A Teenager's Potentially REVOLUTIONARY Lawn Care Business Model

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by lawnandorder2013, Jun 23, 2014.

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  1. lawnandorder2013

    lawnandorder2013 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    Gosh guys, you don't need to insult me. I don't know anything; I'm just a kid trying to figure stuff out. You guys know a lot about lawn care. Your points make sense. I've been mowing lawns a lot recently, and maybe thinking about the business too much has given me unrealistic expectations for it.
     
  2. Locqus

    Locqus LawnSite Senior Member
    from Detroit
    Posts: 708

    Nah, don't let em get you down. Yes we are a bit rash, but you will need thick skin to be in the business, if you don't have it already. The best bet for you it to try portions of your model out and adjust it accordingly as you go. Learn by doing.

    I would advise against jumpin completely in it, but test the waters, could be the next big thing. Put yourself in a position to always be of value.
     
  3. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,402

    Reality isn't insulting. Reality is just that. Reality.

    In terms of insulting, you actually presented this "REVOLUTIONARY Lawn Care Business Model" to a board that is inhabited by the very professionals and legitimate business owners that you, admittedly, are looking to undercut by circumventing what should be (pie in the sky, yes) a level playing field. Read your words again and look at it from the board's perspective.

    If you want to create a company, as you suggest, you have to take the good with the bad. The bad, in your instance, is that it's both illegal and a potential felony. If it's insulting to have that pointed out, repeatedly, so be it. You're either a kid, leaning on the "I'm just a kid" crutch or you want to be an actual business owner. For the purposes of this, you can't have it both ways. The only time a college kid refers to themselves as "just a kid" is when they need a crutch. I'm guessing that's the last time I did it, as well, although I'll give it a shot again and see. :)

    Re: being just a kid trying to figure business out, you say you're a college student. My advice, take as many business, accounting, and marketing classes you can and apply what you learn to your legit lawn business. Use it as your senior project, of sorts, and see where you are when you graduate. I did something very similar, although a 180 degree different business, while I was at Ohio State and it helped shape much of the last 20+ years.
     
  4. lawnandorder2013

    lawnandorder2013 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    Haha I appreciate it. And honestly, with such a stupid thread title, I sort of deserve it. I made the title as click bait, and it was one of those ideas that sounded really good at the time. Never again will I write "revolutionary" in all caps.

    Learning by doing is a good suggestion. Frequently I find myself planning something for the future of the business while procrastinating on something simple in the present, like mowing a lawn contacting a customer about something.

    I have never researched the legal implications of this business, so I guess I just assumed it would all "fall into place" somehow. Well, it probably won't. But what I have now is great, and I'll let it grow organically.
     
  5. lawnandorder2013

    lawnandorder2013 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    That's really funny actually. I made fun of the title without reading the most recent post.
     
  6. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    You can't and you shouldn't.

    Even now with 17 lawns your running the risk of ruining your family if some major mishap happens without insurance. Then on top of it you don't have an actual business entity, either sole proprietorship, or a corporation.

    If you are a minor, your parents will have to shell out everything they own to cover you in case of an accident.

    There is no such thing as an "Innocent" business anymore. You are liable regardless. I've seen large businesses go under because of one tiny mishap that cost them millions.

    Do yourself a favor, look into protecting yourself and your family first, then start to dream big with big ideas. Don't try and put the cart before the horse.


    .....
     
  7. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,402

    Good deal. Especially the all caps thing. ;) lol If you haven't done so, just start reading. There is a ton of info to be found in these forums.

    To repay everyone's generosity, if you wouldn't mind shipping out a few pints of Jeni's black raspberry and sweet corn ice cream, I'd be grateful. I'll be sure to share with the other members. (I recently moved from Upper Arlington)
     
  8. chefj

    chefj LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 541

    I don't want to be overly critical, but I think the model is wrong.
    I wouldn't want "amateur" kids mowing lawns in an "upscale community" with homeowner grade or less equipment. While charging the same rate as a 20 year veteran that is using all professional equipment and I know he'll show up every Tuesday morning.

    Sorry, but do you understand my premise?
     
  9. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,132

    Here are my big concerans -
    First and foremost. If you are going to be charging the same rates as larger companies, why would anyone hire a kid whose service they do not know about when they can hire a good known, recognized, well reputable company for the same price

    These guys are going to be considered sub contractors since you are requiring them to use their own equipment, vehicle, responsible for fuel, wear&tear etc, just being paid a flat rate per lawn.

    Insurance - these guys probably wont be able to afford propper liability insurance, which means you are responsible for this. Liability insurance and workmans comp coverage is usually higher to cover subcontractors than to cover your own seasonal employees. you may think that there is little chance that a guy doing 20 lawns will have an accident, but it happens. With 20 subcontractors it is now 20x more likely to happen.

    Tax - as pointed out above you are responsible for 1099ing them.

    You may think these are not big issues but here is a common occurrence when people are improperly sub-contracted. You decide a guy is doing a poor job and decide to no longer give him work. He doesn't understand how things work and tries to file for unemployment. He's denied coverage, but then fills out all of the forms for an appeal, during the appeal process it comes out that because of how the process was done he may be considered an employee. You end up spending a ton of money fighting this on your end, ultimately the state can come in and determine they are actually employees and make you pay fines and provide coverage.

    Another common occurrence with improper employment/sub-contracting practices, is that the sub-contractor get injured and goes to the hospital. When asked what happened he says he got hurt working. They advise him about workers comp, (i know when I have had work related injuries the ER has given me a pamphlet about WC and workers medical rights), he finds out that as a subcontractor working on your customers property he may be covered by your insurance. But you don't have insurance, so you are sued. You don't have much, but your mother is involved in the management of the business so she is sued as well.

    Here's a third possible outcome. The kid working for you causes damage, hits a rock and puts it through a window/glass door. Who is responsible? Do either of you have the insurance to cover this? What if that rock hits little Jimmy in the head as he ride his bike by the driveway?

    For the costs of what you are considering, I would think you would be much better off starting it slowly and buying your own equipment and vehicles and setting up one more route at a time.

    If the guy has his own vehicle, all his own equipment and you hand him a route of houses what is to keep him from knocking on the door and offering a better price and taking the clients? Once he has been working the property for a while the customer is going to see that it is him and not you doing the quality work. You said you are going to keep the majority of the funds while he pays all costs (other that the acquisition cost). What is to keep him from offering 25% off, he would be cheaper than you, and still be making more money than you paid him.
     
  10. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,063

    Dagnabbit!
    ..there goes my idea to help disadvantaged kids learn to work while helping out the eldely.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
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