns in close proximity to increase effectiveness and minimize the drive/costs. For instance I have 4 neighbors that have commercial cuts that I could drive my mower out of my garage and do without pulling my trailer out of the driveway. I've secured one of them already and will talk to the others soon. I again appreciate the words of advice. My other job is done so there is no going back but I will still be trading stocks at home to supplement the Lawn Business. One of my major downfalls is that when I get my mind on something I'm ALL-IN. There is no limping in. That has been both good and bad. Here's to hoping this one is good!
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  #8  
Old 12-19-2013, 10:00 AM
32vld 32vld is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: LI NY
Posts: 3,098
Did you buy new or used mowers?

Did you mean when you said buy that you paid cash or you took out loans?

It is hard to get 50 customers in 1 year. You will have to do a lot of advertising. That costs a lot of money.

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  #9  
Old 12-19-2013, 10:19 AM
THORNTON SERVICES LLC's Avatar
THORNTON SERVICES LLC THORNTON SERVICES LLC is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Morgantown WV and surounding areas.
Posts: 246
Its good that you are very determined person and you do not get discouraged easily this will be very important when it is super hot and you are busting your but covered in grass ,dirty and can't feel your feet then a customer comes out and treats you like the scum of the earth because they look down on you as a lesser individual doing there crap work. With that being said advertising alone will not get you the customer base you need , networking and talking with all your lawncare contacts and offer to pay them to refer accounts to you if they do not want them can get you to those numbers rental company's can also boost your numbers quickly i was offered 134 lawns at once by a rental company but it was not a good move for me at the time but could be the start a guy like you needs. Walking in a shaking hands goes much further than an add in the paper , large commercial accounts may take a while to land as most of them have a stereotypical image of a lawn provider that they look for 1- having an estblished name they have seen before 2- having a professional image as they see in there mind of a lawn guy , truck , trailer , equipment , etc (pulling your lawn setup with a suv will not help you with these type of accounts) 3 - being a one stop shop with alot to offer as a contractor , landscaping equipment , snow ice management ,help to do larger jobs etc etc. Starting out focus on rental company's , small commercial accounts (auto zones , hardees , stuff like this) and of course residential accounts will be what gives you the most of your work as these are the size accounts a solo beginning operator will be able to do on his own. Again good luck and don't let anyone discourage you as long as you can handle the physical work part of it you will be fine. Also on a side note having a backup plan in place in case something does not go exactly as planned is also helpful and helps you sleep better at night. Good luck.
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  #10  
Old 12-19-2013, 11:45 PM
tk2aci tk2aci is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Raymore, MO
Posts: 8
Did I buy new or used mowers? Here is the thought process. If I buy two used mowers I'm looking at around $7000 out of pocket to buy. Then I don't know how they were serviced or what repairs or downtime lie ahead. If I buy new I can go through Sheffield and get 0% for 48 months and no payment until April. My first year cash outlay using this route would be $3,150 over through the end of 2014 and I have a 2/3 yr warranty. Yeah, I bought new. I don't believe in buying used as the risks often outweigh the cost savings.

Thanks Thornton for the advice. I do plan to do a lot of door to door hand shaking and kissing babies if you will. I have a Masters degree in Finance so I hope to be able to pull off the looking like a professional bit. When I stated commercial I was indeed looking at the smaller type stuff like dentist offices, small box retailers, etc.. Goal is to have a truck and a blade by next fall to pursue those larger commercial accounts that are looking for snow removal as well. I will stay focused on the positive and believe I have a reasonably solid plan in place to make a decent run at success.
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