A few questions from a landscaping newbie.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Salinger7, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. Salinger7

    Salinger7 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Howdy there,
    This is one heck of a forum. Glad I found it. So many knowledgeable fellows and years of experience.
    I really love plants, working outside and being my own boss.
    I've been thinking about starting a small landscaping operation for some time now. I had a few good experiences doing some very small landscaping gigs through Craigslist and decided I want to take it more seriously.
    I bought the "How to Start a Home-Based Landscaping Business" book and been reading it slowly. Its a good book.

    Anyway, my questions are:
    1. Any other good books for people just starting out? Less about the business aspect and more about introductory design method and theory? I know how to plant, keep plants alive but how do I choose which ones go best with each other?

    2. I'm thinking about starting the buisness with a friend. A 50% partnership. I know that it is sometimes a sure recipe for disaster (The author of that book talked about that a little bit), but did any one had good experiences starting with a partner? Any other words of caution, wisdom?

    3. We don't even have a truck yet. We've been looking around. My basic idea was a good solid used truck with a crew cab, and enough power to tow a big 20 feet trailer. I thought we could find something like that for around 6 grand but it proves to be harder than we thought. Is that sum too small? What other requirements we should look in a landscaping truck? Words of advice on that? We both don't really know much about cars, and mechnics is not our strong side. Where should we look for it? Huge established car dealerships? Smaller used cars dealerships? Craigslist? Private people?
    What is the bare minimum we'll have to spend? What was your first car?

    Thank you so much for reading my somewhat lengthy post,
    Have a great day,

  2. Puddle of Oil

    Puddle of Oil LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,202

    1.id start by working for a landscaping business, you'll learn alot about the business and maybe avoid some costly mistakes toward your own business!

    2. you answered your own question!

    3.you dont need a 20' trailer to start! a 5x10 will be plenty. when you look for a truck make sure it looks good and runs great! it dosent matter where you get it from. i got my 99 f250 from craigslist and she runs/looks like a beauty! http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=297691

    start small and work your way up! you dont need to go big your first year just have a decent looking rig.

    hope this helps!
  3. helidriver

    helidriver LawnSite Member
    Messages: 108

    Yeah....take it easy on the big trailer for now. get a smaller trailer and learn all you can. try to work for someone else first a let them train you. Watch all that is going on and listen to customers. You could go out on your own now but u might learn the hard way and that usually costy you money.
  4. Salinger7

    Salinger7 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Thank you very much.
  5. 360ci

    360ci LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 998

    I've been using my 4x8' utility trailer for 5 years or so now. Unless you plan going into the commercial market, or large residential lots a large trailer is an unnecessary expense. If you go too big too fast, you will fail. If you build only when your needs grow, then it'll be profitable and keep both partners happy. A midsize or 1500 series truck is all you'll need. I started with a Dodge Spirit, but family grew, so I purchased GMC C1500. I wanted 4wd for the winter and upgraded to a Durango. My lawn income paid for everything. Mind you I only work part time. Cheers!!
  6. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    Like everyone said, you don't need a big trailer to start off, start small, buy the stuff you can and work your way up, when you have an establish business with customers, then you can grow bigger. So all you need is a small ford ranger or in the f-150 or 1500 series.

    And I was supposed to be in business in 50% partnership with my friend but I decided to go 100% shareholder in a federal corp. It is a big risk if your 50/50, maybe in 3-5 years your partner will decided to go in a complete different way then you. Just my opinion.

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