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Hi...Help....and Thanks """READ"""""

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by VanceTrendov, Jul 12, 2004.

  1. VanceTrendov

    VanceTrendov LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    Hi everyone i just started my own lawn and landscaping company a little over a month ago and things are going pretty good. I have so many questions for you guys that i dont want to post one in this form, then one in another i will put them all here. I have one guy that helps me pt with tree trimming and landscaping. This is my gear.

    1991 ford f150 225xxx 5.0 going to paint it black primer monday

    for lawn

    John Deere 180 38" deck (mulching conversion)
    21" self propled (dont konw model)
    Echo 210 trimmer

    for tree trimming

    Stihl MS 250C
    Craftsman looper
    Stihl Pole Prunner
    and climbing gear

    I have done alot of reasearch and i still cant find the answer to some of my questions. I'll list and number the questions below so if you respond to them please list the number you are responding to:

    1) i would like the rep the same brand for trimmer/ hedger/ blower so i have a good dealer contact for all repairs/and sales but i dont know if i should cross over to stihl. the only reason i baught the echo over the stihl is the echo had a better lower handle. What are you opinions because what i know is echo has better pole saws/ chainsaws but echo has some nice trimmers. What is your opinion on the brands?

    2) Insurance and getting licence.... Most of the people i trim for know that i am not insured but i am loosing business because if people ask if i am i tell the truth. When i look online at SIC codes minor tree trimming falls under lawn care. it this true or am i mistaken. Please respond if you have insurance and mow and trim trees. Also what does it take to get licence..i found some infor in minnesota says all you need is the right insurance. That doesnt make that much sence.....

    3) Right now i have a 1991 Ford F150 5.0 with a Trailor 14x7 i want to move up to a bigger truck (ford f350 )that i can put a dump and also a plow but i do not want to loose my tool box. i have seen some 1 ton dumps that have tool boxes under the bed. should i do this or just get a kit to make the normal bed into a drup.

    4) i know you can buy stihl heads like trimmer/hedger/edger/power runner but i cant find them for echo i have the 210 but i need a edeger.

    5) what is your most effective form of advertisment. i have been passing out fliers and that has been working out good but i have been thinking about sinking about 400+ into a couple thsound business cards that are magnetic.? in am new in the business is this a good move so soon. or should i wait.

    6) i love doing small landscaping jobs but i would like to subcontract most of my landscaping out so you are a landscaper in the New Hope/ Plymouth Minneasota Please Call Me at 763-458-7412 or email me at vancetrendov@hotmail.com.

    7) This website is awsome is their any way that we could all use these conncetions to our advantage....like buying trimmers mowers...ect in bulk. would anyone else be interested

    8) What has your biggest mistake in the business... loosing an account messing on fertilizer applicition ?? I just not looking to make any big mistakes.

    9) Customer allway ask me what it cost to arreate, and i always tell them around $60. the other day a guy told me i was crazy and last year this guy did if for $20. i fallowed up with well i use a plug areator. he said the guys used one. is it possible to make money charging $20 or am i overbidding.

    10) I hear all this buz about z and exmax and all these other mowers. When i selll my John Deere i am looking for a mower that i dont thing exists. I am looking for a walk behind 36" (someting that will fit through a gate) that is designed for mulching. Not something gettho converted.

    11) anyone know where i could find a dump trailor?

    12) What is a good unit for dethachind and do you rake it up after or use a vacume?

    Please respond if you can help me out with anyone of these questions. If you do respond please cite which number.

    Thanks a bunch,

    Vance Trendov
    LV Lawn & Landscaping
  2. Littleriver1

    Littleriver1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 811

    Vance, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12, I think your BSing about the reasearch.
  3. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,938

    Ask him what happened to the 20 dollar guy, and why he didn't call him.
  4. SouthernFried

    SouthernFried LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 273

    Well, lotta questions...absolutely nothing wrong with a lotta questions tho :)

    About equipment:

    I have found echo stuff to be ok and lightweight...but, for me, they don't hold up as well as my shindaiwa trimmers and redmax blowers. I think finding a good, reputable dealer is one of the more important aspects in getting equipment. Someone who has been around awhile, knows the commercial market...and really fixes equipment in a TIMELY manner, and honors warranties.

    A good dealer is your best freind...a bad dealer is your worst nightmare.

    Most commercial 36" walk behinds you can get with mulching attachments that work fine. I got one on my Gravely 36"' and it works great. I recommend the Velke/Jungle Jim attachments to them...best add-on you can get, imho. I prefer 2 wheels to the one wheels.

    There is no bad advertising. Whatever is easiest for you. The magnetic business cards sound like a great idea...tho, here in texas, we don't have too many screen doors and the regular doors are generally wood...I use door hangers myself. Advertise as much as possible, and use your imagination.

    Bad decisions? Let me count the ways...:)

    The worst business decision I had involved "putting all my eggs in one basket" sorta thing. Became dependent on doing foreclosure properties for the VA. Great money, lotsa quick and easy accounts. I lost the contract (through no fault of my own...long story), and found myself almost starting over because I was dependent on that one contract. I thought I was set for life with this account.

    Also doing too many things. I usta do pool cleaning and tree work as well. I found myself juggling too many things. If I messed up doing someones pool, I lost the lawn maintenance contract. I decided to concentrate on one thing...and do it well. Of course, if you don't live in an area of the country where you can mow almost year round, you have to diversify for winter...Still, limit yourself to what you do the best, and concentrate on doing that better than anyone else. You wont need to be a jack of all trades.

    Theft has also been a problem for me. Once I had a ton of stuff stolen from a storage unit I "thought" was secure. I now store in a unit that has good gates and security cameras...worth the extra cost and Peace of Mind.

    I have had stuff stolen in almost every fashion imagineable. Off of trucks, from jobsites, from storage, etc...

    Use good locks (Cheap, long locks are almost worthless and can be easily cut). Lock your trailer to your truck. Keep your truck in sight as much as possible, especially when doing lunch. And reference check your employees.

    Learn to do landscaping. That is where the really good money is. It ain't all that hard, and it really helps your maintenance if you know plants and/or design the landscape with maintenance in mind.

    Get a landscaping book, learn about the plants in your area of the country. Look at commercial properties and see how they are designed and what plants they use (they usually use the easiest to maintain and most durable plants)...and use day labor to install them. You'll find it's the most lucrative and fun thing you do. At least, it is for me. You can bid the price of the labor into it...and you won't have to do any of the work...just oversee and design. The only thing I subcontract on landscaping is Sprinkler systems and "Hardscape stuff" (concrete walkways, walls, etc...). Schedule it on weekends if you don't have the time during the week to do it...it's definetly worth it.

    Have fun...good luck :)
  5. travis strecker

    travis strecker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 97

    about eguipment
    we had a redmax trimmer and it held up for a while and now we switched to the stihl 4 mix it is the 110rx and it will blow that redmax away we like stihl over any other handheld stuff

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Ditch the climbing gear. Pruning a tree is ok as a LCO but climbing and cutting will make you a tree service and than your insurance will go way up. Only way to make tree work pay is to do it all the time.
    Do a search for a lot of info.
  7. VanceTrendov

    VanceTrendov LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    Maybe you didnt read all my questions. I have done alot of reasearch I spend 5 hours yesterday searching this form and i got some of my questions answerd. Its strange that you say i bsing about the reasearch but you didnt any answers to my questions...that makes me belive you dont know. All i am looking for is help not criticism.

    Vance Trendov
    LV Lawn & Landscaping
  8. txlawnking

    txlawnking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,905

    Try doing a search on items 1-12 individually. It will give you way more info than you can handle.
  9. VanceTrendov

    VanceTrendov LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    I understand that it is alot of questions, but some of them i am asking for your opinion.
  10. Up North

    Up North LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MN
    Messages: 1,063

    Most guys on this site a great, very helpful and resourceful. This is my first year in this biz too, next spring will hopefully be full time, and the way things have gone so far that won't be a problem.

    Anyway, I'll try to answer some of the questions as best I can.

    1. Wouldn't worry about having all one brand of equipment. Dealer support is #1. I use mostly Echo due to dealer support and have been very happy with the Echo brand. Wouldn't use Stihl because of dealer, but just like Shindiawa, Redmax, and Robin, they are good pieces of equipment. It's a Chevy vs. Ford type thing, personal preference & dealer support are reasons we use certain brands.

    2. Insurance is a must. One LCO on this site just had a kid dump a Z over a 25' cliff. That could easily happen to you or me, insurance is cheap compared to the ramifications if you don't have it. I pay $350 for $330,000 and will bump that up next season to $1,000,000. No need for a license here in MN unless you landscape, fert, or do tree removal. Check local regs however, as the city or county may have different requirements.

    3. Can always find a way to rig up a tool box (someone here will have a good idea I'm sure). Wouldn't worry about that.

    4. Echo has the split shaft. I can't recall the models but I believe the 230 & 260 are available with various attachments.

    5. Flyers are good, newspaper can be okay, some guys have good success with yellow pages, door hangers seem to be popular. I've done the flyers with the pre-cut tabs people can take, postcard size flyers & business cards have worked best for me. I can try to attach my flyer and card, of which I did myself on Microsoft Publisher, cost of cardstock & magnet stock and my time is all is cost me.

    6. Can't help there.

    7. Not sure about that one, someone with more experience can maybe expand on that. Whether it's been tried or not is unknown to me.

    8. My biggest mistake so far was doing spring clean ups with my JD rider and bagger. Took forever, hopefully I can equip myself better for next spring. Other then that, so far everything else has been very smooth.

    9. If someone is doing aerations for $20, wait for a few months and go back to that customer and he'll be yours as the previous guy will be out of business.

    10. The mower you want exists. I have found out there are more mowers in this market than you can shake a stick at. However, again Dealer Support is key. Lots of nice WB out there, I need to add a 36 incher myself.

    11. Start with Northern Tool, they have locations in Spring Lake Park, Minnetonka, Burnsville, Rogers, and other cities. Don't know sure if they carry a dump style, but they can at least point you to someone that does.

    12. I've used Bluebird for dethatching then picked up debris with my bagger.

    Good luck and hope all goes well.


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