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Just Starting out...Advise Needed

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Primates, Jan 28, 2002.

  1. Primates

    Primates LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I am a university student who is sick of working summer jobs inside cramped offices and want to run my own lawn care biz this summer. Need some advise?

    Q1: Can I make money if I only run this biz for 1 summer. Need to make about 6000 to cover school costs. I currently have no equipment or customers. Is this feasiable? (I do have a truck)

    Q2: When do you collect from customers. After each job? Contract per month? etc..

    Thanks for the help
  2. TaylorLawn

    TaylorLawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 195

    As far as just starting out, there is no way to be customer freindly if you are looking to do it for only the summer...My advice to you is to find a landscaper in your area and work for them for a while.....I too was in college and looked for something different, as it has turned out I started my own business and never looked back (14 years ago)....At the moment I am making more $ than I ever thought I could, but that is because I am in a location which afforded me the luxury of working year round and I kept with it, mainly because I started cutting lawns when I was only 10 years old......But you never know.....This business is a customer oriented facility......and if you can not be there for them for years to come dont try.......but get involved and learn what it's all about and you may do well..........ET
  3. CSRA Landscaping

    CSRA Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,232

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there's no real quick fix in this line of work, so far as I've seen. It takes a lot of patience and hard work. If you want to, I'm sure that you could find a way that you could make $6k over the summer doing it but you could probably do that with something else as well.

    A1: You should be able to get outfitted for under $5k (minimum equipment) since you have the truck. Customers ... I'd try to get those first, so that I knew that the equipment purchases were worth it. Put out 2000 or so flyers, shouldn't take you more than two days. Target the cream areas, not the gutters.

    A2: That depends on you. Do you want to bill them on a per cut basis or on a per month basis? I do it monthly, except for a couple of local businesses that insist on paying cash for each visit.

    Good luck!
  4. Rodney Johns

    Rodney Johns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 121

    I can remember being in your shoes. The first summer that I did this type of work I really only made $20k gross for the 4-6 month period. Now keep in mind I was close enough to my customers I made time between classes to continue the work for these people. You can do it but it will take time and sacrifice.
  5. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    This is the type thing that makes this industry look bad. You would have no idea what to price things, but after you quit and they call someone else that does this for a living they want the same price. You just drive the prices and reputation of this industry DOWN.

    Now, on the other hand, you say your tired of working summer jobs. Whatcha going to do when its no longer summer jobs, but a real job? If you are considering this for a long term business, I would say now is as good a time as any.
  6. Rodney Johns

    Rodney Johns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 121

    Well I was a horticulture student and had 2 college degrees already. I charged more than what was being charged by most and marketed my company for what it was. The industry needs lots of guys willing to take risks. Everyone starts somewhere. I hardly see it as driving the industry down.
  7. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    im afraid i got to agree with 65 again. u mean know harm but u are working in a field that men depend on to make a living.
    to do that u soon find out theres certain amount u have to charge to survive and get ahead.to me thats just the crux of the matter.later now
  8. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    Its not hurting the industry if he want to build a business. But he only wants to make a few quick bucks. His experience is NADA. He already said that once the summer is over he would be dropping them. Then someone has to come in behind him. Don't you just love going over to give an estimate and the person says "well, the other guy just quit." Or, as soon as school started back they quit coming". This hurts the reputation of those of us making a living. It is already hard enough to shake the public opinion that we aren't kids pushing mowers. We are actually running businesses.
  9. CSRA Landscaping

    CSRA Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,232

    Not to rattle any cages here, but he did come and ask us what we thought about it - score one point for the student. Also, if the customer can't tell the difference between a legitimate, established business and a fly-by-nighter, then they simply aren't asking the right questions.

    If we want people to perceive us as something other than a part-timer, we should present ourselves as we wish to be seen. Show them proof of insurance. Show them your applicator's license. Show them pictures of your accounts. Show them your equipment. Tell them how long you've been in business. Most importantly fill their need.
  10. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    That is exactly what I'm trying to do. Help our preception to the public. Trying to stop all this fly by night stuff that give us all a bad name. I do give him credit for asking, but I'm also giving an honest assessment of this. It would also be real hard to buy all the equipment needed and make 6k in just a college summer.

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