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  #1  
Old 03-09-2005, 01:40 AM
Rainer Rainer is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Weland
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Want to get started!

I have been contemplating starting my own LCO. All I own is my push lawn mower and my weed wacker. I've been snowplowing part time for two seasons and have made some decent money. I think it is now time to venture into the lawn care side of the business on a part time basis. I work full time on a 3 shift rotation. Can anyone give some input as to how I should go about starting this sideline. I hope to be able to quit my job and make this a full time venture.(not right away) My wife has a degree in Horticulture and is liscensed to spray pesticides,although she doesn't share my enthusiasm on this subject! She thinks the market is saturated. How many accounts should I be able to handle while keeping my full time job. Any insight would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 03-09-2005, 02:46 AM
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Soupy Soupy is offline
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I would listen to your wife, she sounds very smart. There might very well be a demand for your service but you need to look hard at your market before jumping in. Your wife would be correct in most markets right now though. Lawn care is not something I would start today if I wasn't already in it. I started when the pickings were good, and let me be the first one on this forum to tell you. The pickings have been picked. Now people are lowering prices to near 0% profit (this is to uneducated owners) trying to get other guys pickings. The industry is being driven into the ground.

I will say that if you can get your wife on board with you then you can separate business by offering the full service and be one step ahead of mow only. But again, you need to look at your market. Is the big nationals companies like TGCL, Scotts, etc. rooted deep in your market? If so, can you compete against them. My area is bad for fert/weed control side of things. There are the big companies that make up most all applications, and then there are a few others that have a decent go at it. The majority don't bother with applications, because they can not compete. years ago TGCL was making a killing in my area, but like any business new companies came along and the price war started. TGCL wins this price war because they buy material cheaper then anyone in the country. Their business took a big hit but they survived, but only after losing many profits. Mowing is similar but the war is much bigger and is battled by many smaller companies. Prices are falling and operating cost are soring.

Maybe some guys in your area can help more, but you really need to think things through. I sure wouldn't want to be the new guy with 0 accounts and wanting to start a lawn service today. not in most areas.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you luck and good fortunes.
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  #3  
Old 03-09-2005, 12:29 PM
Rainer Rainer is offline
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I'd like to start part time and was really hoping to hear more positive views. I don't have a lot of cash to purchase equipment but would like your insights on what to purchase !
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  #4  
Old 03-09-2005, 03:24 PM
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Eho Eho is offline
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I say GO FOR IT! Everybody in this forum started somehow, don't let them discourage you. How many can you handle? Well I go to college for less than two hours a day so I have plenty of time to work now. When I was in high school and occupied a large part of the day, I was still able to mow around 15 per week easily. think about it. If you mow just two or three per day( if they are average sized to small sized lawns this will take you two or three hours at the most) 15 per week can easily be done. I dont know what the average price is in your region( here its about 25-30 for most average lawns). Try checkin with some people in your area about prices. Your mower might get you through this year, but if you do a lot of lawns, it will wear down quickly( trust me I used non commercial mowers before) I say that its ok to use cheaper equipment in the begginning, but once it breaks down, use some money that you made mowing to upgrade and buy nicer equipment. Be sure to get out and advertise in the paper, flyers door to door, etc. Good luck to you and go for it. The best way to do it is part time at first, get a hang of the biz and get some money for nicer equipment. In a few years your customer base will grow and you ll be ready to go big time. Let me know how it goes this year
EHO
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Old 03-09-2005, 03:43 PM
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Soupy Soupy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eho
I say GO FOR IT! Everybody in this forum started somehow, don't let them discourage you. How many can you handle? Well I go to college for less than two hours a day so I have plenty of time to work now. When I was in high school and occupied a large part of the day, I was still able to mow around 15 per week easily. think about it. If you mow just two or three per day( if they are average sized to small sized lawns this will take you two or three hours at the most) 15 per week can easily be done. I dont know what the average price is in your region( here its about 25-30 for most average lawns). Try checkin with some people in your area about prices. Your mower might get you through this year, but if you do a lot of lawns, it will wear down quickly( trust me I used non commercial mowers before) I say that its ok to use cheaper equipment in the begginning, but once it breaks down, use some money that you made mowing to upgrade and buy nicer equipment. Be sure to get out and advertise in the paper, flyers door to door, etc. Good luck to you and go for it. The best way to do it is part time at first, get a hang of the biz and get some money for nicer equipment. In a few years your customer base will grow and you ll be ready to go big time. Let me know how it goes this year
EHO
How can you recommend someone to open a business without knowing anything about his market?

He said he wanted to make this a full time business in the future. If I asked you if I should open a Subway store, would you just say, hey go for it, everybody needs to start somewhere.

Yes everybody in this forum started somewhere, but that doesn't mean everyone in the world will have success starting a lawn service.

If he is just wanting a couple of lawns to cut while working his full time job, then great. Go try and get some customers and have at it. But to suggest that everyone just go for it, because we all did. Is ridiculous to say the least. Some of us started 10, 20, 30 years ago when it was a good thing.

His own wife said the market is saturated, so he needs to put more thought into opening a business then just what the heck go for it.

With that said, I hope that he does some research, and finds the results he is hoping for. I guess it couldn't hurt to just start with a few lawns and see what happens. But it really is a little more complicated then that. If he wants a full time business in the future then he might just be spinning wheels. It's up to him after he puts more thought into it. If he wants to spend his off hours right now slowly trying to build a lawn service. I guess the question would be. If you thought you only had a 10% chance of succeeding your goal, would you spin the wheels on your off time trying? One could waste valuable family time/money trying to build a business with odds of failing. If you need a part time job, then fine, try to create one. But will that part time job ever give you the ability to go full time successfully? No one really knows that answer and to try it because some stranger that does know says to try it would be foolish?

Advice was ask for, and that is what I am giving. If we want to make this the cheerleader section? Then sure, I will root for you!
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  #6  
Old 03-10-2005, 04:34 PM
Patrick.B Patrick.B is offline
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Location: Baton Rouge Louisiana 70714
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i'd wouldn't quit your full time job till you make sure you have enough customer so you could live without your full time job....This don't happen over nite,,,Take a while to build your business up! ..i've been in this business for three years and got 43 customers ...Think you need to listing to your wife and its may take couple years to get your lawn business going ..i've seen many poeple start lawn business and got out ,,,Good luck!!
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  #7  
Old 03-10-2005, 08:18 PM
Rainer Rainer is offline
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I wasn't thinking of quiting my job! I want to start this on a part time basis and hopefully grow it into something I can do full time. My biggest hurdle is money to buy a decent mower and blower!
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  #8  
Old 03-10-2005, 09:00 PM
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Soupy Soupy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer
I wasn't thinking of quiting my job! I want to start this on a part time basis and hopefully grow it into something I can do full time. My biggest hurdle is money to buy a decent mower and blower!
Start with a push mower until you know you will get the customers and then run right out and upgrade. I would not buy the equipment now, unless you can afford to possibly take a loss.

You can't go wrong trying, but If you want full time or nothing then I would think hard. If you don't mind burning the sunlight on your time off then go for it.

i was just concerned that you might not want to burn your spare time on something that might have good odds of never coming full time. I only say that because your wife said so. We all know we must listen to our wives
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  #9  
Old 03-10-2005, 10:16 PM
Patrick.B Patrick.B is offline
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My wife though i was nutt when i told her i want to get into lawn business five years ago..just take little time to get customer,,,,,Good Luck !!
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