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FT Teacher starting own lawn business w/ a few questions

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Buddha92SLC, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. Buddha92SLC

    Buddha92SLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    I plan on starting my own business this season. Services will include mowing, weed whacking, edging, and blowing. If the business does well I plan to offer other services like fall cleanup (leaves), and snow plowing in the winter. I have a few questions though before I get moving.

    Do you recommend buying any of these hyped up how to start a lawn buisness manual or Cd based informative packets advertised online? If so.. why?

    I plan on buying a Ford F150 4x4 pickup (easy to work on, 4x4 for plowing if needed in the future and affordable)
    Regular or extended cab and why?
    8ft or 6ft bed and why?

    Next comes the trailer... This is where I am really undecided. Some say use an open utility trailer, and others suggest a closed unit. Price is an issue because I'm don't want to take out any huge loans (trying to buy a house this summer). I don't have any garage to store my equipment when it is not in use, the only time I can use the garage is if something needs work done to it.

    Is most lawn equipment ok out in the rain in an open trailer?
    What do most of you do with open trailers when bad weather is on it's way?
    What are the benefits of open vs. closed trailers?
    Where can I find good quality used trailers?

    Last is my equipment which is pretty much decided. I plan on using regular consumer equipment until the other equipment (truck and trailer) are paid off. Once this happens, then I will shop around for more powerful, and money making equipment.

    In the meantime where are some good places to find used commercial equipment at affordable prices?

    Thanks for all your help. I've only been on the site a few days lurking, and I think I'm hooked. I look forward to hearing from people who are actually in this line of work instead suggestions from family and friends who don't know the first thing about lawn care. This is more addictive than the VW site I belong to!
  2. mulchmaster

    mulchmaster LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Posts: 212

    Everyone is different, and I don't know what you want to spend but I will try to help you out.

    As far as a truck get an 8 foot bed. You will always need more room and I think it looks more professional. Cab size? thats up to you, but if it's only for work go standard cab, imo.

    As far as trailers go, I wouldn't leave my equiptment out in the weather, thats how I make a living, and I have to rely on it. Benefits?
    open is cheaper, closed equpt. is safe, andout of the weather, plus its a moving billboard!

    As far as equiptment goes, buy commerical grade! If you plan on doing this for a while you don't want homeowners equipt. it will break down and probably won't last the season. The section for buying and selling equiptment on here always has good deals. But try to buy the best equiptment.

    Good Luck Andrew
  3. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,742

    All your answers are on this forum. Just type in a subject in the search box. Good Luck! Happy mowing!
  4. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,204

    Get the full size bed....can put tool box in and still have considerable room for stuff. Sounds like you have no choice but get a small closed trailer to keep stuff in 6x12' is nice size. I would try to pick up some good used mower like scag or exmark with belt drive to keep down cost....or even think about using a 21" unit. You could start with 21" and load it in the truck and wait on the trailer....alway easy to put a tarp on equipment each night.
  5. stuffdeer

    stuffdeer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,538


    First of all, I'm assuming that since your Subject said teacher in it, Your a teacher.

    Just a heads up before you start, I started getting all these calls from houses I knew my Competition had. I signed every single one of them.

    Turns out he was a teacher, and was un reliable in the spring and fall times.

    Just a heads up.
  6. Buddha92SLC

    Buddha92SLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    Yes this is true, I am a teacher. I however value my word, and wouldn't honestly consider a buisness that I couldn't handle. If it comes to that point, I will stop accepting more customers just to be able to keep current customers totally happy with their service.

    I'm kind of surprised to hear the response to consumer equipment first actually. My dad has had his snapper push mower for years and that thing keeps ticking.

    I thought about the truck more after typing my original post. 8ft bed would be the ticket that way if I need other supplies I have the availability of a bigger bed for hauling.

    Sounds like everyone is suggesting an enclosed trailer. Are there any well built enclosed trailer's out there not as pricey as a haulmark? Anyway I can make my own?. I am a pretty good MIG welder and wrench on cars in spare time.

    When you suggest an Exmark or Scag belt driven model... do you mean one of those fancy zero turn models or a push mower. Who makes a nice 21" commercial mower?

    Also when it comes to the blower, edger and whacker what companies are proven to last longer than the rest?

    Thanks again! Zac
  7. sollyj

    sollyj LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    I think our industry, should start getting licensing to become an lco, just like teaching, then it would be that much harder to lose contracts to people who think lawn care is just mowing. Good luck w/the buz, but our industry is going down hill and losing appreciation due to everyone just thinking Ill start a lawn service company. Different trucks, trailers etc.. are decided on from years of working with them, Ill tell you this isnt an easy industry, even with expierience!
  8. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    you say this season? The season has already started here for us.
    When do you plan on actually starting?
  9. Buddha92SLC

    Buddha92SLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    Well, I don't mean to tread on your response, but the only way to learn something is to actually do it for yourself. If it doesn't work out then it doesn't work out. I think it is actually better that I'm researching it, rather than just going out there taking up space in an industry that has many highly qualified people.

    Well, snow finally just disappeared this past week with the higher temperatures, so hoping to start as soon as possible. Afternoons and weekends, until I get enough accounts to be steady 40hrs during the summer. I however am not going to take on more accounts than I can service when the school year begins.
  10. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,785

    hmmmmmm where to start. by the sounds of it your going to be in for a rude awakening. first of all, your going to be MOWING GRASS. my opinion is you should be concentrating on a good reliable efficient mower. ive been to Pa a time or two and if you are in a more rural area the lawns a good size. id look into a good used ZTR so you can make a decent amount per hour. buy cheaper truck and affordable trailer until you can reinvest some.

    once you have the money, id definitely go enclose trailer especially with your situation (no garage) go home and throw a lock on it. but with limited funds you need to make due with what you can afford. as for the truck, if your thinking about plowing and your doing landscaping your going to want the shortest truck for plowing and the longest bed for landscaping. the best compromise is a reg cab longbed. go get your 60" ztr and make some money

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