What do you think I should do?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by 14yearoldcutter, Apr 21, 2002.

  1. 14yearoldcutter

    14yearoldcutter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    I have 5 to 6 lawn accounts a week I cut. I average $25 a yard. I wanna know if I should get a commercial walkbehind yet. I do have plans tocut grass to get through college or mabe even a proffesion. Last year I made about a grand cutting. This year Im progressed to make about 2 gran.

    The question is, should I go ahead and buy a bigger mower. Now I work with a cheap 21,blower, and trimmer.

    Please dont blast me about bein a scrub, IM like the professional kid around here. Kids come to my accounts and say they will do it for $10(WTF)
  2. lawnkid

    lawnkid LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 935

    Bro, you sounded like me about 2 years ago. I'm 14 now and got a commercial 52" Hydro doing 16 accounts on my street for about $25 each. Do you have any kind of flyer? This is where I got most of my business. In the summers I used to do other work to make some more money for the business. So yeah, I would try to get a used commercialk mower but make sure you know what size you need because most yards have gates where only mower 36" and smaller can get into. Also when you're buying, don't let anybody fool you about the mower they are selling you. Always have them staert the engine for you, move around wiht it a little, then ask questions about the mowers past, and finally ask why they are selling it. I got kinda jipped on my mower. Put it this way, if it sound too good to be true, it usually is. And don't worry about those other kids tryin to make some extra money on the sides, eventuaaly they'll go away because they know that you do a better job. Good Luck! :D
  3. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    Learn to raise prices each year. Then you'll be able to afford a new mower when you need it. Stay professional.

    Keep in mind, that if the other 'pros' in the area are charging $45 per cut, you should be right there too. It's about professionalism and making money. Don't charge $25 because it "feels" like enough. Then you're only bring the business 'down' around you. Stay up with the others.

    Yes, some of your customers are with you cause you're cheap, but that's only good for so long. Even if you only raise the price $1 per cut per year, you'll be setting a mindset that will be with you a long time.

    I've read stories of guys that started at your age, and are millionaires now - all having done it in the landscape industry.

    Keep asking questions. Some will blast you... but most will help you.
  4. AndyL

    AndyL LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    Welcome to the industry first and foremost.

    You'll get a few replies from this board I'm sure... Many less than positive. Take everything you read with a grain of salt. Some of these guys might be your competitors after all!

    You've started off good, for now, rather than worrying about expanding. Spend the time and energy learning how to do your job better and safer. Once you've developed a reputation for doing good work, the new accounts will follow, and there wont be a question about needing a bigger mower.

    Make sure you've got your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), including safety Glasses, Hearing protection, Steel toed boots. Also remember the long sleeved shirt and proper pants. There's no reason why your summer job should leave a negative effect on the rest of your life. It may not be "cool" but is your 1-2000$ you'll make this year worth loosing an eye? How about your education, Hard to learn when you can't hear what the teacher is saying! Also hard to pick up chicks that way!

    Get your ass(ets) covered. Get yourself some insurance. So WHEN you catch a rock with the trimmer and send it flying through that big window, your summer earnings don't dissapear.

    And most importantly of all, LEARN THE TRADE. Spend some time watching your competitors work. Specifically look for yards that come out looking better than yours, then watch how they cut and trim them. Learn and practice how to do proper vertical trimming in a nice straight line, and when it should and shouldn't be used. Learn how to flat trim without scalping the edges, One of the biggest mistakes is to take the flat trimming down below the height you mow at. Looks bad, and results in browned edges.

    Get your butt over to the library, or chapters, get yourself some gardening and lawn care books. There's _thousands_ of them. Read up on IPM (integrated Pest Management), understand and follow its principles. Also branch out a bit, grab a book or two on irrigation, Tree pruning, flowers (yeah, not manly, but bed maintenance can be good money too!) Cover your a$$ learn to identify the more common perenials and annuals, and what weeds are common to your area.

    Above all, Have fun!

  5. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    I commend you on your educated question and thoughtfulness. I agree with Mr. JAA that you should bring your prices up to the norm. Especially if your doing the same quality work. Help to raise the bar not lower it down.

    Your not doing enough right now to justify the comm'l mower. It would take you almost 2 yrs to recoup the price with nothing left for you or your expenses. One the other hand, if you can get a good bit more biz then I'd really think about it.

    Good luck.
  6. thartz

    thartz LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 486

    Maybe look into buying a used machine.I know a ton of lco's that buy equipment they don't need that they will part with for a reasonable cost.You don't need a $6000.00 mower to start with but you could pick up a good used 36" wb since you don't have a ton of accounts then when it's time to go large you have a decent back-up mower. You can do about any account with a ztr and a 36" mower.
  7. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    14 i am impessed. look at what a good pro in you re area
    is doing ,and get as close to his quality as u can.
    practice makes perfect or perfectly imperfect.
    depends on which way u practice.so id advise u to do the best u can an ask what u are worth.mabe dad wuld help with a commercial ,if he knows how serious. as a father myself i take pride in givng this sort of help . lot better than dad, can i have a new car,an uh a 20 for gas. huh dad:)
  8. 14yearoldcutter

    14yearoldcutter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Thanks guys..keep em' comin
  9. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,937


    Glad to hear that your motivated by success! I started when I was 10yo. Please do as Andy says.... SAFETY first!

    But I have a little problem with your math... MATH is important, especially when it comes to money!

    I have 5 to 6 lawn accounts a week I cut. I average $25 a yard.
    This year Im progressed to make about 2 gran.

    That comes out to $150 per week. Times at least 30 weeks in VA is = $4500 for the season. Where is the $2500 going?

    Even if you only cut 20x's a year it is still a "gran" more than your "progressed to make"!

    Read, read, read, and dont forget to listen!

    Good Luck
  10. Russo

    Russo LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 287

    You are in a great position. You are in no hurry to purchase a commercial machine because you are OK if you don't. So take your time, shop around a lot. If you can't find a good machine that you can justify the expense of, it's no biggy. A commercial machine WILL increase your productivity and allow you to do more work ( mo money ) in the same amount of time, but don't spend too much money. Like 65HOSS was saying, the cost has to be worth it. Only you can decide how much is too much to pay.

    Good Luck to you, Landscraper.

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