1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum .

    Dismiss Notice

Part time mowing

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by wrxscby, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. gasracer

    gasracer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,049

    There is a lot of good information posted in this thread. Please take serious. I have been doing this full time for 4 years and I have way over $20,000 worth of equipment.It takes time to build a good client list.
    Think about what yards you want to do and the size of equipment that will fit on those properties. Are they flat?Do they have gated back yards?Does your area have a lot of hills?
    Just to give you a idea of operating costs my fuel bill is over $200 a week.Insurance is almost $2,000 a year.I bought a new mower back in the Spring and it was $6,000.Your cost maybe lower but insurance is a must and if you buy a new commercial machine of a known brand they are $5,000 to $12,000.
  2. wrxscby

    wrxscby LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    I was looking at starting with smaller yards that I can just push mow but if the need arose for a big rider I would try and find a used scag or kubota maybe? I realize this isnt a get rich quick kind of thing and there are tons and tons of people out there that mow but I have been doing lawn care applications for over 15 years and thought that I knew the most about this kind of buisness rather than trying to go work somewhere and hope they can give me the hours on the days I have available!!
  3. gasracer

    gasracer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,049

    There are a lot of different brands of machines that will give you good service.Check Craigslist for used machines.Time is money.A 36" will cut your time down on small yards.
  4. wrxscby

    wrxscby LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    I have seen a lot of the guys near me using ex mark. I remember way back in the 90's when I mowed for chemlawn that the ex marks were pretty decent mowers. Thanks for the info!
  5. yardude

    yardude LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    I recently started a small part time yard service & the advice of getting liability insurance is important (typically $1,000,000 policy). I hate to say it but society is sue happy. Also you may find you want to get into commercial or government accounts where they will require this from you. As for buying equipment, it looks like you have a quality commercial mower. I was able to purchase other commercial equipment used for .30 to .50 on the dollar. I purchase a newer used commercial hand blower for $100 from a reputable lawn mower shop. He even gave me 90 days guarantee on it & he knew I was doing commercial work. I know that a lot of people say get a backpack blower, but I find my handheld works great. My lawns are all smaller being typically 5000-6500 square feet (including the house on the lot). I also found on Craigslist a $329 commercial string trimmer for $100. This trimmer was literally used 5 times from a homeowner who liked their electric lightweight trimmer better, so my gain. Since you say you are not opening the business for several months, you have time to shop for a deal. That for me is a challenge but part of the fun finding great deals on quality equipment. There is other great advice given on the board so read on & best of luck.
  6. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,673

    $1.5 million in insurance cost $385.00 for the year for me. And I have it all. I'm not sure why everyone else is paying thousands. Are you really going to have enough time with a pushmower and a full time job? Ever think of making your wife get a job? I did and it didn't work for me. As for adding 10 accounts, you may have better odds with the lottery. Good luck.
  7. wrxscby

    wrxscby LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    My wife has 2 jobs! Why do you think 10 accounts is unobtainable? I have a few towns near me with a lot of retired folks and people who are too busy to take care of their mowing. I am going to try and start with 1 account and work from there!! I will put up flyers around favorable buisnesses that could net me an account or 2. If it doesnt work then I will try something else. I just love to mow grass and figured I could try this first! I realize the economy isnt the best but it really is not as bad in my area.
  8. ny scaper

    ny scaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    Lots of good advice on here, especially from MDL. Thanks for that. 10 Accounts if definitely attainable. Now is not the best time of year to start mowing, but you can get fall cleanups if you want to do that.
    -I've been partime for 5 years and only want 10-15 full service accounts any given year. I love side work though. I can tell you as everyone else can here that anybody can get accounts, but its hard to build up GOOD accounts.
    -I have found that once I got a trailer and started offering full service from spring thru fall in 2008, I became much busier (started making real money) and I could pick and choose who I wanted to work for as I only want the 10-15 accounts. This has enabled me to weed out the PIA customers. I personally hate mowing and opnly do it because it gets me all the other jobs at a given property, cleanups, mulch, pruning. Just something to think about. It seems that I went from being the "lawn boy" to their "landscaper".
    -Now have 90% great customers, with 10% that can be PIA's. Granted I'm on amuch smaller scale than most on here, but it is similar to what you are trying to do.
  9. wrxscby

    wrxscby LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    Great advice from everyone!! I'm not planning on trying to get this kickstarted until next spring. I was going to put up flyers around the local diners and grocery stores to try and get some local buisness and like I said, try and talk to my bosses and see if they would mind if I solicit my lawncare customers as well. If I can get some of those people I have been on their propertys for 8 years and have a pretty good repoire with them. If I need to buy a bigger machine than I have then so be it!! I love that everyone on here is willing to give the advice. It is a great resource that would not have been available years ago!!
  10. BBC.lawn.services

    BBC.lawn.services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    I'm in the same boat as you, my company is going on its second year. We're trying to ramp up our business and get around 25 hrs worth of work ( 4 man team.)

    We're pretty fortunate and already have nice equipment between me and the guy I partner with. (Scag turf tiger, echo handhelds etc.) and a good client who has multiple lawns for us to do. So its been a pretty easy start up for us.

    I would recommend getting something bit bigger than the 21". It will go really slow and very much limit your production but you'll have to way how much more money a bigger mower will make for you vs. the cost, to see whether its the right move for you. Sometimes efficiencies upgrades aren't worth it due to this!

    I like the advice of going and doing fall clean ups to try to get potential clients! We're planning on going door to door this fall when we have time to try to get fall clean ups and than will talk about our mowing business in the summer with the folks that hire us for a clean up.

    I'm going to start a thread in the picture forum to map my companies progress. Your welcome to tag along and "steal" any ideas you find from there.

    Good luck!

Share This Page