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  #1  
Old 06-26-2011, 07:49 AM
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mhubert123 mhubert123 is offline
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
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Any tips/tricks for someone who is just starting...

I'm going to dive right in and start...
I am currently in high school, and looking to start in the lawn care industry @ 16 years old. Mainly as a part time (during school year) and full time summer job. I was wondering if their is anyone who can help me out with any info. on particular equipment, rates to charge, and or just plain tips for me...
Anything would be appreciated.
I would also like anyone in the Cincinnati, OH area who can help with recommendations or anything about the industry that i need to know PLZ don't hesitate to let me know...
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  #2  
Old 06-26-2011, 06:10 PM
johnny_boy02 johnny_boy02 is offline
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Get good gas cans.

Get the best equipment you can afford, check Craigslist daily for deals on used stuff.

Get things in writing.
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  #3  
Old 06-26-2011, 06:30 PM
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mhubert123 mhubert123 is offline
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny_boy02 View Post
Get good gas cans.

Get the best equipment you can afford, check Craigslist daily for deals on used stuff.

Get things in writing.
Thanx for the advice, I already have craigslist covered...
"Get things in writing", what exactly do you mean...can you give me a few examples.
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  #4  
Old 06-26-2011, 07:14 PM
RobertsDesign RobertsDesign is offline
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He means make sure ever customer signs a contract before doing any work.
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  #5  
Old 06-26-2011, 08:05 PM
tlc1994 tlc1994 is offline
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Location: Southern California
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1) Create a service agreement that illustrates all your policies and terms, such as scheduling, payment, service, etc.
2) Learn about all the different varieties of grass in your area, and take notes on their watering necessities, fertilizer, proper mowing height, etc.
3) Get business cards with a unique company name, motto, and, if desired, logo.
4) Even if you don't have them yet, determine all the expenses you will have, such as maintenence, marketing, gas, insurance, etc. Calculate how much you think you will spend on these during the year, divide by 52 weeks to give you an idea of your weekly expenses. Add in how much you want to profit per week (be realistic), then divide by how many hours you can work a week. This will give you an hourly rate.
5) No matter how bad you want a customer, never, ever, sell yourself short or work less than you're worth.
6) Find a good lawn equipment dealer near you and establish a rapport; hopefully this may result in a few incentives here and there.
7) Don't do work you don't want to do, or can't do well yet; you may just end up wasting both partys' times if you don't do it right.
8) Stay in good contact with your clients, such as picking up a few things if they were left out, and offering customer satisfaction surveys.
9) Be reliable- always be consistent with mowing a customers lawn and don't skip out.
10) Have fun.

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  #6  
Old 06-26-2011, 08:23 PM
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STIHL GUY STIHL GUY is offline
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dont leave a property unless you have done the best job you can on it. remember everyone driving by sees the work you do so even if it takes a little extra effort and time it will pay off in the end. and a good way to get customers is word of mouth
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  #7  
Old 06-26-2011, 08:39 PM
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mhubert123 mhubert123 is offline
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Thanks to everyone who has replied, it is very good to have nice folks willing to help a new guy out... (:

@tlc1994: I'm grateful of your comments and that should really help me out, I was going to ask if you have any recommendations for starting equipment (examples-w.b. mower, blower, edger/trimmer, and or truck and trailer? Do you possibly have any examples of how much my expenses would be per month, or for a whole season?

@STIHL GUY- thanks for the advice, and that is a very good point, if I am @ a prop. for an extra 10 min. because I need to be there, I am willing to do so to stay in business.
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  #8  
Old 06-26-2011, 11:30 PM
tlc1994 tlc1994 is offline
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[QUOTE=mhubert123;4076482]Thanks to everyone who has replied, it is very good to have nice folks willing to help a new guy out... (:

@tlc1994: I'm grateful of your comments and that should really help me out, I was going to ask if you have any recommendations for starting equipment (examples-w.b. mower, blower, edger/trimmer, and or truck and trailer? Do you possibly have any examples of how much my expenses would be per month, or for a whole season?

Let me start off by saying that I am 16 as well, so my personal setup may be reflective of your situation.

In Southern California, at least where I live, properties average about 1/4-1/3 an acre, so I use a 22 inch mower. I purchased most of my equipment with no leads and very little cash on hand, so Craigslist is where I found most of my equipment. Depending on your average property size, a 21-22 inch mower may be fine, or you may need something bigger. A 1/2 acre property is the most I suggest you do with a mower this size. You can find a used commercial mower on Craigslist - look for brands like Exmark, Toro, Snapper, or my favorite (which is probably hard to find for you) Tru-Cut. One of these in decent condition could run roughly $300, but they will last longer than something like Weed-Eater. If you want one new for the warranty, you can get a higher-end Toro homeowner's model for about the same price. I have no preference on Trimmers, just get a straight shaft. I found an Echo SRM-231 on CL for $130 and it has done well. I also use it for edging. Blowers, again, I have no preference. A handheld would suffice, and you can find a good one pretty cheap, just to blow clippings back on the lawn. I have a handheld, but in retrospect I wish I spent more on a backpack blower. Find a reliable truck, one that is clean and wouldn't scare away potential customers. I have yet to get a trailer but this is my first season.
As far as finding an hourly wage, starting out, I had to do a lot of inference and assumption based on the small expenses so far. All I can say is when estimating how much you will spend in a year, assume the highest reasonable expense: for example, I estimated I would spend at least $500 this year on maintenence. I may not, but those expenses are allocated in my figure anyway, just in case. One thing that may seem absurd to do (but I will continue to do so) is pour all my income back into my business. I mean 90-100%. At least until you reach a decent customer base. I will have more equipment, that will qualify me for more work, thus bringing me more money quicker.

I posted more on this in an old thread: http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=344421
Good luck.
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  #9  
Old 06-27-2011, 12:34 AM
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mhubert123 mhubert123 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
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@tlc1994: I can agree with you, I have little money to spend and no leads...
I have looked on CL before for my area, I have found some good deals, the only problem is I'm looking for a 36" commercial w.b. with a sulky... (most properties in my area are @least 2/3 acre & up, thats the only reason I'm going for a 36" mower,
The bigger res. properties I'm not worried right now... I hope to also have a few comm. clients in my 2nd season (larger properties). Seeing as how I still have to make a plan, for whom I'm going to service for the most part, *what do you recommend as far as accts., Comm. or Res?* I'm thinking about only residential at the moment, But I would like commercial accounts eventually...
I am currently in the process of acquiring my equipment, I already have a truck... but I would prefer a newer one, currently I have a 96 ford ranger XLT. I would like to upgrade to an early 2000's ford F150 or Chevy 1500, speaking of chevy I found one in my area for 2500.00 and it looks real clean, pm me for a link to it and tell me what you think. I would also like to get a trailer 6'x10'/12' idk which size to pick yet,
I do have a few ?'s for you and anyone else who can help me...
1. What price range do u think for a used 6x12 trailer?
2. What should a used 36" comm. w.b. (TORO, Exmark) go for within reasonable cond. and i really don't mind an early 2000's machine, but nothing more than about 900.00?
3. What brand truck should i start with, yes i know image is almost everything..., Ford F150, or chevy 1500?
4. Back pack or handheld blower? (i know straight shaft trimmer/edger)
i think that should cover it for right now...
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New to the industry,
Any help that you have would be appreciated!!!


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  #10  
Old 06-27-2011, 02:39 AM
h2oskier h2oskier is offline
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Start slow stay focused. Equipment will come and go, just take your time and do the best you can. No matter if you are 16 or 86 and just starting out, you have to crawl before you run.
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