Doing lawncare in college?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by John From Florida, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638


    What the home owners think of you will determine if you get hired or not. So it does matter a little. This however does not mean you have to show up with all the newest equipment and maxed out credit to match.

    Take your time and grow as you can. If you have a push mower, trimmer and edger and a blower you are well on your way. I would make sure to get entry level commercial grade handhelds if you can swing it as they will hold up and be a good investment in the long run. All said new this will run your roughly $1500. Although this is a big investment at this time you should recoup your money quickly. As you grow - a walk behind mower or a smaller Zturn maybe needed.

    As I think I stated before. If all you have to start out with is a push mower, try to get the handhelds and blower, then use your lack of a bigger mower to your advantage. Market yourself as one that push mows lawns with a small residential mower. There is a market out there for those that think the Zturns up there lawn. With this people they will be willing to pay a little more than the average for a lawn service. This is your niche.

    As you grow save money and invest in a walk behind or small Z turn - something in the 34 or 36 inch size that allows you to still get into small gated back yards. This will allow you to be quicker and more profitable vs you push mowing accounts most likely.

    That is just my suggestion to get started. Work with what you got but do get the handhelds as trimming and edging are something that most home owners will expect to be completed. Then everything else is grow as you can.

    One last piece of advice. Do not go out and buy all the expensive equipment and trailers until you know that this is going to work for you and that you will enjoy doing it.
  2. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,837

    I think at a bare minimum in Florida you will need a string trimmer, and a handheld blower or push broom with a dust pan. I would spend the $150 on a commercial straight shft trimmer. You can do both "weedeat" and edge for now with this with some practice. Also, you should buy a pair of flat hedge shears, long handle cutting shears. Not having that stuff will cost you business and not having the hedge stuff will leave a lot of money left on the table. I'd say you need to invest the $250 bucks minimum before going out to get work. Trade your car for a truck too. You can always make money with a truck in Florida.
  3. DVF Lawn Care

    DVF Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    Yea I hear ya. It's the same up here but I have found that people are willing to pay a little more to help a kid go through college, hopefully its the same for you. Just take it a week at a time and do a lot of walking door to door. I found that worked best for me. I tried leaving fliers on doorsteps but they sat there for weeks and I got no calls. It was only until I talked to people face to face and introduced myself that people became interested.
  4. John From Florida

    John From Florida LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    I've been hearing that from others, too. Connecting with the potential market is the best way to get your foot in the door, however, I'm not sure walking door to door as a form of advertising would be something I myself could do. Not that I have a problem marketing my business, rather I'm not big on solicitation. In my neighborhood for example, we have on occasion random tree or lawn service guys come knocking on our door advertising their business. For the most part it seems like most of the neighbors have a negative sentiment toward this form of solicitation, although that may be so only because they people who take to this form of marketing are typically low-ballers, six of them at a time hopping out of the back of a truck. Perhaps if a dapper, well put together man showed up instead, these neighbors would react differently.

    Part of me realizes this in your face approach works many times, while the other part thinks the customers who are most willing to pay will already be looking for a lawn service before someone comes knocking; in a sense they don't need to be offered a service via door to door marketing, because they'll already have contacted an lawn service.
  5. DVF Lawn Care

    DVF Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    Yea that makes sense. I almost didn't do it because of that reason. But it was that or door hangers which are fine too but when every other lawn care service also does door hangers you get a bunch piling up on your door step and I feel like nobody takes time to look through them. I found that the first 3 people that hired me weren't looking for a lawn service but when I talked to them they thought twice about it. Well, whatever you do good luck with it! Let us know how it goes!
  6. John From Florida

    John From Florida LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    Hey, thanks for the honest help! It's encouraging!

    What do you think about creating an outstanding Craigslist ad? There's a guy on this site that apparently got his start through Craigslist only, and did very well with it as a sole means of advertising. The trick of course would be to create an ad that was different from all the rest. A person would have to be innovative.
  7. DVF Lawn Care

    DVF Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    No problem!

    It couldn't hurt right? I tried that last year too and I got a couple of interested people, unfortunately none of them ever became clients, but it gets your name out there so I would definitely go for it.
  8. DoyleBrosLawnCare

    DoyleBrosLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Hey John, I recently graduated from Slippery Rock University in Pittsburgh Area of Pennsylvania. You can without a doubt run a business during college! I am 22 years old, and I started when I was in high school getting bigger. Every single weekend of college, I drove an hour home from school to go get all 52 of my yards done. I hired a couple of my brothers friends from high school to work for me and we busted our butts on Saturdays and Sundays, but we kept all the customers happy. You can do it, it's just how hard you are willing to work. Now I'm graduated, no loans for school, and I have my teaching degree and also a great lawn care business. Save up some money after doing a couple lawns then buy your other necessary equipment. (blower and weed wacker)
  9. John From Florida

    John From Florida LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    I think I will, maybe even along with some door to door style, getting the word out.
  10. John From Florida

    John From Florida LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    52 yards during college? That's quite a feat. Congrats on that! The more I read and chat with people in this business, the more I realize the only thing stopping me is myself.

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