Should I start a business?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by 11baron, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. 11baron

    11baron LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    After reading so many of the posts here and listening to how much money it takes to actually start a lawn care business, I am wondering if I should start a small one and see where it goes.

    I may have the necessary tools to start the business, I just need someone to do the work. Let me know what you think.

    Here is my point. I am sort of a tool freak. I got burned once to many times using cheap tools on my 7 acre mini farm. I enjoy working outside, but 8 hours to cut the grass with a tractor was crazy so I bought an Exmark. These are the tools I currently have. Exmark Lazer 72" deck, Honda push mower, Echo string trimmer, Stihl edger, Stihl multi-tool/mini tiller, mid-size Toro tiller and others I can't think of right now. I realize that a smaller mower may also be needed for the business end. But what would you think of starting the business and just finding a crew to work the jobs? I would concentrate on the mini estates prevelant in this area. Let me know. What other items would you recommend?

    Fredericksburg VA area.


  2. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    especially just starting out... you have to be there, quallity control., customer relations..... until you get bigger you will have to be there, even if you hired someone with experience, you dont know how things are going unless your there
  3. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,157

    Especially with "mini-estates", quality control is important. Which usually means you have to be there. You certainly can outfit a crew(s) and send them out to do "mow & go" yards.
  4. FinerCutslawnCare

    FinerCutslawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,386

    I wouldn't hire anyone yet, I would get your name out there more, and I would also get a wb like a 48", a 72" is to big for residential.
  5. 11baron

    11baron LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    I agree with wanting to make sure the quality is there. I imagine I would have to go out on the weekends I could and the weekdays that allowed it. 4 kids, my own grass, being a soccer coach and trying to finish two additions, doesn't leave a whole lot of time. I was just thinking I could make better use of the equipment I have that just sits there when I am not using it.

    I see my up-front expenses being a trailer and possibly a walk behind. Then there is insurance to think about. My biggest concern is that someone not being careful with the 72 inch deck getting it on and off the trailer, it aint easy. An employee would have to have their own truck. I have a blower but no equipment to do vacuming. I never had a need to vacumn clippings.

    I was thinking that for the time being, if I found someone with a bit of experience and was trustworthy, I would split the money somehow. I would have to find a proportion that was fair. This would then personal for them and they could make more money with more lawns if they grew the customer base and they could just as well lose it if they become sloppy. What would be a fair split seeing as how they would be doing most of the work, if not all. I basicly am on the hook for equipment and equipment failures. They would have to be on the hook for gas and time. What is fair?


  6. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    plain and simple , if you dont have the time to be there, you wont succeed, infact, your equipment will get torn to peices, and you will be robbed blind....
  7. 11baron

    11baron LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    That is what I worry about. I need the equipment for myself and would not want to see it get torn apart. I can't do it all myself because of my current job. I am a computer nerd, I do programming, software analysis, software design, application load analysis, stuff like that, so I am not going to switch jobs. I just wanted to toss this idea out to the proffessionals and see what you thought. The type of employee(s) I would need probably does not exist. I just thought I could maybe get someone started in the business and give them a fair share of the profits. If as you say, my equipment would get tore up, then it wouldn't be worth it. I do appreciate the insight.


  8. Bustus

    Bustus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 181

    Don't do it if you can't be there. Definitely don't hire until you get too many contracts to handle yourself, you may end up losing money.
  9. nephilim0167

    nephilim0167 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 144

    I wouldn't want to put my money and reputation in the hands of anyone else unless they'd been around a while and my company was established. That's a whole of of trust that can go wrong REALLY quick. Before you know it you've got a bunch of P.O'd customers and you're out of business. Not a good scenario.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Not to mention you need to know ALL the answers to ALL the millions of little questions such as 'the belt broke, what now?' which, with a proper training program for your employees can make or break their days in the field, just as an example.

    I absolutely agree, the inexperienced business owner has no room building an employee-based Co. from the start.

    As far as being a computer nerd, one hobby site of mine resides on a leased Unix box, which makes me the sys.admin: and of course the business site in my profile is on that same server... I've been into pc's since around 1982 and I doubt our love of chips has a negative impact per se, but you do have to be willing to get dirty and sweaty lol !
    Being physically tired never stops me, only once my brain is also worn out can I sleep.
    Other than that you can be nerdy in this field, it doesn't appear to matter much because folks accept you 'as is.'

    But this bit:
    That isn't going to work, you'd go broke fast if you don't know anything about maintenance because every 8 hours these machines need something, and it's not just fuel lol

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