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Ex-Army Soldier wanting to start a Business

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Cavalry624, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. Cavalry624

    Cavalry624 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Hey, Really new to the Website and Really new to the Landscaping Business. Basically a friend and I want to start a landscaping business doing houses around the area. We have basic supplies, a lawn mower, an edger, and some other random tools. We recently had some landscapers who came to my parents home and did a relatively bad job. After seeing there work I thought to myself, Hey I was out in the Iraq heat at 135 with humidity wearing 60 pounds of gear and ammo and said to myself, I can do this :). It has always been a dream of my friend and I to run our own business and working hard. I just had a couple of questions, and hoped you all could help an Ex Soldier out, since you all seem like nice guys. Oh and we both already own trucks so we are good in that department.

    1. What kind of money yearly can a 2-3 man operation expect to make with just mediocre amounts of business?

    2. We don't have much landscaping knowledge, should we get more experience before we go out into the business?

    3. What kind of losses or expenses can we expect for a small operation?

    4. And will we have fun and feel good doing it? After my time in the Army I realize that going back to school would be difficult for me.

    Anyways thats all if you guys could give me some ideas and answers to my question I would Really appreciate it. By The way for any ex-Army guys out there. I was in the 1st Cavalry Division 1-7 Garry Owen and the 1-12 Cavalry Regiment as a M1 Tanker..hence the name Cavalry624 :) Thanks again everyone.
  2. SWD

    SWD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 989

    Do you have any experience in commercial business operation, any specifically in landscaping?
    For a short post, you have asked for a great deal of information.
    Okay, so here it goes:
    1. Money "made" is area specific as the socioeconomic demographics fluctuate widely, at times even from town to town. Some one from Arizona would be much more able to answer this one.
    2. Define "not much landscaping knowledge". I would seriously investigate a local community college for professional type courses concerning lawn care, landscape or even turfgrass agronomy. The real issue here is your ability to look, sound and act reasonably professional/knowledgable to a customer. After all, this is what you are being paid for. At a minimum, take a short course or two, conduct some web based searching, maybe look into local gardener's club.
    3. Looses are a direct correlation to how you run your business. Pay attention to details, have a solid billing practice and purchase equipment that your need, not want to have, and manage overhead.
    4. Having fun and feeling good are rather subjective terms. And have had being in the Army has nothing to do with returning to school. I, along with a great many other posters here, spent time in the armed forces. Returning to college was considerably easier as I had more discipline, more attention to detail and was able to focus/concentrate better. Since then I have completed two undergraduate fields of study, am pursuing a masters, and have been offered several college level teaching positions based upon my experience and knowledge in these fields.
  3. Cavalry624

    Cavalry624 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    When I say limited knowledge, I mean basically only the things I have done in my parents backyard, simple maintenance. Which is what I want to go for at the beginning. 2-3 guys with some tools and some simple upkeep type stuff. In Arizona a lot of people have Rocks for front yards. However the bushes and trees they do have drop leaves into there rocks and what not and they need them removed so there is a market for it, also palm trees are quite common.

    When I say returning to college would be difficult is because after my Army experience and having basically been trained to just work hard and bust my butt at everything I do, its hard for me to sit in a classroom for hours and listen and pay attention. I want to be out doing things. Thats why I thought Landscaping would be something good to get into because its hard work.

    Any other questions I would be happy to reply :)
  4. AAELI

    AAELI LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 362

    Nothing wrong with a grunt enjoying grunt labor! :weightlifter: :weightlifter: SWD had it right: The community college could help put you on the right track for both landscape information and business courses. The discipline you had as a grunt would allow you to sit still for the 1-2 hour courses unless you were uninterested in learning how to really make it. :confused:
    Are you looking to make use of your army discipline or just kill time before your next job offer? :dancing:

    We all trained hard to bust our butts. What decides who makes the most of what they have is the ability to listen and pay attention. :sleeping: If all you want is to do things then hire on with a reputable company in your area and work hard for them. :weightlifter: Someday when you are able to listen and pay attention you may launch out on your own and be successful... not a flop. :clapping:

    Go Army! I mean it, really, just GO!
    :waving: :waving: :waving:

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    The money you can make has very little to do with how hard you work -- But a lot to do with how smart you work. If you want to work hard and make money -- go to work for someone else. You will get paid for every thing you do. As a business you might work all day and still lose. And also the hard work in the field is only 1/2 of what is needed. Running the business is a whole other job. And requires a lot of "sitting" at a desk to may it fly.
    Also school is needed in this industry like any other. You never stop learning. nor should you.

    Good luck with what ever you decide
  6. hickslawns

    hickslawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 131

    I am disappointed that you guys forgot to mention "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY!!!!" This is first and foremost important in my mind for all our soldiers active or inactive. I was driving a deuce and a half within a week of 9/11 and called with the Nat'l Guard to service by the end of the month. It was amazing the respect people had immediately after 9/11. Stopped in the streets to wave or salute you. Got out of their vehicles at traffic lights to give a big thumbs up! What an awesome feeling. I don't envy you, as Iraq doesn't sound like much fun, but I do thank you for serving our country in Iraq.
    As far as business is concerned, these guys are right. Even a local college with basic business classes for awhile wouldn't hurt. My suggestion is use the college money you EARNED and get hired on with a local landscape company while you go to school. During this time you can get a feel on what variety of services you want to offer, and where you might best spend the initial money to start your business. There might be a piece of equipment you use working for someone else that you realize is a must have tool. Some tools you might realize are not as necessary or can be rented initially. It will be tough to start with zero experience. You might also realize after working for someone else that you don't like the biz or you will know without a doubt this is your best career choice. This might sound like I am raining on your parade, but in all reality, it is tough to start a business and you would be better off with a little experience first. Although for starters, you can put on your resume that you know how to use an "e-tool". Hooaaah. :usflag:

    Don't forget about this site! There is a wealth of information on here, and time spent on here is more practical knowledge to put to use than some of the college classes you might take. Good luck, and thank you for your service!
  7. Jordan River

    Jordan River LawnSite Member
    Posts: 48

    First, Thank you for your service. I'm glad you made it out ok. Now, before you go and start a business without much knowledge, I would suggest you do go to work for a landscaping company. Or a "lawn mowing" company...whichever you want to do. Keep your head low, eyes and ears open, ask questions, and LEARN!!! Good luck to you!!
  8. 6'7 330

    6'7 330 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,823

    Basically, my advise would be pretty much along the lines of the previous posters.Collage biz classes, landscape, turf classes, hort, pesticide. Biz is more then physical labor, it also about knowing your costs, demographics,dealing with demographics etc.As said by previous posters, get the knowledge as well.

    Thanks Soldier for keeping this country free. Nephew was Army , Didn't make it back home in 04.

    Best of luck in your business endeavor.
  9. Evergreenpros

    Evergreenpros LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,155

    If you aren't 100% sure on what to do to be successful, look around and do what other successful people are doing. Copy them, don't critique them.
  10. Cavalry624

    Cavalry624 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Hey thanks a lot for the amount of replies. After reading all of them I will definitly, however grudgingly, return to doing college courses. But I am going to have to take it slow. Being out of school for an extended period of time worries me because I have not been in a real classroom enviornment in a long time. Also I will definitly look into getting hired by a landscaping company, maybe if I can just prove I will work hard and learn quickly they will give me the opportunity to try without any experience. Thanks a lot guys. :)

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