40 and looking to start a landscaping co.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Mike821, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,159


    I had been in the green industry working for other companies for 30 years before starting my own business at 53 five years ago. My forte has been to develop an organic/natural lawn, tree and shrub application business. The physical demands are less compared to landscaping. While your expectations of 40K in the first year are high, the Bridgewater area is ripe for this kind of service. It's something you might consider looking into.

    BTW, your not old. you're only getting a little wiser!
  2. CHRIS92789

    CHRIS92789 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 318

    Hi, this is just my opinion but in your area there is a lot of companies and illegals working for way cheaper then most of us would work for, this is just because every street you turn on you are going to see at least 1 LCO. If you plan on lowballing or underbidding other guys you are going to get the jobs, but not for long because someone else will come around and under bid you. If you can spend that much money i would try to stay towards commercial accounts. You get a few of the large commercial buildings by you and you could hit your goal this year. Sorry if this is confusing.
  3. Coumbe

    Coumbe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 272

    I did what you are wondering about. I went from being an IT manager to an LCO. At times I'm glad, other times I wonder what would have been better. Stay or go???? Nice cool office being payed for what you know can be nice. But I like running my own business too. Ask me again in 2 days and I might have a different answer. Good Luck and don't build too much debt when starting out!!!!
  4. Mike821

    Mike821 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    Yes...I have been asking questions since 2007. At that time I was employed and wanted to explor my options. Now that I am unemployed I need to embrace the oportunity to make a change in my career path.
  5. Mike821

    Mike821 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    Nice....good to hear that you made the jump. I did not want to leave until I was laid off. It is hard to turn down a separation package for a half year with full pay. I was lucky and had the chance when I was in my Early 20's to own a landscaping company. Young and not business minded, but I made things happen via all contacts, advertising, and word of mouth. My work was quality and affordable as I did not have the overhead big companies had. Now 17 years later I realize that I am not cut out for the good ole shirt and tie job. Life was good for a long time. The overseas folks were not the big game in town. Outsourcing was not popular seven years ago. Now....whoaaa....even our (well should say my last employer) even outsourced the HR department to India. It was taking a major hit. Everyone wondered daily if they would have a job. I did it for three long years. The cash was great, but since they could get a outsourcing company to preform my job I was cut.

    What is the worst thing that can happen.....I have 15 accounts the first year, a used Bobcat 36" (just picked up a 80's with a Kawi 460V in good shape) a new ZTR say 54-61 Scag...my pref, backpack, 8hp little wonder, and trimmer I still have) I also have a 04 F250 SD that is ready for work.

    If I decide that after a year it is not for me, I take a 2-3K beating on the new mower. ( I can probably cut that loss with the sale of the accounts)

    Like someone said in a previous thread, I have more experience now. Not to mention the IT knowledge to leverage. On-line bill pay...website development....and project management would bring additional aspects to a landscaping company.

    I should have stated that I have some flexibility with the first year income. I am well rounded in all aspects of construction. I can always find odd jobs to substitute income in the winter.

    The best part now is that I don't have to listen to some as$hole director. No more political bs, a$s kissing, conf calls, meetings that run in circles, and other office related bs.

    Sour...mmm yes, but have learned to focus my energy toward a business venture that is leaning toward a landscaping co in 2011.

    Keep in touch and enjoy the change.
  6. Mike821

    Mike821 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    I hear ya Chris...commercial accounts are the way to go. I have a few possible shoe in, so to say, leads for 2-3 accounts. I also plan to get my application license this winter. This will give me a leg up on those who run the show from a car with a trailer hitch.
  7. Mike821

    Mike821 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    Thanks Barry...I just pulled up your website. Nice website....and I plan to further take a look into the organic/natural lawn/tree/shrub application aspect of landsaping.
  8. Watkins

    Watkins LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    Hey buddy, I started lawn care / landscaping this year after I started leaf cleanup last year.
    Leaf cleanup was awesome ! I made 9k in 6 weeks, that was really great.
    The years before the leaf clean-up I had mowed 3-4 properties for the year on a weekly and bi-weekly basis.
    12 years before I started my lawn care business I had done snowplowing, average snowplowing income is generally 13-26k depending on the snowfall.
    For snowplowing I have retained all my own customers except 2 for the past 12 years.
    ( the 2 I lost were losers, I lowballed to get the job then bumped the price up 5$ more per push and he decided to go with someone else LOL, The lot was dirty, looked like crap and he didn't even have a back blade for the commercial lot haha ) If he calls this plow season ima bump the price up another 15 where it should have been lol @ 30 bucks a push, sure it only takes 10 mins but I am a good plow guy imo... the other guy took about 30 mins per push when he plowed.

    You should start your business this year, don't worry about LLC or S corperation unless you owe money or have a personal lawsuit against you that may put a lein on your business accnt with your ss# or sole prop tax id.

    Go for it ! You need not worry about things that may not happen, what you need to worry about is the steps it takes to make it happen and stick to it.

    I now make an average of 3k a month just cutting lawns part time.. I cut lawns Mondays Wednesdays & Thursdays weather permitting.
  9. Mike821

    Mike821 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    Thanks Watkins.....Your advice has me thinking. Why not start this year. I might not mow being it is late in the game, but hard scape, leaf cleanup, and plowing can be easily done this year. Now it is just a matter of purchasing the Right equipment for the task.
  10. Watkins

    Watkins LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    Nah, it's never too late to mow.
    I picked up one job because I was mowing a small job for 20 bucks just because it was in a prime real estate location, I got called about a week after mowing, when I asked them how they heard of me they stated they had seen the nice lines I did and it looked great, it was a small lawn I could not use my zero turn on ( about 120 x 40 lawn ) so I used my 44 inch walk behind and made sure I double cut and did diamond cuts every time, trimmed and made it look great, I even spent 20 mins cutting his hedges for 30 bucks so it would look better.
    Quality work in prime locations can get you phone calls, however I never bid my jobs less then 35 dollars if i'll spend more then 45 mins there.
    I'm a small guy, but I average a total of 900 a week doing odd jobs and clean-ups. I think I do really well when I mention a free gutter clean-out if I cut their lawn for 72 bucks.. but the lawn will usually take about 40 mins after cutting & trimming is complete but thats in area's not in a prime location, or out of high traffic areas.
    The more traffic the better, I like to be seen and I like to make the lawn cry when I leave cuz it will miss me LOL.

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