Starting new business this spring

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by trophytkr, Feb 5, 2002.

  1. trophytkr

    trophytkr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 73

    Hi guys, I'm looking forward to your input. My wife and I are starting up a lawn care service this spring in Wisconsin. This will be a part time job. I am a mechanic in a foundry (23+ years) and my wife works in a bank. I am a third shifter so I have my afternoons to work at this. My hopes are to build the business up in a few years so I can finally get out of the foundry. I have been reading your posts for a few days and have gained valuable information! We live in an area that doesn't have enough people doing this to fill the needs of the area. I hope to work at the new business 4 to 5 hours a day. We have started purchasing the equipment for the business and what i'm looking forward to is your input on how I'm handling it. So far we bought a 4x4 silverado 1996 with 56 thousand miles on it. Also a 6x12 foot trailer. I have ordered a 21 HP white garden tractor for de-thatching, rolling, aerating, fall clean up with 10 bussel bagger and snow blowing. Also a 21 Hp white ZTR mower both have 46 inch decks. We have a estate rake dethatcher and a 48 inch plug aerator also comming. I also have a 6 HP 21 inch white push mower on the same order. We already have a lawn roller and gas weed eaters to start with. I know i need more also need a gas blower. The whites are probable not commercial quality but they are both new and I hope good enough to see if it is something we want to do. I think it is. I also priced both liability and workmans comp insurance. So I plan on pricing fairly and not low balling any other guys who are doing this for a living. Am I doing all right? I realize I will need stronger equipment as I go but am I on the right track? I appriciate any input you guys can give me.
     
  2. PrimeGreen Lawn

    PrimeGreen Lawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 170

    I see this is your first post. Let me be the first to welcome you to the site. In here you find a wealth of info. Seems like your well on your way, especially seeing that you already checked in for insurance and workers comp. There are thousands of tips here. I would first suggest to use the search feature, and take it all in.

    Good luck!

    Scott
     
  3. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 648

    If you have the equipment, fine, but if you are buying anything new and intend to really make a go of it, spend the extra money and buy commercial grade equipment up front.

    This will make you more productive and keep you from having to buy new equipment when you find out that you really need the better equipment.

    Good luck in you new endeavor.
     
  4. cajuncutter

    cajuncutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 626

    First of all welcome to the site. I am with bruces on this. You get what you pay for. At one time or another I think we all learn this. I am not knocking your purchases at all. I know nothing about White equipment, it may last it may not. The more you read the more you will become familliar with the top commercial products out on the market. Some of us get a lemon and others will praise a certain brand. It must be nice to live in an area where the market is not flooded.
    Good Luck!!
    Louis
     
  5. olabob

    olabob LawnSite Member
    from TX
    Posts: 25

    Yeah its sounds like you are on your way. Did you say that you were a mechanic... Maybe you should also think about lawn mower repair. I could have so much business here, but then again i don't really know what i am doing...
    Bob
     
  6. big james

    big james Banned
    from texas
    Posts: 152

    Everybody in my area that tries to make a start in this bizz. start out with equip. about like you have ,Consumer Reports Magazine gives White Outdoor Products pretty good marks ,4 years ago I had to residential grade 21 inch Snappers and an old rear engine rider ,the next year I bought a 42 inch Snapper lawn tractor and a 32 inch Exmark Metro ,the next year I bought a 48 lazer zhp ,Inmay of 2001 I had it all stolen ,but insurance paid for everything but my trailer and at the present time I have 2 lazer zhps ,2 commercial 21 Snappers echo 2 cycle equip .and looking to buy a 32 VIKING hydro .So you see you can come a long ways in a short period of time and where you live if there is a shortage of lawn services you may move along a hell of a lot quicker than I have ,And I don't consider myself to be setting the woods on fire if you know what i mean GOOD LUCK.:D
     
  7. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    Congrats on your desire to be self employed and get out of a foundry. You'll be happier in the long run, I'm sure. But being a critical thinker, I will play devil's advocate and hit you with a few things here.

    1. I assume there is a very short growing season in Wisconsin compared to say, Georgia, where I am. Grass is growing about 9 months a year here. That will limit your income, of course. Snow removal may be an option, but that usually requires night work I hear, and you have a night job.

    2. I think you've done what I did. I bought cheaper equipment and wound up replacing it in mere months. Buy commerical stuff. Its long term cost is a lot less than cheaper equipment. And don't buy a tractor. They're not really efficient for commercial use. Don't buy anything that sits in a shed 90% of the time, either. Buy just the basics until you have enough business to warrant buying more.

    3. You also may be doing what I did, overbuying equipment early on. A lot of guys enjoy collecting the equipment more than the work, and wind up not being able to make a profit. Especially part timers need to watch this. You don't have as much work to spread costs over as a full timer. One fireman I knew loved buying new stuff. Trouble was he worked about a day a week and in years could never turn a profit because of all his costs. He had better stuff than I did! He's no longer in the biz.

    4. Sitting in a cozy den in the winter, working an extra 4 or 5 hours mowing lawns sounds great. A regular job PLUS a part time one mowing lawns is pretty tough, especially if you're not 21. But you're right, part time is the way to start, to see if you like it first and transition in. You'l also need to factor in time for repairs, maint, and dealing with customers.
     
  8. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    I say you are one your way! I think most people that started their business, started with non-commercial equipment. I am sure that the people that did start out with cheapo equipment that stayed in the business, wish that had started with commercial equipment. Who knows, you might not like the business. My frist season I spent 5K on used equipment. I am going into my 3rd season and have about 30K invested now. Out of the equipment that I purchased for 5K, not much I use anymore, but I do have it to fall back on. The only thing I really use often is the trailer. Many of my newer purchases decisions where based on popular opinion from the website. You will learn who gives good advice and who talk out of the side of their necks. 6 months ago I was spending about 30 hours a week on this site, but I am down to about 15 hours a week now. Learn from others errors and sucesses and will will have no option but to succeed!


    Good Luck!
    MATT
     

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