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18 and looking to get started-ADVICE?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by RJ937, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. RJ937

    RJ937 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Hi, I'm 18 years old and am very business oriented. I am not afraid of responsibility nor is it anything that I am not used to already. To give you a little background on myself, I have grown up in a great environment and learned many things in the small amount of time I have been around. I lost a brother in the war in Iraq in 2005 and since then have grown much closer to my faith and realized that life is short and I want to live it how I would like to.
    With that said, I am new to this site and the lawn care industry. I do not have the knowledge needed to successfully start and maintain a healthy, competent business right now, but I do have the business end of it down. What I need from all of you on here is good, helpful advice on any and everything you can think of that I will need to know.

    First, I am setting aside about $8500 to get this whole thing kicked off for this summer of 2008. With this I need:
    1) A good starter truck- I have a ton of background with cars, mechanics of them, and especially the performance industry(mostly imports, drifting, etc.)
    2) A lawnmower to start with-this includes: brand, size, hp, zero-turn, and what I should look for as far as option/expandability.
    3. Trailer size/options
    4. Contracts
    5. Licenses(other than a small biz license) I will need and types of insurance
    -Along with these, please feel free to tell me about anything else I should take notice of.

    For now to start with, I plan on only doing mowing, trimming, laying mulch, and leaf removal. I already have a few family/friends that have told me they will accept my biz for residential and commercial mowing for them. I know I have the right mindset to take this business and grow it and make it successful through determination and hardwork. Please keep your opinions to yourself regarding how young I am or anything that I did not ask about above. Thank you all in advance and I look forward to someday being the one giving the information out to people looking to start out like myself.
     
  2. Big C

    Big C LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,641

    I am also starting my business in spring of '08, the best advice given to me was to have a business plan and not to get over my head in startup expenses, this is the advice that was given to me and I am structuring my business as such......hope this helps.....good luck!!!!!!
     
  3. ALarsh

    ALarsh LawnSite Silver Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 2,412

    RJ- The best thing you can do is sit back and use the search function. There are plenty of threads that have listed all the answers to the questions you have just asked.

    Good luck!

    btw, i'm 18 also.. I've been doing this for a couple years now and it is completely do-able at this age.
    My equipment is on this thread if you want to take a look: http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=197296&page=4

    In a couple short years you can be there too!
     
  4. RedCastle

    RedCastle LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Posts: 9

    1st i'm going to say sorry for your loss I was in the military for 9 yrs and had 2 friends blown up over in iraq thankfully they r still living.

    Big C said it best!!

    if you aren't prepared business wise u r going to flop...

    as for what u will need

    truck.
    trailer- depending on equipment u but a 6x14 would do ok
    since u r mechanicly inclined u can get some angle iron and muffler clamps and make racks and tool holders

    need shovel spear and flat, nice wide flat aluminum shovel
    stick edger, rakes pick axe, chain saw, back pack blower ( i like the eb 7001) gas cans- 1 for mixed fuel for your trimmers and blower

    mowers- exmark makes some nice ones but check for ppl selling them in the want advertiser. Wright makes a nice stander and you can find them around easy. for a rider i would recommend atleast a 42" but if u had to get a 36"

    u can also get walkbehind mower again i would recommend atleast a 42"

    a nice 21" mower for those yards honda is pretty good for commercial mowers

    think i answered a cpl of your questions

    oh also either quickbooks or gopher software

    insurance if you check with you state liscening it should guide you but generally you need GL insurance which stands for General liability and of course the vechile insurance is then under business as well but it's better to have it then not..and don't go for under a million in liability insurance better to have enough then sell your stuff.. check the small business acssociation website.
     
  5. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 2,994

    This is something you probably don't want to hear. Go to college, the grass will be there when you get done.
    Also, I wouldn't do business with family or friends.
     
  6. StihlGreen

    StihlGreen LawnSite Member
    from us
    Posts: 40

    Like ALarsh said bro, the search function is your best friend!! Don't lose that attitude and you will be just fine.
     
  7. All_Toro_4ME

    All_Toro_4ME LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,578

    Read read and read some more. Google everything you can think of to learn about the green industry. Use the search feature on this site as well. On your equipment, go to the manufacturers website and read everything about the specs for the type of mowers that manufacture has to offer. You will learn a lot about the equipment this way. Do the same for the string trimmers, blowers and whatever else you need. Then search those brands on this site to see how they perform commercially in the field for us. Hope this helps....
     
  8. tcalb2

    tcalb2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 231

    this is my thoughts, take them for what they are. I'm 23 and this is my second year in business. I found the following out my first year hope it helps:

    - Be careful who you hire to help you. Sometimes hiring friends and family seems like the most confortable at first but this type of situtation can cause problems, I still haven't talked to one of my friends after he burned me on a big job last year.

    - No one you hire is going to work as hard as you.

    - Make sure to get a confortable amount of weekly lawn accounts before the season starts. The money from them will help to hold you over if you don't have any mulching, plantings or clean ups to do.

    - Where I live you don't need any licenses to cut lawns and do maintenance. It is a good idea to get liabilty insurance enventually.

    - Grow slow and try not to get too a head of yourself. More businesses fail because they run out and buy a bunch of new equipment on credit and bury themselves in debt. I would know I buy their equipment when they go out of business. ha.

    - With that said buy the best well made equipment you can aford.

    - Understand how much your operating costs are. How much you have put into the company and how soon you think you should pay yourself back for the investment.

    - Don't lower you prices to get jobs. I did this all season long, on hardscape projects. It works but you loose in the end. You end up working for nothing. Sometimes it is better to walk away from a job then to take it for lower then you bid it.

    Good Luck
    Take care of yourself and update us on how your doing.
     
  9. RedCastle

    RedCastle LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Posts: 9

    tcal i don't mean to throw the topic off but your from RI huh East Greenwich? I got alot of friends that way as i'm originally from RI.
     
  10. RJ937

    RJ937 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Thank you for the advice so far guys! As far as the comment about college goes...I am actually attending college for a business degree and also just enrolled to go to paintless dent school and ordered my tools. My older brother is an engineer and within his first year of getting out of college with his masters he was making $60k a year. So believe me when I say I know the importance of education. I will look into the exmark mowers and do some more searching on that. I have a large list of local companies I am going to call to see what their rates are and things like that. I also have a family friend that owns a lawn care biz so I plan on going to his house and checking all of his equipment out etc.
     

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