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Old 01-25-2015, 07:44 PM
cuttingedgelawncare1 cuttingedgelawncare1 is offline
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Location: Burton, MI
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Starting a lawn care business in Michigan

I am starting my own lawn care company and i am looking for some tip's from current owners. I will be buying a truck, walk behind, and new trailer within the next few weeks. I have already bought 2 trimmers, a blower, full tool set up, business cards, and my insurance.


My goal is to be able to quit my current job and just do this. I have been paying cash for everything and i am hoping i can get everything for no more than 10k.


Any feed back would be extremely helpful.
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:02 PM
Broyleslawn Broyleslawn is online now
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Sounds like a plan. My advice would be try not to go into to much debt. get a good used truck and walk behind, put out some flyers, and a craigslist ad. I don't know about where your at but the landscaping companies that put out flyers here don't put prices on them and i did and i think that helped me a lot. just like average price for 1/4 acre $30 1/2 acre and so on. back in 2003 when i was 13 i put out flyers just in my neighborhood (about 40 houses) and i got 14 yards. Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 01-25-2015, 10:56 PM
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Townhouse Yards Townhouse Yards is offline
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Sounds like you have an idea of what your doing but you're missing two things:

Write a business plan: it will help you so much

Have an advertising plan: know where you're going to market. This goes along with the business plan, but you get the idea.

Good job getting insurance early! As far as equipment goes: I use Craigslist to find used equipment, works well. I would say to get a used trailer instead of mower. Get a lightly used mower if you can.
Best of luck
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Old 01-25-2015, 11:08 PM
GrassManKzoo GrassManKzoo is offline
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Do you have any customers signed for this season? Do you have enough customers to cover business/personal costs? Any experience in the green industry? But looks like you are on the right path. The less debt the better the plan.
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Old 01-25-2015, 11:44 PM
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easy-lift guy easy-lift guy is online now
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As another member just mentioned you need to write a business plan. Contact score.org and schedule an appointment with a councilor. Learn to write a business plan from retired professionals willing to help others if they care about their business and their career. Don't think you have everything else or you don't have the time or any other excuse. I have heard them all. If you do not have a business plan going forward dont waste any more time and money. No plan ='s little or no chance of success much less survival.
easy-lift guy
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  #6  
Old 01-28-2015, 08:54 AM
cuttingedgelawncare1 cuttingedgelawncare1 is offline
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Thanks, I will look into a business plan asap. I already bought my trimmers and blower brand new so i hope that help's with problems for the year. Looking at trucks and walk behind mowers now. I just learned the hard way to make sure you register your business first before you advertise. I had to change my name and all that because it was to close to another name. But i will keep you all updated as i go and i am thankful for the help.
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Old 01-28-2015, 09:37 AM
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TPendagast TPendagast is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cuttingedgelawncare1 View Post
I am starting my own lawn care company and i am looking for some tip's from current owners. I will be buying a truck, walk behind, and new trailer within the next few weeks. I have already bought 2 trimmers, a blower, full tool set up, business cards, and my insurance.


My goal is to be able to quit my current job and just do this. I have been paying cash for everything and i am hoping i can get everything for no more than 10k.


Any feed back would be extremely helpful.

Why quit that job?
what led you to believe that spending around whats likely 20% of your annual salary, to do something that DOESN'T make that annual salary, and might not ever unless you're either very lucky or very savvy?
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Old 01-28-2015, 10:10 AM
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TPendagast TPendagast is offline
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Other things:

Obviously if the OP going to try to keep things under 10k, he's planning on used gear.

Writing a business plan isn't all it's cracked up to be the first year or two.

Most guys don't know how, go through the correct channels to get there, or even if they did, have the capability to follow one the first few years.

the first few years is a constant scramble of trying to adjust to everything and anything you might encounter.
A business plan is a very strict, linear "set of instructions" which often isn't flexible to ad lib.

You might think, starting out; "Im going to mow 400 $25 yards every week to make a living" and what you end up doing is doing the full maintenance on 12 estates, and never needing more work than that.

The truth of it is… Landscaping/lawn care isn't like opening a restaurant, or a book store or something like that.
It;s not lineal, It's like a tree… when you plant it you have no idea where that branches might lead or what fruit it will bear, because it is really as of yet, an unidentified species.
You might plant an apple tree, and end up being the most prodigious apricot tree anyone has ever seen…. do you say "No dang it! I planned on apples" or just go with the flow and make $$ selling all the apricots you ended up with, that are in high demand (something you didn't plan on).

That's why, especially at first, it's so important to BE flexible.
Guys start out buying an enclosed trailer, and a ZTR so often, but what if the customer you end up getting have properties that need a 21" and an open trailer to haul all the brush you keep generating?
IF you've never done it before, and have no experience, how do you KNOW (enough to form a plan) what you will even BE doing for work.

A fisherman rarely starts out with a tackle box, rod and reel that's designed specifically for what he's fishing.
It's water, he doesn't have Xray vision, he doesn't know what he's fishing for.

So he starts out with what he guesses will enable him to fish the most possible species, because his family is hungry and he's trying to eat.
IF his line snaps, he gets heavier test, if he has no bites, he gets better bait or a lure.
Since he's trying to feed his family, he PROBABLY doesn't have the funds to get every lure in his tackle box in the first place….
(if he does he has a trailer with a walk behind, a rider, a stander, and a trim mower on it.)

The problem is eventually, you get your groove on, you realize what you end up fishing for is BASS… the trout isn't in there like you hoped it was, and the pond isn't being stocked with anything else…you've got bass so now you only need the tools for bass fishing.
(which means you now have a ZTR and trim mower you don't need…. the walk behind is all you will use)
But.. if you only had a 21, you can still catch the bass, just no as fast.
If you bought a pole of steelhead fishing, with heavy test, and a large hook. You will catch very few bass, if any (ZTRS don't fit in smaller yards)

See the thing is you don't know enough to MAKE a plan until you have "market analysis"
This is why knowing something about, or working IN the industry (most helpful in THAT area) is so paramount.

No one quits their job because their mom and their neighbor want their lawn cut (unless your 16, or course) so you must know what lawns you THINK you're going to cut.
But it's a bit foolish if you PLAN on trout, my everything set up for trout, and BASS are killing themselves trying to jump into your boat and you keep saying "no dammit! Im trying to get TROUT!!!" an throw them all back.
(ironically this is what you see the guy with the new ZTR do time and again)

So…. I don't think the business plan is the first thing you need.

Without market analysis (which you could get with say a mentor, or paying for an analysis or working in the field) your only other option is to stick the hook in the water and see what bites.

In the 1990s you could stick a naked hook in the water here in alaska and an unskilled fisherman could get a bite and land tremendous fish only lies could best.
The landscape industry was sort of like that in the 90s too.

Thing is people heard about that thing, with fish, happening in alaska.
So there are WAY more fisherman, and the fish and game made rules to control the people.
so fishing now, isn't like fishing then.
Are there still fish?
Yes.
Are there tons of fish?
Not so much.
Can you catch them with naked hooks…. possssssibly?
Can you keep watch you do catch if you catch it? Not always.

That's kinda how landscaping is today.

Too many people heard all the great fishing stories and wanted to fish too.
and you don't know what you are going to catch until you test the waters.
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Old 01-28-2015, 06:09 PM
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TheBetterDoorhanger TheBetterDoorhanger is offline
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Best of Luck offers great advice: 1) Have an advertising plan. 2) Know where you're going to market. We've worked with many lawncare clients over the years putting creative and unique elements into advertising plans. We posted a blog (Start 2015 With A Plan for Success) on our website on 12/29/14 you may want to check out. Check out our website at www.adeasprinting.com & click on PRODUCTS to see what we have available. Our Band-It Stick-It Door Hangers are a Lawnsite member favorite. We've also just added new pricing, and our online calculator & design tool may be of interest to you. We'd love the opportunity to visit with you about planning and snagging every opportunity to increase and maintain sales. Feel free to call us at 866-778-4254 or chat is available Monday ~ Friday, 9:00AM - 5:00PM. Have a great afternoon!
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  #10  
Old 01-28-2015, 08:13 PM
cuttingedgelawncare1 cuttingedgelawncare1 is offline
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Location: Burton, MI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TPendagast View Post
Why quit that job?
what led you to believe that spending around whats likely 20% of your annual salary, to do something that DOESN'T make that annual salary, and might not ever unless you're either very lucky or very savvy?
Honestly I have been driving a truck for the last 5 years and I wanna go do my own thing and get off the road. I wanna keep start up costs at around 10k so if it doesn't work out I didn't lose everything. Money wise I am looking to just break even the first year, my wife is a nurse so we have a good income to cover all the bills plus extras. I need to quit my job because I can't start a business being home 4 days a month.
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