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Sharing the Indiana experience

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Crusis, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. Crusis

    Crusis LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    Hi all!

    I've been helping my wife start her Lawncare business, and it's been a blast, although it's also been a mess of confusion and questions. I'm going to share what I've found out so that others can benefit.

    1. DOT #: Required if you have more than 10,000 pounds of GVWR, trailer and truck added together. VERY difficult to find information on how to do this on the internet. Lots of confusion, and sites that would love you to pay for a free service. Here's what you do.

    Go to 5252 Decatur Blvd in the Ameriplex Industrial Park off of Kentucky Avenue (SR 67), not far South of the Interstate. Ameriplex is on the right side of the road if you're heading South from I465, and once you turn into Ameriplex you'll come to a T intersection. Go right, it's not far to go and 5252 is on the left, you want Suite R. You can't miss it, there are cop cars all over the place. Go inside, talk to the lady at the counter, and in a few minutes you'll have your DOT number.

    2. Insurance: I thought this would be a back breaking expense, to be honest it is much cheaper than I anticipated. I've had Allstate for all my insurance for 20 years, and went to my Allstate Agent, Robert Bell. He uses other insurance companies as well, and got us a $1,000,000 general liability coverage policy for $438 a year. His office is at the corner of Stop 11 and Emerson if you're on the South side of Indy and you're looking for a good insurance deal. Tell him Damon Smithwick sent you so he'll send me a calendar or something. :)

    3. Trailer: We got a 7 x 14 dual axle trailer, made by Patriot, from Mayes trailer sales in New Whiteland on the East side of US-31. $2000 out the door with all the DOT stuff and a brake controller installed in the truck. The trailer seems top quality to me, we're really, really pleased with what we got for our money. It has good lighting all around, and looks very good. At least until we beat it up some. Or it beats us up some. We were removing the ramp the other day so we could pull our garden tractor right up to it to offload into the garden trailer when we dropped the ramp on the wife's toe. Broken! Ouch! Nothing like showing the boss a good dose of pain. I told her I want a raise if she doesn't want more of the same. :)

    4. Truck sign: Just Signs Now on Madison Avenue just North of County Line road a few blocks (North of Lowe's and Wendy's) is doing a vinyl sign, multi-color, on both sides and the back of our truck for $235. I'd never priced signs before, but I was expecting a lot more than that. If you're looking for automotive signs and you're in the South Indy area, check out Just Signs now. Ask for Thom, he's the graphic guru. We're getting our signs put on Friday, most likely, but the work he showed me at his shop on other cars and other types of signs was awesome.

    5. Getting business: Word of mouth. This is huge for getting the word out about your business. Flyers have brought in a few customers, but hardly seem to be worth the effort. We have been doing some flowerbed installations for the President of our homeowners association, and have put the bug in his ear that we want to bid on the contract for the community next year. He's getting some awesome landscaping at a pretty damn good price.

    6. Website: http://www.ixwebhosting.com/index.php/v2/pages.dspmain
    This host has a great business package for only $6.99 a month, I think it was. We paid for 2 years up front for around $150 or so. www.lawngirllawncare.com is what we set up just with a template off of Frontpage. It's quick, it's easy, and it should allow your customers a way to find information about you any time they feel like. The business phone isn't up yet, but will be in 1-2 days.

    7. Herbicide/Pesticide application: This webpage: http://www.isco.purdue.edu/pesticide/index_pest1.html has all you need to know about how to get licensed to apply chemicals to your customers lawns. Make sure you get legal, it's not that much to do so.

    That's all I got. Just Signs Now does business cards, door hangars, etc if you want to do more advertising. If anyone has any tips, advice, or just a friendly hello we'd love to hear it. Not to mention any advice for doing business in Indiana. Seems like an odd time of year to start the business, but we'll have the Winter to make sure the ducks are in order I guess.

    I have noticed one thing. Getting out and doing real work instead of pushing a pencil sure makes you feel a lot better. The sun and the exercise are awesome, not to mention the prospect of working with the lady in my life. It was her idea, so she gets to carry the company as Lawngirl. :) We've been making a lot of jokes about me driving a Dodge Megacab that says Lawngirl on the side. Just got to practice that deep Barry White voice and saying, "Hi, we're Lawngirl Lawncare." Haha.
  2. AllProLC

    AllProLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    Helpful info for someone just starting up. Good luck
  3. jajwrigh

    jajwrigh LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Martinsville, IN
    Messages: 1,405

    Nice, informative post. Best of luck with your business.
  4. rogero

    rogero LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 4

    Nice web site, Just south of you I think? Columbus indiana.
  5. Crusis

    Crusis LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    Rogero, I'm from Columbus. Columbus North, class of '84. :)

    My parents live on Whitehorse Road on the Brown/Bartholomew county line South of SR46.

    Thanks for all the wishes of good luck. :) We'll need it I'm sure, but we're pretty motivated. I tell you I think there's something therapeutic about mowing lawns and taking care of landscaping. There's just something about seeing that uncut lawn looking all messy and when you're done it's orderly and clean, or seeing an out of control flowerbed turn into a showpiece. It's only taken 41 years to learn that you need to do something with your life you enjoy.
  6. JayD

    JayD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    Great job Lawngirl...........

    Keep us all posted of how it all turns out for you.
    Also, share with us all of your odd / quirky experiences's that you may run into. It's a blast reading them and sharing.:clapping:
  7. JayD

    JayD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    I just wanted to add to this part about Mays Trailers.
    I went there early this year to look for one and let me tell ya, that man act like a total jerk to me, so I left and would never buy from him even if he wanted to sell me a new one for $100, I would not give him the satisfaction of taking my money.
    Sorry for venting.......I just hate it when people act like they are the only ones in town. I have been boycotting H.H.Greg for nearly 15 years for the way they treated me once.
  8. Crusis

    Crusis LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    Wow, we got treated great. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience there.

    I'm with you, though, if I get a bad experience under my belt from a retail establishment, they've seen my last dollar.

    Which is why I now own a Dodge instead of a Ford. I paid my truck payment on the Ford Credit website, THEIR system dropped it, then they dinged my credit and refused to remove it even after I told them what happened. They probably will never notice that I now own a Dodge truck, but on the other hand I hear that Ford is taking it in the shorts in the car market. Heh.. should treat customers a bit better if you want loyalty.
  9. ned9852

    ned9852 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Well I am in Southern Indiana near Louisville KY, Harrison County to be exact. Been doing this for a few years now, but never set up anything proper. I called my county clerks office and went round and round inside the building and no one there said I need to do anything unless I plan on running customers in and out of my personal residence. What a headache this is turning out to be. Any help please, as I have looked on here but nothing really solid yet.
  10. Big C

    Big C LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,642

    Cool webisite, lawngirl....i'M thinking about building one

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