Equipment advice and guidance needed...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by cutiegotherown, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. cutiegotherown

    cutiegotherown LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Hey everyone. I started my lawn care company 1 year ago. I had about 13 regular customers including one that owned about 10 properties that I do all the work on. I have a regular 8-5 job and plan to quit in March of next year to prepare to go full time with lawn care. The problem is I'm getting new customers so fast it's crazy. I have someone working on my marketing materials but I'm afraid to run ads or anything because I'll have to quit my job to keep up! I don't have my licenses yet (need advice on that) and don't have much equipment (need advice on that too lol) so I don't want to quit my job yet. I'm working on my business plan right now and I need some advice on an equipment list and how to keep my customer base without turning anyone down since I have a full time job. PLEASE HELP! Thanks.
     
  2. Reliable Lawn Care

    Reliable Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 136

    You are right, building a client list to fast can hurt you in the long run when you are not prepared. Better off putting a customer "wish" list together for next season(06) and let them know of your plans. I have somewhat the same problem. I am having to hold back my account list, as I also work another job full time, but I have no plans of quitting that, but I do get alot of people who want me to service their lawns. It's a good problem to have, don't get me wrong, but I won't jepordize the quality of service I give to current accounts, to bring more on that I can't really handle, until the next phase.
    EQUIPMENT--- What do you have so far? Are you working by yourself? Or Plan on hiring on?
    Get Legit----- Don't risk not being legit! ( Fully licensed, Insured etc. ) Get this done and you will be even more confident in building your business......

    Sorry for the long winded reply--- Good Luck
     
  3. KathysLGC

    KathysLGC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,345

    You first want to start your buisiness right (ex. LLC, Ins. etc). What services do you provide and what equipment do you have? What are the average size lots you mow? Do they have gates?
     
  4. cutiegotherown

    cutiegotherown LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Well...right now I have a few 22" 6.5 hp push mowers (mulch, side and rear discharge) I have a few 21" that don't work right now. I have 1 STIHL FS80 trimmer and 1 Troy Built TB90 with attachment capability. I use a '93 Silverado. I have laupers and chainsaws and things I use for clean out services. I have before and after pics if you would like to see those!! I already posted them in a picture thread titled "clean up job" so lawnsite won't let me post again. I'm just residential right now. All the lawns are less than 1/2 acre. I do mowing, trimming, hauling, clean up jobs. I dibble dab in fertilization, seeding, landscaping but not that experieinced. I plan to do all when I'm full time though.

    Thanks for commenting
     
  5. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,504

    I dont think I would advertise this year, sounds like you have enough work. Also be careful about letting one customer be alot of your work, if some one under bids you then you have lost a big % of your buisness. I would look into a commercial walk behind in a 36/48/52 inch mower, almost every lawn service co has walk behinds, they are very valuable and can be purchased for 3-5k and be paid for easy. Also you can add a velke and ride instead of walking which will help if you pickup a larger property. There are other options and ideas out there but this will get you started and something to think about
     
  6. cutiegotherown

    cutiegotherown LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    I have put a walk behind in my "equipment to get" list. I don't know anything about them though. Can you give me some pros and cons of brands, sizes (blade sizes), new or used, etc.?
     
  7. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,504

    Wow , its a big touchy subject lol.I would check out some dealers in the area and try to get some demo on your yards to see what works for you. Personaly I would go with a Toro with T-Bar control, Exmark with ECS or Hustler with H-Bar controls. The pistol grips are not very comfortable if you plan on using them alot. If the lots you mow are level I would consider a Belt drive over the hydro simply because of price. But if the properties you mow are steep or hilly then the hydro is much better but more $$.If you have alot of Gates to go threw then a 52'' mower isnt for you, the 32/36 would be more better, but if the lots are open then bigger is better. Check out your local dealers and see what there policy is on repairs and loaners. All mowers are good, it is the dealer that can make the mower great or real bad because the dealer is who you are going to need for support when the mower breaks down. hope it clears it up some
    wayne
     
  8. mikestr

    mikestr LawnSite Member
    from Toronto
    Posts: 87

    I've been researching the equipment part for a while. The best bang for your buck is a Quick 36. Everything else is much more money... for a p/t something like this is more than enough. I am also still p/t and going to buy one of these soon. It is versitile and is cheaper than most if not all 36" IMO that is...
     
  9. lear35

    lear35 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    I purchased a Quick 36 Super Duty and I'm very happy with it. I think it's a good choice for a first mower. Small enough to get through most gates yet large enough to be efficient.
     
  10. cutiegotherown

    cutiegotherown LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Thank you all for your comments! I've been researching some mowers. There are some really inexpensive ones on Ebay. What do you guys think about that? Also...I was wanting to know the difference in a fixed deck and a floating deck and the pros and cons of that. After I get my license and insurance I plan to get some commercial contracts. I'm thinking I should start with a moderate sized walk behind and move up according to contracts. I have 10 residential contracts right now plus a customer who owns 12 properties. They call me whenever they need something. I'm doing this all with the push mower AFTER my 8-5 job.

    A few more things I would like opinions on...Health insurance, riding walk behinds vs. standing walk behinds (if I'm saying that right), any major problems you guys encountered starting out. Something funny...I'm 5'2" 130 lbs female. I have a problem with guys watching...especially at the dump when I pull loads off the truck LOL The don't realize how easy it is to grab a few branches at the bottom and pull the load off in one pull. LOL
     

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