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Right Direction?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Firefighter06057, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. Firefighter06057

    Firefighter06057 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hey Guys. Hope every one had a great thanksgiving. Anyways, I am in need of some advice from you seasoned lawn care pros out there. At the end of this year I decided that I would start my own lawn and landscape business for 2007. Right now I am in the planning stages, and plan to get everything in order over the winter months. Just to give you guys a general background to base your advice off of, I am not one of those guys who woke up one day and decided to get started in the business. I have maintained lawns (with commercial equipment) for roughly three years now and decided that to generate more cash flow, it would be wise to go into business for myself. I am also a full-time college student (commuting two days a week) to finish my bachelor’s degree. So far I plan to advertise around late February / early March to try and get 40 accounts which mainly focus on lawn maintenance. I am also looking into registering my business with the state and to look into insurance (since you all recommend it in other threads). The area I am in is loaded with housing and new developments but also has many lawn care businesses. Am I shooting too high (40 accounts) and being too hopeful? What do you guys think? Also I am looking for equipment. Is it wise to buy what I can afford (used) and work from there or should I buy new and risk a little debt? I know I am in the right place to ask these questions. Let me know if I am heading in the right direction. Thanks for your time.

    - Kyle
  2. MattsMowing3535

    MattsMowing3535 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 385

    40 accounts may be high. You will need to advertise alot! Im shotting for 25 and I think even that is high! Then again I am in highschool. Get a used hydro walkbehind that shouldnt set you back more then 1,500-2,000.
  3. Vance Edwards

    Vance Edwards LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3


    I just signed up here, but I noticed you're from Ct. I grew up in Fairfield myself, actually went to the same high school as John Mayer (for whatever that's worth.. :) )

    What part are you from? Good luck on your biz...i'm starting out too. I have many friends up there who seem to be raking it on with their landscape businesses. Seems there's a shortage of workers?
  4. Firefighter06057

    Firefighter06057 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thanks for the input guys. I appreciate any I can get. Anyways I am just outside of Torrington, CT and that will be a major area I will target my advertising. Its funny because I go to fire school down in Fairfield and I attend the University of New haven in the area. Anyways, still looking for some advice from the experienced guys on this site. Again, any input is great. Thanks.
    - Kyle
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    If you are mechanically inclined and you can manage not going into debt by buying used, I would highly recommend that path.

    With your experience, you may wish to start looking now, so that you can find the best for your money. As a rule, you can get a decent 5-y.o. Wb for around a thousand bucks.

    As for your customer base expectations, here is what I would do:
    Wipe your expectations clean, and let it happen.
    It's just that I've noticed when I 'plan' on x-amount, I find myself tending to lowball. So, I advertise a LOT and then let it fall into place on its own.
  6. paul vroom

    paul vroom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    I took a $10,000 loan out and bought a used truck and enclosed trailer. My equipment I am hoping to buy new. Maybe a quick 36. Actually the mower is the only thing I have left to buy but I have a couple months to shop. I figured since I work a good full time job I will not have a problem paying the loan. It depends on what your financial situation is. I agree with topsites, I have no expectations on how many clients I will end up with at the end of the 07 season but since I just started a month ago with cleanups I have two maintenance jobs line up for next year, maybe three. I am just leary of setting myself up for 40 clients and ending up with 10. If need be I can buy equipment next year as my client list grows. Just dont buy more that you need. Best of luck Firefighter.........
  7. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,612

    All good advice. The key is to keep costs low, and spend your real money on advertising. Remember, it takes time to meet with clients on sales calls, too. If your area is like mine (Mass), you will sign up 90% of your customers in April/May/June.

    I found one local publication that costs about $20/week to advertise, and I can get about 2 maintenance customers per week from it in Spring. That drops to 2/mo for the rest of the season. I tried advertising in about ten different places until I found the right one...expensive lesson. You may want to ask other landscapers in town how they advertise, they will probably tell you.
  8. MattsMowing3535

    MattsMowing3535 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 385

  9. Gene $immons

    Gene $immons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,028

    I started 10 years ago with around $7,000 that I had saved up from working at another LCO. I sold my Toyota Corolla, and bought a F150 (on a loan). I bought a small trailer, 1 toro 21", 1 weedeater, 1 edger, 1 blower. I spent around $300 on a brochure for advertising.

    I diligently went out passing out flyers and soon calls would come in.

    I lived in a small apartment and rented a storage unit nearby for $80.00 a month.

    The second year I hired a friend to help.

    The 10th year I built a shop.

    The main thing for me was to keep outside expenses to a minimum, and to put as much money as I could afford back into the business.

    Some things that can slow your growth down.
    1. Getting married too soon
    2. Starting a family too soon
    3. Buying a new car that you can't use for your business, use your truck.

    If you take out a loan, be smart about it and pay it off in big chunks fast.
    Don't get over your head with lousy interset rates.

  10. Prestige-Lawncare

    Prestige-Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 753

    I always look at everything on the bright side. If it is 40 accounts that you want to get ... then that is the number you work towards. Quality work, on a regular and dependable basis, and a good personality with your customers ... and you will reach your goal.

    Think, and act positive!


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