decision time...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by RLS24, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. RLS24

    RLS24 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,604

    Ok, my original plan was to go to back to school in the fall and take some business classes, and then start off doing plowing in the winter, then hopefully turning some of those customers into lawn accounts and then get an early jump on advertising and such in the spring to get accounts as well and start my business that way. In the meantime (meaning from now until the end of fall), I was going to work for another lco to get some experience from a business standpoint (how day-to-day operations are run, estimating, bidding on jobs, etc).

    Unfortunately, I have been trying to get a job for the past 2 months. I can;t even being to remember how many applications I have filled out or how many places I have called. No one will hire me because I have never worked for an lco before. I have pretty much used every kind of equipment that the average lco has, and done a ton of landscaping for family and friends over the years.
    A member on here who owns a fairly reputable and large company in the area said he would hire me, but he has been putting me off and putting me off for a few weeks now and won;t return my phone calls, so I don't know whats up with that and I have pretty much given up on it.

    I'm running out of money to pay the basic bills (real fast!) and I am debating if I should try and get some accounts and start my business NOW for the simple fact that no one else will hire me, and I need some work. Do you guys think its too late to start trying to find accounts? I see most places are doing cleanups still and a few are just starting to mow, so I'm not sure if it's too late or not? I'm kind of running out of options here...
     
  2. DrGreenThumb

    DrGreenThumb LawnSite Member
    Posts: 30

    Im gonna tell you its tough to get started, I would do it on the side right now and as time comes you'll get going.
     
  3. ezgoer1969

    ezgoer1969 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 97

    MikeRi24,

    It's never too late to start. I started late in Houston years back, picked up accounts just fine. First couple months pulled in over 100 weekly postage stamp size accounts. Took about 15,000 fliers, over 800 bandit signs, door magnets!

    I started with only 2 Honda 21's, echo trimmer, echo handheld blower & a truck.
    I ended the year with the same equiptment.

    Equiptment cost $2100, advertising budget $3500.

    Made 82k that first year.


    Fast Forward 2008! Starting up this year in Omaha, NE after being out of biz over 7 years.

    Advertising - $1572 toward advertising so far this year, Trailer and New equiptment cost $9,000.

    Number of accounts I have acquired to date = 1

    Am I worried, of course. But 250 new bandit signs will be here by the end of the week.
    Next week I go knocking on doors that I see have not had their yards cut and handing out my biz card.
    Last resort, get my lazy butt out door hanging.

    If I can't get it going then I'll be making a post in the equiptment section of this forum lol.
     
  4. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 7,053

    bandit signs? I'm guessing the small metal wire frame ones with the corrugated plastic sign? If so, where do you put them? I mean, the best place is on a nice cut lawn that you cut. Putting them in places that other LCO's are cutting is kinda mis-representing so to speak. If your just getting started and you don't have any accounts yet, where would you put them?
     
  5. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 7,053

    I'm thinking about taping a business card on the screen doors with a price written on the back. I wish I had thought of that before I had them made. I could have added a area to write it in.
     
  6. ezgoer1969

    ezgoer1969 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 97

    ALC-GregH

    Yes those are the signs I am talking about. I am just putting them at exits of Walmarts, Grocery stores, 4 way intersections, and exits of the main neighborhoods I am trying to get into. Actually put out another 50 signs last night about 2am, no traffic.

    Problem is, I have found here in my area, a lawn care sign brings in different calls than a mowing sign. I am not set up to do fertilizing programs, aerating or dethatching. Unfortunately getting plenty of calls for that. So my new signs have mowing on them.
    Hopefully that will bring in the mowing calls.

    Next year for spring I will definetly be ready for aerating and or power raking. In Houston I don't think I ever had a call for spring clean up like here. Totally different market here, just have to adjust to it. But I spent enough just for the mowing part for now. Want to get the accounts going before I add specialty services and fork out more money to earn more.
     
  7. RLS24

    RLS24 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,604

    right now, I have a Honda 21", Echo blower and an Echo trimmer and a Jeep Wrangler lol. not so much to get started with I guess. I was really hoping to be able to start off doing plowing, that way I could at least plow with my Jeep and maybe have some money saved up for advertising and such next year. I'm totally unprepared financially for stuff like advertising and whatnot at the moment.
     
  8. RLS24

    RLS24 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,604

    well, just as I was about to give up, I got a job! Just another random add I called in the paper, and they called me and want to hire me. They are based out of their home, and they live like 5 min away from me right by the school my mom teaches at. coincidentally, my mom also teaches their kids. so i guess things have a good way of working out. Oh, I also picked up 4 lawns from people at my firehall to do on the side this summer to get going.
     
  9. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 7,053

    that's good to hear. Hope everything works out for you.

    I had alittle luck today. I taped about 100 cards on doors within a 5 mile area. I was lucky enough to talk to one guy who needs his done. It's a corner lot, maybe 1/3-1/2 acre. I priced it at $45
     
  10. RLS24

    RLS24 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,604

    ^ nice. I am not really sure what to charge for the 2 lawn I got (i meant to say 2, must have hit the 4 on accident). the one is my elderly neighbors, which I have been doing since I was 15 and they pay me $20, so I dont really want to jack the price up. the other is the assistant chief at my firehall, and I dont really want to price gouge him either. its about a half acre lot and i will only be doing it with my 21" so its gonna take a while, but I am thinking like maybe $30? like I said, he's a good friend of mine and I dont want to rip him off and I'm hoping he will refer me to some other potential customers.
     

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