Just starting out

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Precedence, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. Precedence

    Precedence LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    I am just starting my own landscaping/lawn mowing company and i have been able to find out allot just by browsing around this site but i still have some questions.

    My first question and most important one is pricing structure, i was thinking of basing it on total square footage with breakpoints at certain sizes what i had thought of so far was something along the lines of:
    0-4000 $25
    4001-8000 $30
    8001-12000 $35
    +$5 if the lawns a PITA

    Anyway i was wondering if this was a good way to go, if i have the price changes at the appropriate points, and if there's anybody else from around here (Windsor, ON) can you let me know what the typical pricing is like.

    My second question is i want to be cutting for between 30-40 hrs per week (landscaping for 10-20) and the typical lawn size being 5000, how many accounts can i handle solo? I was thinking somewhere in the range of 40-80.

    My third question is about equipment, i have the following:
    Chevy 2500HD Short Box
    Arctic 7.5' Plow
    Stihl handheld blower
    all the hand tools (rakes, shovels, picks, ect..)

    I'm thinking of getting the following from the local dealer:
    32" Exmark Metro Walkbehind $2999
    Stand-on Wheel $439
    21" Exmark Metro Pushmower $999
    Husqvarna 324LX Trimmer $499
    Husqvarna 123HD60 Hedge Trimmer $389
    (All of this financed through the dealer at 4.9%APR for 4 years equals $149.93/month tax inc)

    Other stuff i need:

    Trailer $1500?
    Edger $100?
    Office Supplies $200?
    Misc other stuff $500?

    Hows that look as far as prices and types ect? Am i forgetting anything? Also i see allot of people talking about buying equipment straight up and not financing, why is that?

    I have my business licences, tax #, and insurance all set to go.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,280

    Do you have some business lined up for this season? Is there alot of competitors in your area? You sure are laying out alot of dough starting out, thats a nice wish list you have. I would not even finance a car 4 years let alone lawn equipment. But I like to be debt free though. The positives are that you will be starting out with new stuff and won't have to worry about running beat equipment. And if you do get alot of business you could double up on the payments and be clear in 2 years instead of 4. There is a similar thread elswhere about financing equipment to start up, you might want to look at it, unless your mind is made up on the financing deal. Good luck.
  3. Precedence

    Precedence LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    I haven't got any contracts signed yet but grass cutting doesn't start till april around here, i do have 2 reciprocal agreements with a large landscaping company that doesn't handle any residentials and the local Greenlawn branch, the landscaping company is going to bounce all the calls they get for residential service to me and i'll send them all the large scale work i can't do (owner is a friend and i have plowed for him in the winter as a subcontractor for 5 years), i also have a deal worked out with the manager of the local Greenlawn branch to bounce all the grass cutting requests to me if i bounce all the spraying stuff to him (i am friends with him too and i worked there for 3 years). Also i am going to be advertising hard starting in another week or so.

    Market penitration i need is only 40-80 accounts both residential and commercial in an area that has roughly 750,000 people and businesses so i need around 0.0053% of the market. I figure that's doable, besides youknow what they say, "Go big or go home".

    My biggest concern is getting my pricing structure right.
  4. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,621

    Size of the lawn is a good starting point. However, it is more about time than it is about size.

    You may find some 12000 sq/ft lawns that take less time than some 8000 sq/ft lawns. Hills, playsets, stone walls, garden beds, trees, etc, will slow you down. Trimming is time consuming. Bagging/no bagging also changes pricing for me. Even thing like traffic and parking can impact speed and productivity. You have the right idea regarding the $5 PITA upcharge, and in time you will be able to price it without measuring.

    I don't know your local market, but $25 seems very low.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    That's not a bad start, I might add a $20 or $25 minimum fee as well.
    So they don't call you wanting one branch picked up out of their yard for $5, just an example.

    I like your style, I find that +$5 bit comes in awful handy, for myself.
    Always think UP UP UP in the price, it doesn't always save me but at least it keeps me from getting completely beat up too.

    Because I wish it were as simple as quoting $35 tyvm.
    Most of the time it's more like $35 + (DOWN + DOWN + DOWN)....
    So that's why I say think + UP + UP + UP and hopefully it adds out?

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