TIPS, Do's and Don'ts tips for the new guy

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Eric ELM, Apr 16, 2001.

  1. tlcny

    tlcny LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    :hammerhead::hammerhead:find a used 2500 truck 2 wheel is all you need to start a 12 foot trailer used as well a little paint some lights and you have a new trailer a 60in rider or walk behind i think the walk behind is better to start out it can be used more then a rider put a bull rider on it.36 in walk behind or 22your choice 36 faster 22 cheaper new or used for the mowers these are the money makers so put your $$$ here keep your eyes on greenkeeper hes going to be selling some slightly used eq.or ebay craigslist look over used closely weed eater and a hand held blower save up for a back pack blower buy it in the fall when you need it. if you live in the snow belt wait till mid summer or fall buy a plow truck or buy one to start up to you. i would do the 2 wheel less up front not much to keep them up better on gas can find tons for little money hand tools also your money maker buy prunning and chain saw eq as you ned them you can wait a while for these this is the perfect set up to start. now you can go to the bank if you want to its a free world and most in this room thats what they have done i just have this to say a pritty rig will not make you any more money then my rig and the more you spend the less you make simple math. this Will get tons of play cant wait for feed back
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  2. bobo316

    bobo316 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 130

    ok, what if u have a bagger w/ultra vac attach.Should u still engage blades at or above idle?or at 3/4 to full?
     
  3. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    You probably know by now that if you try it at idle you'll just stall it out. I don't think anyone is recommending you engage your blades at idle, are they? Disengage maybe. I engage mine at enough rpms to not bog down/stall out the engine...i dunno..probably 1/2 to 3/4 throttle...and disengage at idle.
     
  4. zopi

    zopi LawnSite Member
    Posts: 53

    Here is a tip...do not get yourself bogged down in details at first...take care of what needs it, but the point is to have blades in grass...orspades in dirt...that makes the money...getcha a plan, learn some marketing and start small...grow with the business, but do not expand until you are ready.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  5. Tankers

    Tankers LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    I'm brand new to this business, only been at it a few weeks. Some of you old pros will probably low this story, lol.

    On my very first account I ever did (last week), it was an elderly wheel chair bound couple. I wanted the job so bad I offered to attach their down spouts if they'd pay materials. I figured it was an easy 10 minute job and if it landed the account then all the better. I showed up for my first day on the job wanting to knock out the spouts quickly and get to mowing.

    Well the week before (when I had initially bid the job) it was a cool, clear day, perfect weather. Soon after I left the couple had spotted a hole in their fence and had to quit letting the dogs out of the backyard. Instead they let them out into the incredibly tiny front fenced in area where the broken down spouts were.

    So here I come all loaded up and ready to save the day. An hour later the sun is beating down my back (no sunblock), I'm ankle deep in dog sh*t that is now warm and festering, my drill's batteries are going dead, the old lady won't put her dogs in the back room so I get an earful from them coming from the windows above me... And since I'm Mr. Work-for-free they ask if I can fix their fence holes (can't say no now). Their gates are all but falling apart so each time I need to go back to the truck (a million times), I have to stop and tie the gate(s) shut behind me because God forbid they keep the dogs in the house while I do all the free work.

    Okay so finally I get to the actual yard work... What I didn't realize when I bid it is that their yard clean up was actually labor intensive. They didn't just have leaves from the Fall that were fused to the soil and impossible to rake but they haven't had any lawn service in years. I had to shovel the piles of leaves (thick compost) into yard bags. It all looked so small and simple when I bid it - eight yard waste bags later and finally I'm mowing.

    So I break out my new 33" Sutech walk behind and go at it. Well as it turns out even commercial grade equipment can't work wonders. The foot tall grass is hiding all the potholes along the fence line so every couple yards I'm having to man handle the 300 lbs machine one way or another so now my back is killing me. Finally I get the whole fence line done and start with my rows back and forth, back and forth. I'm not yet smart enough to take the mulching plate off and let the hay bails fly out the side so this really slows me down.

    And then the inevitable happens. The old lady doesn't tell me (because I don't know to ask) exactly what's in the back yard. Any guesses? Give yourself a pat on the back if you guessed a 15' metal leash (the kind that comes coated in green plastic, impossible to see) tied to a 6" tall metal stake. Whack, whack, baam, crunch, screeeech, kaput! Son of a b*tch!

    It gets better. I brought one little bottle of water and nothing at all containing sugar so I'm getting a bit shaky and worn out. So I finish the yard, pack it all up and limp back home. I get it all unloaded and laid out on the back patio to inspect the damage. My 21 inch consumer grade Snapper mower has both the back wheels angling from bent axles (still in the shop), the shaft running from the engine to the spool on my Craftsman weed whacker snapped in two (somehow), my 33" Sutech had broken grease points and completely worn out blades.

    Come to find out Sutech is not a popular brand at all and the closest dealer is two states away. Snapper and Craftsman are still under warranty but servicing them takes at least two weeks, personally I think it's a deterent to stop folks from seeking service, lol.

    That was day one and it sucked!
     
  6. Tankers

    Tankers LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    I also want to say thanks to all who post about bidding and avoiding lowballing. I was tempted to undercut folks and get all the business, or so I thought. A few weeks in to this deal and I can tell right away when someone is cheap. We all want to save a buck but either you pay for quality lawn service or you don't.

    Is it just me or are the cheap ones NEVER happy anyways. Just this morning I told a lady $35 for her yard (mow, trim, blow). She was complaining because her guy charges $32 and she is concerned about price most of all. Boo hoo. She must not be that happy with him or she wouldn't call me. He is probably not all that happy with her or he'd be doing a better job (I saw her yard, it sucks in my opinion).

    I also realized quick that not only do the cheap ones hate having to pay a dime but I really hate being there. The whole time all I can think about is how they really need to cough up an additional $5 per service. I'm a good guy but this isn't a charity.
     
  7. Tankers

    Tankers LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    So right now all I have is a chainsaw, weed whacker, hand held leaf blower, 21" walk behind with bag, 33" commercial walk behind, hand tools and tool box. I've been putting together a kit with nuts, bolts, grease points, tools of every kind, oils, lubes and so on in hopes that I can deal with things in the field as I've been learning the hard way. I keep all my manuals on hand to assist along with manufacturer hotlines. Pocket full of business cards, self addressed envelopes for folks who pay by mail, strick records of who pays/owes/dates/services/etc.

    I haven't set up any sort of official business yet and don't have insurance. I only have three accounts but can handle about 8 to 10, I'm sure accountants will come and go as things change. My schedule only allows for part time work, about 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. I'm doing all I can to stream line every last bit so it's fast and efficient. I don't have employees or any loans, all equipment is bought and paid. I also don't have a trailer which is a huge pain but all my stuff actually fits all right in the bed of the truck. I use aluminum ramps that strap to the hitch to stay in place. My 33" is light enough not to bend my tail gate.

    So anyhow, that is my setup so far. Unfortunately it's all I can afford at this point and I really some accounts going before I invest more (or before the wife will let me, lol). I'm open to any and all suggestions!
     
  8. Tankers

    Tankers LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    I'll try to post some pics of the set up soon as I'm quite proud of all that I've done so far.
     
  9. flyingdutch16

    flyingdutch16 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 467

    I recommend you post those pictures in the pictures thread and not here, just a suggestion. Btw thats one hell of a story and that must have sucked for you. its good that you finished it tho. And cheap people always suck

    Good luck this season
     
  10. tornabenej

    tornabenej LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    I love that saying, I've never heard it before but Man is it true!
     

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