horror stories in starting lawn business?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by cntryboymc, Nov 27, 2003.

  1. cntryboymc

    cntryboymc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 193

    i was just wondering if anyone had any real problems with starting a full time one man lawn care operation?i have all of my equipment paid for.any thoughts on a well established business plan?anyone have any regrets?
  2. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Messages: 0

    only one regret...not starting into the biz earlier in life.

    Spent to many years helping someone else achive success while I broke my butt for a pathetic salary.
  3. cntryboymc

    cntryboymc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 193

    im working as a service tech at a ford dealer right now which i enjoy,but plowing and lawn care is by far the best!busting your butt for someone else's success sounds familiar.any business suggestions?
  4. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    You work at a Ford dealership and drive a Chevy #1 business suuggestion, Don't bite the hand that feeds you:D
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    Only regret I can remember 9 years ago when I started my company was trying to do too much too soon. I was trying to be everything to everybody...instead I should have been searching for my niche in the industry. LOL, in a way, I still am:)

    Secondly (and this is real hard if you're a hands-on type of person like me), I needed to learn to delegate more. Do less of the grunt work (mowing, prunning, plowing, etc.) and more time well spent of managerial exercise.

    Hope that helps some...
  6. ealbertson

    ealbertson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    Just a few notes: 1) Put "NO JOB TOO SMALL" in your adds or fliers (You will probably grow tired of this soon but it does help bring in some money and also got me some good lawns early on.).
    2) Do neat quality work. This will help tremendously with word of mouth advertising. 3) Stick to your bidded price even if you screwed up. I bidded a lawn that was extremly overgrown (They just bought the house.) way to low. It was supposed to be a one time deal and they were going to do it the rest of the season. They knew when I was finally done that I had underestimated it and offered more money which I refused. I ended up getting the lawn permanently at a very fair price. 4) Put up fliers at grocery stores, gas stations etc. in your target area. Try to keep your fliers the same. 5) Get to know some other LCOs in your area. This has been a tremendous help for me not only for advice but also as a source of referels. Many of the old timers have all they need but continue to get calls. 6) On the start of my first year I ran an insert in the local paper (Those annoyong things that fall out when you open the paper.) It was on a standard size piece of paper and was quite reasonable for the results. This and number 5 above were probably the two most important things I did in getting started. 7) Don't let those ten lousy days during the season discourage you. And you will have them. 8) Don't cancel your day because it looks like rain. 9) Buy the best equipment you can afford. It hurts me bad when I spend that extra couple of hundred or so dollars ONCE when I make the purchase, but it hurts everytime I use the piece of junk I saved that couple of hundred dollars on. 10) Put that run flat goop in all your mower tires. A flat doesn't sound like a big deal now, but it will at 9am when you have ten lawns ahead of you. 11) Maintain your equipment. 12) Buy all the miscellaneous (Oil, Spark Plugs etc..)supplies this winter that you think you will need next summer and carry what you may need on your truck. 13) Always wear ear and eye protection. Buy Worktune ear protectors when you can afford them. 14) Reinvest in equipment when you can and need to. 15) Research equipment on Lawnsite or elsewhere before making a purchase. 16) Do not make a big purchase without testing it out first... 17) DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE A JOB TO JUST GET IT!!! You will regret it every time you mow it. I hope this helps.
  7. KerryB

    KerryB LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 661

    What Ed said. lol
    I regret not buying the good equipment the first time out. I wasted too much time and money with that junk.
  8. Mickhippy

    Mickhippy LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,275

    Dont get hurt! I fractured 4 vert in my back and broke my wrist just after my first phonebook add came out. Had to turn down 5 calls a day for about 4 weeks. That put my business back probably 2 years because the next season there was a heap of guys starting up mowing services, and alot less calls coming my way.
  9. proenterprises

    proenterprises LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,296

    Take things steady-dont sprint to the top in your first season. Take on what you can manage, do good work, hire good help and carry good, reasonably priced gear.

    All this, and you should be fine...good luck my friend.
  10. Guardian

    Guardian LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 269

    My only horror story is...partnership! Avoid it all cost

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