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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have good advise on getting started part time? I have a couple of accounts and am thinking about expanding into a part time business. It started with a couple of friends/family and now all their neighbors are asking. My issue is I don't know where to start.

How much do I charge?
I an afford the equipment but I don't know exactly what I should buy.

Here's what I am thinking:

36 inch walk behind (Probally a SCAG belt drive or Exmark)
5x10 trailer
I have a Honda 4 cycle string trimer
I am looking at a Stihl Blower (EF 400) and 44 I thnk the model is edger.

What am I forgeting?
Are the Nilsson books really good?
 

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I get my Nilson book on Fri. Let you know.
If I had it all to start over I would take my first $200.00 and talk to an accountant.Start from there. He/she can tell you the ins ands outs of business better than you can get from an agronomist in here. Tim
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What do you mean? Business structures? S corp vs Sole Prop? or more than that? I don't plan on any employees...
 

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You may not plan on them but you may get so busy doing 2 hours of work for $20.00 you may need some. So it would be a good idea to know how much money it is going to cost you to have an "employee" working for "the company"
That employee is going to be you until you hire another one.
 

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Nick,
I would cut the grass and see how long it takes and then see that you can make 30 dollars an hour and up. Equipment wise get whatever you need to do the job right and (if you want to grow) print flyers or do a val pack thing. As far as equipment i would buy a 32" walkbehind but if you can get into all your yards with a bigger mower then buy as big as you can but 48" is a good size to start. I would buy a red max blower instead and a shidaiwa stick edger and some insurance if you want.
A truck or a vehicle to tow the trailer with and you should be set to start.

bdemir
 

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some point here to be touched on even if your not planning to have employes you should still have a business set up also to find out about taxs and all the laws that their are. Second look into some ins. get a simple policy to cover your ass. Buy the biggest mower that will work for you and that you can afford. If you have a truck then you could haul the mower in the bed at first to start. Pay the price up front and buy better stringtrimmers and blowers. I personal would buy a push edger first since you will get some lawns that have not been edged for years and a stick edger will not cut it. Then once your set do a great job and wacth the work come in. OOOO yea one important thing DONT be A LOW BALLER keep your prices in the local range. You may not get as much work at first but at least you will make what your worth instead of killing yourself for it.
 

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Too many things to consider; not enuf time to write them all down.
Best thing to do is get some/add to ypur business sense, as L.S. puts it. Most towns have a local S.C.O.R.E. office. They are retired executives, CEO's, & accts. who help people get started. They have seminars on starting your own bus.- I went to one & it got me on my feet as far as the legal standpoint of taxes, forms, licenses, etc. They can help you out with just about anything you could need. Also a big must is insurance for your equip. & bus. liability-trust us; One broken picture window & you just spent about 2-3 yrs. of premiums on that window.
As far as price goes, like everyone else says, DON'T LOWBALL.That'll make you a marked man. You should be a little less than the big guys, because customers won't jive with you charging the same as the guy with $60,000 in equipment. Call & find out what others in your area charge- have some give you a bid on a friend's property to see what the going rate is, then price your work accordingly. You could be $5 less on typical res. prop's. & still be in the "zone".
Buy good equipment-the basics are a walk behind, push mower, weedeater, & blower to start out with-"the basic 4". That is what I worked up to & still fit them all in the back of my 2wd Toyota pickup when I started.
Then take on as much work as you can COMFORTABLY finish each week. Easiest way to screw up is taking on too much work & getting burned out & with unhappy customers to boot. That's the hardest thing to do is keep from taking on too much.
Then as you grow, buy bigger & better equipment WHEN you need it. Too many guys buy big 'ol mowers, then scramble around trying to find enuf work to keep it busy to keep the payments made.
Grow as you go, you can't start at the top.
Last but not least, put this site on your favorites list & bookmark it!
Good luck.

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Smitty ô¿ô
 

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Few more thoughts to the good advice above ..

.. Give some serious thought to getting your pesticide license .. doing lawn care programs, tree & shrub care because returns per hour are high while investment in basic equipment is low.

.. Like "they" said, don't feel you have to lowball just because you're new to the bizz,
tough later on getting the higher prices.

.. I don't know what market you're in but there's a big labor shortage, keep prices as high as the others in your area, the work is there, no need to give your time and equipment away, low prices are what you see during a recession, not now though.

.. Run out a first year cash flow schedule, just like a budget, stretch out the payments, bring the income closer to you in time.
 

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Nick,
When I first started, I placed an advertisement in our local paper. There is a section called the business directory. If you have this in one of your papers, you will be amazed at the response! This is a very inexpensive way to increase business. Definitely get insurance! This is a must. If you get over extended in work, don't be afraid to get some young guys that you know to work a day or two here and there. Don't quote me on this, but I think you can pay a worker up to $600.00 per year without having to pay taxes on them. It's the same concept as if you hired a neighborhood kid to cut your grass and do chores around your house. You would hire him as an employee, but there has to be some kink of guidlines, and this is where the $600.00 cap comes in. One last thought, don't get over extended w/costs. You want your business to see black not red!
 

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Hello Nick:

Do what you want, just start out at a easy pace! It's not rocket science, just go at a slow & easy pace. I know you want work, just like everybody else. But don't bite off more than you can chew.

Do yourself a big favor if you want to be in business first get licensed & insured. Unless you don't have anything. This will cover your butt, we live in a sue happy world.

Take that $200 or so bucks & instead of paying a cpa now, but do it later.

Do this buy magnetic signs & a measuring wheel. If your lucky you might have $40 or so left, if you do, have some nice fliers made. Target the area you want to work in.

Try to find out what the going rate is in your area, hopefully it will be $30 & up a hour. Measure everything you do & keep records of it after twenty or so lawns you will have a good idea how long it takes you to mow a certain amount of sq. feet & how long it takes to edge a 100 feet. Then make you a quick referance chart. Keep records of every lawn you do. It's part of the job, it will help you later down the road!

When you go over to give a bid, it will look like you know what you are doing. Look like a pro, act like a pro, work like a pro & you will get paid like a PRO!

Carry a log book & record how long it takes you to do the job, what you did at the job. Make shure you date it & use it everytime.

I don't mean every little thing you do. Just put it took 1.5 hours to mow,edge,trim grass & blow at Mrs. Williams 3:00-4:30 & date.

Remember when you went over to her yard to give bid, you already measured everything. In the ledger books out there just make it like one line across chart per job.

Keep records of your expenses & seperate all cost. Thats right keep gas seperate for mower, truck & 2 cycles. In just a few short weeks you will have a idea what it cost you to do business. Keep figuring this because as time goes on it will change. Keep close eye on this.

Take about 20% or whatever you decide of what you make & put it in savings account for your taxes. Don't touch it & hopfully you will have a little left over at end of year.

Live on as small amount of income as you can, wait till you been in business a while before you start paying yourself a lot more.

You decide to hire someone get workers comp. on them unless you don't own anything, yes again we live in a sue happy world.

That indepent contractor crap that you hear sounds fine & dandy. It's almost impossible to work someone as a independent contractor.

Don't believe me go to IRS site or personally go to their office. Its almost impossible to follow their guide lines.

It's destroyed a lot of good people. You should be able to get a sheet of their guidelines. Only do this before you decide to hire someone.

In less than a years time you will know a lot. Then move on to bigger & better things.

If you come to this forum regular & keep up with it for a few months, you will be YARDS AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION! Thats a fact!

This is just my ideas & thats all I know!

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GrassMaster - Home: www.lawnservicing.com
My Start Up Page www.lawnservicing.com/startup/
 

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Hello Nick,
I agree with Grassmaster.I started the same way you are.I did a few family and friends at first just to get my feet wet and to see if this was something I really wanted to do.The money can be great if you do it right.I wish I had help like we have here now.I would be rich now.Listen to these guys.They have been around a long time and been through the hard times.The main thing is Get Some Insurance now before you make the first cut.Get your local and state business license.Asvertise in the local paper. Offer a free cut or discounts for each referal that signs up.They like that.If you are doing this on the side don't overload yourself.It is very easy to do when you see that almighty dollar.Remember a happy customer is a repeat customer and one that will get you more business.I have gotten more business by word of mouth than by running ads.Subscribe to Pro Magazine also.It is very informative as well as this forum.Good luck.

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Custom Cut Lawns LLC
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