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Whats first customers or equipment?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by JLL25, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. JLL25

    JLL25 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 200

    I am considering starting my own company, but I possess no equipment. Should I try to get a few customers first or buy equipment, I'll have an extra 5-6K in February but I thought I might scout for a few accounts before I buy.
    By the way I am talking about lawn care and small landscaping jobs.
  2. grasshawg

    grasshawg LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    I am new myself. You'll probably get some great advice form these guys who have been at it for a while, but here are my thoughts.
    I don't know a lot about "business", but I'm 36 yrs old and I have done a lot of "livin'". I suggest making sure you market yourself to the public and get yourself some exposure BEFORE you buy equipment. Talk to your friends, talk to local business owners. Get the word out in your community of what your intentions are. Get out, meet new people.
    Business cards are relativeley cheap. Get some made up, and give them to friends, acquaintances. Get permission from your local grocery store to use their property (if they don't have a "no solicitation policy").
    Basically, get yourself and your business intentions known locally before you do anything else. You want to be ready to rock-n-roll as soon as you buy your equipment.
    Hope that helps. Like I said: There's a lot of guys on here who have a lot of common sense, like me, but who also have been doing this for a while. Listen to them. They are here to help, and help they will. Me, too, if I can. Good Luck!
  3. WalkerMike98

    WalkerMike98 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 167

    Do not buy cheap equipment. Do not finance $10000 mowers. Pay cash. Buy a piece at a time. Your first ztr, buy a used one. If you know what to look for this will save a wad of cash. After 7 yrs I have learned to let someone else eat the depreciation of these mowers just like the trucks. Oh yeah, I know, used equipment is risky. Unless you are an idiot, a thorough look at a piece of equipment, you can tell what it has been through. I say paid for equipment before customers in your case. If you have 6k to play with, you are way ahead of most of the competition. This should provide you a really nice trailer and paid for small equipment. Amazing what happens when your earnings are pocketed instead of making the note on that new ztr and shiny new powerjoke diesel.
  4. retrieverlawncare

    retrieverlawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    I started my business part-time in 2004 with a 22" Toro Personal Pace Mower ($360), Redmax Trimer ($450), and a hand held blower.

    I invested less than $1,000 to start my business part-time........

    Within the first few mnonths I had enough customers to warrant buying a 48" Exmark walk behind mower, a back pack blower, a trailer.

    I grossed 16k last year and did 35k gross this year....PART TIME.
  5. Landscape25

    Landscape25 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 199

    Have you thought about just starting on the landscaping end. I don't do lawns but if I dropped thousands on equipment and were not any busier than I am now I would be wondering if I did the right thing. I don't know what kind of landscaping you have in mind, as in needing big equipment, but for small jobs you can get by with very little. You may want to put some of that money into advertising. I have found the yellow pages do not work that well for me. It was a big expense being such a young company. I thought it would help, but I would look into other venues until you get established.
  6. newz7151

    newz7151 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Tejas
    Posts: 2,419

    Neither customers or equipment comes first when starting a lawn care business.

    Knowledge is the first thing needed. As many will say.. spend time with the "search" function.. it is your friend, it is there to guide you.. and provide you with hours.. and hours.. (days depending how far back you go) of knowledge that is vital to this industry.

    EDIT: Sorry.. saw late on your profile that you have 3 years.. so I will assume you have been working with somebody and already have the knowledge. Start with "some" equipment. No use advertising ice cream cones for sale if you don't have the scoop.
  7. Landscape25

    Landscape25 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 199

    I started with hand tools, wheel barrow, trashcan and maybe a few other things.
  8. irishgoldcleanups

    irishgoldcleanups LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    payup payup payup payup I Just Started My Business This Summer Doing Cleanups & Cleanout With A Homemade Trailer That Was Originally A Flatbed Made For A Gutter Machines It Measure 4ft X 10ft. I Put 4ft Walls On It Made Of Angle Iron And Expanded Metal. Towed It With A 1991 Bronco. Borrowed A Friends Backpack Blower. He Gave An Old Landscape Barrel. I Made Up Business Cards On Vistaprint.com Made Flyers And Distributed Them In Parking Lots. After About Two Weeks Of Leg Work I Started Getting Calls After About A Month I Cleared About $4000 Cash. Now I Sold The Bronco And Bought A 1988 F450 Stake Body Dump Dually Started Advertising In The Local Paper I Am Now Averaging About 8 Calls A Day. Doing Pretyy Good For Starting With Little Or No Cash. As A Full Time Business. One Man Crewpayup payup payup

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    What you need 1st is a target customer. Do a little research as to the size of lots around you and start to make a plan of which customer you will service. Than research the equipment that fits that customer, Decide what you WILL buy but don't buy it quit yet. Advertise to your target customer. Get the mowers a few weeks before the 1st cutting and the customers will come about the same time.
    Good luck.
  10. PMLAWN

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    Irish, What exactly are you doing? Sounds interesting

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