getting started mininmal experience

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Property Plus, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. Property Plus

    Property Plus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    Hi everyone im new to the site and new to the business
    im 23 years old and willing to work hard for my business

    i have minimal landscape experience basically only doing household stuff, maintaining our property etc..

    i want to start next spring by mowing/maintaining, and doing weed and feed.
    i want to get a tank on my truck to do spraying and as well do plowing in the winter.

    what sort of things do i need to do to get started.
    i know with having limited experience in the field i will be limited to how much stuff i can provide for my customers. but like i said im willing to work hard and learn as much as i can from the pros on this site and reading alot of books on how to's.

    i would like to be able to do full blown landscape design and provide everything to my customers with firtilizationg and the weed and feed, to maintenance etc..

    i dont know how to use heavy equiptment like a skid steer to digging beds will be hard for me to start off doing..

    if anyone has any info please shoot it my way.

    thanks in advance!
  2. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    My opinion is you start small. No way you are going to be able to provide all those services in the beginning.
    Stick with mowing your first couple of years, and plowing in the winter.
    Your biggest hurdle in the beginning will be finding customers. As your customer list grows, then slowly you can begin to offer other services such as fertilizing. I am not sure about Canada, but here in the U.S. you need to be licensed to apply. You can't expect to fertilize without some general knowledge of grass types, weeds, and pesticides.
    Start small, make sure you are truly interested in this industry, before you dive in head first.
  3. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    VERY Good and VERY TRUE Advise......start small, esp since you really don't know how to do all of those ting yet, not to mention some of them such as the spraying and LS design will require aditional governmental licensing. Start just basic lawn maintenance (cutting grass) and build as you learn.

    OR, better yet work for someone else first to learn the business.

    Good we all started somewhere and started small I assure you. My first year, many, many years ago I remember making $2500.00 for the year......the WHOLE YEAR! My business has been blessed and today I have crews that do that and more every day.
  4. GardnerLandscaping

    GardnerLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 310

    I found full service a good way to start because you have the extra time to learn and gives you extra work until you have a full schedule. Just be honest with your customers so they know what to expect.

    Spend time with the books. Knowledge can help prevent learning the hard way by experience.

    I use a small 4-cycle Honda tiller to dig up the beds and garden rack to spread it back evenly. If the tiller is taking too much time to dig deep enough, I'll go back with a shovel to dig the holes.

    Tilling also helps break up the dirt enough to mix it easily with a soil amendment.

    Sometimes you don't need a soil amendment if you have a hardy plant and the dirt is already well mulched.

    I'm sure you'd want to expand your arsenal for more specific digging equipment. I'm sure other people have better advice on how to work the soil for installation. Of course, the books will probably give you better advice.
  5. GardnerLandscaping

    GardnerLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 310

    Always call before you dig to have underground utilities marked, even if it is an area where you wouldn't think anything is. People are known to run utilities in weird places, even in backyards.
  6. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    Offering full service is for the seasoned pro. Offering to sell services that you know nothing about is a good way to get yourself in HOT water. :dizzy:
  7. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,096

    When you have this "extra time" you speak of, do you work this time for free or do you charge the customer while you learn?

    I don't know about your customers and your business plan, but I know that my customers would not want to be used as gunea pigs for my first time trying something extreme.

    If you want to try new stuff that is larger and more complex, I would either do it on my own property, or work for someone to gain knowledge and techniques for doing it the correct way. (This would apply to retaining walls, walkways etc) JMO
  8. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,164

  9. Property Plus

    Property Plus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    thanks guys!

    i know i will have to start off very small. the reason i dont want to work for someone else is that the pay wont be enough. 8-10 bucks an hour wont really cut it.

    right now im working for my dads courier company making very good money but its not what i want to do.

    i am trying to get all the information i can about landscaping and i plan on doing alot of research and reading over the next few months untill spring comes. and hopefully by then i'll have a good understanding of what needs to be done with certain things. also working for my dad right now will enable to me out right own most of my equiptment by spring.

    i hope to get a riding mower, a push mower, a gas powered trimmer, rakes, shovels, trailer, plow and whatever else i may need. i'll try to have most of it paid for so im not in debt starting out.

    the book someone mentioned i actually just won on ebay with many other books.

    im also going to be taking a course at the local college that is basic landscape skills, i think its geared more towards the home owner but it will be usefull knowledge im sure.

    if there is anything else people could let me in on it would be greatly appreciated!

    thanks again
  10. GardnerLandscaping

    GardnerLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 310

    I work for a modest charge, but most here would call it working for free. I call it getting paid for education.

    I'm honest about my experience and many rather pay half the amount to give someone new a chance. This is part of expectation management.

    Got the books on how to do it the right way. Got some personal experience as well. But yes, if you feel you're in over your head, don't hesitate to outsource, watch, and learn. Sometimes, still, the book will tell you more about how to do it the right way over the professional with experience. If there are differences, ask the professional with experience as to why.

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