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  #1  
Old 06-15-2009, 08:22 AM
matcor9925 matcor9925 is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1
Advice for a new comer?

Hello,

I'm 24 years old and am currently working full time as a Network Engineer in Charlotte, NC. I spend long hours hunched over a computer and rarely see the light of day *ugh* (no windows in office). Needless to say I'm ready for a change. I love being outdoors, hot weather, and hard work (call me crazy) and have always had landscape design/lawncare in the back of my mind as one of those dream jobs.

I would like some advice from you veterans out there for someone starting out small. What is the best way for someone to transition into this industry? Can you make decent money in a solo operation (not that important, but thought I'd ask)? What brands/models are reliable as far as mowers, weed eaters, etc. are concerned? I realize I'm getting a late start for this year but better late than never. I appreciate any input. Thanks for looking.
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  #2  
Old 06-15-2009, 12:45 PM
TurfTrimmer 92's Avatar
TurfTrimmer 92 TurfTrimmer 92 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Horsham, Pa
Posts: 163
First thing first your going to need tot get your name out there so ADVERTISE. Then your going to need a truck and trailer F250 and 7x12' trailer will do to start out. As for mowers Exmark Toro and Scag are all great brands. Now depending on who you ask there gonna say that this one better than that and that one better than this but there all great. Handhelds ie, trimmers blowers Ect. Go with Stihl,echo and redmax. The main factor your going to need to worry about is dealer location and service, that will depend on what mower you get. Also depending on how many jobs you get and the size of them you probably wont need a ztr right off the bat, a nice 42'' Wb and a 22'' push mower will do just fine. Then your going to need to figure out your pricing!! this is the most important part. (price to high not gonna get the job. go to low "low-balling" not gonna make any money at all and put everyone out of bizz.) People round here don't like lowballers. Then your gonna need to get licensed to be legit.

Hope this helps
-Bill
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  #3  
Old 06-15-2009, 05:13 PM
luis@NJ's Avatar
luis@NJ luis@NJ is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Clifton NJ
Posts: 293
Hello whatever you do just dont start your company with debt buy older machines and work your way up.My walk-behind was old so I got a deal on it, you can start with an older truck. Then if you see business gets better you can upgrade to new machines,truck,trailer.
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1995 dodge ram 2500 4x4 & 8ft fisher plow
6.5x14 open dual axle trailer
1 48" mower with a bullet proof kawi
2 36" classic bobcat mowers(old)
2 sensation 21" mowers
2 Redmax back packs (portable hurricane on my back)
echo and husqvarna chainsaws
Echo hedge trimmers
and all for the glory of GOD!
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  #4  
Old 06-15-2009, 06:30 PM
Exact Rototilling's Avatar
Exact Rototilling Exact Rototilling is online now
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Location: Zone: 5B
Posts: 4,723
I can relate to the indoor job with no windows staring at a PC screen for 40 hours a week. That kind of work is a living death in my book. I did if for 5 years and to this day I don't know how I survived or coped with it. Welcome to outdoors work the way God intended it to be for many of us.

Don't quit your regular job just yet. Look for a niche market in your area. Try to keep it simple at first. You do not necessarily need a big truck and big trailer an a big riding mower to get going. Truth is less can be more.

I have smaller trucks and I pull a 6 x 12 enclosed trailer. I will probably never have a big riding mower and I will never be the Mow King nor do I want to be. My focus is on smaller lawns and lawn renovations. Mowing is the least profitable service I offer just because there are so many LCO's out there and kids with mowers doing the same exact thing. If mowing was the only service I could offer I'd quit this business yesterday.

I started out just Rototilling 3 years ago and I still have those regular customers from back then. I actually miss the simplicity of just one service. People will often say on Lawnsite you need to be a full service Co. and you can't pick and choose the sericvces you offer. Bull Pucky! I will never spray herbicides or pesticides [makes me deathly ill] and I really can't tell you much about one shrub or plant over another. I know aircraft hydraulics but I don't know squat about sprinklers. Sure NOT being full service will limit you to some degree. Becoming a specialist in a few areas especially being solo is an advantage IMO.

However....those big projects can really drag on & on & on..... when working solo.
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  #5  
Old 06-15-2009, 09:14 PM
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lawnmastersoftyler lawnmastersoftyler is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Tyler, TX
Posts: 29
Hello! Just wanted to let you know there are obviously several ways to enter the market. Being that you are wanting to start small I give this advice. A truck is a good starting point. Don't have to buy a trailer right off the bat because you really only need a good mower (push & or Walk behind) Backpack blower, line trimmer and hedge trimmer. All of which fit niceley in a typical pickup. Since it is late in the season, I would reccomend on getting about ten lawns as quick as you can and focus on getting your quality up to proffesional level before venturing much further. A good way to do that is to take some time and just sit and watch a well known LCO in your area take care of a typical lawn. Take notes and watch the order they do things in, as well as specific techniques. Then put into practice what you have seen as quickly as possible. Try to get as many of your rookie mistakes out of the way this year and really hit it strong marketing your newky honed skills BEFORE the start of next season. All this aside, no matter how great your personality, marketing skills, or expertise is, you cannot operate any business without capital to fund your business. I would reccomend you open a business account and have a minimum amount that you keep in there to operate out of so you do not find yourself desperately hunting down checks from your clients. This is not what you buy your equipment with. Try and build this "cushion" up to a full month's living expenses and business expenses before you even think about quitting your day job. If you do this and track every dollar that comes in and out from day one you will be way ahead of most of your competitors. This will help you get to whatever level of business you want to take your company to in much surer fashion.
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  #6  
Old 06-16-2009, 02:08 AM
DIXIEHILLO7 DIXIEHILLO7 is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Hillsville, Va
Posts: 1
I would reccomend starting small and keeping your overhead cost as low as possible. i started mowing at the age of 13 i'am now 19 and have gone from a 42 cut yardmachines of my dads to a 48 cut simplicity riding mower to a dixon ztr now have 2 john deere's and a dixie chopper. i have managed pretty well to keep costs down except for a new mower but that seems to be working very well for me. i have a couple of stihl weedeaters and a stihl blower wich i wouldnt trade for a new one of anything else! don't know that this will work for you but maybe you can be successful. good luck!!!
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  #7  
Old 06-29-2009, 10:08 PM
Ben's Landscape Ben's Landscape is offline
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Location: Rhode Island
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Do your self a favor and keep ur overhead low!! But at the same time as you make money put it right back into the biz. It works out good for you because you have money coming in both ways. So you could get fed up with a mower or a handheld and just go out to buy a good one. When you do have the money to buy equipment make sure that it is quality. Don't buy a homeowner weedwacker etc. step up to the commercial. Good luck with the career change. Keep asking questions.
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1995 F250 Powerstroke 4wd 64k miles!
16 HP Billy Goat Leaf Loader
8x16 Homesteader Enclosed
6x12 Road King open trailer
Exmark Metro 48
Toro Proline 36 Belt Drive
Lawn Boy 21" commercial 2 stroke
Toro commercial 21"
Redmax EBZ 80001 BP
Redmax EBZ 8500 BP
Redmax CHT 2300 Hedge Trimmer
Redmax BCZ 2610 trimmer
Stihl BG 55
8 HP Push Blower




Solo Operation

My equipment and truck pics:
http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=283877
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  #8  
Old 06-30-2009, 10:12 PM
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36metro 36metro is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Portage, Michigan
Posts: 48
You know I'm in the same boat. Very good job, but bored to tears shuffling paperwork day in and day out. The thoughts of being outside working like a dog are just to attractive not to ponder the thoughts of a one man yard service. However, pardon the pun, but the grass probably isn't as green as I hope it will be on the other side. I think if I do anything as a transition it would have to be 10 hour Saturdays just to see if it really is worthwhile doing 5 quality lawns. The security of a 40 hour workweek, paid vacation, paid sickdays, health insurance, etc is dumb for me to give up. I think maybe I can have a glorified job/hobby one day a week and get my fix. I can still have the 36" exmark metro, the commercial blower, trimmer, chainsaw, hedge trimmers. I'd want them for my home anyway.

I seem to hear a lot of smaller guys on here admit this is a ton of work and not as lucrative as one might think without years of hard work and about 80% reinvestment in equipment/maintence costs.

I'd love more input from seasoned vets.
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  #9  
Old 06-30-2009, 10:14 PM
Toy2 Toy2 is offline
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Location: Waco, Texas
Posts: 1,926
day

Quote:
Originally Posted by matcor9925 View Post
Hello,

I'm 24 years old and am currently working full time as a Network Engineer in Charlotte, NC. I spend long hours hunched over a computer and rarely see the light of day *ugh* (no windows in office). Needless to say I'm ready for a change. I love being outdoors, hot weather, and hard work (call me crazy) and have always had landscape design/lawncare in the back of my mind as one of those dream jobs.

I would like some advice from you veterans out there for someone starting out small. What is the best way for someone to transition into this industry? Can you make decent money in a solo operation (not that important, but thought I'd ask)? What brands/models are reliable as far as mowers, weed eaters, etc. are concerned? I realize I'm getting a late start for this year but better late than never. I appreciate any input. Thanks for looking.
Keep your day job.....trust me on that one.....to much comp, low prices.......
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  #10  
Old 06-30-2009, 10:31 PM
mowerdude777's Avatar
mowerdude777 mowerdude777 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: troy michigan
Posts: 2,673
Quote:
Originally Posted by luis@NJ View Post
Hello whatever you do just dont start your company with debt buy older machines and work your way up.My walk-behind was old so I got a deal on it, you can start with an older truck. Then if you see business gets better you can upgrade to new machines,truck,trailer.
I compleatly agree
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Ryan- 16 years old- 15 accounts-
Exmark Metro Hp 48
BillyGoat 33
Ferris 32
Toro 21
Redmax BCZ2401s, Redmax HE225f, Redmax EBZ7100 Kawasaki KRB300
1999 Honda Oddsey
6X10 trailer
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