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Start up advice.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by extlights, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. extlights

    extlights LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 439

    I'm looking for any advice I can get as far as starting up a lawn business.
    Here's a little on my backround. I'm currently an owner/partner in a landscape lighting business. We're looking into adding on to the business and are considering this. We have 2 mowers now...a backpack blower and pretty much everything else we might need. We'll probably go pick up a larger mower as well (still doing research on which one).

    Here's my main question. Is it worth just mowing and trimming alone? We would do Spring/Fall cleanups as well. Our main concern is that unless we do mulch, seeding, pruning or other small landscaping, we might be ousted by the competition.

    This would be a legit business, not something on the side. We already have plenty of insurance (on everything) and we have a great reputation in our area with our current business. Just looking for any advice from the lawncare professionals on this site. Thanks
  2. J Hisch

    J Hisch LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 952

    I would say during this expansion keep it simple. I think you already answered your own question. You are just doing Landscape lighting are you being put out by the companies that do all sort of landscape? Sounds like your not, then you could be sucessful just mowing. BUt I would probably find a small Lanscaper who would do do some of that for you at the start.
  3. jazak

    jazak LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 843

    I would at least do mulching, trimming and seeding/maybe. If you just mow and trim the customer will call me up for mulch, seeding, trimming, ext then ask me if I also mow I would say yes and I would then have another account because many customers don't like the hassle of having seperate maitanence companies doing different work when they can have 1 doing it all.
  4. extlights

    extlights LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 439

    Thanks for the responses. We really have to continue to go over everything. There are some small landscape companies that we know who do not mow at all, so they are an option if we come across a client who wants some small landscaping work done. I'm not opposed to mulching and possibly seeding, so I guess we could keep an open mind with that also.
  5. Mac_Cool

    Mac_Cool LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    Why do you want to expand/change your business? It's important to know because if you're lacking sales because of lack of opportunity then I would look at expanding your services; if you are lacking sales because you are not marketing/promoting your business then I wouldn't expand until you are maxing the opportunities of your primary business.

    If you just want to change because you don't like lighting and would prefer mowing grass all day... then have at it.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I consider myself a strictly mowing company, but time and again I find the need to provide some extras for the following reasons:
    - Variety really helps relieve the boredom of riding the mower (just wait, you will see LOL).
    - Customers appreciate this as has already been mentioned.
    - Although the extras combined only account for 10-20 percent of my annual gross, that is nevertheless several thousand dollars I could not do without.

    That's just me, I took my own advice years ago also keeping things simple: I only offer hedge trimming, mulch, and core aeration on the side. Yes, from time to time I get the odd job with the bs but it is very rare as I am upfront with my customers when I have never done something before, I tell them I do not know what I am doing (yeah for real, it works) and I have several companies I found over the years (this does take time to find not just good guys out there, but guys who won't steal my grass-cutting) who can take care of some things but in the end, you never can or will please everybody, that's a fact.

    That having been said, I do carry a sprayer with round-up when I'm cutting, and anytime I see weeds in the flowerbeds, I take care of that, also I take care of low-hanging tree limbs as they get in my face, all of this is included in the price, so it's not just grass-cutting but I have 2 mowers at all times and I am solo and when it's 80-90 percent of the annual gross, to me that is as close as it gets.

    Best of luck!
  7. extlights

    extlights LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 439

    The opportunities are here, we are just thinking about adding another dimension to our business. We advertise regularly including anywhere from 100,000-150,000 direct mail pieces per season to specified credentials...plus any regular physical handouts we do in subdivisions where we are doing a project. We get a lot of referral business as well.

    Basically we want to start small right now and then see where we want to take it. That's why I was wondering if we just mowed and possibly did some small mulching and seeding if we would have a hard time competing. We do have a good reputation in our field right now, so I think when people here our name and that we are going to offer mowing as well it might help a bit.

    The other factor is that we have a short season up here when it comes to lighting...and mowing for that matter. If we truly want to turn this business into something that is worth something in the future, we're going to have to expand and offer other services sometime. We were just thinking about the lawncare business because it's not too expensive to start up. We have 2 mowers now (one being a walk behind) and most of the other equipment we might need. The only other thing we will have to get is another larger mower....so I think if we only have to spend 10 grand to expand into this business, then it feels like it could be worth the small risk.

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