just starting out at 49 yrs old

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by rrr, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. rrr

    rrr LawnSite Member
    from ottawa
    Messages: 6


    Some back ground I worked for 26 years in the private sector .

    The company I worked for down sized and I found myself out of a job I did
    get a decent severance package. A number of years ago I did some mowing
    part time for extra cash. So I have some experiance.

    I'm looking at getting back into Lawn Business full time now. I want to work for myself I am attending seminars on starting and marketing a small business . I was wondering if there were others who started there bussiness
    under the same circumstances and how things were going ?

    In ways of equipment to start with a I have 2002 GMC , a 16 horse Lawn Tractor . A couple of cheap push mowers. I want to invest in a used commercial mower , a couple blowers , and trimmers and trailer.

    Also has anybody here used the forms from Lawncaresuccess .com ?

    Lawnsite.com has been a great to read and learn from.

    Any feed back would be welcomed .

    Many thanks .
  2. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    I worked for a company 20 years then they moved the operations to China. The founders of the company had an assistance program to help start a buisness or for schooling to teach you a new job. I had been mowing part time in the evenings for 8 years and decided to go full time. I havent used any of the forms from Lawncaresuccess .com

  3. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    i started out last year at 42.... get the used commercial mower, the lawn tractor will break down alot during the season trust us on this.... i still use mine on some yards the old ladies are afraid of the z... but thats about it...

    it can be done, it just isnt easy, like anything else right....... and welcome
  4. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    And yes you seem to have a good plan for your equipment purchases also. The biggest hurdle I had was paper work. I had no idea how much paper work was involved in keeping good records. Also I didnt see you mention Insurance, dont forget to include that in your buisness plan, 1 accident could wipe out everything you own.

  5. paulge

    paulge LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    I am 47 and just started my business about a month ago. I too worked for the man and have owned a few businesses throughout the years. Before I made the decision I spent a great deal of time reading the posts on this site and ordered a small business package from http://www.lawncarebusiness.com. Before I bought the first piece of equipment I went out and did some pre-selling. My background is sales and marketing so I went after it. Again, I am new here and I'm sure some of the vets here will give you good advice but here is my 2 cents:

    1.) Create an identity, ie, logo, signs, business cards. Be unique and memorable. Be ultra-professional. People are hungry for quality service, at least around here they are.
    2.) Pre-sell before you spend a great deal of money on equipment. *( I take delivery of my 48" Cub Cadet Tank next week and I have already secured 59 accounts.)
    3.) Print fliers and put in the newspaper slots of mailboxes. ( I have placed 1400 fliers.) Place a small ad in the service directory of the local paper. Put a small display with business cards at the local full service car wash. Anywhwere you see an opportunity to leave your business cards, leave 'em.
    4.) When you are ready purchase the best quality equipment you can afford. Without good, reliable equipment you are out of business.
    5.) Get licensed, insured and bonded. Again, separate yourself from those that aren't.
    6.) I have a 3'x6' sign on the back of my trailer with a humorous logo. I watch my mirrors at red lights and you would be surprised how many people are writing down my number.

    My best advice is think outside the box when marketing. Do some things that no one else in your area is doing. The word will get out and you will be busy before you know it.

    Best of luck to you,

  6. jtkplc

    jtkplc LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,656

    I bought the info from lawncaresuccess.com. I found the information to be somewhat helpful, but nothing groundbreaking. Most of the info was common sense kind of stuff. You can learn much more about this business on here an hour each night than you can from that info. This site is the ultimate tool for this business. I think if you already have some experience, the lawncare success info will be somewhat obsolete.

    Your lawn tractor will break down, probably nothing major. I had a lawn tractor when I was first starting out and just little things would break because it just wasn't made for the pounding of commerical use. Definetly get a commerical mower to be your main mower.

    Starting out will be tough, but good luck. I know I wouldn't want to try and start out fresh at 19, I can't imagine doing it after you have a family or a house with all the lovely expenses of living on your own.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Your biggest investment will need to be a mower. The lawn tractor will just not last.
    Overhead Overhead Overhead---- hang out in the business section of lawnsite and read about the cost of doing business, Know what you have to pay for (overhead) so that you price right from the start.
    I believe that 70 -80% of the people doing this work are making about the same as if they went to work at Wal Mart. And the main reason is not knowing their costs. The lure of this business is the low cost of entry. But that is also the reason to realize the cost of staying in it. Many will think that because they have a truck that they don't need to buy one (read pay for one) yet what you use in this business must always be payed for by the business. This business is very labor intensive and equipment intensive. Make sure those things are paid for.
    I see you are from Ottawa, What is you cutting season like. What will you do in the winter. Plan for all of this in your business plan.

    Sorry about the job loss and good luck . You have come to a place with many answers.
  8. lawnjockey51

    lawnjockey51 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    49? I hope it's not a problem, I am starting this spring and will turn 53 in April. I bought a Ford F-250 crew cab 6.0 Diesel and a 52 inch Hustler Mini-Z with the BAC-VAC, I have a STHIL 4-mix trimmer and will be buying some brand of commercial edger and a back-pack blower.

    I still have my job and will be part time for a while, so I have not gone out to pre-sell. I figure, "Build it and they will come," which is easy for me because I can afford it now.

    Good Luck to you.
  9. qualitylawnmanagement

    qualitylawnmanagement LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,000

    Hey dave did you use to live in Lima, Ohio?
  10. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    I started at 56, and now have nine seasons behind me. I will be 65 next Summer. I work about 60-70 hours during the heavy times, and a bit less at other times of the year. My aim is about 1,100 - 1,200 cuttings, average about 25K sq ft of mowing each (two at 10K, most at 30-35K, five over 1.5 acres). I work with a 36" Exmark hydro, 21" LawnBoy, 21" ToroProline, and Stihl handhelds (4 of them).

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