Are my startup costs too high?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by TheLandscapers, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. TheLandscapers

    TheLandscapers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    I've been computing my costs, and well they're higher than I thought they'd be. Right now I'm just under $10,000 for a startup in South Jersey.

    Here's what I have included so far, can you guys let me know what I REALLY don't need starting out?

    Glavely Walk Behind $1,599.00
    Truck: $4,500.00
    Rake $10.00
    Leaf bags $9.00
    Bolens weed whacker $70.00
    Snow Shovel $14.00
    Blower $80.00
    Hedge trimmer $35.00
    Garden rake $15.00
    Pickup shovel $25.00
    Transfer shovel $15.00
    Short garden spade $21.00
    Garden dig shovel $10.00
    Utility knife $6.00
    Hammer $8.00
    Task force socket/screwdriver $10.00
    Chalk lines $9.00
    Tape measure $10.00
    Level $8.00
    Reel tape $14.00
    Hammer box $10.00
    Trowel $10.00
    Fertilizer Certification $100.00

    Yearly Expenses:
    Liability $1,291.75
    Commercial Auto $1,746.00
    Commercial Registration $105.00
    Trailer Registration $32.00
    Total: $9,762.75
  2. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,648

    Nice list, but you did forget advertising, and if your counting expenses for a year you left out fuel.

    How are you going to do it any cheaper?
  3. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,256

    Everything that Larry said plus repairs. I would also say that the items on your list are on the low side but I'm glad to see that you plan to go legit. One great thing is that you can by what you will need over the winter and anything not on this list can be bought as needed to help with cash flow.
  4. TheLandscapers

    TheLandscapers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Fuel is pretty hard for me to calculate right now, considering I haven't bought the vehicle yet.

    I just added advertising and I'm now at $10,262.

    If I can get that down to $8k, I'd feel comfortable having $2k in cash when I start operations.

    Buy a cheaper truck? Is that possible? I've been looking at F-150s
  5. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Buy a "real" trimmer and blower...not a good place to skimp. I started my business on $10k but I already had a truck and hand tools. I bought a $5k mower, trailer, 30 inch hedge trimmer, backpack blower, trimmer (all pro quality) and a trailer with my start-up money. It also covered attorney and accountant and business start-up fees.

    You can always add things as you need them rather than buying them all up front, but a lot of that stuff is the kind of stuff that most people already have around the house. I mean, who doesn't have a hammer? Do you have a quality pair of hand pruners on the list? What about your safety gear? Steel toe boots, gloves, glasses, hearing protection, hard hat, dust masks/respirator etc.

    A lot of the hand tools you have listed can be picked up at yard sales and/or flea markets. I must have 100 hand tools I've accumulated over the years that were dirt cheap or free.
  6. TheLandscapers

    TheLandscapers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Thanks knox! I have gone out "shopping" and wrote down all the prices for the items above. I plan to start operations in March. What equipment do you think would be required right from the get-go? Probably not a chalk line or other things.
  7. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,648

    Alot of the misc. hand tools could be purchased at yard sales. D. G. is right about purchaisng better handhelds, although you could do that later on and use the homeowners stuff has backups.

    I guess you could buy a cheaper truck,, I spent 9 months to find my truck, a simple pu shouldnt be so hard to find a good deal.
  8. TheLandscapers

    TheLandscapers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    No lie, I hammered my nails for a bookshelf I just built...with a monkey wrench. Thanks for the flea market idea on hand tools.

    Regarding the blower and trimmer, do you have any brand recommendations?

    My business is already set up. I just need to register the alternate name I'll be using. Clothing is incidental, as I have a full-time job currently and can pay for that personally.
  9. TheLandscapers

    TheLandscapers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    The reasoning behind using cheaper equipment in the beginning, was because I can usually buy 2 poorer quality handhelds for the price of 1 quality. I would then buy the quality when I've established a cash flow.
  10. TheLandscapers

    TheLandscapers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Here's what I've learned so far:
    1. Buy your tools at yard sales or flea markets
    2. Don't skimp on quality, but you might be able to for a short while until it starts breaking down.
    3. Buy some of the equipment as you go, as to maximize your cash flow.
    4. Add quality hand pruners to the list.

    Does anyone recommend winter services that won't use up too many resources while I'm getting ready for March?

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