Need Advice

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Bassman, Mar 31, 2000.

  1. Bassman

    Bassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 270

    Been planning starting a lawn/landscape service since last November. Have my business plan, know the local market and competition, etc. Dilemma is; I can strike a deal with my present employer to work half day, (8-1),which would make my house payment and maybe utilities and have the second half of day to attend to the lawn service. With daylight savings time coming up, theoretically this would give enough time to cover my lawn business. I will have app. 10-20 lawns to begin with because I will be buying them from other local lawn services. (Plan on offering app. 1 months maint. fee per account.). I will keep the coverage area traveled to a minimum. Not sure I have enough hours in the day to get off to a good start with lawn service though. I have enough cash in reserve for 2 months living expenses if I go flat out full time lawn service. I will have no equip. payments. My question is, can I have the time to make call backs to potential new customers, drive time for estimates, passing out business cards in the community, placing flyers in targeted neighborhoods, requests for other landscape maint. other than mow, trim, edge, blow & go, etc. I don't want to start out half assed and perhaps hinder picking up new accounts for not calling back new prospects and getting out quickly to talk with them but the money for basic living expenses from my current job would be nice as I get established. Should I go full bore from the get go? Or would I be hampering my chance of success by starting part time during the busy season for lawn maint? I'm not sure it's worth the trade off taking away half a day when I'm wanting to give the lawn service business my best efforts from the start. I am committed to succeed and don't want to look back and wish I had given 100% of my time from the start. Any and all advice would be appreciated. <p><br>
  2. Charles

    Charles Moderator, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 11,810

    As with any business Bassman you are going to get out of it what you put into it. You don't say what is wrong with your current job to make you want to leave it. If you go parttime with that company will you still receive benefits? What kind of equipment are you starting out with? That will make a big difference in how much time you will have left to give estimates etc. We need more info from you.
  3. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    Part time to full time is a big jump.<p>I'm in a situation much like yours. I work full time, but only 6-2. It leaves me a lot of time, but a lot of time is not enough time (lol, that sounds funny)<p>for instance. <p>Today, a event i would of never guessed happened. I have a job set up for tomorrow and was suppose to pick up a machine from a friend tonight. When I went to meet him today to talk and then deliver the tractor I need for the weekend, the most bizarre event occured.<p>I got to his house, everything fine, and went to go in his house and BAM. I opened the door, a dog ran out, and believe it or not, smash. Got hit by a car. I couldn't believe it. It so happens his sister is there from california, and she shows dogs for a living, and the dog that ran out was a trophy award winning canine. <p>I felt like complete crap......<p>As soon as it got hit, him and his sister were in the van to the vet before I could blink. Meanwhile, I just stood there because I had NO idea what happened.<p>The point here. <p>Well, first, I still feel like complete crap. Second, I no longer have a machine for tomorrow because he's leaving town and won't be able to deliver it. <p>So what's my point here.<p>This. Don't plan on having things done like you 'planned' when working part time. Its very difficult to schedule events out when you already have a schedule that is very inflexible.<p>I've lost a good amount of money because of things like renting machines on the weekend, then having it rain from sat afternoon throuht sunday night and having a rented machine sitting there that I didn't even use.<br>Then, I have to reschedule for the next weekend, pay the trucking charge again (I don't have a truck big enough to tow a case 580) for the work I couldn't do the week before. <p>My best advice would be not to over extend yourself. In mowing, what would happen if it rained all week and you couldn't mow. Would your part time job allow enough time for you to make up this backlog of accounts?<br>And if it didn't, what would you do?<p>For myself, I am getting ready to sit down and come up with solutions to the time problems that I have. I think that I have to stay away from the larger jobs, even though the money is so great, and make sure that I stay within my realm. It is very frustrating sometimes , because I have the knowlegdge and resources to complete the jobs, but the unexpected always pops in there and bites me in the ass. With out that extra time to make room for 'occurences', it can be very difficult. <p>Sorry for the length,<br>the dog accident really bothered me today though and I guess I just had to get it off my mind. <p>steveair<p>
  4. cjcland

    cjcland LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 278

    if it makes you feel any better just think of all the dog doo you have stepped in while weedeating(just kidding) sorry to here about the dog and your plans, i work three days on mowing m/w/f and i always find stuff to do on the other 2 days(my wife wors sat. so i have the kids cant work then)what im trying to say is eventually you never have enough time i say go for it there are no guarantees in life you have the chance to control your destiny, im in business for 2 years and money has been tight but it gets better with every new job, how many other jobs can you get a raise every week, good luck to you and your venture<p>----------<br>CJC Landscape Management<br>Winter Haven, Florida
  5. OP

    Bassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 270

    Charles: Thanks for your post. In answer to your questions; It would take a very long post to explain what is wrong with my current job. Suffice it to say that I have been in business for myself most of my life and at this juncture I am not. No, I would not receive benefits ie: health ins., etc. I will be starting out with ZTR 48&quot; commercial mower, perhaps 36&quot; hydro walk behind, and commercial grade trimmer, stick edger and blower. I have a limited budget, this equipment will be the best used equipment I can find. I know from reading posts on this forum there are pro's and cons about starting with used equip. versus new but cannot afford a new ZTR mower to start out and don't want any monthly payments hanging over me at the start. I am currently debt free, (for the first time in 20 years). I will concentrate on residential accounts with fairly small lots, (mostly 1/4 acre). I would like to work up to 50 customers per week my my first season and hopefully convert enough into yearly accounts to see me through my first off-season. Good people on this board.<br>P.S. steveair: Tomorrow is another day. Thanks for your input, things seem to never go &quot;as planned&quot;. Hope you have a better day tomorrow. Bassman
  6. bassman wrote:<br>&gt;). I would like to work up to 50 customers per week my my first season and hopefully convert enough into yearly accounts to see me through my first off-season. <p>If you southern guys want yearly accounts<br>you should overseed your turf with ryegrass<br>come November.<p>Of you could just come North and make and<br>work 8 months of the year instead of 12 and<br>make the same money.<br>
  7. cjcland

    cjcland LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 278

    will the rye grass effect the existing turf in anyway and what about st. augustine?<p>----------<br>CJC Landscape Management<br>Winter Haven, Florida
  8. Starling Lawn

    Starling Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    nd,<br>in reply to your questions,no it will not affect the st augustine turf,but it will kill some blades in early spring.
  9. Charles

    Charles Moderator, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 11,810

    Bassman, If you start out with small yards. Make sure they are close together and that drive and loading and unloading is minimised. If you buy used equipment make sure the deck wheels, belts etc are not really worn and no rust. Try to get a maintaince record for the mowers.
  10. Bobby

    Bobby LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 258

    Hey Bassman, I read in another post ,you are in south FLA. There is no off season here. The newer areas have sprinkler systems. Water and the right fertilizer will keep your lawns growing all year. Where in south FLA are you? East coast or west?<p>----------<br>Bobby <br>Ft Lauderdale

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