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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by twcw5804, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. twcw5804

    twcw5804 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 439

    So yesterday after cleaning up a few yards and it started raining I decided to swing by the local shop I had been building a relationship with and drool over equipment I was looking at for next year. The only problems is they aren't there anymore. So I drove 20min out to another shop with slightly higher prices and for the second time not impressed with the help I got. There is not too many other places here in Decatur IL, but there is still a few more to try.

    I clicked on the Quick 36 link on top of the site last night. They have a 36' hydro with mulch plate and bagger and some other things I think for $2495. I thought this was an awesome deal, especially it having 3 blades and big tires. Problem is the dealer I went and talked to said their is no one around to service Quick 36. Does he mean under warranty, or just no one will work on it?

    This dealer that I just went to does also carry SCAG. But could not get him to give me a price on a 36'. I know I'm still far off from buying but I really want to get it inline well before the time comes.

    So here is a scenario I would like everyone's help with. Both my wife and I have had job troubles the whole year and half we've been married. I am in a very solid position now selling VerizonWireless working 4 days a week 40 hours. So I know have 3 days off instead of two. I have credit card debt enough to buy a good used SUV from charging stuff to get by. I have a current customer base of 12-14 yards that have provided great referalls prices ranging 20-30 dollars a cut.

    I want to attack next year hard. But buying the equipment will be hard as I am a credit risk. I am thinking about asking father in-law to help and giving him free cuts till equipment paid for. I have a lot of equipment already but mostly non-commercial. I really need a good w/b and maybe another 21'. Wife gets out and helps and will hire brother for next year but not sure what to pay him.

    I want 50-70 yards.

    I will advertise in paper.
    I will do door to door sales for commercial lots.
    I have a website under construction www.wortmanslawncare.com
    will get trucksign
    need more info on how to have door hangars made.
    Offering free cuts, or may partner with local restaurant for special rate on dinner for 2 with referrals.

    I have taken on 2nd job at Staples where I worked from 17-20 years of age to save up some cash to pay for advertising in spring.

    I know this post is really long but I need some help on getting things in gear now or I'll get behind working so hard at two jobs over winter. I need to have action plan in place in mid February to have at least 30 accounts on a regular basis. Sorry so long, and if I don't replay right away I'm working 14hours tomorrow. THANKS TO ALL.
  2. twcw5804

    twcw5804 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 439

    P.S. my current equipment list.

    2 year old Craftsman 21' 6.75hp mower with 1 yr warrantly left, 1 lever deck adjust
    2yr old Troy built, starting to show its use but gives a nice cut
    Weed Eater leaf blower for driveways and sidewalks, give to us by a regular customer that did not want it
    New Craftsman weedeater with EZ load system. Works really nice
    2 rakes, 2 40 gallon cans to haul off yard we bag grass for.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    1st, good for you for getting the 2nd job. You are right, you will need the money.

    A few questions -- Do you have a truck? trailer? storage?

    Are you any good at mechanics, and do you have a place to do repairs?

    Maybe look into going after a used mower now and doing any repairs over the winter.
    If you really are looking to get into 50-70 properties you will need all commercial equipment soon into spring. The stuff you have now will get you started but not last too long.
    If you have a truck/trailer and a place to work from I would think you can get set up well for under $5000.00 if you buy new edgers, trimmers, blowers and hand tools and look for used mowers.

    Another question is ask yourself, Do you have kids and what kind of money do you really need to live on.
    To move into the 50-70 range will take a lot of time and money, and will take a year or so before you start to make any real profit from it. (Starting with the equipment you have) If YOUR income is needed to live you will have to work a real job, (read that one that pays) for a few more years.
    Play with the numbers and you may find it will be more profitable to work just a few properties with the equipment you have now and not make the big investment over the next two years and have a lot more free time to make sure you stay married.
    I don't think it is raining there today but the next day you have free time work up a business plan and put everything down on paper,(AND I MEAN EVERYTHING) and plan for the payback period and see if it will really be worth it. Many guys on here talk about making tons of money in mowing but really don't know the true costs.
    It is a very labor intensive and equipment intensive business with little profit.
    Yes, there is money to be made, but there is also much to invest first.
    I will check back from time to time if you have questions.
  4. twcw5804

    twcw5804 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 439

    Thanks for you good info so far. I have no kids, and the wife goes out and mows everyday with me unless she has to work. I was looking at buying 2 Toro 20058 when I was only looking at doing 30 yards. But that other shop I went to told me they were only warrantied for 90days not the 5 years the other shop told me when I use them commercially. So which now has me looking into a 36', just in case a day comes and I have to mow 20 yards and have no helpers.

    Also my Verizon job pays quite well, and with my wife new job at sears we can almost make everything now on those two jobs. So next year mowing will go towards getting out of debt.

    Off for a 14hour day now, see you guys 10pm tonight.
  5. Turf Technologies

    Turf Technologies LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 587

    Dont forget to add in the extra fuel, parts and maintance cost with another 50 to 60 lawns that what you have now.
  6. Hard Worker

    Hard Worker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    Good Luck! As was said earlier a business plan is the best way to keep yourself focused on your dreams as well as what it will take to get there. Review it often, make changes as necessary, but keep your eye on the mark.

    I am looking seriously at the Quick 36 Commercial as well. It looks like a well built mower. They do deliver to your nearest Roadway depot. I believe you live in Ill.?? That would probably be worth it. I live about 4 hours away and may make a trip to look at them. As far as someone working on them, I wouldn't worry to much about it for the first year or two, they should hold up pretty well. When and if you do need service any reliable shop should work on them. As long as you can do PM's yourself you should be okay.

    Anyway take everyone's advice and pay for what you need up front. Debt is not our friend. These yards should help you get out of debt if you can keep from blowing your money.

    As far as newspaper ads I have not had much luck, my best advertisement has been word of mouth. I am however trying to figure out how to either make doorhangers or have them made. I've not had any success using the free downloads on Gopher, I'm not computer savy. I'm lucky I can get this message out! If anyone has any words of advice on making or having them made please post...
    Keep us posted on how its going. Good Luck and God's blessings to both you and your wife.
  7. twcw5804

    twcw5804 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 439

    Great Responses! I found a new shop today that I may deal with, talked to a guy on the phone today that actually took some time to talk straight with me. He has a 44' Toro W/B with two wheel velke he is selling used for $2000 not sure how many hours. His shop is located 45min from my house, on my way to work in Champaign. I found out that local yellow page advertising is $45a month for 1inch ad and up to 150 for a dollar bill size ad. I am undecided on this. Still working on the door hangar issue.

    By the way Quick 36 will deliver to my door within 3 days for $200, $100 to nearest Roadway location.

    One big question I have is if I do 15 1/8 acre yards how many gallons will I use a day on an average w/b mower?

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Should be less than 2-3 depending on hills (which I believe you have none of)
    and Velke use.
  9. South Florida Lawns

    South Florida Lawns LawnSite Platinum Member
    from usa
    Messages: 4,784

    Very expensive. Just buy what you can afford, and pay off as much as you possibly can. If I were you I would stay away from any loans you can easily get in big debt the first year in this biz, been there done that. Good luck to you and hang in there when things get tough.
  10. lawnsbyrj

    lawnsbyrj LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    I have had the same problem with service this week. MY z turn Bunton breaks down with my bagger attached (cant get up leaf) and I call the dealer of purchase, out of buisness so i track down another dealer (waranty work) they say no problem so I hear from them 3 days later we ordered parts ok 2 to 3 days no prob. it is now 7 working days maybe 8 if they work saturdays I still do not have my mower back and have no bagger option but to borrow a freinds in the buisness (that is the good part that I can use it) bad part is the guy of questionable breeding and zero smarts Cops and attitude in the back ground of the phone conversation so i am sure that he is in no hurry to finish and get my mower back to me.

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