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Just starting out, biz ideas?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Rebaeg, Feb 21, 2003.

  1. Rebaeg

    Rebaeg LawnSite Member
    from NH
    Messages: 3

    Hi! I have a question about the gardening aspect of landscaping. I am planing to start my own business and have a few questions. Besides basic tools and a decent vehicle, what other supplies should I have on hand? Also, any ideas on how much to charge per hour would be great. Thanks so much! PS I am in Zone 5, Coastal New Hampshire
  2. baddboygeorge

    baddboygeorge LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,249

    insurance policy general liability,receipt book,fliers,business cards,a good measuring wheel,calculator,an get some nice looking work clothes or a uniform. an i would set my price at 25 per hour minimum ..after you get some experience an customers under your belt then you can set your price. but at this point stick with an hourly wage until you get down times that jobs will take you an what materials are needed!! have fun any more questions feel free!!!
  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    Don't try to be everything. Plan what services you will offer. Equip yourself to do those. Pursue those untill you are maximizing the use of the equipment and labor hours.

    Certainly do other things to fill in your time if you have time on your hands. If they require tools that you do not have, rent them.

    Don't get tool horny. More landscapers smother themselves by believing that if they have a certain piece of equipment that they will be able to make more money. They smother themselves by believing that the more services they offer the more money they will make. The reality that you will see all around you, if you really take the time to look, is that many landscapers have enough equipment to keep ten men busy doing different services, but only have three employees.

    Every piece of equipment you buy becomes part of your fixed overhead whether it is in the barn or out working. When it is still that meter is still running.

    If you have $10k in mowing equipment, your first responsibility is to get it all working all day every day. That fixed overhead is then divided over a lot more days making you more efficient. The gas, maintenance, and labor costs are the same ratio whether you use them 10 hours or 40 when compared with the money they produce.

    Every hour that you use a different piece of equipment you are adding to the cost of the ones that you are not using.

    If you can specialize, you will reduce your overhead and make more money on your time.

    Your best marketing is the exposure you get by mowing. Build everything from there, but carefully.
  4. heygrassman

    heygrassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 509

    I was just thinking this after reading L&L this month on Lawns of Dallas. It is real difficult to get off the ground without the exposure and cash from mowing. Great point and extremely valid.

    Another great point. Just met a guy the other day first year in looking to buy a skid loader and only has a 1/2 ton truck to haul it. Know your cost structure and price accordingly if you have to rent something.
  5. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    Agla certainly has some valuable information. I want to add that I have more equipement than I need but most of it I bought used for pennies on the dollar from people that thought that they would get rich by having it. If I find a job that needs a certain piece of equipment that I dont have, but I know where I can purchase this peice of equipment at a bargain price, I will buy the equipment, use it and then advertise that I can do this type of work that I needed the equipment for. The equipment pays for itself in a few jobs and then I can afford to let it set until I need it again. This might seem like a lot of overhead but it keeps me versitile so If my hydroseeding slows down I just pull out my stumpgrinder and grind stumps or my trencher and do trenching. I might add that I have taught my wife how to run all my equipment so that when I get more work than I can do by myself she takes one of my trucks and helps me catch up.
    By the way, I dont mow grass, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last nite.

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