Starting new lawn service company

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by cobra5796, Sep 26, 2006.

  1. cobra5796

    cobra5796 LawnSite Member
    from warren
    Messages: 4

    Hey everyone just wondering if I could get some help I'm thinking about starting a lawn service company next spring. As of right now I have a good job that pays well so I’m not going to quit or anything but I would love to start my own company with a few accounts a day and build from there. If you wondering why I want to start a business since I have a good job well I'm tired of working for people and I work on the Automotive Business, that's not so great anymore. First of all I have the money to buy the equipment I'm going start off small and then just build from there. I have a truck but I think I may buy or lease something a little bigger and better. The one thing is I really don't know is where to start? Where do I go and get insured, what's the best way to advertise, where do I go and get a business license, for those of you that don't have a whole lot of room where do u store your trailer for the night and where do u recommend storing it? I'm going to start off just buy myself and then latter hire someone probably a close family member. How many small residential accounts a day can I do myself after working 8 hrs at my first job? I did price out the equipment but is there any place that anyone recommends. (I live in Southwest MI). I just want to know what the first steps I should take are and in what direction I should go? I want to do this it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. pcarlson1911

    pcarlson1911 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 89

    This has been a tough one for me. We are currently insured through State Farm for Homeowers, auto, life, so we called for a quote. We also called several other companies, State Farm isthe only company that has given a quote.

    We also tries Farmers ins, Farm Bureau, and NAtion Wide. So, this is a time consuming project.

  3. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    Well my first piece of advise would be, NOT to hire a family member! Second, maybe work p/t for a established company first to see if you really want to do this before you spend 20k on decent equipment. Alot of people see all the "cool stuff" we use and want to try it. Hell, it's only cutting grass right? Yeah right!
  4. Brian B

    Brian B LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 273

    i am also starting next spring and need to get insurance and licensing and all that. good luck
  5. Mow"N"Bud

    Mow"N"Bud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    Here are some things IMO you need to consider. Take it or leave it, but I will tell you this, and that is if you ask what type of equipment should you purchase, then you will get as many opinions as you have hairs.

    1. Don't waste your money on a bigger truck that you don't know you need yet.
    2. Only get the equipment you feel you absolutely need to get started. (Because you mentioned you wanted to do residential). Such as a 36" commercial walk-behind, weed-eater, edger and blower, spare parts or common consumable parts, tools to work on equipment, and hand tools like rakes, shovel etc. The benefit to this is you can always use the stuff for your own lawn if the business doesn't go anywhere, but that is unlikely.
    3. Get your business license, insurance, and whatever else is required by you state and local gov.
    4. Be willing to work, even when it is really hot, and nothing goes right.
    5. Never quit. It's easy to quit, but winners keeping going, and if you don't quit you'll make it.
    6. I don't advise working with family.
    7. Build your customer base upon quality. Quality begets quality. If you take crappy jobs no one wants there is a reason, and the next thing you know you'll be doing every crappy job in that neighborhood. Find a nice neighborhood, and get quality clients. They will tell their friends, and soon you'll have a quality customer base.
    8. Be willing to say no if they aren't willing to pay your price, or it's too big for you right now. Don't get in debt for a piece of equipment you can only use on one job.
    9. Do spend some money on NICE business cards. Anyone can get cheap ones from Staples, but people notice a quality eye catching card, and it makes you look professional.
    10. Look like a professional when you show up to bid a job and when you are there to work. Any smuck can show up in a nasty t-shirt and ratty shots. If you want to be a lawn care professional then look and act like a professional.
    11. Take the time and do the jobs right. This follows in line with #7. If you do quality work than word of mouth will bring you lots of business. Most people are followers and not leaders. If a friend or neighbor is getting their lawn done by you, then potential customers want you to do a nice job on their place just like the friend or neighbor.
    12. Always smile. People are more likely to be willing to talk to you if you are smiling.
    13. Don't be negative regardless what bad thing happened at the last house. Every lawn is a new chance to show your quality workmanship.
    14. Don't speak badly of your competition. I makes you look like your trying to one up them. Let your work be your selling point.
    15. Only buy new equipment that is needed. After the initial investment, maybe shop around for a hedge trimmer.
    16. Don't take on more work than you can handle. All work and no play will make you a dull cutter.
    17. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing. Do what is best for you and your business.
    18. Pay yourself, and remember to set money aside for repair, new equipment, and a savings. You might want to enjoy the fruits of your labor, but it is hard to do when you don't have anything to show for it, but a bunch of lawn mowers.

    I hope this helps. I have done this for a while, and these things listed above have been from the school of hard knocks as well as learning from other professional. Good luck and stay in-touch. I always like to hear about people becoming successful.
  6. Brian B

    Brian B LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 273

    hey Mow"N"Bud that is great advice. i am also just starting and that is seriously some of the best advice i have heard
  7. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    THAT post should be a sticky at the top of this forum.

    Especially 7,8,10,11, and 14. Being stringent following those will, in my opinion, seperate you(and make you stand out in a positive way) from a good majority of LCOs.
  8. Brian B

    Brian B LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 273

    I SECOND THAT!!!!! :clapping:
  9. No Rush

    No Rush LawnSite Member
    Messages: 204

    I am just starting too and working on getting a commercial cutting job; submitted my bid this morning. My plan is to start slow and let things fall in to place. You can drive yourself crazy trying to accomplish all the prerequisites. One thing I am doing; i'm scheduled for an Irrigation class next month and the State exam in November. Good luck...
  10. Braveheart

    Braveheart LawnSite Member
    Messages: 120

    Thanks, I just started and you may have just saved me $500 on an extended hedge trimmer for one customer who has a big ficus bush...

    Acorn Lawn Service

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