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Just looking for some advice

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by grasshawg, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. grasshawg

    grasshawg LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    I am a 36 yo Truck Driver who is sick and tired of listening to my kids grow up over the phone. I have always wanted to start a business, and I am very interested in the lawn care industry. I think I have a pretty good handle on being professional and impressing people.
    But I need some specific advice on the best equipment, how to bid contracts, and something I'm wondering about: Would it be worth my time to save my grass clippings and sell them somewhere? Is there a market out there for that stuff? Figured if there is, I can offset some of my business expense.
    Also, I have no surplus laid up to sustain myself until money starts to come in. Are contacts negotiated on a yearly basis paid in monthly installments? How does it all work? Or is it simply on a case by case basis--whatever you and a prospective client can agree on?
    I have a wife and three kids to support, so I have to hit the ground running!! Anybody got any suggestions that would be of help to me? Thanks!!
  2. Trinity Lawn Care  LLC

    Trinity Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 946

    Hey Grasshawg,

    Welcome to LS. First let me say that you are asking a lot of questions, and that is good. However, to many to answer in one post. You can find a lot of good valuable stuff using the search feature. There are plenty of people on here that have given some good solid advice. I can totally understand how you must feel about your kids. However, I am sure that you are aware that you are gonna be putting plenty of hours in getting your biz off the ground. Good news is at least you get to come home to your family every night. As far as equipment it really all depends on your budget. Clippings- I have not found any place to buy clippings in fact most places around here charge you to dump. The first thing that I would do if I were you is start putting together your biz plan. Then I would figure out what my budget is gonna be. I would then start doing some research on here. Then I would get myself set up to do business. Having a wife and 3 kids to support I definitely would recommend starting out part time as the biz is most likely not going to support you at first. I would definitely set the biz up right though and make sure that I had insurance etc., so you do not lose your neck and wipe out everything for you and your family. Sorry the post is so long, and I hop that this is at least helpful.
  3. Rhett

    Rhett LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,071

    Hey Grasshawg, Might want to look into a day job and mow evenings and weekends for the first year. Once you build up to a certain point you can make the decision to go full time. I know my first year was pretty scary. As far as equipment goes there is a wide range out there. Lots of posts out there for research. I personally wish I had skipped belt drive walk behinds and started out with the hydros. I run stihl and echo hand held but there are many others. Find a dealer that has parts on hand a service department and make sure you buy commercial. Might think you are saving money buying home owner stuff from one of the box stores but in the long run it will cost you money ad down time. All of my accounts are billed on a monthly basis and due in 30 days. Never heard of anyone selling grass clippings but who knows. Might be someone a little closer to your neck of the woods that would be able to tell you more about your intended market. I drove OTR for a while and don't miss it at all.

    Good Luck
  4. Trinity Lawn Care  LLC

    Trinity Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 946

    I agree best bet is to buy commercial it is just made to handle the work better. I am partial to Exmark, but there are many of other good brands out there. I to use Echo for my hand helds. Good Luck!
  5. grasshawg

    grasshawg LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    Thanks for all the quick replies. I'm always open to suggestions, so don't be a stranger, everybody! Rhett, you gave me an idea. I haul propane gas regional. Maybe I can transfer over to the local delivery side and be home every eve. to work on LS. Only thing is, propane is pretty busy in the winter. What's the best time to start LS? I'm thinking March or April. (I'm in East Texas.) But now is the time ot get set up so I can be ready to go then. Let me know if this sounds do-able. Again, guys. Thanx! I'm glad I found this site. Nice to know I'm not out there in the dark.
  6. PxPx

    PxPx LawnSite Member
    Posts: 30

    Hello grasshawg, I am also trying to get something started. I have wife and 1 yr. old girl. I have been looking into working at my present job 4 days a week and do the LS on the other day off, in the evening and on saturday as well. This post gave me some ideas and suggestions. This site is a great find, in fact my wife actually found it for me! Good luck with your business.
  7. 29 Palms Property Management

    29 Palms Property Management LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 347

    NOW! You may start the physical aspect of the business in March or April, but you have to allow yourself plenty of time to plan this out. If you start this on a whim in the spring, you may not last too long. Preparation and planning are key to being successful. Have a business plan and goals to strive for.

    Much luck to you and Welcome!
  8. Reliable Lawns

    Reliable Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 95

    I agree with the others, find a day job that will support you and your family, get your business plan ready now at nights and weekends ( probably even more so day dreaming at the day job you find) lol. Let everyone you know that you are starting in the business, and you will most likely get a few accounts off the bat. Do a great job and the word of mouth referals will start coming in. Equipment? Honestly, I did start with only home equipment and that got me thru the first year. Part time also. Then I put all the earnings back into the company for commercial equipment, I also like ExMark and Echo. Got a nice trailer and signage, fliers, cards etc. You get the idea. If your family supports you, you are 3/4 of the way there. Good Luck
    Get the word out!!!

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