17 and just starting out.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Wbcousins, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. Wbcousins

    Wbcousins LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Hi I've been reading this forum for awhile looking for ideas, advice, and information. I'm planning on starting my own landscape company this summer once I graduate. I have worked for my father since I can remember doing landscaping, groundskeeping, and anything else that needed done. I started my own lawn care company when I was twelve but transportation was an issue and my customers were just shopping around for the best deals and brought in new companies without notifying me to stop. After these setbacks I decided to go back to work for my father, I currently have two full time jobs at his golf course where I am lead maintenance and groundskeeping I keep everything trimmed watered fertilized and working, I also work at his campground where I am supervisor at our arcade as well as technical support. I am also on the grounds crew where I pick up garbage trim grass and trees and some landscaping. I have taken on many tasks at the two locations over the years and helped with many projects back when we had the landscaping and use these to showcase my work to my clients.

    My plan is to start with my own truck and mower and other small equipment renting from my father the equipment that I need but don't have the funds to purchase. My primary plan is the sales and installation of low voltage landscape lighting and small hardscape projects. To maximize work and accounts I would also offer lawn care as well and take on larger projects by request. For the fall I am planning on taking a landscaping course but may still be able to work while in school in a different province offering Christmas lighting setup as I am also familiar with creating light shows and setting them to music. I have a couple jobs lined up for hardscaping and lighting at my fathers locations that I will be able to use to showcase what I am capable of.

    What I am unsure on is the estimations part of the business and what else I should be charging for. I am looking to anyone who has experience to offer a helping hand and tell me if I'm biting off more than I can chew. Should I take it slower? Should I be offering more services? Prince Edward Island is a competitive market for landscaping but quality is always what gets you the recommendation and here word travels fast making a good reputation better than cheap prices. However I am the only person on PEI and possibly in Atlantic Canada that offers low voltage landscape lighting which could bring some interesting opportunities. Any advice you can give is greatly appreciated I currently work 60+hours a week and am not afraid to work and get my hands dirty.

    Thanks,
    WBC Landscapes
     
  2. Grant11

    Grant11 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 264

    Welcome to Lawnsite. If you found a specialty market with enough of a demand in your area- focus on that. Focus on your strong points and do a good job. As you know reputation is everything. If your serious about this I would pick up "9 Super Simple Steps to entrepreneurial success" By Marty Grunder. You can learn years of wisdom in a few hours of reading.
     
  3. Wbcousins

    Wbcousins LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Thanks I'll check that out.
     
  4. Vecchio Lawn Care

    Vecchio Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 905

    Whatever you know how to do and have experience doing should include the services you offer. If you underbid a job, don't half ass the job because you aren't making money. Do the best you can even if it means taking a loss. Word of mouth can make or break a business overnight. I am 18 and since my father has 35 years of construction experience I can offer a lot of services because I can go to him for advice. Just remember, quality, quality, quality.
     
  5. Wbcousins

    Wbcousins LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    That's really good advice. I would never half-ass a job just because I'm not making money because around here like you say quality is everything and can break the business overnight.
     
  6. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 25,151

    If you are the only one doing lighting and there is a market for it stay with that. The better money in this industry is in the specialty products. Anyone can cut grass and when money gets tight anyone will . From customers cutting their own to a dude in a Cherokee towing a lawnmower on a snowmobile trailer.

    Advice # 2 .
    Invest , your young . Put at least $50 or even better $100 a week into a mutual fund.
     
  7. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,287

    Welcome from Fort Worth, Texas.

    Make sure you know what it costs you to operate your business so that you will know how much you be needing to charge per man hour of service you provide in order to be profitable.
     
  8. Victorsaur

    Victorsaur LawnSite Member
    Posts: 81

    People will try to rip you off because of your age. Stand firm by your bid and ask for advice on pricing etc. from others who have experience. Eventually you will develop those instincts yourself. :weightlifter: If you ask nicely some people will be more than happy to help.

    From my personal experience around here if your work is experienced then you should be making in the range of $40-$60 / hr. profit although a lot of people might settle for less. As stated previously, reputation is everything and it is what allows you to charge within this range, which is profit received after all expenses are paid.

    If you have a niche in the market, also as stated previously, excel in that. Remember to learn about diseases, fertilizer, nutrients, pests (insects and weeds), and proper pruning as time goes on. Eventually you can get into exciting things like landscape design that pay more. Again, to avoid people trying to rip you off remember to get advice from people with experience.

    My final piece of advice, don't give up no matter what. Being in business can be tough but remember to stick to your guns, have a backup plan, and take into account all possible ups and down. Good luck and remember to take it one step at a time. :walking:
     

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