Getting ready to start, need advice

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by jak2703, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. jak2703

    jak2703 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I am 33 years old, have great fulltime job, great wife, two wonderful children, and a house. Everything is paid off except for the house and wifes car. I have a chevy silverado 1500 series work truck, paid for. I have always wanted to own and run my own business and I think this is the one for me, for many reasons.

    Run a professional business (no riff raff, no low balling). Purchase equipment, start LLC, get licensed, insured, bonded, everything. My niece cuts full time and I cut as much as I can on the side. With my fulltime job and financial situation I should be able to fund the company until it is up and running.

    Things going for me:
    Able to buy everything outright. Should only owe on mower. Already have lawyers, accountants, and insurance people ready to go. All friends and all ready to help me out. Love being outdoors. Love yard work. Business minded.

    Things not going for me:
    Not educated on lawncare, beyond the basics. Not sure what questions I need to ask. I have learned a lot from this site though.

    Equipment I am thinking about:
    Exmark walk behind 36"
    Stihl straight arm trimmer and edger
    Stihl backpack blower
    16' lawncare trailer with side and back entrance (used $700.00)
    various hand tools
    polo shirts and hats (nice uniform)

    Reallity check:
    Is the market to saturated in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. What won't work with my plan.

    Anything can be resolved with a little effort and time.

    Thanks for any and all comments. I appreciate everyone's help in advance.
  2. Lohse's Lawn Service

    Lohse's Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    from US
    Messages: 213

    You seem to have a well-thought out plan. Your "things going for you" appears to be very prepared in understanding what needs to be done. As far as the things not going for you, I wouldn't necessarily lose sleep over not being educated in lawn care. You should be able to find any info on this site that will get you answers. One reason I continued being in this business after high school was the fact of not having to actually go to a 4-year university. I got my Associates in Arts Degree at a local junior college this past spring, and now I'm 21 years old and have 70 customers. Sure, some courses and/or a degree in landscaping would help. Since you already have a full-time job, you should be fine with the basics (mowing, etc.) as well as hedge trimming, tree trimming, and a few other odd-end tasks a customer may ask. And you can always sub it out to someone else more qualified.

    Keep a positive attitude and if things start out slow, just give it time. It's not like you don't have a job to fall back on if things don't start out well. Word-of-mouth can make or break your business, so do excellent work and you are bound to grow. Your potential equipment you are looking at will be fine. I personally use ExMark, Toro, and Echo. I've read good things about Stihl, too.

    Hopefully this will at least help you out. I know there are many guys on here who are far more advanced than I am when it comes to this business. Good luck.
  3. jak2703

    jak2703 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it. I am looking at this as a starting point. Any advice on getting business? I mean do I start with the flyer on the mailbox or what? Of course I will tap into as many friends as I can. Again, thanks for the help. Also, I like your view on the Lord. As a fellow believer I am with you.

    My advice to you is don't worry about the college thing. I am not saying education isn't important. However, some of wealthiest people that I know don't have college degrees. With 70 customers it sounds like your doing pretty well for yourself, especially at your age.

    Thanks again,

  4. Lohse's Lawn Service

    Lohse's Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    from US
    Messages: 213

    No problem. You have a great opportunity to make this business of yours a complete success. When I started at age 15, loading/unloading my grandma's 21" Craftsman push mower out of my truck, I never thought I would make it this far.

    I like to go the cheapest route possible when it comes to making business cards, fliers, etc. I am not sure where I purchased this, but I have a program that allows me to create my own business cards from home on my computer. You can also buy business card paper (10 cards/sheet) at a local Office Depot, or even at Wal-Mart. I believe Office Depot/Office Max will be the best place to look at buying a program that allows you to make your own business cards. Or you can have them professionally made, but that's extra money!

    I would start with making a simple flier from home, possibly on Microsoft Word. Keep it simple, yet professional, and make sure you get the point across. I offer free estimates and that always catches the eye of a potential customer. Print off some fliers/business cards and I would just start going door to door. You may ask 100 people and only get 5-10, but it's a start. Or you may luck out and get 50, which would be a heck of a start. Or get some signs made; I had mine made professionally for about $25-$30/sign. And if you get just one yard out of 5 signs, the yard will pay for the signs within a few months. Well worth it.

    I know my business would not be where it is today if the Lord didn't have a hand in it. Glad you feel the same way. I'm excited to see what plans He has for your business and I look forward to you getting off a great start to your new venture. Good luck my friend and keep in touch.
  5. jak2703

    jak2703 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks again man, I really appreciate your advice. It just so happens that I could hit a golf ball to the office max and I am fairly well versed in computers, so I will give it a shot.

    I know you are the man for this stuff, and I don't have a clue about your financial abilities, however, if I could offer you some advice. Check out Dave Ramsey and work his program. We have been doing it for a couple of years and it has changed our lives. I only wish that we would have done it a when we first got started. It will save you money on everything you do, and get you closer to millions. Again, just a suggestion. I will keep in touch, if you don't mind, and let you know how things are going. I would love to pick your brain from time to time.


  6. Lohse's Lawn Service

    Lohse's Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    from US
    Messages: 213

    I am just sharing from the experiences I've gone through. That's what the site is all about. Good luck with the advertising.

    I have heard about Dave Ramsey, although I honestly have not sat down and listened to him. As you mentioned that name, I had to double-check my sources, but I have read an article he wrote in a 2005 issue of Guideposts. My dad has taught me ever since I earned my first hard-earned dollar about the "envelope method." I don't know the fancy name for it, but it's very simple. I have envelopes stashed away that I put a certain amount of money in, and assign it a title, such as "fuel" or "entertainment" (movies, dinners with friends, etc.). Various other envelopes make up my collection, but I have fallen away from the envelope method, per say, but I am a big believer in saving, especially at my age, in order to have emergency money if the occasion should arise. The same goes for business, envelopes for taxes, fuel, repairs, supplies, etc. I like to be prepared financially. I've seen far too many people, younger and older, be desperate for money, even though they have a well-paying job. I will look into Dave Ramsey. It sure wouldn't hurt.

    You seem to be well on your way. You keep up the hard work and keep the Lord first, you will be blessed. And please, pick my brain time to time, I sure could use it.
  7. Your Lawn First

    Your Lawn First LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    As far as the market beign full there in Cinci, I thought the same thing here in Columbus when I started. 8 out of 10 of the guys you see in the trucks pulling there trailers don't last more then 2 years. because they are smoking while cutting lawns, drinking at lunch time ect not putting money back into there business and so on. I myself started when I was 16 with a puch mower out of my ford escort LOL. I know have 50 customers resdi. and 5 comercial customers. I'm 25 know and only work 8 months out of the year some stuff in the winter a couple of my customers like there driveways plowed. It takes time but with good work and word of mouth you can easily make it a profit business in no time if you really want to. Here is a quote I always like to read from time to time

    In order to have the edge you must sometimes risk going
    over the edge! (Remember!) Many times we have to go out on a limb
    because that's where the fruit is! (Dont be afraid!!!!!) The honey is
    always placed in a bee-hive.
    God is Love
  8. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    it probably is, but so many of the hacks do not provide top quality service..... so promote your service and quality, not price... i swear for me its true, the more i started charging, the more credibility i received, and more business

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