Getting things started...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Yung, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. Yung

    Yung LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Hello everyone! I'm new to this forum, and I was hoping ya'll could help me. First off I'm only 15, BUT I'm serious about making a lawn care business! I already have a lot of the thinking done, I've already chosen a name, prices, flyer blueprints, business name graphic, etc. But I need some advice from ya'll, I plan on getting this thing set off when I'm 16, can ya'll recommend some equipment name brands? I was thinking a Redmax weedeater, a z-turn riding mower(have no clue on name brand), a push mower(perhaps a toro?), a blower(no clue of name brand), and maybe an edger. Is there any other equipment you'll think I need? By the way, It'll be just me, I've thought hard on this and I think it would be a lot easier being a one-man crew, and also if you're wondering I've been doing small time business for about 2 years now, and I cut better than the lawn care businesses around here, so I'm quite experienced. Well aside from the equipment questions I had, if you can give me anymore advice I would REALLY appreciate it, and I will take it all seriously!
    Oh, one more question, will I be required to "register my business"? Like pay just to open it up? It's gonna be a home-based business.
     
  2. Yung

    Yung LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Of course no one takes me seriously, I shouldn't have added my age......
     
  3. dura to the max

    dura to the max LawnSite Silver Member
    from georgia
    Posts: 2,246

    well since i too started young then i'm gonna take you seriously. mowers brands are all pretty similar. it's kind of like the whole chevy/ford thing, very similar w/ small differences that give them there own uniqueness. same w/ trimmers, stihl, echo, redmax, shindaiwa have all given me great service and i would reccomend them to anyone. for me it boils down to dealer support, the dealer that takes care of me and treats me like a friend not just another dollar in his pocket. that said i would try to buy mowers and hand-helds from the same person.

    what brand you should get depends on what is available around you, and the type grass you cut. i personally run exmark/toro b/c of the dealer support but i have had great service from jd, scag, snapper, and dixie chopper.

    you do need to register your business, for me it is done w/ the county tax office and P and Z. get your home zoned to operate your business (its just a peice of paper) then take that to the tax office to get a license. also needed is general liability and workers comp.

    you will need a trailer as well. i prefer a 16' open trailer w/ racks and a cage for equipment. just starting out it's more versaitle to handle a variety of projects. i have a 48" w/b and a 52" z on mine and still have room for all the extras. i paid 2k for mine w/ a cage and trimmer racks.

    what you have listed sounds great to start w/. you ought to consider the stihl km series, it is commercial grade and you can have an assortment of attachments for the same power unit, this isnt the best way for me since i dont work solo and need more than one piece of equipment at a time, but its a great way to start.

    i would buy a used mower to start w/. you can get great commercial 48" belt drives pretty cheap. all the hype about hydros is true, but for a start-up you dont want to spend a lot of cash then go under. z's are great, but i was in business for 3-4 years before i bought one.

    you mentioned a push mower, personally i would not buy a commercial grade push mower. they have only little added productivity, and not worth the extra $700+ to get one.

    hope this helps, feel free to ask anything else.

    and if i were you i would try to start getting to know the dealers in your area. find the one that is gonna treat you like a human even though you are young, and that will stand behind the equipment that he sells. i started dealing w/ a shop here when i was 13 and he treated me like any other "commercial" guy. i have stayed w/ him since.
     
  4. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,273

    Like duramax, I too started young when I was 10, just going around my neighborhood (I'm only 17 now but have over 40 customers, and service at least 15 per week). You should start doing your homework on equipment. Like above dealer support is a HUGE factor when buying any piece of equipment. My biggest mistake was buying my bob-cat from the dealer in my city, they are horrible and not easy to work with. I just recently found a Toro/Stihl dealer that is extremely easy to work with and understands that I do this commercially, so from now on I will be buying all of my new equipment from them.

    You don't need to start out with the best, most expensive equipment. If you have the money to spend go for a hydro walk-behind. A walk-behind should last you for quite a while. Just starting out a 48" should be a perfect size for you. 21" are nothing to spend thousands on, if you are going to use it for all your lawns then you should spend a little extra money for a higher quality one but if it is just going to be used for gated backyards then don't spend a lot on one.

    Handhelds are pretty similar no matter what brand you will get, some just have a few different things on them than others. You won't need all the greatest handhelds as you are just starting out. Get a straight shaft trimmer and a backpack blower. Make sure that you at least get the commercial grade ones though, those will last you much longer than the homeowner grade.

    Try and narrow down what brand equipment you want to buy. For mowers I would recommend Toro, Exmark, and John Deere (those are really the only ones that are in my area and I have any experience with). For handhelds I really like Stihl and have used them since I started. Do some research on the company websites to see which piece of equipment will suit you the best. Also go to dealers to talk face to face with them and tell them your situation and what you are looking for. Dealers will help you figure out the prices and really be very helpful in finding a mower for you. And see if you could demo a mower for a day on a couple lawns before you buy it.

    You are going to find that there are many expenses that you will have to pay. There is liability insurance ($1 million policy is usually enough and common), workers comp, business lisences, etc. Make sure to go through all that before starting up your business.

    If you have any more questions feel free to ask. BTW I noticed you said that you had your prices figured out, I hope you realize that each lawn is a little different. Ex: if I have 2 lawns the same size but one has more obsticles than the other then it will be more even though both are the same size. Best of luck to you!
     
  5. SNAPPER MAN

    SNAPPER MAN LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,443

    Yung. Do you have aim because I too am young and could be of help.
     
  6. dura to the max

    dura to the max LawnSite Silver Member
    from georgia
    Posts: 2,246

    snapper man, i have aim as well, pm me and ill get a screen name for you. by the way i believe what you said in your post about the type business that you run at 15.
     
  7. FinerCutslawnCare

    FinerCutslawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,385

    I run exmark, echo trimmers and stihl blowers....that is wat I prefer and that is all I really see where I am located at...
     
  8. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,096

    I would say start off small. Them ztr's are great but for getting your foot in the door, a 21" mower may be the best thing for now. See how many accounts you can scramble from now till the end of the season. Over the winter, I'd be stopping by dealers to see what specials they have on mowers (maybe trades) and see about a commercial walk behind.

    As far as handheld equipment goes, What do your local dealers carry. I started off with a SRM 210 Echo trimmer. (Stil use it after 4 years) I also got a pb 403 echo back pack blower. It got me started and I just expanded from there. Good luck. Like tho others have said, if you want to talk on AIM, I'm not on a whole lot but shoot me a pm and I'll send you my screen name.
     
  9. dura to the max

    dura to the max LawnSite Silver Member
    from georgia
    Posts: 2,246

    i dont think he can pm yet.
     
  10. Yung

    Yung LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

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