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TIPS, Do's and Don'ts tips for the new guy

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Eric ELM, Apr 16, 2001.

  1. Mountaingoat

    Mountaingoat LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    As a newbee I can tell you to walk the property twice!
    Especially if the grass is super high. One never knows whats lurking in the turf.
  2. manning

    manning LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    i,m getting ready to start my own lawn care business. this site is great. it amazes me how much support there is in this community. i current own a printing company and theres know way in the world they would even give each other advice ,much less the time of day !
    but back to my 2 cents ,i ran a airboat tourist ride operation for quite a few years. the motors we used we're lycoming aircraft engines. if you ran one hard and just shut it down, it could seize up the motor . the reason being it was air cooled just like most mower engines. what would happen is the heat from the moor could not be released through the cooling fins and the engine block would expand. now im sure the tolerances aren't as high in a mower engine but im sure the life of your motor would benefit from giving a min or two to cool off.
    next ,hearing protection. im amazed that ive never seen a lawn mant. crew or person wearing hearing protection. i live in south florida and we have plenty of lawn companies .when i ran the air boat they were so loud you HAD to use hearing protection. since then its become a habit . i use the ear plugs that has a string attached to them. that way you can tuck them in your collar when your not using them. i throw them away at the end of the day because there so cheap.
  3. Dogbonz

    Dogbonz LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 389

    I used to use foam push in ear plugs,, till one day I was feeling dizzy,,,went to the doc and he said, Over time slowly you push little bits of ear wax down in your ear and it builds up, deeper that you can clean out, then when it gets bad you get dizzy,, Since then I use the earmuff style with the fm radio in them,,,, full hearing protection and a little tunes to keep you from going nutz! :dizzy:
  4. Women's Touch Landscaping

    Women's Touch Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    New in biz (as in brand new, starting with guts, a flyer and a shovel), introduced myself to 4 local businesses yesterday with hideous or non-existent landscaping/curb appeal/customer draw, and now have two bids to put together, one for a biz and one for a biz owner's residence, not focusing on mowing, more on curb appeal (biz islands, storefronts, service to homeowner's who can't keep up or don't know how to with perennials, shrubs, borders etc, elderly who can't do it themselves anymore etc.). This site has been invaluable with insights and info, have been perusing posts last several days and now trying to figure out how to post myself so hope this shows up in correct place.
    This site along with some library books and what I have learned from working for low wages at nursery/LS/gardening center has given me the confidence to bid what I know my time, labor and quality of workwomenship is worth, and not do it for less. I have been going back and forth in my head about this because I just want one job, a job with some exposure, even considered free labor, but thanks to all you veterans out there those thoughts have been dispelled. I can see why low-ballers are not well-liked. But as a newcomer I can also see the temptation to do just that to get a job. But that's just not good business sense, I fully realize that.
    One of the projects involves basically just a major cleanup of once-beautiful vegetative area, old growth, fairly large, overgrown trash trees, weeds, pruning, couple understory limbs to remove, is full of rhods, azals, hyrdr, bleeding heart, hostas, ground cover, etc., could be so beautiful but so completely overgrown that they all look like crap and there is no definition, can't even see what's there. And, whole area is full of poison ivy. Owner tried to clean up himself last year and was severely impacted by the PI, evidently from our conversation one of the neighbors has offered to come help clean it up (detracts from her PV)....this house and LS mess is in well-heeled, old money part of town....estimate 16-20 hours of labor with 2 people working, labor-intensive (to get it the way it should be, the only way I would put my name on it, o/w do self or let someone who doesn't know s*** about these things do it) so 32-40 man hours I guess is the lingo?
    My initial thoughts are $100 per hour (2 people working, self included).
    Any thoughts on that? High or low? Am in central IL. Looking to build biz on reputation, quality, knowledge, passion for what I do and beautifying the landscape and ugly paved surfaces. Have already been asked whether I mow, which I do in my own yard but not equipped to do on commerc'l basis, don't really want to.....so any mowers out there who need help with plants, gardens, shrubs, mulch etc. maybe we can hook up.
  5. vanderbilt

    vanderbilt LawnSite Member
    from N.C.
    Messages: 35

    It's been my experience that a leaf blower does a lot less damage to the electrical syatem than water. I use a degreaser and water around the hydralic pumps when i have too but try to use low pressure and direct water away from any electrical parts.It's been my experience thar just washing a machine can short electrical parts. A leaf blower can do a good job usually , but when I can't stand The oil on my hydralic pumps(snapper pro) I use a degreaser and wash off with a hose trying to direct water out bck of machine to prevent shorting.
  6. trouille

    trouille LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I agree with GOT GRASS equipment list. one other piece of equipment I would recommend carrying is a come-along. I just started into business this year in Louisiana. wet season in April got stuck three times in back yards, could not get a truck back there to pull out.
    Residential Yard Service
  7. waffletown20

    waffletown20 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 100

    Always make sure that your gas is full before you start a job because it is terrible for the engine to burn dry. Of course you have to at the end of the season. Also, never try to load a mower on a trailer if the trailer is at any pitch. It is decieving but the ramp will be much steeper and you should expect your mower to tip back and possibly roll. Great thread!
  8. GLC51

    GLC51 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    No doubt some of these have already been mentioned. Drink lots of water, you are 98% water and you need to keep hydrated, if you stop sweating in the heat you are in big trouble. Saftey boots, not sneakers. Sunblock, who needs skin cancer let alone a burn. Eye protection, you are an idiot if you don't. Most have UV protection too, you don't need cataracts. Hearing proctection, I used to use the foam plugs but they bothered my ears and customers would start talking so you take them out and then you would be done (you thought) put them back in and then they would start talking again, if you have the earmuff type easy to take off, I now have a pair with the FM radio in them , much better than just listening to the drone of equipment. Hankerchiefs, I use those blue shop towels on a roll, run them through the wash with your work clothes and they get softer each time, and if need be you have a towel in your pocket to wipe the grease off your hands, I have a pile of them and put two or three in my pocket. Lots and lots of tools, you always have to fix or adjust things, sockets, wrenches, pliers, hammer, over time you will keep adding things. A come-along if you get stuck, I blew the drive belt for the hydro pumps and there is no way you can push the mower up on the trailer ( lucky for me it went on the driveway). Lock your stuff up it can vanish real quick, don't cheap out either, you spent hundreds on the equipment don't get a $5 lock. Print out a chart with the mix ratios for different volumes on the 2 cycle stuff. I have different equipment that requires different ratios. When it hot and your'e tired you make mistakes. Buy some safety traffic cones, it looks more professional, it makes you easier to see and keeps the cars farther away from the trailer so you can walk beside it. Don't leave anything laying on the trailer that can fall off. Every time you do it seems you forget until you have driven 10 blocks and realize that it isn't there anymore and when you drive back to pick it up it always gone. I have done that many times, it's a hard habit to break. Iv'e lost the blower extension ( $20 ), the spool to the trimmer ( $45 for a new head) etc . Walk around the trailer to make sure everything is on and secured. Make sue the ramp is up , you feel like an idiot when you start driving off and you hear a racket and you realize the ramp is down. Keep looking around when trimming, people sneak up on you if you aren't careful and you don't want to hit them in the eye with a stone, kids are bad in particular. That's it for now will post more later. :waving:
  9. bossy boots

    bossy boots LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    If you are on the biggest property of the day DO NOT FORGET TO CHECK YOUR GAS BEFORE YOU START.....its pretty much a fact the if it's gonna run out it's gonna happen when you are far as you can possibly get from the gas can!
  10. jfb1060

    jfb1060 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Hi Folks,

    Lots of good info on this site. Ya'll really know what ya'll are doing. I've learned a lot just reading around.

    I've been doing lawns for about 3 years real part time. I've had some experiences but you folks come up with stuff I've never even thought about. Thank the Lord I have'nt had to learn the hard way on most things.

    Well, I've decided to go into lawn care full time. Can anyone give me any advice as to what the best way is to start a lawn business is on a full time basis??? It just has to be general at first. Then I can get more specific based on your responses.

    My hats off to all of ya'll on this site. You're a good and brave bunch. You've launched into being your own boss and that really impresses me.

    Good Luck to all of you, and the Good Lord Bless You.

    Joe in Florida

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