Please advise a man with a truck.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Blissfulgrief, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. Blissfulgrief

    Blissfulgrief LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    I have 600.00 to invest and if necessary can spend up to 300 more. My truck is a 2000 Ford Ranger so the bed is relatively small. I want advice on what equipment to buy, considering I will be working alone and have no clients yet. What kinds of costs should I consider besides equipment, advertisements, and maintenance? Do I really need license and insurance now? Are these software programs I'm finding on-line (start your own lawn care business) worth it?
    I live in Austin, TX, I am 26 years old, and I have decided to give this a try. What next?
  2. Dave655

    Dave655 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    First of all welcome to lawnsite!! You could probably get a good used 36'' walk behind gear drive. I recommend Exmark, Scag, Snapper, or a lot of guys like Bobcat. Your going to need a good trimmer, But with the money your talking your going to have to go low end. Maybe Ryobi or Homelite, make sure you get a straight shaft. And you can get a pretty good hand blower for $70- $90 dollars. You might want to get some basic cheap handtool if you have any money left, raked,shovels, clippers, and hedge trimmers. With advertisment go with passing out flyers with your name, number, and services on them. Or put a cheap ad in the newspaper. Insurence is a must but with the money you have I dont know. The Ranger is good truck especially if you have the V6 in it. I would consider getting a trailor in the future but right now it is not a must. I hope this halps and I would use the search feature at the bottom of the page to find further details. Good Luck!!
  3. CNE

    CNE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 238

    You have at the most $900 to spend, no mower, trimmer, blower, trailer or anything? I don't know what to tell you. You might find a very used small trailer for $250-$300. That would leave $600. A used residential lawn tractor will probably run you $400-$500 and won't be much to it at that price. I would try to put together some more money before I tried to start out on my own. Buy your equipment a little at a time and then start your business. Try buying your equipment in a package and finance it. That is what I did and I am part time for now. My lawn care produces enough money to fund my business and pay all expenses. I still work full time at my regular job until my wife gets out of school. I bought my small trailer 6.5X12, Exmark Lazer, trimmer, blower, racks etc. for around $9,000. Got a good interest deal with low payments. One lawn takes care of the payment each month but I pay as much as I can to pay it off faster. I even saved enough last year to add my WB, paid cash $3,000 used with only 18 hours on it. I added the other trailer this year, bought it used and fixed it up, added rails and gates. I have about $1,000 in it now. There are many options for you out there but I don't think $900 will get you started with reliable equipment. That is something else to consider, you can't make money if your equipment stays broken.
  4. Blissfulgrief

    Blissfulgrief LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Thank you both for your responses. I have been reading more posts on this site since I posted mine, and have found that some members are bothered by "scrubs" (new guys with little money) without the will to stick it out.
    I have been looking for a used 36'' walk behind, but havent had much luck. I plan to buy a blower, a trimmer (may purchace Homelite for 40 bucks), and an edger by the end of the week. I did however, find a new Scotts 22" 3 in 1 self propelled mower for 70.00 (still had tape on it). Today, I went to ask questions at the tax office and made fliers for my neighbors. They will have quotes for each yard.
    I am not in this alone (financially). If I can get a few jobs and show a little growth and/or stability, then I have family who will lend me money. Ultimately, I know its up to me to make this work. If I work hard and am reliable, then money won't always be my problem.
    I want to do this on my own (pretty much), but I dont want to make too many careless mistakes. Having said that, I welcome any advise anyone has.
    Oh yeah, the truck is a V6, and I will have to find a good mower before I get a trailer. I can rent one to bring it home, and won't take huge jobs until I am more capable. Make sense?
    Thanks again, and I appreciate all of your info.

    Andre' L. Johnson
  5. moneyman

    moneyman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 136

    With your budget i would stick to yards that you can mow with a push behind mower.
  6. Blissfulgrief

    Blissfulgrief LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Can you tell me what I can do for these customers that will allow me to have a better chance of keeping at least one when I am more established? Does anyone out there still have one of their first few customers? To be more specific, how do I start where I am without becoming Joe Blow down the street with a lawnmower?
    Thanks for your reply.
    Andre' Johnson
  7. twins_lawn_care

    twins_lawn_care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 932

    First of all, you have to believe in your business for it to work. I don't care if you start with a pair of scissors, if you have the drive, it can work.
    I started last year with lemons, but made some real good lemonade! And you're one step ahead with a truck already.
    I'd say for equipment, the very basics you'll need are a 21" mower, string trimmer, blower, and edger. I started with an interchangable edger/trimmer which saved a little money to start out.
    The key to being successful, is to re-invest any money you make back into the business. Don't mow 3 yards for $20 each this saturday, and go spend all $60 saturday night. That leaves you right where you started. Get a bank account, and put everything you possibly can in there. Print up some flyers, and pass them out around the neighborhood in some nice clothes. Presentation is important for people to take you seriously. YOu can get a lot of ideas and help on here about making a good flyer. Start out by talking to people you know, or your parents know, of friends and family, or at your church. Mention you are starting a business, and could use some support. More than likely, this will get you started with 2-3 lawns to do, which is a good start. Mow those 3 yards for $20 each week, and after 20 weeks you'll have made $1200. If you saved it all, and minus expenses, now you can plan your next step. (just an example) But as you asked, start with the minimum if you are not sure if this is what you'll be doing for the rest of your life, then you are not out that much money. The equipment you are buying will probably not last very long, due to it not being commercial, but should last long enough to make you some money to move up to some better equipment.
    Make sure to get licensed and insured, to protect yourself and your customers if anything happens. It probably seems worthless just starting out, but all it takes is one rock thrown in the wrong place, and you are in for some hassles you do not want.

    So with your $900, I'd do something like this:

    Mower - $250
    Trimmer - $100
    Edger attachment - $50
    Blower - $100

    Insurance - ? $300
    License - $50

    and use the $50 left over for flyers, and a couple gas cans.

    this should get you started, then you have to start marketing yourself!

    Good luck Andre', I can relate, because I was in your shoes just last year. I read and researched for hours on how to improve, and was patient, and the business is really turning out now. Don't be in a rush to make a million dollars, because you probably won't make much of anything for a few years, but if you stick with it, you'll see great rewards at the end.

    PS- a thick skin helps a lot in this business. People will doubt you, and poke fun at your ideas. YOu have to be better than that, and let them say what they want, and keep on working. One day, you'll laugh all the way to the bank!

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