Help Please??

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mch181, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. mch181

    mch181 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    hey all
    i havent beeen here for a while but im finally goin to try to get some customers
    i just do my lawn now (about .5 acre to mow) with a good ole craftsman 21"
    but by the end of this month i am asking 2 new people that are moving in the nieghbor hood. my questions are what do i charge? im thinkin a flat rate of 25$ each a week so thats $300 total each month (including mine)
    im 15 and i cant drive (i dont need to for these people i can just drive the mower over, as stupid as it sounds)
    so wonderin if thats a good charge amount
    next is equipment. i have a lot to say. im looking towards the wright mfg standar 48" deck (all the lawns will total maybe 2 acres) i test drove it and i love it (the guy at my dealer is the nicest. he lets me hang out there and stuff) he wants $5800 new with the 19hp kawasaki electric start. i plan to finance it (its my first machine, and he will give me 140$ monthly payments and its less than 4 yrs) but i read its rough on bumps (here its bumby and hilly so i cant get a sit down rider) so i should go with the everide scorpion, which i like more but i cant get my hands on those here! i need atleast 36" deck 48" the most. not relly lookin for extra power or options just a simple commercial machine that will last (i wont be running it hard, obviosly so itll last me forever) i know moderate michanics too so i can maintan it myself. when i test drove it it was very impressive. fast. responsive. does turns very well. smooth. not too loud at full throttle either. he also has a sentar in stock (by the way he can always order a machine from wright) but he wants 7400 too much. is the sentar sport good? i mean its a "sport model" so it doesnt mean full commercial use which im not aprroached. and i agree with the prices on the sport models (5200, 36" 5600 48") but all i notice/read is that the frame is smaller and such. does it have rapid hite adjustment? does this technology work well? i am thinking i need the rapid hite feature and im willing to spend a little more for it. Thank you all so much for the in puts. good day!
  2. wski4fun

    wski4fun LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    Figure $40/ half acre 70/acre. If you get the 48" stander try and figure to make atleast 45/hr. I would get a 36 beltdrive for your first mower. Keep the costs down until you need a bigger one. The 36 maybe half the price and should take you to atleast 30 lawns per week. good luck
  3. firefightergw

    firefightergw LawnSite Gold Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 3,340

    First of all, I applaud you. It is great to hear that at 15 you are thinking about what you can do to work for yourself and earn some money.

    Always remember, you buy equipment that ties into your customer base not the other way around. What I mean is that rather than going out and buying an expensive WB and trying to get the customers (both in size and quantity) to justify your purchase, you should spend as little of your money on what you need instead of what you want.

    At this point in time, you cannot drive. With that said, I don't know how many homes are in your neighborhood but you would have to get a large percentage of them to justify the expense of an expensive walk-behind. I would hold off on the WB until you can drive. At that time, you could advertise outside of your neighborhood, get more customers and justify the expense of a WB.

    There is always cost associated with any equipment. Right now, the 21" Craftsman will be sufficient to cut 3 yards a week (including yours). However, the look of the cut between a 21" Craftsman and that of a Commercial Toro or Snapper is quite different. A good commercial 21" mower will run about a $1,000. My first year, I spent $450 on a residential Snapper with a B&S motor. By the end of my first year, I was doing 15 yards a week with that mower and still use it as back-up. I bought a Commercial Snapper the next year for $800. It has the same design as the residential but has steel wheels and a Kawasaki motor. It is actually 6hp instead of 6.5hp but does a better job in taller and wet grass.

    Set down and envision where you see your business at the end of the year. (How many customers, what kind of customers, commercial, residential, etc.). Then set down and figure out next year. Once you do that, formulate a plan on how to accomplish your objectives.

    Keep your cost down. Pay cash for your stuff and do good work. That sounds simple but so many people fail at this business because they don't do that. You do those things and you will drive your business not the other way around.

    I hope this helps. I've tried to lay out what has worked form me. Last year was my first year. I was solo. My goal this year was to buy another truck and hire two guys to operate that truck while I did sales and was at the FD. I have accomplished that goal and will be adding two more trucks next year. I went from "me" to "we" and did not borrow one cent. You can to.

    Good Luck and welcome to the business!:clapping:
  4. TNT LawnCare Inc.

    TNT LawnCare Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,157

    Good luck and welcome to the business. Its great to see youngsters wanting have your own Company. I would up the charge to $35.00 - $40.00 for those half acres. thats alot of work with a push mower.Don't bid to low just cause your 15,customers will pay for quality work. There are some companys that make a 26 inch cut S.P. Mower. My best wishes to ya! OH and don't forget to Drink your Fluids !!
  5. mch181

    mch181 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    haha thanks weve plenty of gatorade and water here!
    now i know what to charge (thanks to you) now about equipment
    i will be expanding later in a year or so
    should i just get the wright 36" rapid hight standar or the 36" sentar sport?
    i dont want to go over $5500 on first equipment (yes its alot tho)
    also thanks for the input i love doing lawns (my dad says its back breakin work, but you get exercize) and i love michanical stuff too (i am able to fix my own equipment these days, saves money thanks iagain!
  6. sweatyclippingcoveredguy

    sweatyclippingcoveredguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    It's great to want to get into the business yourself. However I'd recommend maybe working under a professional company so you can learn the ropes a little more before you embark on your own. Finding a good mentor to teach you how to operate real commercial machinery, and you should read up on lawn maintenance. It'll pay off in the long run.
  7. taproot

    taproot LawnSite Member
    Messages: 71

    I agree. Though your young, you seem to have the motivation and drive (and have done your research) (which is more than most). I worked for 4 years as a supervisor of a company of 30. I learned the business and when it was my time......I was thrown more bones then i could chew.good luck to you.
  8. mch181

    mch181 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    im sorry i doubt any bisness will except me around here
    i dont plan to be a huge multi truck busness with hundreds of people
    just me and later on a friend or two
    i know how to operate michenery ive known how to do it for years
    now what do you guys think of world lawn equipment? my shop deals with them and the guy said to start out with there 28" mower (3 speed gear drivem 9,11,13 hp options) they sell it for $1300 new (add a grass catcher and stuff) its non electric start (thats fine) and briggs ohv engines i am interested in the product they have there own web site (search world lawn on google) its also a zero turn too
    heres wat i also figured $40 a lawn a week i get 3 lawns to do 4 weeks a month $120*4=$400 a month minus $150 for equipment and fuel approx $100
    so $150 profit not bad (i already have comercial blowers and trimmers, echo)
    and heres why i want to start a buissness pal: during the summer i have no crap to do at all so heck why not i love machines i love manual labor so there
  9. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,570

    I got my start at a camping resort. Running Jacobson's and scag's. Learned about dealing with public (well almost, was a private members only camp groung.) Also with the same company did dirt work building town houses. Also worked retail, and a farm and home store.
  10. Keytee04

    Keytee04 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    A couple things to look for: Don't underbid just to get the job. That stuff kills those of us that do this for a living (Well, Johnny down the street mowed my lawn for $10) Also, don't take on too much just for summer work. When you return to school, the grass doesn't stop growing and your customers will still expect it to be mowed. If you get too far behind, be prepared to bag the clippings or get used to a leaf rake. Also, you probably aren't able to get business insurance yet, so if your trimmer sends a stone through the side window of the neighbors' Lexus, will your parents be prepared for that? Not trying to scare you, just be careful and good luck.

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