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Fireman looking to start part time

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by flames46, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. flames46

    flames46 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    I'm a fireman looking to start maintaining lawns on my days off. I work 24 hr shifts and then I'm off for 48. I really don't want to be too big, I'd just like to have steady part time work and hopefully profit 200-300 per week. I need all kinds of advice. I have a good commercial grade blower and trimmer already that I use at home. I have a full size truck. I need a mower and a trailer. I also need clients. I don't want to start out in debt, so I'd like to get started for 5,000 or less. Any suggestions on equipment, getting business, and whether or not this is a good idea would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Pro Edge Lawn & Landscape

    Pro Edge Lawn & Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    First thing first... Welcome to the site! Are your days off the same each week? To profit 300 a week is easy. With out knowing your area I can only speak of mine. You can get started with a used 36 wb for around 1000.00, I asume you have a21 for your own lawn? If not get a 21 for 500.00 (not commercial but you don't need it), Pick up a used 6x10 trailer for 1000.00. Start out with flyers in your neighborhood and friends and family. If solo all you need is 15 accounts at 30.00 each wk. Thats 450.00 gross, take out fuel,dump fees,and maint. your easy money! I started out looking for extra money part time too, and now we have over 200 accounts each week and love it! thats my 2 cents and good luck
  3. ffemtmcd

    ffemtmcd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 532

    Hi there - that's exactly what I'm doing now - I started for about 2K and just upgrade as needed when I have the money. I started with free business cards from vista print and also advertised on Craigslist - cheesey but it works. I'm currently at 8 customers for $35/ cut. Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.
  4. flames46

    flames46 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Thanks for the info guys. My days off rotate. I basically work every third day.
  5. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    Man, what's the deal with firemen........are WE NOT paying you guys good ?
  6. Ruben Rocha

    Ruben Rocha LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    Thats a tough call $5000.00 does not buy much today.
    You must have something right now to mow with even if it is not a commercial mower.
    Trailer is going to cost a few bucks.
    So I would backtrack.
    What type of lawn or service can you provide a customer with the least amount of investment in equipment.
    Then what amount of income can you get from them.
    Start from there.
    Then plan for the future.
    First item is going to be something to get the equipment to the site.(trailer)
    Then if you elect to use your home owner mower at first. It is probably going to be the first to go. So plan on a good commercial mower from the start.
  7. Toy2

    Toy2 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,924

    Mow your own lawn, do a great job, pop a sign in front with your company info....etc....

    Yes get a 36'' Walkbehind, it will fit most backyard gates, also a small trailer is on your list, nothing huge, also have a backup plan, meaning have an extra blower, extra trimmer, extra mower...

    36'' WB and your 21''
    Good Trimmer and a back up.
    Good blower and a back up, even a broom..you also need to look at an edger..

    Trust me when one piece goes down, you grab the next and go.....makes life alot easier.....use the search button on this site as well....ton of info.....

    I said it the other day, you guys have great schedules to do this kind of job...Good luck..
  8. scottgalat

    scottgalat LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    Consider a new John deere La125, or whatever is the current replacement of that model. Your needs are not for a high performance ZTR. This unit will serve your cutting needs and will only be 1/3 slower than ZTR,If your actual mowing time is 6 hrs a week, your total loss of productivity for the whole week is about 2 hrs, and cost is $6000 less. at $300 per week that is 20 weeks, most of your season 1 profits. I'd give up 2 hrs/week to have 3/4 more profit year 1
    La 125, An easy to operate hydro, foot operated tractor. push forward on pedal go fwd. stomp on reverse pedal...go reverse. You are an expert on it in an hour. It is cheap at around 2k., lightweight, cheap and easy to keep running. Don't hit things with the deck and your spindles will be fine. at 200 hrs. pop out the front wheel bearings and replace. It will last for many years.
    The engine, transmission, deck and frame wil last. Everything else is easy and cheap to fix. Don't buy the gear model...too mch time lost shifting from fwd-rev. I like the 42" deck.48" is available on similar model. Mulch plate straps on and off for quick discharge if needed. Generous horsepower 21 or 22 on a lightweight mower. The engine quality is not a factor, no matter which engine you get, over 20 hp... will last 1/2 a decade. Do not ever start a day without first cleaning the air filter, and you will have an engine last 5+ years. Grease it as advised in manual, lube spray all obvious moving parts. Need to replace the whole tranny 3 years from now?... do it youself in an hour. (You won't need to do that, though). The John Deere dealer will tell you that those units aren't commercial.....their $6000 and up models are. Well I've cut a h*ll of a lot more grass than the John deere dealer does and I'm telling you....if you can get your work done at 5 mph vs 7 mph then this mower is a true great value. I had one as a primary unit on a route last year doing 120 lawns per week. We seriously abused that poor mower...the only problems were when They'd hit things ...like a hidden stump. (new spindle, entire assembly $85., and a 5-nut wrenchin' job to fix) and the front wheel bearings as I advise a pre-emptive 200 hr. replace for $20. so you can pop them out before they fall apart. The lightweight is a very good feature. Foot operation is tops. High power to weight ratio allows makes deep grass performance closer to a 27 hp ZTR, noticably more powerful than 19-21hp ZTRs.
    Most mid-mount zero turns are around at least 1000 lbs and are sometimes 1800 lbs or more
    JD LA125....425 lbs or so. Put one in a soft ditch and you'll appreciate the ability to wrestle it out without a tow. No rutting.
    ZTRS are great high productive units. I question the need for your use, at $300/week you can get that out of two day's with a 21". This is considerably better than a 21" and will be a breeze to hit you productivity
    needs. The hydro/foot combo boosts productivity.
    If I was you, I'd go that way. I don't see the logic to working 3/4 of a season just to buy the mowers so you can be out mowing. I enjoy the job...but only when it puts good profits into my pocket. Lowes has a trailer
    4X6 that holds that unit...and nothing else $499. too small for your "wants" their 5X& is $700 new. Your not expanding ....why tote unused trailer space around? Throw the 21", if needed, in the bed of your truck, same with edger, blower,weedeater, and gas cans. Add weedeater string, edger blades and your off. $2,800 total?

    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,526

    i feel the same way. im a volunteer FF and all we hear is how we are taking union jobs and money out of their pockets, even though our town is all volunteer. but its OK for them to mow lawns and take money out of my pocket.there are so many opportunities in the fire fighter field for extra income why wouldnt you pursue something like that?
  10. mulchhead

    mulchhead LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    No YOU are not paying us enough. Why are the "professional" guys worried, we are just firemen. Flames46 good luck. Buy commercial equipment, insurance, and of course just like our other career do it the best you can.

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