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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mrbenfer, May 25, 2003.

  1. mrbenfer

    mrbenfer LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 136

    First off this site has got to be the best thing that’s happened to me since peanut butter sandwiches.

    I'm 17 and have been mowing lawns for 3 years now. I never gave the idea of my service growing outside of my 5 to 6 lawns a year much thought before now. My clients started giving my name to there family and friends this past month, and its not strange anymore for me to come home from work and find 2 or 3 messages from potential clients asking me to come give them a estimate.

    -This is where I need your advice-

    So basically I’m on a bumpy road trying to save money making 5.15 at a Air Port and Mowing 5-6 lawns a week. And Then I have to decide weather to drop my JOB and take on lawn mowing full time ( I have around 15 interested clients ) and my service is still growing by word of mouth. OR i can turn these interested clients down and keep my 6 lawns and my 5.15 job at the air port which might sound a bit depressing but i rather get paid 5.15 and be safe then me loosing money on the deal. I know i'll have to put money down but i'm just worried i wont get it back. heh

    I have a 21" Self Propelled Yard Man
    Ryobl Trimmer
    PUSH BROOM - Only for the men - (Blowers are for SISSIES until i can afford one of my own haha)
    Your going to laugh but i use a Craftsmen Rider to do big lots
    i have a trailer (5x12) I think thats correct.

    Would i need to get anything else??? Please be open with me i need all the advice i can get...

    OR..... I CAN JOIN A CREW?

    Since i like mowing and it pays well if you are working for the right business, HOW DOES A 17 YR. OLD IMPRESS THESE BUSINESSES SO THAT THEY WILL WANT YOU ON THERE CREW? I've stopped in this place called MIDWEST LAWN a few times once to fill out a app and 3 more times on separate weeks checking up on the app. I dont think these guys know i'm a hard worker (which i am) and i have no idea on how to show them that i have a hard work ethic and can go with the best of them.

    Thanks For All Your Help I Appreciate It
    M Benfer “The Lawn Guy”
  2. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Posts: 1,878

    Take all the jobs you can handle. When your "real" job gets in the way, put in your two weeks notice. One (1) good job will get more cash in your pocket than a whole week of $5.15/hour. You're young and a hard worker....don't make money for some other lawn care co., make it for yourself. Do great work at fair prices, pass out flyers, talk to neighbors, and you'll go far fast.

    You NEED to get a blower, even a cheap one for now. Using that rider blowing parking lots is a broken window waiting to happen, that's a big no-no. Save up your money and buy a back-up weedeater, mower, and blower so you won't be missing any needed work. Dress nice, be nice....do good work.....watch the money roll in for your college.payup
  3. TaussigLawnCare

    TaussigLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 206

    if you have some interested people then drop the airport job get those accounts and possibly advertise and get more to make it full time. When I was about at your point I was appling at other places cause I wanted a steady pay check but none of them hired me so I started on my own and now I am one of their compettitors.
  4. Clay

    Clay LawnSite Member
    Posts: 236

    No such thing as "Job Security"!!!

    First rule of success.... "Own Your Own Business"....

    Second.... "Buy Quality and Pay Cash for it"....

    At 17, if you work hard and smart you could be comfortably set by age 30... In order to work smart you need a mentor... someone who is successful in the field you choose... "Experience is the greatest teacher, especially when it is someone elses!"

    Good Luck, the choice is yours... be a slave wage earner or be comfortably secure by 30....

  5. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,850


    I'm in the same boat you're in, I did lawns part time while i worked at a golf course, and now i'm looking to turn "pro" meaning getting licensed, insured and getting a "real" work truck that i can really haul with.

    Unfortunately its a little late in the season out here in the Northeast, and it seems like everyone has their LCO for the season. I've been picking up some work, but by no means enough to keep me busy everyday.

    I'm a full time college student and I'm finishing up this coming december (computers/networking). I've recently decided that in the spring I'm going to take some landscaping and horticulture classes and make a strong push to find more customers that spring. (i slacked this year and didn't get my name out).

    What I've learned this far is:
    1.) don't do the lowballer attempt, i did that when i first started and now i wish i had given them more of a industry standard rate. at the time it was good money since i was working PT elsewhere. It's still good money, but I could be getting a little more from the property.

    2.) buy good equipment, when i started i bought myself a 50" gravely walk behind (i still use it). This was the only commercial equipment i bought. I used some home depot/sears trimmers and blowers. They worked for me at the time, and my Homelite trimmer is still running. My only complaint is its underpowered, so now i'm on the lookout for a nice powerful commercial trimmer and backpack blower. The commercial stuff just does the jop quicker and will outlast the consumer level equipment.

    3.) WORK YOUR *** OFF! you said you were a hard worker, and i believe you. I started out that way and then started slacking, because of that i wasn't getting referred to other people. I was just doing an "ok" job for most peole, but then when i really started working on properties i found the homeowners were more willing to offer me more work and refer me to other people.

    4.) read LS! I've learned a ton of information just by reading through countless posts here, I thought i knew what i was doing before, but people here really know their stuff, and just letting it "sink in" will really help you be a little more professional.

    5.) Don't be afraid to say you want $x an hour for a job or $y for mowing/trimming the lawn, it may seem like a lot of money, but most people understand that its a job they don't want to do.

    6.) check out other people's equipment, study their technique for doing certain tasks (landscaping, mulching, stone, even mowing/trimming)

    Good luck, do it on your own, give people in your town some competition,
  6. studentlawn

    studentlawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 117

    I was in a similar situation as you a couple of years ago. 2 years ago I was the guy next door mowing 2 or 3 lawns, now I have a full time partner and we offer full service around the metro and were looking to expand with some grants and loans. But my advice to you.

    Working for yourself the way to go, never look back and doubt yourself

    Look at spending good money for different tools as an investment, not an expense. Remember, buying that edger enables you to offer a new service, which in the end can bring greater profit.

    Never stop thinking about your business, thinking of new ideas. Im still expanding and have never had much money to grow with (only the money made mowing), ive had to always keep on my feet, look for deals, and think of ways to raise capital).

    Write a business plan, if you want to make this full time, write down for yourself where you realistically want to be.

    NEVER be scared to ask someone. My partner or I have learned everything from asking someone or just going out and trying things we wearnt sure what we were doing. The first time we sodded, I was scared to death, but I asked everyone for advice and we figured stuff out on the job. This is a great place to do.

    Remember, you will always get what you put in. Your hard work will show.
  7. SunSwept

    SunSwept LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93


    I walked away from a $56,000 per year job 10 years ago. Short of my family going hungry, I don't think that I will ever consider another job. I can do better without one!!

    Also, PLEASE go purchase the book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and read it cover to cover. You should enjoy what is in it!

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