A young teen starting a business...Please HELP

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by x ZeKe, Aug 9, 2007.

  1. x ZeKe

    x ZeKe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    OK, before I ask about what to do when starting a business I want to say a little about my self. Well, I have been mowing grass for a while now, but i started mowing other peoples lawns at about the age of 11 years old, and now I am 15 years old, and I have 4 lawns, and i have had those 4 for about 3 years now, and with my turning 16 soon, and I will be able to drive next summer, I was thinking of expanding my business. I want to know how to advertise my business, and with only being 15 (currently), I just want residential lawns, which is what I have now, I bought a truck, and the bed is a decent size, for equipment and what not. But, I was wondering how much it would cost to star up your own business and what to do for advertising a small business like this one. I am also not sure what else would need to be done, but if you guys can help me out, I would really appreciate it. Thanks a lot guys!
    Happy mowing! :)

    - ZeKe -
     
  2. SSS 18734

    SSS 18734 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    Do what I did. print out a few hundred flyers on your computer and start handing them out in your neighborhood. Keep handing them out until you get up to around 10 customers. Charge the going rate in your neighborhood, maybe a little lower. Then if by that point you still want to expand, spend around 2K - 3K on a walkbehind, trimmer, and blower, and advertise some more. Youll make your money back in less than a month with 20 good clients, and 20 is still do-able with school and other activities. And since you have a truck, you can load your equipment in the bed and avoid trailer costs and registration fees.

    the hardest part is finding those first ten or so clients. But the more determined you are, the more you will find. dont be afraid to pass out flyers for hours on end day after day. When you have the work you want, You'll be making a lot more than any other job you could have at your age... more than a lot of adults do, quite frankly.
     
  3. x ZeKe

    x ZeKe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    OK, cool Thanks a lot for the info, so what you are saying is to start off small, then just if I decide to expand, invest in more equipment for more clients then? Now would it be wise to hire someone, like a buddy of mine, who has been dying to do some lawn stuff with me, for help or what not?
    Also, how should I pass out the flyers exactly? I was thinking of putting them in mailboxes, if I can, or just hanging them up at the grocery store, and any other place. And hopefully with the money I make the next summer, I would be able to get a plow, and my mother is big on plowing, so she would teach me, and that would be my winter income. By the way, how much do people charge for residential lawns, in general I mean. Thanks a lot though 4 the reply! Appreciate it a bunch!

    - ZeKe -
     
  4. SSS 18734

    SSS 18734 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    Personally I would do it all yourself unless you begin to feel overwhelmed with what you have. No sense in giving your profits away, and there are legal issues involved with having employees that you might not want to deal with until you really have a legit business.

    I would spend the rest of this season trying to get 10 clients or so in your neighborhood, and then next season, advertise like crazy in the spring and put down a few thousand on real equipment. I'd imagine it would be a pain for mom and dad to have to drive you to 20 or so houses every week right now. But then again, if you want to go big and your parents can help you out, go for it. I wish I had started earlier too.

    As for flyers, don't put them in mailboxes - that is illegal. Scotch tape + glass doors, or rolled up in a door handle works great.

    The going rate for 1/10 to 1/3 of an acre lawn around here is anywhere from $25 to $40. Most of mine are either $30 or $35.
     
  5. x ZeKe

    x ZeKe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    OK, so the 10 or so clients I would get this year, would be for next year, or I would start them this year? And should I take the money I have saved up so far, plus the money I am sure to make until lawn mowing season is over, save that up for next year? Also in the winter I take the snow blower and do what I can for some extra cash. Also, when you said, real equipment, I thought trailer, would that be necessary yet?
     
  6. SSS 18734

    SSS 18734 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    No, start doing them as soon as you can ($$$). Get as many as you think you can handle. But considering the fact that you are using a push mower (I think), and can't drive yet, having more than 10 might be difficult at the moment unless you can walk to all of them.

    Save your money and use it to buy your equipment at the start of next season. A good start would be a 36" to 42" walkbehind, a commercial trimmer, and a backpack blower. You'll be able to do a lot more work in the same amount of time with that, allowing you to get more clients. You could also buy a trailer, but you have to buy it, register it, and pay property taxes on it - why not just use the bed of your truck until you think a trailer is really necessary? Just make sure you are careful with the ramps.

    hopefully some other members will have some advice for you as well.
     
  7. x ZeKe

    x ZeKe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    OK, like I said before, thanks a lot for the advice, now, what month is exactly the month that mowing season ends? I guess it would have to do with the weather but is it usually around October? Also, where is a good place to purchase my own equipment, how much do you think it would cost, and what brands are recommended? Thanks a lot SSS!

    - ZeKe -
     
  8. SSS 18734

    SSS 18734 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    I usually stop mowing clients around early November. But some of my clients get mowed into early December if it doesn't snow. In ohio you might stop mowing a little sooner. It really depends, though.

    Dealers are always a good place to buy equipment, new or used. But if you're looking to save money, local classifieds, craigslist.com, or ebay are good places to start. Just make sure you get a good machine with low hours if you buy used. I personally would put aside at least $2,500 - $3,000 for equipment - you could buy a new belt driven 36" walkbehind, a new mid-grade commercial trimmer, and a new mid-grade blower for that price (and not have to worry about anything for years). I chose Gravely for my mower and Kawasaki for my trimmer, but there are a lot of great companies out there. Browse the search feature in the forums and you'll answer a lot of your own questions.

    PM me if you need anything else and I'll try to answer your questions later - i'm going to bed now though.
     
  9. x ZeKe

    x ZeKe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    OK, thanks a lot man, I think I'm going to head off to bed now too, Thanks 4 the help man. PEACE!

    - ZeKe -
     
  10. TSG

    TSG LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 444

    Not to put a damper on this, but you should talk to your folks insurance guy
    about what you want to do. You may be putting your family at risk if something
    goes wrong. It is unlikely you will get insurance because you are not old enough to enter into a legal agreement. May need your folks with this
     

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