Hello from Iowa!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by ScottieG, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. ScottieG

    ScottieG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Hello! I have been lurking here for awhile just trying to educate myself on the ins and outs of the business. I have a decent paying job, with a very promising future but I just am not happy doing it. So far this looks to be my best bet for starting my own business. My current career keeps me on my toes as far as watching expenses and profit margins so I have a fair understanding of how a business runs but I realize it is a much different world when it is all your baby. I look forward to gaining insight and learning from all of you!
  2. bripke

    bripke LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 3

    Where in Iowa?

    Messages: 1,343

    Welcome from mass.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. ScottieG

    ScottieG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I am in Warren county south of Indianola.
  5. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,285

    Welcome from Fort Worth, Texas.
  6. ScottieG

    ScottieG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Ok, so I am sure this will probably get moved but not exactly sure where to put it so I'll start here. Here is my story.

    I am 37, married with a 16 yr old girl and a 12 yr old boy. I have worked in the parts dept. at a Ford dealership since 1998 including a 2 year stint as parts manager at our sister store back in 06-08. My boss is retiring in about 4-5 years and I am expected to take over his position. I make decent money now, but that will be a huge raise. It really is a pretty cush job, but is getting more and more stressful as the car business changes all the time, and we have lost a lot of good help with no quality replacements in sight. I worked one season back in 96 for a lawncare company doing strictly mow blow trim and leaves, then another year for a city parks dept doing quite a bit of mowing. I grew up on a farm so hard work is not an issue. I have always wanted to be in business for myself, and this is the only thing I see as even a remote possibility for me to try. I have 2.5 acres I live on now. I have a Gravely ZT60HD mower I use for my own yard and a decent homelite weedeater. I would need to buy a blower. I think what I would like to do over the next couple/few years is try to find 4-5 lawns to service just to make a few hundred extra bucks a month to pay down debt and just get a feel for the business without sacrificing my job or my family time too much. I understand a 60" deck will really limit me on "lawns" in town probably but I am sure I can find a few. I have the mower payment regardless if I have a business or not, my truck and trailer are paid for so I won't have much in the way of equipment-related expenses. Now I have some questions.
    1. Will I need some form of insurance policy for just doing 4-5 yards a week and if so how much can I expect that to run?

    2. Can I write off all or some of what I am paying for the mower even though it is only a part-time business use?

    3.What all will I be able to write off? Maintenance on truck? Fuel for truck?

    4.Do I collect payment at time of service? Do I ask for a payment once a month? Twice a month?

    5. Would I be better off to try and get just one job like maybe an apartment complex or something?

    Anything else I may need help with feel free to chime in! Thanks in advance!!
  7. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,285

    1. Yes. Call insurance companies and get quotes.

    2. Talk to your accountant. If you don't have one, hire one.

    3. See #2.

    4. That is up to you to decide…How long do you want to give interest free loans to your clients?

    5. You will be "better off" servicing whichever clients earn you the most profit per hour.
  8. twomancrew

    twomancrew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 940

    First off goto the state website http://www.iowa.gov/tax/business/business.html and get setup to collect sales tax. It's pretty easy.

    Mileage will be easier if you deduct it and not actual expense. You can make up your own mind about that. I use mileage, I'll bet most do it that way. Now the gas you burn in the equipment you need to know what grade it is and how much(gal.). ANYTHING that the business uses including floorspace in your house should be deducted. Don't cheat and make sure you get everything you can deducted. Don't hide cash or income because you'll want to show income to have borowing power down the road, and because you're not a POS deadbeat.

    Insurance through NBA Schroeder is the cheapest in 100 miles. Get a liability policy and keep in mind that snow removal is a separate policy from mowing grass. I paid about 235$ a year my first year for landscaping liability.

    Silly newbie, you get the money as soon as you can and get as much work as you can handle. Joking, but kinda not at the same time. I invoice monthly. Use the "Net 30 terms" language to sound really smart and fancy pants.

    Welcome from IA.
  9. ScottieG

    ScottieG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks for the advice! I am excited to venture into this but a little nervous at the same time. Hell I may not even get any lawns to mow so won't have to worry about it LOL!

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