Help! How Do I get Started in this Business

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by XOFMOT, Jun 11, 2001.

  1. XOFMOT

    XOFMOT LawnSite Member
    Posts: 161

    Hello all, and thank you for such a wonderful site!

    Here's my situation....I work a 9 to 5 job at this present time, I want to GET OUT! No, this is not some type of crazy "SPUR OF THE MOMENT" feeling, I have had this inner feeling for at least the past 10 years... I have a vast amout of questions concerning this business that I don't have answers for. Please bear with me, but I want to do this right. Are you ready?...here they come..Like I said before, I am employed by an "ELETRONICS COMPANY" at this time, and want OUT! How would you suggest I go about breaking into this business? My cousin is an attorney, and he has been a very helpfull guide on the LEGAL end of the business. I Have a company name, as well as a private home business phone line installed at my home at this time. Now I need customers...All I have for equipment is a 21" mower, gas powered Trimmer, Gas powered backpac blower, Gas powered hedge trimmers, rakes, shovels and so on... I also have a new pick-up truck as well. Do I need to go out and buy one of these walk behind mowers? or will the good ol' 21" mower be suffice for awhile? I have a few thousand dollars I can initially put into this business to get it off the ground but where to I put it? It is now almost the middle of JUNE, is it to late for this year to get involved?

    How do I get customers? I have read many a forum stating that FLYERS are a good route to follow? Does it work? How do you distribute these FLYERS? My yellow pages must have about 6 pages of listings for LANDSCAPERS. I am not a landscaper nor will I claim to be one, I just want to mow some lawns! Should I advertise in my local paper? What type of properties should I concentrate on? I would like to stick with RESIDENTIAL properties mostly due to alot of the NEGATIVE responce I read on this site for commercial accounts. What type of areas should I target? I live in a MIDDLE CLASS area, but 15 minute away is a very UPPER CLASS AREA (minimum cost of home would be in the neighborhood of $750,000). PLEASE HELP!!!!!!


    Tom
     
  2. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,810

    It's never too late....

    Don't quit your day job just yet! Put some flyers out and see if you get any response. How big are the yards around you? That will determine what size mower you will need. I would at least start with a 36" commercial walk behind.

    Good luck...
     
  3. Holloway Lawns

    Holloway Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 253

    Flyers do work, classified ads do work, a 21" is a must and if the lawns in your area are 6000 sq ft or more go with at least a 36" w/b get insurance and do good work and you will get one two three customers then five, ten, twenty and so on. If you have any more questions I will be glad to try and help e-mail me at HollowayLawns@aol.com What brand of equpt do you have now?

    Good luck
     
  4. parkwest

    parkwest LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 678

    The first thing I would do is a market analysis. Find out what the market will bear. Then figure out your production rate with your equipment,your cost per hour for overhead and expenses. If you don't know these numbers how will you know what to charge people if you start passing out flyers.

    Next, do a business plan. Ask yourself what you hope to make an hour and see if this number fits your market. If not stick to what your doing. A lot of start-ups make the mistake of seeing cash-flow as income. Be sure to include all expenses to run your business.

    Remember, basically what you are doing is renting your equipment to the customer and charging for labor. I see lots of guys say they don't have any overhead because everything is paid for. The equipment doesn't last forever. If you don't include office expenses, including fair rent on your home office, it's like letting the public use your house for free.
     
  5. XOFMOT

    XOFMOT LawnSite Member
    Posts: 161

    Thanks For the reply to all so far!

    The LAWN size of the properties in my area VARY! anywhere from 3000 square feet to 20,000 square feet. Equipment that I have at this time is purely "HOMEOWNER GRADE" equipment. A Craftsman 21" mower, Craftsman 17" 32cc string trimmer, Craftsman 18" 21cc hedge trimmer, a HOMELITE back pack style blower,and the regular ol' rakes,shovels,brooms...and so on.
     
  6. Nathan

    Nathan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 193

    So many enter into the industry uninformed without any experience except cutting their own lawn. If you really think you want to do this go work for someone else first and gain as much experience and info as you can. Trust me, running a business is much more that most think, especially if you aren't already a pro at the actual tasks you are trying to sell.
     
  7. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Posts: 1,578

    good advice already given and it seems you have a good sense of how to start legaly etc...only one thing I don't agree with ...negative response to commercial accounts.... I have nothing bad and everything good to say about commercial accounts....Perhaps it is not the best way to start???? Not really sure why not.... we did , but it was from a list of long standing customers from the landscaping and snow removal business.... we started last year doing maintenance and it has really taken off.... I have learned a ton of stuff this past 2 years and need to learn alot more but what a thrill to see this division start from nothing into a profit making business... I would probably suggest starting with a 48in walk behind...not much you can't do with one of those....good size to small...best of luck to you...keep us posted.
     
  8. XOFMOT

    XOFMOT LawnSite Member
    Posts: 161

    NATHAN,

    Thank you for your advice. I have worked in this industry for about 2 years when I was younger (about 16 years ago) I got out of it due to school. I enjoyed it then and my feeling has not changed. Yes it would be beneficial to go and work for someone but I feel that the only reason they would hire me would be as a HIRED HAND/LABOR. I really don't think (I may be wrong) that the business owner would let me follow him around all day and gather "BUSINESS" information from him/her. I understand 100% on what your point is just to make sure this is really for me. I am 110% sure it is. Heck, I even take care of a local volunteer Firehouses' property for no charge because I enjoy working outside so much. As for the business end I have some formal education in that subject as well as family members who are in business' to use as resources. Thanks Again!------Tom
     
  9. Nathan

    Nathan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 193

    tom,
    My advice to work for someone else might not seem very enticing, especially if you are a laborer. However, all of the "little things that you would learn from all of those other laborers will make your work stand up at least equal to other pro's. I am sure everyone out there will attest to the fact that there are hundreds of little things that they do daily that would have helped immensely if they knew them from the start.
    Noone likes to be told that their idea isn't the best possible solution, but you may be happy if you take my advice. It is only that...my advice.
     
  10. Lawn DOG

    Lawn DOG LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 276

    Ok. Hear is my advice to you. First of all, because you are starting out, target the middle class. Make up a flyer and go to the subdivisions. You probably will get some calls from some cheapscates this time of year but you gotta start somewhere. They are more tolerant to beginners and the yards are usually smaller. It is a good place to learn the business. After you have grown, then go after the big ones. If you are serious about this then you should invest in a walk behind mower. This is a great machine and will pay for itself. Also, don't quit your other job just yet. Try to pick up some accounts and do them on your days off.
    I wish you lots of luck but hard work does pay-off.
     

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