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just starting out...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by JD Lawns, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. JD Lawns

    JD Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    I am just starting out with developing a lawn care service (actually, I haven't made it passed the researching phase) and was looking for some insight from those that have been there.

    Initially, i'm going to focus on mowing, trimming, and hauling. Given that at this point in time I have only two residential accounts but anticipate a fast start with help from people that know people. So my dilema, I don't want to overextend myself but at the same time I don't want to buy crappy equipment that will need upgrading sooner than later. Any suggestions of a good economical walk behind that has a good bang for your buck?

    Also, has anyone had success with a means of generating customers other than the normal fliers/door hangers/paper advertisements?

    If anyone has other advice for my situation not particularly pertaining to my questions, please do share.

    -JD
     
  2. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 963

    First I would highly recommend that you do a search on door hangers, just starting, etc. A lot of good advice will be found. Depending on your turf areas you are concentrating on will determine what mower to buy. With only 2 accounts and hopefully several more to come, a good used (or new) 32" or 36" belt drive walk behind can be had for $2300 or less (Toro 36" belt w/ Tbar) or used for $1000 - $1500. If they are tiny you will need to look at 21" Toro, Honda, Lawnboy commercials ($900 - $1100). Weedeater, blower, and stick edger. I do not bag (mulch only). That will save a ton of time from emptying grass and hauling and paying to get rid of it at the dump!!!
    Advertising is best done by word of mouth. Since you only have just started, flyers/door hangers are the best bet to get your name out there. I got 5,000 door hangers, color both sides, printed for $299. Designoutpost.com can get the artwork done for $100 - $150. Good luck!
     
  3. Lawn Boy

    Lawn Boy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    like he said the best thing to do is to get your business name out there and let is spread by word of mouth. People talk more than you think. Around here an appealing newspaper ad that jumps out works, but I dont know about where you are.

    The mowers are a tricky thing. If they are all smaller yards and thats what you want to stay at then I would get a smaller mower and grow on it.

    Another thing that works for me is offering spring and fall clean ups. Its not the best type of work, but it gets me about 60% of my yards. Another thing, you have to spend money to make money.
     
  4. Toy2

    Toy2 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,924

    JD,

    Do the best you can on your jobs, treat them as if they were your own...your customers will be impressed and word of mouth will get you customers......I have not done door hangers(bad experience) I have run an ad in the local paper, i answer my phone when it rings, I think people hate leaving messages??? On customers homes, when the job is done and it looks great, I walk to the nearest home and leave a tri-fold and a business card, I write across it that I did your neighbor "BOB's" house and I can do yours.

    As far as equipment, I have a new 36" Toro, my 21" gets more use, I am buying another 21" Toro as a back up......so study your area to see what people are using, also the search button///this site is very helpful....good luck!
     
  5. LHSlawnman86

    LHSlawnman86 LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Posts: 153

    A decent way to get some new yards is to look in the paper under the houses that have just sold and get a flyer to them with a personal touch. Works great for me!!!!!!!
     
  6. JD Lawns

    JD Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    A.Martinez, probably a dumb question here but, why do you use your 21" more than your toro? gates, obstructions?

    I love the advice everyone, this place is great!
     
  7. jbell113

    jbell113 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 654

    I dont know what size lawns you plan on maintaining but I had to buy a 52" W/b a 36" walk behind and a 21". I take all 3 with me every day cause i have several acre lots to mow and I have gated back yards that the 36" gets in and the 21" is used for really tiny yards and tight places the 36" wont fit. First thing I ask when I get a call from a potential customer is ...do you have a fenced back yard and what size is the gate.
     

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