New Guy.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by fyshstykr, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. fyshstykr

    fyshstykr LawnSite Member
    from zone 99
    Posts: 76

    Hello everyone,
    I recently became unemployed and am now considering a Lawncare business, I enjoy yardwork & I am not afraid of work, so I thought this may be a good direction for me to move.
    I like the thought of being outside making a living (not uncomfortable in the elements). for the last 20 years I worked weekly rotating shifts,(graves & days 7a-7p & vice versa, 3 on & 3 off) all indoors no windows. shifts became much harder on me as I got older, now 40 y.o.
    Looking to work on my own, I do not need to make a mint but would like to be in the $30,000 range, I also have $10,000 to invest in this venture along with an 03" F-350 & a 14' trailer.
    My wife makes very good $ so we are not dependant on me @ the moment to make ends meet,my wife is very much behind me in this, and likes the thought of me home every night & on weekends. seems like I have a very good opportunity in front of me.
    I would appreciate any advice on start-up equipment,(have a JD L-120 48") but am not sure it is right for this, I am sure I would need to upgrade my trimmer and edger soon.
    Am I crazy to think I can do this on my own and make this $ a year ? (really more like 7 mo ) and what else should I offer. I know it will not be easy.
    thank you in advance for you advice.
    J.P
     
  2. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    while some people jump right out of the chute and make 30 grand a year id say many do not. It takes a while to establish a clientele, and learn the pricing game and all, but it can be done, as long as your area isn't over saturated with people doing this kind of work

    good luck
     
  3. Toy2

    Toy2 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,924

    Read this site carefully.......it has a ton of info, some good, some bad.....I can tell you from my area, a guy with a pickup and a 21 from Walmart can do pretty good once he gets lined up with customers....the guy that used to mow my lawn...yes i had PACO doing it, made $65K or $70K in 03.....all he had was junk as far as equip. went....but I still paid him $35.00 a week, under the mat....plus the guy couldn't even speak english....study your town, see what type of yards you have, see the type of machines you will need....yes I have a Home Depot PP mower, cost $300+, was not about to spend $1000.00 on a 21" mower///also spent $2500.00 on a Toro 36" which I should have gotten a 34" rider for my customers.........I have been doing this for 9 months, yes i tried to find a job and got one, but turned out to be a joke...working for the man always is....wife makes the $$ so I just hanging on till March 06....good luck and welcome!!!
     
  4. fyshstykr

    fyshstykr LawnSite Member
    from zone 99
    Posts: 76

    thank you for the warm welcome gents.
    what about my J.D L-120 48" think it will work or should I look into a ztr of some kind? I do wonder about my area being saturated ,but everyone seems to stay busy and the area never stops growing it seems like,on the plus side my wife's job puts her around people with $ and I think that could really help to line up some higher end residential accounts.
    Another question, should my name have "lawn care" in it, or does that limit me in some peoples eyes? I would do sprinkler repair,trimming, flower beds,possibly a bit of power washing( siding,sidewalks,decks) but nothing that would go into storm water drains,don't feel like playing with the E.P.A.
    Any info about fertilizer permits would also be helpful.

    Thanks again and glad I found this sight.
    J.P
     
  5. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    Welcome aboard and I know about that unemployment thing so well. If you are starting in the biz first you need one good commercial mower,and DO NOT get more than what you need. You can get a good hydro walkbehind in the mid 2 grand range or a used (be careful here) ztr. Gravely has one in the 4400 range. Check out the quick 26 site at the top of LS page and all the other sponsors on LS. Also check out LS marketplace for decent equipment in your area. Have you advertised any yet? No need to get a lot of equipment if you do not have good clients yet. Check to see what the going rate is in your area and if its over saturated (like my area) it may be a little rough getting started if yards are going in the 12-15 dollar range. A lot of folks on here have had good luck putting out fliers advertising their biz, along with a host of other things. Are you going to be licensed and insured? A lot of commercial and govt. bids require this. If you are going to be putting out ANY and I mean any herbicides or any chemical you will need a license. Check with your county agent, he/she can get you all the info you need and you do not want to mess around with getting fined for not having your applicators license. One good commercial weedeater, hedge trimmers, and blower will get you started. A lot of info on here about this, echo, stihl,shinidawa and so on. Like the above poster said, you can spend days here getting a lot of good (and some not so good) info. Use the search feature and it will help you. Good luck! Also target the area you want to work in and try to keep your route as tight as possible, the more time you spend driving the more time you lose plus gas.
     
  6. fyshstykr

    fyshstykr LawnSite Member
    from zone 99
    Posts: 76

    thank you for the great info toy 2 & QLC4U,
    No I have not advertised as of yet,still getting my ducks lined up,really can't do much as far as lawn care except aerate & fert,still need to get my business licence,tax I.D,insurance and the like before I will attempt to do anything.I am thinking about a snowblower though(praying for a great winter like we had last year, drought buster finally !!!!) but I will wait a little longer.
    will be contacting the state about a fert test & liceence this week.
    I spent the afternoon eyeballing equipment,tell me about GRAVELY ZTR's I believe it was the 37" model for comm residential use,I believe I will sell my JD L-120 48" as I don't believe it to be right for this application.
    I was also told today that commercial big accts can get pretty cutthroat, I would imagine that could be with high end residential also ????.
    toyz 2 you mentioned that working for the man is a joke and I could not agree with more,(spent 20 yrs with corporate america, never again will I subject myself or my family to that again !!!!!!!!)so therefore I will bust my butt to make this a success.
    QLC4U also mentioned keeping your routes tight, that makes total sense to me, especially now with gas $, thank you all once again, and will talk at you soon. J.P
     
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I agree with you, this is my 4th year and it's the first year I've come close to 30k (still need another 2.5k to make it) and the first 3 were not that close to it... So yes, it takes time and after it's all said and done, 30k doesn't leave that much after taxes and expenses either, heh...
     
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I would highly recommend a USED Wb as you will likely run your equipment into the dirt the first few years. The problem with other Lco's being around exists everywhere but the problem isn't that there are no customers, the problem is all the good ones are taken. But it's cool, those customers are left for the newcomer are the ones give us a chance to learn and they're a dime a dozen so as far as I'm concerned there is never a shortage.
     

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