questions about startup estimates

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by clint.toris, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. clint.toris

    clint.toris LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Ok, so heres the deal:

    I've been in the industry for 2 years, and over the last year I pretty much ran the show. The owners I worked for lost interest (moms and dads are rich) and so I know how the game works on the production side of things. I also have some good business relationships with some of the larger companies we did subcontracting work through. I have no delusions of granduear about the riches I can make.... basically for this first year I will have me and another working 60hr wks building from subcontracting work to my own accounts. The questions I am facing now, however, are the intrinsics I was never "privy" to, such as:

    a)how much can I expect to pay for insurance for a 2 man crew, one truck (mid 90's model) per month?
    b)putting an average of 45 hours a week on a 60" deck zero turn exmark, plus the usual extra 2cycle gas used in weed wacking..... basically how much gas will I use per week for one crew? i know this will vary, I'm just asking for estimates based on peoples experiences
    c)I know I'll need about 2months worth of capitol to get by at the begining before I even see a check, are there other expenses I"m not seeing that I'll need to account for to be safe in starting out this business?
    d)when crunching my numbers I've pretty much come to the conclusion that I"ll need to bill out $50-60 an hour to make my bills and save enough over this year to grow my business plan to add another crew next year... is this unrealistic in expecting I get this or near it when the bulk of my first year will be from subcontracting?
    e)and last, I"ve been brainstorming about where to go to recruit business, and one promising idea I've come across are trailor parks. having quick, painless, and for the mostpart, clumped accounts so close together I feel could be a very profitable afternoon. Are there any drawbacks to bidding these places? Are there other areas I should be more focused on?

    Anyways, i've unloaded enough of my questions on you all. Thanks in advance for any ideas, advice, or answers you're taking the time to respond with, i'll be checking soon! Have a happy holiday people!
  2. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    Having an employee involved in a start up is almost maniacle. Have you looked into insurance? Do you realise that your overhead almost triples when you have even one employee? You have no idea what your overhead will be, and you are already thinking about a second crew for next year? S-L-O-W down. Have you gotten your applicator's certificate yet? If you have a trailer, you will be stopped, and God help you if you have anything including a spreader on the truck.

    You have a lot more homework to ro before jumping into the pool.... the water is still frozen.
  3. clint.toris

    clint.toris LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    well, you bring up some relavant points, however..... it doesn't make much sense to not have an employee... going solo would take at least twice as much time to get the same product done, and then not be making as much because I wouldn't have as many accounts. I agree, I need to do alot more before my plans become feasible, but more answers and less pesimism would be appriciated. And in regard to applications, I have 2 business associates who do only fertilization. In my 2 years experience, I never have needed certified because we never had any need for it. In the meantime, I am keeping my priorities simple, and if any of my own accounts express interest in hard or soft fertilization, I will subcontract that work out, and make my 20% cut for the lead. Untill then, its all research, saving, and planning. Remember people, answers! response questions! but leave your pesimism on your side of the computer.

    Thanks again!
  4. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    Well, I guess you told me! Yes, I am pessimistic based on your first post. Do you have any customers from your previous employer's? You seem to be convinced you need a two man crew, but haven't called any insurance companies for quotes. Where you are located makes a fairly big difference in what liability, equipment, trailer and worker's comp insurance will cost.

    That's fine, if you want to sub out your applications, but there is a ton more money in it than just doing maintanence. You would be leaving the lion's share of the profitability to your applicator subs.

    All you need to do here is make a few phone calls to local insurance companies (start with your car insurance Co, if they don't offer landscaper's insurance -some don't like State Farm - get a referral on what other ins Co they suggest) and go to your state's web site and find out what is involved in becoming a certified applicator which would make the accounts you do land bring in 3X's the money. It isn't volume you have to have, it's profit!

    Sorry, but I see so many posts like this, asking questions without having done any investigation or legwork first. Some things you just won't get from a messgae board until you have narrowed the scope of your questions by doing due diligence first. If you want good answers, you need better questions!

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