Beginner needs help

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by jh88, Jun 10, 2003.

  1. jh88

    jh88 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    I'm wanting to start a small lawn buissness to make a little money. I have a lawn mower and weedeater and stuff but I don't no where to start. What buissness should i target new areas elderly people etc. I know i will need a new lawn mower preferably a ztr when i get one what are some of the more relilable brands. I also need some tips on pricing and advertising.
    If you know of any other tips please tell me. Thanks for any help yall give me.
  2. lawncare3

    lawncare3 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,981

    I have a snapper 48" hydro.

    VERY satisfied. :)

    Start out with little overhead. That way you can generate some cash flow and not have ALL the money invested in equipment.

    If you are charging by the hour go for @ least $1- a minute or $60 a hour.

    I don't know what it is in your area but that's what most areas are going for.
  3. lawnranger44

    lawnranger44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    I'd say target any neighborhoods around you, like developments and such. I saw on LS that people between 30 and 50 years old are the best clients but since you're just starting just get whatever you can.

    We used flyers to advertise. Once you get some clients then word of mouth will get you more clients and you won't have to advertise as much. Business cards are also good to have.

    totally agree with lawncare3 about the $1/minute quoting. That's what we use. If you find it hard to quote a yard than ask them if you can mow it once, see how long it takes and then quote them based on how long it took you.

    ZTR- eXmark all the way. They are great machines and they will last you forever if you treat them good. Here's some advice, spend the extra money now for an awesome mower that will last and it will pay itself off in no time. It will definitely be worth it.

    hope this helps. Good luck!
  4. Auroris

    Auroris LawnSite Member
    Messages: 155

    On pricing - it seems that companies around my area bid anywhere from $35-$65 per man hour for labor. I bid a job this morning at around $90 per hour for 2 hours of initial edging (creating a defined edge around bed, etc.) at an estate because that's tough shovel and hoe work even after using a power edger. Most of my residential lawns are bid somewhere around $50 - $60 hourly for mowing, depending on the job.

    Now, mind you, that gets you the services of a licensed business that uses professional or commercial equipment, too. Blades always sharp, & the guy behind the mower is clean and uniformed, etc., etc. Not a fly-by-night rig who's mower may or may not run this week and a guy who avoids licensing... you know the kind: "tax ID number? What's that?". Ahh, then there is insurance. When you can - think really hard about getting insured. You could regret not having liability insurance someday.

    When advertising, it would be great to get into the yellow pages and that would get you a lot of calls, but hey - it also costs a ton. If you're part-timing, I'd suggest a nice classified ad or even better, a listing in the services directory of your local paper. Best of all, make up some nice looking flyers or have someone with a computer help you... and go introduce yourself to people within a reasonable distance from where you live. (You don't want to drive 35 miles to mow a $30 lawn.)

    Make sure to get some business cards made up. They're just as important a part of your business as the eager smile on your face.

    Decide what you want to do with your business. How far do you want to go? If you want a ZTR or commercial walk behind, they are expensive. I bit the bullet recently and invested an a new eXmark hydro walk behind... well worth the investment! (BTW - I'd highly recommend eXmark, too, after months of research.)

    Get some accounts first and make some money while keeping your operating costs down. Make sure you know that you like doing this. Like a lot of successful guys on here say, "when you buy equipment, get the best you can afford". You'll be glad you did. By the time you're ready to upgrade equipment, you'll have more money, experience, and a good idea of just what you need.

    Don't get discouraged! There is a lot to be made on this business. It's exciting, too. You can go as far as you want and will be as busy as you want to be.

    Best wishes!
  5. dcondon

    dcondon LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,246

    Little overhead is the best way to go.......
  6. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    You may want to find people doing this work in your area and see what they have to say. I can't imagine anyone around here getting $60/hr for lawn mowing. I charge $30 for a 1 hour lawn and that is way on the high side. Most of the big operations are probably charging $20 or $25 for regular size lawns. Also in a town of 100,000 people there are lots of professional mowers and I'm sure there are plenty using big equipment, but the average yard would be handled just fine with a good 21" mower. I use a commercial Honda. Toro and Snapper are good too - just try to stick with commercial equipment. I started out with ads in the classifieds and did a lot of cleanup, junk hauling, garden bed weeding, etc. I haven't advertised for over a year and I'm totally flooded with work. Getting more into garden work and landscaping, but plenty of mowing. Just do good work for a fair price and people will stick with you and tell others about you. And don't ever think you've learned it all - there is no limit to what you can learn about lawn care (or anything else). Good luck.......

  7. the scaper

    the scaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 690

    keep in mind that regular accounts are a little harder to get in the middle of the summer, early spring is best but fall is good too. these are the times everbodys gonna be calling you for cleanups, alot of these people will want to start getting regular service too. learn to sell,sell, sell! fall is a great time for aeration and overseeding for example, its easy and pays good but you have to let them know that they need it. dont wait for these times though, get aggressive now! flyers, flyers, flyers. the best equipment as soon as possible but go with what you've got for now (establish customers). like lawnranger said a good piece of equipment will pay for itself fast. oh yea, and pray:angel: :D
  8. B&B LAWN

    B&B LAWN LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    i would go with a toro walk behind or a walker.the walker is good to use year round

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