I'm just starting out

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by ChadD, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. ChadD

    ChadD LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Posts: 9

    I actually havn't even started yet, but I moved into a new development, which isn't even a third complete, and I think I'm in a good area to start up a lawn service. I'm in Concord NC. All I plan on using at first is a push mower, gas trimmer, and a broom. I'll get a blower and edger when I can afford it.

    I go to school at night and do nothing all day (just got out of the military) so I need an income. I've read through tons of posts and this is a great site. I'm glad I stumbled upon it.

    I'm pretty lost when it comes to estimates and what to charge, but I was thinking about just getting out there, handing out a lot of flyers, and seeing what happens. I figure I can learn pricing as I go. All the lots are under an acre, with really small yards (some are a little bigger) so I was thinking maybe $30 per job. Here is a pic of the neighborhood. I don't think these lawns will take more than two hours:

    http://pic2.picturetrail.com/VOL986/3583148/9203985/132802836.jpg
    This is what the landscapeing looks like when the houses in the area are first built:
    http://pic2.picturetrail.com/VOL986/3583148/9203985/132802657.jpg

    I'm also lost when it comes to contracts and how to work all that stuff. I'll keep reading though. Anybody else do good starting out this way? I'm also interested in how you all handle small jobs like this. Per cut? Weekly contracts, monthly contracts, or yearly? Any advice specific to the info I gave would be great!

    Chad
     
  2. jbone

    jbone LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    well im pretty new to the biz too but it sems like a landscpe software program could help you out a lot. some are a bit pricey but will help a lot. unfortunately I cant speak from experience but im looking into it too. Theres just too many different ways of estimating to get the answer you really want. theres lots of different opinions. do a search on landscape software and see if theres anything that meets your needs
     
  3. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    youll be out of business before the end of the summer, thats way too cheap....and you need the equipment now.... go to the library and get a book on creating a business plan.......or maybe work for another lawn company for a while and learn
     
  4. ChadD

    ChadD LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Posts: 9

    Wow, $30 is way too cheap for these laws? This may end up being more profitable than I thought. Thanks for the replies.

    [​IMG]

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  5. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    you said two hours work.....
     
  6. ChadD

    ChadD LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Posts: 9

    I don't know, I'm lost when it comes to pricing/estimating. I'll have to see what others in the area are doing and do a few myself. What do you charge per hour?
     
  7. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    one buck a minute with a 25 dollar minimum.....
     
  8. Badgerz

    Badgerz LawnSite Member
    Posts: 122

    Those lawns look more like 20 minute/half hour lawns from where I'm sitting. Might just be me.

    If you're getting $30 for those I'd say you're fine.
     
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I do agree with the rest of the guys in that you need a little more of a plan, a little less fly-by-the-seat of your pants.

    Most of us didn't jump into this with whisks and brooms and nail clippers. We may not have had the latest and greatest but when I started, I had at least two old used 52" Wb's, a commercial new weed-eater and a commercial new backpack blower (not to mention shovel, rake, barrow, spreader, tarp, 10-tine pitchfork and a bunch of nickel-and-dime bs adds up to a grand or so... And oh yes, a very old and decrepit but working 3/4 ton truck with a new 6x12 single axle trailer.

    I would recommend finding a job and working for the next 3-4 years as you put aside 5 or 10 thousand dollars because unless you have spare cash, you will likely not make it past July.

    ////////////////////////////////
    As for the $60 / hour that is with a commercial mower and 4+ years experience so I can cut and trim one of those postage stamps in under 30 minutes... I'm sorry but they just don't look very big and if you need the business, I would certainly recommend 30 dollars as that is a good starting price... At the same rate, you could bid them at 35 but again you need to look the part or you will be doing them kinda lots for closer to 20 dollars each because it's hard to bid high with a fly-by-night looking outfit (no offense, I'm just saying first impressions mean a lot and even then we get skru'd lol).
     
  10. ChadD

    ChadD LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Posts: 9

    Very interesting advice. I do have a rake, shovel, and truck, and gas cans and things like that. I could get a blower and edger. At first I don't think I'll look the part. I think that comes with experience. I'm starting from scratch here.

    Those lawns are as small as they look and I may have over estimated at two hours. Anybody else feel free to give your two cents. This is helping a lot. I'll continue to read through the older threads too.

    How would you set up accounts with these small yards? Would you do contracts and charge per month? Or just stick with no contract and get payed after each cut?

    Thanks!
    Chad
     

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