Going Legit and need help - lots

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by leavesofgrass, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. leavesofgrass

    leavesofgrass LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Ok first, I was one of those people who did the odd quick job when I needed cash. I focused on bad lawns - people who obviously did not give a rat about their lawn and wanted it cut to a nub once every month or so. Did a few of these jobs the past year.

    So, in need of cash (desperate) I decided to throw a little more weight into the job and see what I could turn up. Made 600.00 in 2 weeks or about 30 hours of work doing odd jobs (mowing, leaf removal, laying out a garden etc.)

    Comes out to about 20.00 an hour. I read that to be successful one needs to make @60.00 and hour or a dollar a minute. Now I know why. My lawn mower needs a new filter, spark plug blade and a little more tender loving care, my blower is not strong enough to blow efficiently and my weed eater cord keeps catching (I think that's my fault).

    Here are my problems.

    1. I am cash shy - really shy.
    2. I can only work weekends since my evenings are rapidly disapearing.
    3. I am constantly underestimating the time a lawn will take
    4. when i ask for more than an average of say .45 a minute i get laughed at essentially (arkansas people mow really cheap here). I estimate and say oh 35.00 for this lawn thinking it will take an hour at best but ends up at 2 hours. Everyone wants leaf removal gratis.
    5. I bag????? have a bagger on the mower - good for leaf removal.

    So here are some questions.

    1. If I am not doing leaf removal, should I bag or just discharge? If I bag, should I charge extra?

    2. Should I charge by the bag on leaf removal or by the hour or job? Its really hard to tell how many leaves are on the ground and how long a job will take.

    3. What kind of blade should I get to optimize? I have a mulching blade.

    4. Should I ugrade my equipment? I have a 625 seriescraftsman 21", cheap blower and decent weed eater.

    5. As for the actual job. Do you trim first, mow first?

    really lost. are any of the books (offered here or on the web) any good for beginners.
     
  2. Sweet Tater

    Sweet Tater LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,123

    This is my first year in the biz, This place is the best info I have found. LS has good input sometimes its pro sometimes its con. Read everything in here, do searches for topics you think of, then ask if ya still don't find an answer
     
  3. Crusis

    Crusis LawnSite Member
    Posts: 40

    If they expect bagging gratis, then mulch. If they don't like that, then get another customer. We charge $4 per bag removed, $2 if we leave the bag with them which, in my opinion, IS gratis. You have to pay to dispose of the bag, and the bag costs money.

    Don't cheat yourself and do anything that costs you money because of a crappy customer. This isn't the first business I've run, and I can tell you that a bad customer is only a money drain. Move along. As an example, we were cutting my best friends yard. His wife started whining about stuff, so we dropped him. He and I laughed about it, but man was his wife mad.
     
  4. TheChiefsLawnCare

    TheChiefsLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 961

    as to crusis, ive heard that before. i cut 4 lawns for a guy that has rental property. he bitches that he has buds from the magnolia tree, sooo he asked me 2 bag his house for him, i said ok, and then he bitched that i jus cut over paper, sooo now i pick all that **** up. lol, im not gonna be a charity for this man, imma start charging more for each thing. hes starting to wine about different things. i jus cant afford to loose him right now as he is almost half of my business, which sux and is good.
     
  5. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    double the price at least..... i tripple the price
     
  6. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    good choice, you need to file your busines name with the state, get insurance, open company bank account, check if your state requires you to collect sales tax.....chek for any local permits

    dont wast money... anything you buy that is not commercial equipment is a wast, no value... wont last.... will let you down when you most need it, many have tried to go cheap and it NEVER works.... good luck
     
  7. GroundControlLawnCare

    GroundControlLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    JUST WANT TO DROP A LINE AND SAY I HAVE BEEN READING YOUR POST FOR OVER A YEAR NOW LIKE MOST OF WHAT YOU GOT TO SAY.YOUR RIGHT DOWN TO THE POINT!!!
     
  8. Southwest Lawns

    Southwest Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    Here are my problems.

    1. I am cash shy - really shy.
    2. I can only work weekends since my evenings are rapidly disapearing.
    3. I am constantly underestimating the time a lawn will take
    4. when i ask for more than an average of say .45 a minute i get laughed at essentially (arkansas people mow really cheap here). I estimate and say oh 35.00 for this lawn thinking it will take an hour at best but ends up at 2 hours.

    $35 had better be a really small postage stamp yard. People in this area will pay more.

    Everyone wants leaf removal gratis. They will pay for leaf removal and I mulch them (I only bag if it is specifically requested and then I try to talk about advantage of mulching or mulch and bag the remaining small amount of leaves)

    5. I bag????? have a bagger on the mower - good for leaf removal.

    So here are some questions.

    1. If I am not doing leaf removal, should I bag or just discharge? If I bag, should I charge extra? Yes

    2. Should I charge by the bag on leaf removal or by the hour or job? Its really hard to tell how many leaves are on the ground and how long a job will take.

    I would charge by the man hour... You have to know your costs and what profit you would like to make per man hour.......

    3. What kind of blade should I get to optimize? I have a mulching blade.

    4. Should I ugrade my equipment? I have a 625 seriescraftsman 21", cheap blower and decent weed eater.

    Get commercial equipment or you will be repairing/paying equipment more than you will be working.

    5. As for the actual job. Do you trim first, mow first?
    I have done it both ways....
    I prefer edge, trim, blow and mow...


    really lost. are any of the books (offered here or on the web) any good for beginners.[/QUOTE]
     
  9. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    i appreciate that very much... some think im kind of gruff, but i just beleive in telling it like it is
     

Share This Page