part time to full time lawn care

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by greenskeeper79, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. greenskeeper79

    greenskeeper79 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 46

    Kicking around the idea to start a lawn care business as a second income to start. 1st child is 3 mo old and would like for the wife to stay at home with him if possible.

    I have 13 years experience as a golf course superintendent. I have a spray/fert application license as well as the knowledge to maintain turfgrass at 0.100" so 3" homeowner should be no problem.

    I am thinking of getting used equipment to start.

    Already have a truck, fert spreader, walk sprayer (small)

    Thinking of purchasing, used if possible (w/ cash):

    12x6 trailer (dump maybe?)

    zero turn mower (50"?)

    string trimmer

    backpack blower

    Advice on how to proceed as well as most reliable equipment that you would recommend.

    Pricing for cutting is always a question, the area here has homes in the $300k+ range. Thinking minimum $30 for the smallest lawns.

    Will be putting together an expense sheet to determine costs.
     
  2. Mowinforaliving

    Mowinforaliving LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,258

    Sounds like a good plan to me. Dump trailers are expensive around here. You would have to have alot of use for one to justify the $6,000 to $8,000.
     
  3. greenskeeper79

    greenskeeper79 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 46

    Agreed more expensive than a regular trailer, was thinking down the line because my truck is not a dump. I can get 3x ground mulch through the golf course at $16/yd. Delivered around here is getting $35/yd plus delivery fees.

    I guess I could start with a regular trailer and go from there.
     
  4. Mowinforaliving

    Mowinforaliving LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,258

    That's what I would do, or rent a dump trailer on the bigger jobs.
     
  5. greenskeeper79

    greenskeeper79 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 46

    pricing out around $5k for the basic equipment I need to get started.

    $30 per cut minimum I would need 15 yards or so per week to suppliment my wifes income.

    How much to charge for fert application (fall) and herbicide application (anytime)? Also considering lawn aeration for how much?
     
  6. Mowinforaliving

    Mowinforaliving LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,258

    $30 minimum isn't bad on residentials. Don't plug into the classic "you're an underbidder" accusations. Charge what you're comfortable with and don't listen to that crap. As far as the price on applications, that varies depending on where you're located. Alot of people charge a $35 to $40 minimum just to show up, then $3.00 to $4.00 per 1,000 square feet after that. I've got an account that's about 26,000 sq.ft. that I charge $110.00 per application. I net about $80.00 per application on it by the time I buy my fertilizer and fuel to drive to it. I hit it with an app every 5 to 6 weeks.
     
  7. Mowinforaliving

    Mowinforaliving LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,258

    In March or April I put down an application of Pendulum (pre-emergent) and Triplet (selective post-emergent). They're compatible, so I mix them together and put it down as one application. I throw in a little Surf King surfactant and blue die as well. After that, about 5 weeks later I fertilize with granular. 3 times, 5 to 6 weeks apart. Then, in the Fall I winterize. Throughout the growing season I spot spray with my backpack sprayer, using Triplet and surfactant on the stubborn weeds. I also use a backpack sprayer with glyphospate, surfactant, and dye to hit areas where you want nothing. Cracks in the sidewalks, gravel parking areas, chainlink fence lines on big industrial accounts, warehouses, etc. It saves so much time on the trimming. I do this every 5 to 6 weeks too, just to keep the unwanted crap gone.
     
  8. tinman

    tinman LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ga
    Posts: 1,348

    determine costs and figure time by doing your lawn and friends before pricing.
     
  9. Mowinforaliving

    Mowinforaliving LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,258

    Price a jug of chemical, find out how many sq. ft. of turf that jug will treat, divide the price and you'll disover your chemical cost per 1000 sq ft. It's not much at all (you'll find that out quick).
     
  10. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,370

    If you have the cash to get the dump trailer outright, why not go ahead and do it ... then keep the profit from the big jobs instead of paying for rental !!
     

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