5 grand and looking to start my lawn Business

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by boombaby3, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. FoghornLeghorn

    FoghornLeghorn LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 753

    for 5K, you might as well put that money towards an MBA or Law School. This is a hard industry. If I had to do it again, I might not do it.

    I'm not disgruntled, either. I make a pretty decent living with some huge accounts, but for the amount of time required to make a landscaping business work, I'm not sure it's worth it.

    Just my opinion...
  2. mowZ06

    mowZ06 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 248

    Bad advice here. You do not want to go out and get a 40k loan. Now if you were to buy out some one elses business with signed contracts I could justify a small loan. Start small and grow. I started with an old chevy full size and one very old 48 JD walk behind years ago. Count me in on one of those dime a dozen 5k guys :laugh:
  3. Utah Lawn Care

    Utah Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,560

    I work 15 hours/week out of my truck bed and earn more than my full-time job. Don't let people fool you into thinking you need the biggest and best to get going. There are plenty of people that have started with 1000 bucks of equipment not including a truck and have done just fine till they had some income coming in and could upgrade.
  4. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    Mhm, and don't fool yourself into thinking all the money you're getting paid is yours...
    Thing is if you're raking it in hand over fist, you're probably doing something wrong.

    It took years for me to understand the big picture because after it's all said and done?
    I earn about the same working out of my truck than I would at a full-time job.
    And I can almost guarantee, so do you.
    Pretty much...
  5. rbljack

    rbljack LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 731

    x2. I posted on here a while back about start up equipment and got bashed for my suggestions...LOL. If you can afford all commercial gear up front, by all means do that. I started with Residential equipment and am slowly building up.

    I agree with the poster that suggested new trimmers and Blowers, and used mowers. You can get a new Stihl trimmer, Edger, and Blower for under 1300 bucks, and that will minimize your downtime. I only suggested stihl as an example, pick you brand of choice. All three of those units will be commercial grade, and get your CORE equipment set up new and ready to run! Then buy a poulan pro 33 cc trimmer with the split shaft....and DONT LAUGH YALL..this works. By the edger attachment and blower attachment and any other attachments that go on clearance each fall (like the hedge trimmer, tiller, blower attachemnt, pole saw, etc). This 200 dollar piece of gear is your BACK UP for all three of your core units (EDGER, TRIMMER, BLOWER). If one of those units goes down, you can use the cheap poulan prol to keep going while the down piece of equipment is being repaired. Not too mention, that poulan pro has made me a decent amount of money with the chain saw arm attachment doing minor tree trimming for customers!

    If all you are doing is small residential lots, then the next thing I would look at would be a Honda HRC or Exmark 30. the Honda runs about 1300 an the exmark is a bit more pricey around the 1900 mark. Exmark offers 4 years at 0 percent on the exmark machine, so that monthly payment would only run 40 bucks a month. IF you are going to finance anything, that is where I would start..because the 40 bucks isn't too hard to come by if the mowing is slow. Pay cash for a truck, and if you have to, use a set of ramps until the trailer can be purchased.

    Ive been trying to build my equipment over the last two years, and its TOUGH! I do this as a side business, so my lawn cutting efforts are slowing going towards buying new/upgraded equipment. You really need to take a long hard look at what type of properites are in your area so you can decide which mower/mowers will best suit you starting out. However, the Edger trimmer and blower will be useful on most yards. Last tip..GET A BACKPACK blower....they are so versatile. I used a blower attachment for a weed eater for 2 years thinking I didn't need the back pack. I was WAY wrong on that one...LOL. the backpack has assisted in many ways, and you wont regret it in the long run. IF you can afford all commercial gear, great! if not, you may have to start with some resi gear, or look for used on craiglist.

    Hope this info helps.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
  6. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    When I started, I spent $18 on one ad in a local paper. I had a 1/2T pickup, and a commercial Snapper mower in the garage. I got six customers from the ad, quickly picked up others to fill all my time. The mower went into the back of the pickup. I cut over 600 lawns for a portion of the first year, some over 1A. From there I expanded, added a trimmer, blower and a w/b. Somebody had a cheap 4X5 trailer to haul the w/b mower. Later, I added a larger trailer from somebody who was discarding, and later bought a larger trailer with landscape endgate. Later, I added a ZTR. It all started from the $18.

    To the OP, spend your $5K on something else that has more potential. Business startups have an 80% failure rate within five years, and I am convinced that lawn businesses have a higher failure rate. Mowing grass requires no skill, no training, no special education, and the startup costs are very low. Or, stated differently, nearly ANYBODY can do the work, and your business offers nothing unique to the marketplace. You are just one of many doing the same thing. A high failure rate is almost certain with these factors.

    To the OP, you need to ask some important questions, starting with "Do I want to be a business owner?" If so, then you need to ask "What kind of product or service does my business want to sell?" And, "What kind of customer do I want to have?" Passion for cutting grass and being outside are admirable, but they fall way short of the primary considerations of being a business owner. You mention college, so we can presume you hold a degree and have an educational experience that not everybody else possesses. Why not leverage this position? If your answer to the first question posed above about being a business owner, why not use your unique skills and education to build a business? Consider this position, over against those who have no skill, no training, or no education required to cut grass.

    Just my $0.02 to the discussion.
  7. BTS

    BTS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Ok so for now I'm one of those 5k weekend guys. I started cutting on my own about 2 months ago. I have about 10 weekly accounts so far. I work full time and I go cut everyday after I get off work. I currently have all commercial grade gear except my mower which is a Honda push. I'm eager to grow my business and I don't shy away from big jobs. My question is this...should I continue going at the rate I'm going or go get a $7k loan and get a big boy mower/trailer? Currently I keep all my gear in the back of my 95' corolla which has been working up to this point. I'll be purchasing a Tundra soon as I'm looking to stay solo for as long as I can.

    GOATMAN GEORGE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    Providing professional lawn care is certainly a skilled position and not just anyone can do it. Lot's of people think they can do it. His business can offer a higher level of service than it's competitors.

    There is lot's of training, you can be pesticide licensed, have a turf grass management degree. I take pride in my business work and consider it a craft.
  9. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    We are not speaking about the same thing. I am doubting anybody starts out as "profession lawn care," rather everybody starts out "mowing grass."
  10. jburt

    jburt LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    my startup paid for in cash

    craftsman 42 inch zturn 1850$ 15% off coupon
    boulons push 300$
    trailor for zturn 550$ (is too small)
    2 troybilt heavy duty xp weedeaters 400$
    edger atachment 75$
    poluns blower 115$

    all of which has paid it self off in revenue from working on lawns.

    zturn still working fine have a interlock issue sears is fixing. but still mows fine.
    trailor sucks i should have gotten a bigger one..
    weeders work quite well most of the time, but will getting a new stihl next month
    blower broke, replaced with
    echo pb500 300$

    in hind site what i learned was it is worth shelling out the extra money for a commercial brand.

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