Okay so this is my frist thread. And it's going to be rather lenghty, hopefully weed out any nonsense answers. My goal is to obtain information from people who do-do this every day for the sake of paying the bills and feeding their family. I have a series of questions that pertain to this industry, and hopefully I can collect a "average" in a sense of what people beleive is the right way to do things. Whats happend is this: I've done this for quite some time, years part time on the side, for very few people. But every season, I keep the same people and have never expanded, and continue to have people to ask me to do theirs. This isn't just due to the fact i'm generally a very busy person with my current occupation of being a corrections officer. But to make this long story short, i'm weighing heavy on the side of doing this fulltime next season. I'm trying to put things together in the most legit way as possible. And so far have succeeded in doing so. Here is a list of things i've done so far. 1. EIN 2. DNB Number 3. business checking account 4. checked with cpa 5. getting llc forms completed as we speak 6. have a counsler through score to obtain financing (which is my main focus on this thread) 7. have a rough business plan drafted for bank use, but am trying to figure out if it's better if i do it, or pay to have a pro do one for me? 8. know where most of the commerical accounts are, and am aware that apartment complex bids are over, but a lot remain for the begining of the year, like the feb. month. 9. have estimate and proposal forms, contracts and other forms such as invoices, and receipt forms. 10. business cards 11. drafts for advertising, newspaper, local cable channel, and radio, and need to chekc on billboard on sr. 32 i'm a, i guess, a somewhat intelligent person. The majority of my family is business owners. And I feel, and have felt for quite some time that i've always wanted to be my own boss. I don't have a fear of whats to come, and I have a clear path ahead of me, and know there are stumbling blocks down the way, but i'm strong and willing to figure out how to get past those. My questions are as follows, and any advice would be so greatly appreciated, that you probally wouldn't understand how helpful this truly is 1. What equipment is advised for someone such as myself starting out, with one employee. 2. What common mistakes are made when just starting that are easy to avoid? 3. What is a common formula for bidding on commerical accounts? Any advice on this would be greatly accepted, no matter how simple or complex the formula is. 4. What other services besides lawn care are easily done that someone such as myself could perform possibly in the second year of business? 5. Here's the last question i'm gonna ask for now, whats happend is my personal credit has suffered a huge amount over the last 5 years. I'm a 26 year old single dad with custody of his son. I have my son every day all day!!! My personal credit suffered due to attorney bills, doctors bills, P.I. bills and things of that nature. Now i'll make it clear now, that it was money well spent and i'd never change that. But life continued on with bills, some that are unpaid, okay A LOT that are unpaid. Wahts your suggestion should I file BK in jan of 08?? And if i do or don't, how can i obtain financing for the stuff I need such as equpiment and a truck and all that? I really need help in this area. Because to be honest with you, I don't have time to try and build up, I know what I can do, it's just a matter of getting there, and having the intitial $$$ to start it up.