A few basic questions to make a big impact.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by EliteImpressions, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. EliteImpressions

    EliteImpressions LawnSite Member
    from Jersey
    Posts: 215

    I am just starting out from scratch and I have a few questions that will hopefully put me on the right foot.

    - To mow in wet grass, what are the pros(if any), and the cons. (ie quality of cut, blade wear and tear)
    - For small residential properties, what height should you cut the grass?
    - The BIG question: Originally I was planning on charging relatively cheap to start getting customers, but as a I think about it, I will only be able to cut between 10-20 lawns a week at first. So should I charge close to top dollar? The average lawn is probably 2500-3500sf mostly flat with few obstacles. I was thinking about 30 for each cut. Also I would try on getting a fertilizer plan started. Charging between 35-40 for this size lawn. Is this about right?

    Company name- I am thinking between two names: Elite Impressions and use a fairly ordinary logo. Or be named Jersey Devil Landscaping and the logo would be a Dragon pushing a lawn mower. I think Jersey Devil would definitely stick out more especially with a huge dragon pushing a lawn mower on the side of my truck (it should get a lot of attention) but would its name turn a few people off?

    What truck is going to hold up the best : ram, 150 etc. I am buying new since I dont want any maintenance problems from the get go.

    I will also be purchasing all new equipment next year: 36in wb, stick edger, line trimmer, bp blower, and snow blower at end of next year. Any good buys would be a great help.

    I am starting out slow and hopefully making a few time career out of this. Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Branchland

    Branchland LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 354

    Starting out slow is a good way to do it. With the equipment buying a used mower is no problem to save some bucks. Smaller stuff I'd go new.
    Don't cheapen yourself to get the jobs. Your time is money and after you come up with your operating expenses you'll wish you hadn't lowballed.
    How much to charge to cut is depending on the going rate in your area. You can do a search on here and find all kinds of usefull information about that and probaly about anything else you're wondering about.
    The make and size of truck is up to you. I've always had good luck with Fords.
     
  3. Wreak

    Wreak LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    - To mow in wet grass, what are the pros(if any), and the cons. (ie quality of cut, blade wear and tear)

    The only difference I see is clogging. Never noticed blade wear and tear and the quality seems to be pretty good.


    - For small residential properties, what height should you cut the grass?
    Depends on the grass thickness. Each yard can be different...start high and then lower to the desired look and then make a note next to each customer on your list as to what height you used.
     
  4. Branchland

    Branchland LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 354

    Problems I have mowing wet grass is
    Clumping and rutting
    The pros of cutting in wet grass is getting the job done. Sometimes you have to and might have to go over 2 or 3 times to make it look god but if not you'll not get them all done.
    For small yards I cut the same as larger ones myself 3 1/2 inches but no less than 3. Or what the customer wants. I have one I cut at 4 1/4 inches.
     
  5. EliteImpressions

    EliteImpressions LawnSite Member
    from Jersey
    Posts: 215

    Thanks for some of the pointers. Ill check to find what the going rate is.

    Does anyone think there will be an adverse effect if I call myself Jersey Devil and have a Dragon pushing a lawn mower? The older generations might think its satanic, but the "younger" crowd might pick me just because of the logo.

    As far as a 36" wb. Is there any brands people prefer over others?
     
  6. Wreak

    Wreak LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    Jersey Devil has a nice ring to it. I don't think people will have a problem with the Devil pushing a mower. They might think it's a good thing for the devil to be doing hard work. HAAHA. you never know.

    I'm on the market for a 36" wb. I'm thinking maybe either a Toro or Exmark.
     
  7. EliteImpressions

    EliteImpressions LawnSite Member
    from Jersey
    Posts: 215

    I went to one of the dealers around me and only had Toro's in the wb. I havent heard anything bad about them but I have heard Scag is descent as well. Im looking to get the most for my money.
     
  8. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    I personally use a 36 Exmark Metro. I've also used Bob-Cats. 36s are your pretty basic mower, if you're buying new you probably will be okay with almost any brand. Once you start getting into the bigger, more pricey machines, that's where you need to weigh the pros and cons of what your buying, IMO.

    Ah, the agony of picking a name...I like Elite Impressions better than Jersey Devil, although with JD you could come up with some pretty eye-catching logos. With the name, think how it will make others perceive your company, both now as a start-up and down the road when you could be running 10, 20, 30 crews. I prefer distinctive, but not too outrageous. I don't really think Jersey Devil will offend anyone, at least not anyone you'd want to do business with. Just go with what you like.
     
  9. EliteImpressions

    EliteImpressions LawnSite Member
    from Jersey
    Posts: 215

    The one thing I forogot to mention was that there is a legend about a man who lived in nj and he is nicknamed jersey devil. Everyone in nj would know jersey devil. I like EliteIpressions better, I just want a name and logo everyone will remember. I have a few friends that are artists, hopefully they can come up with a cool logo.
     
  10. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,265

    EliteImpressions: Here are a few tips from a guy that has been a part timer only one season:

    You seem very serious about getting into this. GET THE BEST EQUIPMENT you can afford. Exmark is arguably the best company out there. Gravely is the second best. Combined, they probably own about 80% of the grass cutting market.

    I had a 36" Exmark walk behind (belt drive) and i hated the lack of manuverability. If you can, spring for a rider like Lazer CT or HP. it is a little more money, but if you are giong to do this full time, it is well worth the investment. Check out Gravely as well.

    Height of cut: Every customer is different, but it also depends on the type of grass. Some people like it short, some people like it tall. It depends on the weather and your location. You are in NJ and that's pretty much like Michigan. I cut 3" in the spring and fall, and 3.5"-4" in the summer, when the weather is hot and the grass does not grow much. Remember, longer the grass, deeper the roots, the greener the lawn looks. if you cut 1", the roots are also 1", and the first sign of warm weather will burn the grass - the customer will complain.
    Also, there are some type of grasses (like bent grass) that you need to cut 1" or less. Learn about the different types of grasses and how to recodnize them.

    The name: Jersey Devil is great and it will catch the eye of many people. Who cares about the people that you "might" offend. Worry about yourself and promoting the business.I am just concerned about the legal implications with the hockey team.

    Cutting wet grass: Many, Many people do not like their grass to be cut wet. It is very unhealthy for the grass to be cut wet (check out Scotts.com or give them a call, you'll see). The other guys are right - it clumps, but no wear on the mowers (exmark at least). When the grass is wet, it is very easy to leave tracks in the grass, scuff up and tear big patches and then the customer will compain.

    Pricing: Are you going to be a "Discount" grass cutting company or "Elite". based on your name and thoughts, you should not underbid. Remember, if you sign a contract with someone for $20/cut....that's for the whole season, not just 2 cuts. Then next year.....are you going to increase his price to $35? how will that look on you?

    Peace out.
     

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