First Year In Business

Discussion in 'Original Pictures Forum' started by osmann_lawn, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. Tyler's Lawn Maintenance

    Tyler's Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    The last link lmlawn posted, the Toro 52" Proline with TruTrak sulky is probably the best deal of them all. It is clean, a pretty much universal size, hydro and it has a fairly low amount of hours. The only thing I do not like about that machine is the pistol grips. They're hard on the operator's arms, but you'll get used to them over time. For $1300, I would hop on that in a heartbeat! My eXmark is pretty much the exact same machine and I would take another in a heartbeat!
  2. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,379

    good luck this coming season! i started last year and had a tractor mower. it will work if you only have a few yards but as the yards come rolling in and especially if they are bigger yards you soon find out that it's not gonna be able to keep up lol. it is ok though. once you get to that point you can justify the purchase of a ztr or a walkbehind depending on the type of yards you cut. a better idea would be to go ahead and try to sale the tractor during the off season or early spring when people are looking to buy mowers and then go buy the proper commercial mower you need. if you have to then you can just use it until everything is paid off. It should last that long just fine but the jobs will take longer to do and you'll just have to work through it until you can afford to get something better.

    My first year i grew alot faster than i expected to and i didn't have any debt so i was able to buy a new ztr with 3 years no interest and i also had half the money to put down on it. being in the position you are in you aren't gonna be able to do that so you'll just have to work through it the best you can. learning is a big part of this business. i learned alot my first year even though i am 36 years old and i've been cutting grass my whole life almost lol. i did have some experience since i worked for a lawn business while i was in college though.

    it's just different when you are doing it for a job/career rather than just cutting your yard at home. you learn how having a mower that can go 10+ mph can really make the jobs go alot faster which makes you more money in less time. think of it this way. people are willing to pay a certain amount for someone to cut their yard. let's say for example that amount is $50. you can go cut it with a tractor mower and it may take you 2hrs to cut,trim,blow. so you made $25 an hour. now take that same yard and you do it with a faster ztr and you cut that time in half so you are making $50 per hour. not only is it faster but a commercial mower can take the abuse of cutting several yards a day and the maintenance intervals are a lot less often as well. you might hit a rock with a homeowner type mower and it may bend the blade so you are forced to stop cutting and go get a new blade then go back and finish the job. a commercial mower's blade is alot thicker so it might just put a nick in it so you will be able to finish the job without having to leave.

    it's just small things like that that make a big difference. if you have 5-10 small problems they all start to add up and it makes 1 big problem lol. i was kindof forced to make the jump because i had a 3 acre yard i had to cut. it would've taken 5-6hrs to cut it, trim, blow, with the tractor mower i had. it even took 4 hrs with my dad's homeowner 54" husqvarna ztr. i got a commercial ztr and it went down to 2 1/ you see where the little things start to add up especially on bigger yards. if you have all small yards then it's not as big of a deal but still a faster commercial mower will help out alot. you may be able to cut 10 small yards a day rather than just 5-6 you were able to do with a tractor mower. i honestly didn't think it would be that much of a difference but it is. it's the same using a backpack blower rather than a handheld blower. it just makes things go alot faster which increases your profit as a business and makes the work easier on you as well.

    there's alot of people on here that know alot more than i do. alot of them just aren't so nice about the way they share their knowledge which is a major turn off lol. it makes me not want to listen to them to be honest but just try to not take anything personally. you can't do things the exact same way as anyone else. you have to take a bit from this guy and some from that guy and figure out what works best for your business plan and your situation. you have to think about what your goals are and do what it takes to get there. you will see on here there's 10 different ways to do the same thing. you just have to figure out what works best for you and your customers.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
  3. Seltzerpm

    Seltzerpm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    Very true^
  4. billythekid

    billythekid LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 439

    I agree with jason, having the right gear makes all the difference. I got a backpack for christmas, it makes the handheld blowers look like hair dryers lol
  5. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    Thanks Jason. I did not want to go to majorly into debt when starting out. I will have all my equipment paid off by March. I do know what you mean by the lawn tractor. If i get enough new accounts this year i will get a walk behind or ZTR. I was told not even to buy any equipment until i got the accounts. I am registering for an LLC in march. I have to make a business plan as well. Hopefully if i get enough accounts i would be able to get a loan or save enough cash! I recently bought a new HONDA 21' PUSH MOWER HRC216PDA Commercial line for a good price. Most of the 6 lawns i do are in town so no bigger than 1 acre. Most of them if i really wanted to i could push mow. I have all commercial hand helds. All from ECHO dealer not the home depot ****. backpack blower, trimmer & edger. I got from my parents this year a Ryobi shrub trimmer. I got it free so i'm not going to complain. Do you guys know any good books or software on how to write a good business plan?

    I am also going to college in the fall. Milwaukee Area Technical College for Horticulture-Landscape Degree.
  6. BESSY12

    BESSY12 LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 12

    If that is a business card size ad, it's too busy. Keep in mind, some of your best customers are the elderly, so a bunch of small text is not what you need. Might I suggest you removing the 2012 season part simply to save money. You probably won't use up all of your cards in one year, so rather than toss them out after the year is up, keep the date out of the design so you can carry over to the next year with them.

    Just some ideas...
  7. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    I don't have 2012 anywhere on my marketing material? that is why i did not put that in. I know i will not use all of them
  8. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    It says 2 free mowings with anual mowing agreement. I was told to put some type of offer on marketing material so that people will be interested. I am going to bill everyone monthly this year so i will take one mowing off the first bill & the second off that last bill.
  9. BESSY12

    BESSY12 LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 12

    Hey sorry, I only read as far as the draft cards you had (on page 6 i believe)...
  10. osmann_lawn

    osmann_lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    Yeah a few guys on here told me to get rid of that.

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