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How do you get started?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bkwilliams, Jan 26, 2003.

  1. bkwilliams

    bkwilliams LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Hey there,
    I am a turfgrass student who will be graduating with a 4 year degree in 1 year. I am just curious on how to get a small business started if I wanted to after school. Any tips?????
  2. troblandscape

    troblandscape Guest
    Messages: 0

    I strarted when I was 10 yrs. old with a lawn mower I picked off the trash. I got lawns by knocking on doors, but I would'nt recommend that unless your under fourteen.
    I would buy some used equip. Spend some time handing out flyers. You should see some results. Stay small for a bit learn the buss.,and the expand
  3. thartz

    thartz LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 486

    I got lucky if you can call it that.I did an apprentice deal with a LCO who was very knowledgeable in the field.He gave me an excellent education as far as field work ( I had to learn the back end business through trial and error ). Anyway he asked me a 100 questions a day while we were in the field and heaven forbid if I answered wrong.( can your professor jack slap you? I think not) really he was a great guy.Just watch this sight you'll learn a lot and good luck! I wish I would have had a tool like the web.You can get involved with the Small Business Assoc. for starters.
  4. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    I agree with thartz

    Get a job (internship or just a summer job) with a reputable established LCO. There is no substitute for actual experience.
    Learn some of the time saving and quality improving tips while working for someone else who knows.

    Also start reading Lawnsite. Go through the archives, and do searches. If you have a question about something ask it.
    There have been a few OLD threads brought back up lately, and I think it helps break some of the monotony of winter, so ask away.

    Another place to get experience and info is your schools grounds department. That's where I got my start. Worked there while going to school.

    Also learn as much about the business end of things while in school. Marketing and accounting can always help. Wish I knew more.
    Don't worry yet about what equipment yet until you know how you will use it. What size of accounts will you want/get. will you be landscaping or just maintenance?
    The choice of what to use to edge sidewalks is enough to keep you up several nights alone.:confused: :D

    Good Luck
  5. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    After finding this site I leterally spent 6-8 hours a day viewing old threads. I made some decisions soley on the opinions of others (when it was overwhelming) on equipment issues and never regreted it. You have one of the best tool available at your finger tips, I suggest using it. Most people here want to see you suceed and raise the standard of the industry. By doing this, you are helping everyone here. you have an edge over your competition already. Use it!!!

  6. mklawnman

    mklawnman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    Welcome to lawnsite bk,
    Id say get a job with a local lco, for awhile and learn some tricks of the trade and how they do work, just make sure its a well known and established firm. On the side maybe look into cutting the neighbors lawns and read alot on this site.
    Im 19 going to get a AS degree in Landscaping in a few years but i already have a biz. Got started by doing the neighbors lawns and kept growing and with some help from my parents with money and also helping me get more accounts, I love doing this work. I've never worked for another lco, just worked at a golf course for two years so that kinda helped.
    Good luck and happy reading on here :blob3:
  7. IBGreen

    IBGreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 726

    pray. And buy equipment you won't have to replace, also remember these words "floating deck."
  8. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    O.k., now you've learned the stuff from the books. Now, do you REALLY want to learn the way things REALLY work? Apply at a golf course and put your knowledge to use. The proof is in the puddin'. You'll learn alot more from actually doing the work and seeing the results, than reading about it. It's just like us applicators. We learn aLOT more after we're out there doing it, rather than while we're reading about it. Just like my friend told me, "you ain't learned nuthin' till you burned someone's lawn."
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I have to disagree with those who say work for another LCO first. I agree it does help, but I don't think it's necessary. And it will definitely keep you down financially for some time. With a 4 year degree you likely have some college loans to pay off - like I did. And trust me, $8-$10 an hour working for someone else isn't going to help you make those loan payments. Not to mention everything else you need in the real world these days. I don't see how anyone can live on the salaries that lawn care workers make these days.

    I also think that even as a newbie with very little actual experience, you'll still make at least TWICE as much money per month than you would working for someone else. So that, in itself, is reason enough to just go out and start your own thing from the get-go.

    Now to answer your question - how to start out. There are TONS of ways to start out. And tons of things to worry about (equipment, truck, trailer, insurances, license - if necesssary, etc.) But IMO the main thing you need is BUSINESS! People need to call you - otherwise the rest doesn't matter!

    So one of the first things I'd research is marketing. Come up with a solid marketing plan. I firmly believe you could get a HUGE start in your first year JUST by doing door flyers! I wish I would have started out doing that. If you went and placed 2000 or more flyers, you'd probably be busy as heck in no time. I'd focus most of my free time on doing flyers for the first year if I had it to do over again. There are other important marketing things you can do at the same time too. But this is the most effective, IMO.

    Make the best flyer you can and pass it out like crazy. If you can also create a website too and place that on your flyer, I think that lends a lot of creditibility.

    A lot of the other issues (equipment, vehicles, etc.) can be handled AS you grow. During my first two years I never bought equipment until I had a job where I needed that equipment. Then, I'd work the cost of that tool or equipment into the job.

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