I've decided to give this a try...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by E&MLandscapeServices, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. E&MLandscapeServices

    E&MLandscapeServices LawnSite Member
    Posts: 40

    Well, I am new to the business - extremely new. I haven't even mowed my first lawn yet... but I have two annual contacts signed and mowing begins next week. I am fairly certain that I will have about 10 contracts by the end of the month - of course, they are all people I work with. I am definately glad I found this site - its been extremely helpful.

    I spent most of the day working on my business plan, registering my business with the SC secretary of state's office, applied for/received my federal EIN, set up my bank accounts, etc.

    Tomorrow, I will negotiate prices with a local nursery for plants/supplies and see what happens.
     
  2. Bustus

    Bustus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 181

    You're on your way!:clapping:
     
  3. E&MLandscapeServices

    E&MLandscapeServices LawnSite Member
    Posts: 40

    It happened as a surprise actually. A coworker just completed his new house and was very 'proud' of it and I went to see it. He was talking about his landscape job and we started talking about his Japanese Maple and I told him I just bought a few of them for my yard... and then he said he knew nothing about maintaining a lawn, trees, etc - so I offered to 'take care of it' for him for a price. He took me seriously and here we are.... he is paying me $75 a week and I am having his yard mowed, edged, mulched, fertilized, etc - trees and hedges pruned... 'the works'. He will pay for those extra services as they are performed. We were at the office talking and our former manager overheard us and asked me if I wanted more business - and now he is a client also.

    Now I am responsible for 2 lawns with more coworkers reviewing their own Landscape Maintenance Contacts. Since I work 40-60 hours a week, I have hired an employee part-time until the other contracts come back signed. Then he will move to full time. He has agreed to take several classes at a local community/technical college to learn the trade so he will be more efficient and able at his work. He stands to benefit as I gave him a 'small' ownership in the company - in addition to his hourly wages.
     
  4. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    you shouldnt work for friends, familly, or neighbors......and hiring an emplyee is very expensive, you have to pay workers comp... match sos sec... taxes........ very hard to do when first starting out....

    good luck
     
  5. E&MLandscapeServices

    E&MLandscapeServices LawnSite Member
    Posts: 40

    I'm not required to carry workers comp (yet) - not enough employees. I am offering him health insurance as a benefit - he can use that if he is injured. As an 'owner' in the business he doesnt actually count as an employee and his income will be his responsibility to file taxes quarterly, if necessary. I did arrange for him to use the services of my accountant at no expense to him. In case I ever need it, I did open a tax withholding account with the state Dept of Revenue. Would be nice if I did need it - that would mean my business was expanding the way I want it.

    I decided to network to try to rapidly expand my new business using contacts I already have. I took today off from my 'real' job and met with a home builder that I have known for several years who agreed to distribute my marketing material to his clients - hopefully, that will work out because this particular builder has 2 subdivisions underway with the home prices starting at $200K (average home price in my area is around $135K). Then I met with a nursery to discuss prices and reached a deal - for landscaping services: they design, we plant. They have several certified landscape designers on staff. The cost to me will be the plants/materials which will be wholesale + 3% - no fee for the design services. I will be responsible for collecting sales tax and submitting the taxes to the state for the plants and materials.

    I have a friend who is licensed by the state as a landscape architect - he does a lot of commercial/residential design work but doesn't do any of the installation or maintenance work... I am trying to set up a lunch with him for early next week to see if I can get any business out of him. I also found out another friend of mine is a Master Gardener with the Clemson Extension Service and she said that she would offer me any assistance I need for my clients - including visiting the client's homes and setting up fertilizing/pruning/etc schedules. I always knew that she loved gardening I just didnt know how much... and she is retired so she has a lot of free time. She said that she is 'required' to do so many hours of volunteer work for homeowners/farmers/businesses and she will use the time spent helping me towards her annual hour requirement.

    I decided not to canvass my own subdivision - I know some of my neighbors and I would NEVER want them for clients, regardless of what type of industry I was in. I do have a state senator that lives down the street from me that desperately needs to have a service maintain his lawn - he keeps getting busted by our homeowners association for his yard looking like crap. But I didnt vote for him and I wouldnt want him as a client either... he probably would stiff me on the bill.

    I thought I was hitting the jackpot when a friend offered me gas at 'cost' - until I learned his station only makes less than 15ยข per gallon. So gas will still be expensive... Nice to know that ExxonMobil made a higher profit in 2005 than any company in US history - bigger than the entire economies of 2/3 of the wealthiest countries in the world. I think I heard it mentioned before that ExxonMobil would rank 10th if they were their own country. No wonder they can afford to give their former CEO a $400 million retirement package - he did help them earn $36 billion in profit last year.
     
  6. Badgerz

    Badgerz LawnSite Member
    Posts: 122

    Oh man, don't get that started again.
     
  7. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 448

    :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:
     
  8. E&MLandscapeServices

    E&MLandscapeServices LawnSite Member
    Posts: 40

    While I complain about gas prices, I'm definately not complaining about my Fidelity energy fund that is up more than 70% in the last year...

    Thanks for the vote for success bobbygedd - I'm sure that most LCO's fail due to lack of business sense more than technical know-how, as is the case with most businesses. While I don't have very much hands on experience, I do have the ability to learn the trade - I also have an MBA which should help me avoid the pitfalls some would make when first starting out in business. I dont anticipate being out there mowing lawns - I can hire and train people for that. In the beginning, I do expect to check the work of my employee/co-owner but I won't micromanage him. I have known him for several years and I trust his ability to perform the work. When he was a teenager (which wasn't long ago), he was the person who mowed my lawn once a week for $25. He also had over 20 additional clients in our subdivision so he knows how to do lawn maintenance. The reason he stopped was to go to college... now he's back and I am offering him a business opportunity. Bobby - check back in 5 to 10 years so we can compare our businesses to see which is more successful & profitable.

    Horticulture has always been a hobby for me - but usually growing trees (dogwoods, Japanese maples, Japanese Pagodas, red and sugar maples to give to people I know) and trying to get my zoysia to grow in places it doesnt want to grow. Now it has turned into a business opportunity and there is no way I would turn it down. I will be a certified landscape designer within a few months, followed by certifications in basic horticulture, lawn maintenance and then as a nursery and garden center. I may even turn the 15 acres I own out in the country into a nursery center - grow, design, plant and maintain... full service.

    Hopefully, I can do a lot of large landscaping projects so I can justify buying a Bobcat skidsteer. My sister rented one over the weekend (for $238 a day) to tear up some of her land and start the process for her water garden. I went over and did the work for her and it was fun. The person working with me in starting the LCO said he would trade his car for a Bobcat. We are renting another one this weekend - I am sure we will find a use for it.
     
  9. Badgerz

    Badgerz LawnSite Member
    Posts: 122

    :clapping: :laugh: :clapping: If you need any help make sure and sign up for the online outreach course, "How It's Done" taught by Bobby G.E.D. :drinkup:
     
  10. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    Now that there's funny - I don't care WHO ya are!:)
     

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