Online Courses

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by paul vroom, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. paul vroom

    paul vroom LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 260

    Hi, I am planning on starting my own landscaping company in 07 and i would like to know what you think about online courses. The course i am looking at is run by Penn Foster Career school. www.learnlandscaping.com I appreciate all feedback

    Thanks
     
  2. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,072

    I would not rule it out, but honestly I do not think it is a good idea.
    A lot depends on what your goals are. If you just want to work for your self and like the idea of landscaping, start with only one thing like mowing and get good at it, make money at it and go from there.

    Many community colleges offer great training in horticulture and turfgrass management, and landscape design.

    Do you have any experience with landscaping or business? Do you hope to make money in 07?
     
  3. paul vroom

    paul vroom LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 260

    Mark, Thank you for your response.

    The only landscape experience i have is in my own yard, which I get complimented on often but that does not make me a landscaper. I am 42 and have wanted to go into landscaping since my early 20's, at the moment I am a manager in a desktop publishing department for a billion dollar company and settled for the comfort of a good job (comfort in secure not riches) but I really love landscaping and think I could be a success. My plan would be to move myself to a second shift schedule so I can keep my "day job" and persue landscaping during the day. I would hope that next year I would make enough $$ to cover the cost of equipment that I would invest in and hopefully grow from there. I would take your advice and start small. My fear is how much education I have in landscaping would not be enough to sell myself to a client. The running a business side of the company does not scare me as much as a lack of landscaping education. How did you get educated Mark? Sorry for the long responce but you are really the first person in the trade I have spoken with. Thanks again, Paul
     
  4. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,072

    Hi Paul,
    Landscaping is my third career.
    I have been a gardener all my life (47 years so far) and about 8 years ago I decided to try to make my hobby my career. I took a night job in a restaurant to pay the bills and went to a community college to study horticulture and landscape design. I was pleased to find most of the other students were adults looking to change careers. I also worked for a couple of landscape companies for about six months at each.

    In April 2001, I had just completed a semester and wanted to start making some side money mowing lawns. My wife made up my flier and I took them and put them on doorknobs wih rubber bands. I got a couple calls and a couple lawns.

    I have always been about half and half lawn mowing and half landscaping.
    In a lot of ways it is not a good decision, but to keep my life interesting I try to do a little of everything.

    If you are selling lawn mowing service you will not have a hard time convincing your customers that you are qualified. Reliability and quality work are what most customers require.

    There is another education resource for you to consider, there is a national Master Gardeners program, if they have a chapter near you the education they provide would get you off to a good start.

    The business side of things did not challenge me too much, but to be honest I was kind of dumb and lazy when it came to care and repair of machinery. It has taken years to get myself to take better care and do repairs myself. As well, I have had some problems with this old body of mine, it seems it never expected me to push it harder than ever after fourty. It objects on a daily basis.

    I wish I had known about lawnsite during my first couple years.

    Let me know if you have any questions I can help you with.

    Mark
     
  5. paul vroom

    paul vroom LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 260

    I know how you feel, I have had to tell myself several times that when I start this I need to take better care of my equipment than I do my mower I use around the house. I will take you advice and pass on the online course. I would rather be in a class room enviroment. You say you do half mowing and half landscaping. This is how green I am but what is the diffrence? Do you do hydro seeding? i would like to get more info on that, I see more and more people choosing that root for a new lawn. There is so much, the more I think about it there is so much that could be done. Also a lot to learn.
     
  6. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,072

    Besides mowing lawns, I offer lawn treatment, fertilizer, weed preventative, aeration, seeding, etc. I do not apply any kind of insecticides. I also do landscape design and planting. I often get customers who are not interested in a re-design of their landscape but want some additional planting. I deliver and spread mulch, solve drainage issues and do small hardscape jobs, borders, retaining walls, walkways, small patios.

    Sometimes I wish I just did mowing and lawn treatment. These are simple services that pay well. It is easy to train employees to do these thing. It seems near impossible to get employees to remove weeds and do a good job in a timely manner.

    Prunning shrubs and trees is another function that requires knowledge. I have seen it done wrong as often as done correctly.

    I do not do hydroseeding, and I try to avoid sod planting. By the way most people use the word instalation when they mean planting. I plant trees and shrubs, and I install landscape light fixtures. To me if you say you are installing a tree or sod, I wonder if you know what you are doing, cause if you did you would be planting the tree or sod.

    Go with what you know. You know how to mow lawns, with a little research you can properly apply lawn treatments. Spreading mulch takes some skill that is easily learned.

    When it comes to taking classes at a local botanical garden or community college, you will get training that is appropriate to your area. This is very important when it comes to landscape horticulture. Every region is different and then there are sub-climates within the region. This becomes important when you are trying to match plants to a particular location in the landscape.
     
  7. Hartnett Lawn Care

    Hartnett Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 33

    Hi there....I agree with Mark...your local university should offer a "master gardener program".

    I too do lawn care and other jobs have come up that the customer has requested...ie: mulch; creating mulch beds; plantings; hedge trimming; Fall and Spring Cleanups.

    I too have a full time job and am 55 years old. I work with my two sons 19 and 17 and another 17 year old boy. One is in college and the other in HS....so I don't have them together all the time and I end up doing some of the work myself.

    It is "hard" work and you will get a lot of excercise. You will get a sense of satisfaction of a job well done. I am working in the social work field now and am getting close to retirment. That is a field where you don't always see results.

    You meet nice people and can develop a relationship...that is what most customers want. Don't get me wrong...you meet some jerks but you can weed them out.

    I have 15 lawns and that keeps me busy.

    Good luck and enjoy...there is plenty of work out there for everyone.
     
  8. corey1977

    corey1977 LawnSite Senior Member
    from maine
    Posts: 262

    I had on the job training I wokred for a city cemetery dept for 2 years before I started my part time business learing to run a walker mower will get my a job at any landscape company
     

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