Another "I need help with my business" topic

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by brianhanson37, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. brianhanson37

    brianhanson37 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    I'm just getting started, but I only have two ~20" push mowers and a trimmer. I would like to take all the money I make and put it towards a rider. Should I bid cheaper because it will take longer? What would you suggest.

    Also, I mulch all my grass at home, but I wonder if others will mind it. What do you people out there do? Bag? Rake? Mulch?

    Thanks for the help!

    Also, is it too late to start this summer? I'm from WI and I'm thinking I still might get some business because its getting hot and people don't want to mow their lawns in the heat.
  2. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    I have a 21" and a 22". I don't bid any cheaper than the guys with bigger walk behinds.

    You can expect that you aren't going to make the same dollar per minute that they do but I doubt customers are willing to pay more just because you have smaller equipment. In any case, once you get your bigger mowers, you'll be making the average. Thats how I think of it.

    In short, don't undercut, but at least bid the normal price.

    You should mulch your yards. It is the norm in the business, and though some people want bagging, it isn't requested a lot. As long as your mower mulches it well and doesnt leave clumps, you'll be okay.

    I rake up extra clippings/debris that I blow back onto the lawn, but thats it.

    I started back up earlier this month and I've got 30 customers. You can do it. Maybe not as many, but that depends on your area and how you are advertising.

    Good luck.
  3. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    what you will find is: there is a VERY fine line inbetween riders, ZTR'S and then Tractors.

    sure you can bid a job using 21" machines, where a guy with a ZTR will do it faster and easyer on the body. and he MAY be 5 to 10.00 Cheeper. then you go from ZTR to tractor same situwation.....

    find the area that fits all machines, ir rather the markett.

    here we have all. but shying away from 21".

    we get 45.00 an acer with a brush hog....
  4. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    I have one lawn that I push mow with a 21, and I get more for it, because it's bigger and I can't get my big mowers in there. I don't mind mowing it though, because of that. I'm pretty close to a buck a minute on this lawn, and with a bigger mower, I'd be over that, but that's how it should be, because bigger mowers cost a lot more obviously.

    And to answer your original q about bidding lower, I wouldn't. I'd bid about the same. Unless there would be some reason you can't get a bigger mower on it, then you could charge more for a specialized service. Good luck, and don't short bid yourself.
  5. brianhanson37

    brianhanson37 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    Thanks for all the help guys! I'm hoping to start by July 7th. I have another question, I've never used an edger before, is it really needed and will the kind with the solid type blades (not the turn the trimmer over thing) work on curvy walkways or only straight ones.
  6. JacksonLawns

    JacksonLawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    I would spend that money on a blower instead of an edger. You can do a good job edging with your trimmer. You can't blow without a blower.
    I have never used an edger on anything but a straight away so I can't speak for using them on a curved sidewalk.
    I went the route of a one year old walk behind first (after the push mower) and have used it for two seasons now. I am looking to add a ztr later this season or beginning of next. You can get a walk behind much cheaper than a ztr and it will still speed you up considerably. The walk behind allowed me to cut my existing accounts much quicker and add more accounts.
    I started with a push mower and two accounts mid summer a couple of years ago. I don't think there is anything wrong with starting right now. You still have several months of cutting left.

    Hope that is helpful for you. Good luck!
  7. lawnjocky

    lawnjocky LawnSite Member
    Messages: 189

    You might consider not getting a rider and staying with the push mowers. Depending on your market you could carve out a niche of only doing small yards. Only using push mowers requires a smaller truck, no trailer, less storage space, lower fuel cost's, lower equipment investment, etc.. In short you will have lower per hr cost's. The trade off is more walking. Most lawn maint. companies are geared to medium or large properties and the part time weekend mowers don't want to work to hard for extra money. Small yards tend to be unpopular, take advantage of that. Before you set your heart on a rider or get locked into a bigger is better mindset, take stock of what you have and what you can do with it.
  8. brianhanson37

    brianhanson37 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    I also forgot to mention, I have two blowers one electric and one gas powered. However, neither of them are a backpack model, are those really that much better or will I be fine starting out with a handheld one?
  9. JacksonLawns

    JacksonLawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    I have 15 accounts that I mow and 3 other decent sized mulch jobs and all I have is a hand held blower. For most residential yards a handheld is sufficient. Backpacks really come in handy with larger accounts.
  10. brianhanson37

    brianhanson37 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    Now I have a pricing question. I live in a town of about 20,000 people avg. salary ~40,000 a year, what would you charge for a half acre, and 3/4 acre? I was thinking the 30-35 range but I've seen members websites on here offering them for $25. My family also owns a cottage on a lake, do any of you charge more if the property values are worth more?

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