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  #281  
Old 12-03-2012, 08:38 AM
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McFarland_Lawn_Care McFarland_Lawn_Care is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sedgwick, Maine
Posts: 1,115
Started part time while working a full job at the County Sheriff's....then grew to full time slowly and went to full time beginning the 4th year. I didn't do a lot of advertising mostly because I was too busy working. The toughest time was when the business needed me full time and my other job still needed full time. I worked nights and mowed all day - crashed a few vehicles from lack of sleep - I was a crazy nutjob workaholic with like 3 hrs of sleep a day. Not sure how I lived.

Big mistakes? hmmm. I would say not planning and expecting growth. If you don't know already, then take some classes on business or at least start reading books etc. Expect the growth and plan on how much more you will take on each year and how much more equipment/employees you will need to manage that growth correctly. Also, decide who you want to market to and what your image needs to be. Do you want to run a big business, a small business, or work for yourself and just bring in some extra money?

Buy commercial equipment - nothing compares and you will be taken much more seriously.

Cash flow is tough when you are starting, but if you have another source of income it won't be an emergency. As hard as it is sometimes, be tough on any customers that pay late or fall behind. If you let them by now, it will only get worse. Just be sure to keep finances separate so you find out if you are making or losing money.

If you aren't too mechanical then start learning. Having a few extra parts at the shop and fixing something yourself in 2 hours is FAR easier and cheaper than taking it back to the dealer and being down a day or two.

Put together a schedule for mowing and maintenance jobs, give each job a specific day and time slot each week. Plan on 4 or maybe 4 1/2 days of nice weather each week and fill those days with 10 hrs of work (just my recommendation).

Do not take on "one time mow jobs" or "on demand" mowing. They will call when it gets 1 foot high and expect you to rush over on the one nice day you get all week and make it look great. Personally, I don't offer every other week mowing except for a very few customers - but that is up to you.


Jason
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  #282  
Old 12-03-2012, 03:50 PM
t-10yrs2retire t-10yrs2retire is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: MidCoast Maine
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Thanks. Im also working a full time job 3 nights one week and 4 the next. 6pm-6am. This will be my 2nd year and my plan is to fill atleast 3-10hr days for the mowing season. For 2014 probably the same amount of hours and get my buisness cash backed. Between this and 2017 i would like to be able to have the option of full time. Im working on the details of my buisness plan now as things have become a little more clear after my 2012 "test" year. Ultimate for me would be full time with a couple crews on the mowing end and a couple hardscape crews. With snow removal. I want to stay active with this in the long run but may be have something worth selling when im older. I have a long way to go and alot to learn but i will make it.
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  #283  
Old 12-03-2012, 04:05 PM
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jrs.landscaping jrs.landscaping is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Maine
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You may change you mind about where you want to be after you hire your first employee. I have similar goals though I would like to expand more into fert andnot so much into installs. Employees can be a headache and some people find they would rather stay small full time doing the work themselves rather than trying to keep an eye on all the crews.
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  #284  
Old 12-03-2012, 05:36 PM
t-10yrs2retire t-10yrs2retire is offline
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Location: MidCoast Maine
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And that may be the case. I will keep up on my plan and adjust as i go and see what happens. I enjoy this work and would like to keep it that way. I am looking forward to this ride anyway.
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  #285  
Old 12-03-2012, 05:59 PM
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jrs.landscaping jrs.landscaping is offline
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That's the biggest part, sticking with a plan and rolling with the punches that come with it. If you can do that part the rest is easy
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  #286  
Old 12-04-2012, 08:29 AM
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McFarland_Lawn_Care McFarland_Lawn_Care is offline
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Location: Sedgwick, Maine
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I would be solo if I had another reliable job, or if I was retired and didn't need the income. The reality for me, is that if I get sick or injured or anything, then I still need to be able to provide a dependable living for my family. If I was solo it would be too risky. This next year is going to be a huge step for me as I'm going to pull myself out of the field as much as possible to work on selling, managing, and growing. It's VERY hard for me to hand off so much work to others, but as long as they are trained I need to learn to delegate more tasks.
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  #287  
Old 12-05-2012, 12:06 AM
thelawnduke thelawnduke is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Southern Maine
Posts: 33
fertilizer/pesticide

First I'd like to introduce myself to the Maine group. I'm a newbie partimer and just finished my first summer of mowing and lawn care. I would like to ask what the licensing requirements are for fertilizer and pesticide application and how to go obtaining them? I have been on the Maine.gov sites but am having a hard time figuring out what I will need as a landscape contractor. I don't plan to do a lot of applications but would like to be able to offer it.
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  #288  
Old 12-05-2012, 07:31 AM
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McFarland_Lawn_Care McFarland_Lawn_Care is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sedgwick, Maine
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Duke,
It's really not that hard to find but I'll post a link here for you if it will let me. Basically if you are going to offer it as a service for your business then you need to get a commercial master license, or hire someone with one. You need to take 3 exams. The core exam, a category exam(specific about the service you are offering), and a master's oral exam befor the board. Then after you pay and pass those, you buy your license and you also need to have a FIRM LICENSE - which covers your business. Then just keep taking classes for continuing education points, send in an annual report each year, keep good records of everything! Also need to add the endorsement specifically on your general liability insurance policy and include an affidavit with your annual report. I think I included most of it - feel free to message if you have any questions - I'm glad to talk. It's good to look into - just be sure you are serious and commit the time necessary for each step and you'll be fine. Also, if you do plan on getting it, you should start studying asap - the spring test dates book up very fast - winter is best.

Oh ya, and welcome to the site! lol

Jason
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  #289  
Old 12-05-2012, 07:33 AM
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McFarland_Lawn_Care McFarland_Lawn_Care is offline
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Ooops, almost forgot...here's the link...

http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/pes...ams.htm#master
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  #290  
Old 12-05-2012, 07:36 AM
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McFarland_Lawn_Care McFarland_Lawn_Care is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sedgwick, Maine
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Tell us a little about yourself if you don't mind. What's your first name? What made you decide to start getting into lawncare? And where would you like to see yourself in 5, 10 years? Thanks.

Jason
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