Many Questions!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by firehairbomb, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. firehairbomb

    firehairbomb LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    Hi, I'm from the great state of Kansas. I have many questions about starting a bigger and better lawn care business. If you can help me, please post here and tell me what to do and how to do it. Thanks!!
    And now for the questions...
    #1. What is a cheap aerator and how do aerators work?
    #2. What is the best fertilizer and how much should I charge to use it?
    #3. How much should I charge for general labor such as trimming flowers?
    #4. How much should I charge per mow starting?
    #5. How should I advertise? I hear putting fliers in mailboxes is illegal.
    #6. What kind of cheap mower works the best? I know I'm cheap but it saves $$$ for me and my customers.
    And finally #7. What kind of trailer should I use for the transportation of my equipment? And no I don't probably need one that has enclosed ceiling. I just need an open trailer.
    Thank you very much for helping me out.
     
  2. Meadowbrook

    Meadowbrook LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 467

    Ok, well....you do have a bunch of questions & I can answer a few of them. First, equipment...you can go as big as your budget will let you, mind you that you have to keep $$ saved up, YOU MUST, it's a rule. If you spend all your dough on equipment, how will you pay for it when it breaks? (and it will).

    Trailer-start small, TSC has small open trailers for not a bunch of money. Start with a single axle & progress up as needed

    Mower-if you don't have a ton of clients yet, don't buy a $10k mower, you don't need it, buy small, start small & work up, Cub Cadet or Deere will work fine for now. Although, if you have a bunch of grass you need to cut, I am selling some of my equip. let me know if you're interested.

    Fertilizer- Since you're new, you probably aren't licensed yet, get licensed! Then worry about fert & weed control

    Aerator- You'll want a core aerator when you get one. What it does is it pulls plugs of dirt out of the lawn as it rolls along. This helps to break up hard ground & will stimulate grass growth.

    Hope this helps, if you have any more ?'s, ask away.

    Chris
     
  3. DSLND

    DSLND LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,205

    #1. What is a cheap aerator and how do aerators work?
    #2. What is the best fertilizer and how much should I charge to use it?
    #3. How much should I charge for general labor such as trimming flowers?
    #4. How much should I charge per mow starting?
    #5. How should I advertise? I hear putting fliers in mailboxes is illegal.
    #6. What kind of cheap mower works the best? I know I'm cheap but it saves $$$ for me and my customers.
    And finally #7. What kind of trailer should I use for the transportation of my equipment? And no I don't probably need one that has enclosed ceiling. I just need an open trailer.

    1. I would start off by just renting an aerator until gain enough work to acually purchase one. This is my first acual year of aertating and i can rent a core aerator for $10/Hour.

    2. Fertilizer im not quite sure of, i would def. get licensed first but ive heard that lesco products are pretty nice.

    3. I charge $25-30/hour for trimming bushes and also a hauling fee for debris it just depends like on large brush cutting jobs i normally get about $45-60/Hour + Any rental fees.

    4. Mowing i normally shoot for the $0.02/sq ft but it depends i normally try to get around $40/acre depending on amount of trimming, edging, etc. Also i charge more for gated yards where only a push mower can fit.

    5. Flyers and doorhangers work great! For fall clean ups last season i put an ad in the local paper for a month and it was like $100 bucks and i got over $400 worth of clean ups also business cards, i hang them up in laundry mats, gas stations and am always giving them to realtors and commericial property owners.

    6. I'd look for either a new homeowner series of Craftsman, Lawn Boy or Toro or any other brand. Or you could get a used commercial grade mower depening on size. I was lucky this year and found a 2005 Toro 20055 Super recycler with 4 hours on it (retain $519) and got it for $250 .

    7. I right now have a 5x10 carry on trailer. Its a great trailer and its got custom flooring that i put it, all my racks, and more. I got it without any accesories for like $800 with all licenses. You can find them at TSC or any other Carry-On trailer dealer.

    Hope This Helps! -Mitch-
     
  4. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    I would read up on the county ag extention office close to where you do work to determine the best fertilizer.


    On big jobs I do custom blends based upon soil test. Not really practical for homeowners. What ever the nitrogen requirement is in you area 4 pounds per 1000 a year? I would break that into 4 applications with slow release product.


    How to run your business? Basically you have to figure out your cost.

    Lets just say for Grinns your truck and eq cost you around $12.00 per hour and you want to make $8.00 take home. You have to charge 12 for your self and 12 for your truck.

    Now you have to buy gas and pay rental for storage of the equipment , even if it is your garage if you don't account for it you will have to make major adjustments when you grow.


    What if you have to replace something or you mess up and have to do it twice? You need a fudge factor for that too.

    You need to pay for your time sitting in traffic getting to a job, your help is going to want to be paid too.

    You have to figure slow days and bad weather days, Vacations........


    So lets say there is 2080 hours per year ( 52 X 40). You have 2 weeks vacation, two weeks of bad weather, 5 days sick days. Ok so that is 10% of your time.

    You have 10% or so for Workers comp or if sole you should by disability.

    You have SUTA and FUTA

    GL Insurance, SSI company matching 7.3%



    Uniforms, health insurance.......

    Best to add a burden of 45% to your wages. Burden and overhead are two different things. You also have to figure out how you are going to handle sales tax.

    I charge $35.00 per hour based up a 2 or 3 man crew to spread out the cost of the truck.
     

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