Startup Equipment - New Restoration Business

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by 2fatguyslawncare, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. 2fatguyslawncare

    2fatguyslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    Hi folks, my father-in-law and I are starting a new lawn care business with a focus on restoration. This will be part time, as we are both professionals. We just want some extra money, a better tan and perhaps a new career with less stress someday.

    I wanted to list what we intend to get for equipment and see what we get for responses, as well as recommendations for equipment, etc...

    1 - Riding mower (Decided not to focus on mowing, but knowing we need to offer it the utilitarian benefits of the rider seemed appropriate for the plan... looking at a JD, with a bagger, broadcast spreader and wagon....)
    2 - Aerator (Ryan Lawnaire V Plus
    3 - Dethacher / Slice Seeder (Toss up between Classen and Bluebird) (x2)
    4 - Trimmers, blowers and handtools...
    5 - 12-14' open trailer

    We have put a lot of thought into the smaller tools/supplies and this site (Particularly the tips thread.....) is awesome.

    I look forward to your constructive criticisms.

    Leroy - 2 Fat Guys Lawn Care
  2. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    My first question is what sort of properties do you want to taget? Small or large residentials? Commercials? I think you need to make those decisions now, and buy equipment that is approriate for the business plan.

    Are you in the flatlands, near the coast, or will you be working on hills? If you will be doing hills with a potential soil erosion problem, you might think about a hydro seeder. Some mowers and aerators are great on the flats, but not so good on hills.

    Knowing first what your target market is has to be the fist step. That should drive everything you do, from how and where to advertise to what equipment is best suited to the planned operation. NEVER buy equipment first, and figure this stuff out later. That is putting the cart before the horse.

    You say you are a "professional". Then you should understand the necessity of a business plan. Perhaps you have one already, but I did not get that impression, aside from the fact you want to hit a target niche in renovations.... that's a start, but not enough. Did the niche renovation idea come from a brainstorm, or from some market research that indicated it's a viable business strategy? To fill some niche void in the market place?

    Sorry, I have no answers.... just questions you should be asking yourself. Answer these questions, and the decisions become much easier. You will know the answers, because you've researched the questions. The better the plan is, the less one has to rely on luck. Luck doesn't hurt, btw... and good luck.
  3. 2fatguyslawncare

    2fatguyslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    In our area... Both coastal and inland there has been a huge boom in construction over the last 5-10 years (Like everywhere else....) The majority of this has been new construction, in new subdivisions. That being said the terrain and size of the properties are mainly residential .75 - 1.5 acre.

    Interesting, never considered a hydro seeder much more then to discuss it briefly.

    We do have a business plan, a marketing plan and have given the customer base a lot of thought. Who would start a business without these? Plenty I suppose...

    We also have relationships with some mowing services who do not offer aeration, seeding or dethatching. We did a lot of research, used our business experiences and opened our eyes. There is a niche in our area to be filled for sure.

    I appreciate your thoughts and comments.

    So... assuming (what more can you do?) that we have a plan, a target customer base and knowledge of our region what do you think of the equipment list? Any ideas what the real cost of a hydro seeder is?

  4. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    If your going to be doing lawn restorations your going to need the following.

    de-thatcher - optional
    tiller - rear tine and front tine
    broadcast spreader
    soil test kit

    and a book that I have found to be very useful the Ortho home gardners problem solver
  5. P.Services

    P.Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,319

    i have to scags for sale and a new hardley used classen dethatcher for sale also. i will meet you half way if you want them. i will cut you a deal on the dethatcher and ups can ship it.
  6. 2fatguyslawncare

    2fatguyslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    Lawnpro, thanks for the information. I did forget the Tiller, but my partner didnt. It is on the list. Why front and rear tine?

    Just ordered the book, thanks.

  7. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    Excellent! Someone that has a freakin business plan! One that was actually researched! You would be amazed at how many don't. New construction, and the people that develop real estate have a reputation for being VERY cheap! Keep that in mind when working with real estate contractors and developers.

    Hydro seeders can be rented, and in my area, they are reasonable and available. Great for municipal right of way stuff, hills on roadsides, that sort of thing. I suggest finding a company that rents them, look at the rental inventory, and have a truck that can handle them. Some are skid units for the back of a pickup, some are heavy trailer units.

    Hydro seeding is often a fast and inexpensive way to go for new housing development bids. The system depending on what materials you would spray, can be both a weed seed barrier, spiked with Tupersan (are you licensed for pesticides?) for crabgrass prevention while allowing grass seed to germinate, and it also works as something of a moisture barrier, keeping moisture on the seed. be very careful what you use in the mix. Find a good seed supplier that you trust that also rents hydro seeders. That guy, whoever it is, will be almost a partner in the business plan you describe. you would likely get your starter fert from him too, and put it all in the mix.

    Having a network of LCO's to sub through is great. I hope you found what I've posted helpful, but I am an LCO that does apps. I only use aerators and over seeders on small developed properties. A very different business than the one you describe. Few new seeding or complete renovations for me. I use futerra rolls. My properties can't justify using hydro seeders, too small.

    My best advice I think I've already given... find a good seed guy that rents hydros. The more business you get, the more he gets to sell to you. Especially being local, his advice is something I would seek out for equipment recommendations too.

    Good luck!
  8. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    Rear tine tillers are great for breaking ground and larger areas but front tine tillers are good for tight areas where a rear tine tiller can't get around as good.
  9. lopomon

    lopomon LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    im sorry, but thats a terrible business name. think to yourself, f you were in a customers positions, not knowing anything about a company, looking through the phone book, would you want "2 fat guys lawn care"?
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    From the sound of things this is at least as good as the 16-year old who just got an inheritance wants a Corvette.
    You know, kid walks into the Chevrolet dealership talking smack I mean you can about see the employees there knocking over furniture in their rush to get at this one...

    See, the sick of it is I somehow wonder if they'll even be a tee to the wiser afterwards.
    Like, the kid's vette might last a week, but the money's gone and I'm not sure which is sicker.
    The kid's foolishness, or the other side's vulture-like behavior.

    Because it temps more and more, every day, to just let stuff like this go and sit back and watch, now there's fun to be had.
    Isn't it our job, as business owners, to prevent a customer or anyone else to make a total fool of themselves?
    Or do we, when a customer calls with an idiotic request just take the money and run?

    In the end I think the latter has far reaching implications and side effects I don't want, but that's just me.

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