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Should I grow?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Googus, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. Googus

    Googus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 185

    Sounds a bit stupid, but I am in a weird situation.
    My current set up is an Exmark 30in, stihl br600, Troy bit trimmer and edger with no other tools.

    I have 6 bi-weekly cut at 30.00 and 2 bi-weekly at 40.00.
    I have a full time 44hr week job.

    I like mowing lawns and owning my own business.

    The issue I am starting to have is my current business is not allowing me to take on bigger jobs.

    Ex: I took an estimate for yard clean up. I had to turn it down because I didn't have a chainsaw, hedge clippers, or a trailer to take all the crap to the dump.

    Ex: went to another house and it is close to an acre with iron fence in back yard a good bit of trim work and edging. I am still on the fence with this one but I feel it will just take me too long to cut and I don't want to throw out a high price. Was thinking 75.00 bi- weekly but I know someone would undercut me because they have the proper size equipment.

    I also have a lot of on call cut people. So I am getting a little worried that u will not be able to grow and killing myself in the summer with my current set up. I would like to get a trailer and an Exmark quest s or pioneer both are big investment that would take me most or if not the season to pay for.

    Any thoughts?
    Thanks Greg
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. AMW Landscaping

    AMW Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 631

    I say go for it. You are about at the point where you are going to have to choose between full time lawn business of your other job. I would not suggest getting a z-turn because of how big the are. Get a walk behind or stander. 48 inch exmark turf tracer might be right for you. For a trailer look into PJ trailers. Very we'll built and will last for ever.
  3. Googus

    Googus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 185

    I thought about a walk behind. I have a hard time grabbing the control ( bad elbows) A turf tracer is in the same ball park as a pioneer and more money then the upgraded quest with the fab deck and better hydrolics.
  4. zwhit81

    zwhit81 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 141

    I dont think you are anywhere near leaving your current job. I would invest in a cheap 10ft single axle trailer and a small ztr maybe a 48in. If you can pick up some accounts they could easily pay for themselves this summer. Also, try to get weekly account bc it takes a lot longer when you mow bi weekly and the yard is tall.
  5. TheLugNutZ

    TheLugNutZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 410

    Any reason why you are doing mostly bi-weekly?
  6. gardiner

    gardiner LawnSite Member
    Posts: 171

    Does not sound stupid at all . myself i would weigh the pros and cons . keeping in mind of the slow season ,and how many clean up jobs you are asked to do . so far you are averaging $520.00 a month .even with adding the $75 bi-weekly cut that will get you up too $670 a month.. them 2 clean ups, once said and done then what ? So it really depends on your situation . if you still live at home with parents or you have a supportive woman . Go for it , If you supporting a home with children alone .and need the benifits of you full time job . Times do get hard .when it all on you .
    Your not the only guy out there , being a weekend warrior .
    I get more clean ups and side work. due to all the weekend warriors out cutting grass cheap .
    If you take the jump you will see them $30 - $40 bi-week cuts is a $15 - $20 weekly cut .
  7. Googus

    Googus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 185

    I don't plan on leaving my job. I just need more income.
    Trust me I try to get my customers weekly and explain to them the pros to having done weekly. They are just so cheep!

    I was looking at the exmark quest 50in with the fab deck and pioneer hyro with bigger tire. I believe they call it the quest s. I believe the price is around 4k.
  8. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,670

    regarding things like the chain saw:

    Advice stick to doing what you do best.

    if you buy a decent chain saw ($400) and you do this measly chainsaw work ($250) all you've done is lost money.

    how many chain saw jobs do you get called for?
    Let someone else do it.

    You've already invested in a weekly/biweekly service business model so focus there.

    Do not buy more machinery until you are in danger of not having enough time to complete the work you have.

    the thought or idea of "i don't want to kill myself" mowing big places is the wrong idea for an entrepreneur in this line of work.

    if thats how you feel, you are running a hobby not a business.

    if a hobby is what you want, and you just need enough money to justify it, then go get a little ZTR and be done with it, nice easy funded hobby.

    Quest and Pioneer are good mowers for a hobbyist.

    If you are investing in a business go get a quality commercial walk behind, like a scag or exmark.
    It will last you a decade or more.
    if you get really busy you can pick up a sulky for it.

    after you have secured a intermediate walk behind.

    Look into finding a trimmer with a spilt boom (also known as a Kombi unit)

    Echo and Stihl make the two most well known ones.

    buy it with the trimmer head on it and it will be a main line trimmer for you, the current trimmer you have are back ups just in case.

    When and if you start getting a bit of 'side work' like hedges or light sawing you can buy an alternate head to your kombi unit, like hedge trimmer or small chain saw for limbing.

    These attachments will only cost you $150 or so.
    they help greatly in expanding incrementally.

    If done right, a 48" walk behind and a 30" will fit easily in the back of a pick up, no trailer needed for now.

    Places like cabellas or sportsman's warehouse sell a decent set of aluminum ramps for $300-$400 bucks, they are designed to load big ATVs or snow machines/motorcyles, and will be plenty hefty for your mowers.

    Just make sure not to chase every and any work you are asked to do.

    focus on investing toward the regular repeat work first. small projects will follow, as long as you are still working a full time job, avoid any project that will take you more than a few hours to complete.
  9. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    Your FT job will in the end dictate what and how far you can and will expect to go forward. One day you will need to make a choice, your not there yet and
    based on your equipment line up and staggered work schedule you could continue on the same path indefinitely. Your customers may be cheap, however I believe they know how to take advantage of you especially the bi weekly mowing customers.
    easy-lift guy
  10. Dr. Cornwallis

    Dr. Cornwallis LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 847

    You are no where near needing to make up your mind. I would keep your Exmark 30 and buy a small ZTR (48in) or a small stander and a trailer. That setup allows you to cover just about any situation well. I would also invest in some better handhelds, get a stihl Kombi tool if you're on a budget. $75 for an acre lot with trimming is very fair. I charge $50 an acre for just mowing. If you worry about people under bidding you then your going to underbid your self. Bid what you think is fair. There are certainly people who underbid me around here. If they want to work for nothing that's cool by me. Another thing you can't do is bid based on your equipment (do a degree). The LCO can't pentilize the client because you're equipment is inferior and the client can't pentilize you because the LCO's equipment is extremely efficient. An acre lot would probably take you two hours with a 30, where as it would probably take you 15 min or less with a 72 ZTR.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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