Lawn care or small engine repair? I can't decide what to do...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by rm25x, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. rm25x

    rm25x LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    Ok I am going to start up my own business this year. I am torn though between doing lawn care, or equipment repair.

    My background:
    2 years of small engine repair at a tech school.
    Worked for 4 years as a mechanic at a lawn and garden shop.
    Also cut lawns part time after work for one of those years.

    So basically, I could do either no problem. I enjoy cutting grass more, but I think I would have an easier time finding customers for repair work. The local John Deere dealership down the street charges $65/hr for repair work. I was going to charge $40/hr working out of my house. I understand the reason they have to charge more is they have a lot more overhead. I am sure most of my customers are the ones who bought their equipment at a big box store, not the lawn and garden dealer anyways.

    If I was to go into lawncare, I would have to buy a new trailer and a mower. Would find a used walk behind probably to start. I have everything else.

    For repair, I would just need a trailer for pickup and deliveries.

    Another option I have thought about, was just trying to get a job with a local large lawncare comany as a mechanic. I could also run equipment if they are short handed, and can plow snow as well since I have 8 years experience doing that as well. Just not sure if I could make enough money to be happy.

    So basically, I need to make my mind up quick and get on it to start advertising. Wether I do repair or lawn care, I was planning on doing door hangers, etc to get my name out there, as well as advertising in the local paper, online, etc.
  2. bigman58

    bigman58 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    Go small engine!! With all the illegals being hired by contractors all they do is ruin equipment so the contractor pays a fortune in repair. Where I live there is only one shop and he gets $95.00 an hour. And he is flooded with work!!
  3. Greenery

    Greenery LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 512

    I think a small engine repair/maintenance could be a good idea.

    At a previous employer thats what we did during the off season.

    We would offer to pick up there mower then we would bring it to our shop and change the oil, fuel, and air filters change the oil, treat the gas if there was any, sharpen the blade and finally wash it up then it got delivered back to them usually in a mater of a couple of days. We did not do any repairs though just maintenance. The customers thought it was a great idea as usually they arent able to fit it in their car and all they had to do was leave it in their driveway when we told them to. With a customer base of about 3000 we would usually do around 300 a winter.

    One other thing worth mentioning is the few small engine places around that are geared towards homeowners are always a month out on repairs during the fall for snowblowers and the spring for mowers. They usually have a ton of mowers waiting to be serviced in the spring.
  4. rm25x

    rm25x LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    Yeah its looking like I am going to go with repair. Theres a few places around that do it besides the dealerships and they are always busy. I just feel as with times being tough more people are going to pay to fix their old stuff before they buy new or hire someone to cut the grass.

    I just got tired of working for other companies for $8.50 an hour while they charged $55/hr.
  5. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Go lawncare, buy used equipment and fix it up and sell it when you can turn a profit on it. Or just beat the hell out of your equipment so you'll have stuff to fix.
  6. Boomer 1

    Boomer 1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I have actually thought about going into small engine repair myself. I can fix almost anything, but have no training..... so I didn't want to get in over my head if I got into that business without training. You have the training and actual hands on experience!

    If I was in your shoes, I would do the engine repair! As soon as you are able, you could buy or lease a shop and then you could be charging the $65.00/hr! And before you know it, you could be buying and selling used mowers and a couple of years later, operate a large equipment dealership! That would be my plan anway.... Good luck!
  7. rm25x

    rm25x LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    Yeah that would be ideal.
  8. rm25x

    rm25x LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    Here's a start...

    Business card and flier design. Did them myself.

    advanced small engine card.jpg

    advanced small engine flier3.jpg
  9. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,281

    that's a sharp card. Don't get the cheap crap paper for those. Why don't you do both? Your near flint and all you would need is a walk behind for in town lots. You could grow it and someone else do the mowing and you could do repair. You may not get that much with repair to start off. You should try ATV repair too. Most dealers are 70-90 a hour. ATV's are not bad to work on either.
  10. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,930

    I don't think you can do both. When we want our mowers repaired we want them done NOW!!:laugh: We don't want to wait until you get back from mowing lawns:dizzy:

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