Needing advice on business startup

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Big C, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. Big C

    Big C LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,642

    I am planning on starting my business in early spring and I am planning to target the 1 acre or less residential lawns in my area with a max of about 10-15 accounts potentially. I have been looking at prices of ztr's and wb to start my business, and have had a change of heart and will be using the equipment I already own(30"' Snapper rear engine mower-2yrs old, troy-bilt blower-1yr old, 20' push mower-5yrs old, Husqvarna trimmer-1yr old, and a homelite spare trimmer with edger attachment-5 yrs old as well as a 5 X12 trailer and 99 Dodge Dakota Sport truck. I may buy a new edger/spare trimmer because it is giving me problems and may be better to replace than repair. All of the previously mentioned equip. is paid for and I will only have a few minor expenses to startup (ie insurance, license..advertising..etc) in you guys expert opinions will my equipment be sufficient for my first summer in business and what option would be better as a rookie putting customers on contract or advertise myself on a "call as needed" basis.....Let me know what you think!!
  2. echeandia

    echeandia LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,131

    These expenses may be larger than you think.

    Regarding your equipment you should be fine. I have an old craftsman 21" push mower that I keep on my trailer for gated yards I couldn't get my WB through. It was used 3 or 4 times a week all season long and will go into service next year again. Just make sure to change the oil regularly. Grease is cheaper than steel.
  3. Big C

    Big C LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,642

    When I said "minor" expenses, I meant minor in comparison to a $5000 to $7000 mower......that's all
  4. LawnSharks

    LawnSharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 300

    I would re-evaluate the mower capabilities a little. Acre lots with a 30" mower means a long time on site and a lot of wear and tear on a non-commercial piece of equipment. Commercial WB's are a dime a dozen now as the drought and end-of-season have really put a strain on a lot of folks. I would suggest a 48" or 52" WB with velkie as a good place to start. Constantly monitor Craigslist and eBay for quick deals.
    Good luck to you,
  5. tknoel

    tknoel LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    Big C,
    This past spring was my first year. I started with a Toro 21", Troy Built Trimmer, Poulan Hand Held and 4X8 trailer. Things went pretty good and I picked up about 15 full-time accounts. One mistake I made was taking any job that came at me instead of just concentrating on growing my core weekly base. Live and learn. At the end of the season I had made enough to get a 48" WB and a leaf shredder that more than paid for itself. Have a plan. Tweak when you need to, but stick to it and you will be fine.
  6. jiggz

    jiggz LawnSite Senior Member
    from jerz
    Messages: 646

    i think that snapper rear drive might be a little pokie...Like the one guy said i would look for a quality walkbehine
    hes right they can be had used for decent prices..and if your going to be doing larger areas like close to an acre they will
    spank that snapper in terms of time ..but if you dont have the bucks right now..make due with what you got.. you sound ok besides
    the trimmer thats giving you problems.. THIS IS NOT AN AREA TO SKIMP.. you need a good quality trimmer!!! something like a Shin,Redmax,Kawi,ect..
    it drives me nuts how them homelites spin the wrong way lol
  7. old oak lawn

    old oak lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 703

    you need to get used walkbehind and pay cash for it snaper wont last and is to slow. do weekley service dont let customer "call as needed " they will call after skipping 3 weeks and think you will cut for weekley price. set customers up for weekley service and give each one a day of service tell them this is your day if u dont need lawn service please call the day before your day and i will skip you that call i show up and cut the lawn as i think that is what u want.if they are skipping days that it needs to be cut you need to tell them that you will have to charge more bacuse it is harder to cut.get as good of a trimmer and blower as u can afford. {husqvarna and still are verry good }1 arce lots 48" wb to start with .
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Even thou I would normally disagree, I think with 10-15 customers and the way you have things planned this would be a good way to test the waters and get a feel for things so you can see a little bit of the bigger picture.

    By the way, until you've grossed in excess of a 1,000 dollars you should be able to declare this as a hobby.
    If you're married then your wife might be able to buffer another 1,000
    Believe me, the first 1-2 grand doesn't come that quick.
    Once you get much beyond that or if it does come super quick then you'll want to worry yourself about a license.
  9. Sundancekid74

    Sundancekid74 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    I admire a guy that wants to start from scratch... same as I did. I paid $500.00 for a 36" Ransomes Bobcat WB and $600.00 for a 48" scag WB; the 14' trailor cost me an additional $400.00 and I was on my way. I would start from scratch and look to market my business with hopes of attaining some clients. In the meantime I would upgrade my equipment to commmercial WB's; used of course for the first couple of years.
  10. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,648

    Lots of good advice above. I think your equipment list is fine.

    I suggest that you use what you have until you have too many customers, and you can't handle the work with the equipment you have. When you run out of time to finish all the work, buy bigger/better/faster equipment, but only if you know that you can then take on more customers to pay for it. When something breaks and needs to be replaced, get the best you can, so long as it is justified by your customer list.

    If you want to spend some money, spend it on marketing, and get the customers lined up.

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