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Just starting...Lots of questions

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by allstarlawncareGA, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. allstarlawncareGA

    allstarlawncareGA LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Hi everyone, I live in Michigan and am moving to southern georgia in two months. I am a subcontractor up here, remodeling houses, but want to do something I love to do. I have done side jobs up here cutting small lawns, just for extra cash, and loved it, so thats what I want to do down there. I bought a 3/4 ton v10 dodge pickup and am buying a new trailer to get started. I have a push mower, troy bilt weedeater, and a john deere riding tractor, but want to get some good stuff that will really help me when I get started. So any recommendations on equipment would be great. Wont be able to buy a new mower, but around 2-3 thousand would be fine if possible, I dont even know. I have a few family members lined up for some business already, thats the easy ones. They live in subdivisions, so that will be nice. Atleast I will have some source of income to start. How much or how do I charge for a lawn? By sq ft, time, or what? And what about ideas for contracts and such? I have business cards already, have a good computer with some good programs, so I can make flyers, plus I have yard signs from my business, and will be getting my truck lettered.
    I just dont really know where to start, other than, someone asking how much I would charge, I look at it, think "well, it will take about 2 hours" so how about 40 bucks or so. Just an example. So any help, or advice would be great. Thank you so much for reading this, and have a wonderful labor day.

    CUTNTIME LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    Take some time and make the drive down to jacksonville,Fla.
    Theres a place down here that will finance the whole package,
    trailer,mower,trimmers,string trimmer,edger,and blower for no money down and as little as 150.00 a month,provided your credit is good enough.Most lawns down here average 25.00 to 50.00 per cut depending on size.most people will only go with verble contracts down here,depends on person.
    good luck !
  3. allstarlawncareGA

    allstarlawncareGA LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Hey, do you have any suggestions on where to finance these items? My mother in law lives in a subdivision in orange park, and I will be doing her yard, so that will be a great window for clients. Also, I have insurance, and a DBA, but that is for remodeling up here in michigan. Do I need any kind of liscence or just go with another dba? Thanks
  4. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    i dont think you should go into debt to start a lawn care business, i think you should buy a good walk behind mower for 2 or3 thousand, and use what you have..

    build a customer base. save and reinvest. Too many of these business fail to go into debt over.

    Start slow with what you have and build from there, what if you decide this isnt really your bag.... then your stuck with equipment that you will loose money on the resale value of
  5. mike101

    mike101 LawnSite Member
    from ga
    Posts: 10

    Im also starting out in lawncare...I have an advantage because i am a fulltime firefighter in Atlanta so I dont have to worry as much as you about ins. and what not...but i also wanted to start out with as little debt as possible. I have looked at many different mowers and package deals...I have a freind who started out with a mower made by better products...he seems so like it. including delivery charges he only spend about $2400 on it. its Hydo but not a floating deck. Ive also looked into package deals and they look very good. I found one company that would give you trimmer, egder, blower and either one or two ztm made by great dane for less than $200 a month.

    http://betteroutdoorproducts.com/ this is the site for the mower.

    this site is for a program to help you figure materials on some jobs like mulch, pine straw, sod etc... it has some calculations on bidding jobs hourly and by the sq footage. http://www.lawncare-business.com/

    hope this is some help for you. keep reading this site and you will get lots of great advise, i have!

    good luck

  6. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Posts: 4,041

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  7. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,164

    I bought my eXmark for $2699. Its awsome. Took 10 mins to get used to it in my own lawn and the cut and stock striping ability is great. Like said above though, i would use the two stroke stuff that you have now and just get a mower. Just my 2 cents! Good luck!
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Listen to this guy man, he's on track and knows what he's doing, taking out loans for starting a business is a VERY bad idea. IF your business fails you'll not only have to deal with that loss but now you'll get reamed by the credit bureau and you MIGHT even have to declare bankruptcy, nevermind your first year is ROUGH and you do NOT need payments, believe you me. Don't even get me started on the 'well if u start out with the attitude of failing crap' because HALF of all new businesses fail (I suspect it's closer to 9 out of 10) and these numbers don't take preference, they hit whoever they want and if your number is up, then you're out. Besides, you will be TWICE as likely to have a winner's attitude when your stuff is paid for AND you'll likely be less desperate for work.
    Far as the truck, you got the right kind and you did real good, I see a LOT of folk trying this stuff with a 1/2 ton and sure enough, 6-12 months down the road their transmission fails but you never hear about it because they're too embarrassed to admit they didn't listen.
    You can get a half-decent 5-year old or so Walk-behind commercial unit (a walk-behind is NOT a 21" it is the larger units) for about $1000 or like the guy said, spend 2 -3 grand on a 1-2 year old. Matter of fact, you can get a brand-new Toro 48" for 3 grand but I would really recommend used, not only will it save you money but you'll learn with a machine that won't break your heart when you scratch it, so to speak.
    I mean, why pay 2699 for an Exmark when for 2,800 you can get a Toro, that don't make NO sense other than someone was SO strapped for cash that 100 dollars made a difference and if that is your situation then do NOT do that!

    T-bar, T-bar, T-bar, I never have and never will own a machine that does not have a T-bar controller.
  9. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    Before you do anything you might want to make contact with another member on here who is already in the business in Blackshear, Georgia cause he says over and over that business is non exsistant down there and what is there are only $10 lawns and it is a very poor area. His name on here is Qualitylawncare4U....
  10. TripleT'sLawnCare

    TripleT'sLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    If you can get into subdivisions the one thing I do to drum up more business is I let all my customers know as soon as they sign up with me that if they get me any accounts in there subdivision I will give them a month of service for free. This has got me more accounts than anything else I have tried. I have one customer that has not had to pay me in 5 months. I don't mind at all giving up money to make more money in the long run.

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