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How to Spend $50,000

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by randyhutch, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. randyhutch

    randyhutch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 70

    If you had $50,000 to start a lawncare business completely from scratch offering most of the basic maintenance services how would you spend that money? Starting with no equipment what so ever. What equipment would you buy, what customer base would you target, would you go at it alone or maybe have a couple crews, etc?
  2. Lazer Cut

    Lazer Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 906

    for one dont just go at it with crews you gotta build up to that.


    f250 diesel ext cab 8ft bed
    10,000 postcards
    2 Toro Grandstands 52"/23hp and a 60"/26hp
    1 Exmark TT 36"/15hp
    1 16ft tandem axle trailer
    1 16ft enclosed trailer
    snow way plow
    salt spreader
    lesco drop seeder
    two fs90 weedeaters
    two br600 Magnums
    --and all other misc equipment

    id do it this way... spend 35k and bank 15k
    Newer truck 3 years old or newer for reliability
    used Grandtand 52"/23hp
    used 36" metro eXmark
    used open landscape trailer 16ft
    used enclosed trailer 16ft
    new weedeater(s) fs90 Stihl
    new backpack blower br550
    Lesco drop seeder
    shovels, rakes what not add that in somewhere lol
    Oh... 10,000 postcards are in the mix too
  3. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 736

    Buy a used truck 4x4 no more then $5,000
    New 60 inch mower – around $9,000
    New 36 inch walk behind – around $4,500
    Used 16 foot trailer – around $1,000
    2 new red max trimmers – around $1,200
    2 new red max blowers – around $1,100
    Around $1,000 in flyers
    Around $500 on a nice trailer tailgate sign

    For winter I would buy a at least a 8 foot v plow – around $5,000
    Snow blower and shovels around $800

    Getting everything I need to stay legal and having it paid up for 2 years

    Since it will take at least 2 years to build up a good customer base I wouldn’t hire anyone else and wouldn’t spend any more money unless I absolutely had too……might even get a part time job to help keep from spending the rest of the money until I had enough customers to support the business.
  4. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    good luck going out of business with no operating cash flow.........
  5. Lazer Cut

    Lazer Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 906

    which person are you referring to mdlwn1?

    Both of us who commented say fliers or mine is postcards... so common since would be to pass them out right? then that would generate customers right? then there will be a cash flow right?

    Both of us have money in the bank to help out if we do not make it... all items are paid for in both replies and sangerlawn even suggested a part-time job which is really smart idea so you can have a little money coming in to help out...
  6. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    The cash comes after the work has been done..after fuel labor etc. You would need easily 3-6 months operating cash flow to for a less than hectic start. You could do it for less, but good luck sleeping at night and paying attention to a girlfriend or wife. Secondly.....either buy a used pos or buy new and FINANCE. In terms of cash flow...if you think you can get the business...than BY ALL MEANS finance as opposed to pay cash for either new or used. Financing would allow all equip to be had for less than 10k..leaving you with 40k for operating...plus you have no breakdowns. Im sure someone will respond with "I dont borrow anything...pay cash"..blah blah blah...just because they arent capable of managing money doesnt mean it isnt possibly the best option. Almost every successful business in the modern world operates this way...accept of course the few "winners" that will respond that you should pay cash.......
  7. newtostone

    newtostone LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 681

    when starting keep it cheap everyone spends too much money.

    $2000. Used turf tracer
    $1000. Used 16' Open trailer
    $450. BR600
    $400. FS130
    $500. Random gas cans rakes and such
    $7500 Ads
    $8000. Used Truck (the used truck will come with a plow)
  8. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 736

    Yep…and the finance before you can afford is the prime reason on why 9 out of 10 business go out of business in the first 3 years…..or look at the economy and how many people are loosing there houses because they bought then for some reason couldn’t make the payment…as a result they loose there house and destroy there credit.

    If you have the money get all of your business bills paid for for 2 year. Pay off all of your equipment. If for some reason things don’t work out you will not be rushed to sell anything because you wont have payments and if nothing else you can make a little side money after you get a full time job.
  9. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,335

    $4500- Mid 90s Z71 pickup
    $1200-6.5x12 trailer
    $8500-Grasshopper 223/52 with bagger
    $4000-Toro T bar 32"
    $500- Toro 2 stroke single stage snow blower
    $500- Redmax BP blower
    $300-Redmax trimmer
    $300-Redmax Edger
    $500- Misc gas cans, hand tools etc
    $1500- Direct mail advertising
    $2000- Misc admin expenses-insurance etc.

    = about $24k. Leaving $26k to live on until your business takes off. Once you get about 40 accounts get a 1 ton flatbed dump. Once you get about 60 get a helper, and a 16' trailer and 48" Walker or another Grasshopper. Once you get 100 get another helper. As time goes buy fertilizing, renovation, and snow equipment as needed.
  10. scottgalat

    scottgalat LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    Equipment is an expense. Your goal needs to be to spend the least amount needed to produce maximum productivity and profitability. $0.00 is the goal, but that is impossible, so spend as close to $0.00 as you can.
    It is hard to predict your actual needs. There are ways you can delay your equipment purchases until actual need arises. Delaying equipment purchases as long as possible, as you are adding accounts, allows you to buy the right gear for YOUR accounts. This insures that you have purchased the right equipment. I once had a route in Laguna Beach Ca. that required only 21" mowers. A 60" hydro rider would have sat on a trailer unused. I have also had routes in your part of the nation that consisted of residences on 2 acres or more each. A 21" wouldn't be the right choice on acerage. When you have no customers...you need no mower. Your 1st need is for customers. That is the hard part, and should be of your budgetary focus right now. You can always figure out how to get them cut after you get them. Rentals are available to get you going, or team up with someone that is equipped and make some kind of arrangement that covers your route until an ACTUAL NEED HAS ARISEN. You may not get accounts rapidly. Most "rookies" don't figure it out to good. Hence, you don't need $50k of gear sitting around as your "hoping" to develop a customer base. Your money needs to be directed to advertising that works. Equipment dosen't make you money, your customers do. The equipment is just tools, an expense. Customers are the high value portion of a lawn service, starting out, you need them, not gear. Buy what's needed, when needed. Do not get confused that buying equipment is the important part of establishing a lawn business.
    It is the least important part. Sure you need to be able to get the lawns cut professionally, but you don't need any money, or a small amount to get that done while your building. Meet someone that has gear and not many accounts. Offer a labor trade-off and small compensation: " Let's go mow your 7, then let's go mow my 7, I'll buy the gas."
    You don't need any gear now, you need customers, the customers' landscapes will determine what your equipment needs are.

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