hello from newbie

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by woodchuck, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. woodchuck

    woodchuck LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Newbie here just wanted to say hello and ask a few questions about starting a small biz up here in vermont.
    1. do you all recomend financing new equipment (mowers,weed eaters,tiller, etc) or try to buy the cheapest I can find
    2. looking at cub cadet 48 inch walk behind hydro, honda 4 stroke weedeaters, and honda tiller all brand new. any input on these items...
    3. I wanted to mow wed thur fri and do the hardscaping monday and tuesday, does this sound practical... I work alone with no employees.

    thanx for any and all input and I am psyched to find this forum!! Keith
  2. ProcsLC

    ProcsLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    Hey Keith

    The first red flag I noticed from your post was financing... I would NOT recommend doing that... What if you go out and finance 12k worth of equipment and get no customers? Instead, use the equipment you have or take some savings and buy decent used equipment until you are in a position to buy newer, bigger equipment.

    Your first year in business should be spent on developing a solid customer base, doing the best possible job you can do, and utilizing the equipment you already have or can buy commercial grade used equipment.

    Is this a full time venture for you or starting out part time? Take time now to develop a business plan, explore your "doing business costs"... Find out what you need to be a legit company with insurance and everything else in your area, its not as simple as buying a mower and having a ton of people hire you because you have a new shinny mower...

    I am not trying to insult you in anyway, I just want to make sure (For your business) your not putting the cart before the horse... Also, when it comes to buying equipment your customer base is going to dictate what you need to buy... No sense buying a 48" mower deck if everyone of your customers will require a 32 or 36" to mow their back yards...

    Your schedule for mowing later in the week and doing landscapes in the begining looks good. We try and schedule our route a very similar way since everyone wants a good looking lawn for the weekend...

    Best of luck to you.
  3. woodchuck

    woodchuck LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Thanx for the input. I dont know how many contracts I will get so if I work at this full or part time is all up in the air. I want to do it full time but I have a lot of financial responsibility right now so working somewhere at least part time may be what I have to do. thanx for the input on the used equipment... I am scared of financing all new equipment but I am also scared of repair bills and down time with used equipment. I have to buy a trailer a couple mowers and trimers as well as tiller. I have a truck all of my stone mason hand tools, 4 chain saws, and a lot of misc stuff.
    so my contracts will dictate what I get for equipment, that makes a lot of sense. Thanx again, Keith
  4. ProcsLC

    ProcsLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    Glad your open to recieving feedback, a lot of newer people think they already have the answers to things but still ask questions. I wouldn't worry to much about your machines breaking down, you are not going to start off with a full schedule of 10-12 hours days of non stop use on your equipment... Although I am sure there will be times your equipment is down and needs to be repaired, at least you won't be paying for something every month to have it sit in your trailer...

    Since you said you have a lot of financial responsibilities, I would recommend reading thru this site and using the search feature to find a advertising niche that is low cost with a higher return (I.E. Flyers) that is how alot of new people start and it works well, we use them still to this day after being an established business, because it works!

    Also, a lot of the maintenance can be done yourself as long as your not afraid of hand tools. There is a ton of small engine repair guides out there which you could buy and utilize for repairing your equipment or st least maintaining it for this season. Preventative maintenance goes a LONG way in this industry and I feel its something every LCO should know and do...

    My last recommendation is for you to buy what you need when you need it. Buying a tiller asap is not going to be as important as buying a mower. Yes, you will probably need a tiller, but not like a mower... Check out craigslist and ebay for some nice used commercial grade equipment and see whats in your price range, work on building your sales pitch and designing flyers to get customers now, use the colder months to plan out anything and everything you want your business to be this spring... The best part of this business is you can grow it as large or as little as you like, so specilaize in high service and high quality and the word of mouth advertising you get will have you turning away customers before to long...

    Again, best of luck to you this season, I hope everything works out for you.
  5. woodchuck

    woodchuck LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Awesome posts to my thread, I am open minded.. I have to be because I havent done this yet and I want to succeed!! Good advice, I was wondering how you feel about renting equipment.. like the tiller for this first season.. it was a thought of mine.. but I would only rent it when I need it. thanx again, Keith
  6. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    hay welcome abord,

    cant add much to the above post, most of us here DID start with what we had.
    one thing about this type of business YOU WILL turn a profet from day 1.
    this gives us the ability to upgrade our equipment VERY quickly.

    Try your BEST Not to spend money that you dont have. and remember you cant depend on something that you dont have.

    Best of luck
  7. woodchuck

    woodchuck LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    thanx, I can use all the help i can get! :)
  8. John Deere Mann

    John Deere Mann LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    Just try to get the things you need to get started and work up from there. Alot of good advice up above. So there isn't to much to say . Good Luck!
  9. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,536

    1. Do not waste money on residential equip
    2. buy the strongest backpack blower there is.
    3. Get a shidawia home pro 22t trimmer. only $200 and will last years. My oldest one is year 5
    4. Buy a ZTR. A good used one. Get one with a bagger. A bagger will cost you $2000 to ad one. In 2006 i bought a ferris ztr trade in for $3700 52" 25hp kawi. Still running strong. I bill out more then that in 2 weeks of mowing.
    5. Dont expect much your first year. Tere is a learning curve both with billing, customers, scheduling, advertising, etc. So make sure you work another job.

    If you buy a walk behind you will be less productive and tired. I dont even own a WB anymore.

    6. Use simple start quick books for billing/recieving. Its free
    7. Make sure your legal.
    8. do not spread fert without a aplicators lic.
  10. woodchuck

    woodchuck LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Thanx for all of the advice guys. I am gonna start my flyers this week and go from here. I think that the more I work now on advertising etc etc the more chance I will have to quit my job and sustain myself with the lawn biz. But the reallity of the situation is that I have to make at least 3000 dollars per month to survive this summer.... seems like it is possible..

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