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  #1  
Old 04-20-2010, 06:23 PM
Jchogan17 Jchogan17 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: NH
Posts: 3
Questions about starting up

My friend and I have recently started to get customers to start a landscaping business. We are starting out with basic lawn mowing, and general lawn care. I have a few quick questions that can hopefully be answered.

1.) When meeting a customer for a quote, would it be a good idea to have them sign a form stating what they want and how much it will cost, and when the payment is due?

2.) As far as billing goes, is their specific paperwork we can mail to them stating what was done and what they owe?

3.) For the IRS, do we need to make an EIN? And we are familiar with the insurance but is there any other startup fees or licenses for starting a small business? I assume it varies state by state.

Thanks guys hope to hear back soon.
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  #2  
Old 04-21-2010, 12:43 AM
Vacation Vacation is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 81
I honestly don't think anyone should answer these questions for you. As the answers are literally common sense and the others can be answered by a google search. Please tell me what "general lawn care" is as well as "basic lawn mowing". All mowing is pretty basic except you're doing some crazy pattern (not talking about stripes) similar to a crop circle. I'm sorry but you seem like the type of guy that has no idea what he is doing and has no business working for himself.
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  #3  
Old 04-21-2010, 01:05 AM
Jchogan17 Jchogan17 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: NH
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Ok i'll rewrite my post so that anyone else who is ignorant and waiting to s*** on someone behind a computer will understand me better.

My friend and I are starting off our company with basic landscaping (mowing, spring cleanups, mulching, etc.) and our customers so far are fine with that and eventually we will learn other things. For right now this is just a side gig while I work another part time job in sales and finish up my Bachelor's degree. Not trying to get rich but looking to make some extra cash.

My first question again is if you guys normally have your customers sign proposal forms or something. Or do you just give them a quote and bill them at the end of the month. I just want to know what is easier and works better.

We figured out what were going to do about question number two and three but any other advice would be greatly appreciated. Again this is a partnership and will probably stay that way for a long time.
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  #4  
Old 04-21-2010, 01:08 AM
Jchogan17 Jchogan17 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: NH
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And for our first job we went out and quoted the guy $100 dollars for about a 1 1/2 hour job. There is no paperwork and even though I trust the guy it seems as though if he really wanted to he could just not pay us for the job when its done and we wouldnt be able to do anything about it if he didnt sign anything. Just don't want something like that to happen if we get into higher paying jobs.
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  #5  
Old 04-21-2010, 01:46 AM
Vacation Vacation is offline
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Well I guess ill answer your questions. First off, we don't do any work before a contract is signed. Covers our a$$ and I'd recommend you do it also.

As for me being ignorant, no not at all. Lawn care is actually fertilization/pesticides/herbicide (in which you are required by law to be certified, not sure if you knew that) not mulch installs, clean ups, or most commonly confused with, mowing. I would make sure you knew these specifics before creating a company name or talk with prospects and not know what you're talking about so you can sell your service better.
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  #6  
Old 04-21-2010, 11:37 PM
Prairie Lawn and Snow Prairie Lawn and Snow is offline
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Location: Minnesota
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Wow!!

This site never ceases to amaze me.
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  #7  
Old 04-22-2010, 12:36 AM
M&TCustomServicesLLP M&TCustomServicesLLP is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Sidney Montana
Posts: 5
I think vacation should take his own advise he telling you to have a signed contract because he didnt when he first started and got burnt on the deal Hey do what you think is right. I normally dont worry about have the customer sign it. I have been doing this for a few years now and never got burnt at least not yet. When i meet with a customer to go over a quote i hand them the quote and we go from there Send them the bill at the end of the month. Im mowing lawns in 2 states across 6 towns. Havent run into anything yet with fighting over contracts Lawn care doesnt have to be fertilizing spraying. I dont waste my time i have a local applicator handle that. Depending on what state and local codes are in your state alot of states dont require licenses to apply granular fertilizers. But if it has weed and feed in it you do. same with insecticides or pesticides. It was way easier for us to pair up with an applicator to handle the chemicals. i would make sure to check with your local extension office on what the requirements are. Oh and one last thing good luck and have fun. Don't take S*** from people last time i checked thats what these forums where for becasue all these other guys were where you are at now at one time. I was Hope that helps you out
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  #8  
Old 04-22-2010, 12:54 AM
dhunterd08 dhunterd08 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Hermitage, TN
Posts: 314
I am also finishing up my bachelor's degree, although this is year 7 in this business for me, so we are at about the same spot. First of all good luck. On question #1, I guess it varies by region, but in TN a handshake is all i have ever had(currently 25-30 resid a week and one large commercial shopping center). I bill my customers at the end of the month and that is that. I have been stiffed one time last year, but i got the money i was owed back in entertainment he he he lol. I bill every month and invoice includes the date service performed, service, rate, and total owed. Obviously on licenseing its state by state I just have 1,000,000 in liab insurance and commercial insurance on truck/trailer. no certifications or anything, but I only do cleanups, shrubs, light tree work, mulch, maintenance, maybe a little sodding every now and then, and w/e ***** work might come along lol. It takes a while to get things started, but once you do it will be hard to find someone with less than a college degree who can make half the hourly rate you do.
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  #9  
Old 04-23-2010, 07:13 PM
Vacation Vacation is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
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Actually M&T I never got burned when I started, my policy right from the beginning was to have every customer sign a contract before work was to be done.
If you think every company has every customer sign a contract for work because they got screwed before, you are dead wrong. Try going to your cell phone service & try to get a phone & service plan without signing their contract. You will be very suprised.....

People must be different in Sidney, MT (which looks to be not much except farms on google maps) and don't try to screw you because they're honest (usually) farmers. I'm not saying everyone is like that in my area but there are some, and those people are everywhere.
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  #10  
Old 05-24-2010, 10:33 PM
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MyLawnConnect MyLawnConnect is offline
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Saint Charles, MO
Posts: 30
First month FREE, introducing a new web portal at http://www.MyLawnConnect.com

MyLawnConnect is a professional billing service for lawn care professionals. Our system allows you to easily track your customers, services, and completed jobs in real-time. Have a phone? then you can mark jobs completed by sending a text message. Our system takes care of the rest by creating your invoices. We send them out for on your behalf either paper or email. All you have to do is sit back and receive the payments. You can even accept credit card payments.

NO contract, NO setup fees.

Please contact us with any questions at 314-630-6982.
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