New business - advice wanted - Yes, I researched first.

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Kressious, May 20, 2008.

  1. Kressious

    Kressious LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Alright, I've done some searching on the thread about different information. I
    just wanted to know before someone said "search for it."

    A little info:

    I just graduated college with a Business Management Major. I'm starting my landscaping business right now instead of going out and getting a job.

    I know it's slow at the start, and to make that worse, I have a partner as well. He owned a landscaping company for 3 years in highschool. He loves just getting out there and doing the work and working and I love the business aspect of it. So we're partners, but we won't be doing the same jobs, unless someone needs a little help.

    I formed the LLC and am finishing up the logo/website within 1-2 weeks.

    We are focusing on Design and Installation, but will do a little maintenance to start with so we can get some set money coming it. We already have 1 month booked of work for friends/family.

    I've been reading a lot and buying books such as "Tax Savvy for Small Businesses"


    Do I need Quickbooks Pro or will the basic version be fine? We will have 1-2 other people working for us so I'll need to do 1099's to pay them.

    On a daily basis, how do you keep track of gas/mileage/expenses? I'm thinking about a small notepad for each truck, and then I'll just file each receipt.

    Do I REALLY need an accountant for My partner, 1-2 employees, and me? I'll eventually need one, but will it help me THAT much right now compared to the cost?

    How are you filing your information? I'm not sure whether to make a folder for each customer and put the quotes/invoices/payments/ stuff in there, track all expenses by month in a folder and have them organized in Quickbooks, or how I should best file?

    I really appreciate your advice and help. I'm making a run at this business and would love to be contributing to the forums and others as much as I can when I get more knowledge!

    Southern Oasis, LLC
  2. KevinACrider

    KevinACrider LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    If they are working for you, you cannot 1099 them. You can only use 1099's if they are subcontractors and do not work for you. You're much better off just going the employee/employer way rather than 1099. I can go further into detail on this if you'd like.

    Keep receipts, like you said. I use Groundskeeper Pro for my tracking and it allows you to track expenses such as this.

    Personal preference. For your first year, probably not. Just make sure you set money aside to pay the taxes next Spring.

    Here again, Groundskeeper Pro!

    Good luck and most of all, enjoy doing it!
  3. Kressious

    Kressious LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Thank you for the response. I just read more about employee/employer and you're right, they won't be 1099'ed.

    so I can just use regular Quickbooks then? Do you do you own payroll, or use a service for that?
  4. KevinACrider

    KevinACrider LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    You can use QuickBooks but I find the Groundskeeper Pro software to just be outstanding. It has scheduling, billing, customer database, etc all in one. It's a really solid all-around application and makes my life alot easier.

    For payroll, you can do it yourself or pay someone else to do it. Once again, Groundskeeper has payroll built into it as well.

    *I don't work for, associate with or even know anyone involved with Groundskeeper. I just really like the software and would recommend it to anyone.
  5. Kressious

    Kressious LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Thank you for your replies and help.

    The main reason I wanted quickbooks was because I figured it would be easier to do year end taxes. Have you had any issues with year end taxes?
  6. KevinACrider

    KevinACrider LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    This is my first season.
  7. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,398

    Eventually, you will need an accountant. Most accountants are familiar with Quickbooks and so that is what I recommend.

    Now, I know you didn't ask, but about the partnership issue. . . Is there a reason why you have this guy as a partner? "He mowed some lawns in high school" is not a good reason. Are you not interested in doing the work yourself? You are starting with a whole lot of overhead with the payment of yourself, your partner, and 2 employees. That is going to make things real tight - especially at first.

    If you are planning to do some of the hands on work yourself, then separate from your partner and start your business. If you are not planning on doing some of the work, then find some other way that you can use your degree.

    You have a degree in business management. I respect that. But, with the way you are going, you are also going to get a degree from the school of hard knocks. Having a partner right now is the easiest way, but it is not the best way.
  8. Brian Hay

    Brian Hay LawnSite Member
    Messages: 106

    This is my first year in business and it's just the wife and I at the moment. We have an accountant and I believe that has been money well spent so far.
  9. Kressious

    Kressious LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I understand what you're saying here. He's a lot more than "mowing some lawns". He is overhead as I am, but we're doing more than maintenance, and I can't do that by myself just like he can't do that by himself. He has all the hands on landscaping knowledge and I have more business sense.

    We're both realistic about what's going on and understand not to expect a lot of money or anything else like that. We're pretty well booked so far, and haven't had any problems.

    Also, I have other sources of incomes that I've been working on, but I'm really working on this landscaping business to get it to a full time job and a primary source of income.

    I do appreciate your concern though. We've been building retaining walls, design and installation, laying sod, pressure washing, etc. All without investing into equipment, but I am expecting to invest into equipment as we do more maintenance.
  10. jrush

    jrush LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

    I have Quickenbooks pro, and I'm not gonna lie, it's a little bit of a pita. But it has some nice features. I think the estimate portion of it is a bit cheesy, does'nt look very professional. But the invoices are nice. I'm sure it does a bunch more stuff that I have'nt figured out yet. If you do go with it, check out ebay, you get it way cheaper than staples, or elsewhere.

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