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Old 07-29-2010, 02:29 PM
npat12 npat12 is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Ohio
Posts: 9
Getting Into The Mowing Business

Hello Everyone,

My name is Nick, I am wanting to get into the mowing business. So I could use any help and opinions from you guys.
I just recently bought some used Commercial Equipment for a good price. I paid cash for it. So I didn't have to finance anything. So as of right now I have a 52" ZTR ,36" WB, Push Mower, Edger, Trimmer, Backpack Blower, Two Bin Bagger, 6.5 x 12 Trailer with Racks.

Right now I am a stay at home Dad. My Wife makes great money, so we are not really hurting for cash. I am looking to start mowing about 3-4 days a week. Bringing in some income but not really looking to bring in tons of income with this business. Just doing something on the side that I enjoy. I like to work outdoors. I've worked for Scott's Lawnservice for 6 years and Lawn Doctor for 2.5 years. So I do have some knowledge of the Landscape Industry.

I know its hard to get started mowing lawns, and I dont expect it to be a cakewalk, so I am not expecting a ton of costumers the first year. But I am looking to get at least 15 to 20 the first year. Do you think this is a resonable goal or should I not expect that much.

My biggest concerns are getting my foot in the door such as Getting customers, advertising, and pricing on jobs. I don't want to be a lowballer since this is only a part time gig and won't be worth my time to mow lawns at a bare minium. Plus if I had customers I wouldn't like that done to me (lowballing). I plan on charging Fair Value and If I don't get them so be it. I will move on to the next one.

As of right now, I only plan on mowing, edging, trimming, and leaf removals.
Maybe mulching but that will probably be in the future as long with aerations. I would like to get my feet first.

I have a couple questions though:

1. How do you price mowing jobs. By Hour or by jobsite. I really don't want to underprice a lawn and then regret it later. I know I will learn by trial and error. Just like everything in life.

2. Also what do think the best type of advertising is?

3. Should I get a business license first before starting?

So any help and insight from you guys that have done it for a while and have been successful would greatly be appreciated. Thanks for all your help. Sorry for such a long post I just want to get started off right.

Nick
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:50 PM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Western NY
Posts: 1,284
Nick,

I am also part time and in my 4th year so I thought I'd chime in on this.



Quote:
Originally Posted by npat12 View Post
Hello Everyone,

My name is Nick, I am wanting to get into the mowing business. So I could use any help and opinions from you guys.
I just recently bought some used Commercial Equipment for a good price. I paid cash for it. So I didn't have to finance anything. So as of right now I have a 52" ZTR ,36" WB, Push Mower, Edger, Trimmer, Backpack Blower, Two Bin Bagger, 6.5 x 12 Trailer with Racks.

Right now I am a stay at home Dad. My Wife makes great money, so we are not really hurting for cash. I am looking to start mowing about 3-4 days a week. Bringing in some income but not really looking to bring in tons of income with this business. Just doing something on the side that I enjoy. I like to work outdoors. I've worked for Scott's Lawnservice for 6 years and Lawn Doctor for 2.5 years. So I do have some knowledge of the Landscape Industry.

I know its hard to get started mowing lawns, and I dont expect it to be a cakewalk, so I am not expecting a ton of costumers the first year. But I am looking to get at least 15 to 20 the first year. Do you think this is a resonable goal or should I not expect that much.

You better do a lot of advertising to get these people to call. Remember if you start this business and don't have any customers then no one knows you exist.

My biggest concerns are getting my foot in the door such as Getting customers, advertising, and pricing on jobs. I don't want to be a lowballer since this is only a part time gig and won't be worth my time to mow lawns at a bare minium. Plus if I had customers I wouldn't like that done to me (lowballing). I plan on charging Fair Value and If I don't get them so be it. I will move on to the next one.

It's tough but once you are in the word of mouth will start coming. A friend of mine does this part time and has been word of mouth since the start. (mowed for some family) He now makes a ton, still part time and legit although it took about 5-7 years before it really took off. Thats the thing with part time, your bills are paid by another job so this money can be just saved, invested, spent on stuff you want. Also put yourself in the neighborhoods where people can spend money and give you extras such as the mulching and such. Also you cannot be afraid to say "No" and walk away. It's intimidating at first because you want to land the jobs, but I'd rather not take one then beat myself up because I lowered my price or service.

As of right now, I only plan on mowing, edging, trimming, and leaf removals.
Maybe mulching but that will probably be in the future as long with aerations. I would like to get my feet first.

I have a couple questions though:

1. How do you price mowing jobs. By Hour or by jobsite. I really don't want to underprice a lawn and then regret it later. I know I will learn by trial and error. Just like everything in life.

Either way works but get an hourly figure going to make it easier. Figure out how much you need to pay your business bills. Mow, trim, edge, & blow off your lawn with your equipment and time it. That gives you and idea of how quick or slow you move. I know you paid cash for those items but you want to be able to cover those costs you took on. Being part time has some great things that full time may not. Such as you are not really making a living off of this so you can take on only the customers you want. Leave the people who will not pay your rate. Take your time and build around the customer you want.

2. Also what do think the best type of advertising is?

Word of mouth is best. I have done some local newspaper classifieds and am not happy with the respones. EVERY SINGLE call from that ad this year were just tire kickers. But you do have to get started with something. Flyers, doorhangers, etc... I did only 150 doorhangers in a neighborhood I work in and it only gave me one call but I landed the job (lawn & landscape) which easily paid for the 3000 door hangers and plenty more.

3. Should I get a business license first before starting?

Stay legit do everything right. No reason not too.

So any help and insight from you guys that have done it for a while and have been successful would greatly be appreciated. Thanks for all your help. Sorry for such a long post I just want to get started off right.

Nick

Everyone will give a different response but these are some things I learned. I also worked with that one guy for 5 years so I learned a lot about the business such as how long things take, pricing, etc... But guess what, I still made some mistakes. It happens. What matters it what you do after a mistake. Good luck!!
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