starting up part time need advise!!!!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tim cooper, Aug 21, 2001.

  1. tim cooper

    tim cooper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 71

    Hello guys and gals!!! I live in Mississippi... I am a registered nurse at a level 1 trauma center.... I work a 5 on 2 off 2 on 5 off shift schedule... I have a lot of down time on my hands and am thinking of starting a lawn business on the side... I have a son that i intend to help with the business.... If i can get him to work!!! lol... Anyway guys... I have about an acre lot of my own to cut also... And am seriously considering buying a diesel grasshopper 52 inch deck...

    My question is.. when, and who should i contact for business. I.E. apartments .. churches.. residential customers... and also about how many clients should i start with... any input would be appreciated..
  2. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    at least one :)

    Did you try the search? Lot's of posts just like this...

    Try doing a search on insurance first...

    After you've soaked it all in and still have Q's... then come back with some specific Q's...
  3. vipermanz

    vipermanz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,773

    Welcome to Lawnsite, The Largest Commecial Lawn Care Forum Out There, About your questions, I would go for the apartments,churches,and other commercial properties, Give the past experiences that members here have encountered here with residential accounts,

    Remember, Search Away!, And Safe Mowin' To Ya':)
  4. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    Welcome and enjoy. Your one of many who come here to start a part time biz. Start reading here as much as possible. Learn from our mistakes. Learn about pricing, business, equipment, advertising, etc. from this site.

    Knowledge is power. Get the knowledge and then get after the biz.
  5. fivestarlawnken

    fivestarlawnken LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 438

    I would make sure you really want to do this before you fork out the money for a very nice mower.Make sure you want to do landscaping for improving landscaping, not making a quick buck.I'm not trying to be harsh,just know guys who do landscaping and screw others left and right(customers,other landscape guys or there own mom).Please dont take out of contex!Well good luck and keep us updated.sorry(i've had a bad couple of days)
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    My first piece of advice is to take all advice on this board with a grain of salt. What works for some guys in some areas may not work nearly as well with you in your area.

    That being said, I have to offer a differing opinion from Vipermanz. In my area at least, residential customers are golden and commercial accounts suck. I've had a lot of both and after 6 years we've come to learn that we make a much higher hourly rate with residenial customers. Furthermore, we only have one or two people to please per property.

    At this time we maintain over 150 residential landscapes and I'll be discontinuing service at our two big commercial accounts at the end of the year.

    I don't know how it is everywhere else but in our area the money is in the upper class residential work. The commercial industry here is saturated with cheapos who hire tons of migrant laborers at minimum wage [and minimum skill, I might add]. It's impossible for me to compete.

    Here's an example; I was asked to give a bid to maintain an appartment complex. They said the current company sends out 4 guys in 2 trucks for 1 full day per week. They also volunteered that they were currently paying $1800 per month for that and already had new bids for less. They added that I'd have to beat these prices to get the job. I couldn't believe it. I could send out those same 4 guys (seperated into 2 crews of 2 guys) and they could go do 30-40 residential landscapes (most lawns are small here) in that same day. That would bring us in roughly $3500 - $5000 per month. This is just one example but it's like that everywhere around here.

    Again this may be unique to areas where landscapes are small. Where I live, lots are small and houses are big. So we are in and out of most jobs in 20-30 minutes. We also keep things running smoothly because all of the accounts on any given day are in the same neighborhood.

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents. Figure out what works for you and your area.
  7. bkd

    bkd LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    I agree with Jim on the residentials. If you do a good job they will usually stay with you. On the other hand, commercial property or industrial will almost always accept the lowest bid. I work full time in an industrial business and I know how they are always wanting to cut spending and increase profit margins. They are not that concerned with the quality of the work; just how little they have to pay for it. Residentials take pride in their homes apperance and are willing to pay for quality.
    I would suggest to you to just take one step at a time. I do this part time also. Start small (2 or 3 customers), don't invest a lot of money at the start until you know this is for you. Grow your business as you become ready. Keep your money separate from your other income so you will know exactly how your doing. Set some goals. If you reach them and are still enjoying yourself then maybe you have found happiness with this. When it comes time each week to service your customers if your excited about it; great, but if you would rather be doing something else then maybe you should be doing something else. Just my opinion.

    Good luck!
  8. crazygator

    crazygator LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,048

    One thing to consider with the commercial accounts, you will have to have more (as in 1 million dollars coverage or more) in your insurance. If you can start small and in residential, you may have an easier time getting started and getting several accounts to start with. What about asking some of the lawn care co's around you if you could work with them part time. You would gain very good knowledge, and quicker working with them, and you would have plenty of work right at the beginning. Hey it's just an idea. Also you would have less expense working for another, but you may want your own company and that's just fine too. Just do your research in your area as to what others are charging, what services they offer, and look to see what equipment they are using. You will get a good idea of what is involved. Whatever you get as far as equipment (either a walkbehind or zero turn, new or used) is up to you. Many here will try to sway you one way or the other. If you get all your info before you make the jump you will make a good decision based on your knowledge, wants, goals, likes and dislikes. Enjoy this websites wonderful base for knowledge and I wish you the best!
  9. AltaLawnCare

    AltaLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 961

    Great advice here!!

    Spend as little as possible in the beginning, and remember - unless you can get annual contracts on 12 month payments, then the money won't be coming in during the off season.
    Search for how to cost your business, and learn what your market will bear.
    Mowing other peoples' lawns is much harder than mowing your own.
  10. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    AltaLawn makes a very important point. All of our 150 accounts are year-round. They pay us a flat fee all year. Service does decrease in the winter obviously but we still come and do what we can.

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