Starting Out Fresh

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by C17LoadSmasher, May 1, 2003.

  1. Frosty_03

    Frosty_03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 333

    Hey fellow Veteran!!!! It is your choice on what you want to do. If you have the experience than go for it. I too am on terminal leave from the Navy and have found that it is a rewarding job and great feeling to be free from my obligation from the U S Navy. I get up when I want and go to work when I want and that is almost everyday cause brother you by your self have the potential to make 400 to 500 dollars a day and if your friend gets on board you can easily double that. I spent 26 years floating ships for the Navy and I enjoyed it every minute of it. Now I enjoy the fresh cut of grass in the morning with a nice hot cup of Java and a Cig.

    Equipment depends on what you are going to be cutting. I myself cut churches and residential. this is my equipment list:

    1996 Dodge Ram 1500
    6.5 x 14 ft tandem trailer with electric brakes
    2003 44" Exmark Lazer Z HP
    2003 48" Exmark Metro HP Walk Behind with Floating Deck
    2003 32" Exmark W/B Fixed Deck
    1997 John Deere LT 133 Lawn Tractor
    1 John Deere Backpack Blower
    1 John Deere Stick Edger
    1 John Deere Weed eater
    1 Weed eater Hand Held Blower
    1 John Deere Three Wheel Edger
    1 John Deer 22" Commercial Mower
    All Kind of hand power hand tools, air tools and air compressor to work and maintain equipment.

    As you can see by my list I am a John Deer and Exmark Man, but this is my preference. There are alot of good equipment out there. The Last thing I will tell you is go to your local government and see what Licenses you need. Oh and don't forget about Insurance. I hope this helps you out. I bid my yards at 2.99 per 1000 sqft. but never below 40 dollars. That is mowing trimming and edging. GOD SPEED!!!!!! Fly Boy
  2. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833

    I rest my case.

    Download fuel...
  3. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    So a typical 5,000 ft home lawn would bring in a whopping $14.95, except for your $40 minimum?

    Sounds like you're going to be off on both ends. Your per foot pricing is too low for small properties, and your minimum is too high for others. Personally I think per-foot pricing is very inaccurate. Here's why: You can't account for the differences in obstacles, hills, shape of lawn, type of grass, fertility/growth rate, type of edging, etc per-foot. It might be useful as part of a formula, but it really all boils down to time, difficulty, and equipment. I doubt anyone wants to be mowing hills all day. But if you bid the same per foot price, the only bids you'll consistently get will be the hilly lots where your price is too low. And the easy flat rectangles of grass you'll tend to lose because your bid might be too high. It also doesn't factor in your drive time. With your system of pricing, you'll make the same amount doing two 20,000 foot properties as you will doing a single 40,000 foot one. Which will take longer? The two smaller ones, since you may have to drive 5-15 minutes to reach the second property.

    With experience you can size up most properties. Knowing how big it is is important. But you have to adjust a quote for other factors too. Here's an example of how equipment factors in the have a lawn to do with a gated back yard. You can't fit your 48" mowers in, so you have to use your 32". This will take longer. Yet the footage didn't change, did it? Or you have a slope where you have to switch to a walk behind to do. This requires you to spend a few extra minutes switching mowers, then you have to mow with a lesser unit. Or the ground is poorly drained and will often be too wet to put a heavy ZTR on. There are lots of factors to consider when bidding a job. It'd be nice to run a wheel over it and plug it into a formula. But this isn't fertilzing lawns.

    Around here, some lawns and grass types can't be mowed w/o scalping with anything but a 32" or smaller deck. I can mow them with a ZTR in 10 minutes, but it wouldn't be a quality job, and I'd soon lose the customer. Using a 32" to do it right it takes me 20 minutes. If I want to be accurate in pricing, I have to take that into account. Finally, I will be much more tired at the end of the day walking behind a small wb, than sitting on my rear end on a ZTR. So I also need to factor that into my bid. I want more money for more difficult work.

    As for the loadmaster.....I would also advise working for someone else for at least a few months to learn the ropes. It's not rocket science, but it's not as easy as it looks. It may only be $8/hour, but you won't have equipment costs so it will probably be as much as you'd net anyway, and you can make mistakes on someone else's time. Start cold turkey and you'll just burn bridges with new customers. This equipment is NOT like mowing with your Murray 21" at home. After 12 years I am still learning new ways to be more efficient at it.

Share This Page