Just Starting out

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by NLS, Feb 15, 2003.

  1. NLS

    NLS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    Hello. I have been watching this forum for a couple weeks now and I found a lot of help from you guys. I am planning on purchasing a 6.5 x 16 trailer, a 36" w/b gravely, and a handheld blower. I already have a craftsman weed eater with an edger attachment. I have sent out letters to about 50 companies in the local area letting them know that I am servicing their area. What do you suggested that I do differently and how much hourly is a good starting rate? I have some experience in this line of work but not professionally. I am doing this on the side of my regular job, I work midnight to eight in the morning. I planning on doing this during the day. I have three customers but I am wanting a lot more. How do I do this. I am bidding on an utility stations contract also. Thanks for your help..:blob3:
     
  2. o-so-n-so

    o-so-n-so LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,218

    Once is enough.
     
  3. o-so-n-so

    o-so-n-so LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,218

    Well, If you want to stay on with your full time job, you are almost doing everything right. Buy commercial grade equipment only. This will save you time and money down the road. Maybe down size your trailer, up size your w/b to 48" as front line mower, buy a commercial 21" to access small gates, 1 commercial trimmer, keep the craftsman as edger only, buy a commercial grade backpack blower( its worth it). Do quality work and be very in tune to detail. Sometimes the small things add a lot to your work. You have a good situation by having a full time job. Start small, do good work, and you will grow every year. As far as pricing, I personally try to stay with a dollar a minute while on the job. If you can get several accounts close together you can do a little better with pricing. As far as the utilities, you will more than likely have to be low, low, to get the bid. Might not be worth it in the long run. Don't bid by another LCO's bid. Bid what it will take for YOU to do the work and do it right. If you don't win the bid, Move on.

    This is how I started and what I have learned over the years.
    Good luck to you.
     
  4. o-so-n-so

    o-so-n-so LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,218

    Wow, I'm seeing double......sorry bout that. Couldn't delete whole post.
     
  5. Dan1944

    Dan1944 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 147

    Don't even think about cutting commercially without insurance and proper license (if required buy your state, county and or locality).
     
  6. o-so-n-so

    o-so-n-so LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,218

    Lic & Ins. A must. Or you will get caught in a bad situation.
     
  7. NLS

    NLS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    I have a 1,000,000 bond that covers my equipment and any mishaps that might happen, my vendor's license, and a workman's comp number (that was requested by my cpa)
     
  8. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,410

    I found the best way for me to advertise is by flyers. I target neighborhoods on the up scale and since I have large mowers, I choose large yards. I dominate this particular neighborhood for 7 years now that has an ordinance stating they cant have a fence unless. Only exeption is if they have a pool. I charge a fair price and got most homes in that area and make $50.00 to $100.00 hr and everone there knows me. In my experiance, I would suggest
    1. Develope a catchy flier
    2. study where you think you could do best with the equipment you have and/or with have.
    3. Distribute that area frequently.
    4. Dont under charge for your service so you can get a whole bunch of yards.
    I knew this guy that was starting out and he made a 1000 fliers that said he could cut your yard for $20.00. He went out and put them on every home he could. I remember him bragging about how many customers he got early. He had three times as many as I did and thought that was great. I remember him telling people that I charge too much. As spring came he worked his #$@! off and his bragging turned to complaining that his feet hurt, tired all the time and he cant keep up with all those yards. Several of his customers that he stopped showing up at, were happy to pay me more for the better service I provide. Lesson learned: regulate work load with your price. I'd rather mow 10 yards at $40.00 ea verses 20 at $20.00 per day. Sure he started out with 150 yards, however I made as much with my 50 yards and had less wear-N-tear, operating expences and can still enjoy life.
     

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