What do you think of my business idea?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by BMurray, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. BMurray

    BMurray LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    I know this is just a basic plan but here's a quick bio on myself. I'm only 17 and I'm trying to begin a fairly small residential mowing business. The area where my business is going to be located is a middle to upper middle class area. I have enough capital to start by paying in cash, from working other jobs, and I have decided that I can charge about 20% less than the competition. Also, this competition is sometimes unreliable. Also, I have been looking into purchasing a used mower. I have not decided on one, but I feel that a 48 inch cutting width should be fine for the lawns I plan to mow. Each lawn would be around .3-.75 of an acre. I was just looking for opinions as to whether or not my idea could be feasible. Just a few questions:

    1. What used mower would you recomend?
    2. Do you think it is okay to begin mowing lawns early on saturday mornings? If so what time do you feel is appropriate?
    3. Do you feel insurance is necessary for the type of operation I plan to run (only about 8-12 lawns per week)?
    4. What trailer do you recomend, and how much should I budget for a trailer to move the mower around?

    Thanks and any help is appreciated.

    Brian
     
  2. bigw

    bigw LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,540

    3. Do you feel insurance is necessary for the type of operation I plan to run (only about 8-12 lawns per week)?


    can you afford 8-12 law suits or Bay windows :weightlifter:
     
  3. BMurray

    BMurray LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    Okay I figured that would be the answer. I've been researching this site and I saw that 1 million a year in coverage is only about $500 so I feel that this is a good investment.

    Thanks
    Brian
     
  4. jdmcat

    jdmcat LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Posts: 439

    if the competition is unreliable, why not charge the same as them and BE reliable? otherwise you're giving money away. Also, you need to make sure you get a mower that will fit through a backyard gate. 48" might be pushing that a little, i'd go with a 36". You should probably consider a 21" as well in case you have any small or inaccessible areas to mow.
     
  5. PatriotLandscape

    PatriotLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MA
    Posts: 1,209

    why charge 20% lower that the competition? is your gas cheaper than their's?

    Charge a fair price don't go under cutting everyone or you'll find that your tires will get slashed a lot. :D
     
  6. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    How exactly are you going to know what the competition charges? Saying you are going to charge 20% less... so you'll know that "the competiton" is going to charge $35 per cut, then you'll bid $28? uuhh I don't think so. Or you'll know someone else would charge $40, so you'll charge $32?
    You get a call from someone that has never had lawn service before, and you say, "oh, what did your former company charge?" She'll say, "i never had a service." Then what do you do?
    I think it would be safe to say you'll be charging most customers 15 or 20 bucks. That would be the only way to really know that you'll be coming in lower. Because in reality, no one can KNOW exactly what every LCO in the area is going to charge. With the market SATURATED with cutters, and other cutters wanting to "win" bids with low prices, the only way you'll be able to be 20% lower then EVERYONE, is to be bidding at the lowest pricing scale, which is right near 15 bucks.
    So in conclusion, is this where you really want to be? Why not actually bid the lawns what you feel your time, equipment, gas etc, is actually worth?
     
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    1. A Toro.
    2. Yes, 9am or so, time enough to let the dew dry out and it's not too early.
    3. You'll first want to check to see if it is required by law. Beyond that it is a mindset, either you need it or you don't, you have to decide. If you can not decide then default is yes.
    4. A 6x12 single axle, $1,500 new.

    Other notes: I wouldn't underbid if I were in your shoes, but that's just me.
    Bid fair and square, why should you pay the customer to work on their yard?

    Or you get a sick Lco like me catches wind of what you're doing, so on a 40 yard I'll bid 35 especially if they're just price shopping, then hope they keep calling... It doesn't always work, but more often than not I know exactly how low to go where it's still a bit too high for them, and rather than bid full price I'll bid half way between my price and what I think they want to pay... Then they call you :laugh:

    It is sick, but I get tired of it lol.
     
  8. Puttinggreens

    Puttinggreens LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from southeast PA
    Posts: 376

    If you do decide to get insurance, which is a good idea, make sure you let the customer know. Whether that is in your advertising or another avenue.

    The fact that you carry insurance may set you apart from some fly by night operations,,, it makes you, at 17 years old, look more professional. Perception plays a large role.
     
  9. advantage landscaping

    advantage landscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 215

    BMurray -

    Okay you are in the exact same spot this year as I was last year. Lets try to sort out a couple of things you didn't tell us.

    First what kind of vehicle do you have? is it reliable? do you have it set up for towing? and whats the GVW it can handle?

    Second of all. You want 12 + customers.... how are you going to get them? 12 people don't fall out of the sky, and if people have never heard of your company before you are looking at a 1% return rate on things like flyers, etc,.... That means you need to pass out 1200 flyers for a hope at that many clients. Not saying you can't do it, but it takes a lot of work and you need to get going if you want to be ready for the season. We got 10 inches of snow today but I have my doorhangers done and ready to be printed, parts are about to be ordered, etc.....

    Third. What kind of budget do you have? You can do this for $3000 easily with everything you need. What kind of money do you have ready to spend?

    After we get these things cleared up we can get on the right track, so lets hear what you have.

    P.S. Do you have any experiance with a lawnmower? Like a real commercial lawnmower? If not I suggest you may want to get some experiance actually mowing before you do it for money.
     
  10. BMurray

    BMurray LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37


    Th only reason I say I can charge 20% less is because all 3 companies that in the area gave my parents and others on the block, with differing backyard sizes, a quote over the phone without ever seeing the yard. The lowest is $28 per cut and most in the neighborhood use him but he has become unreliable and many are complaining.

    Brina
     

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