Few questions.... Help!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by T.Heck, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. T.Heck

    T.Heck LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    First thanks for the great site! I'm here for and I would like to get some info from the experienced business owners on starting up a lawn care business.

    Since you might need some info first. Im from a town called Freeport, Illinois with a pop of 35,000 people. Freeport does not have alot of jobs but i still think mowing will be profitable. Im 23 and looking to get in to lawn mowing to make ends meet (not to become rich). I want to just do resident lawns nothing major yet. I plan on gambling my tax return in to a lawn care
    business (advertising and equipment). So far my plans for advertising is Local news papers, Automobile magnet and flyers. I will be buying a new push mower (unless i find a good deal on a dixon), weed eater and clean up tools to start. Im just kinda lost on everthing so all comments will help. My goal is between 30-40 lawns weekly. Should'nt be hard to average 1 lawn per 1,000 people right? Well guys when i think of more questions i will post but right now im just lost (need to start writing questions down). Thanks in advance for all who help. Sorry for my grammer to!



    Questions:

    What is different ways of advertising that worked best for you and got business rolling in the right direction?


    How do you charge your customers/bid on lawns?

    What is your input on insurance on the early stages of your business?

    What would be a good title for lawn mowing.... Can you really call it " lawn care "..... Or would it be considered lawn mowing? I want to sound professional without lieing.

    Would you make a name for yourself even though your just starting out? Or does that come later? I know it would be hard to make flyers and advertise with out a name but i just dont wanna look like a moron.

    Anything else would be great im all ears.
     
  2. Trinity Lawn Care  LLC

    Trinity Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 946

    First off welcome to LS and good luck with your new venture.

    1. I think that flyers are going to work best for you at this stage.

    2. How you charge really depends on your market, your expenses and your desired profit. All areas and companies will be different.

    3. I think that insurance is important no matter what stage. Accidents happen, and without insurance you could wipe yourself out before you even get off the ground.

    4.Name yourself whatever you want, but should be based off of what type of work you do. Lawn Maintenance, or lawn care would be fine.IMO

    5. I would start by making my business and all that goes with it, and then I would build on that business.

    I hope that is a little helpful. I wish that I could offer you more specific info to your area. You may want to do a search. You will probably find a lot of helpful info.
     
  3. T.Heck

    T.Heck LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    A thanks alot.... all is helpful!

    On the flyers what all would you put on them? Anything catchy or keep it simple. I know i will probly be using neon colored paper so its catchy to the eye. Anything other toughts on advertising or tips is great. I believe advertising is key to success.
     
  4. 6'7 330

    6'7 330 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,822

    At your stage, newspaper adds, flyer's, doorhanger's.You might check for direct mail rates in your area.As far as what to charge, nobody on here can tell you what to charge.As already posted, your costs, what rates your market will bare will be the determining factors.Business insurance is a must.

    Good luck.
     
  5. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 976

    Yes, insurance is a must. Find out what your states minimum liability limits are and start calling for quotes. Once you get a name go ahead and file all the proper paperwork through the local and state gov't. Trust me, being legal is a big "+". Had a friend who had to suddenly move out of state when he found out his next job was going to require him to wear a bright orange jumper and clean up garbage along the highways.
     
  6. Trinity Lawn Care  LLC

    Trinity Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 946

    News paper ads are fairly cheap. I would say simple is usually best. You want to say something that catches their attention, but don't go overboard.
     
  7. firefightergw

    firefightergw LawnSite Gold Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 3,340

    I don't know how much you expect to get back on your taxes but I can give some suggestions. I got started last year for under $2000 and had to turn work away by the end of last year.

    1. Go to the county courthouse and register a business name. Where I am from it cost $9.00. If you want to look professional, have a business name.

    2. Make sure that from the start, you maintain an accounting journal of what you spend (break it down to gas, equipment, advertising, etc.) In the journal also put each job you did and how much you charged. Date everything. On all your jobs, keep track of how long it took you and put that in your journal too. It will help you see if you need to charge more and what you are bringin in per hour.

    3. When you buy a blower, buy a good Back-Pack blower. You will pay more upfront but a good back-pack blower will save you sooooooo much time! It will pay for itself the first month. I bought an Echo.

    4. Don't go out and buy a riding mower or someone else's used junk W/B. Buy a good 21" mower. If you are primarily going to be doing residential lots, a 21" will get you anywhere. I bought a 21" Snapper residential model and used it all this year and will use it again this year. In my oppinion, the snapper's drive system is the best in the business and will give you years of trouble-free maintenance.

    5. Buy a good weed-eater, straight shaft only. I bought an Echo and I also use it on it's side for an edger.

    6. Advertise in the newspaper. A lot of times you can get a good price through the paper to be listed in it and in the local "Thrifty-Nickel" or "Penny-Saver" that is mailed out to everyone in the area. Find out what is available in your area.

    7. Flyers are profitable but the response can be slow. Last year I handed out 1000 flyers on doors in my market and got 2 regular customers. Those 2 customers certainly paid for the cost of the flyers if you do them yourself and take it to Office Max or some place to get them printed.

    8. Get some business cards made. Do them yourself if you can. You can use MicroSoft Publisher and buy business card paper to do it all yourself pretty inexpensive.

    9. Get in your truck and cold-call on small business such as gas stations, car lots (SMALL-used car lots), etc. Most of my business at start-up came from this but you have to have your business cards.

    10. Insurance. Insurance is a must but I wouldn't do it until you have a month or so under your belt. If you can afford it now, go ahead but I don't know why anyone would sacrifice the quality of their equipment like buying craftsman over snapper so that they could afford insurance.

    11. You will get to know what can charge in a short time. Whatever you make try to save it and do whatever you can to keep your cost down. By doing this, you will be able to step up and add a GOOD used walk-behing and it will be at a time when you can use it, not just to have it. When you get a 36" walk-behind or larger many will not go through the back gate of a lot of residential lots. That is why you will always need a good 21" mower.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. T.Heck

    T.Heck LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    Wow, Alot of good info guys. Now im feeling a little more comfortable and getting excited. Keep it coming.

    Thanks.

    Imma be calling the courthouse today.... Any other must haves if you regeister a name? (hidden fees)
     
  9. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    many places require a state license and also a vendors licence, and you may be required to collect sales tax, in some states you do, and in others you dont.

    dont wait on insurance get it right away....backpack blowers are great for leaves in the fall or big commercial lots, but if all your doing is residential for now you can get a handheld blower, cheaper and much easier to use when its 99 degrees out i see no reason to strap on a backpact to blow grass of the hard serfaces....
     
  10. get rich

    get rich LawnSite Member
    Posts: 195

    Business license, then insurance. Call around for quotes,should cost more than 300 bucks a year. Otherwise call rockford. I pay 275 a year for million liablity, and 10,000 coverage of equipment. No vehicle on my bus. ins. though which this year i have to switch it outta personal and into that, so it'll go up 1000 a year. But id say that unless your real cheap, your goals on 40 are high. Unless you guys got some big spender neighborhoods round there. Istarted last year and only ended up with maybe twenty or some weekly cuts. So i had to sell lotta fertilizing and landscaping. That with about a 1000 fliers. I'll get back too ya on here later for more helpful info later.
     

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