Starting lawn care\fed up with corporate crap!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by jemvai, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. jemvai

    jemvai LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 52

    First off I would just like to say this site is overflowing with information. I found it two weeks ago and just registered now, I was reading so much on here I forgot to register..

    OK, I was driven out of a fortune 100 company with 2 other guys after working there for 8 years doing IT work. So I want to start my own Business in lawn care , for now just mowing, trimming and hedge trimming, edging,fall cleanups.

    I am not totally new to this I worked for a lawn service for two years many years ago. I also have many friends who have there own business doing this. I love being outside and mowing, working in yards, and what guy does''t love equipment??. I currently have have the equipment needed except a trailer, and commercial mower,I am thinking a 52 inch ztr and a 48 inch WB. I have everything else.

    Anyway, I will be going solo for the first year or so, and I am wondering one thing.... What do you solo guys do if you are sick or want to take a vacation?

    I live in a area in CT that has good size lawns and allot of money. I have a business plan almost finished,and I'm working out insurance and all that fun stuff. a friend of mine owns two store front business with a huge mailing list that I can use, and my wife is a great web designer. I have a name and logo almost finished.

    I am just a little worried about this time of year getting started. what are you guys thoughts on this??

    Thank you all who read this post.
  2. billslawn89

    billslawn89 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,365

    being solo, if i am sick or not feeling good, i go to work, on taking a vacation, if you are just starting out, no time for vacation. here in florida, i take short vacations on week-ends when not busy, otherwise, i feel i am on vacation doing my job! you MUST like what you do to be a success! :drinkup:
  3. jemvai

    jemvai LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 52

    That's kind of what i figured, I have to problem with it ...The wife will just have to adjust.. lol
  4. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,624

    Im also tired of this corporate mess, I plan on going full time next spring. I had a business with 65 accounts in So California in the earley 1990s, as far as taking a week off it was no big deal people understand. A lenghtly illness would be a problem, to keep your accounts youd have to find someone to do them, so just dont get sick.
    It is a little late in the year to start but why get another job just to quit next year.

    J.A.G LAWNCARE LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 931

    get started this fall with leave clean ups .......might lead to spring mows
  6. tradeyouraccounts

    tradeyouraccounts Banned
    Messages: 343

    In some home service industries like the pool service industry for instance some guys bill monthly for 4 weeks every month so you’re billing for 48 weeks a year. So that gives you 4 weeks that you could take for vacation or sickness and do it in the off season. If you were to work all 52 weeks you’d be giving 4 weeks service away for free. Could work depending on where you’re at and how it’s introduced to the customer.
  7. jemvai

    jemvai LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 52

    Thanks for all the comments guys, this place is a goldmine. I was thinking also start with leaf cleanups and hopefully keep customers for next year. How any of you guys use contracts . I think that's the way I am going to go. Everything spelled out for the customer in writing so there's no suprises. Extra services on a jobber basis.

    What do you guys spend on gas a year, i thinking Solo with two mowers just an estimate, say 60 lawns. i know it varies greatly but... what are some of you guys cost. just trying to get all of expenses figured.

    Your thoughts.....

  8. CustomKare

    CustomKare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 212


    Good luck. You're already onto a good start by asking questions. Usually there are no dumb questions but occasionally we'll see a few out here.
    We will be sure to let you know when you ask a dumb question.

    4th year LCO part time. I too am working for "the man" and I'm burned out.
    Just not enough revenue to replace what I have with the Ole' 9-5 right now.
    (31 Accounts.)

    Keep an open mind......there are costs to running a business. You have to re-invest in your business and then pay yourself. In the beginning you will lowball and lose your ass on jobs but you will feel you made will learn you lost when you look at your TRUE COSTS.

    By year 21/2 you will feel very comfortable on pricing. I'm a slow learner it took me year 3 to not get burned as often.

    Don't mortgage the farm to buy equipment. Understand the weather can kill you. Too much rain or not enough.

    Run a tight route. Diversify using add ons such as mulch installs, bed prep, aerations and possibly snow if it happens in your area.

    Like now in the Midwest, it's dry as hell. I'm not mowin' much. If this was my single income I would be a bit nervous.

    The freedom with this gig is great but you have to be disciplined to work when it's hot, when your sick, sore and tired. Learn to listen to football on the radio.

    I love doin lawns, others on here do also but it's not as easy it appears and a ton of people get in and out. In my 4 years alot has changed. Pricing is falling backwards and I believe more people are opting to do it themselves to save a buck.

    Hope I don't sound negative.....just realistic. I had and still have people give me advice on here and I filter what makes sense to me and run with it.

    Good luck
  9. bigw

    bigw LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,540

    I dont know about the rest of these guys but i can tell you where i live "residentials" just do not want to hear about any contracts. most will not agree to sign one because they do not want to be locked into one.
    I find that it works better for both me and them that way, for one it helps to close the sale when you tell them they are not locked into a contract and 2 you can drop a pita as fast as a snap of the finger when they give you too much crap or dont pay on time without being sued for not keeping your end of a deal. Now this is just my first year but ive been as high as 62 accounts "no contracts" and only 2 late paying customers and one i just took to court and i won,you dont need a contract to get paid for services renderd you just need the invoice and then its her job to prove she paid not yours to prove she didnt.
    Bottom line you will get many more residential customers if you dont make them sign a contract. Do a nice job be polite,be personal and you wont even have to worry about 99% of your customers...theirs always 1 or 2 that are a pain but then you just dump them and make room for the next!
  10. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,624

    Hey Bigw nice to see you posting again, 60+ accounts your first year is great.
    I dont use contracts eighter. I charge by the week, bill monthly, that way the customer gets what they pay for and I get what I work for. Some months you will service 5 times why dor 1 for free. Slow months you may go 1 or 2 times whay should the customer pay for a full month.

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