Starting a lawn care business with $50-100k to invest?

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
Dave Tucker /Glen Zior/ Bill Wright did this years ago with Clip lawn care/ lawn wright

forwards and backwards

a lot of the better systems came from someone doing this (lawn care) and then writing the software around it

I think it would make more sense to pick the brains of people that have already done that , then people who haven’t.

beta testing does make more sense than staring your own
Too much effort and Time out into mowing rather than programming
Don’t you have a relative or a friend somewhere wanting to branch out into something like this?
 

Gus McGee

LawnSite Senior Member
What you should do depends on what markets (small, mid-sized, vs large companies) you are trying to capture. All have different needs and software budgets. If you are going to build a very robust software which will come with a hefty monthly fee, which it sounds like is your goal, you're going to have to build up at least a several fleet vehicle lawn care company if you want insight into the software needs of such companies. That will require more than a 100k initial investment.

That or just pick the brains of people in the industry and try out all of the industry related software.
 

JawT

LawnSite Member
Have you tried using a CRM like Service Autopilot or LawnPro or Jobber? I think SA does all the things you're talking about.

The question would be, can you build a system that does it better, or makes it way more user friendly, while ALSO charging us less to use it? I use LawnPro now but am about to grow out of it. SA is far more expensive but I want the power it has to automate things and to integrate with lead generation using my website.

if route optimization is your game you might want to consider marketing this product to delivery companies that go to multiple new destinations daily. Even with residential lawn care with lots of daily destinations, I don't see a big need for constant traffic-adjusted route optimization. But that's just me. I don't have 15 trucks out every day.
 
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grass man 11

LawnSite Bronze Member
Dave Tucker /Glen Zior/ Bill Wright did this years ago with Clip lawn care/ lawn wright

forwards and backwards

a lot of the better systems came from someone doing this (lawn care) and then writing the software around it

I think it would make more sense to pick the brains of people that have already done that , then people who haven’t.

beta testing does make more sense than staring your own
Too much effort and Time out into mowing rather than programming
Don’t you have a relative or a friend somewhere wanting to branch out into something like this?

yeah I have to say I agree. Starting your own with no industry knowledge would be foolish if the purpose is to build and design software for others to use. Think about it, you create a process that works for your lawn business , you spend money and time programming it, then you discover that all the pros with 20 years of experience tell you that your being completely inefficient with your original process and here you designed software around it.

partner with your core target audience.

and what I mean by that. Someone that operates a 200 solo/single crew operation has diffeeent needs than a 2million dollar company. And way different needs than an 8million dollar company.

The process of growing a lawncare company successfully comes in steps and stages. If an owner has a few years and a solid million laying around that they are not afraid to loose, they can skip many steps and build for the long term… doing so means in the sort term they will be over staffed and have inefficient processes. However MOST lawn guys don’t have this ability. They need to grow and be profitable. Think of it as building a flight of stairs. Every time a new step is reached, there is a period of leveling off and reworking things. Simple example, at 100k you probably don’t have inventory of any kind. At 8 million you have spare parts, spare materials, spare tools.

so you need to pick what level your target and ideal lawn care operators /users would be, partner with them and build for that level and just under that level to support that type of growth.
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
yeah I have to say I agree. Starting your own with no industry knowledge would be foolish if the purpose is to build and design software for others to use. Think about it, you create a process that works for your lawn business , you spend money and time programming it, then you discover that all the pros with 20 years of experience tell you that your being completely inefficient with your original process and here you designed software around it.

partner with your core target audience.

and what I mean by that. Someone that operates a 200 solo/single crew operation has diffeeent needs than a 2million dollar company. And way different needs than an 8million dollar company.

The process of growing a lawncare company successfully comes in steps and stages. If an owner has a few years and a solid million laying around that they are not afraid to loose, they can skip many steps and build for the long term… doing so means in the sort term they will be over staffed and have inefficient processes. However MOST lawn guys don’t have this ability. They need to grow and be profitable. Think of it as building a flight of stairs. Every time a new step is reached, there is a period of leveling off and reworking things. Simple example, at 100k you probably don’t have inventory of any kind. At 8 million you have spare parts, spare materials, spare tools.

so you need to pick what level your target and ideal lawn care operators /users would be, partner with them and build for that level and just under that level to support that type of growth.

it would be nice to see tiered software that you can buy in phases that grows as you grow

by the time guys can legitimize software they have years of data and history to enter to make their records worth something
And it’s a daunting v task trying to mate your existing g practices to a software when you could have been meshed all along and just “bounce” to the next level

CLIP had that concept but they literally stopped developingor advancing after 2005
 

justanotherlawnguy

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
tampa, fl
if you want to just throw money away, ill get in line. you can come up with the greatest system availaible and it wont mean a thing, you want to know why? Because the majority of the lawn care biz are hacks and would never buy business software to make their lives easier!
 

Bitches_Brew

Banned
Location
earth
I currently own and run a software consulting business that does a few million a year in revenue. For years I've had the urge to build an online lawn care business management system. It will include things like AI-based route list generation using traffic data, real-time online quotes using property records, automatic recurring billing, etc.

I obviously need a guinea pig to test and work through the kinks, so I intend to start my own local lawn care business. I have $50k in cash set aside for this and could tap another $50k if needed. I also already have the systems, infrastructure, and support staff of my existing business that I can tap into (accounting, sales team, etc). I have tons of business experience, but it's in a completely different trade.

How would you make the wisest use of this seed money? Obviously I'm not going to go out and buy a brand new F-250 in cash, but I'd appreciate any advice from the grizzled veterans in the crowd. Should I buy brand new gear or used? Immediately go after commercial accounts or wait until I get my legs under me? What else am I overlooking?

Take advise or invest in this 13yr. old...


 

MikeyVedia

LawnSite Member
Location
Magnolia Tx
I currently own and run a software consulting business that does a few million a year in revenue. For years I've had the urge to build an online lawn care business management system. It will include things like AI-based route list generation using traffic data, real-time online quotes using property records, automatic recurring billing, etc.

I obviously need a guinea pig to test and work through the kinks, so I intend to start my own local lawn care business. I have $50k in cash set aside for this and could tap another $50k if needed. I also already have the systems, infrastructure, and support staff of my existing business that I can tap into (accounting, sales team, etc). I have tons of business experience, but it's in a completely different trade.

How would you make the wisest use of this seed money? Obviously I'm not going to go out and buy a brand new F-250 in cash, but I'd appreciate any advice from the grizzled veterans in the crowd. Should I buy brand new gear or used? Immediately go after commercial accounts or wait until I get my legs under me? What else am I overlooking?
To begin with you need to find a lead man who is hands on and has the ability to see if the workers you hire are worth keeping or not and make the one's with leadership qualities are top hands and so on and so forth. The people who do the work is the key and never forget that.
 

K c m

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Philadelphia, PA
I currently own and run a software consulting business that does a few million a year in revenue. For years I've had the urge to build an online lawn care business management system. It will include things like AI-based route list generation using traffic data, real-time online quotes using property records, automatic recurring billing, etc.

I obviously need a guinea pig to test and work through the kinks, so I intend to start my own local lawn care business. I have $50k in cash set aside for this and could tap another $50k if needed. I also already have the systems, infrastructure, and support staff of my existing business that I can tap into (accounting, sales team, etc). I have tons of business experience, but it's in a completely different trade.

How would you make the wisest use of this seed money? Obviously I'm not going to go out and buy a brand new F-250 in cash, but I'd appreciate any advice from the grizzled veterans in the crowd. Should I buy brand new gear or used? Immediately go after commercial accounts or wait until I get my legs under me? What else am I overlooking?
4000 of these made up in January, sent in late Febuary, you’ll buy 250s and new gear like pop corn.
 

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