Getting in over my head??

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Desoto_Lawn_Care, May 13, 2007.

  1. Desoto_Lawn_Care

    Desoto_Lawn_Care LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Posts: 49

    One of my co-workers that I cut for bi-weekly says his boss at his other job is looking for a new lawn service because the current one is raising its prices. I talked to his boss on the phone and went over and looked at the property - it's about 1 1/2 acres worth of grass and the hills going down into the pond look intimidating. It's a large warehouse in a business park so theres alot of curbs. They are expecting my bid this week and its year-round work but I'm having second thoughts because its 30 minutes away and I don't even know where to start when it comes to pricing this job, not to mention the hills that slope down into the pond.
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    If it's an association or group-owned commercial lot, I would stay away from it, more so if you have less than 4 years in... When I was new, a respected old man told me you really need at least 4 years in to deal with commercial props, and I'm glad I followed the advice: I took one on last year (my 5th), and I got took to school :laugh:

    Solo operators such as myself do not have the resources to deal with 100+ members, most are ok but all it takes is 1 or 2 to start making life miserable, you really need a system and employees in place to help buffer the bs.

    Beyond that, the one I did was only a 1/2 acre of grass spread out over a 4-acre property (with curbs) used to take me at least 3 hours but really 4 just to cut and trim. The amount of grass isn't so bad, even the trimming wouldn't be too tough, but it's the sheer land of it and the curb-jumping omg!!!

    I used to dread it, and I'm good at curb-mounting (or so I thought), man I used to have to mount and unmount that Wb over at least a dozen curbs to get to the grass... The unmounting part is easy, you just drive off the top, but still you have to pay attention, but the mounting (getting it up the curb) is something else... A z is easier than a Wb to mount, but it takes longer, too.
    With a Wb, you just pop a wheelie and drive with the rear tires until they touch the curb, then drop the deck on the surface (which lifts the rear tires). Now get under the fixed bar and LIFT, it's really not bad because you only have to move it forward 6 inches or so, but once I got much past 6-8 of these it about made me want to start throwing things around :cry:

    Last but not least, the previous Lco probably had good reason to raise the price, I mean if you want to make a hard buck and plan on not finishing out your contract, then you might give it a shot but you'll be 2-3 or 4 months down the road and that loss will leave a gaping hole in your income.

    In my case I survived, but I didn't finish out the contract either, should've seen it coming but I'm stupid :laugh:

    So I wouldn't, but that's just me.
  3. Desoto_Lawn_Care

    Desoto_Lawn_Care LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Posts: 49

    Thanks for your advice Topsites. Right now I am unlicensed and uninsured. It will be awhile before I can afford another mower like a WB. All i have now is my Z-turn and trimmer/edger/blower, plus some other small equipment. Right now my co-worker is telling me to take the job because its exactly what i need to go bigtime. I know this job would take hours by myself and im not afraid of hard work. My problem is im not experienced doing large commercial accounts, especially ones with lots of curbs and steep slopes going into ponds and the last thing I want to do is drive my brand new Z-turn right into a pond. I just want to start out slowly, doing smaller flat yards like neighbors and family. God I need ya"lls help. I'm expected to turn in a bid this week and part of me wants to do this and part of me doesn't. I don't want to underbid myself and end up hating the job for low money because I only like to do quality work.
  4. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    always have a company you can recomand...... this is what I Do. there will always be jobs too large for you.... I turned down work this morning
  5. ALarsh

    ALarsh LawnSite Silver Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 2,412

    I have had great luck with commericals. Not one complaint, a bonus at the end of the year and want to continue next year at higher prices. I'll take it.:drinkup:
  6. Prestige-Lawncare

    Prestige-Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 753

    I would be surprised if they would even consider hiring you without liability insurance. Also ... with the intimidating steep hill leading down to the pond ... I would recommend you wait until you have a WB to handle this.

    As mentioned above ... maybe wait on the commercial accounts ... especially ones like this.

    As for insurance ... I would get some right away. Stop and think of what all can happen using your power equipment in a commercial manner like running a LCO.

    I won't even mention taxes .. but I imagine someone else will here shortly. :usflag:

    MOWEMJEFF LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 278

    No license no insurance....I stay away from commercial because I'm in the same boat at the moment, one rock through a window and it's right out of your pocket.
  8. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,510

    When the rock takes out the window the expense will probably be just a little less than your deductible. Out of pocket anyway. You still need insurance, especially for personal injury to bystanders.
  9. 1cooltreeguy

    1cooltreeguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 630

    We blow out 3-4 windows a year and it ALLLLL comes out of my pocket. I am liscensed and Insured. I would never put a window on my insurance.

    MOWEMJEFF LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 278

    I don't have insurance so I don't know what I'd do, hopefully by the end of the month I will. But i had to spend $350 out of pocket to replace a sliding glass door so I used that as an example.

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