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Im 17 and need help growing into bigger company

DLONGLANDSCAPING

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Birmingham,MI
Hi everyone
My name is Jason and I live in Birmingham,MI. I am a 17 year old kid and i started my company with my dads 21 in arines mower, a weed eater trimmer, a black n decker edger and a toro blower. Now, 6 years later i bought my self a 2006 dodge ram 1500 quad cab (installed 3" lift, cab lights, behind the grille off road lights,wheel spacers and navigation. My setup includes a brand new, just ordered 7x16 sure trac tandem trailer with a 2' front landscape box and a 48" side ramp. I have a 60" Exmark Lazer Z xs with 500 hours (bought for 5600 last year October) , 48" viking with proslide and bagger, (2) redmax blowers (ebz8050-brand new) and i have all BRAND NEW SHINDAIWA TRIMMERS i bought on ebay for around half of what they are retailing for at weingartz. I got a 34cc C4 shinny for 220, a t282 for 180, t262x for 180, (2)le261 for 175 each and three red max 29.5 cc trimmers for 200 dollars all together. I honestly have no idea how i found such good prices but i got a whole new setup this year as i am trying to grow from 28 customers(around 25 dollars per cut) to my goal of 60 customers and finishing my senior year of high school. btw, the reason for getting the extra trimmers is 2 for my trailer and the rest to sell on c/l to make a profit for my senior trip. YAY:drinkup:

I guess, i need help getting organized this year, how should i get customers?

Also, my billing sucks, i am using word and doing each invoice separately and it takes FOREVER, almost 5 hours each month just billing. I write down all my clients in my planner when i cut, what side jobs i have, but i need a better system.

Also, i am looking to get commercial accounts this year. I am prob not going to be insured and i haven't paid taxes but the 2010 season will be the first season i will be a legal business with help from my dad. I don't know how to get a commercial account, and how to approach and get in contact with the commercial property owner, i have tried to get in touch with a lot of apartment complexes around here (as i can mow almost 5 acres and hour with my60" exmark lazer xs 35hp and 48" going at the same time, but i never get a call back.

Also, what set off getting my business insurance, is my AAA agent doesn't cover plows on my truck and i wanted to get a plow this winter, but instead opted to get a 45" cub cadet 420 cc snow blower. I wish i could of got-ton a snow blower but i don't want to hit something and have them sue** me for everything my parents own. My dad has been struggling at work to pay the bills and such and i don't want to see him any more stressed than he already is. Business insurance to go with a private insurance agent for a 17 year old would have been 750 per month, plus 1000 deductible if i damaged anything, and i thought i wasnt worth it, i only had my church parking lot to plow and around 15 residential. AND THANK GOD I DIDN'T BECAUSE WE HAVE HAD ONE, 3" snow this year and nothing else.

I will try to post pics of my equipment as soon as i get the trailer and racks set up in early march.

PLEASE HELP ME, i need all the advise i can get. I am in the process of handing out lawn fliers that are pretty damn awesome this year and my new sales promotion is any job (spring clean up, landscaping, mulch installation,ect) 200 dollars or more , you can receive a month free lawn mowing if you sign a contract with DeLong Landscaping for weekly lawn for 2010 season . And if you sign before March 31st, any lawn in the area will be 20 dollars

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Centralmichiganlawncare

LawnSite Member
Location
Holt, Michigan
hey jason im brandon i live in lansing mi i have a lawn and landscape company and im just starting. i have to say if you want comm. accounts you have to be insured some people want 2 mill coverge. and another thing if you have a company name picked out make sure you go to the county court house and fille your dba you cant operate legaly without it so iv been told. i filed mine last week went 10 min. down the road to the graphics shop to qoute out for my truck and trailer and found out that some 18 year old kid had his truck lettered 4 months ago. basicly double check and triple check that the name is avalable. if you have any questions or want more advice email me goinggreenlawn@yahoo.com
 

dirt&snow

LawnSite Member
you didnt mention any future education plans....my advise would be to definitely go to college, you may not like it but i highly recommend a 4 year university. sure you might do excellent with your business, but what if you get bored with it and you wanna sell the business, you're outta luck unless you to go to school afterwards, which is a hassle in most cases.

get quickbooks! you can do 20 customers online for free, just have to sign up on their site. but if you plan on increasing your customer list, get quickbooks pro, its about 200 bucks depending on where ya get it at.
 

g21

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
waterbury, ct
Jason,
very impressive. You're off to a great start. You do need Quickbooks. Just buy it now and get it over with. You're going to need it to grow your business. The earlier you learn the financial disciplines of operating you business the better.

I'm a Ford guy, but it's a great looking truck!

Let me know if you need any help.

T.
 
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DLONGLANDSCAPING

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Birmingham,MI
sorry for not giving you enough information. I got into MSU this year and i am planning to go to the landscape architecture and ag tech(irrigation, design, lawns, turf management, pesticides, arborist, and much more). To the post about the truck, i wish i got a ford but i only would get the 2008 super duty SLT or Lariate imo i think dodge makes a better truck quality for the 1/2 ton, the ford truck that is around 35,000 new doesn't have two tones seats or any of the included options the big hornY does. lol. . I love my dodge and that picture isn't up dated, that was the dealer i bought it from, picture they had on the web site. I put a ton of money in it and made it look like a 2500 with a nice throaty exhaust, lift kit, cab lights air intake, and tow hooks, and i painted all the moldings and upper bumper matt black to look like the POWER WAGON. I also got the side rail bed protectors, a mopar diamond plate tool box to store some tools and replacement parts such as spindles, belts, trimmer line, and scalp wheels for my lazer z xs

To the post about the quickbooks, I looked at the web site and dont like how it asks for your bank number and password. Im sorry but i dont want anyone online looking at my account information, from all the hackers out there now adays. I might sound stupid saying this, but i would rather have a program that i could incert the days i services the customers property for each customers, click the print button once and have all my customers names and dates and invoices printed with one click, maybe im dreaming or maybe i should get into the computer programming businesness. Haha. I love this site and EVERYONE should use it

Thanks for all your help. Also, if any one could help on how to get my business legal and what it costs would be great also. I really need help, if anyone has some extra time on their hands, numbers i could call, and insurance companies that done charge 500 per month for a business insurance for a truck and trailer would be great.

Thanks in advanced for all the help again,

Jason D
 

dirt&snow

LawnSite Member
where did quickbooks ask for your bank info? im guessing what they want is your credit card number if you're buying software, you could always use paypal. im confident and dont have a problem buying online with my cards. you can always take them to court if need be...

but go to target and buy QB Pro, they have it there, walmart, best buy, you name it..
 
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DLONGLANDSCAPING

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Birmingham,MI
wow im a flamming idiot. I typed in quickens not quickbooks and they wanted me to have my bank account number. thanks for the update, im gonna go to target tomorrow and get things rolling.
 

EcoGreen Services

LawnSite Member
Location
Creemore Ontario
Quickbooks Pro is well worth the investment. It's a great system for the price.
.
The other advice is customers before hardware.
I buy most of my equipment used, Some barely used from guys who thought they had a account. I just bought a new 48" Toro Grandstand with 6 hours on it which retails here for about $8000 for $5000 because somebody "thought" they had the business for it and it killed them.

Don't buy new trucks, A 3 year old truck that has just seen personal use can be bought for 1/2 or less than a new one and has a ton of life left in it.

Good Luck to you !!
 
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DLONGLANDSCAPING

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Birmingham,MI
i dont think im being clear enough. I bought my truck in 2008, its a 2006 , i bought it for a steal. The dealer was asking 16,500 for it and my dad got them down to 13,000, and so paid it off in full. The sticker was 35,0000. Also, i buy all used mowers too, i got my lazer z xs for 5600 dollars with 700 hours on it, and i had a exmark metro i bought for 1500(48") i just sold that on craigslist along with some old trimmers, from when i first started, an old redmax blower, a 7x12 trailer, (all in all i spent around 4000 over the years in equipment and sold it all for 7,250 to a guy through c/l. BEST MONEY I EVER MADE AND LET ME EXPAND MY EQUIPMENT SOO MUCH. Now, i am going to but a 48" viking on ebay with 800 hrs on it for 2000 shipped to my door. The only thing i bought full price was the trailer, an im sure it is going to be worth the investment.


ANY ONE OUT THERE WITH INSURANCE AND LEGAL ADVICE, PLEASE CHIME IN,
 

dirt&snow

LawnSite Member
I dont know of any insurance companies that would insure someone thats 17 for a business, you have to be 18 to legally sign a contract. dont be afraid of what everyone says about buying new vehicles/mowers. there are good deals out there, and you can have the features you want in them as well as warranties on em.
 
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