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Starting up my own business in 2013

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by FinishLine28, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. FinishLine28

    FinishLine28 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hello All. I am new to this site and have found a lot of the articles on here to be very helpful in answering some questions so far. Seems as though there are many here with a lot of experience and knowledge of the industry. I have experience in the field but not as a owner of a business. Id like to ask some questions in hopes to get some helpful answers. I don't expect to make a ton of money right off the bat but id like to succeed. I wont be going in debt being that i have enough money saved to buy the equipment, etc.

    When starting out trying to find customers are there certain areas that should be targeted more than others? I have read on here about door to door and about direct mailing fliers, etc. Seems as though it is a 50/50 split on the thoughts of the two options. I don't mind the face to face by doing door to door but is this a good way to go in hopes to gain a few customers quickly? I realize that a lot of new customers are acquired through word of mouth and others seeing you at work. But naturally to get to that point i need to have a decent amount of customers. I am not afraid of work or long hours. I know it takes time to build a business like this so i am open to what this just may bring to me. I am putting a lot of time into getting this going and off the ground. I don't expect anything to just fall into my hands. With that being said what do you all feel would be a logical number of customers that i could possibly get in my first year? How many were some of you able to get in your first year? I also have another job as a sub contractor doing work that is not related to this field so i do have other income. I make my own hours at that job so i can really put as much time as i want into this too.

    Do you all find it easier to get landscaping jobs versus lawn maintenance jobs? I know landscaping is where more money is. I really enjoy the mowing part of this field but i also know that if i want to succeed and make decent money i need to offer all the services which is no issue either.

    What are some of the better brands of equipment that you all have come across? Mainly speaking of mowers, trimmers, blowers, etc. I want a good product that others have had much success with. Stihl, Husqvarna, exmark, etc? Any input would be very much appreciated.

    I have no issue with bidding out lawn maintenance jobs. Is there any tips some could give on bidding out mulching jobs, shrub trimming, retaining walls, etc.? Are there any programs available to help with stuff like that? Or are there certain formulas some of you use?

    What are some of the things that i should expect my first year in business? Things from do's and don'ts to what to expect financially? I am only throwing out a number here but do you think 50 customers would be out of the ballpark? Please be honest. I guess really it is all in my hands as to how much i advertise, etc.

    Last but not least. If we aren't going through a drought or a massive amount of rain then how often do most of you cut your customers lawns? Are you on a weekly schedule, every 10 days, or bi-weekly? I am sure it varies depending on the customer but what is the most common?

    Sorry for the novel here. I just want to know what i should all expect coming into this so i am not blindsided by anything. Its a big step for me and i want to succeed in this. If there are other helpful words of advise or things i didnt ask about that you feel is something important then please feel free to post about it. I will check back frequently and respond throughout this. Thank you to all that have taken the time to read this. I look forward to reading the input that i will hopefully receive in regards to some of these questions i had. Thank you all again and have a great day and successful 2013!!!
  2. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    I was going to answer your questions but as I read it all I could think is that all of these have been asked and answered a million times. Start playing with the search button, and you should find all these answers.
  3. clydebusa

    clydebusa Inactive
    Messages: 1,660

    I just looked at the Illinois and said good you not in Tulsa!
  4. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    Website is number one these days for advertisements.

    I personally think mailers work the best.

    You just have to keep plugging away.

    The landscape jobs are more profitable when bid and installed correctly but the maintenance is cash flow to feed the beast.
  5. Lazer Cut

    Lazer Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 906

    Go in to the place you submitted this thread... go through the pages and your questions are listed as others have posted the SAME thing and re-read those... :drinkup:
  6. FinishLine28

    FinishLine28 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Sorry i just figured that it would be easier to start my own thread instead of searching page after page in hopes to answer some of the questions i had. Guess i was wrong. Let the searching begin.
  7. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    well, I though I addressed your main questions you posted. Searching is a good way to go too.
  8. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,209

    I think your on your way, youve got most beat by staying debt free.

    Dont expect much from your first year, it may take that long to figure out your "nitch". I dont think it would be easy to get 50 accounts in one year, and over booking when starting is a bigger mistake then teking it easy.

    Most if not all commerical grade equiptment is good. Until you figure out your business you wont know what you will need. I started 5 years ago with the Sthil Kombi System and a backpack blower, figure on something similar. Without knowing what you will be mowing I have know idea idea what mower you wil need. TYou will however nees a 21" mower most likley.

    I dont install hardscapes and would recomend to stay away from that unless you have alot of experience doing them. Mulch can be figured similar to maintance, figure out how long it will take and charge accordingly.

    If a drought come lawns without will likley not be cut but once a month if that. Try for weekley accounts, everyother week is ok, 10day mowings is a seculding nightmare.

    Best advice I have is make yards look good, spend a little extra time, it will save on advertising.
  9. FinishLine28

    FinishLine28 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thank you Larryinalabama and Duekster. I appreciate the info so far. Always open to words of advice or anything. With just starting out i am sure i will overlook something. So anything to minimize that is great. Thank you guys again!!
  10. kandalawncaremgr

    kandalawncaremgr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 224

    Hey there from Illinois also, I tried direct mailing and I know it works for somethings but I don't feel it worked for me , 6 months cost 1300 and it went to 20,000 homes a month and I only reeled in about 300 dollars, believe it or not it was Craigslist that got 85 percent of my business as was word of mouth. I'm new also , I just started last year and did well even though we had the drought here in the Midwest. Hope my little input helps. I'm from the Joliet area how about you. Wish ya well in the year to come. If I can help ya in anyway email me or look me up . Kevin

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