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  #1  
Old 03-08-2003, 06:45 PM
Good Shepard Good Shepard is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 3
Start-up Budget

Hey guys, I'm a rookie to the business in the purest of form. My partner and I are gearing up for our first season in the business. We are going to concentrate on residential lawn care with the bulk of our business coming from mowing. What type of start up capital are we looking at to get going? What are the essential tools of the trade that we must have to get out the gate? Any advice is graciously appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 03-08-2003, 08:16 PM
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1MajorTom 1MajorTom is online now
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,097
Lots to consider here. It's already March, do you have anything bought yet at all?

And without knowing your exact situation, it's hard to give good advice. Is this going to be a full time or part time venture for you and your partner? And why have you decided to go into business with a partner? Realize you will be splitting everything with him, which will make things much more difficult the first couple of years.

At the very least, you will need a truck and a trailer. Sure, I guess you could do without the trailer, and load a mower in the back of your truck, but that would get old very fast.

Then you need to decide what types of lawns you will be targeting. You said residential, but what size? Once you answer this, this will determine what size mower you will need.
Buy commercial grade equipment from the start. You will hear everyone parroting this here. Most of us learned the hard way by not buying good commercial equipment.
Use the Search button at the top of the page, and you can research anything you will need to know about trimmers, blowers, edgers, mowers, and more.

Now most importantly, how are you going to get your name out there? How do you plan on getting your customers?
Start in the very beginning by adopting a professional image.
Get business cards made, vinyl lettering or magnetic signs for your truck, and if you have enough funds, get some t-shirts and hats made up.
Consider your advertising options: Newspaper, flyers, doorhangers, yellow pages. All of these are good to a certain extent. But if you are serious about doing this, and this is going to be your only income, then you need to start pounding the pavement and get your name out there now.

Still yet you need to consider registering your business with the state, finding out if your state collects sales tax on lawn care services, getting business insurance......
There's just tons to think about. And you need to get busy because time is moving fast.

And I haven't helped you much because I don't know how much money you have to spend. That there alone will detemine what you will buy.
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  #3  
Old 03-08-2003, 11:24 PM
Good Shepard Good Shepard is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 3
Thanks for the reply. Here's a little bit about our scenario. I chose a partner because I also own another business. So in a nutshell, I have the capital and the business skills and my partner has the "hands on" time and lawn care skills. Truthfully, my partner is a glorified manager whom I willing to give a piece of ownership in return for enthusiasm and loyalty.

As far as marketing goes, I plan to mix old fashion door knocking with direct mail campaigns and print advertisement. I have a good network (my other business is real estate related) and a lot of marketing experience.

For the budget, I want to start with the bare minimum its take to do a professional job in a time efficient manner. Currently, I have a truck and trailer. Hope this adds a little meat to the bone.
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  #4  
Old 03-08-2003, 11:28 PM
Good Shepard Good Shepard is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Atlanta
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Oh yeah, I almost forgot, we will be targeting home with 1/4 acre to 1 1/2 acreas. Flat to semi-hilly land.
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  #5  
Old 03-12-2003, 11:19 PM
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juststarting023 juststarting023 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: north east ohio
Posts: 84
capital

10k should get you going, i started with that and have 2 new ex marks(will be paid off may)2k down on each. 1 used 42" riding mower went with new mowers less problems.1 used trailer 5+12$400.00 2 echo trimmers $600.00 1 edger 300.00 1 insurance policy 1 mill $650.00 covers equipment too. Workman's comp, license,dba etc some tools you need , that about covers your 10k you could buy used mowers and get away a little cheaper i just liked the fact that if my mower went down for any reason my dealer gives me one to use if he can't fix it that day,you can't afford to fall behind in this biz!!!!!hope this helps
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  #6  
Old 03-13-2003, 09:52 AM
lablandscaping lablandscaping is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: New Hampshire Seacoast
Posts: 4
As a newer business owner myself, I started with little cash flow. I knew I could obtain the customers, but I just needed start-up cash. So I began very slowly over the winter months. I already worked full-time elsewhere, but needed more money so I worked for another landscaping company plowing snow. They also gave me some of their best advice and sold me some of their used equipment at some terrific deals.

My advice: buy good quality, used equipment slowly and build up your inventory. Then if you need to later, trade it and get some new equipment.

Good luck! :blob3:
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  #7  
Old 03-16-2003, 12:03 AM
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mag360 mag360 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Southeast Pa
Posts: 2,403
48in walk behind did the trick for me---just the right size for hills without losing productivity on the open lots---two trimmers, one handheld blower, in the future buy a ZTR and hang onto the wb.
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  #8  
Old 03-17-2003, 12:38 AM
Darryl G Darryl G is offline
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Join Date: May 2001
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I started with 10K and an 85 pickup.
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  #9  
Old 03-18-2003, 08:08 PM
Sean Adams Sean Adams is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,623
Take care of the essentials...insurance, equipment, etc.... if you have a name in your desired area, utilize that for sure as I'm sure you plan to do.

If your credit is good it makes life easier for sure....putting up cash (especially your own) is sometimes very undesirable if there are still trial and error that needs to occur...

If your credit is good, and you have a relationship with a small independent bank....go there, explain your needs, see what they want from you, what they're willing to give, and how quickly they will float you more.....

and I know you did not ask for this advice...but if your friend is a manager, why not pay him as such...could be something you regret once the company is really up and moving.
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  #10  
Old 03-18-2003, 09:13 PM
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Gr grass n Hi tides Gr grass n Hi tides is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Eastern NC
Posts: 1,023
I'm new in this business too having just a couple of accounts as a side job the past couple of years, so my trial and error period is now. I have read literally hundreds of lawnsite threads, talked to several local LCOs, listened to everyone that was willing to bend my ear (even fringe type info. which has also been very helpful), and researched everything I could lay my eyes on for months. I know I'll make my share of mistakes, but I'm giving it my best shot. For what it's worth:

11.5 K start up funds.

Equipment: Lesco 48 w/b hydro; Lesco 32 w/b belt drive; 6x12 trailer; Stihl blower, stick edger, line trimmer and hedge trimmer; Lesco back pack sprayer; Lesco spreader; assorted small suff like rake, trash can, shovel, pruner.

Vehicle: 1989 Bronco that I've had for 3 years (put a new Jasper engine in it last year - on the outside she looks new).

Advertising: Door hangers; business cards; yellow page ad; a little direct mail; telephone calls to everyone I know; visit real estate agencies; small order of company hats and shirts from the screen printer; company letter on my vehicle. Also, I'm considering a newspaper run this spring.

Legalities: Town business permit; LLC organization through the Secretary of State; ground pesticide applicator license - ornamental and turf, through the Dept. of Agriculture.

Insurance: 1M general liability; equipment (cost); liability for vehicle & trailer.

Paper end: Bought form letters/contract from the lawnsite.com store & combined with material I had come up with (well worth it); bought a rubber stamp for SASE envelopes I'll mail clients together with their invoice.

Investing in yourself is one of the best things you could ever do. I hope 2003 is fantastic for you! From a fellow newcomer -
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