ARMY retiree to Lawn Service

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by WillieRod, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. WillieRod

    WillieRod LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Hi everyone,
    after 32 years serving I have about 40 days left in the military, I just moved to our retirement home with 10 acres (5 to be mowed), I only had a 42" riding mower. It was taking us a few days to do the mowing, so I decided to go and get me a Beginner's Lawn Service Husqvarna package with a 50" ZTR, Trailer, blower, hedger, and weed eater with edger attachment. I have always love to work outside, so I decided to go into lawn service business....I am not looking to make my self rich, just to make up for my paycut....maybe a few properties a day, maybe commercial later. Since I already have the equipment and some basic knowledge about cutting, edging, weed eat, and blowing, I would like to hear from the veterans on this site on any tips on how to go about starting my business...ie, how I go about pricing, scheduling, advertising, contracts, and equipment tips....anything that could make me successful in the business and making the customer happy....thanks to everyone in advance.

    p.s. I am in Douglasville, GA (West of Atlanta)

    Willie
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  2. Vecchio Lawn Care

    Vecchio Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 905

    Thanks for your service to start it off. Take it from me, when it comes to buying a ztr, do not buy residential models. Buy commercial only. The quality and reliability is 100% better. Pricing: figure out what your hourly rate is and estimate how long it will take you to do the property and charge accordingly. My hourly charge and most others is around $60. $1 a minute. Sometime you bid higher and get it and somethimes your accidentally underbid and don't make as much. Usually averages out.
     
  3. WillieRod

    WillieRod LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Thanks Vecchio, what I got is the Husqv M-ZT 52, is not top of the line commercial, but it is commercial quality (Not residential)....I just don't want to get too much into debt just starting the business, specially since I won't be able to get in fully until next spring....I already done a few buildings, but I cannot use the ZTR, I had to rent a walk behind bush hog, not the kind of accounts I want...
     
  4. ncpete

    ncpete LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 280

    As a veteran also, thank you for your service.

    a bush hog? must have been fun /dirty/ work. Sounds like ideal opportunities to get into maintaining those properties now. It seems many of my first calls have been for cleanups, especially here around the Fort Bragg area. Soldiers deploy, families go home, return 12 months later to massively overgrown lawns. some of those jobs I get to maintain afterwards, sometimes the soldier and family just don't want to mess with cutting everything down with their push mower, and intend to keep up on it themselves aftewards.
     
  5. WillieRod

    WillieRod LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    these were four different buildings in the same area, but all had old railroad tracks logs...trust me not fun, I can get about $1200 for all four, but not sure if I want to keep doing them or not...weeds were sometimes about 5' tall and 1' thicks...with a walk behind bush hog...I am not as young anymore.;o) talking about some Ben gay the next day....
     
  6. ncpete

    ncpete LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 280

    an old cold war warrior myself, I completely understand.
     
  7. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,187

    Welcome to the forum, Semper Fi
     
  8. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,021

    32 years, now that's dedication. I called it quits after 20. It was time to move on and do other things besides kill people :)

    I know what you mean about the Ben Gay. My first few trips out I hit muscle failure with a string trimmer. By the time I got home I was exhausted. 5 years of no PT didn't help.

    A 50" is a good size to start out with. We run 2-52" and can cut the smallest properties on up to 2+ acres pretty quickly. Another good mower to have is a 32-36" walk behind with sulky. They are very versatile and will fit throught the smallest gates and are good for mowing out ditches or steep areas that you dont want to put your ZTR on.

    Good luck to you and welcome to LS. As you see, cutting grass for a living is no joke.
     
  9. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,450

    32 years! I thought I overstayed at 22. One moe deployment and the wife would jave said, just have your mail forwarded to Kabul permanently.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  10. ncpete

    ncpete LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 280

    Thank you both for your lengthy service. I got out at little over 10, in 98. As an Arabic linguist, my timing was in some ways quite fortuitous. My old 1SG, retired as a SGM, mentioned the last time he and I spoke, that I got out at just the right time. Perhaps, though sometimes I still wonder. Fort Bragg just opened its own Air Assault school, and I half want to put my boots on and go.
     

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