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Jobless to Lawn Business??

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by moneyclass, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. newz7151

    newz7151 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Tejas
    Messages: 2,419

    If you're not going to start off shoveling snow, what do you think you are going to do next winter when the grass is covered by all that white stuff? Sure can't claim unemployment from your-self. Grab a shovel or buy a walk behind and get to moving (what i understand they call up there) "white gold".
  2. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    I would say judging from your post your not ready for self employment! If your not willing to get going and get going now you will never be ready "LATER" as you say, time is money in this business! there is no room for procrastination if your truly a entrepreneur.
  3. superdog1

    superdog1 LawnSite Member
    Male, from Lebanon, PA
    Messages: 218

    I got the same idea you had in March of this year. I read everything I could find and then re-read it just to be sure it sunk in. The first rule is this:
    Everything everyone on here said would happen did, and then some!!!!

    I ended up working all summer. I did NOT make the big $$ I thought I would. I busted my ass from sun up till sun down. In the end, I had to buy another mower (My Cub Cadet RZT died 1/2 way through the season) to the tune of $7000 for a Scag Vride 54". As it turned out, I made just enough to live and put gas in the mowers.

    My only saving grace was that my house and truck are paid off. With that in mind, I did a lot of work by hand that others wouldn't touch without machinery. I learned the hard way, as everything went wrong no matter how hard I planned ahead. I went over and above what other LCO's were doing to make my clients happy. While the customer was smiling, my bank account wasn't, as they quickly learned to take advantage of my goodwill. There was always just this one little extra thing the client would ask me to do for free. It could be as simple as removing a few branches they cut down and piled up to one lady who wanted me to trim all of her bushes for nothing, as she felt I should include that for all the big $$ she was paying me ($25 a cut, inside a fenced in yard where the grass was always 10 feet high because her 3 dogs were crap factories and it had to be bagged and removed EVERY time, not to mention the little "Doggie" land mines I had to mow/walk over).

    I think next year will be a little better, BUT, it was a really expensive first year learning curve. Some advice I can give you is that you DO NOT have to take every single person who calls you. You will learn very quickly if a location is not worth your time. They could be slow pay, perhaps always leaving all of the kids toys all over the yard (Which you will have to pick up to do a decent job). Maybe they will always wait until the yard is 10" high before they feel it is time to have it cut (This will save them $$ and cost you a LOT!). Do not be afraid to tell the customer that they need to pay you more or find another LCO!

    I do know that it seemed like a really easy thing to do, I mean, after all, how hard can it be to cut some grass and get a check right? Let me tell you, that is only 1/10 of what it takes to do this. I especially love when it rains for 3 or 4 days straight and all you can do is sit there and watch out the window wondering if it will ever stop? I also love the calls for "one time cuts" because the house is for sale or they are on vacation or their mower is broke, whatever.... you get there and find out it hasn't been cut in 2 months and they only want to pay you $20. You almost have to do it, as you just wasted the time and gas to get there!!!

    Look, it's not all doom and gloom and obviously others do it and make a living at it, but you can bet it's not easy and unless you work for someone else for a year or two and learn the ropes, you are about to enroll in the good old "School of hard knocks" and will earn a nice little diploma for it, Lol
  4. moneyclass

    moneyclass LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    What is a estimated cost of insurance?
  5. stickleylawncare

    stickleylawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    You can probably get a basic general business liability insurance for 300-700 a year. Just shop around, check Travels, Blackbear, USAA, Statefarm, Nationwide, etc.
  6. moneyclass

    moneyclass LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    Hey THANKS for your comments I really enjoyed reading it. Yeah you are right it will be the school of hard knocks but I guess I have to go out there and learn it that way. I never even thought about the doggie land mines lol.
  7. moneyclass

    moneyclass LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    Thanks!! Thats not to bad
  8. moneyclass

    moneyclass LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    Mower help.....With just starting out do you recommend a sit down zero turn mower or a walk behind mower?
  9. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,510

    Yup. The lessons of the first season are priceless, and no way to book learn them. It takes more muscle, blood, sweat, tears, and greasy hands than folks can imagine. This is always with you, but as your skills get honed, the money does improve and you can sometimes recognize chaos personified (customer from hell) at first glance, but not always.

    Still, if it's no worse in the morning than it was last night, consider it a good day:laugh:
  10. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,510

    I used a wb exclusively for a couple of seasons. Low cost, low maintenance, and lost 50 lbs. the first season. Used it a few of times this season. A wb without a sulky will get you on a lawn while it is still too wet and soggy for a rider.

    That don't mean you have to do it like that. You get to make all your own decisions.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011

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