Can you help a kid?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by ToughAsStihl, Apr 28, 2007.

  1. ToughAsStihl

    ToughAsStihl LawnSite Member
    from Vermont
    Posts: 124

    Hey guys, I am 15 and will be 16 in the summer. I want to start a small lawn care/landscaping buisness. Not very big, so I only have to mow a couple days a week. I have been mowing a couple lawns for the past couple years but that was only with a small 21in mower. I want to get enough buisness so I can do it the right way like insurance and a buisness licence. I dont have my drivers licence yet so that could be an issue so I can drive my self places.

    What I would like to know is the best way to go about doing this. What equipment should I get what equipment should I hold off on for now? I already have a Stihl FS90 trimmer but I need a mower, I was thinking maybe a used 48in walkbehind. I guess I will need a trailer if I am going to do anything outside my development (which isnt very big). But that means I need one of my parents to go with me and they both work full time.

    Thanks for the help!!:)
     
  2. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,164

    I had my parents drive me around up until i got my license last september, what a relief that was. I think you are on a good track though right now starting out with a real commercial trimmer and you have the right idea about a mower. Starting with a 48" allows you to tackle a very wide variety of lawns while still using your 21" for really small stuff and gated yards.....that's what i do. I am also 16 as well. I will be getting insured and licensed (finally) in a few short weeks and let me tell you, you are going to need to do more than mow a few lawns to be able to pay for that and to still make a profit.

    So, get your name out there with some type of advertising, try to be a little different than others in your area, that'll get you some attention and then prove yourself by doing good work at competitive prices and dont' lowball!!

    Like i said though, you are off to a great start and your mind is heading in the right direction based on the questions you are asking and the goals you are trying to achieve!
     
  3. Nathan Robinson

    Nathan Robinson LawnSite Senior Member
    from 47712
    Posts: 317

    SLOW DOWN! Wait until you get your drivers license and have your dad teach you how to drive a trailer first. You will need a blower, push mower, trimmer, and that walk-behind if that what you want. Save your money now. You will need it. A business license and insurance is not cheap. And as pointless as that may sound to you now it is important. If you want to do it the right way you will need them. Dont go buying equipment that will just sit. Save your money until you NEED the equipment. Come winter time lawn providers sell machines way cheaper! Spend your first few hundread dollars on prof. door hangers. Flyers are cheap and you will need to set your mowing aside from the other people. I would advise you to go work for a small mowing company before you venture into business on your own. Learn the proper way to stripe, do leaves, what height to be mowing and all of that. While your there save everything you can. At age 15 surely you dont have many bills. Go to plan-itgraphics.com and have him design your logo and marketing material. That wold be a good idea for you to do now and get all that balderdash out of the way!
     
  4. ToughAsStihl

    ToughAsStihl LawnSite Member
    from Vermont
    Posts: 124

    Yeah, my dad doesnt know how to drive a trailer. I can drive a trailer the best of anyone in my family. Luckily in Vermont you can get yout learners permit at 15 so I have almost a year of driving. I have the trailer driving down really well. I can back trailers almost as well as I can go forward. Thanks to learning on really short trailers. The problem is I dont have any real money right now. I just bought my truck and it ended up needing a frame swap so I have to make some money.
     
  5. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,164

    Ouch, that had to set you back some $$$!!! where in new england are you btw? What kind of truck did you get?

    Just head out and find some lawns around your area and within a couple mins. driving that you can get and mow with the 21"er for now, save some money, then invest in the commercial WB.
     
  6. ToughAsStihl

    ToughAsStihl LawnSite Member
    from Vermont
    Posts: 124

    Vermont, I bought a 1984 Toyota Landcruiser FJ60. The body is in good shape but he frame is toast. It didnt seem bad when I bought it a month ago in MA. but when I brought it up it must have shaken a lot of rust off and now there are holes. :(

    The problem is where I live everyone has larger lawns like 1-3 acres. So a 21in is SO much work and people around here dont pay all that well. I borrowed a family members ZTR and did one in about 30min when it would normally take me 2 or so hours.
     
  7. Nathan Robinson

    Nathan Robinson LawnSite Senior Member
    from 47712
    Posts: 317

    sell it! get a new truck. Work and make your money this summer. SAVE SAVE SAVE man!
     
  8. ToughAsStihl

    ToughAsStihl LawnSite Member
    from Vermont
    Posts: 124

    Uh, you dont just sell a Landcruiser because of some rust. Shes a really classic and to get one rust free would be more then I want to think about. Plus I already bought the frame. Luckily my brother has a cruiser also, actually a rust free 1985 FJ60 from MT that he paid a lot more for then I did.
     
  9. ToughAsStihl

    ToughAsStihl LawnSite Member
    from Vermont
    Posts: 124

    Here she is, even though it is so off topic but she looks nice. Dont you think? Now back to the original question.

    cruiser lawn.JPG
     
  10. M&SLawnCare

    M&SLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 304

    A 21" and a trimmer is all you "need" to start a business.

    Unless you have a truck, a trailer would have to be your first purchase if you want to get bigger equipment. Next I'd look at getting a 36" W/B. You'll still be able to do most gated yards with that, its affordable (look for a used one), and it will dramatically increase your productivity over a 21". Thats all you need. You can skip a blower for now, or even pick up a cheap residential one if your really short cash. The most important thing to remember though is let your business drive your purchases. Don't just buy a ton of new equipment if you don't have the customer base to support it.

    Theirs nothing wrong with having your parents transport you. Schedule very tight routes so you can be dropped off at one job and get a few nearby done before needing to be transported to the next location. That worked for me, but just make sure you work everything out with your parents first and have a solid plan. You don't want to purchase a trailer and some equipment, only to have nobody to drive it for you ;)

    Off topic, but as far as the truck, you mentioned the frame is toast. How "toast" is toast? If the frame is truly shot then what you have their is a parts car, also known as a 4k lbs boat anchor. :( Bad body panels are mostly an aesthetic issue, but a bad frame is a structural and safety issue that can't just be patched or bondoed (and forget towing with it if theirs any hint of structural weakness). Before you even think of doing a frame swap get some quotes. That will easily run into the though sands, and if you plan to do it yourself be aware its a HUGE undertaking. You pretty much have to completely gut the vehicle to do it and theirs a lot more to it then unbolting and rebolting parts. One thing about cars when your talking about rust, the problem is always 10 times more complicated and more expensive once you start than what you expected. I have my associated degree in auto technology, worked in a dealership for 3 years, ase certified, and have a 1970 (in many pieces :( ) chevelle. I learned that lesson the hard way so wanted to give you a little heads up.
     

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