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Starting a Lawn Care business on a budget

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by SurGreen Lawns, Feb 24, 2006.

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  1. SurGreen Lawns

    SurGreen Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hello all,

    I'm 21 and I live in Las Vegas. I sell advertising full time for a top internet advertising company. I'm young, single and don't really have too many bills.

    I've printed out all of the business license forms (THERE ARE TONS!) for the County and State. I've got a name picked out and everything.

    What I'm wondering is this. I am getting investors in my family but they want me to have a business plan and an idea of start up cost. I plan to do this very legit. Getting insured, respectable equipment, etc. I plan on buying used commercial equipment.

    Can anyone give me maybe a simple list of the equipment I'd need for start-up for the next probably 6 months. I plan on buying a little Toyota or Nissan pick up to put around to my jobs (Nothin beater but I can't afford a whole lot)

    I've got my Marketing plan down. I plan on getting about 3,000 door hangers and probably 2,000 fliers to put on windshields in the rich area of town. I've got three teenage sisters, I plan on getting them to get a few friends to help me pass them out. Pay for them all to get into a movie or something like that. I'll probably have some t-shirts made up to keep it professional

    What is the typical cost of starting the business? I don't have to have beautiful equipment, but I don't want to look like the kid down the street trying to mow your lawn either. This is going to be a one man operation (at least for the time being).

    Any suggestions help, thanks in advance.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    $5.00-- or $50.00-- or $50000.00 Take your pick. What kind of yards are you going to cut and what size equipment do you need.
    Equipment-- Truck, trailer, racks, mowers, trimmers, blower, gas cans, oil, blades, tools, trimmer line, safety stuff, etc. etc. etc.

    Office stuff-- computer, desk, printer, phone, file cabinet.

    Storage-- Garage, Shed, yard.

    Consumables-- Gas, oil, paper, stamps, envelopes, checks, ink, filters, plugs, blades, trimmer line, business cards, advertising fliers, Pens and pencils.

    Costs-- taxes, insurance, licenses-- car, trailer, business, pesticide--, professional service-- tax, accounting, lawyers--, service on equipment, etc. etc. etc.

    Time-- in addition to mowing you need to pay yourself for- Maintenance to equipment, putting gas in everything, buying stuff, advertising, selling, book keeping, education.

    This is a short list of things to plan for on the business plan, I am sure that I missed some big ones so others can fill in but this is a start.

    Good luck with the business

    And to answer this "What is the typical cost of starting the business?" is about the same as "how much money should I bring to Vegas??:laugh:
  3. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Messages: 0

    Sounds like your just starting out but your profile says you've been in business for 2 years.

    A lot of areas around Vegas use a good amount of xeroscape in their landscaping and minimal grass so I would guess you could get by with smaller mowers on most properties. What you need to determine is what types of yards are you going to be servicing and buy euipment that best fits that need.
  4. Precision Lawns

    Precision Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    We started our business last year with $2000 in the bank. We got a LOT of help from family/friends. Here's what we did:

    We're "leasing to buy" commercial-grade equipment from a good friend/previous employer/LCO. He replaces his small equipment (weedeaters, blowers, etc.) every year and his mowers every 2-3 years. Last year we got a Walker GHS, Snapper hydrostatic walk-behind, two Stihl weedeaters, two Stihl blowers, and a 15 ft trailer. We didn't have to pay anything up-front and just made monthly payments on them. If we had gone under, he had agreed he'd just take the equipment back from us and we wouldn't owe any more. This season, we switched out the Walker for another Snapper (we just weren't using the Walker) and got some more weedeaters and blowers, as well as an 18-ft trailer. We'll make payments again this season. By the end of this season, we'll own everything except one of the Snappers. This is obviously not an option for everyone, but if you DO have any friends that are LCOs and change out their equipment regularly, this was a lifesaver for us, since we didn't have the startup capital to buy all our own equipment.

    We ordered business cards from Office Depot and printed our own flyers - if we had it to do all over again, we'd order everything from www.48hourprint.com. Better quality, better prices, and better turnaround time (and much less headache) than OD or doing it ourselves.

    Our advertising was flyers and word of mouth - that's it. We only put out 1000 flyers, were doing the business very part-time, and had 25 customers by the end of the season (we crammed them all into one day of work, so we could still have full-time jobs). This season we're doing more advertising and hope to triple in size.

    Shop around for best prices on insurance. We have a $2mil liability policy and all our equipment is covered. Cost us $1000 last year (we paid quarterly) and $450 this year. It's amazing how rates drop after being in business for a season. Business licenses here in TN are cheap. I think it was something like $45.

    We had a family member design and maintain our website. He's doing it for free, so we just have to pay the $9.95/year for the domain name.

    We have a Cricket cell phone as the business phone. We ordered the phone off overstock.com. We have an unlimited local plan, which is cheap and more than adequate for this business.

    We keep all our equipment in my partner's grandmother's garage. She has a 2-car garage she doesn't use, since she parks in the driveway. So that was free as well.

    We designed our own logo, and all our advertising. We ordered truck magnets from Kinkos, but if we had it to do over again, there's a guy on Ebay who's much cheaper and does better work. He's who we're ordering from this year.

    Our wives take care of billing, scheduling, calling customers, paperwork, etc. For free.

    Pretty much, we used our friends and family as much as we could, paid for the things we had to, and shopped around a LOT. The most important thing was keeping a professional business image while trying to keep costs down. Most of our customers have no idea we're just a two-family company with no employees, or that we just had a few accounts. It's not easy, and we were lucky to know a lot of the "right" people who were willing to work with us, but it IS possible to start this business with very little $$ and still be successful. We achieved our goals for last year and are starting this year out on a good note. Good luck!
  5. Trinity Lawn Care  LLC

    Trinity Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 946

    You can start on a shoe string budget. However, you are going to have to monitor your spending and watch your expenses. Make sure that you do it right from the start (insurance etc.). Also, I would not place flyers on car windshields. This tends to make many a little unhappy, and I would especially say the upper class would frown on it. I would place them somewhere around the door. JMO.
  6. Shane72

    Shane72 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I have been reading your posts and taking notes. Thanks to all for the wisdom!!! Shane "GRASSWORX"
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    Reads like your heading in the right direction. Contact score.org and set up an appointment with a councilor. Bring your business plan and any and all questions since you are the First person who has actually admitted to having a business plan in the first place. The cost is free and the results from your appointment may be very reassuring that you truly are heading in the right direction and not in circles like many other people starting out in business.
    easy-lift guy
  8. Greg78

    Greg78 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,010

    OP Last Activity: 02-28-2006 01:18 PM...
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