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A world of possibilities...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Oasis360, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Oasis360

    Oasis360 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    To put things into perspective I am 26 years old, have 1 year of college, and looking to put this landscaping business as my full time career...
    I ran my landscaping company Oasis Landscape Design (Vancouver, WA) last year (2010) and really got a feel for the ins and outs of the business. I found out that I really like working in an industry where I can affect visual changes and inspire pride in homeowners. Gardening has always been my favorite hobby and I took the time reading many books on plant identification, microclimates, soil science, lawn care, and planting with native plants of the northwest.

    I started this business off with a $20 filing fee to the department of revenue, $25 worth of self designed 8x10 fliers, $20 of color 2-sided self designed business cards, an MTD lawn mower, various hand tools, a yard machines line trimmer, weedeater gas hand blower, weedeater gas hedger, and a mclane blade edger... I worked hard and added a truck, trailer, and troy horse rototiller to my equipment. I still have the same MTD mower and it's still able to put in 12 rounds =).

    Working through 2010 I took just about every job I got calls for, underbidding more than overbidding, and I learned that I could not mix big design/build projects with regular maintenance and one time cleanups... I liked the idea of maintenance but more the flexibility of one time cleanups and yard renovations. It seemed like I could get more before / after photos to add to my portfolio on the big yard cleanups, and that I would gain more experience that way.

    I didn't operate this year due to having a child and then a rough separation with the mother of my child. Now, I am ready to get back into full swing and really find my niche in the Landscaping business.

    From what I've learned here on this site (correct me if I'm wrong) is that regular maintenance clients are the best source of revenue for the effort, being that they can be stacked together and a 1 time bid can turn into a seasonal contract with the client. I've also learned that one time cleanups are often more than the landscaper bargains for, and hard on labor and equipment. I know that I am not ready for extensive design / build work so that isn't even a consideration.

    I would like to utilize my Rototiller as much as possible, as it is my highest leverage piece of equipment that I own at the moment. I am thinking of ways to possibly balance one time yard renovations with regular maintenance clients. This is what I've thought of thus far: Mon-Thur Maintenance Clients with Fri-Sun Yard Renovations (New Lawns, RotoTilling / Soil Amending, Pressure Washing, & Hauling)... I've also considered that if there are no 'Yard Renovations' that I could use Fri, and the weekend as a buffer for overflow maintenance clients, advertising, business structuring, equipment maintenance, etc...

    I live in the NorthWest so we have fairly healthy grass from Mar-November. Also there are many trees in our area that drop their leaves, so regular maintenance trumps one-time cleanups for leaf removal...

    I can create my own fliers, business cards, web site, and thank you cards as I am skilled with graphic design; also I have talent with wording advertisements and targeting a market. I have found great success with targeted door to door fliers and Craigslist thus far.

    My goal at the moment is to make it through the winter doing pressure washing, property cleanups, fence / deck weatherization, and possibly rototilling... I could be steering in completely the wrong direction :confused: I do LIKE the idea of regular maintenance, the more I research into it, and would like to make my bread and butter on residential clients preferably contracted from Mar 1 to Nov 30 (First fertilizing to last leaf fallen)...

    I don't have the greatest equipment, partly due to my testing the waters and learning from others (this site is an amazing resource), so I am open to any and all ideas both constructive and :hammerhead: ... I'm young so there is MUCH to be learned, and I respect greatly the wisdom of those who have made a living in this industry. As far as equipment, a lot of the residential properties in my area have narrow gates, so I was considering a 36" walk behind as the largest mower I would need, and a better 21" as a start to maintenance. After that a good quality Stihl line trimmer with the blade edger attachment (possible chain saw on-a-pole or hedger attachment too for pruning up high), a professional grade backpack blower, a professional grade gas hedger, and a broadcast spreader because I only have a drop spreader at the moment....

    I appreciate all the criticism, encouragement, advice, and scorning that I can get - like I said I am only 26 and a sponge for knowledge...
  2. johnclark023

    johnclark023 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26


    We have very similar backgrounds: Age, Design abilities (I'm a Graphic Design Student), and same ambitions to rejoin the lawn care industry. I intend to start my venture again in 2012. I had a mowing service back in 2003-2004 with about 40 or so clients (2 commercial). Life circumstances did not permit me to keep the business running at the time, but after working for a fertilization company for the past 3 years in Sales and Marketing I'm ready to move back into the industry! I've made sure to ask as many questions as possible, learn the industry trends, key words, and sales techniques. I have proven my abilities to close sales (70% of inbound leads & 50% of outbound leads in the first year), so I intend to now apply these techniques to my own business. I will be following this thread closely. Hopefully there's more constructive criticism than anything else. What a great opportunity to learn from other Professionals!

    If you haven't already read them, PROCUT has 2 threads that I recommend reading: "how to bid on commercial accounts: the right way" and "how to fail" (the names are not 100% correct, but if you search you'll know what they are right away. They really helped me with my bottom line and profit margins predictions.

    I wish you great success in this upcoming year and years to come! Also: congrats on the baby!

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