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Starting something on the side...

violatorjf

LawnSite Member
Location
Massillon, OH
Hi everyone,

I'm new here and have been doing a lot of reading on starting up a lawn business. Basically I have a part-time job and attend college full-time but would like to have some yards to cut on weeknights/weekends. I live in a secluded mobile home community where probably over half the people are over 50 years old. I realize that I probably should have taken up this interest in March but lots of poeple still haven't cut their grass for the first time this year, including myself.

My main question is how formal/informal I should be with this process. It is likely that I will only be able to take on 5-10 clients with my current schedule but I am still ambitious and want to get my feet wet. I plan to offer basic services including mowing, trimming, spring & fall cleanup and general weeding.

Considering that probably all of my 5-10 yards will be owned by older people, do you think I should come up with an agreement with specific terms and things laid out within it? I can't seem to make up my mind on this. Part of me is saying be incredibly formal with a well laid out service agreement, but the other part says that these people may be scared off by any sort of "agreement" and may just want to hand me $20 after I'm done mowing. Any input on agreement or billings would be of great usefullness to me. Thanks,

John
 

supercuts

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
CT shoreline
if your doing 5-10 of your neighbors i wouldnt worry, i do everything in writing incase a customer doenst pay. with it in writing its clear cut to take them to court or sent them to collection. you may not think it will happen to you and you hvae great customers but things get ugly in divorce or if people loose their jobs, take up drugs as a hobby etc
 
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violatorjf

LawnSite Member
Location
Massillon, OH
I am aware that I will have to recognize my "business" when it comes to taxes on my income, but would you suggest I get insurance for only mowing 5 to 10 yards?
 

Raven386

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
CT
it doesnt really matter if you have 1 yard or 100. windows are expensive to replace. my buddy shot a rock through a picture window, just barely, i mean barely missed their big screen tv. the window ended up costing $500+ if it wouldve hit the tv, it wouldve been a lot more. so yea, id suggest getting insurance.
 

Ecoscape01

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
West Chester, Pa
I'm in my 6th year full time and all of my stuff is verbal, per cut.
It's still formal, just not in writing.

As one idea...
I asked him whether or not I should persue written agreements between me and a friend of mine who is subbing work out to me and may continue to in the future. He said "well ya know what they say, never mix business and pleasure" but he said that he still uses verbal agreements with his consulting business. Old fashioned I guess but until I get burned, for something so small like just lawncare for a part-time gig, I like the idea.
 
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