Moving to Florida: Advice Requested

Discussion in 'Florida Lawn Care Forum' started by FastMan, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. FastMan

    FastMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 846

    Hey you Florida guys, I'm moving to your state and plan on starting a lawn care business there. I've been in the business for many years, in Western New York State, and Colorado.

    I'll be bringing my 60" Toro G3 zero turn, but want to purchase a 36 inch stander to go along with it. My question is which stander do you feel works best in Florida cutting conditions?

    I'm thinking primarily of the cut quality of the deck on Florida grass, but will appreciate opinions on any other equipment topic you think I should be focusing on in making this move.

    Not sure yet where we'll end up, but our current radar is on either the Ocala area, or the East Coast somewhere between around Stuart/Palm City.

    Any other suggestions you might have for me in making this move would be appreciated. Such as, how cut throat is the competition, where do you think the best/worst areas of the state to try to launch a new business, or anything else you think a dumb northern boy needs to know?
  2. williams lcm

    williams lcm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,200

    U will have to take what ever you get when you get here. When I started thats what I did. I was happy to be cutting grass and I really didnt care what kind of grass it was. But as you grow you will only take the nice irrigated St.Augustine/ Zoyia grass. At this stage in my business I will mostly turn down bahia yards unless it is well fertilized and watered. Most down here that have bahia grass but don't water or fertilize it. You will have to research the different grasses we have and how heigh to cut each grass. Also when you get down here make sure you bill on a monthly basis and not per cut. Alot of newbies like to do per cut just to grab more business but will suffer during the winter months when they don't get paid much. Alot of compitition out there but you can still get work. Grass is everywhere and it needs to be cut. I think you will find that most of the new standers will all do a good job on the St.Augustine grass. All the new models are pretty up to date with the latest technology that they have and will all do a good job. Just have to find one you like and go for it. You should start to advertise in March because the growing season starts in April. Then it is in really high gear May- October.. Good luck
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  3. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,491

    Before you start loading up the Uhaul you'll have a few things to consider. Are you prepared to:
    1. See your competition mow 10,000 Sq FT lots for $12 - $15 per cut?
    2. Work in 90 to 100 degree weather with 95% humidity?
    3. Have your workday cut short by daily afternoon thunder storms dropping
    1" of rain?
    4. Have lousy dealer support with high prices.
    5. Have to compete against uninsured, unlicensed, fly-by-night services?

    I could go on but these things and more are what await you. Just be prepared. The customer base (retirees) you'll be working with have been here for a while and know how to play one service against another. I could go on and on but you'll probably have to see for yourself to believe it.
  4. You must be in a depressed area of Florida to get $15 for 10K. I get around $200/mo. For a property like that with a little bit of landscaping. More like $250/mo. With where my prices are now...the rest of your points I agree with though.
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  5. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,491

    Florida Gardener,

    Yep, you're right. Next county up or next county down they get much more. It's been like this since I started in 1989. I only do yearly contracts and no by the cuts. I've always charged more than my competition but my customers know they can count on me being there, on time, week after week and are willing to pay more for that.
  6. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,185

    Many new guys have jumped on the lawn care band wagon here in FL. Be prepared, it may take a few years to build a quality business no matter which location you choose.

    Ocala area has been hit very hard by the economy, many retail businesses have closed up shop, empty storefronts and restaurants everywhere. It does seem to be growing back slowly though here recently.

    I would stick close to the coast, at least you could do some fishing too. :)
  7. Good point. I'll also note that if you move to Stuart area, you will need to work in palm beach county. Martin county is a disaster in regards to pricing and competition. Good luck
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. FastMan

    FastMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 846

    Thanks for all the info. I'm fortunately in the position of being able to choose where in Florida I go, so your input of which areas are cut throat, and which allow you to charge a bit more reasonable rate is invaluable.
  9. gregory

    gregory LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,083

    where do you plan on moving to?
  10. FastMan

    FastMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 846

    That's what I'm trying to decide. We have to leave Colorado because one of my family members is have respiration issues with the high altitude. We've decided to go to Florida because we have friends there in several places around the state.

    I'd like to go where the potential for real estate recovery appreciation will be the highest, and where the prospects for a new landscaping business will be the greatest.

    Plan on moving in the next couple months. Going down house hunting right after the holidays.

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