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  #1  
Old 11-12-2013, 03:01 PM
TheLugNutZ TheLugNutZ is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Howell, NJ
Posts: 348
Starting up part time in the spring -- what am I missing?

Starting part time while keeping my full time job next year with the hope of transitioning into this full time the year after. I make a little over $50k at my job and while some people think im crazy for trying to do this and leaving a cushy office job, as an insurance agent, i just want to get the hell out of the industry and work for myself. My plan is to eventually go part time here at my current job (2 days a week) and work landscaping the other 3 days a week plus weekends if needed. Hopefully Ill eventually get to the point of being able to leave here all together. I am very thorough and am a sales/business person at heart, so i know what it takes to make a company run efficiently.

Mainly I am trying to start off with no debt, but i may consider financing a ZTR after next summer if the 0% deals are still going on. Cant beat free money!


*Mower
Picked up a 36in WB last week.
Used MTDpro 400hrs, bagger, velke for $1300. Thing is in pretty much mint condition, never used by anyone other then the original owner for his home and a few neighbors (he was the neighborhood handy-man). This will be used as my primary mower for next season, but eventually I will be only used for backyards with gates and as a backup if I pick up a ZTR at some point hopefully after next summer.

*Blower & trimmers
Will be picking up quality blower, line and hedge trimmers over the winder. Still trying to figure out exactly what brands/models, but Im usually one for the 'buy once cry once' mentality. Still torn on dedicated equipment or using some type of combi system for the trimmers (I have another thread on that..)

*Trailer
My father-in-law said (owns an excavating co) has a trailer he said I can use to start which would obviously save me from having to buy one up front.

*Vehicle
Im going to use our SUV to start. This is where im torn, do you guys think i can get away with this when starting up part time? I really want to save up for a truck and not spend pennies on a beat POS. I know this isnt ideal, but is it a viable option for a season until I save up for a f250/2500??

*Advertising
Going to pri use word of mouth and I live in a huge neighborhood so im going to make up business cards and magnets and walk around passing them out and talking to people. A few people around my street that i know personally have already said they would use me or at least get a quote for my services. Also going to have a few polo shirs made with the business name/logo. I will also eventually make a website, but prob not up front, but im still debating that. I used to make them years ago and while im sure I still can, i would prob end up paying a friend of mine to design it, and obv ill have to pay to have it hosted.

*Billing/invoicing/payments
Pretty simple, Ill be sending the invoices myself or dropping them off when im at the property. Still not sure if i should bother offering credit card payment services up front, maybe ill wait a while on that. Anyone have any experience? Is it worth the CC fees to be able accept them? Im just going to use some simple invoice paper (doesnt quickbooks make them for you to be printable?).

*Estimates/quoting
Plan on using some sort of triple carbon copy type paper. Im sure they are out there somewhere. Copy for me, copy for client, and a copy to be attached to the invoice.


What am I missing? I have hand tools already. I know i need to pick up a bench grinder to sharpen blades. Luckily i have a garage I can use to store equipment and as a workshop. Im pretty handy so most of the maintenance I can do myself on the machines.. I already have like 6 gas cans of various sizes. I do plan on registering as an LLC (not sure of the business name yet) and will also register as a home improvement contractor with the state. In NJ if you do ANYTHING other than simple lawn mowing you have to have the contractor license. I will also be insured as that is needed to register as a contractor.

thanks for the read!
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  #2  
Old 11-12-2013, 06:34 PM
32vld 32vld is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: LI NY
Posts: 3,097
Mainly I am trying to start off with no debt, but i may consider financing a ZTR after next summer if the 0% deals are still going on. Cant beat free money!

Yes you can be beaten by free money. You get in an accident. You can't work. You can't pay the loan.

You can get the mower reposed. You can get your credit ruined.

You will most likely not have more work then your 36" WB can handle. So tying up money that can be better used else where is not wise. Even if you do not even need anything now it is better to save your money then you can pay cash for that big mower. When you really need that big mower due to work load.

You must learn the difference between a need and a want.





Picked up a 36in WB last week.
Used MTDpro 400hrs, bagger, velke for $1300.


Good first mower size. Good to have a bag for leaves in the fall. MTD makes low end residential equipment though you will be able to make due as you save your money.


Blower & trimmers

Buy only the biggest BP blower you can afford. I have a BR 600. Even when blowing grass clippings the speed will make you never pick up the small blower again.



Trailer
My father-in-law said (owns an excavating co) has a trailer he said I can use to start which would obviously save me from having to buy one up front.


Perfect



Vehicle
Im going to use our SUV to start. I really want to save up for a truck and not spend pennies on a beat POS. I know this isnt ideal, but is it a viable option for a season until I save up for a f250/2500??

There are SUV's and there are SUV's. A SUV with a suitable tow rating will do just find.

I have a 05 Jeep Unlimited LWB. Rated to tow 3,500 lbs. My trailer weight an equipment never tops 3,000 lbs. Most of the time I am pulling 1,400 lbs and at most 100 lbs in the bed of my Jeep "pick up".

Yes is said "pick up". I removed the side and rear curtains, rear seat, rugs. Installed a wind screen from roll bar to roll bar that turns the front interior space into a "pick up cab" and the rear stays open and is a short pick up bed.

I would love to have a pick up though the Jeep does the job and gas is not that bad. Though using that because it is what I had allows me to spend my money on better up grades for my business.

Many people buy more truck then they need. I know that for what I do a 1/2 pick up would be more then adequate. Again need vs want.




Advertising
Going to pri use word of mouth and I live in a huge neighborhood so im going to make up business cards and magnets and walk around passing them out and talking to people. A few people around my street that i know personally have already said they would use me or at least get a quote for my services. Also going to have a few polo shirs made with the business name/logo. I will also eventually make a website, but prob not up front, but im still debating that. I used to make them years ago and while im sure I still can, i would prob end up paying a friend of mine to design it, and obv ill have to pay to have it hosted.


Plan on advertising all year.


I do plan on registering as an LLC (not sure of the business name yet) and will also register as a home improvement contractor with the state. In NJ if you do ANYTHING other than simple lawn mowing you have to have the contractor license. I will also be insured as that is needed to register as a contractor.

You still can be sued if you are a LLC.

Employee of yours does damage the customer can sue the employee and the corporation.

You are at the job site and did the damage your corp can be sued and so can you personally.
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  #3  
Old 11-12-2013, 08:12 PM
caseysmowing caseysmowing is online now
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Staunton VA
Posts: 1,339
Spend the money on a better mower keep the mtd for back up. Br600, fs90 or kombi system. Everything else seems like you got it. Above post isn't bad advice either just how much risk you are willing to take.
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  #4  
Old 11-12-2013, 09:04 PM
TheLugNutZ TheLugNutZ is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Howell, NJ
Posts: 348
Quote:
Originally Posted by 32vld View Post
Mainly I am trying to start off with no debt, but i may consider financing a ZTR after next summer if the 0% deals are still going on. Cant beat free money!

Yes you can be beaten by free money. You get in an accident. You can't work. You can't pay the loan.

You can get the mower reposed. You can get your credit ruined.

You will most likely not have more work then your 36" WB can handle. So tying up money that can be better used else where is not wise. Even if you do not even need anything now it is better to save your money then you can pay cash for that big mower. When you really need that big mower due to work load.

You must learn the difference between a need and a want.


Very true. Well ill use this over next summer, see how many accounts i can pick up and go from there...



Picked up a 36in WB last week.
Used MTDpro 400hrs, bagger, velke for $1300.


Good first mower size. Good to have a bag for leaves in the fall. MTD makes low end residential equipment though you will be able to make due as you save your money.


Blower & trimmers

Buy only the biggest BP blower you can afford. I have a BR 600. Even when blowing grass clippings the speed will make you never pick up the small blower again.


I hear you on that, had no plans on skimping out on the blower..


Vehicle
Im going to use our SUV to start. I really want to save up for a truck and not spend pennies on a beat POS. I know this isnt ideal, but is it a viable option for a season until I save up for a f250/2500??

There are SUV's and there are SUV's. A SUV with a suitable tow rating will do just find.

I have a 05 Jeep Unlimited LWB. Rated to tow 3,500 lbs. My trailer weight an equipment never tops 3,000 lbs. Most of the time I am pulling 1,400 lbs and at most 100 lbs in the bed of my Jeep "pick up".

Yes is said "pick up". I removed the side and rear curtains, rear seat, rugs. Installed a wind screen from roll bar to roll bar that turns the front interior space into a "pick up cab" and the rear stays open and is a short pick up bed.

I would love to have a pick up though the Jeep does the job and gas is not that bad. Though using that because it is what I had allows me to spend my money on better up grades for my business.

Many people buy more truck then they need. I know that for what I do a 1/2 pick up would be more then adequate. Again need vs want.


Honda pilot rated at 4500lbs. I think it will work for a while. Im more concerned with space to haul away debris/branches and leaves..



I do plan on registering as an LLC (not sure of the business name yet) and will also register as a home improvement contractor with the state. In NJ if you do ANYTHING other than simple lawn mowing you have to have the contractor license. I will also be insured as that is needed to register as a contractor.

You still can be sued if you are a LLC.

Employee of yours does damage the customer can sue the employee and the corporation.

You are at the job site and did the damage your corp can be sued and so can you personally.



Yes I am aware of that as an insurance agent currently, but you are still less likely to lose personal assets as an LLC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by caseysmowing View Post
Spend the money on a better mower keep the mtd for back up. Br600, fs90 or kombi system. Everything else seems like you got it. Above post isn't bad advice either just how much risk you are willing to take.
Posted via Mobile Device

Well credit is good now, already own a home and reliable personal cars and wife has a good job. So honestly if i fall on my face as long as we continue to pay the mortgage im not worried. No risk no reward. Thats also why i am going to transition into it and even when making the full move, still keep a part time steady job for a day or 2 per week (lets me keep my insurance license too and make some commission that way...)
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2013, 09:47 PM
tonygreek's Avatar
tonygreek tonygreek is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Lancaster, PA
Posts: 2,664
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLugNutZ View Post
*Advertising
I will also eventually make a website, but prob not up front, but im still debating that.
Don't let not having a site keep you from doing some of the basic online marketing things, such as claiming your Google/Yahoo/Bing Local listings. Same goes for a variety of directory listings. Hit getlisted.org for a comprehensive list.
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  #6  
Old 11-12-2013, 09:49 PM
TheLugNutZ TheLugNutZ is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Howell, NJ
Posts: 348
Good point, thanks
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  #7  
Old 11-12-2013, 10:38 PM
TTS TTS is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 555
Tony is the master of online marketing and he can steer you a little more than I can but I can say I pay 7.95/month for web hosting and developed my website myself on wordpress. Even if it's nothing more than a simple page with your name and picture on it a website and more specifically an e-mail address from that website add so much credibility to your business that it really should be done.

As far as the other stuff to be honest I would pass on a big backpack blower for now. They're nice and very useful but a broom costs $10 and can get grass off of a driveway. If you need a blower get a cheap handheld to start. The reason I'm telling you to save this money is because you have $0 to account for marketing and while word of mouth is great it's much better for established businesses than for new ones. If you actually want to go full time within a year you need to put as much into your advertising as possible. Use your startup money for advertising then once you have accounts and you're making money you can buy a backpack blower by next fall and be ready for clean ups.

Just my 2 cents but at the early startup stage with 0 customers marketing is way more important than the newest fanciest tools when there are cheaper alternatives.
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  #8  
Old 11-12-2013, 11:22 PM
echo echo is online now
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: somewhere out there
Posts: 1,241
Put a nice, professional looking ad with pictures on Craigslist, update it in the morning and late afternoon everyday. Put up a facebook page. Both free. Weed out the cheapskates and depending on your area, you'll most likely still end up with as much work as you can handle.
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  #9  
Old 11-13-2013, 12:54 PM
TheLugNutZ TheLugNutZ is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Howell, NJ
Posts: 348
All great advise everyone thanks again. Keep them coming!

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  #10  
Old 11-13-2013, 09:09 PM
32vld 32vld is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: LI NY
Posts: 3,097
Working solo a 5x12 open trailer should work well hauling debris. So your Honda should be ok for a few years.

However working solo being an LLC will not protect your personal assets. My lawyer and from other members here have posted stating their lawyer said the same thing.

You do the damage you can be sued personally as well as the corp.

Being a LLC will only protect you from being sued for the damage that your employee does.

I doubt that you will have enough work to have an employee for your first two years.
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