Starting a Lawn service..kinda scared!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by sedlmeier101, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. sedlmeier101

    sedlmeier101 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    I am 19 years old. I have thought about it for the past 2 years and finally decided to start up a lawn care business!
    I have about ~$12,000 to start it. I have NOTHING as of right now.
    Heres what I am going to spend it on, tell me if I'm wrong
    I am not new to mowing,ect. as I worked at a school district for 2 years doing grounds work, But i am Very new to starting my own business and prices of everything. Heres somethings I have prices to:

    1/2ton Silverado '99+ 4x4 ~$7,000

    12' Enclosed trailer~ $1,000 (I have one I am ready to purchase)

    I have the opptunity to purchase my cousins zero turn rider 52" (not sure of the brand but I know it's a good one) with under 100hrs for $3,500

    I'd like to have 2 string trimmers, Incase one breaks.

    A hand held blower to clear off driveways.

    Can someone enlighten me on what I should purchase and the prices?

    I am going to be running this by my self.
    I will be offering: Lawn mowing, triming and clipping removal.
    as well as spring/fall cleanup and mulch spreading.
    I don't want to get into hedge work right away becasue I have not had much exp. with it.

    The thing I am worried about is I know of 2 bigger lawn service companys around my area...and my friend has a lawn care business, So i am worried that there will be no more clients for me! My friend claims that he has so much work he has to turn most people away.

    I am just affraid to invest all this money and then have a hard time getting off the ground.

    I am having a friend of mine (professional photograper) do up a flyer for me in which I will list off my services..
    I am wondering if any of these phrases sound like a good sales pitch:

    "are you tired of your weekely lawn upkeep? If so, let us do the dirty work so you can come home and relax"

    I was also thinking of things I can pride my self on such as:

    "young,enthusied and experianced crew"
    "fully insured"

    I am from Orchard park, NY (20 mins south of buffalo)
    currently we have 4+ feet of snow so I don't have to worry about doing lawn service for atleast another month, hence why I am doing planning right now

    I have read many threads on the site and you guys seem very helpful! your help is greatly apprecitated!
     
  2. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,785

    first of all i just want to say it sounds like you have good head on your shoulders. your obviously not jumping head first into this without giving it serious thought.

    as far as the equip, a 52" ztr with under 100 hr for $3500! buy it yesturday.
    the trailer seems like a steal too. truck deal also not too bad. if your friends are willing to through you some work, its seems to me like a no brainer. you still have time, mid-lat march i would put an add in a local paper. if you or friend/family live on a main road, make a small sign that simply says MOWING, you'll be surprised how much work you can get from it.

    as far as few tips id saytry to build a relationship with a dealer so when your equip breaks, it gets fixed fast. save some money for a plow! i make more $/hr with a plow than mowing. and if you get over 4' you might make more plowing than mowing for the year. every area is different as are lawn sizes but i get 35 min for plowign and mowing and prices go up from there but do what you need to do to get workign, word of mouth is a great thing. also, i get $85 per cubic yard of mulch installed, which includes delivery and purchase. dont go crazy buying more equip than you can afford. try to save and buy so your not always in the whole. if i can think of anything else ill drop you a line or if you have any other ?'s let me knwo
     
  3. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,624

    Why are you going to give up $7000 on a truck. Get a loan. Finance it an you will only have to fork over about $200 per month for a payment. It nice to own out right but starting up you going to need some cash on hand. Dont waste your time with a hand held blower. Your going to need a backpack blower for the spring and fall cleanups. Not that you still have several thousand dollars from not paying off the truck you can get a better blower. Get a decent weed whacker and backpack blower from a local dealer and bs with the counter help. It goes a long way. Get to know there names and then in a week or 2 go back in and buy some 2-cycle oil mix and say "hi Jim, Hows it going?" A little small talk now helps you a ton down the road.
    You live in a great area for landscaping. Buffalo and Rochester area are loaded with work. Get your name out there. Local newspaper ads work well. If you have smaller papers for the small towns put some in those to isolate where your customers come from. Your going to want to try to get a tight mowing schedule. I'll add more as others chime in, Good luck out there and dont sell yourself short. :D
     
  4. ScagBoy09

    ScagBoy09 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 73

    Im with you 101(started last year), get your feet wet and you will love the industry. Forking over thousands in the beginning sucks but it will pay off when you have nice reliable equipment. You know the saying, It takes money to make money. I think as far as your investment plans go, they sound pretty good. Like mentioned above, I would go with a backpack blower, not trying to critique your decisions, but I found out the hard way that hand helds dont pack a whole lot of punch, especially if you are moving a lot of leaves. I would personally go with Stihl equipmnet from experience, but there are many others to choose from if you wish. Goodluck come spring!:)
     
  5. sedlmeier101

    sedlmeier101 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    As far as the truck goes, I see where you are coming from to take out a loan... But I figure If I take out a loan..I'm going to get a rate of no better than 8%
    Lets say I do a 2 year loan, that's about $640 intrest i'd have to pay, on top of my insurance premiums (i'd have to put full collision on due to the loan)
    being 19 years old, insurance is outragous.
    With the truck paid for.. Sure i'd be out 8 g's in the begining but I'd save ten fold with just basic car insurance.

    Another question I have... I've noticed a lot of people have 32" or so walk behind mowers. Are these self propelled, if so, is there a way to mount something on the rear of the mower so I could ride it, insted of actually walk behind it?

    Another question I have. I'd like to target certain neighboerhoods. How do you hand out flyers? Is it easiest to just park and walk to each individual mailbox and hand out a flyer?
    I'd feel wierd about walking up to a house and knocking on the door?!
     
  6. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    make sure the mower is a commercial mower, and for blowing off clippings in the spring and summer i use a commercial handheld, throught the summer save some money and buy a back pack for leaves in the fall, for me its a waste of power and a pain using a backpack, especially on residentails ......buy all commercial equipment... trust me on this one......

    i wouldn not include that fact that you are young... that may be a deterant for some older folks....

    do a good job, be reliable and honest....

    Good Luck
     
  7. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,405

    IMO the loan decision is a good one. You will need money for advertising and other odds and ends. Its always more expensive then you think.

    Cheers
    Jeff
     
  8. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,785

    i have to agree with williams, also you will be building credit at the same time which is very important in itself
     
  9. velocicaur

    velocicaur LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    Something about the truck loan and insurance. Unless I am reading this wrong, you will need full collision on your vehicle whether you have a loan or pay in cash. If you drop a good portion of your money on a truck, you cannot afford to get it fixed or replaced if you were to get in an accident. It is not worth the risk. Speaking of insurance, also remeber to set aside some money for business insurance.

    I would personally hold off on buying things until you have sufficient accounts. I too am starting this year, but I am going to try and land 12-15 accounts before I buy equipment. If I can not get it by mid april when the season starts, I'll just call them and cancel and look into something else. Without the work, the quality equipment doesn't help much. Getting the equipment is the easy part, all of the other stuff is much more difficult.
     
  10. bigmudder77

    bigmudder77 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 297

    I would not spend $7000 on a truck unless you really want it. There are a lot of nice older trucks out there that are cheaper and have probaly had work done to them. Maybe you will get lucky and find one like my grandpas that has never been driven in the winter and looks new inside and out 1987 chevy with just under 50,000 miles and if the owners are old more than likly they didnt run the piss out of them. but defently buy that trailer i cant find any around here for that price and are that big. mower defently buy that too. but i would think about getting an older truck so that you will still have some money to play with.
     

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