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In over my head....

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by lurch, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. lurch

    lurch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 221

    After coming here I came to the quick realization that I may very well be in over my head. As of right now I have one 20" Murray push and a 21" Troy-Bilt Self-Propelled, an Echo SRM-2100, an off brand 3.5 HP Edger, a Homelite 30cc Blower, two gas cans, and exactly two blisters on my right foot. I thought this biz would be a cinch but the presence of the big lawn guys makes it hard for us little guys. I would really like to hear some stories of how you guys came from rags to riches. If no one is in the riches category then simple stories of how you guys got started would be great. BTW...today was officially the first day of Garcia Lawn Service so I may just be being a puss....
  2. Raider

    Raider LawnSite Member
    from IOWA
    Messages: 69

    Was your boss an ass to you today?
  3. lurch

    lurch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 221

    I am the boss in a way....I own Garcia Lawn Service....but my full time job is a United States Marine....
  4. CA CLT

    CA CLT LawnSite Member
    Messages: 61

    Well, the bad news is you have homeowner quality equipment, and a cheap pair of boots! This stuff isn't going to last you over the long haul. You are going to have to upgrade your equipment slowly as you are able. The good news is that you have 20 accounts to mow! You must have some ability to advertise as you landed these 20 jobs, so that is good news too.

    How did you get the 20 accounts? How much do they bring in for you either weekly or monthly? What is your target gross income? How much do you need to net for your own income out of the business? These are all questions that should be thought out up front. Better late than never though. Breathe, relax, and keep working hard. It is also physically demanding, so be prepared for that. Protect your feet at all costs! I got heel spurs back in 1998 and that was the reason I sold out and did other things for 9 years.

    The big guys are big for a reason, they know what they are doing, or at least they know how to put on a good show! As to how I got started, I worked for 9 companies over a period of 13 years before I started my own company. I sold that company some time ago. I am building another company now in a new area. It IS very stressful, but fortunately I have a lot of experience to bank on, not only in the green industry, but in building successful companies in other industries as well. I KNOW that my new landscape management outfit is going to make it. You are in the right place here to get some of the knowledge that it is going to take for you to be successful. There is a lot to learn about the job itself as well as the business side. Good luck to you.
  5. lurch

    lurch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 221

    I put up an ad on craigslist, I walked a couple of miles handing out flyers, and my wife has a lot of friends with lazy husbands....I'm also halfway decent at cutting lawns so my work kinda speaks for itself....I'm thinking that about 26% of my lawns have come by way of recommendation (its a small town)....i think I'm doing pretty good so far....It's just scary to hear all these guys on here saying "GO COMMERCIAL, SCREW RESIDENTIAL" when that is all I am working with right now.....I think i'm just being a puss....

    Thanks for the advice CA CLT!!!
  6. Raider

    Raider LawnSite Member
    from IOWA
    Messages: 69

    I was going to say at least you are your own boss, but I guess this is not your full time gig. Thanks for serving our country, you should be proud of that!!
  7. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    The way to succeed in the landscape field is by persisting until a solution is developed or found.

    It's not just the "overcome, adapt and improvise" which I'm sure you are familiar with.

    But it takes persistence, and failure to quit.

    That's how the successful companies got there.

    It was done by never quiting.
  8. CA CLT

    CA CLT LawnSite Member
    Messages: 61

    I've worked a lot of commercial jobs, and I prefer high end residentials myself. A guy will make more per man hour on those jobs most of the time than on the cuthroat jobs of the large property management companies.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I started out poor with a 1974 F-250 (that's almost as old as I am) with over 400,000 miles on the odometer...
    But I had a new 6x12 trailer and two used 52" Walk-behinds, along with a new trimmer and a new blower (both commercial grade).
    And a bunch of hand stuff like a spreader, a wheelbarrow, etc...
    And it BLEW!

    I would go to the Finance Office (we used to call them Disbursing Clerks but that was Navy) and see about setting up an allotment to a high yield money market account while you're still in the service.
    I don't know how much you'll need to put aside, depends how much time you have left, but they're paying E1's over a thousand / month nowadays so it shouldn't be that much of a problem.

    You don't need a lot of top notch equipment, but at least a used 40" Walk behind, and a real blower, I think you're ok with the trimmer.

    Oh, and a 3/4 ton truck and trailer.
    Don't forget the nonsense hand stuff like a wheelbarrow, a shovel, a rake, etc.
    That's likely going to run you all of 5g and you could really use another 5g on top to survive the first year, so the earlier you start saving, the better.
    Then again you can just get a few accounts, get through the year...
    But I'd still be for saving what you can now.

    Peace out, and good luck.
  10. lurch

    lurch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 221

    right now i'm using the back of my 05 Nissan Titan...works fine right now but i'm definatly looking for an old used trailer to start out with....thanks for all the advice and keep it coming....

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