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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Newbie07, May 28, 2005.

  1. Newbie07

    Newbie07 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    OK, I just posted on here about whether it was too late to get lawns and I think that my friends (Set of twins)and I are to combine with another friend who just bought a power washer. Then it would be a crew of four and we are going to buy a trailer. About how much should a used trailer cost at about 12 feet for landscaping. Will 12 feet be enough for the washer, 2 walk behinds, weed eaters, edgers, and blowers. Also how much do you charge to pressure wash an average size driveway? To get us started we are also doing curb painting and any other jobs to get us going. Thanks, any other advice would be very much appreciated. :D
  2. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,457

    You might be able to fit all that stuff on a 12 foot trailer, but the answer to your question is no.

    12 foot will not be enough.

    I have an 8 x 20 and I catch myself wishing for an extra 2 foor all the time. But if I bought a 22 footer I'm positive I'd find a way to fill that and still need 2 more feet of floor space.

    Good luck, you have to start somewhere.
  3. Newbie07

    Newbie07 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    OK, thanx, for our small business will the extra 2 feet be enough. We do the odd landscaping job every now and then but the enclosed trailers are not even an option. They might be if they were 2,000 cheaper but... How much would a 12 to 16 foot lanscape trailer cost. We need one with the tool box and the weed eater racks. I live in Mansfield, Texas. Any one down here know a good place to get a nice used trailer. Thanx for the responses. We have a low budget until we start getting more jobs and... payup
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I think you should slow way down. It sounds like you are excited, and that is about to cost you an arm and a leg. Perhaps your friends are helping with the money, in which case the next part does not apply... I don't mean to sound tough but I been through bankruptcy and I been through enough of the horsecrap to last me a lifetime - Today I don't trust my friends when it comes to my business, I run it by myself and we can chit-chat over coffee later, after the work is done. But, could be in your case things are different.

    Now a 6x12 IS enough if you don't load the entire store. You can buy one used for around 900-1000, brand-new they go for 1200-1400. The one I bought is brand-new because it came with a warranty and I did not want to fool with broken crap. They last 8-10, maybe 12 years for a full-time hauling operation, so a used one may not be all that. I bought one with 2-foot solid sides which cost 1400, license tax and registration: 1,500 dollars.
    Oh, almost forgot: You need a Class-III trailer hitch: 200 dollars.
    But, I had 5 thousand dollars when I started (more on this later).

    Look, I do mulch, core aeration/tilling, hedge trimming and grass-cutting as mains, and a few odd things here and there.
    I mean I got 3 Wb's, a wheelbarrow, aerator, tiller, shovels, rakes, tarps, weedeater + edger, 2 backpacks, chainsaw, hedgetrimmer, gascans and so much more stuff I can't remember all but, dude I can't fit it all if I tried.
    That, and every piece of equipment adds weight to the beast, and more weight = more fuel used. Back when gas was cheap, I'd carry 2 wb's just in case one broke down and I carried all sorts of crap - My truck got 10 mpg.
    Now way I do things, I divide my days to do one thing and one thing only ALL day, then that is what I load up for. So when I go grass-cutting, only ONE WB goes on the trailer and nothing else. I take along the weed-eater and the backpack blower. I leave the gascans behind, an empty 2.5 gallon can and a syphon (so truck fuel can be used) and 32 oz. (a quart) of already mixed fuel comes along, also the sprayer with 1-2 gallons of Round-up. A toolbox, and that is all: No rakes, no shovels, no bowlshed, the truck and trailer looks empty to passers-by and I like that, too: Less stuff can get stolen.
    The WB goes all day on a tank, no matter what - it NEVER runs out.
    I trim 8-10 yards on one tank of weed-eater fuel - The trimmer takes on 24 oz. of mix, and I use 2-3 ounces/yard. The backpack blower goes 2-3 days without re-fueling. Average fuel used is 1 gallon/yard, and that includes the truck and the equipment - Today my truck averages 15mpg.

    Then when I go do mulch, it's mulch ALL day - Off with all the lawn-care crap, the trailer stays empty and I load the wheelbarrow, the pitchfork, the rake, the edger and the blower and sayonara. The tarp is the only thing that always stays on because it's light and handy for cleaning up piles of crap.

    Dig that, then do it. I know you don't got a lot of work, but if 4 of you want to earn money, then all 4 of you pass out flyers - first one to quit or anyone who doesn't really pull the load - Ask them to hit the road. Business is business and friends IN your business will break your bank. Again maybe your friends are different, but I speak only from my own experience.

    A crew of 4 is nice to have, but:
    You will grass-cut an average size yard in 10 minutes (It takes me 30-45 minutes for that size yard, so 4 of you should be 4 times faster). Granted you are new so lets say 20 minutes. Ok, all FOUR of you need to be paid and that is no problem so long you are working on a lawn BUT:
    To drive between yards takes 10-15 minutes and there is NOTHING you can do to shorten that time. That is 10-15 minutes in which four of you will eat up labor and that is highly non-profitable.
    The MOST profitable crew is 2 peeps/truck *IF* you can actually find 2 peeps that work so good together that they can get it done. 3 is pushing things and four is just too much.

    Don't mean to burst your bubble, but I think this solution would be best:

    - Continue working your regular jobs and start saving serious money! Put aside 20 dollars/week, 50, 100, whatever you can afford and keep doing that.
    Do NOT go out to eat, do not go to the movies, wear holes in your socks and shop for new clothes at the thrift store and so on (no I am not joking). Each of you need to save 5 or 10 thousand dollars to start a business like this, I had 5 thousand dollars cash when I started - I had a *TON* of problems even with that much money, I did not have enough, but it WAS enough to get me through (actually my parents helped me on top of all that, too).
    To save 5 or 10 thousand dollars will take you 2-3, maybe 4-5 years. You need to do this because if you do not know how to save money, you are doomed in business. You NEED this money-saving skill to survive, take it from someone who's been down your road, or find out for yourself if you or I are right, and let us hope I am wrong and best of luck, but I don't waste my breath for no reason, not usually. And if 4 years later you saved a lot of money but all else fails, at least you'll have enough cash to buy a nice bmw so you at least got something to show for all your troubles, lol !

    Tough talk, only the truth - That's how I earn my bread.
    Peace out,
  5. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    very good post with so much good advice.
    pay close attention to what is said in this post, it may be hard to accept but it is the truth, friends are great as friends until money gets tight.
  6. Newbie07

    Newbie07 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    Thanks Topsites for all of the information. I really appreciate all of the help. I was working with a friend of mine who had a lawn business with another partner. The other partner was getting lazy and I told them I would help. Well... the other guy realized he was about to be cut, came back and instead I got cut.. :angry:. That kind of pissed me off, especially with the time I put into it handing out flyers.

    It turns out my friends were not doing the best job and I have been getting calls from their customers to do their lawns. This has grown and my friends (the set of twins) decided to go off and do this on our own. They are hard workers and we are all hard on each other to always do a better job. We are combining our money mostly for the trailer and are using the mowers and equipment that we already have available at our houses. This will work fine for this summer unitl we get money saved to go next summer.

    Our big problem is that we are fifteen. This means that we can not drive to get to the jobs and rely on our parents on the weekends. This also means that we can not get a normal job anywhere without making a job for ourselves. I do not really know about the other guy. He is the Jorgenson's (twins) friend but seems to be a very nice guy and a hard disciplined worker. I realize that this sounds rediculous. I don't know him very well and could be putting myself in a bad postion but I trust my friends. These friends don't stab you in the back. Let's hope that I am right about my friend's judgment. :blush:

    As for the crew... I turn 16 in July and we can then have two crews of two. I tend to be the guy in charge and will make sure that all members pull their weight. We don't need a lazy one. Where we live there are many track neighborhoods. We have one neighborhood were we are hoping to pick up several houses. Then we cana go to the house. Drop off two of us to do the yars and take the truck/trailer a couple houses down. We are planning on doing mowing 4 days a week and then yard work one. This provided we can get the work... The weather in Texas though makes it possible to pick up this many yards. Handing out flyers we picked up about three regulars a day.

    Sorry for the spill on my entire life. I love all the responses I can get. I am new to the business and it would be stupid for me not to learn from someone much more experience than me. I love the tough Talk,

    Travis :waving:
  7. guitarpro45

    guitarpro45 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    should I do flyers or door hangers. I personally like door hangers because I don't like to talk to people. So which is the most effective way. My buisness partner would like to go door to door talking to the people, I just want to go and put the flyer on the door and leave it up to them to call me. So we would love your opinions. :cool2:
  8. Newbie07

    Newbie07 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    Hey i think you should make both. You should go door to door and talk to them and hand them a flyer. If they aren't home then leave a doorhanger. I think you should stop be a wimp and should knock on the door and talk to the potential customer. Thats what I think :blob3:
  9. C&KLawnCare

    C&KLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 246

    Bullshit i dont belive that for one second , I sure cant trim 8-10 yards on a tank of fuel in my T-230 ..

    (Average fuel used is 1 gallon/yard, and that includes the truck and the equipment - Today my truck averages 15mpg. ))

    LMAO you most likley burned more than a gallon mowing them stupid crop circles and getting off the mower leaving it run to take the pic's .. 1 gal per yard that includes the mower , trimmer, and pickup,,,, Your so full of **** its not even funny
  10. arkylady

    arkylady LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    If you think you'll be able to hang a couple hundred door hangers and not run into a single person you're kidding yourself :p

    Might as well suck it up and learn how to deal with talking to people. I have a hard time with this as well, but it's part of it.

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