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Making a start

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by cutnchukcanuk, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. cutnchukcanuk

    cutnchukcanuk LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    Any tips for a new guy. I have a 1 ton truck and a skid steer. I am looking at a dump trailer and 4in1 bucket to expand my options. My aim at this point is to do light demo, debris cleanup, snow removal etc.. I would also like to get into some excavating, grading, and leveling but I lack the experience. I have an unrelated business so I can start slow. I take pride in the work I do and my lack of experience is what is keeping me at the edge of the proverbial diving board. Any tips for another new guy standing where most of you stood at one time?
  2. Creter

    Creter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 33

    In my humble opinion you can't grade with a machine until you can grade by hand & eye. If you can do that well with a shovel and bow rake, you can do it with equipment. Doesn't matter how good one can use the controls if you don't have the eye you aren't gonna make any money with that expensive piece of equipment.

    If you already can do that by hand, then there shouldn't be any worries on your part to put ads and fliers out for

    Bobcat For Hire
    * Demo
    * Cleanup
    * Grading
    * Hauling

    Guys in my area can get 60 per hour plus for owner operator skid rigs.

    Maybe start out at 55 til ya get yer confidence up then you can charge primo rates.

    Good luck to ya!
  3. cutnchukcanuk

    cutnchukcanuk LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    I think you are right on Creter! It is one of those catch22's - I don't do it because I don't know how and I don't know how because I don't do it-. I feel that I have some sensibilities with this kind of work, but I don't want to promise if I can't deliver. Unfortunately I don't have any connections that could help me with this, so it is going to be a course at the school of hard knocks. On the other hand the only way I am going to learn is to try. I was thinking of hiring a well respected operator (find one available?) for some coaching to give me a place to start, that may be worth a couple hundred bucks to me. I have competence when it comes to moving the machine around, just need some more flight time. Are there any books that stand out in regard to giving tips for landscaping projects? Man I hate sounding this new?
  4. Creter

    Creter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 33

    Well you got the equipment, go for it. But at first don't let the machine do it all. Bring it the area you need and dump it out. Get out and do it by hand. Work from your furthest point from your load towards it so as not have to rut up your work. It'll take ya a lil longer but you'll be getting double the xp. I'd say fifteen to twenty mid sized jobs and you'll be pretty confident in your enviroment.

    BTW, I played ball with a great guy from Brandon, Manitoba...
  5. cutnchukcanuk

    cutnchukcanuk LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    Thanks for the help Creter. Tips like that help alot!

    We have had a few decent ball players come out of Brandon. Decent party town. I played a little myself but rugby was my real love. ALWAYS had cold beer handy.:drinkup:
  6. echeandia

    echeandia LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,131

    You can always try digging up your yard for practice.
  7. Creter

    Creter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 33

    I tell ya what, he was the meanest sumbitch I've ever known and I've been around one or two blocks. He played guard next to me and we was great beer drinkin buds. Well from time to time we'd getting a lil looped and into some situations. Well to the point, he tore his pec muscle in the offseason. Arm in sling he was beating 3 guys up with his feet and one arm. I was going to help but I broke out into one of the biggest bellylaughs of my life. Tears coming out of my eyes, he walks by when he's done with em and says 'thanks for the help'.

    HA. Anywho, I know it's nothing to do with landscaping but it's a small world so they say.
  8. cutnchukcanuk

    cutnchukcanuk LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    Your story brought a smile to my face. Thinking of some real stupid times. Echeandia great minds think alike. Stay tuned I gots me some plans. I should probably start in the back yard:weightlifter:
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    We have a guy around here who drives a Mack truck and a trailer with a bobcat, he works with tree guys with a grappling hook attachment, he loads trees in bigger chunks than any man could lift onto the trailer or wherever they want it and hauls it away or whatever... Whether a 1-ton would be sufficient is another story, but I think there's a definite angle to it, the tree guys definitely save time when a bobcat moves the logs, more so in that they don't have to cut it down further for one, saves their backs too...

    Rough charge is $100 / hour, that's where things get tricky, you need to be efficient or charge less.

    Just an idea, spreading topsoil is easy with a loader attachment (shovel).
    On that note, might be able to do gravel driveways.
    With the same shovel, brush clearing works like a charm, a skidsteer loader clears brushed areas in no time flat and down to the dirt, cuts right through small trees as well, topples them as the shovel slices it off near the ground, usually 3-4 inches in diameter or less, nothing major but still, I could deal with clearing brush like that!

    As for tips on learning, keep the throttle way down, the machine has all the power it needs at most any throttle setting it just moves slower and is more predictable, try 1/4 throttle for starters.
  10. cutnchukcanuk

    cutnchukcanuk LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    That's a good suggestion Topsites. I was thinking of offering some basic tree removal service. Like you mention if I could allign myself with other contractors and provide a service to them the networking and opportunity to learn would be a big bonus. I am sure there are oppotunities out there that I haven't even thought of. The 4in1 I think will give me alot more versatility.

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