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Putting brothers through college

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mad_wrestler, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. mad_wrestler

    mad_wrestler LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 339

    I need some help with start-up. I have decided to put together a lawn business to help my brothers pay for college. They won't be down to Warner Robins GA until Mid-May. I am financing it for them and in return they are going to work full time. What are your thoughts on what should be done until then?
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    my biggest concern are you sure that this is going to work out like you want it to. Having family members work for you is not always the best thing.
  3. promower

    promower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,233

    Have to agree with tiedman dont hire family, or friends
  4. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

    Hi mad_wrestler,

    Possibly put together some flyers and start advertising your business?
  5. mad_wrestler

    mad_wrestler LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 339

    I understand the thing about business and family. I dealt with that in one of my rental properties. However, my two brothers have great motivation and a great desire to be successful in anything they do. One is attending Ga. Tech on an AF ROTC scholarship with industrial engineering for his major. The other is attending Slippery Rock University to become a teacher. Besides i told them before I started getting equipment that neither has $6000 worth of "butt" to get kicked out of them. So do please interject some ideas and examples of what you would recommend. Team Gopher I appreciate your reply to the question in that you answered the question. How many fliers should be distributed?
  6. mad_wrestler

    mad_wrestler LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 339

    any help would be appreciated
  7. Frosty_03

    Frosty_03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 333

    Dude I would first get a plan as to what your goals would be with this new venture. This business can be very lucrative if you know how to manage it right. I would start out with Flyers and maybe a ad in your local paper or maybe your local cable company. Get all the equipment that you will think you will need for your operation. I know that some people have said not to hire family,but sometime it does work out for the better, it all depends on your relationship you have. If you are just starting out and what to have equipment to keep your two brothers busy and hopefully making money. I would get a couple of 36 to 48 inch walk behind and one 44 to 48" rider, two weed eaters and one stick edger and two backpack blowers. You will be looking at about 15K to 20k worth of equipment plus trailer insurance and licenses if your states requires them. So you have overhead you have to think about plus you want to make money and your brothers will have to go back to school in September, which will leave you with all the account that you all have been doing during the summer. Who is going to help you do these when they have left back to school? There are a lot of factors that you have to think about. I am in TN and my mowing season goes from March to November. By mid May to September is not that long Season. This is just my opinion. I wish you the best of Luck and GOD SPEED!!!! :cool2:
  8. mad_wrestler

    mad_wrestler LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 339

    --Thanks for the input. Here is what I have already. I purchased a 95 Dodge 1500, V8, 5-speed, extended cab, long bed with towing package. It has 92,000 miles on it. That cost $4000. I paid cash. Next I purchased a trailer. It is 6.5' X 16' tandem with 7000# capacity. That cost $850. Next I got a Walker 25 hp 48" deck GHS for $3500 I got a small business loan and that is how I paid for the last two items. Giving up that much cash at once...I didn't like that. I also have my personal stuff that I plan to use. A 42" 16 hp Murray commercial rider, a 6.5 hp craftsman push mower and a straight shaft Troybilt weed eater with the blower/vac, tiller, brush cutter and edger attachment.
    --As far as a business plan. You see at first this started out as a way to provide my brothers with cash for next year so they can concentrate on college. All that I wanted to do was recoup the expenses that I would incur. However, after reading what seems like thousands of threads and talking to people in my area that do this, I realized the great possibilities this business has to offer. Although concentrating on the mowing aspect would provide adequate income I have learned that by being able to provide other services, that will increase our profitability. Therefore, I have partnered up with another business man that specializes in landscape and irrigation. He is not in the mowing business. He works full time and can't hold that many accounts. We have to crunch the numbers and iron out the details but I feel that this is a step in the right direction. Basically, we will get involved in design and installation of sprinkler systems. Through this awesome learning process I will learn more and be able to provide more services (i.e. aeration, plugs, fertilization, and custom landscaping). All in good time along with proper management and people like you all on this site, providing expert advice, we will succeed.
    --To answer your question about what will happen when my brothers go back to school. A good friend of mine who runs several construction crews and develops real estate has offered his assistance. He too asked what I would do. He said that he always has some great referrals for some laborers when the time arises. I will interview a number of these individuals to find a reliable foreman so to speak that I can count on when I am doing my 9 to 5. Over the course of this first season I will integrate this person. By the end of the summer he or she shall have the insight and understanding of what direction I want this business headed. We will plan for the day my brothers depart and slowly introduce the amount of individuals required to accomplish the tasks at hand. If there is anything else that needs to be addressed please let me know. I am ready to learn!
  9. Randy J

    Randy J LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,124

    Sounds like you've put a lot of thought into this, and I hope it works out well for you. A couple of things to think about, how do you want to compete - based on quality or price. I would guess since you bought a Walker mower, you intend to compete based on quality. (Walkers are a great machine with a fine cut, but they are slow compared to many other available mowers.) If you've decided to compete based on quality, you can start targeting lawns and areas where you want to be. For instance, you won't look for the postage stamp sized lawns in the suburbs. Instead you're going to look for the larger lawns. Flyer's may work, but I certainly would be very selective about where and how you put them out. To me flyer's say price competitive, not necessarily quality. I think competing on quality will take longer to build the business, but will have better rewards. Word of mouth is going to play a very important role in building your business. You might want to consider keeping your truck and trailer very clean and attractive (not saying you don't already do that), with good lettering for your company. As well as lawn signs might help.
  10. mad_wrestler

    mad_wrestler LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 339

    How would mowing with a Walker put that much of a bog on mowing time? How big of a difference between other mowers is there? I was planning on targeting the smaller cookie cutter type lawns for quantity in a particular area. Lets say 1/4 acre - 1/2 acre lots. I don't want to sacrifice quality, but I don't understand why or how having a Walker would determine what type of lawn to mow. These are questions that I know neither the right or wrong answer to so your input is greatly appreciated.
    --I got lucky with my truck and trailer. The truck is a beauty. As for the trailer it was custom painted to match this guys tractor to take to shows. So like I said i was very fortunate.
    --I intend my fliers to be very tasteful and professional. Main point being quality at an affordable price.
    --Should I go door to door?
    --Also, I have a neighbor down the street from me that is in the green business. We don't hang out or anything, we both seem to be very busy, but we do have a good neighbor relationship. How should I tell him what I am planning on doing? It would be ethical to let him know, right?

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