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  #1  
Old 05-10-2014, 08:52 PM
JiveNumber JiveNumber is offline
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Columbia MO
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New Company Proposition

Greetings all, Ive been a mere observer to LawnSite for roughly 4 years. Now I join in hopes to get some brutal honesty from the more seasoned pros. Ive been in the industry of complete care since I was 16. I wanted a more meaningful job than what the rest of the flock was doing at that time, so I picked up turf and landscaping. I've bounced around and learned a great deal of things. Operating as a foreman, I have become backflow certified as well as commercial applicator certified. After a few years I left the industry because of the down times and dry seasons to finish my AAS in criminal justice. I'm now 24 and I've just recently graduated and got a interesting call from a old employer. He wants to sell me 30 residential turf sites, the only catch is I have zero gear and nothing to pull it with. Not to mention we are in the middle of may with a rough starting season. An tips pointers or brutal honesty in which heading to go would be greatly appreciated.


"Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong"-Murphy's Law
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:20 PM
JiveNumber JiveNumber is offline
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Location: Columbia MO
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I would also like to include that I'm trying to keep my equipment costs as low as possible. I do not in any way want to cut corners. There's way to many Johns out there with a push mower and featherlite trimmer making more work for the pros. I only want what's needed. While I know I'll probably get some flak for this I'm confident a straight six wrangler could rise to the challenge of pulling a four by eight pup trailer with a 700-800 Lb walk-behind or vantage. I figure that running a large pickup for residentials would be wastful, but im starting the warm up to the possibility with the rising resale value for the keeps. I'm relay stoked because this is a rare opportunity to have clients ready, but if the numbers don't match I'd rather pursue other business ventures and save this desire when I'm better off financially. I'm a real go getter and know that the boss is never off the clock and never sleeps and I'm ready to rise to the challenge. I just want to soak up as much information possible before I commit. The boss has 30 days to sell or abandon the sites sinces he's overwhelmed with commercial clients.

Last edited by JiveNumber; 05-10-2014 at 09:24 PM.
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  #3  
Old 05-10-2014, 09:26 PM
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easy-lift guy easy-lift guy is offline
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You have a degree in law enforcement. USE IT. Call your friend back and tell him you can't go back to your old career. If you choose to continue to use your existing skills from this industry that is fine, when you have the time. Otherwise get to work with your new career. Hope that is honest enough.
easy-lift guy
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:40 PM
JiveNumber JiveNumber is offline
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Originally Posted by easy-lift guy View Post
You have a degree in law enforcement. USE IT. Call your friend back and tell him you can't go back to your old career. If you choose to continue to use your existing skills from this industry that is fine, when you have the time. Otherwise get to work with your new career. Hope that is honest enough.
easy-lift guy
Yeah, I hear ya. I didn't go for my degree because I was well off in turf. Even being foreman, the winters and droughts killed me. Missouri is a cruel mistress to the outdoor man. I haven't even got a solid number on what they generate per month. (roughly 3,700). The start-up costs are high. It's just a tempting target for me because I've always been a sucker for turf, always enjoyed every aspect of it. I'm probably guna resist the temptation and march on with criminal justice, saving up for a small business later. Thanks for the reply.
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  #5  
Old 05-10-2014, 09:52 PM
agrostis agrostis is offline
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That doesn't sound like a very good deal. You'd have to get completely geared up for 30 account's that probably aren't guaranteed. And you would have to pay for those. I would step back, slow down and reconsider the whole situation. The down time's and dry season's are still in effect and Murphy's law still apply's. Good luck with whatever you do.
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  #6  
Old 05-10-2014, 10:00 PM
JiveNumber JiveNumber is offline
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Thanks agrostis, and Murphy is around every corner. At first I saw opportunity and responsibility, but the more I mull it over the more failure points I find. You're right about the sites, it's all pie in the sky. May is a bold time to jump start a small mowing business.
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  #7  
Old 05-11-2014, 06:36 AM
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TPendagast TPendagast is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JiveNumber View Post
Greetings all, Ive been a mere observer to LawnSite for roughly 4 years. Now I join in hopes to get some brutal honesty from the more seasoned pros. Ive been in the industry of complete care since I was 16. I wanted a more meaningful job than what the rest of the flock was doing at that time, so I picked up turf and landscaping. I've bounced around and learned a great deal of things. Operating as a foreman, I have become backflow certified as well as commercial applicator certified. After a few years I left the industry because of the down times and dry seasons to finish my AAS in criminal justice. I'm now 24 and I've just recently graduated and got a interesting call from a old employer. He wants to sell me 30 residential turf sites, the only catch is I have zero gear and nothing to pull it with. Not to mention we are in the middle of may with a rough starting season. An tips pointers or brutal honesty in which heading to go would be greatly appreciated.


"Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong"-Murphy's Law

He wants to 'sell' you 30 accounts, unsolicited… WHY?

WHY did he call YOU?
What do these accounts consist of? are they signed multi year contracts?
If so why the heck would he want to get rid of them unless they were under bid.

Do you speak to this guy often or is this out of the blue?

An AAS in Law enforcement means/is really nothing…it doesn't represent a big investment in anything.

If you ask me, I would look/lean more towards Bail Bonds Enforcement/Private Investigator than police officer anyway.
Work on your bachelors, and get a job as a Parole officer eventually (in many jurisdictions you do not have to be a corrections officer or police officer first…in some you do)

This way you have multiple streams of income and multiple opportunities to juggle while still being in control of all your time.

So you can run more than one business venture.
This is what any kind of education is FOR, not getting stuck in some cop shop for an eternity.

If he's so eager to unload 30 accounts, then he can push some working, viable used equipment over with it too.
if not just let it go.

You're pest and backflow certified.
Both Irrigation and fert/pest are higher yield aspects of the industry.

Id start there.
$300 buys good fert spreader.
$2-300 for a good back pack tank.
$180 for a hand blower (to blow pellets off side walks)
and $600-$800 for the back flow testing device.

a few hand tools and a truck and you're in business of doing irrigation and fert/squirt.

No need to mow lawns right away IF at all.

you would still have time to mess around with more education and/or bail bonds/private investigation.
You could sub to existing landscape contractors (irrigation and fert/squirt is the hardest to get guys to do) and you can do your own, all without directly competing with the main guys you sub to.

I would get at least a 3/4 ton pick up tho (fert is heavy) and you could set it up with a quad cab if you do bail bond pick ups you need someone where to stick the felon! lol.

Seriously, fert/squirt/irrigation…approach existing companies and sub yourself.
Then try to pick up more side work without cutting your throat in respect to the guys you sub to.

Entry costs are low low low and return is so much higher, no need for employees, you can work with the contractors and if a project needs laborers (like an irrigation install) you can use his laborers and get paid to sub design and project management to him/them.


that's my advice.

30 accounts? what's in it for you, other than mower payments?

you will need a truck tho… and a ranger or a half ton aint gonna do it in your case, because like I said, fert is heavy.

Useless maybe you put air bags in the back of the ranger or half ton.

It's not like you are hauling or towing day in day out… so you could do it from that angle.
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  #8  
Old 05-11-2014, 07:09 AM
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TPendagast TPendagast is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JiveNumber View Post
I would also like to include that I'm trying to keep my equipment costs as low as possible. I do not in any way want to cut corners. There's way to many Johns out there with a push mower and featherlite trimmer making more work for the pros. I only want what's needed. While I know I'll probably get some flak for this I'm confident a straight six wrangler could rise to the challenge of pulling a four by eight pup trailer with a 700-800 Lb walk-behind or vantage. I figure that running a large pickup for residentials would be wastful, but im starting the warm up to the possibility with the rising resale value for the keeps. I'm relay stoked because this is a rare opportunity to have clients ready, but if the numbers don't match I'd rather pursue other business ventures and save this desire when I'm better off financially. I'm a real go getter and know that the boss is never off the clock and never sleeps and I'm ready to rise to the challenge. I just want to soak up as much information possible before I commit. The boss has 30 days to sell or abandon the sites sinces he's overwhelmed with commercial clients.
I didn't see you had the jeep…. I have a jeep too.

Running your lawns off a jeep is AWESOME, but you have to have the right trailer.
A trailer with sides that either drop, or a fork lift can get over least to drop your fert in.
a trailer that will occasionally hold the weight of fertilizer (2200 lbs)
I think the towing capacity of your 6 cyl jeep unlimited (4 door) is 3500-4000 lbs.
I think the two door is limited to like 2200 lbs.
the two door sucks for anything longer than a 12 foot trailer because it will wag its tail like a happy puppy.
(I have experience with this)

SO it depends on the kind of jeep you have… you may not be able to do anything with it.
I pretty much do sales calls, and irrigation checks with my jeep.
I throw tools and parts in the back.
Spray tank? GAG…its too close to the driver seat. NO.

I have easily pulled a 36" wb on a small trailer behind it tho…worked AWESOME.

The only thing saying PICKUP truck to me is fertilizer. but for $850 or so you could get a trailer with a capacity of 1650 lbs from lowes.
its a 5x8 that will tow nicely behind your jeep.
no one said you HAd to buy/carry a full pallet of fert all at once.

You could put 10 bags in the back with the rumble seats folded up. for 500 lbs.
and 20 bags in the trailer with the spreader for 1000 lbs.
That's 30 bags.
most pallets are what, 49 bags?

see if you can't work out a deal with the 30 accounts where you basically buy them over time with payments.
Essentially this would be the same as subbing the cuts.

If I have a job that's $50, I'm subbing you to cut them for $40.
The principal is the same really. Instead of rent to own, it's sub to own.

He makes a little money without having to worry about managing the clients.
At the end of the year, the clients belong to you. anyone that stays is yours, anyone that doesn't you only paid him a piece while you were servicing them.

all you need now is a a mower, trimmer, blower and some insurance.

You COULD do this out of your jeep (summer time fun with the top down…)
I did this with a 36" scag… that's my suggestion, with 30 accounts why bother with a 21 or a 30.
Get a 36", either from him or a dealer.

setting your jeep up with a trailer hitch and lighting harness isn't expensive (it wasn't for me)
if you can modify the light trailer to get trailer brakes Id suggest it.
If you have a manual transmission it's not entirely necessary. Especially if you know how to control RPMs and speed/weight with down shifting.
the only time this is an issue is hauling around 20 or more bags of fert.
Jeep won't really notice a 36" mower and trailer or a small motorcycle/seadoo/snowmachine behind it… I know, Ive done it and still do.

You can do it, reasonably, without having to get the truck right away, after a second thought.

you've got around 8 grand initial investment, for 30 accounts, ready to go that will produce around 2900 in revenue after paying him his 'sub contract' fee.
Plus any upsells or additional work you can do, plus anything you can do that he's not involved in.
You've already got a pest lic and a back flow cert.

Ummm, yes I'd do it.

the most expensive investment you have is the 36" mower.
And it could be less than 8 grand total, if you find a decent used one on CL or he has one you can get off of him.

6 months x 2900 is 17,400 is revenue (potentially) which you could reasonably triple wit your own fert/squirt/irrigation and additional mowing (Id mow 2 days a week if I were you, max 3)
you could 50k in 5 months, with a start up of 5-8 grand.

Yup, Id do it.

you still have the winter to bone up on schooling.
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  #9  
Old 05-12-2014, 11:47 AM
JiveNumber JiveNumber is offline
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Columbia MO
Posts: 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by TPendagast View Post
He wants to 'sell' you 30 accounts, unsolicited… WHY?

WHY did he call YOU?
What do these accounts consist of? are they signed multi year contracts?
If so why the heck would he want to get rid of them unless they were under bid.

Do you speak to this guy often or is this out of the blue?

An AAS in Law enforcement means/is really nothing…it doesn't represent a big investment in anything.

If you ask me, I would look/lean more towards Bail Bonds Enforcement/Private Investigator than police officer anyway.
Work on your bachelors, and get a job as a Parole officer eventually (in many jurisdictions you do not have to be a corrections officer or police officer first…in some you do)

This way you have multiple streams of income and multiple opportunities to juggle while still being in control of all your time.

So you can run more than one business venture.
This is what any kind of education is FOR, not getting stuck in some cop shop for an eternity.

If he's so eager to unload 30 accounts, then he can push some working, viable used equipment over with it too.
if not just let it go.

You're pest and backflow certified.
Both Irrigation and fert/pest are higher yield aspects of the industry.

Id start there.
$300 buys good fert spreader.
$2-300 for a good back pack tank.
$180 for a hand blower (to blow pellets off side walks)
and $600-$800 for the back flow testing device.

a few hand tools and a truck and you're in business of doing irrigation and fert/squirt.

No need to mow lawns right away IF at all.

you would still have time to mess around with more education and/or bail bonds/private investigation.
You could sub to existing landscape contractors (irrigation and fert/squirt is the hardest to get guys to do) and you can do your own, all without directly competing with the main guys you sub to.

I would get at least a 3/4 ton pick up tho (fert is heavy) and you could set it up with a quad cab if you do bail bond pick ups you need someone where to stick the felon! lol.

Seriously, fert/squirt/irrigation…approach existing companies and sub yourself.
Then try to pick up more side work without cutting your throat in respect to the guys you sub to.

Entry costs are low low low and return is so much higher, no need for employees, you can work with the contractors and if a project needs laborers (like an irrigation install) you can use his laborers and get paid to sub design and project management to him/them.


that's my advice.

30 accounts? what's in it for you, other than mower payments?

you will need a truck tho… and a ranger or a half ton aint gonna do it in your case, because like I said, fert is heavy.

Useless maybe you put air bags in the back of the ranger or half ton.

It's not like you are hauling or towing day in day out… so you could do it from that angle.
Pendagast, you bring a lot of great perspective that I haven't take account for. I appreciate your advice and I will take it into account. I'm proud of the experience I have for the age I am, but I wont pretend that I'm the most seasoned care expert, I'm still very much learning. The contact in question is losing money on the residentials. He simply doesn't have a dependable 1 or two man crew that he can trust to get the job done, so he has to send his main force to mow the list of 30. Its wasteful and costly, so he has to sever or perform a exchange in hands.

As to our business relationship, we only speak when he is in a bind. I left him as a foreman because he failed to adapt during a excessive drought season. I kept bridges in tack specifically for this situation, but I always tread lightly when dealing with other turf companies because the industry is cut throat and very competitive. The sites are pie in the sky, no contracts to speak of, which worries me. He's offering the finance a mower for me but the start-up costs will be mine to bear alone. I have a toro 22' commercial mower and a shindaiwa EB802 backpack blower. Still need a pup trailer to haul it, and wheels to pull it.

As to schooling you can't be more correct. AAS is nothing more than a highschool diploma these days. I wanted to see what I could exploit in the private sector both in my career and possibly old flames in turf. I want to get my B.A. eventually but the greatest flaw I have observed is that so few get hands on experience on their field of study before they go for grad school. Partially why we have engineer working toll booths. I'm tracking with you on the multiple business ventures. I'm a hustler and I always have to be doing something or I start getting sloppy. My ultimate goal in my field is Criminal Intelligence or field work of some kind. I've always took a fascination in Architectural landscaping as well. I know people in the field who have been able to successful in grafting the two. I know that if I try to do this that I'm guna need a sustainable job for rough times. My current part time job simply wont cut it. Just declared my degree though and I'm working to rectify that.

I didn't renew on my backflow or commercial applicator license. Those aren't too impossible to get back but I do agree that fert and squirt is a high return rather than the high overhead costs of mowing. I like your ideas! I posted here because I like everyone's thinking and it's a great medium to bounce ides off of. Thankyou for replying.
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