Starting a Business

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by AndrewLawn, May 17, 2001.

  1. AndrewLawn

    AndrewLawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    Hey everyone,I'm planning on starting a lawnmowing/landscaping company next summer,and I know that's a ways away,but I want to start planning now.I've got the basic equipment...I mean,I have a really small lawnmowing business this year(6 lawns)...and I'm expectinhg to make about 2000-2500 dollars on those lawns considering i charge 25 a yard.So,like I said,I have the basic equipment(for lawnmowing at least),but I don't know exactly what I'm doing when it comes to landscaping.About the only thing I do know about it is that I'd like to do it next year.I honestly have no clue where to begin...I mean,I think I can plant trees and plants and do various yardwork..i don't see why i wouldn't be able to..but for some reason I'm a little aprehensive about doing this...I'm only 15,and not sure how seriously people will take me.Plus,I don't know exactly where to start on getting these landscaping jobs,and,when i do get them,exactly what i should do from there.I know most everything i need to know about lawnmowing,like i said,but landscaping is a different story.I'd really like to see my "business" grow,and I've possibly considered hiring someone to help me with ther landscaping next year.Could someone give me some advice/tips/whatever to help me actually start a business...and i want a REAL business,with a logo and shirts and everything...although i know i won't be able to do that in one year,im just talking about eventually....anyway,someone..please please respond.
  2. lawnboy82

    lawnboy82 Banned
    Messages: 957

    if you are really serious about this; go get a job at a local nursery. or with an lco. get experience with putting the plants in, with getting to know the plants, how to price things. on your own maybe you could try doing some mulch this year. or planting some annuals. start out simple. the way i started landscaping was just talking with people. i would know people and go to their homes for whatever reason. see something and ask if they wanted it done. just network. ask your present customers if they want any plants planted. start simple and work from there. nobody i know started landscaping with 40,000 dollar jobs. start out by getting your name out there and then hit them up for money as you go.
  3. little green guy

    little green guy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 955

    The best thing I can tell you to do is to work for a local landscape company now. I started working for another landscaper when I was 13 and it was one of the best things I could have done (I still work with them a little). I have built a good relationshipp with the owner and now we barrow equipment and employees from each other all the time. I'm only 17 now and I have begun to build a very reputible buisness. I have been doing 10-20 thousand dollar landscape jobs which isn't too bad for a 17 year old. The reason I gett thesse jobs is because I know what I'm doing, I do good work and I impress the cutomers. I'm bidding jobs higher than some of the bigger guys around and getting them. I've had cutomers tell me when I look at paver, wall, planting jobs ect.. " you realy seem to know what your doing" The raeson I know what i'm doing is bacause I 've been doing it and I have gotton alot of experiance. my dad is also a builder so I've alway been around this type of work but anyway. ;)

    The best advive I can give you is to go work for someone now, while you have the time, before you have a family top support and stuff. Thats the best way to learn, believe me. If you try to start doing landscape work without knowing anything your not going to gett as far as if you get some good experiance. keep doing some lawns om the side and slowly build your buisness up.
  4. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    I agree that hands-on learning is important in this industry. Also consider taking courses in college to give you a deeper and broader scope of knowledge and increased credibility. If you are going to own your own business, a college education will help you in ways that are difficult to catelog---I suppose 'outlook' would be the word that describes it.
  5. gusbuster

    gusbuster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,928

    I'm not going to repeat what other people are saying. I'm just going to say it's true and sound advice.

    You can be the best worker on the planet, but you have to know how to run a business:angel: While you're at school, take some kind of business courses also.

    You have to learn when to make capital purchases, when to gamble, and when to not take a job that's way over your head.

    My family has been in the business since the early 60's. My dad taught me about the business, but not how to run a business. I got that experience from (DON'T LAUGH)Domino's Pizza College.

    Go for it,you have nothing to lose except the experience of doing it.

  6. Eric Green

    Eric Green LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    These are all excelent posts. Especially the one about networking.
    The best way to grow your biz is to pay close attention to detail,and work with the customers you already have . If you see something that could be enhanced or renovated, let them know that you provide landscaping as well as lawn maint. services. Start with mulching flower beds, and adding top soil to freshen up existing beds. Start by doing smaller jobs,Word of mouth will get you all of the business you want,once your name gets out you'll be set!! Do great work and keep the existing clients spending money!!

    Eric Green
    E&L Lawn & Landscaping
  7. roscioli

    roscioli LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 749

    Here goes: I am 19, and last year started my own little lawn mowing/general lawn maintenence biz. I attend school full time at UMASS, for restaurant management. I enjoy both businesses, and sell xmas trees in the winter, nearly 800 a year. So, owning a business is kinda part of me. If you are like me, you wont want to go work for someone else. Last year i started with my father's push mower and borrowing a truck. This year i have a truck and a cheap ride on mower. I have 5 weekly mowing customers ($35 or $40 each mow), and have done maybe 10 spring clean ups. I mulch, plant, clear brush, anything anyone wants. My advice to you: go to school no matter what, and start out small. "If you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose". I started out so small that i had 0 investment, now i have $3000 into it, after a year and a half. START SMALL, then grow. If you have the patience, the experience working for someone would be good, but i simply don't have it. Good luck to ya, -mike
  8. lawnboy82

    lawnboy82 Banned
    Messages: 957

    hey roscioli, umass means class. i am a stockbridge guy myself. nice to know another umass guy is on here.
  9. TFL

    TFL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 210

    people wiil take you seriously as long as you keep it proffesional and they don't catch yougoofing of when working I am 16 ( started when 14 with 5 yards) i have 30 yards many commercial and full instalation and maintance contract including 1 15 acre private airport . one tip dont bid to low just to get the job and dont let people take advantage of you.
  10. jkinchla

    jkinchla LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Messages: 74

    I think the best advice is to start small and work for another company for a few years in the summer. I also went to UMASS like the others and I mowed lawns from the age of 13 and never worked for another co. The only thing I regret is not getting the experience of working for a reputable nursery or landscaper in the area. I would recommend working for the best retail nursery in your area so that you can use their name on your "resume" when you are selling jobs and so you can learn the plant material. Also, if you do go to college (and you should - you'll learn a lot and hopefully have a lot of fun) it will be hard to maintain 60 lawns while you are at school. Take it easy, the work will be there, and go to college and get the experience you need with a nursery (and save some of the money for your future business after college). Good luck....

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