Looking for insight

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by EID, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. EID

    EID LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Hello Lawn Care Professionals, Nice site.
    I am a 31yr old single male living in SW Virginia. No College degree, but have worked my way up to RF Engineer for a Wireless company making 60k/yr (Computer/Cubicle work). My company just was bought by a larger company, which I don't really like. I expect to stay for 1 more year. With this merger I will be getting $36,632.00 from stock options becoming vested which I would be able to use for the business and have enough in the bank to live for 8months. I would like to advertise throughout next winter and see where I stand w/ customers. With that brief history, my question is this:

    1) Do I have a shot w/ no experience except my own lawn and of course while growing up? I would like to take the pesticide exam. I am addicted to reading so I will research my ass off.

    2) I have a 2004 F150, which I make payments. Should I invest in a "Work Truck"?

    3) Any advice on startup direction? Just mow and don't bother with the pesticide license? Personal experience?

    4) SW Virginia has a ton of leaves and would like to invest in a top of the line leaf collecting system (Leaves into the truck). Good idea? Price too high for a good system the first year out.

    5) Any advice in what you would do with this money on how to start a Green business please let me know. Thanks
     
  2. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    You have very little experience. You may not like the sound of this, but bank up some more cash and take some time to work for someone else, you'll learn more that way than any other. You can never have enough reserve cash really but consider this, list out all your fixed expenses every month, insurance, food , truck payment (tray and refinance al yor existing debt for lower rates if you can) and so forth. You ge the idea. Now look at equipment costs. Price expensive stuff do not skimp. A high cost estimate is better than a low one. It will most likely be less in reality but we'll get to that. Ok. You can reduce costs by starting with used equipment but like anything else used is used and it may break a littl esooner than you'd like so maintence will be a factor. Do you have a trailer? You will outgrow one in no time at all. While you may not need one to start depending on what size areas you do, you will wnat one soon. BYW what are the sizes of lawns there? Find out what the going rate is. You may have to ask around and do some research to find out. Decide how you will do your marketing. I suggest besides working for someone else, go to a great library and read everything you can get your hands on, read everything you can here and just get lost in the information. Swim in it. Its a lot easier if you know what you're getting into. The site has what a book won't tell you and first hand exerience has what nothing else can give you. This post is getting long already so I'll stop here. People will tell you jump in, and for some it works but the education at Hard KNocks can be expensive. Write a business plan and a marketing plan. There are templates at SCORE.org Good luck and welcome to the site. :waving:
     
  3. EID

    EID LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Thank you sir, The money I stated is after taxes and besides that I have a savings to support myself for 8 months while the business gets going.

    What would I learn from running a mower for someone else?
     
  4. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Its more than just running a mower. That is a misconception a lot of people have. You can stick a weed trimmer into a guys hand but it doesn't make them any good with it. Doing this small scale is one thing, doing it big time is another. Check out some of these threads using the search feature up towards the right and you'll see many cases where others have been given the same advice. Board is slow right now. I'm stuck waiting on a tile setter right now, but latter on in the day when more members jump on here you'll get more feedback.
     
  5. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    go to the library and get a book on creating a business plan... step two , research your area, how do you know there is even enough business in your area for another company.... the barriers to entry in this business are so low that EVERYONE is doing it,,, including the 14 year old kid down the road...

    first couple of years plan on making little or no money at all, most of it will be going back into the company
     
  6. EID

    EID LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Thanks guys!
    I have already started my business plan. I have done research from census and income data to the number of total businesses to the number of Top Flight businesses in the area I will target (Pop. Statistics are my life). The one thing I am great at is my home work. Do you have books you would recommend? The "skill" part has me asking questions. Will I be able to produce a good enough product fast enough in the beginning before I learn all of the tricks of the trade? Thanks.
     
  7. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Depends on what the learning curve is. Not sure where you stand now so hard to make that call. The market will determine a lot of things too. Good books? There are so many of them its hard to say where to begin. I'd look at some used college horticultural and turf textbooks, Arboriculture books, get a good problem solver giude. Not one of the homeowner jobs the Ortho Professional editions. See if you can find one on half.com and save some bucks. Check with your local cooperative extension service and see what titles they have available or recommend. Nothing beats coverage of what you have locally. Doesn't make sense for someone in Maine to study Cactus. Irrigation books for an understanding of it even if you aren't going to do any of it. Pest control manauls often have great info. Surf around the net and see if you can find one on soils too. Search on here and there will be lists of good books in old threads too. When you did your demographic data, did you do it by zip code you are targeting or only by county or state?
     
  8. EID

    EID LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    I used Zipcode, I put it into Mapinfo to run covered Pops. for the Area I plan to serve. After getting Total covered Pops, I brought in Income and Age Data (along with local market knowledge) to see where my Young and Old money is which I will use for marketing purposes if I ever get that far. By my estimates there is enough money to sustain another Professional run business.
     
  9. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Perfect. A lot of start ups fail to take the time to do that and end up yellow paging an dthen drive al lover the place just to try and capture work and then have all that windshield time on their hands and nothing in their pockets.
     

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