getting into the business

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by trim a lawn, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. trim a lawn

    trim a lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Hi All,
    I realized over the past year or so that I have a real passion and interest for mowing lawns. Mostly do to the fact that I have been doing my sisters lawn over that time. She has gotten all kinds of compliments on how great her lawn looks from the nieghbors, etc.. I realized I can make great money doing what I like to do. I have a ride on John Deere that's a couple years old, a basic weed wacker I purchased from Lowe's, and a blower. I'm planning on buying a trailer thats just enough to pull the mower, and fit the rest of the supplies. Anything else I might need to get going? Or any advice? Obviously the first thing I would need is customers. Any advice on that?

  2. MileHigh

    MileHigh LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,466

    Customers are easy to come by....if your a professional.

    Don't use the words "weed wacker" it's a trimmer.

    Get general liability insurance, and advertise that through business cards, magnets or lettering for your truck n trailer, signs, Have a clean appearance for you equipment and such. When I mow...i'm a driving billboard, with many different ways to get a hold of me, or just a way to remember my business name...Oh yea go get one of those registered as well.

    Talk to your neighbors, and try to them to have to take care of there lawns for them the rest of the year...and see what they say. Most importantly, Do good work and charge a lot for it, and you should do good. You'll also need an edger if your properties have grass that grows along driveways or sidwalks like most of mine.
  3. trim a lawn

    trim a lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Thanks for the advice. I was thinking about offering the first cut free as a way to drum up business. That way not only can they see the job I do, but I can get an idea as to how much to charge, based on how long it takes. Or is that not nescessary?
  4. earls lawns 1

    earls lawns 1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    i wouldn't't do that you might get hit with so much work at once you would go crazy and the way gas is that would be bad at this time. I think plus you might get these people that didn't't have a mower all year and their grass is so tall u need a farmer to help you bail it and they will probably never call again Just sitck to reasonable prices to begin that will get you work
  5. MileHigh

    MileHigh LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,466

    Never offer your first cut for free.

    People will decieve you into cutting there lawn once for the free price and then say they didn't like your service, and tell you the'll do it themselves.

    Offering things for free isn't the smartest thing, but it can drum up some business. If you want to offer some "discounted" lawn work..tell them that the last mow or so of the season will be 50% off or something like that...Don't work for might not ever make it far.

    As far as quotes. I take into consideration many different things. I always have a initial cut charge, a weekly maintenance charge, and a bi-weekly charge if thats what they want. Here's what I take a look at, or try to find out over the phone.

    INITIAL CUT: has the grass been maintained? how long is it? Is there edge sticking out 5 inches onto the sidewalk? If the answers are No, Long, and yes, I will charge about 3 or 4 times the rate of the weekly quote. For instance a $35 weekly account that was in bad shape when I showed up, is most likely getting charged $120-$140 for the initial cut. Otherwise if it is already in good shape..I will just charge a small percentage higher than the weekly rate or just go with a weekly rate.

    GATE SIZE AND ACCESS: I use mainly 36" and 48" walk behinds to do most of my cutting, so I make sure my rear gate is at least 38" wide to fit through. If it's smaller, I will bid higher, cause I know I will have to use my 21 or 32, which I don't want to do.

    TERRAIN: Is the landscape flat? or does it have many hills...I'll quote pretty high for messed up terrain, I don't like mowing hills, so I''ll bid high.

    NEIGHBORHOOD: High end: bid high,, Low end: bid high, Middle Class: bid high.

    My general rule of thumb is that If a lawn will take you 30 minutes to mow,trim,edge, and blow, you better charge that plus 5-10 dollars more to cover drive time and other things.

    Hope this helps.
  6. dura to the max

    dura to the max LawnSite Silver Member
    from georgia
    Messages: 2,246

    what was mentioned above, plus: if you're serious about this go ahead and invest in a good working size trailer. a larger trailer is actually easier to drive w/, more useful, allows room to grow. i have never heard of someone in this business that was worth a crap complain about a trailer being too big (within reason). i would get a 6x14' at least. a 16' is what i use. anything bigger than this is overkill for general maintenance for most solo operators. unless you're hauling 3 ztr's a 6x16' is all you should ever need. is also great for other stuff in the business. pinestraw, mulch...get a decent trailer. you wont regret it.
  7. trim a lawn

    trim a lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    That all sounds great. Thanks for all the advice. The more I read what you all have to say, the more confident I feel about this. There is so much housing going up in Jersey, there's more than enough business available to go around.
  8. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Excellent advice on charging more for an initial cut. Charge waaay more for foot high grass. I've gotten burned several times on this last month. All 3 times it happened I took a major haircut on my hourly rate. :hammerhead:

    Live and learn. I've wised up and learned from my mistakes. Never again.

  9. trim a lawn

    trim a lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    I will take that into account. Thanx
  10. HandyHomeMedic

    HandyHomeMedic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 61

    Brother, I just bought a bigger, more capable trailer yesterday. PM me if you're interested in buying my old one. It's 5' x 10', has racks for the edgers (3) and a blower rack custom welded on it. I also welded a rack for storing gas cans and other miscellaneous stuff on it. I've only used it for a year and the previous (first) owner only used it once for a trip to Fla.

    I'm about a 1/2 hr. north of you in Marlboro Twp.



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