Advice for a new comer?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by matcor9925, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. lawnmastersoftyler

    lawnmastersoftyler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    What kind of men are we if we resign ourselves to not take risks, to put in hard days and struggle until we succede? If you are contemplating starting a lawn business just to make more money than you are right now, Sure, forget it! But if you are dreaming of it for the ability to be able to go to bed at night knowing that all that is transpiring around you is ultimately soley your responsibility, The good and the bad. Then you are on the path to true freedom. Freedom from office politics. Freedom from glass ceilings. Freedom from resumes. Freedom from pay scales. Freedom from your J.O.B.(Just Over Broke) Chances are it is probably more of a J.U.B.(Just Under Broke) Anyways. Where is the security in knowing that if Bob the boss doesn't care for your personality you are back among the masses, begging for another chance to Make someone else rich? Or the saftey in Mr. Big corporation who doesn't even know you exist, let alone care how long it has been since you have had some real time off. Come on guys! Are we men, or are we mice?:weightlifter:
  2. brodo374

    brodo374 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 141

    Buy nothing residential...go aheas and pay extra for commercial. Also, in the early stages the most important thing is to spend as much time as possible throwing out flyers, going door to door, whatever it takes to generate some buisness...then word of mouth will generate more bisness if u are good...
  3. Disgruntled_Veteran

    Disgruntled_Veteran LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    Kill all of your opposition !! joking joking ... ha ha.

    Hey all of the advice posted up above is great and this is the perfect place to ask questions . Some of the guys on here are very good and very experienced , their input is priceless, also don't be afraid to crack open a book or two on certain skills in this business, that has helped me out.

    Good Luck to you , Drink lots and lots of water and then drink some more.. Transition from working indoors to outdoors in the dead of summer is brutal..
  4. whosedog

    whosedog LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 730

    I 2nd Toy2 and 36 metro. In this economy if you have a decent job with health insurance,a 401k,paid holidays and sick days stay put. Try picking up a few lawns to do on the weekends and see how you like it. Your air conditioned office job might not seem to bad after getting poison ivy ,bit by misquitos or finding ticks trying to suck your blood, not to mention dealing with idiot or slow paying customers. And remember eventually you will want to retire, if your company matches your 401k contributions and let you retire with health coverage that is priceless; don't count on social security it might not be there.
  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    If I were you, don't mow.

    Every Tom, Dick and Harry is out there mowing yards in this economy. It's hard to compete in price when a unlicensed, uninsured people are out there competing for accounts.

    I started out as strictly landscape maintenance. It's mostly hand work so the equipment needed is minimal. I started with the usual equipment such as a blower, trimmer, hedge trimmer, pole pruner, shears, edger etc.. You can find most of this stuff used as you won't be using them quit as much initially on maintenance accounts.

    Now I offer everything, and still haven't added too much equipment. If any job comes up that I need a piece of equipment, I go rent. If I'm renting more than what it would cost new, or used, I buy.

    When it comes to mowing, I've actually only got a couple of accounts, but it was from customers I already have for maintenance and I charge more than the norm, so I can take my time mowing and still make money.

    When you start out mowing, you generally start with small equipment. The way I saw it was I could mow this house for 25 bucks, and it would take me an hour with start-up equipment that I have to maintain, or......... I could spend 1 hour+ at a property, charge 45/an hour, and up-sell on mulch, herbicide applications for the landscaping and any other supplies that might be needed.

    I gave my biz 1.5 years before I gave up my part-time job I had at the time. Since then I hope I don't have to work for someone else ever again.
  6. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    I agree in large part with what White Garden says, ..however..... Some people on Lawnsite are claiming well over $1 a minute doing mow and blow - and some are claiming as high as $2 a minute? Maybe it's because they are also full service?

    It really depends on your local market conditions. Some here on lawnsite find the mow & blow business model to be profitable.
  7. golfnpreacher

    golfnpreacher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    Since the lawn season is half over, and since it is not truly year round, I would take an approach that gets you in the door. I missed what equipment you already have, even if it is consumer brand as opposed to commercial.

    My first suggesting is to start Part Time with a full time approach and because you are part time, I would make every effort to avoid debt. I'm in my second season, still looking to grow and build, but I'm still using two consumer rated string trimmers and they are still going strong. They paid for themselves last season. (BTW, one was mine before I started and the other I purchased on Craig's List for $40) My mower was my mower... a Toro recycler from a BigBox store. It still runs strong. Again it's paid for itself and is putting money in my pocket vs making the bank richer by making payments. I actually salvaged a small trailer, it's not pretty but it is functional. This season I purchase a used Exmark Metro 36. Actually I got it at the end of last season from a guy who was getting rid of it, paid around $250 and put about that much it parts to fix it. It starts on the first pull, cuts smooth. I also picked up an edger and a blower at the end of last season off of CL.

    In all I spent about $700 for equipment and repairs (including the stuff to fix the trailer) Working PT I made that in less than 3 weeks. So, today when I go mow a lawn, I'm basically making what I'm charging (less what I'm putting away for future purchases) as opposed to a guy I meet the other day that HAS TO make $300 a week in order to cover payments... I didn't have the nerve to tell him that he has to make that this winter when the grass isn't growing.)

    Okay, I've rambled enough to stay out of debt. Second, find 5-10 customers and give them the best service they have ever had. Don't work for free, but everyone is aware of pricing these days. People are losing jobs, cutting corners and trying to squeeze every penny. That includes lawn care. My average lawn is $25 for the basic, cut, trim, edge and blow. And I throw in a free fall feeding if they are a regular. (It extends my cutting season so while they think it is free, it gives me another few weeks of cuts) Now, working alone it takes me about 30 minutes from start to finish. $40-50 an hour is not a bad pay rate and since I don't have the overhead it is doable. Now, that guy I mentioned won't do a lawn for $25, there is no profit in it for him. Needless to say I'm in two communities doing 20 lawns (and growing) He is spending a lot in advertising and scrabbling to get business.

    Overhead is one of the factors that determines pricing. Remember that. If I can mow the same lawn as company "X" and make the same profit, I'm not "lowballing" if I do that lawn for less than he charges. It's his OVERHEAD that priced him out, not my lower price.

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