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Looking for opinions

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by jeffinnh1976, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. jeffinnh1976

    jeffinnh1976 LawnSite Member
    from laconia
    Messages: 3

    Howdy folks~

    I'm currently a slave to the grind right now and spend much of my week making someone else rich. My significant other and myself have been playing with the idea to maybe get into the lawn care business. I'm in no shape or form looking to go all in at the drop of hat, but rather start small and see where things go. If you could share some pointers on first starting out, equipment, what to expect and some pointers on drumming up a few clients that would be great.

  2. ManuelMowing

    ManuelMowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

    The first thing to do is take inventory of where you are, what you have, and what you want to do. You also need to make reasonable goals. Let's say your income right now is $30,000, and we assume that there are 8 mowing months in the year. You would need to make $3,750 each month to replace that income. You would basically need to mow 94 yards a month that average $40. That still does not take into account all the other costs.

    You will need to make a plan on when to break away. Do you intend on working another job? How many days? What days? As far as equipment goes it all depends on what type of lawns you will be mowing. If you are able to pick up some smaller one in a neighborhood you might consider a self propelled walk behind. Don't spare on trimmers. A good trimmer will save your back and last a lot longer than a cheap one. You won't need a super powerful blower unless you plan on doing leafs. The best bet on equipment is getting some used commercial equipment. Don't go in debut $15,000 to make $5,000 your first year.

    Finding clients is the hardest thing to do, well except the work itself. Ask around, many family members and friends are always hearing of people that need work. If you have church you attend ask around there. Go around your neighborhood and talk to some people. Get some business cards made, Vista Print has them for $10.00. Even if you don't get the mowing business you might pick up some side work that could lead into bigger stuff down the line. I have has several people call us for smaller jobs and it lead to bigger projects, mowing, or referrals.
  3. rkmcniel

    rkmcniel LawnSite Member
    Male, from Gardendale AL
    Messages: 86

    Mow every yard like your mowing your own (or even better). Show up when you say you'll be there, or make a quick courtesy call, go the extra mile, do some freebies for the sick, elderly, etc., don't sweat the small extra requests (just do it with a smile), charge a fair price, and word will spread, and you will stay busy. I'm living proof. More than once. Some should pay you more, but others will be willing to pay you more than they should...but treat everyone the same! Look for ways to be a blessing, and the blessings will come your way!
  4. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 27,007

    You are actually in a really good area. No one wants to go to the lake every weekend and work. Add in the fact that many homeowners have quests when they are at the lake and even if they wanted to work there they don't have the time. Then there are also folks who rent the place out weekly or monthly and need it cut and maintained. For all second home customers there is always add on work. Be it dump runs , vacancy inspections for those times they cant make it up for a few weeks at a time ect.
  5. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    If you and your significant other actually want to start a business, any business I would suggest contacting score.org You will have the best advise spanning hundreds of years of professionals starting and running businesses across the USA. The cost is free, other than your own time which will be enriched by having a business plan going forward.
    easy-lift guy
  6. jeffinnh1976

    jeffinnh1976 LawnSite Member
    from laconia
    Messages: 3

    Wow- Thank you guys for all of your help!

    My better half owns a cleaning company and has built herself a really good business. We happen to live in the heart of vacation land and she manages many accounts for vacation rentals etc etc etc. She is always being asked if she knows a good reliable person to handle the yards & at this point we are thinking of pulling the trigger.

    My thought:

    *We live in NH, only 6 good months of mowing!

    *I make 60-65k a year at a desk job I'm not very happy with but I'm blessed to be employed.

    *We have the money to invest in whats needed. The magic questions is what's needed? Of course I know a truck and a mower would be the minimum equipment needed. The mower does throw me a curve ball as I would like to invest in a one shot get her done ready for almost anything that is handed to me for business.

    *The other magic question is what to charge: I read some of you pro's breaking down the numbers and if I averaged it out 45.00 a pop 8,000 sgft or under is the magic number.
  7. ManuelMowing

    ManuelMowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

    Pricing a property is very tricky and depends on the equipment, locations, work done, frequency, your ability, and many other factors. We have an established hourly rate but it will change based on the above factors. You have to price a property so that you keep the customer and make money at the same time. Overhead is a big factor. Getting small yards to push mow is great money at first but once you have bigger equipment and bigger clients the money changes.
  8. jeffinnh1976

    jeffinnh1976 LawnSite Member
    from laconia
    Messages: 3

    From what I read and understand the different the mower the different the charge?
  9. ManuelMowing

    ManuelMowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

    Yes. An hour worth of push mowing is going to be different than an hour on a 61 inch ztr. Not saying you can charge more or less based on the stuff you have, but keep in mind that different equipment bring different prices. I had a guy that charged $70 to mow this yard with a push mower that took him 3 hours. I could mow the yard with my stuff in 20-30 minutes and charge $50. It probably didn't cost the guy $3.00 to mow the yard but he was there for 3+ hours.
  10. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,761

    :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh: a 60 grand slave.

    You already have a service based business (or your wife does) with an existing customer base which is likely to grow by adding more services to the very same properties that are already on your customer list.
    Prime opportunity. go for it.

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