Need help from a business owner.

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by JayD, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. JayD

    JayD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,060


    I would like to talk with some one who has been in this mowing business for a while, but still remembers how he got started and how he grew.
    I need to seek info about when to buy more equiptment and when to ride it out for a while, if this makes any sense. We have only been in this for one year and my wife is scared of more debt.

    Please, If you are that person, and have a little time to help, would you mind to email me at
    I would like to get a phone number just so I could talk one on one, but if you don't want to, I understand. I am willing to listen to what ever help you may offer. Thanks,
  2. Stihl036pro

    Stihl036pro LawnSite Member
    Posts: 232

    Squeeze the lemon, You dont want to buy more equipment unless you are absoultly sure you are going to use it to its fullest potential. Don't be like every other landscaper and buy everything under the sun because you think you need it. What kind of equipment are you running right now? What peace of equipment due you want to buy? I am speaking from experience.
  3. richallseasons

    richallseasons LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 479

    Here is some perspective from how I made things harder for myself than I really needed to. I started my business in 2004 and I told myself that I wanted to start with all new equipment and have as many things as I could without really having a plan based on experience, so I went out and bought things like mowers,trimmers,hand tools,blowers, which get used and regularly. I also bought things that I invented need for like a chipper shredder vac and a tiller and various other things that I wont list, that I now look back on and say to myself (what was I thinking) well the answer is I wasn't thinking because I didn't have the experience to guide me. So it turns out that the lesson that I was to learn was simple- make due with what you absolutely know you need and ad new pieces as you grow and truly have a need for.
  4. JayD

    JayD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,060

    Thank you for responding.

    I bought a new 52" WB Exmark back in Feb. of this year.
    I have been getting some good chances to land some more commercial accounts, but like after working all day as an electrician, I tire after a while. Don't get me wrong, I love doing it and some day would like to do full time. But my way of thinking ( and I could be wrong ) is if I can buy something that will allow me to do more jobs faster, easer, than I could make more at it. Am I wrong? What is your thoughts about this.

    I need some one who has gone through this and has the experience to talk with so I thank you for taking the time to share.
  5. Miguel Perez

    Miguel Perez LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Start out with only the basic, I started out with all used equipment. When i was in business after a couple of years I started to add new equipment on. This way you won't waste alot of money just in cased it doesn't work out for you.
  6. Stihl036pro

    Stihl036pro LawnSite Member
    Posts: 232

    I seem a little down on buying new equipment after reading my post. I know exactly what you are going threw. You do just mowing? How many accounts do you have? Do you like to cut grass or are you doing it because you think its an easy job and decent pay? Do you have plans to expand? Do you have any Employees? Do you have a business plan in mind? These are all questions you need to ask yourself in order to make a good business decision about buying new equipment. How many years have you been doing this line of work before you started full time? Tell us a little of your history so the guys on this site will have an idea on what you want to accomplish with your business. I think there are a lot of guys here that can help you out.
  7. JayD

    JayD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,060

    Wow, you sound like my wife LOL......I did'nt mean that in a bad way. I know I am guilty of doing that at times and that may be the very reason that I am seeking advice from you all, some one thats been there, but can understand what I mean. My wife means well and she is the smart one when it comes to saving money, but I just did'nt really think that she understands this part of it. I'm thinking that if I had a bigger,faster mower, I could do more jobs in the same amount of time and make even more money. Is this wrong to think this?
    The real problem is, that she says we are very tight on money right now, and the other mower is not completely paid off yet, and the thought of buying another one just scares her some. I told her that I would never do anything without her being in on it with me, so we just wanted to get some advice from people like you all, because you know, You've been there and done that so to speak.
    So with all that, what do you think?
    Thank you by the way for responding.
  8. JayD

    JayD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,060

    Ok, let me try to give you all some info on me.
    Yes, I do have a full time job as an union electrician. I started to get into the mowing because at first I wanted to do something for me, meaning that I wanted to make money on my terms other then letting my employer dictate my life and living, if that makes any sense to you all. Meaning that in this line of work, and I'm sure it is like this every where, that when work starts to slow down for us construction workers, the back stabbing starts and every one starts the but kissing to keep their job. I for one will not stoop that low. If my work and attendance are not good enough to keep my job, than I don't want to be there if I have to play the a$$ kissing game to keep my job........

    Don't get me wrong, I love this work ( mowing and etc. ) and I would like to become full time some day with a crew. I do have a couple of guys ( my brother and brother-inlaw that help me now when I need it. I want to give it some time kind of like a time trial before I would give up my electrical work to do this full time but I don't want to kill myself doing both. So I thought that buying the ZTR would help me in this way as well.
    Right now I have 8 resd. acc. and 2 comm. acc. which one of them I just got two months ago and is really bringing in the money. That one is where my wife works and her boss just loves her, thats why she is giving me a try, also her last lawn care guy was not giving her good service. She is very happy with mine. So with a handful of accounts like that one could help me do very well. By the way, she knows of many other business managers who she said could help me get work with.

    Your other questions, no, I don't think mowing is easy, its hard work at times but I do love doing it. I am very picky about making sure its done right, just ask my helpers LOL.
    I do want to grow, I would like to have a full crew. I have a neighbor that is kind of retired but cant stay still, he is an out doors man and loves yard work. This would be the one for me to hire as a foreman when I am not there. He would with out a doubt make sure that my jobs get done right and he would take care of my equipment. This is a guy who wax'es his gutters once a year! Yes, you read it right. He would be perfect for me.
    I think I have gave you some input on me, if you need more, please just ask.
    Thanks for taking the time to read,listen, and respond.
  9. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,213

    In my area there are more self employed electrictions that make a lot more money doing less work than us landscape guys. Plus, they have a lot less dollars invested in equipment and most of thier equipment last for several years. It takes a lot of dollars in equipment to compeat effectivly in the "full" service end of the lawncare business. The most profitable system for lawncare is the guy with a small truck and trailer that only mows and does some trimming. I had a crew of 5, 5 years ago, lots of equipment, lots of headachs. Now I'm back working by my self. If you like being an electriction I would suggest starting your own business as an electriction. I'm sending you an email....
  10. JayD

    JayD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,060

    Hi Gene,
    thanks for responding, I will be calling you tomorrow. As far as the electrician thing, I do like it,but not as much as I used to. Mainly all the BS that you have to put with from contractors. They want you to give your all for them but they will treat you like crap and spit you out as soon as work slows down.
    There is a lot that gos along with it that you may not know, like your tools that you buy, five years of school just to become a electrician, and after that we take classes to keep up with all the changes, and the list gos on and on........
    But really, I like owning my own business, but I do make very good money at electrical with hourly rate and retirement/Bennie's.
    I know I must be nuts for wanting to mow grass..... I just like doing it.
    Call you tomorrow

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