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  #1  
Old 09-14-2012, 06:23 PM
Cam360 Cam360 is offline
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Location: North Adams, MA
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Landscape Freelancer

I am planning to start up my own landscape freelance business. I do not intend on making this into a full-scale business, but I may consider filing for a sole proprietorship one day (probably not). I have 6 years of experience in landscaping and I intend on doing simple yard work and cleanup while using the tools and equipment a customer is able to provide. I own a car. I also intend on leaving as much information as I need to on my business flyers, so that people do not just look at me like a scam artist. However, I am not sure if it is a good idea to leave my home address. With that in mind, I would like to know my options as far as how much I should charge and any legal issues I might encounter.

Thank you
Your help is much appreciated,
Cam
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  #2  
Old 09-15-2012, 05:04 AM
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GreenI.A. GreenI.A. is offline
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If you don't want to leave your home address you can get a po box cheap enough.

Here are my questions for you. You have no cotrol over the maintenance of the customers mower, so what are you going to do if you drive to a customer and his mower won't start? You will waste your time and gas driving there, then you will waste your time while you are trying to get the mower to start. Are you still going to ask them to pay you? or will you loose money? If a customer sees that you do not have your own equipment they will assume you are inexperienced, why would they pay you when there are other inexperienced people on craigs list who will have their own equipment and will do it for $25.
You need to make enough to pay for general liability insurance to
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Old 09-15-2012, 08:45 AM
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Hortus Hortus is offline
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How refreshing to read a post with someone who wants to contribute towards improvement of the industry and isn't in it for a selfish easy money scheme without accountability.
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Old 09-15-2012, 08:56 AM
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ELS Landscape ELS Landscape is offline
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Sounds like a handy man without tools.
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  #5  
Old 09-15-2012, 09:22 AM
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cgaengineer cgaengineer is offline
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Don't think I would hire you honestly...not saying others wouldn't, but I'm afraid that this will not work well for you.
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:25 AM
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White Gardens White Gardens is online now
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I partially did it that way when I started out.

Only had 3 clients and used their equipment until I was able to afford my own.

I would not do it again though. HO equipment is generally slow going and UN-effective. That and you don't want to be responsible for a homeowner thinking you damaged their equipment.

...
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:36 AM
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GreenI.A. GreenI.A. is offline
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I originally responded at 4:00 am so I missed a few points. You asked about legal issues. To protect yourself I would recommend talking to a CPA and an attorney. But seeing that you can't afford your own equipment, you probably can't afford the couple hundred dollars to sit ad talk to them for 30min. Here is why I recommend talking to them. As you are not supplying your own equipment and are using their equipment, the department of revenue, IRS and department of labor may consider you as an employee of the property owner and not a contractor. In this case the homeowner would have to file taxes as your employer. This is why I recommend talking to a lawyer and cpa.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:32 PM
Cam360 Cam360 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgaengineer View Post
Don't think I would hire you honestly...not saying others wouldn't, but I'm afraid that this will not work well for you.
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Thanks, but I don't expect this to make money on this really. I won't have many expenses with this and would gladly charge $10 for a small lawn. I could do the same when it comes to pruning someone's shrubs. Working "well" is not an issue. Liability will be my biggest concern though of course. Thank you for your input.
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Old 09-15-2012, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Cam360 View Post
Thanks, but I don't expect this to make money on this really. I won't have many expenses with this and would gladly charge $10 for a small lawn. I could do the same when it comes to pruning someone's shrubs. Working "well" is not an issue. Liability will be my biggest concern though of course. Thank you for your input.
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$10 for a small lawn?

Lets do the math. Say you get 30 small lawns that a gross of $300. Don't expect to do 60 lawns a week, you are not using commercial grade Ztr's or 48" walk behinds, you will be using their homeowner mower, many without self propel. How efficient is your car? Say you run through $40 of gas getting to and from the jobs each week. That leaves you with $260 a week. What about fuel for the customers equipment, will you bring it with you or will they be sure to always have a can filled for you? Lets give you benefit of doubt and say the customers will always be sure to leave you plenty of fuel. General Liability insurance is going to run you a minimum of $500, probably higher since you are a new company with higher risk. At 30-32 weeks of mowing the GL will average out to $16 a week.eve This will drop your weekly income to $244, now our wonderful Uncle Sam is going to take his portion of that, along with the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Use 20% for an easy number. That will leave you with a whopping $195 a week for your hard work. But don't forget, you will only have that income for 30-32 weeks out of the year.

But busting your a$$ 20-30 hours during the rain and heat will leave you with $195 for beer money

Also there are plenty of legitimate companies in this state that will quickly turn you into the sate, dept of rev, & IRS at the first chance they get if they get the idea you are not running 100$ legit.
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  #10  
Old 09-15-2012, 03:53 PM
Cam360 Cam360 is offline
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Originally Posted by GreenIndustryAssociates View Post
$10 for a small lawn?

Lets do the math. Say you get 30 small lawns that a gross of $300. Don't expect to do 60 lawns a week, you are not using commercial grade Ztr's or 48" walk behinds, you will be using their homeowner mower, many without self propel. How efficient is your car? Say you run through $40 of gas getting to and from the jobs each week. That leaves you with $260 a week. What about fuel for the customers equipment, will you bring it with you or will they be sure to always have a can filled for you? Lets give you benefit of doubt and say the customers will always be sure to leave you plenty of fuel. General Liability insurance is going to run you a minimum of $500, probably higher since you are a new company with higher risk. At 30-32 weeks of mowing the GL will average out to $16 a week.eve This will drop your weekly income to $244, now our wonderful Uncle Sam is going to take his portion of that, along with the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Use 20% for an easy number. That will leave you with a whopping $195 a week for your hard work. But don't forget, you will only have that income for 30-32 weeks out of the year.

But busting your a$$ 20-30 hours during the rain and heat will leave you with $195 for beer money

Also there are plenty of legitimate companies in this state that will quickly turn you into the sate, dept of rev, & IRS at the first chance they get if they get the idea you are not running 100$ legit.
This isn't a full-time job. I'd be happy doing only a few jobs each week in town. I could ride my bike to each job. This is not a business. Beer money is the least of my concern. However, I do believe I am asking the wrong questions here. I believe a better way to start is to ask a few people I've known for a while and see if I could mow their lawns or otherwise. Wherever that takes me, I couldn't care less at this time. I'm experienced, inexpensive, and am already within their comfort zone. I would much rather hire someone I know personally for my own lawn than hire a professionally landscaper for basic yard work anyway.
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