start up traps

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by crewforeman, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. crewforeman

    crewforeman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    What are some of the biggest unseen mistakes or snags that you wish you didn't have to go through during your start up. I have run my start up list through my head for years now and just know that there is going to always be something I'm missing. Help me not make your mistakes........PLEAAAAAASEE:alien:
  2. hole in one lco

    hole in one lco LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,793

    Take every thing in your head and put it on paper every thing sounds good but you need to see it to. Hell even Santa Claus needs a list .
  3. charlies

    charlies LawnSite Senior Member
    from earth
    Messages: 587

    don't underbid properties. build tight routes.
  4. Let it Grow

    Let it Grow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 476

    One of the bigger landscaping companies just went out of business here because they bought some expensive equipment, but forgot that there wasn't much work in the winter, and they couldn't pay the bills.
    Cash flow problems are one of the biggest killers of new businesses. Only buy equipment if you know you can afford it in the long term.
  5. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,157

    I was going to say something almost identical. Be aware of your seasons.... Sounds simple, right? You will have slow times,
    Plan For Them.
  6. Hawkeye5

    Hawkeye5 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    Not knowing your operating costs and overhead. Tough, even painful to figure out when you are just starting, but necessary if you are to avoid under-bidding and loosing money. That said, don't be afraid to make a mistake, generally one or two under-bids are not going to put you out of business and you learn a bunch. Has already been mentioned, but route density is a key in this business. If you have a tight route of properly priced customers you are doing it right.
  7. twins_lawn_care

    twins_lawn_care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 932

    remember to do quality work, and drive away from every property as if 100 people are watching you. Your work is your best business card, as it is proof of what kind of service you provide, quality, or not. Either way, the word will spread.

    Things I learned the hard way, but glad I went through and learned, as now I will never forget them...

    1) drive time is wasted time, so try to keep tight route
    2) if you buy cheap equipment, that's what you are getting, cheap equipment. try to buy the best you can afford to do the job right
    3) always invest back into the company. if you don't think it is worth investing in, then you do not think it is worht having the business, period.

    Good luck out there!
  8. crewforeman

    crewforeman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    I've been putting ALOT on paper lately....trying to be realistic. I've even gone to a 4 day week just for rain days, catch ups and maybe some installs or estimates. I've done numbers on some overhead. I even went alittle over looking forward to some growth. Looking to push 12 month contracts to help form a baseline income. I worked as a lawn spray tech for three years so I understand the importance of a tight route. I've also come up with a baseline number for hourly operating cost. The biggest problem I have with estimating is time when I have help on site. I look at something and say "well I can can do that in x hrs." well thats not always the case with hourly well I've gota go plug some more numbers and call a few more thanks for the help.
  9. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    biggest start up mistake is starting to get too big too fast causing the quality of properties to go down, and lack of help to maintain the properties.
  10. jajwrigh

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

    Buying crap equipment...As far as your small engines go, but really high quality commercial grade equipment!! (echo, stihl, shindaiwa, redmax, etc.) Take baby steps when it comes to trying to grow. One final thought....justify each large purchase heavily before jumping into it. Good luck to all...

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