Putting my plan in motion - Upstate NY

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by badaspsvt, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. badaspsvt

    badaspsvt LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Hello all, I am new to this site. I will be leaving my full-time restaurant industry job in May, 2010 and plan on starting a lawn maintenance business in Upstate NY - rural Saratoga County and Fulton County, around the Sacandaga to be exact. I will have some cash ($10-15k) from my current job (contract ends and I have decided not to renew) and will use this to purchase my equipment to start. I already have a 2004 F150 FX4 SuperCrew so that part of the equation is already taken care of. I will have all insurance and registrations in line before I start. I figure I have 7 months to get it all ready for the spring.

    Anybody from that area of the country have any advice or experience? I know there are some professional guys in the area, but it is far from saturated. I plan on targeting many of the weekend homeowners as the bulk of my business, with spring/fall cleanups and snow removal as well. I know from family experience that it has been difficult to find reliable and professional services in these areas and the ones that exist are loaded with work.

    Also, if I set-up an LLC - can my new business "buy" my truck from myself and write it off as a business expense once I start?
  2. openbook

    openbook LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

    I don't know much about the business end of things but why would you want to sell the truck to your business and pay sales tax on something you already own?
  3. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    You will have plenty enough to write off in year one, I would not worry about that. You will need a good machine, one that is good on hills up there and can cover some ground. That one purchase will eat more than half of what is in your startup budget.

    You might seriously look into getting certified for pesticide applications in NY. It is expensive, you will have to take a 30 hour course, study yer behind off and do a lot of paperwork, but the profits are in applications much more than maintenance.

    Havent been up that way in a long time, but there used to be a lot of summer homes up that way. Saratoga with the track and lakeside around Sacandaga. Snow removal is a no brainer up there.

    How will you get new accounts?
  4. badaspsvt

    badaspsvt LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    I plan on starting out with a used ZTR, I already have a 21" push and an old beast of a commercial backpack blower with a Kawi engine. My father bought it in like 1986 and it won't quit. I think he said he paid about $500 back then! I will have enough for a trailer, trimmers and and vac/mulcher and all of the other misc. I think I will need to start including insurance, etc. I also have access to an old very low mileage s-10 pick-up with a plow and Ariens blower to start resi plowing.

    There are still a ton of summer homes around the lake, but the place has changed a ton over the years. A large number of big lakeside year round homes with retired people and a bunch of weekly and seasonal rentals.

    I plan on targeting the absentee owners and retirees first. I have some good contacts with local realtors who may be a great source of leads. Also, the 3 or 4 local town papers are widely distributed and very inexpensive to advertise in. Add to all of this word of mouth through family and friends and I think I will have a good customer base in no time.
  5. milkie62

    milkie62 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    Hello there---
    I am in the Troy area.You may be onto something if you can grab the weekenders and seasonal people.Also I know people look for plowing in the winter to keep things open in case of fire and such.You will definitely need to start advertising alot earlier than May.Generally first mowing is always done by May 1st.Ice storm and general winter cleanup should help cover some earlier expenses before mowing starts.I use a 61" Ferris but I think in your area if I am not mistaking might do better with a 48" due to uneven ground,dips and such.
  6. milkie62

    milkie62 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    I know of one local guy that really made a killing with an insert in the local shopper paper.You could design it yourself with some pictures from the internet and just give them the original that you want to distribute.If I really was going to try and grow bigger that is what I would do.You need to stand out more than the competition.You should also state in your ad caretaker services.Getting to the plowing: Unless your equipment is 110% do not even bother.I have been a solo plow guy for 19 yrs now having only advertised my 1st year.Word of mouth was my only advertising.You are in the beginning snowbelt up there.You need spare parts and your own retrival equipment(winch) to get yourself out in a storm.You also need to beable to work on your plow.You do not get word of mouth plowing business with broke down equipment.
  7. LouisianaLawnboy

    LouisianaLawnboy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,199

    You can keep the truck and lease it to your company. Then your company will pay you monthly for the truck. It will help you with your taxes.
  8. badaspsvt

    badaspsvt LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Thanks milkie62, actually I meant March 1st, not May - typo. I think the timing will be perfect to start for the new year. And I agree on the 48" for the terrain around that area.

    Also, good point on the plowing. I probably would wait a year before trying to get to far with it anyway.
  9. badaspsvt

    badaspsvt LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Thanks for the tip, I will check into that.

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