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. BOSS LAWN 2343

    BOSS LAWN 2343 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 407

    Business cards are A MUST, I wouldn't look too good if a customer or somebody at a gas station asked for a card and didnt have one!

    I have my guys carry them around too, has worked out well! Oh yeah... buy in bulk too.
    MarktheMower likes this.
  2. Giestimator

    Giestimator LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Biggest thing that I would say in this industry is not to try to go out and be the lowest guy on all bids just to get work. Know your cost for your jobs and price them accordingly.
    MarktheMower likes this.
  3. backwoodslandscaping

    backwoodslandscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    Most helpful tool i have found to have is a leatherman on your waist at all times. Its worth the $80 bucks for a nice one. Saved me a million trips to the truck for a tool! It works for everything even like shrub removal and you dont want to dive that nice sharp chainsaw into the dirt for the roots but the shovel or ax aint doing the trick, trust me that little saw on the leatherman works! For all of us with out nice shiny skidsteers to do the job.

    Pb blaster sucks waist of money, by fluid film or the new WD-40 penetrating

    If something isnt running properly dont just let it go. try to fix it there or right when u get home because eventually that piece of equipment isnt going to start in the morning..Thats a long ride home at 8 a.m.

    At the end of the year stabil will be your best friend. Please winterize your equipment. If you dont use some sort of fuel treatment in the winter and come spring your equipment wont start and your screaming why wont this start. sorry that's your own fault!!

    You will learn how to become Macgyver yourself when something breaks but dont trust it to last all season.. fix it right at the end of the day!

    You will never have enough bungees or ratchet straps!

    Sneakers and jogging pants are a no no! totally unprofessional! and please put a shirt on, customers dont want to see your tatoos!

    MarktheMower likes this.
  4. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    Interesting. I have no problem with sneakers, especially if doing anything that requires climbing. (E.g. ladder work cleaning gutters I'm clumsy in boots) If I'm working on roofs I want a rubber soled shoe or even a soft mocasin to minimize damage and maximize traction.

    Jogging pants? No problem. But I want them neat and clean if we are going to a client. No ripped out crotch, torn knees. And the elastic has to work so don't have to constantly hitch them up. (Since I run a tree farm 85% of my work is at the farm.) Similarly if they wear shorts, they are neat. No cutoffs. Running shorts are ok. Lots of my guys come to work in jeans, but use a pair of running shorts as underwear, and peel down as the day warms up.

    Long pants or shin guards when using a weedeater, or rototiller, depending.

    Mowing? My present walk behind mowers have a rubber flap on the back of the bell. I've yet to have anything thrown through that, so if the guys want to wear sneakers, I've no problem with it.

    I hire a lot of high school kids. If I get too inflexible, they go find somewhere else to work. Being able to suntan while weeding or mowing is one of the perks.

    Big thing for me is being polite. This hasen't been a problem yet. I live near a farming community, and parents insist on polite kids. But one who is impolite would stand out, so it's something I talk about during orientation.

    Lot of this depends on location. California is a lot more casual about skin than Carolina.
  5. jonthepain

    jonthepain LawnSite Senior Member
    from Raleigh
    Posts: 523


    wow. i never saw that coming.

    so much for professionalism.
  6. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,058

    I don't know if you mean college kids or high school kids or pre-schoolers or what, but where I am in the US workers have to be a minimum of 18 to work in a "hazardous occupation."

    Here's the list (emphasis added):

    Prohibited Occupations and Places of Employment For All Minors Under the Age of 18 Years
    Manufacturing and storage of explosives
    Motor vehicle driving and outside helper
    Logging and sawmilling
    The use of electrical tools, circuits, or equipment (except double insulated hand tools)
    Exposure to radioactive substances or ionization radiation
    Power-driven hoisting apparatus
    Power-driven metal-forming, punching or shearing machines
    Slaughtering or meat packing, processing or rendering. This includes electric meat slicers.
    Brick, tile, and kindred products manufacturing
    Wrecking, demolition, and shipbreaking
    Roofing operations
    Excavation operations
    Automotive maintenance and repair, EXCEPT (the following are permitted):
    island work
    changing passenger car tires (no truck tires)
    use of air hand tools
    preparing cars for painting, limited to sanding and masking (no spray painting or welding)
    hand cleaning and washing of motor vehicles (no flammable liquids)
    clerical or bench work
    Beverage bottling
    Soldering, welding, brazing, smelting, rolling, flame cutting, or any other types of metal processing
    Brick, clay or tile manufacturing
    Coke and tar products processing/manufacturing
    Dry cleaning/laundry operations
    Processing of food products
    Construction, EXCEPT the following:
    Landscaping (planting small trees, shrubs, etc.)
    General yard work/cleaning (no riding reel lawn mowers)
    Brush painting & window cleaning (no ladders over 6 feet, no flammable cleaners/thinners, etc.)
    Clerical/shipping/stock work
    Glazing/glass cutting operations
    Heat treating operations or helper
    Ice manufacturing
    Installation/maintenance/repair of electrical machinery/equipment
    Paper/paper products/paperboard manufacturing
    Plastic/plastic products manufacturing
    Pharmaceutical products manufacturing
    Operation of foot, hand or power presses
    Printing operations
    Pressure testing
    Synthetic fiber manufacturing
    Rubber/synthetic rubber products manufacturing/processing
    Spray painting and dipping
    Stone cutting and processing
    Leather products processing/tanning
    Sewing machine operation using needles over 1/16 inch diameter
    Tire recapping, vulcanizing or manufacturing
    Textile machinery operations
    Trash/cardboard compactor
  7. PAHighlander

    PAHighlander LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    So I figure this is the appropriate place for my first post. I've been lurking around these forums a couple days after numerous google searches led back to you guys, and actually spent half of yesterday afternoon reading this book of a thread.
    There is a huge amount of info here and I will likely be rereading some parts. I plan to begin my business in the coming spring as a side gig next to my fulltime working for another established landscaper locally. It isn't going to be easy. I have a long road ahead of me, but I know the game well enough now that I'm confident I can do this. I've been working for someone else for 7 years full time, he's a good person, not a great boss, but he tries to treat his employees right. He is in his late 60's but isn't ready to retire, we've talked a buyout in the next couple years but his numbers are a bit overreached as far as my research speaks and I'm the man doing the majority of the work, training crew supervising etc. I've treated the business like my own for the past 5 years, but I'm not the one renting a house in Florida for a months vacation while we are on layoff. I'm the one barely surviving the winters on UC and scrounged up work. I've been planning this move for the past year as things between us got, strained. I'm not going to quit flat out as I don't think I can pull enough profit out the gate to eat for the year, and I still hold hope that we can workout some sort of deal in the coming season. But it's become clear to me that starting my own business is the only way I will improve the quality of life for my family. Short of jumping ship to the gas industry which is the only other decent paying industry in my area that doesn't require a degree. Plus I love the lawncare business, I want it to be my career.

    I have to say the best piece of advice I read here, and one that hit home hard for me reading it was...

    "Don't do anything stupid"

    So I got to thinking. And here's a few I do. Scratch that, I used to do and won't again.

    #1 Stay the *&^% off steep side hills that make you uncomfortable. My boss doesn't believe in using pushmowers, so I push the limits of a ZTR to avoid extra hours trimming. As I'm growing up and married now I realize this isn't something to be proud of it is plain stupid. For Pete's sake I make hourly.

    #2 Test wet areas with your feet and don't try to cut time by speeding over them. Actually come to think of it my boss does this more than I do. Muddy ruts make you look like a hack.

    #3 When Dropping a tree Do NOT assume it will go where it's expected. Be as safe as possible but be ready to drop saw and bolt. I had one defy the laws of physics and slingshot backwards off another tree 1/3 its thickness to launch straight back at me. A fraction of a second slower on my dive and I'd be dead.

    Safety is the single most important thing to consider in this business. Speed and efficiency are secondary to it. Be safe, your life insurance policy, no matter how well stacked will not console your family.
  8. Vanderhoff Landscaping

    Vanderhoff Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 386

    What? lol. Sorry I just could not resist. I second the hearing protection! Also safety goggles.
  9. Laughn Mowerson

    Laughn Mowerson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    I'm not insured. Live in LA where insurance is very expensive. Almost would cost me a sliding door per month to justify insurance. I don't mean to pry, but how much is your insurance a month?
    MarktheMower likes this.
  10. Laughn Mowerson

    Laughn Mowerson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    Definately wear protection. I have debris hit my glasses directly frequently, and you don't want to be like my father, barely able to hear anyone talk. And talking very loudly yourself. Hearing protection is a must. A good pair of ear plugs goes a long way and makes you look respectable, because you respect yourself.

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