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Starting In MI

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Grass-Masters, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. Grass-Masters

    Grass-Masters LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 424

    Hello, I am new to this forum and I have been reading alot of post.

    I will be starting in the spring. But I am seeing alot of differant situations. I have one for you I haven't seen to much about here. And I need to know what the next step would be.

    Lets say you have $15,000-$20,000 to spend on equipment. And from what I understand is average to get started with. What would you buy. And Why.

    And if you have an average of $2000 per month to spend on marketing. How would you spend it. What type of accounts.

    To start in the spring, when should I begin advertising.

    Keep in mind, I am not getting any loans, I own other businesses that will continue to pay my bills at home, and help the company to grow slowly. I know there are are a few companies out here running multiple crews, I would like some input on how to approach this. How can you get at least 100-200 accounts in 1-2 seasons, is it possible. Thanks
  2. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    I'm no expert, but as far as equipment goes:

    You'll need a good trimmer. Preferably 2. I am going to buy a new one tomorrow for a spare. I've been scared to death of mine taking a dump in the middle of a job. Not that I expect it to any time soon, but I don't want to be left without one.

    A blower. I use a handheld, but wish I had the additional power of a backpack. Get a backpack if you can afford it.

    Going to be doing edging? Don't skimp on the edger. I did, and regretted it. The Stihl 110 edger seems to be a good choice on here. I am actually going to buy one due to the recommendations from others on this site.

    Trailer - Get one that is big enough to fit your needs, then go bigger. I use an 18' open and I can fit my two mowers on there with room for a wheelbarrow, and there's room to throw brush, and grass clippings on it.

    Truck - anything will do, as long as it has the power to tow, the suspension to handle the tongue weight, and most importantly, the braking power to stop. Trailer brakes are always a good idea too.

    As far as the mower, that isn't something I can recommend without knowing what kind of properties you will be cutting.

    If you're looking at larger more wide-open/flat stuff, then a 60" or 72" ZTR could be the way to go.

    If there are a lot of obstacles and tight areas, and smaller properties, perhaps a 36" or 48" walk behind or stander would suit your needs better. Remember that some homes have backyards surrounded by gates. If you plan on doing a lot of those, you'll want a smaller walk behind to get in the backyard, or you'll be doing it with a 21" pusher. And you should add a good 21" to your equipment list as well for tiny areas.

    10-15K to start with new equipment seems like a decent figure if you take the truck out of the occasion. I'd figure more if you have to buy a tow vehicle.
  3. Grass-Masters

    Grass-Masters LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 424

    That explains a little bit of what equipment. But once you own the equipment, what is the best way to generate customers. Flyers, yellow pages, newspapers, buy them from larger outfits. I would really like to know how to best spend thousands of dollars per month, and get results. I am trying to aviod over or under spending on equipment or marketing.
  4. Kingram10

    Kingram10 LawnSite Member
    from Arizona
    Posts: 53

    Flyers,Flyers,Flyers ,Magnetic Signs on your truck. Do a Great Job and word of mouth will get you More Business.
  5. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    Flyers do seem to work well to an extent, as far as getting people to know you exist. I took out a small ad in a phone book that is only distributed in my town of about 9000. It's like a 5x2 inch space, and it was about 300 for the year.

    I've found that stickering the side of your truck is about the same price as magnetic signs. I had both, don't use the magnetic signs anymore now that I stickered the truck up. I've heard that the magnets trap dirt and can ruin the finish on the door.
  6. Kingram10

    Kingram10 LawnSite Member
    from Arizona
    Posts: 53

    Yes the Magnetic signs need to be taken off once a week and wipe down the doors and signs.
  7. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    dont forget to inform you insurance company of the advertising on your commercially insured vehicle, if you dont and your in an accident, they dont have to cover you....:)

    many companies raise your rates by as much as a thousand dollars a year for this....

    but if you advertise on your trailor.... there is no increase, dont know how true this is but i think it was a good source.....save a few bucks if you can right....:usflag:
  8. Grass-Masters

    Grass-Masters LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 424

    ok- sounds like a good start. I just looked at a couple machines. And would like to know which sounds best.

    Scag Tiger Cub-19 hp Kawasaki 48" Deck $5999.00

    Cub Cadet Commercial M-60 Tank 25 hp Kawasaki 60" Deck $6999.00

    Great Dane- 25 hp Kawasaki 60" deck $7200.00

    I liked the M-60 tank best, but some feedback would be great. I also have an exmark dealer here I am going to today to look at those.

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