First year expectations?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by kevin410, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. kevin410

    kevin410 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    I'm starting out this year and just kinda gathering information right now. I've got about 5 small lawns that I've been doing on the side since high school (I'm 23 now) for the last few years. I never thought of expanding until I spent 2017 working for a lawn care company doing chemical apps and realized how much I enjoyed the work and how much money there was to be made. Now I'm looking to go legit and see what I can do. A family friend is a financial advisor and has been walking me through things as far as the LLC and insurance go. I won't be going back to the company I mentioned earlier in the spring, but in the one season I spent with them I learned A LOT and have been doing a ton of studying on my own time. I am pretty confident in my turf knowledge.

    Right now as far as equipment goes I have a 2009 F150 (6.5ft bed), 21 inch Yard Machine, Echo PAS-225SB trimmer, and the Ryobi backpack blower which I absolutely hate. Just bought it cuz its what I could afford at the time. I also have a Billy Goat litter vacuum that I use for leaves, works well for my small yards. I'll be adding a walk behind (most likely 36" but also looking at some in the 40s) and a trailer in the spring.

    I have at least 4 more customers to meet and give estimates next week when I get back from vacation, one of which has a commercial property that is a few acres and should be a money maker. My leads mostly come from Facebook, Craigslist, and Thumbtack. I've been doing a fair amount of hauling/junk removal to keep busy while the grass is dormant and all of those customers get my card. I'll be starting the whole mailbox/doorstep flyer thing in the next two weeks or so. I'm doing electrical work full time right now and planning on sticking to weekends for my lawns right out of the gate. In a perfect world, I'll pick up enough customers to gradually drop the electrical work down to 4 days a week, then 3, then 2, then...you get the idea. Any tips? Any of my "plan" sound undoable? It all adds up pretty well in my head, but I'd like to hear from some of yall. Im in Annapolis, MD by the way.
     
  2. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Messages: 620

    First off, stick with the electrical work! Assuming your legal, if you're doing that on the side then yeah you need to stop immediately.

    Now that you have not listened to me and you still think it'll be 'fun' mowing lawns for the next forty years what advice are you looking for? Your plan sounds fine, but stating something is on thing, following through with the plan is another. Other then that you just need to go up to the search bar and type in 'first year' 'new business' etc. and check out the 347 threads we already have about starting a business. Good luck!

    p.s. you don't have to go through llc, sole proprietorship is fine for the first few years. a business license, insurance, and any county licenses are all you really need to start and it should be less then about $800 for that. As far as equipment goes I would advise a 6x12 or 7x14 single axle trailer because you will appreciate the room in a couple years and buy new or one year old trailers. Don't be afraid to jump right up into a 48" or 52" walk behind. Make sure you can actually handle a large commercial account and don't underbid yourself.
     
    wheatus likes this.
  3. kevin410

    kevin410 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    The way I see it, 23 is the perfect age for trial and error. I can still afford to try and fail. If things don't work out there is always trade work to fall back on. Worst case scenario I'm out a few hundred bucks. But its a goal of mine right now and if I dont try it now I'll be pissed at myself when I'm older and the opportunity has passed
     
  4. wheatus

    wheatus LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,014

    What is your goal??

    Your equipment is garbage. If it makes it halfway through the season I’d be surprised. A few hundred bucks will barely buy you a trimmer.
     
  5. kevin410

    kevin410 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    The truck was a hand me down and is still nicer than half the trucks I see in my area. The mower has lasted me a season and a half. Paid $200 for it. The trimmer is new(ish) so we’ll see. Used it half of last season so far so good. The backpack is garbage, like I said it’s what I could afford at the time. The Billy Goat was traded for a small job and does what I’ve needed it to do so far.

    That being said, part of my post was about adding a 36 inch and a trailer. Full size truck, trailer, walk behind and push mower, trimmer and backpack blower is what I’ve been seeing as a good start up setup. It’s far from perfect, but I’m not sure what part of my equipment is garbage, besides the Ryob which I agree on.

    My goal is to net 30k. That would be enough to go full time. Might happen, might not. We’ll see what happens
     
  6. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Messages: 620

    Again, not trying to be ignorant but netting 30k your first year is very unlikely especially since you aren't focusing 100% on the lawn business. Sell the Billy Goat on Craigslist and put $500 in your pocket and use it towards a larger mower, trailer or blower. I sell my small equipment every couple years on craigslist and I have a PB755 blower for $250 if you are interested.
     
  7. kevin410

    kevin410 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Sorry I guess I could have worded that a little better. Over the course of this season I am hoping to grow into the 30k/year range. I'm not setting my sights towards making 30k this season. But by the end of it I would like to have picked up enough accounts that going into next season, I'll be in that range. I also make decent money on hauling jobs and dump runs.

    I would be interested in the blower. What part of DE are you in? I'm the third exit off of 50W once you cross the Bay Bridge.
     
    sjessen likes this.
  8. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Messages: 620

    I'm up in Newark a couple hours away.
     
  9. JMK26

    JMK26 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Missouri
    Messages: 4,482

    You also have to think....you're not going to make 30K.....after expenses and taxes and health insurance and retirement, and all that fun stuff no one things about........... you'll be making about the same and probably less as working at McDs.
     
    ltdlawn likes this.
  10. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Messages: 620

    Yeah I just had a direct conversation with Kevin about a few things. But he is shooting to have himself set up by the end of this season to be able to make $30k net next season. And he feels that with the inquiries he has received so far that it would be possible in his area but he would definitely have to step up to a larger mower next season so the profit margin is better once the machine is paid for because he will have to put in a lot of time with a 21" mower. Also, his truck is a good condition 4x4 half ton which is plenty for the first few years of a business and depending on the scope of work he focuses on a half ton is all you need for lawn care.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
    kevin410 and hort101 like this.

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