New buisiness startup

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by metalsasquach, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. metalsasquach

    metalsasquach LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Hello all.

    I decided to start my business this upcoming spring. After plenty of researching and learning i believe that i have everything planned out. The reason i come here with my plan is so you can critic and possibly lead me into the right path if something dose not sound right.

    I will be a solo operation for as long as i can handle. By the way im 24 and will still be holding onto my current day job.

    Mowers: Starting with a 42" Exmark walk behind that i already own, aswell as a 21" push mower. Neither have any catching system for clippings etc, is this something i should initially invest in or what?

    Handhelds: I currently have none. Thoughts on buying some from big box store to keep costs down since i'm only just starting out, Then replace by next season? Or just start with commercial quality? Also any advise on brands/models that would be good firsts would be helpful. (need trimmer, edger, blower, hedge trimmer)

    Trailer: Going to start with a 6x10 i already own, then upgrade to an enclosed when the times right.

    Website: I've been playing around with squarespace a lot, really like how its looking so far. I'll most likley be using squarespace since i'm not very computer savvy.

    Advertising: (my budget will be low, $500 possibly)
    -door hangers
    -direct mail
    -register for yahoo/google etc businesses
    -vehicle/trailer magnets (12"x24"?)
    -word of mouth
    -when i do someones lawn, and i see a neighbor outside ill go up to them, introduce myself and leave a card. "hey im jon, i have been taking care of your neighbors yard. if you need anything let me know". Short, sweet and now they know me, who i am and what i do aswell as the quality of work.

    Vehicle: Dont laugh, its all i have. Buick Rendezvous, its only temporary and pulls the trailer fine. Definatly at the top of my list would be getting a truck, but again when the time is right.

    Insurance: I got quoted $442 for 12 months of general liability.

    Im obviously trying to keep all costs relativly low, without being too cheap. I just dont want alot of overhead and feel like im working just to keep the buisiness going to pay for itself to keep going. I will be taking out a small loan to help buy handhelds, advertising. The loan will be under $5k, but probably around $3k (again trying to keep costs low, dont want huge payments)

    Overhead estimates: (im going over estimate for wiggle room)
    -Loan payment - $5k/48 months ( $105/mo for 48mo. aprox.)
    -insurance - $442/year
    -fuel - $800/mo
    -extras (oil, repairs, trimmer line etc.) - $300/mo

    So i broke down the numbers from above, is it wise to divide my loan and payment into 5 months instead of all year? Because now in the beginning i will be seasonal for 5 months and not be snow plowing until the future?

    loan payment - $5k/48 months (105/mo. for 48 months)
    i could pay monthly payment (year round) of $105 which is $1260 per year.


    i could pay monthly payment of $252 for 5 months, and not have to worry about another payment during the off season.

    If i calculated everything as i explained in the example above my total overhead per month would be approximately:

    Loan: $242
    Insurance: $89
    Fuel: $800
    extra: $300

    $1431 per month.

    Im sorry how unorganized that was, and i hope its not confusing. Everyone please give me your advise and let me know how you think everything looks.
    Thank you for reading, Jon.
  2. TheLugNutZ

    TheLugNutZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    Starting off myself in the spring part time. One thing I will caution is to not finance anything. I started a thread very similar last month, some good info I there. Try your best to keep that monthly number down !

    Other huge thing for me was getting an enclosed trailer up front. Starting part time I have ZERO time to load/unload the trailer. And I want my stuff protected from the weather if it starts raining when Im away from home. Esp if i decide to sell the equipment down the road. Something to keep in mind...
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    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  3. Olympia

    Olympia LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    Sounds like a plan... Good luck!
    Word of mouth is big... I just started this past yr and word of mouth helped me a lot...
  4. Middle Tennessee Lawn

    Middle Tennessee Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 220

    Rule number one never borrow money except to buy a home!
    Next you have mowers and trailer I say save over winter buy good 300.00 weedeater and good hamdheld blower around 185.00
    Print some cards from vistaprint 12.00
    And to get business to start with have some business card magnets made from them about 500 will get you going while you still working. Apply the magnets to fronts of mailboxes. No business name nothing for you to start with for first year because you dont have the money.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. Dr. Cornwallis

    Dr. Cornwallis LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 854

    Advertising helps and it's definitely important, especially when you are starting off and you really have no word of mouth, however, once you get some momentum word of mouth is the best.
  6. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    Unless you have at least 18 months of funding in reserve to cover your day to day living expenses, Don't proceed any further. Your thread reads like you are very under capitalized. I suggest contacting SCORE,setting up an appointment to help you moving forward. The cost is free, I believe making this appointment could make the difference between success and failure. Good Hunting
    easy-lift guy
  7. AlohaMowing

    AlohaMowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    It sounds like you have given this a lot of thought.

    I agree with the advice to avoid debt. When I have started businesses, the starts have been slow and small scale, but by having no debt for them the stress level has been low. Worrying about a loan can drive you crazy. As long as the trailer works for you, I would not be in a rush to replace that Buick Rendezvous as long as it is reliable and looks good for the same reason -- minimizing debt. I've had my current truck for 15 years, and it replaced one I drove 23 years.

    I believe that image is important to instilling confidence in people, and people need to be confident to give you their business. Part of creating that image is looking professional, and I think professionally designed business cards, vehicle magnetic sign, flyers, etc. can help. A graphic designer can be expensive, or can be very affordable. One whose work I like, and who is very affordable, is Judy at Portable Graffiti Graphics. Find her online at

    When you go to the grocery store, Home Depot, etc., have the magnetic sign displayed on your vehicle. When you notice someone looking at your sign, take the initiative to approach them, introduce yourself, and give them a business card and/or flyer just as you plan to do with neighbors of customers.

    Good luck.
  8. metalsasquach

    metalsasquach LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Thanks everyone for the reply's! I wasnt expecting so many so quickly. I do agree with you all about the loan (to fund handhelds and initial advertising), i was also thinking to avoid borrowing any money would be to use a chunk of my taxes (about $2k), which should be enough for a wacker, trimmer, edger, blower and the rest for advertising.

    Yes i am under capitalized, but ive seen people make it with much less (all the Honda civic with a push mower in the trunk story's). I wouldn't be quitting my day job, which pays the bills at home. The idea with my tax return (also get a profit sharing bonus from work about the same time), we always use it to pay off rent for about 10 months of the year. Deducting the 2k i would spend on handhelds and advertising, i would have like 7 months rent paid. So that will defiantly relive any stress about making a loan payment for the business and still trying to make my monthly rent of $550.

    As for the SCORE i will look into it and see if its offered around my area, i really have no idea what its about. Will defiantly research this.

    Thanks again for your responses, all taken into consideration.
  9. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,852

    18 months or don't proceed any further? Was that a typo, easy-lift? Even your much beloved SCORE recommends the usual 6 months.
  10. TheLugNutZ

    TheLugNutZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    I think he means 18 months IF the guy is going to be doing this full time and quitting his day job.

    Im starting next spring (only part time) and if i were to save 18 months of expenses (my share, not including my wifes contribution to the household) I would need $50k in the bank, YIKES! :dizzy:

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