seeking wise counsel

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by RScapes, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Messages: 564

    I chose to skim over most of the responses as everyone has a different opinion. $13,500 is more than enough to start a business assuming you have a truck to with. Buy a new commercial grade weedwacker, backpack blower, and hedge trimmer. Buy a used or new trailer 5x10 to a 6.5x12, it all depends on what size mowers you need.

    Your biggest decision is what size mowers to buy, do the properties in your zip code have small gates that only a 22" can fit in? can only a 36" fit? and so on.

    Most people already have a 22" mower so just use that as long as the cut is acceptable. If you can fit a 48" mower through most gates in your zip code then get a 48" mower, if not you NEED a 36" mower or you will waste time with the 22". If you have wide open property in most of your zip code you can get a 52" or 60" mower.

    Look on craigslist and eBay for deals on used equipment in your area, get commercial equipment with under 1200 hrs because it should last you at least 3 seasons before hydros need to be replaced or other expensive components.

    22" to 36" mower should be a walk-behind, i prefer belt driven 36" over hydro
    48" to 52" can be walk-behinds, but I prefer stand-on mowers. Once again if you are in wide-open areas then ztr's would be fine as well.
    60" and up is when you should be a ztr

    Everything is different for your application.


    Look professional and plan on spending $500-$2000 in advertising, I advise postcards.


    (For a trailer, echo/stihl weedwacker, blower, hedge trimmer, 22" mower, and 36" mower you will be in the $3500-$6000 brand new. Look into World Lawn Mowers for a cheap new walk behind, I have heard good reviews and my local shop just started selling them this year.)
  2. RScapes

    RScapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Thank you Darryl-appreciate the advise.
  3. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    I think I did in not so many words
  4. RScapes

    RScapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Tonygreek-thanks for the advertising advice.

    Britsteroni-Yes, a part-time job is plan B if this doesn't work out. Or part time work (for someone else) and Part time Lawn care. And yes, there is always room to reduce $ going out. Thank you!

    Billpiper-Always good to hear from another retired guy! Thank you sir.
  5. RScapes

    RScapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Thanks Duekster

    JoDon and Hamatsa-You guys and Bill Piper bring the total up to 3 retired guys providing excellent responses and sound advice. I am glad I am not alone. And it sounds like the three of you view this endeavor favorably (after retiring). That is encouraging.

    I must admit, starting out, I have already been tempted to price low just to get a few customers. I will do my best to resist.
  6. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Messages: 564

    I don't know if you have any grandchildren of age, but if you do you can always try to hire them on to do the clean-ups and mulch with you.

  7. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    What may also help is you get some sort of side stream, whether it be firewood or stump grinding, brush hauling, annual/seasonal color. Some guys do dump runs and sometimes get some really sweet salvage. You have to have a place to get rid of it all and store the salvaged items though. Of course there's snow removal for those of us in the colder climates. You can make pretty good money sitting in a nice warm (because it's over heating so the heat is blasting) truck eating donuts and drinking coffee.
  8. RScapes

    RScapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Thanks Shovelracer for opening my eyes. 30k revenue is more than I calculated/anticipated.


    $13,500 is what I net to put in my pocket/net after all expenses. The equipment (for the most part) is already taken care of.

    The equipment consists of an old 44" Toro walk behind that will back up a newer 52" Toro walk behind (both belt driven). Still need to pick up the trailer , blower, line trimmer (have the $ already earmarked for that).

    There are not many gates in my area. Lots are larger, ranging from 1 to 3 or even 4 acres at most residential/commercial properties in the areas that I have my eyes on. Thanks

    Excellent advice from everyone, much appreciated. Any more retired out there?
  9. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,649

    Im almost 50 and still go at it pretty hard.

    The biggest key to doing this business is build a route close to home. Fliers are cheap, put them in the neighboorhoods that you want to service, once a month if necessary.
    Do not do homes on hillsides it will wear you down. Small yards are likely more profitable if your part time.

    You will have to find the right "nich" for yourself, if your unsure at this time what that will be it will come to you.

    Do not work cheap PERIOD. 10 small weekly yards done for 6 months at 50$ each will eaisly achieve your goal of around 15k in your pocket.

    Oh and also have fun, while its hard work, it is enjoyable.
  10. RScapes

    RScapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Larry-- Many years ago I had a small lawn care operation that I did on the side (in addition to the full time job). Got out of the part time lawn care as the full time job and family required my full attention. The full time career, at times, was stressful. Now retired from that, I look forward to getting back outdoors. I like your attitude "have fun, hard work, it's enjoyable" Thanks Larry!

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