First Year In Business

Discussion in 'Original Pictures Forum' started by osmann_lawn, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. Andy31

    Andy31 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 142

    I can not even get "major tree work" on my policy through Hartford, so I stay away from it. Just something else to think about.
  2. M & L

    M & L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 291

    darryl is speaking the truth....
    you should listen..

    i started with a ranger, 8x5 trailer, and a 36 husqvarna hydo walk.

    did 5000 post cards in doors etc. (not mail boxes!!!)

    BAM 24 customers. had to buy a bigger trailer and a 48 ferris walk behind (miss that mower) to keep up to the work i now had! used to take me 5 days to do the work by myself.

    I now do atleast twice that in three days. including a 10 acre cemetery, a 2.6acre commercial, a 6.8 acre commercial and a 2.8 commercial......
    The cemetery with trimming takes 4.5 hours flat out.

    There is something to be said to mow at 9.2 mph

    Cautionary statement++++++ You are not there yet...u dont kneed that equip yet, but you do need commercial equipment....

    If you do the quality work u say you wont need to advertize again. I wasted 275$ on lawns signs - i got zero work. All my new work is referals (if i take it, keeping my route tighter and tighter)

    Take your time and do it right....As used to be told to me in the military

    IF your going to do it, do it right do it once.

    one last note, there was a thread on here about how to fail..cant find it but it was and still is an interesting read.
  3. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    My brother has his own tree cuting business. I learned a lot from him about trimming and pruning. I am pretty darn good at it! no idea about the license i know you need good incurance to cut down a tree! that is not my intenet. Just small tree trimming/pruning. I worked with him a little last summer. yes i know i will need comercial equipment. AT this time i can not afford it. If i got that 25 lawns i would be able to finiance it. There are many people who are unemployed who just use a push mower. i'm not too worried about the mower at this time. It runs and cuts just fine. I have a backup if it doesnt. Most people go out and buy commercial equipemnt and fail in 2 years because they cant afford it.
  4. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    I Work very hard. Never got anything handed to me and didnt have to pay for it. It is a little fustrating how much nobody on this form has no faith in me...
  5. JContracting

    JContracting LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,878

    A little background about me and my biz. I turned 20 in June, started my company officially in Feb 2011 as an LLC right away, not messing with a sole proprietorship, if you plan to ever have any personal assets you will never do a sole prop.
    I started out with a push mower and weed whip that my parents already had and a backpack blower that my dad bought for me and I paid him back as soon as I made back the money to pay him. I'm using my dad's pickup that he doesn't drive much unless he needs it as he drives 25 miles to work, however by next spring I plan to buy a diesel, the brand is TBD as of now. As soon as I'm able the future, I'd like to purchase my dad a new truck as a thank you for allowing me the use of his truck to start my career.

    I bought an Exmark Metro 48" from an auction that had completely screwed me, (ill start a pic thread of my own later on with more detail) but long story short it took until July with the amount of accts (had 8 at the peak of the season and it's now down to 3 and they're all cheap a$$es), thankfully a few decent sized landscape jobs have since made up for that.

    BUT, my advice to you being that were in a similar boat, GET A COMMERCIAL GRADE MOWER ASAP!!! Yes, tractors can stripe, but they take FOREVER!!! My 48" WB will mow acres beyond what a tractor can do. Look for an auction or craigslist or even this forum for a used commercial mower that has been maintained well and you'll be well off, just keep up on maintenance.

    For advertising I'd highly recommend doorhangers, I recently had plan-it design & print some for me for fall services and they turned out great. But with your biz cards, don't have the "3 free mowing" or w/e it is advertisement on it. IMO a biz card should be for contact info and services, that's it. And the biggest thing I just realized this week with doorhangers where you can write a price in, they work great, but put the address right below the price or somewhere near it. I'm almost positive one of my customer's screwed me when they switched doorhangers that had a much cheaper price than I placed on their house. You live and learn, take my advice with, as next spring I'll be using the left over doorhangers with the price area and will certainly be writing in at a minimum the house's address number.

    I'll definitely agree with you about remembering the starting days keeping a guy grounded, I've come a long way since June when all I had was a 21" for a mower. It just makes you think and you realize all you have accomplished.

    One more thing to the OP, keep yourself in formal education after highschool. Whether it be a 4 yr univ for business/accting/etc (which I did for 3 sem before pursuing Hort which is where I am currently), or a 2 yr tech school for Hort/Landscape and then going onto a 4 yr for the Bachelor's in Hort/Landscape.
  6. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    Thank You. I knew there was someone out there that started with a push mower! i only have 8 accounts right now. Also working a full time job at The Home Depot. As of right now speed is not an issue it is the accounts. I do not have enough. Business Plan- I am going to go HARD at it Feb, March, April, June with advertising. (newspaper, post cards & door hangers). My goal is to have 12 total accounts. If i get that many i will sell my cub cadet & buy a Exmark walk behind or ZTR not sure will figure that out when the time comes. I am getting all my marketing material designed and printed right now. So that i know when the snow starts melting i can start plugin away at it & not get behind. *that was a postcard design that you saw* 2 FREE lawn cuts when signing a contract. Is two free cuts two much? or should i just do 1? Let me know what you all think. Today is my last day for revisions. How much did the LLC cost you? how much do you pay in taxes for 8 lawns? if you want give me a call at (414) 550-5228 or shoot me an email at
  7. ny scaper

    ny scaper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 171

    Its not that these guys dont have faith in you...But when starting anything new, especially when younger (trust me, we were all there) we all think of the positives only, with little or no thought to the bad things that can and WILL happen. These guys are seriously trying to help you. This is to be your way of life and should be taken seriously and with every precaution.
    That being said, there is no need for an Exmark or Kubots Commerical with 8 lawns. Your Cubby will do just fine...for now. once you get up to the 15-20 range, then you need to think about a commercial mower. THERE IS NO NEED FOR A $5,000 MOWER TO SIT IN YOUR GARAGE 90% OF THE TIME AS YOU ONLY HAVE 8 LAWNS which is at most 1 day's work.
    I might get banged up for this but thats just the truth...Build slowly is right as so many have said, but that means your company, your equipment, and more importantly, keeping that overhead low as you can in doing so. So I disagree that you need a Commercial mower yesterday.
    Granted in a perfect world, I'd have an Exmark, F-350, a BR600Mag, and all the rest. But given my small operation, it is not necessary right now. Less bills equals more $$$$ to save.
  8. BPS##

    BPS## LawnSite Senior Member
    from WY
    Posts: 828

    The amount of money you are planing on spending in advertising should bring in far more than just 4 accounts.
    Are you ready for that much work?
    Other wise scale back your advertising dollars.

    I could go round up 4 new clients right now and not spend $100.
    Other than this is the wrong time of the year to pick up summer accounts.
  9. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    Thanks man i was kinda down about it all yesterday. I'm glad somebody see's my point! I am really trying and people around my town know of me as a good worker. I hope the word spreads! Your are absolutely correct it does sit in the garage a lot. When i do sell it the re sell value should still be around 2,000 i take really good care of it. Glad to see you are a Ford guy, a lot of people on here are Chevy! Ford F250 Powerstroke is the dream lol! Could you take a look at my postcard a few pages back? i would like to get your opinion?
  10. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,064

    I don't think that's the case. I'll trying to get you to look back and see the mistakes that I think you've made already and to look forward to see what the customary path of building a successful business is, because you seem like a good "kid" (yes I know you're an adult). It seems that you took the "build it and they will come" approach rather than the "start small and build as you go" approach. You do always want to be looking one step ahead so that you're not constantly having to replace everything as you go, such as buying a 4 x 8 trailer because that's all you need at the moment, but you should only buy what you need until you can justify buying what you want.

    Just be glad you aren't getting hammered on for not having a legitimate business and insurance. That should be your next step. In fact, that should have been your first step.

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