Looking for advice on getting into the lawn cutting business

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by rlk3331, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. rlk3331

    rlk3331 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    I am moving to Florida in January and i would like to work for myself down the road. I have worked for myself for the last 16 years here in the northeast doing international moving but i am getting to old and the ole back aint what it use to be to continue in this line of work. My plan is to get a full time job and do lawn care on the weekends till i can get enough accounts to do it full time. So the advice i need is this i have a opportunity to purchase the equipment below and with the 6 accounts that come with the equipment i will be able to make the loan payments to pay off the equipment. i can get this equipment for $25,000 and pay it off in 5 years without adding any new accounts. I figure i could do up to 15 accounts on the weekend with no problems and do a very good job on each lawn as quality is the key i think. Then i can build from there does this sound like a good plan? I have maintained my own lawn but i know doing it for a job will be different. I do enjoy being outside and have always had a job that involves driving and never being in the same place. I am lookig foward to your responses i have learned alot here just reading all the posts.

    Thank you
    Richard Kramer

    2005 Ford F-150, XLT 5.4 Triton V8, 2x4, Super Crew Cab, 45872 Miles
    - 1990 Pace Trailer, 16' Tandem Axle, Side door, Rear Ramp door, (2) Trimmer Rack, Spare Tire, AC, Electric hook up, carpet
    - John Deere Commercial Zero Turn Mower, Mid-Mount, Z-Trak 737, 24 HP V-Twin Kawasaki, 54" Deck, Airless caster wheels, $435.00 full check & tune up on 4/5/07, 342 Hours
    - 2007 Stihl FS 100RX Trimmer (Like New)
    - 2007 Stihl BG 85 Blower (Like New)
    - Stihl FC 75 Stick Edger

    - Business Tools:
    - Business Computer Disc: Blank Invoice on Letter head, Equipment pictures, Business Card Template with business logo all set in place, Account Information Spread Sheet, Business Logo designs, Equipment List and Spec Sheet

    - Accounts:
    - Only 6 accounts come with the business. All my customers are happy with the service and will stay happy as long as the job gets done. The accounts are being given away for FREE. There is no extra costs for these 6 accounts. I collected $6200.00 from these 6 accounts in 2007.

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  2. privatelawn

    privatelawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 301

    Not sure if cutting on sundays will work as sooner or later the HOA will have something to say... you may be able to do 15 in 1 day though, $25k price seems fair as the truck is worth about $17k but unless the truck will be your daily driver I dont think you need that much of a truck for 1 day of work
     
  3. Lugnut

    Lugnut LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 551

    Sounds like a good deal for what you're getting, but do you want that nice of a setup for one or two days of work? Crew cab truck, trailer with ac, great stuff but like privatelawn said, if your not going to use the truck as a daily driver I would put together something less elaborate
     
  4. Gator Lawn

    Gator Lawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    Little johnny down the street can handle those 6 accounts with a $300 investment. 5 years to pay it off? Not what I would do. I think all you will be doing is stepping into another's failed business attempt.

    I'm getting old also and I can tell you yard work is no cake walk, especially down here where the heat is stifling in the summer.
     
  5. rlk3331

    rlk3331 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    i will use the truck as my everyday transporation and my plan is to get more accounts ASAP enough to get a full day in on saturday as i never thought about sundays not being a day i could mow. I figure maybe if i get a few accounts that are not in community developments i could do those on a sunday and all depending on the full time job i get (some are 4 days a week 10 hrs a day) i would then have another day to add accounts to or even do a few accounts after work if i get out early. I also have 3/4 acre of my own to do so i figured this mower would really help me out there being i have to get one for home anyways. As far as the heat goes i know how hot it gets i lived in ft lauderdale in the 80s and did flat top commercial roofing 120 deg on the roof i like the heat. So i just figured since i do want to build this into a full time deal and this equipment seems like a good deal it was a good idea to get it now. Was just wondering if anyone had any experiance with the John Deer ZTR mower that is being offered is it a good dependable machine? And how does the other equipment offered stack up is that also decent equipment?

    thank you
    Richard Kramer
     
  6. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,370

     
  7. Lugnut

    Lugnut LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 551

    The equipment is some of the best you can get, but depending on the accounts you have and will get, you might need to get a smaller mower for some tight spots
     
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,654

    It's a good plan but I also think it's too slutty.
    You don't need a XLT / SLT, I got one my 6th year but it's a 1995 and I only paid 2500 for it, worked on it for dang near a month to get it all right, spent another 1500 in the process, but I'm only out 4000 and that's blue book, paid cash in full, see what I'm getting at.

    So...
    First I'd get a more basic work truck, skip the loaded features, then get a 44" float deck Wb with a velke and forfeit the Z.
    Save yourself a good 10g right there.
    With some of the extra cash get a 3/4 ton (a F-250 / D-2500 / 2500 gmc) because that 150 isn't made for it, too light a p'up.
    Keep the bg-85 handheld for summer but then get a br-600 backpack blower, you will need that come early spring and fall.

    I think the rest is fine, but skip the AC on the trailer, I think covered cuts you out of hauling but that's your choice.

    Because even then that 15g gonna take 3 years to gross, working on the weekends the weather isn't always cooperative on Saturdays either, heh.

    Also if you save hard you might not have to finance, that would be a big plus as well.
    You'll be better off, I think.
     
  9. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,487

    It looks like the price is justified based on the truck and equipment (maybe the mower is worth $5K and the trailer and handhelds are worth $2K. Plus...maybe you could offer him $20K and get it done. FYI, I had a '05 150 supercrew xlt this summer, and it was an awesome vehicle (sold it for a plow truck). You gotta ride in style!

    Like Topsites said, planning to work Saturdays only may be a problem when life interupts your plans. You need to think about that.

    It only makes sense to me if you plan to advertise, hustle, work hard, and get some more business. Unless you grow it, work it, upgrade things, by the time you pay off your loan, your business (the equipment) will be worth less than $10K.

    I'd hop on that deal.
     
  10. rlk3331

    rlk3331 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Is there anyone here that operates in the fort myers area?

    I want to be licensed and insured from the information i have gathered i need a tax license for each city i plan to cut lawns in (ex fort myers,cape coral, ect) is this correct? And the cost for these are around $30 a year. Is there any other licenses i need? As far as insurance i need a general liability policy on the business and a commercial policy on pickup and on the trailer is this correct? Is there anyone in this area running a similar operation that could ball park me on the total cost of these insurances and am i missing any other insurance i might need (i will be a solo operation so i wont need workmen's comp).

    Is there a way to figure the cost of fuel i am thinking on 1/4 acre lawns to be safe a gallon of gas per lawn (ex 20 lawns 20 gals 3.50 a gal = $75)

    How much can i expect to spend on general maintenance of my equipment?
    i can change oil and grease myself but as far as tune ups and things of that nature i would need done.

    more questions to come i am sure

    I want to thank everyone here you all are great i am learning alot reading posts on this site

    Thank You
    Richard Kramer
     

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