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  #51  
Old 10-20-2011, 03:27 PM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneyclass View Post
Yeah you are right it will be the school of hard knocks but I guess I have to go out there and learn it that way.
This is the consistent problem with this industry. If someone reads enough they should be able to avoid those pitfalls that others consistently make. No one will tell anyone to charge this or charge that, but most will explain how important it is to know your costs of doing business (not just the money you use to buy equipment). Too many fall in the trap of "My overhead is low so I can charge less". They miss the boat completely. It should say this "My overhead is low so my profits are that much higher" But everyone is falls victim to the word "No". They go on a few estimates, especially for mowing, and get "No" to their estimates eventhough they crunched the right numbers. Instead of moving on to find the customer that fits them they go against their better judgement, and their numbers, and lower their prices. Why? So they can get that fuzzy warm feeling about getting a "Yes" and having customers. Then just like the other guy said, they lose their shirt on the work or barely scratch some pennies from it. Most continue this cycle and either work every minute of their life or fail. The worst part is it affects the rest of the industry.
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  #52  
Old 10-20-2011, 06:27 PM
moneyclass moneyclass is offline
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Originally Posted by MDLawn View Post
Either I am completely confused or dont remember everything I just read. First you are jobless, then on unemployment, and now you own 5 rental properties that pay for your living and will bank your retirement? I'm no IRS official but if you are collecting money from rental properties that is income and probably shouldn't allow you to be on unemployment, but again I'm no IRS person and maybe its all "cash".

So this business is just for "kicks"? Do you want this business to turn into something or is just "filling the gap" until you find a "real job". There is no money to be made if you are not in this for the long haul, I dont care what anyone says. Good well paying clients don't just pile up and good marketing costs money. I'm really just confused why you need this if your rental properties are paying for your living? I'm only part time so I'm not going to say much else but I've been in this industry for 10 years. I wish everyone who starts out the best, but like another said, if you dont actually like this industry its just not going to work out well.
Lol sorry for confusing you.....but yeah you have it right. Im on unemployment and I do have a few rentals....and yes they pay cash....so yeah alot easier to hide if you know what I mean.

The landscaping biz yeah I want some extra money and will be like a full time job for me in a way. Along with my rentals but there not to much work anymore.
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  #53  
Old 10-20-2011, 06:44 PM
Glenn Lawn Care's Avatar
Glenn Lawn Care Glenn Lawn Care is online now
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Location: Inver Grove Heights, MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneyclass View Post
My budget that I have is around $7000. I have a ford ranger that I am going to use to get started i know done the road I will need a bigger truck. I really dont have any major equipment just my push mower and weed whacker that I used for own lawn. I figure what I need to get started is:

trailer
commercial mower
weed whacker
back pack blower
edger

Sound right or anything else?
I would just start out with what you have... You can put all that in the bed of the ranger until you have a need for commercial equipment. You can get a had blower to start out with as well, they are usually pretty cheap. I would just advertise like crazy with that $7k IMO
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  #54  
Old 10-20-2011, 06:53 PM
moneyclass moneyclass is offline
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Originally Posted by Glenn Lawn Care View Post
I would just start out with what you have... You can put all that in the bed of the ranger until you have a need for commercial equipment. You can get a had blower to start out with as well, they are usually pretty cheap. I would just advertise like crazy with that $7k IMO
What type of advertising would you recommend? I know for sure I am going to put my name on my truck.
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  #55  
Old 10-20-2011, 08:21 PM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
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Originally Posted by moneyclass View Post
Im on unemployment and I do have a few rentals....and yes they pay cash....so yeah alot easier to hide if you know what I mean.
So you're defrauding the government. Not sure I'd be posting that on an open forum. Do you intend on just taking cash with the landscape biz? Have fun with all this when you get caught. I know a few who were doing the same thing you are and each got caught. Ended up in a mess and I'm sure they are watched every year. Sorry man a lot of us do things the right way because living here allows us to pursue whatever we like. Taxes take a lot but it gives us that freedom to do what we please.
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  #56  
Old 10-20-2011, 10:01 PM
moneyclass moneyclass is offline
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Originally Posted by MDLawn View Post
So you're defrauding the government. Not sure I'd be posting that on an open forum. Do you intend on just taking cash with the landscape biz? Have fun with all this when you get caught. I know a few who were doing the same thing you are and each got caught. Ended up in a mess and I'm sure they are watched every year. Sorry man a lot of us do things the right way because living here allows us to pursue whatever we like. Taxes take a lot but it gives us that freedom to do what we please.
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Good point.....I claim all my rent that I recieve.
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  #57  
Old 10-21-2011, 07:54 AM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneyclass View Post
Im on unemployment and I do have a few rentals....and yes they pay cash....so yeah alot easier to hide if you know what I mean.
Quote:
Originally Posted by moneyclass View Post
Good point.....I claim all my rent that I recieve.

These two statements kind of go against each other.
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  #58  
Old 10-22-2011, 12:58 AM
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Turf Commando Turf Commando is offline
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Originally Posted by MDLawn View Post
These two statements kind of go against each other.
LOL
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  #59  
Old 10-23-2011, 11:45 PM
facework84 facework84 is offline
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Originally Posted by superdog1 View Post
I got the same idea you had in March of this year. I read everything I could find and then re-read it just to be sure it sunk in. The first rule is this:
Everything everyone on here said would happen did, and then some!!!!

I ended up working all summer. I did NOT make the big $$ I thought I would. I busted my ass from sun up till sun down. In the end, I had to buy another mower (My Cub Cadet RZT died 1/2 way through the season) to the tune of $7000 for a Scag Vride 54". As it turned out, I made just enough to live and put gas in the mowers.

My only saving grace was that my house and truck are paid off. With that in mind, I did a lot of work by hand that others wouldn't touch without machinery. I learned the hard way, as everything went wrong no matter how hard I planned ahead. I went over and above what other LCO's were doing to make my clients happy. While the customer was smiling, my bank account wasn't, as they quickly learned to take advantage of my goodwill. There was always just this one little extra thing the client would ask me to do for free. It could be as simple as removing a few branches they cut down and piled up to one lady who wanted me to trim all of her bushes for nothing, as she felt I should include that for all the big $$ she was paying me ($25 a cut, inside a fenced in yard where the grass was always 10 feet high because her 3 dogs were crap factories and it had to be bagged and removed EVERY time, not to mention the little "Doggie" land mines I had to mow/walk over).

I think next year will be a little better, BUT, it was a really expensive first year learning curve. Some advice I can give you is that you DO NOT have to take every single person who calls you. You will learn very quickly if a location is not worth your time. They could be slow pay, perhaps always leaving all of the kids toys all over the yard (Which you will have to pick up to do a decent job). Maybe they will always wait until the yard is 10" high before they feel it is time to have it cut (This will save them $$ and cost you a LOT!). Do not be afraid to tell the customer that they need to pay you more or find another LCO!

I do know that it seemed like a really easy thing to do, I mean, after all, how hard can it be to cut some grass and get a check right? Let me tell you, that is only 1/10 of what it takes to do this. I especially love when it rains for 3 or 4 days straight and all you can do is sit there and watch out the window wondering if it will ever stop? I also love the calls for "one time cuts" because the house is for sale or they are on vacation or their mower is broke, whatever.... you get there and find out it hasn't been cut in 2 months and they only want to pay you $20. You almost have to do it, as you just wasted the time and gas to get there!!!

Look, it's not all doom and gloom and obviously others do it and make a living at it, but you can bet it's not easy and unless you work for someone else for a year or two and learn the ropes, you are about to enroll in the good old "School of hard knocks" and will earn a nice little diploma for it, Lol
This person has some good points. When I first started, I was so excited to get any calls, that I would take ANYONE as a customer, and tried to offer all services. But, this ended up being a headache in the end and not very profitable. Stick to mowing, edging, and trimming your first year. Maybe learn to prune hedges, and do small limb removal. But don't try to do it all, and be everywhere at once, because you will be broke and tired. Try to stick to a narrow geographic area, you don't want to have accounts all over the place, 30 miles from you on one side and 20 miles on the other side. Thats not very good business model.

With all that said, DO NOT blow all your money right off the bat.
I recommend doing it cheap at first to give yourself some time to grow your business and learn the different aspects like marketing, collections, scheduling,etc. You may end up hating it. You may end up being successful, at which point you can look at upgrading your equipment and maybe adding a second crew.

Since this is the offseason, you could get a decent used rider or walk behind for a couple grand or less. For a trimmer, buy new. You can get a brand new Echo PAS 225, or a Stihl for less than $300. The Echo PAS is just a power head that can accept different attachments such as a pole pruner, edger, and hedge trimmer attachments. The Stihls usually have detachable shafts as well. Be sure to get a STRAIGHT trimmer shaft, they are more functional.

For blowers, again, you can do it cheap. I don't have anything fancy, I use a $70 weedeater blower and it works fine. I can't see the justification in a $300 backpack blower to save 2 minutes here and there to blow off some grass clipping.

As another way to cut costs, starting off, try to get away without using a trailer. You have a truck, so unless you are doing mulch or hauling debris, I don't see the need for it. You should be able to put a 48" walk behind and a smaller push mower in most pickup beds. I found that for most of my accounts, due to their size, it was faster to mow with my push mower, so I just put the mower and trimmer in the back of my wagon and get 35mpg instead of 15mg with my other vehicle towing a trailer.
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  #60  
Old 10-24-2011, 06:58 AM
moneyclass moneyclass is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by facework84 View Post
This person has some good points. When I first started, I was so excited to get any calls, that I would take ANYONE as a customer, and tried to offer all services. But, this ended up being a headache in the end and not very profitable. Stick to mowing, edging, and trimming your first year. Maybe learn to prune hedges, and do small limb removal. But don't try to do it all, and be everywhere at once, because you will be broke and tired. Try to stick to a narrow geographic area, you don't want to have accounts all over the place, 30 miles from you on one side and 20 miles on the other side. Thats not very good business model.

With all that said, DO NOT blow all your money right off the bat.
I recommend doing it cheap at first to give yourself some time to grow your business and learn the different aspects like marketing, collections, scheduling,etc. You may end up hating it. You may end up being successful, at which point you can look at upgrading your equipment and maybe adding a second crew.

Since this is the offseason, you could get a decent used rider or walk behind for a couple grand or less. For a trimmer, buy new. You can get a brand new Echo PAS 225, or a Stihl for less than $300. The Echo PAS is just a power head that can accept different attachments such as a pole pruner, edger, and hedge trimmer attachments. The Stihls usually have detachable shafts as well. Be sure to get a STRAIGHT trimmer shaft, they are more functional.

For blowers, again, you can do it cheap. I don't have anything fancy, I use a $70 weedeater blower and it works fine. I can't see the justification in a $300 backpack blower to save 2 minutes here and there to blow off some grass clipping.

As another way to cut costs, starting off, try to get away without using a trailer. You have a truck, so unless you are doing mulch or hauling debris, I don't see the need for it. You should be able to put a 48" walk behind and a smaller push mower in most pickup beds. I found that for most of my accounts, due to their size, it was faster to mow with my push mower, so I just put the mower and trimmer in the back of my wagon and get 35mpg instead of 15mg with my other vehicle towing a trailer.
THANKS!!! Good info there. Thanks alot!!!!
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No Blower yet
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