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Great opportunity or wishful thinking

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by David B., Aug 15, 2007.

  1. David B.

    David B. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Hi all,
    as you will see, I'm completely new to this and therefor need some of your advice.

    this is what's happening.
    a friend of mine works many years for a company that sells John Deere equipment to golf courses.
    many times he gets offers from some of his customers and this last one is the one that might seal the deal.
    he is not interested in starting his own business, since his job pays him well, but he would become my silent partner and maybe when the company takes off and can afford it he would work for it too.
    long story as short as possible:
    a client wants to give us a contract to mow the property once or twice a month (what ever necessary to keep the city happy). It's 200 acre and the bid was $10 an acre.
    My friend will get the used tractor and the tow behind for around $10000.00
    by the time we add insurance and maintenance etc., it shouldn't be to hard to pay off my investment and run for profit within the first 6 month.
    I estimate to sit on the tractor for two days to get this done, that would be four days of work a month if cutting twice per month.
    We estimate 15 cuts a year = $30000.00
    Is this realistic?
    The idea is to get more of the same accounts and hire a full time employee and expend from there.
    even if it doesn't work out, I still can sell the tractor and the cutter and don't lose anything, if this were the only account for a year and it wouldn't be renewed.
    How realistic is it to get large accounts (50 acres plus), how realistic is the price of $10 an acre (only for flat land, no trees etc.), is this average, low or high?
    I have the time since I can make my own schedule. I don't want to deal with residential properties.
    I would also like to do work as a subcontractor.
    It seams that 4 customers like this would pay for the full time employee and leave a nice junk for myself.
    should I just grab the opportunity, or is this just wishful thinking.
    All ideas and tips are highly appreciated.
    thank you
  2. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    partnerships very rarely work out.... do i understate that you would be making no investment yourself, only the labor.....

    id see a good lawyer and talk about this, it may be a great opportunity........
  3. personally I wouldn't for $10 an acre, and for a $10,000.00 that tractor and mower better be in good shape to cover that much ground.
  4. David B.

    David B. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    I don't have the problem with the partnership.
    I run the company, I will make all decisions, I'm entitled to a set salary and after that the profits are split.
    I will make the investment of half the money that is needed (estimated at 7K) to start up.
    we have the legalities worked out and both agree.

    So, how much would you charge?
    did I mention he works for a company that sells equipment? he buys back used equipment very cheap and this is where we would get good equipment for very reasonable pricing.
  5. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    if you have not had a lawyer draw up contracts, your not covered... maybe you already did i dont know, but if you have no intention of doing this right, with a lawyer, then your doomed......

    see this thread
  6. Dunn's

    Dunn's LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,546

    $20 an acre here is what the crazy people charge for their beer money. Alos most people that have 50+ acres also have it labeled as Farm/Agricultural and in most places farm Agricultural does not need to be cut. So is it easy to get lots of 50 plus acres accounts sure it is. That why all of us on here cut 1000+ acres a week and make a million dollars a month.

    So what are you waiting for you should have been on this last week.
  7. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    YOU make all the decisions and will be the boss in this "partnership"?

    Better damn well get that in writing.

    200 acres with a tractor/bushhog? 30 bucks an acre minimum, $6K per cut and no less is what I'd charge if I had that type of setup... I also think it will take you more than 2 days to cut it. You say 2 days, if you're doing it 12 hours per day, that would be 8.3 acres per hour. I don't know how fast a tractor/bush hog setup is but I'm guessing that over 8 acres per hour is unrealistic. Someone who does wide area mowing can correct me if I'm wrong.

    You're not going to get much tractor and bushhog for 10K... Be prepared to spend a lot of money making repairs and the fuel cost will be signicant.

    MOW PRO LAWN SERVICE LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,566

    $10.00 bucks a acre,super low there is no way i am cutting cheap the cost of living, let alone of running a business.
  9. cutbetterthanyou

    cutbetterthanyou LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,178

    going rate around here is $80 - 100 a acre (bushogging) and there is no way you are doing 8 acres a hour thats crazy
  10. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    Doing it every 2 weeks it should go pretty quick, but why only 15 cuts a year? And where in south florida? Is there really that many areas that large around there that you will be able to pick up?

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