Just starting out, heres my plan.. what next?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by nodak345, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. nodak345

    nodak345 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I was sitting up the other night and trying to figure out ways to make some cash while balancing a college schedule. I came up with a pretty good plan I think but I need some more advice, and that has led me here.

    First of all, I am living with 4 other guys in northern Minnesota that are interesting in starting this business with me. I have been mowing and doing simple landscaping for many years, and have been working for a property maint. company for the last three years so I do have some no-how. I plan on starting out this fall just with doing leaves and rock/mulch bed cleaning and de-weeding. I figured this way all we would need is two backpack blowers, a few rakes, some sheets for the leaves, and our trucks. Depending on the kind of money we can make in a few weeks from that, I'm hoping to get a snowblower or two, and some shovels and do snow removal. We get a lot of snow up in Duluth, and we can balance that around our schedules.

    As for building up funds, I am thinking about taking 15-20% of each of our jobs just to put into an account and save up for landscaping equipment which brings me to the next business venture.

    I'm hoping to have enough money by then to buy a trailer, rototiller, rakes, and shovels and then try to get some landscape jobs lined up. I'm looking to do rock/mulch beds, planting, and maybe even learn how to do rock ponds. We will provide mowing, edging, and garbage/demo removal.

    As for the advice, the first problem is we really don't have any good connections in Duluth since we are all from other towns, but I was thinking of just handing out A LOT of brochures with our name, what we do, and our mission to our customers. I'm really good at dealing with people in a professional manner, I just need to get them to call first.

    The second dilemma is how to appropriately price out these jobs, I really don't know much about bidding on jobs like these. I plan on going to a book store and looking for some text on landscaping so maybe that will provide some info as well.

    Thirdly, how legal does this all need to be? I'll basically have three other guys working for me, and want to make sure if one of them gets injured i don't get in some serious trouble. I'm not sure the difference between LLC and s prop or any of that. I also don't know much about insurance i'll need to be covered from all angles. I don't plan on worrying about this right away, since leaves and snow will be our first jobs.

    That's all i've really gotten to think about for now, any other advice from any of you veterans would be greatly appreciated, and I mean any advice is welcome. If you see any flaws in my plan, or have any other ideas please let me know, anything helps right now.

  2. MowHouston.com

    MowHouston.com LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I'll be the first of many to say it in this thread. Do not start a business with friends. Especially if you are all living together.

    1. You dont know what you're doing as far as starting up a business, so something is gonna go wrong.

    2. There isn't enough money to go between you four. If you're gonna do it, do it yourself.

    3. There is more startup involved with it. Maybe if you do a 25/25/25/25 partnership, perhaps less, but you arent gonna make any money at first. At least not in lawn maintenance.

    Are you sure they want to spend that much of their income on this business? Looks like you'll all be chipping in for equipment and such but when someone wants out, who gets what? Big problem. I can almost guarantee you that you and your three buddies aren't going to stick in it for the same amount of time.

    You may need a license to do landscaping in your area.

    Do a search here in the forums on "advertising". Actually, to get you started, here is a link to threads, most of them concerning advertising.


    Also try searching for "flyers" "doorhangers" or "postcards".

    The only way you're going to be able to figure out your prices is if you know the prices that go in your area. You'll see on this forum that prices are different all over the country. What you really need to do is figure out all of your expenses for a job, materials, labor, etc and base that off of what you want to be making, but keep the price fair, yet dont lowball the competition and cut your pay short. Someone on here from your area may be able to tell you more on your area's rates.

    General liability insurance, workmans comp, if they are working for you... taxes, dba possibly, commercial vehicle insurance, landscaping license, possible lawn maintenance license. Ah, the list goes on and on. I say do it legal, but hey, people get away with it every day. Thats all I've got to say about that.

    My opinion, you're making a mistake getting into this with a bunch of buddies with hardly any experience, no real way of knowing how to get customers, you're going to be in the negative for a good while before you see anything for yourself.

    Second, you're going after too many projects at once. Sure, lawncare/debris removal, thats pretty doable at first. But personally, I think you should wait to see how good you are at cutting lawns/weeding flowerbeds/trimming bushes before you even think about spending a bunch of money on a trailer and landscaping equipment.

    Take your time, read through these forums every day and learn while you earn. You jump into all of it and you might get yourself burned. Then its all just a waste of time.

    That's all i've really gotten to think about for now, any other advice from any of you veterans would be greatly appreciated, and I mean any advice is welcome. If you see any flaws in my plan, or have any other ideas please let me know, anything helps right now.

  3. nodak345

    nodak345 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I did some thinking about working with friends, since i've done that before. I have talked to them a little just about the basics of what I want to get going here, and they are all very interested and think its a good idea. The reason The reason that I even decided to do this is because we all do have some experience, all of them have had jobs for many years and have been reliable(none have been fired or anything of that sort), they are all intelligent, and they all have money in savings(as do i) that can be used to get this off the ground.

    I also understand about getting caught up in too much at once, that is why I just plan on taking it one thing at a time, starting with the leaves this fall, and seeing how that goes. I am not etching anything into stone right now, I am just trying to get a business plan together to let these guys know exactly what I expect from them and where I want this business to go. We are all meeting in early August to sit down and talk everything over.

    As for the funds, we are all going to chip in for the initial start up equipment. I know quite a bit about managing money since I am required to do this at my job now for purchasing parts and keeping records of expenditures.

    I also just remembered that our landlord has 30+ houses and I remember her mentioning that she could use help from time to time, so that could be a possible way to get some jobs lined up.

    Like I said, I'm really just starting this planning up and I appreciate the advice, thanks a lot. Now I have some things to mull over.

    Keep em coming guys,


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