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New guy from Houston TX

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by EMS83, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. EMS83

    EMS83 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Hello guys,

    Well I'll start with some info about myself, Im a 21 year old, full time business management student, and with some great interest about starting a business in lawn care.

    I plan to start part-time, and would like to know if there are some classes I can take to provide better service, like irrigation systems, fertilizers, or anything related to lawn care and design. Also what permits do I need to start in the bussines or certifications?
    What would be a good capital to start in the business? And for houstonians, Is the market good for rookies or is it overcrowded?

  2. Heath

    Heath LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    I'm from Houston as well and planning on starting part time with about 15-20 small residential clients next spring. I want to test the waters to see if getting customers is harder than I plan with all these smaller outfits riding around town. I know some guys who have mainly commercial here in town and they do well, I plan on heading that direction down the road. As far as classes, I would say the more education the better, but what people want here that are worth doing business with, is service and professionalism. Good luck, what area of Houston are you going to be targeting?
  3. EMS83

    EMS83 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Well I live in Katy, so maybe Cypress, Katy, etc. Im going to be flying solo so Ill target residential clients aswell, and of course targeting yards that are worth $20-$40 so I dont starve, however, I dont have any idea on how to price my work, I know I have to include my gas, maintenance of tools and miscellaneous. I want to start making $20/hr (is it too much?), so if a yard takes me one hour to mow I guess I can charge some $30 for mowing it, right? What you guys think? Ill start networking with people and offer my services for next season to see how many are interested, church, friends from school, neighbors, the local bar hehe :rolleyes:
  4. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,510

    Be careful Houston about trying to do everything from the start. Every new service you include will take an investment in more equipment and a place to store it.

    I'm finishing my second season and think I'm maybe still a freshman in the school of hard knocks. There will be some. Much more to learn than meets the eye.

    If you love the work its worth it. Nothing I'd rather be doing. Don't know how I worked inside all those years.
  5. EMS83

    EMS83 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Well every new service will be offered only when I get more experience and dedicate more time into the business, I was just wondering about the classes because I'm not familiar if there is a certification needed for the different services I plan to offer in the future, like irrigation, lighting, etc.
    There is still a lot of school time ahead of me, so this will come in maybe four years or five years :eek:
  6. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    First of all forget all of that Per hour rate, you are running a buisness not getting an hourly wage. I would not mow for under $25.00, infact I am moving to almost $30.00 this spring because of fuel costs. You need to find solid neighborhoods that are $175k and up, those are you best customers and most arent on some type of budget that you have to work around.

    Also you need liabilty insurance, you wont be able to get any good commerical accounts with out it. I would highly recomend it because unless you have a lot of money in the bank you will get sued for anything you break.

    Most landscapers in Houston are Mexicans, some illegal some legal. If you pick the right areas to work, you wont have huge problems with undercutting and lowballing. Working in the right area means that the people you work for are looking for quality work, not cheap prices.

    I dont know what type of mowers you are looking for, but if you want any other help, I would be glad to help you out.
  7. EMS83

    EMS83 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Thanks Southern Yankee,

    Well I was thinking about a 36" walk-behind, a 21" self propelled, blower, edger, trimmer, and hedge trimmer.

    I have heard good reviews about STIHL products when it comes to blowers, edgers, etc. What brand you recomend for the 36" and the 21"?

    I know maintenance is a key to make these last. Also do you know if dealers also sell used machinery? I wouldnt mind saving a little payup
  8. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    I buy all of my stuff from cypress lawn...also known as zriders.com...they are in cypress on Grant Rd. Grant road is right off of 249.

    They will have the cheapest prices on anything they sell in the whole city.

    I like Gravely,exmark is pricey , but nice.Lesco is cheap but decent and there are lescos all over the city. I like the one on 45 near tom peacock Nissan.

    I dont like sthil, personally I bought some redmax and that will be my new brand since Echo has gone a little down hill.

    36" or 32" mower with a 21" is a good set up for Houston.

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