Want to start my own Landscape Business

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by scott015, May 30, 2001.

  1. scott015

    scott015 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    Hey guys, I have been searching the web now for over an hour, and this looks like the best place for what I want to know. I LOVE to work on my yard. I have the greenest grass in my neighborhood and I really do enjoy mowing and working on my yard. Anyway, I was thinking of starting my own lawn business (mowing,edging,etc) but wanted to get some information from somebody who already has done or does this. I live in a really really nice and growing neighborhood and know it is a perfect place to start. I want all the information I can get like:

    what all do I need to know how to do (mow,plant flowers, cut trees?)
    what all equipment do I need
    how much $ will I need? (are there business loans?)
    how to get started (newspaper,fliers??)
    how much do you usually charge?
    how do you get paid in the winter? (i live in texas)
    do you make contracts?

    just basically any and everything you can think of, I would like to know....thanks guys, I really appreciate it!!!!!

    scott015@hotmail.com
     
  2. Administrator

    Administrator Administrator
    Posts: 865

    Hello Scott,

    You have come to the right place.

    First off... I think all your questions have been answered in the 100+k previous discussions. Try the search feature at the top in the header. You will have many hours of reading.

    Chuck Keough
     
  3. stslawncare

    stslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    from DE
    Posts: 1,484

    hey, you have made the best choice by finding this site and posting, best thing to do is use the search button at the top of each page, it has all the posts and u wouldnt believe how many on that topic
     
  4. scott015

    scott015 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    okay, I started 'searching' and have found many hours of reading..this looks like exactly what I wanted...but I wanted to ask a couple more personal questions....I am 21 and I work M-F 9-5 and I have a car. I am married with a 10month old son, so I cannot really afford to just quit and depend on making money with this...I would have to work my way into it and probably not be full time for at least a year...but my question is...is it hard to get customers? I mean everywhere I go I notice trucks with trailors with mowers in them...maybe its because I have been looking....but they seem like they are all over the place...seems a little hard to be the new guy in town.....so what should I do to get started? what equipment do I really need? I have a push mower and weed eater and fert. spreader but thats about it....so should I get a loan and get the truck,tralior and everything right away??? I really just would like some professional advice on how to get started...
     
  5. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    If you can't jump right in, take it slow like you said and work your job for a season along with some customers. There is too much to risk quiting your job cold turkey since you are the breadwinner and have a new baby and a wife( I have a 10 month old also). You may even decide after a season that it is not for you---you will still have your job and benefits....no problem. You may decide to go for it --quit your job AFTER doing the legwork in January and February to get new customers so you know you will be financially secure.
    I was in the same boat as you 4 years ago. First season was the hardest and I had 1/2 the customers I have now......and they were not all quality customers. Building up a good client base takes time. I am not saying I am there, but I am much closer than I was 3 years ago. I decided to cut run a business as a second career and that is how it has stayed. I spend 1/2 the time I used to, have 2x the income I did, am much happier ,and have the security (some will call me a wimp, but with a mortgage and baby it's tough not to have security) of a FT job, benefits, 401k, and pension.

    As for getting customers, I advertised my first season in a local paper--gave me too broad an area. Next year fliers to target neighbors of current customers. Word of Mouth since then.


    You will have to decide for yourself what to do. But think it through for the sake of your family. Good luck.

    jeffyr
     
  6. scott015

    scott015 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    thanks man, (congrats on the kid, they are great...mine JUST started walking, boy named Hunter) anyway, I totally agree...I work for family anyway, so I can always come back to this job anyway...but I was planning on maybe taking a few classes right now and learning a little before I even get started...I know all about mowing a stuff, but would like to learn a little more about the business and landscape part of it...which I know VERy little about...I was making a fake flier just to see what all it would have...I put

    Lawn Mowing & Edging
    Lawn Fertilization & Weed Control
    Lawn Disease Control
    Lawn Insect Control
    Core Cultivation
    Tree & Shrub Root Feeding
    Tree & Shrub Insect & Disease Control

    I think that is about all I could really put on there right now without really knowing anything about landscaping...but I think that looks like a good start...

    I would be doing this all by myself at first, maybe later on hiring a helper or two...but at first...how many yards shoudl I expect to do a day by myself? At about what $35 each??? I dont really even know.. And I know it must REALLY be different for everyone...but what can I expect to make once I get going a little? $1k week? more? I really have no idea....
     
  7. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    Scott, be really careful here. I'm not really familiar with the laws in Texas, but you need to be licensed to apply most anything besides straight fertilizer nowadays. Be sure to check local regulations because they are getting very strict on this.

    I'd take on one field at a time i.e. start with Lawn Maintenance, or Fert application, etc. Don't try to do everything at once, because there is a ton of info to learn in each specialty.

    You came to the right place by coming here to Lawnsite, make sure you sit and read as much as you have time for here, there are tons of great info and it will answer most of your questions before you even ask them!

    Good Luck, and keep us updated.
     
  8. mrclean

    mrclean LawnSite Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 9

    Scott,
    I am new to this, too. I lost my job about a month or so ago and decided to do this in between jobs. But, now I am considering not getting another job just yet. (Other than yard care.) I was like you at first, not knowing where to start. Then, I fell upon this site and sat and read for many hours. There is a lot of good stuff here. Then, I began to plan. I bought my equipment, put ads in a local paper, and made flyers. Then, I found myself going all over town for a few customers. Then I narrowed my attention to friends, family and neighbors. I went around my neighborhood where people already knew me and my family. Before long I had more yards, and they were people I could trust to pay. Next, word of mouth took over. And, I have been real surprised at the response I have been getting. I have been thinking about doing this for about two years now. Since I was out of work I felt this was a good time to start. But, I do suggest taking smaller steps if you can. Do it on weekends and when you get off of your other job for a while. One more piece of advice. Check with your local agriculture dept. In my area you have to be liscensed to spray chemicals for bugs, weeds, and even fert. You may just want to check into that before you get into trouble. But, there is still plenty of room for the other maintenance. Good luck.
    Max
     
  9. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    Scott,


    Look at your local college extension office for classes in ag or landscape architecture or turfgrass science. Lots to learn there. Most classes are over the winter (slow season). I got my pesticide license and then took classes to earn credits toward renewal---if you take the classes first, the credits may not apply to the renewal of the license. I don't know how things work in Texas so you should check.


    jeff
     
  10. NateinAtl

    NateinAtl LawnSite Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 121

    Scott,

    You are going to get a lot of good advice here at this site. But ultimately it is up to you. It's scary, but all of us have been there. Since it is now June, it may be a litle late to start this year, especially if you haven't picked out your equipment, truck or trailer. I would suggest that you wait until next year. But start preparing now. Since you see a lot of trucks in your area on a regular basis, watch what they are doing each month and take notes. Around here, ther is a specific task to be done each month such as: Feb. cut back crepe myrtles and ornamental grasses, March scalp bermuda, April aerate bermuda and plant anuals, etc. If you are wanting to get technical and provide a full scale maintenance package, you have to know all the specifics for your particular market. So through the remainder of the year I would suggest that you study this site to determine what equipment is best, what advertisement works the best, and what services are most profitable. I would then make sure I knew exactly what needs to be done as far as full maintenance in your area. What you may want to do is call the bigger companies in your area and ask for a bid on your lawn. Make them spell out exactly what will be done and for what price. You can learn a lot from that. You didn't mention that you had to get out of your current job, so I would suggest that you take on about 10 customers next year to make sure you like it. Lawn maintenance is not for everybody. I should know, I have dropped down to one day a week mowing, because I just don't like mowing everyday.

    So don't jump into it too fast. Find the equipment you want to test, find a good dealer, learn what the market prices are in your area, determine what services you want to provide, and find yourself 10 customers next Feb.

    Good Luck
     

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