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Should I???

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Michael11, Dec 27, 2004.

  1. Michael11

    Michael11 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Hey Everyone, I have been taking care of my parents lawn since I can remember along with just a few others, I work last season fall clean-up with a guy and thought I might go it alone. I have done tons of research and I have been to the bank and approved for a loan. The loan officer said the president was looking for someone to mow his lawn and the lawn at the bank. A friend of mine also in the business would pass along two accts. that he is giving up because he is going strictly commercial, and my parents would also sign up. 5 accounts to start. The equipment I am thinking about purchasing, Exmark 48" Turf Tracer HP (hydro), echo blower, trimmer, edger hedger, fert. spreader, dethatch for the mower along with a collection system, and a 6x12 open trailer along with 3/4 ton truck/snowplow. The guy I did fall clean up for last year has invited me back so the question is this.... Do I go ahead with my own business starting with 5 accounts or do I work for the other guy for a season and save the money so startup costs aren't so high??? Any input would be great!!!!! Thanks!!!!! :waving:
  2. j fisher

    j fisher LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    Just because the president is looking for someone does'nt mean that YOU have the accounts. Also, if the loan your taking out covers all of the equipment you described, you need more than 5 accounts unless all you want to do is make your loan payment. I'm not trying to be negitive. Start out slow and build your business.
  3. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 976

    5 accounts isn't that much. To make the loan payments for all that equipment plus a truck you're going to need another 15 to 20 accounts to keep your head above water. Have you also considered the costs of advertising, getting your licenses, insurance, and all the tools you'll need to maintain your truck and equipment or pay someone else to do repairs? Have you taken into consideration taxes or talked with a CPA? Make sure you have all your bases covered before making that kind of commitment.
  4. John P.

    John P. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 279

    Are you taking a loan out for all of that equipment???? That is all very expensive equipment to start off with for the first year. I'm 17 and started two years ago with 4 accounts a new mower, the truck i already had, no trailer and an old blower and weed whacker. I did well with just that and made some serious cash for my first year. So you really need to think about what you NEED! using shears instead of a gas hedgers isn't a bad idea or edging stick instead of a gas edger or putting the things in the back of a truck and not getting the trailer right away. There are just some ideas of what you could do..................good luck!

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    I'd say to go for it. Once you quit your day job and become self-employed, banks won't offer you any loans for awhile. I'm in the minority here on Lawnsite, I worked for an LCO for over 10 years, walked in one day, quit my job, started my own company the same day with zero customers. Had 40 residentials 2 months later. You just have to be ready to work more than you would like and stay on top of things. It can be done.
  6. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 976

    Then again Hoolie, depending the area he's in he could possibly be in business for 3 years before getting 40 regular clients on the books. I'm not going to tell someone to stay where they're at or to move on. It's not my place. What I will do is present the facts that there's a good chance, after his first or second season, he will end up being one of the guys on ebay or in the local paper selling off all the equipment he can't afford to make payments on.

    Don't forget to remind him that the little dollar signs in his eyes are nothing more than dreams, and then he wakes up only to find himself broke. But hey, if he's willing to risk it all then go for it. I just hope he's single and doesn't have any kids to support.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Yeah, I can't say that my experience is any guarantee of future success. By the time I quit my job, I'd had a lot of experience with the business side of the lawn industry, so while it was a gamble on my part I felt I could make it work. Plus, my area is a hotbed of lawn activity, so that didn't hurt.
  8. Michael11

    Michael11 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Thanks for all of your replies!!!! I guess I need to clarify some things here. While I am starting this I will have a full time job to pay all of my usual bills like I do right now.(I basically works nights) The truck, I would be trading in my car and the truck payments would be the same. The bank loan is for 10K with 7% interest over 4 years and the payment is 240/mo. I realize that just because the president of the bank said he's interested, that it doesn't mean their mine but they are good leads. Another family member went to this bank and continues to bank with them for their business, so its more on a personel level than someone just walking in off the street. Other costs, advertising, Insurance, fert. lisc., pest. lisc., and other misc equipment will already be paid for, all of the equipment will be new and under warranty, I realize things break in the field and down time sucks but the dealers around here are great(MN) but I have a ton of tools for minor fixes. Sales tax here is 6.5% so not that much, don't know about federal tax, I am meeting with a CPA next week, my wife is a paralegal so all lawyer fees are free. I was figuring $35 per lawn times 5 lawns just to start is $700 a month, take out the loan payment and sales tax along with gas... I would have about $300 left over.... that also doesn't include spring clean-up, fert, or anything else they want done...... NOW I think thats all the facts.... how about your opinions once again...... Thanks a lot for the input already. I should have done a better job explaining my situation. See ya.......... :waving:
  9. Michael11

    Michael11 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    OK OK OK.... left one thing out....... What I am getting at is should I get some experience with guy I worked for last fall, or learn while I earn. Like I said in my first post, I have been taking care of my parents lawn and a couple of others ever since I can remeber. Thanks...... AGAIN!!!
  10. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,685

    You got that right there are few of us on here like that Mac did it. Me I planed if for a long time before I took the jump and quit my job. But my job was running a landscaping company for many years and training countless employees.

    Michael if you feel comfortable with your skills and you have the money part covered go for it. I went in with 0 accounts I had 65 by the end of my first season. I did not take any loans and did not own any equipment before hand I took on a partner and the 2 of us put up 65k. We did it 60/40 so I think I know about risks and in my case they are just starting to really pay off.

    The odds are against any one starting a business we do not have a very business friendly government every 4 years we get another Dem claiming we are rich and do not pay our fair share. I think I read that 90% of all new businesses fail by the 5th year. So that is what you are facing are you willing to risk your time and money and your health if so welcome to the LCO club.

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