Quick couple questions from a new guy...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by xtoyz, May 19, 2008.

  1. xtoyz

    xtoyz LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    Hi all,

    I'm looking to start something on the side that will hopefully turn into something full time. I'll give you my situation and hopefully you guys can point me in the right direction. I've got some of the equipment, but not at all. I've got a 99 3/4 ton Dodge/Cummins for pulling, a 16' utility trailer, and a string trimmer. Only thing that I'd need to purchase is a better push mower, and a rider. I've got a local who's willing to sell me his 3 year old JD 757 zero turn w/ around 1k hours for $3k.

    The reason I want to start part time is because I'm a full time engineering coop at a company locally, but for the summer they cut my hours to 3 days a week. The pay is good, I can live off of it, and if worst comes to worst I can manage the expenses of running the business (if I'm not profiting that is). By this coming winter I'm hoping the contracts I get this summer will turn into plowing contracts and then from there the goal is to have things really expanding next summer. Plowing will be low investment also as I inherited a Western MVP plow that's a year old, and I've got the frame for my truck already. I also want to point out that I'd like this to be a stepping stone into bigger things. I've got a compact tractor I can use for work, and would like to purchase a bobcat in my future. Have a trailer to pull both of those as well, so costs would be minimal for those.

    I know I'm late in the game this season, but I think if I work hard at it by winter time things could start getting busier for me.

    There wasn't really a question in any of that, but I'm basically wondering if my thinking is sound? You guys do this on a day to day basis and will have a better idea than I do. I think I've got my ducks in a row, but as always the chance of forgetting something exists :hammerhead:

    My other question is pricing. I can bid a lawn without issues, but how do you folks work the billing end? Money up front, bill at the end of the month, end of season, deposit, etc...?

    Thanks for all the help!
    Shawn
     
  2. dura to the max

    dura to the max LawnSite Silver Member
    from georgia
    Posts: 2,246

    i bill at the end of the month. money after work performed for extra stuff. im afraid i dont understand your other question though
     
  3. xtoyz

    xtoyz LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    Well my other question was more of a "Did what I lay out above sound like a good idea? Could it be better? Am I an idiot?"
     
  4. dura to the max

    dura to the max LawnSite Silver Member
    from georgia
    Posts: 2,246

    it sounds ok, not ideal. if you can get enough accounts to pay for your equipment. i wouldnt work for free, but you know the old saying "it takes money to make money". lawncare can be a great business, if your willing to invest now while you make your living as an engineer it should work. might take some time till your turning a good profit, but you should be ok. weigh out your cost of business and try to go in hole as little as possible. good equipment can be quite an investment, so be sure you want to stick w/ this.

    hope this helps. good luck. if you have anything else just post and ill be glad to help in any way i can.

    by the way the jd sounds like a good deal, just be sure you have a good dealer to stand behind it.
     
  5. xtoyz

    xtoyz LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    We've got a great group of dealers, actually. My dad just purchased a compact JD 3720, and they generally bend over backwards to take care of us.

    I know it's something I want to stick with, I really enjoy working out doors. I'm more interested in land clearing, working with excavating type equipment, etc... but I enjoy lawn care as well.

    I don't plan to work for free, but if for whatever reason I'm some how not profiting the day job is at least good enough to keep me on my feet.

    Can I ask what's not ideal? Is it only working 2 days a week? I did an excel spreadsheet this morning and my initial investment would be about 6500. Figuring in costs, and minimal accounts (about 15-20 which I could do in 2-3 days I figure) I'd be able to take 50% of profit and pay the loans off in about 5 months. The other 50% would be set aside for expenses and profit. After that I *could* be working for all profit minus fuel and repair/maintenance. Ideally I'd like a lot more accounts, but my engineering job/hours can be adjusted accordingly to fit with land scaping.


    Thanks for the help so far,

    Shawn
     
  6. dura to the max

    dura to the max LawnSite Silver Member
    from georgia
    Posts: 2,246

    "ideal" would be turning a profit to start w/. lol. i didnt mean to come across that its not a good plan. personally w/ those numbers, i think you should be ok. it is a risk, but the risk sounds minimal. personally i think its a decent/good plan.

    good luck. any other questions are welcome.
     

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