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Looking to start a landscaping business in the spring, need tips and pointers!!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by rppaving, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. rppaving

    rppaving LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    Hello everyone, I am new to the site and would love to get as much information as possible regarding starting a landscaping business for the upcoming spring season.

    First off I just recently started a snow plowing business this past winter and to my surprise I landed a total of approximately 25 contracts. A few of my clients have asked me about taking care of their lawns this year so it dawned on me....might as well start a landscaping business!!!

    I have been reading many of the threads about the do's and dont's of a landscaping company but any additional information would be GREATLY appreciated!

    First off, I already have a 1 ton diesel ford, edgers, a blower, rakes, shovels, small push mower, and various other tools that I know I will need. On my list of what I do need is:

    -zero turn mower
    -possibly a riding mower

    What else would you all recommend for me to buy?

    Also since I am new to the landscaping field, Im not 100% sure on how to price, I know it goes by the hour (around $20-50) but I would like to know what you all are charging.

    Also, what do you all think I should do besides cut grass?

    Mulch, trim hedges, fertilize?? How do I add that in the total price for the customer?

    I know this is alot of questions but any help is GREATLYY appreciated, and if there is any other information that I am missing at all, feel free to let me know so I can grow my business as much as possible in year 1.

    Thank you all very much!! :)
  2. pineymountain

    pineymountain LawnSite Member
    Posts: 53

    When you find out let me know. I have the hardest time estimating.
  3. millie86

    millie86 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 116

    I didn't see you list a trimmer. probably need one of those. For me, to use a straight riding mower, would be a waste of money and time. Depending on your finances, i would go with a walk behind. (hydro) Versatility!
    For me , most of the residential yards i do are between 25-35 bucks. thats edging, trimming, and blowing included in the mow. I would probably never do a yard for less than $25. 20 bucks if it was super small.
    If you are doing residential lawns, Just offer anything else that you know how to do. Tree/shrub trimming/removal, planting, fertilizing, mulching, seeding, general cleanup.
    I don't know hardly anything,but one thing I do is ask alot of questions and I'm always searching for answers. Good luck to you this year!
  4. skorum03

    skorum03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 354

    Here's what I will say, keep your overhead low. It seems every year there is a guy who is in his first couple years of business and goes out and buys 2 new trucks, a trailer, and some brand new mowers. Stay out of debt if possible, if not, try to keep it small. I try to keep myself from "buying from the future" aka using credit cards. I would say, right now you will need a zero turn, and trailer, and some trimmers. At least for the lawn care side of things. Start off with the lawn care, you already have some of the stuff you need for that so start there. Landscaping opens another group of tools that you need for things. What I have found while mowing is that a lot of landscaping we do ends up being for the people that we mow for.

    Hope some of that helps.

    Spencer Korum
  5. rppaving

    rppaving LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    Yes that is one thing i dont know how to either, do you just guesstimate, is it per hour, is it both??

    Also how to you charge for mulch, shrub trimming, and other various jobs.

    Any help on pricing those would be very beneficial!!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. LandFakers

    LandFakers LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Posts: 6,229

    I work mostly solo, and I have to say that a round here I work for $60 an hour. That's mowing, mulching, pruning, pretty much everything. As others have mentioned, keep the overhead low... Buy a trailer, mower, and trimmer, and then just use em and work em. When It comes to estimating, it really comes down to you learning how fast you and your equipment can work. I try and get a dollar a minute from gate drop to gate up. There are obviously exceptions for larger properties, seeing as I don't have to drive around from property to property. Any other questions feel free to ask.
  7. rppaving

    rppaving LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    As kind of a "newbie" what would you suggest i do, mow lawns, mulch and edging are the basics that I know i can handle. but what are other things i can do when i start landscaping, and would they follow the basic $60 per hour rule?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. 711SnoPro

    711SnoPro LawnSite Member
    Posts: 86

    I'm in the same boat as you rppaving.

    Looking to get going this spring as well and the pricing for mowing lawns is confusing to me as well. With the snow plowing I've done, it's X dollars an hour with the skid steer and snow pusher and that's it. Mowing I'm not so sure of though because there are some that have their hourly rate and some that go by the job and size of lawn. To me the hourly rate is the way to do things but I'm unsure of how to calculate what it would cost me per hour to mow, trim, blow sidewalks off, put fuel in the truck and mower, maintain everything, pay myself etc etc etc and still stay in the black.
  9. dstifel

    dstifel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 920

    Find a couple buddies with yards big small and in between call the companies around your area to come bid them. Gives you a general idea of what pricing in your area is. I did this this past spring and was surprised that i was actually more then perficut and trugreen in my area. Dropped my prices to be competitive with them and started landing a lot more jobs. Probably not the "best" business practice but helped me out a lot.
  10. Above Par Lawns

    Above Par Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 512

    I'm going into my first year as well this Spring. From what I've learned just use your hourly rate of $50-60 + material costs for all your mulch jobs. You'll be able to get a feel for how long it takes you to do certain jobs after you get some experience. At $60 per hour with low overhead you are going to be making some money. It's hard to truly know what to charge and what you're worth until you get a year under your belt. Keep track of all gas, oil, repairs, etc. throughout the year and figure out your true costs next year at this time. Never mow a lawn for under 25 I don't care how small it is. You have to figure that between driving there, unloading, trim, cut, blow, and load back up it'll be at least a half hour. Then you add in equip costs, overhead, gas for truck/equip, insurance, etc. If you charge somebody under 25 you aren't making ****!

    The best thing is when you land 3 or 4 houses side by side and you can fly through it and make a killing per hour.

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