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Need advice! Starting a business under special conditions.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Vaporman87, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. Vaporman87

    Vaporman87 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 3

    My company is contemplating getting into the lawn care business as a summer supplement to our existing propane business. During the summer months, we have several crew members available to do the work. Since we have to pay them no matter what they are doing, we figure why not make some money. We also have to maintain seven plant locations; mowing, weed-eating, and such. With some better equipment, we figure this could be a good side business. Can anyone give me some advice or information that we may not be considering, pros and cons. . . . . . anything?
  2. Lawn-Sharks

    Lawn-Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 912

    it sounds like you have a good idea about what you want to do, but most people think that running a lawn business and mowing is a no brainer operation and in some aspects it can be. Just don't treat it that way when you start doing the work other wise you will be blessed with a ton of calls from your customer complaining about how crappy there yard looks, because its now a free-n-easy occupation to do! Now back to a few pointers..
    1. Are you buying new or used equipment???? Either way have a back up plan because equipment breaks down All THE TIME
    2. Have you considered converting your mowers from gas to propane and buying fuel from your self???
    3.Make good decisions on who you pick for your lawn crew (example) Don't use the employee that has the "I hate working for man" attitude because when you use people like that for swing work they seem to find ways to get hurt and run you business cost up! also that kind of attitude spread like wild fire and the next thing you know "Mutiny" (lawn care is not as easy as it seems) it will challenge even the most physical fit person.
    4.Are you planning on targeting residential or commercial??? or both??
    residential customers tend to not want to sigh contracts so change the wording to Lawn service agreement. It works better that way sometimes.
    5.Have all of you licenses and permits for work.
    6. Don't plan on this being part time if you offer to mow lawns people are going to expect there lawns to be cut even in your busy propane selling season. So either your all in or all out!
    7. Keep reading post here on LS and talk and buy stuff from the sponsors.
    I don't have time to touch all the areas of a lawn business but i hope this shines a little light on the business for you.
    P.S. DON"T LOWBALL your competition it can be bad business for you!!!!
    The Lawn companies that have been around for a minute or two have a way of BAD MOUTHING you around town FAST. Remember your the new GUY, and you will have a hard time getting work if you do this.
  3. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,632

    It would certainly be worthwhile getting a mower/blower/trimmer and trailer just to manage the 7 locations. You'd save some $$ on lawn service, and get to know how long thngs take, how much fuel, how much maintanence, etc. One guy in one day could maybe do them all.

    If that goes well and you make all your mistakes on your own properties, you could expand to friends and family, or good customers. Then start advertising.

    Lawn-shark's idea of running propane mowers is a very smart idea.

    But remember, as Lawn-shark said, it is a commitment. And it goes beyond mowing. My customers expect other services from me, like mulch, pruning, cleanups, dethatching, aeration, edging, plantings, seeding, and so on. Very few are mow only.
  4. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,456

    Interesting that the crew members are not loaded full time....bet they will be really happy to start doing manual labor out in heat. Why don't you get out there and start converting lawn companies units to propane and increase your summer business.
  5. Vaporman87

    Vaporman87 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 3

    Actually they already do manual labor out in the heat. Painting customer tanks, pumping out returning tanks, servicing vehicles, and as I stated before, mowing and trimming the yards of each plant. This would entail setting aside some crew to perform lawn care, and some to perform the other lower priority labor. Additionally, If I could somehow convince every lawn care professional in the area to purchase propane powered equipment. . . who's to say they would always buy the propane from me? Even if they did, it would not really increase our sales by much.
  6. Cashio13

    Cashio13 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 111

    i think he was saying if YOU used propane mowers it would be cheaper for you to run them because you would be able to buy the propane wholesale instead of resale, saving you a lot of dough. By the way, i used to work at a propane plant a couple years ago...Blue Rhino here in Mass.
  7. Vaporman87

    Vaporman87 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 3

    I've considered that. However I think ed2hess was suggesting that we concentrate more on converting lawn care companies to propane powered equipment as opposed to getting into the business for ourselves.

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