Trying to start a lawn care business

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by The Scraper, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. The Scraper

    The Scraper LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 9

    Hello. I live in Florida where the grass is green and the girls are pretty (wait a minute. Isn't that a song or something?)

    Anyway, I'm new to the lawn car profession and would like some advice on what equipment to buy, how much to charge, and licenses.

    It would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. Lohse's Lawn Service

    Lohse's Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    from US
    Posts: 213

    Paradise City, Guns 'n' Roses.

    Not sure about your financial situation or your goals, but probably start out small and work your way up. Start as big as a USED 32" walk-behind mower. I stress the word "used" because it won't cost you as much and if you end up not liking this business, you won't be out so much. However, make sure you buy commercial equipment.

    Pricing just depends on where you live. I have some yards that are $25 and some that are over $100, including a $200 cemetery.

    Start out with a DBA (doing business as) and get business name registered and get after it. There are other licenses, etc. but I think this will be a good start. If you have any questions, just ask. Good luck.
     
  3. The Scraper

    The Scraper LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 9

    Well I can spend no more than $6,000 on equipment. I was thinking about getting them from Home Depot. For example, with the mower (Cub Cadet, the one where you sit on), blower, trimmer, and sweeper, it will cost $2,800 total. But I haven't included the trailer yet since I still need to find the best prices.

    The avg going rate at my neck of the woods are $35 to $100. I will probably charge $30 for homes and probably 100 for bigger lots.

    You mentioned licenses? What kind would I need? BTW could you recommend any good books/DVDs on the subject of starting a lawn care business? Thanks
     
  4. Lohse's Lawn Service

    Lohse's Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    from US
    Posts: 213

    Home Depot mowers are good, but really for homeowners. You'll want commercial grade (from a specified lawn equipment dealer) if you want something that will go day in and day out. I bought a Cub Cadet ztr from Lowe's and put 80 hours on it and sold it. It was a back-up mower, but it just didn't compare to my commercial mowers.

    You'll need to get a tax id number, but specific licenses are different in every state. I'm not sure what to tell you there. I'm still learning new things too with licenses.

    Go to www.turfmagazine.com and order you a FREE subscription. You'll get one every month and it has some good reading material. Also, I believe Sean Adams (operator of this site?) has a book/literature you can purchase and it has a lot of good info in it. I do not have a copy, but my friend does and I have read some of it. A lot of good information in that book. Also, Entrepreneur Magazine's: How to Start Your Own Lawn Care Business has good stuff in it.

    Hope this all helps!
     
  5. The Scraper

    The Scraper LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 9

    which commerical grade mower would you recommend?
     
  6. Tyler7692

    Tyler7692 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,086

    Here's what I'd recommend-

    A commercial (Scag, Bobcat, Exmark, Toro, Hustler, Gravely, Ferris, ect) walk behind with dual hydros used with not more than 500 hours.

    Whatever size you get depends on the size of most of the lawns you will be serving. Get the biggest mower you can fit in all areas. Maybe a 48 or 52 even.
     
  7. The Scraper

    The Scraper LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 9

    Thanks for the recommendations. But I notice you keep recommending walk-behinds. Is there a problem with zero-turners, the one where you sit down?

    Thanks
     
  8. gavin478

    gavin478 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 139

    He's recommending walk behinds because their cheaper to buy upfront, while still giving the great cut and hydro control of a rider. Also, get a sulky right away to save you the hassle of walking.

    I completely agree with getting commercial equipment from the get go. I started with a L130, somewhere around 2400 from home depot. It was great for starting out, but soon in it will start 'nickel and diming you' with parts, as you're using it for more than intended. I probably spent about $1000 keeping my tractor going after the first few years. I was able to pick up a used walk-behind (on ebay believe it or not) for around $2k with only 200 hours and a 54" deck.

    By buying a quality used piece, you will get much more out of the mower. The Home Depot mowers do not compare in terms of cut quality and durability. A good commercial mower will last you for over 2000 hours. My deere was falling apart after around 600.
     
  9. 2 clowns mowing

    2 clowns mowing LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 566

    stop now while you can! no just kidding some good advice here. a man could make it with just buying a john deere with extended 4 year warranty. and small truck and trailer custom made which is cheaper. a push mower and trimmer keep it simple and don't be afraid to charge enough.
     
  10. Lohse's Lawn Service

    Lohse's Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    from US
    Posts: 213

    Perfectly said. Around here, most of my gates are as big as 34" which allows me to fit my 32" Toro through. The reason you don't want to start off with a ztr is because, as it was said above, it will cost you more up front. Even for a used one. You'll be surprised at how much you will still be able to get done with a 48" or 52". You will then be able to work your way up. Go with ExMark and Toro, in my opinion.
     

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