Nervouse about starting....

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Spratz86, Dec 4, 2005.

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  1. Spratz86

    Spratz86 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 32

    Hello all all you kind people (and nmlinc - just kidding :p ),

    First off, great board!

    Here's my story, and some questions / concerns I need help on.

    I bought a nice Ferris 1500z at the end of this year to mow my 5 acres. No intention of starting a lawn care service as I make $80k at my regular job, but in researching all the forums for the best buy on the mower, I came to the realization that lawn care is one thing I love to do, so why not try to start a business part time and see what happens (did I mention I hate my $80k per year job?).

    Then I do more research, and learn that 1) I need insurance, 2) I need a license, 3) there's more to being a LCO than mowing and weedeating.

    I don't want to low ball a bunch of people and drive down the prices. I don't want to start not knowing what the heck I'm doing, and I don't want to start up and lose time and money.

    I'd really like to do this right, so here are my questions:
    1) Is there cheap insurance available for part-time operators?
    2) Do I need a license for applying off the shelf fert/weed kill?
    3) Is it really worth it to go part time? The only time I get to see my daughter is during the summer vacation. She'll be 16 this Christmas, so I'm thinking of hiring her to help - give us some 'quality time' together and her some spending money for the summer.
    4) I'm thinking that I'll need a mulching system, bagger, aerator, edger and a quality blower (my cheapo handheld died this year) - what else?
    5) Besides 'sping cleanup', mowing, edging, fert, and weed eating - what else does a 'full service LCO' do during the course of a regular mowing season? Is everything included? What the heck is spring cleanup, anyway?
    6) What do your contracts include? I at first thought that it was for 'mow and go' only, but it seems there's more to it than that.
    7) Do I need an accountant? I know nothing about amortizing equipment, taxes, etc. for a business.
    8) Business plan - thinking 6 to 10 accounts for the first year, double that the next year, and full-time the year after.

    I currently have the Ferris (48"), two weedeaters (Toro straight shaft and Craftsmen curved) and a 5x10' trailer. I also have drive, determination and a willingness to do a great job. If this works for me in the next couple of years I will quit the office job and go full-time.

    Any suggestions, insight, outright flames, etc. appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. all ferris

    all ferris LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,307

    1) no, especially if you spread fert.
    2) yes, in my state. check yours (I'm guessing you do)
    3) no, if you have a good paying job why do you want to spend all your free time mowing someone elses grass. Trust me, cutting your own grass is not the same as cutting a customers grass.
    4) no mulching system needed but you will need some hedge trimmers (gas powered), multiple hand tools, bed edger is nice, a truck, nice spreader ( no, a scott's spreader from home cheapo will not work), chain saw
    5) LEAVES, LEAVES, Shrub trimming, tree trimming, irrigation work, annuals planted, mulch spread, I've even had a customer ask me to put a pool in.
    6) see #5
    7)probably
    8)good luck
     
  3. PMLAWN

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    You make 80K and you want to quit and cut grass full time??????????

    The best advise I can give is to use the search bottom and spend a lot of time reading on each of the questions that you ask.
    All the answers are here.
    After you spend some time on that ask one question about a single topic at a time and I believe you will get more responses.
    Good luck and happy reading.

    Also ask yourself what it is about your job now that you hate. Work is work. There are many parts of this that are not fun but hard and boring.
     
  4. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    The best advise in your case would be probably what you don't want to hear. Just suck it up and keep the $80K a year job and forget LCO cause it will take you a LONG time and a lot of money spent before you ever get to the $80K Net a year point (if ever) as an LCO.

    Keep in mind that YES there are alot of us on here that make that, there are even a few of us that make a lot more than that, BUT there are countless guys on here that even though they say they do.....they don't...trust me.
     
  5. grassyfras

    grassyfras LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,473

    Ok you going about it all wrong.

    1) You dont have to have a license and isurance most people don't, and suprisingly its not against the law to not have it where I live.
    2) Don't get into fert yet wait a few years
    3) You can just mow and weedeat I recomend it expesccialy if your a part time guy. Dont bother with the stupid hedge trimmers dont bother with the trailer cause your not going to do mulch

    Heres what your going to do. Your going to buy an old F-150 pick up truck. Take the bed off of it and get someone to fabricate a goose neck ramp and just have a flat bed. Then your going to get a trimmer trap thing or imitation and a blower holder to and weld that on. then get ur z up into that truck and just cut. No trailer no hedge trimming no chemcials no license no insurance inless you really think your going to do something stuid. Email me if you have any questions greenascanbe@swbell.net. Most people I think go at lawncare the wrong way at first and lose there ass for the first 5 years or end up out of it.
     
  6. nocutting

    nocutting LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 530

    Try to start off simply, keep your investment on the lower side............try to get some mows per week is a Great starting Point..........you must be educated in Something, as with lawn and landscape care,alot will be trial and error for you in the begining............takes some seminars or adult ed class's in gardening, horticulture, arborculture.......see if anything floats your boat?:waving:
     
  7. PMLAWN

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    Yes it is very wise to NOT get insurance??????:dizzy:

    That way if something goes wrong (and it will) you can go back to the job you have now at real money and get another just like it at night so you can payoff the huge settlement that your LCO venture just incurred.
     
  8. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587


    some people have no clue at all.....

    rock flyes out of mower, hits a car winsheild, he looses control and kills a child on the sidewalk .......... millions of scenerios, all bad with no insurance
    ;)
     
  9. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569


    GEEZ, this is without a doubt the WORST advice there is.....come on dude that fact that you are a teenager is showing through.
     
  10. grassyfras

    grassyfras LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,473

    Insurance is pointless in this biz if your only mowing. I beelive in all other forms of insurance but business insurance for a part time mowing only business would not be practical or affordable. Im sorry you think my opinion is because I'm a teenager thats not a good point to make at all.
     
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