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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Eric ELM, Apr 16, 2001.
does anybody out there know where i can look for government assistance finacially?
Try doing a search for the SBA. That's the Small Business Assistance loans of the government. I can't remember exactly where on here, but, I just read a thread on it a couple of days ago. One of the members got the OK from the SBA, and went thru Capital One for the financial end. You could just go online to the SBA site and get whatever assistance you need. Then you just go to your bank for the $$$$$$. Of course good credit and a sensible business plan are musts. Keep us posted and let us know how you make out.
I'm not only new to the business, but also new to the site. Great stuff! I'm at the stage in my business where I am looking for the right equipment to purchase. Should I consider used equipment, or all new stuff? Also, what should I be looking for when purchasing my equipment? I don't know if I should start out with a rider and walk-behind, or just one or the other. Any insight on good brands? Also, where would be a good place to find some nice quality trailers? Thanks.
Welcome to the site you will find a lot of helpful information here. I just started last year but I am happy to help where I can. I chose to buy new equipment mower, trimmer, edger and blower. I didn't get the hedge trimmer when I bought everything else (didn't think that I would need it yet but, I was wrong) so I just picked up a used one later. I chose to buy a 36" walk behind (Husqvarna) because it fits easily through a small fence opening in a back yard where you can't get a z-turn. You will get 1,000 different answers as to what the best brand is but I really like the Husqvarna mower and it came with a really good warranty. Everything else that I bought was Echo brand and I am very pleased with that equipment as well. There is nothing wrong with buying used stuff just as long as it has been well maintained. A really good place to look for used equipment is the Tampa Bay Machinery Auction. They are located about an hour west of you but it is worth the drive. They have a site but I dont know it off the top of my head do a search and you will find it. There are benefits that come with new equip. besides warranty like dealer support. Do your homework and shop around for a dealer near you. When you go there ask questions find out if they have a loaner program if your equipment breaks down and see if they service the equipment on site. If my equip takes more than 24hrs to fix my dealer gives me a loaner. If they seem like they don't want answer your questions or don't have time for you then get back in your car and go to the next place. Make them earn your business. As far as a trailer goes, if you are planning on doing mulch jobs or cleanups you need to get a good quality trailer so dont go for the $599.99 special if you can help it. I would go with a dual axle trailer about12' x 6' if you can. Mine is a single axle and I have definatley put a strain on on more than one occasion. Just having equipment does not make you an expert do your homework read books on lawcare and landscaping and read the forums. I think that the ones that study their business stay in business. When you do start, make sure that quality is job #1 and charge according, if you do quality work the word of mouth business that you receive will surprise you. I hope that this helps if you have any questions you can pm me or email firstname.lastname@example.org
on the new equiment, always engage your clutch/belt at 3/4 to full throttle. its all about belt wrap and the spring loaded systems jump to much from not enough power when engaging at lower speeds, some times throwing the belts off. at full speed the belt slips just a bit when engaging and makes everything absorb the load with out jumping. its in all the new owners manuals and reccomeneded by almost all manufacturers.
You have to find the "sweet spot" that your mower will allow the operator to engage the blades. On my scags they seem to have pretty low end, Honda and Kawasaki motors. I start mowers at about half throttle, let them run a bit and then slowly ease them up to full throttle, let them stay there a bit then ease it back down to sweet spot, engage and throttle up. Sounds like a long process but it really isn't. One of my scags has 3300 hours and is asking for more. Be good to your machinery but don't baby it, it's not a baby it's a focking machine!
Always show up on the jobsite w/ all equipment and materials to start and fininsh the job.
You can loose hours and profit by having to go back and forth getting materials.
Work in a millitary/systematic way will save time and money
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My first post... This thread has been a terrific read for me. I have been lurking and reading. I am starting this Spring (April) providing basic lawn service. I am running the business from my home office. I am retiring from 25 years in the military and opening a one man lawn care show. I've already purchased equipment, gotten some legal advice from a friend (I have to start paying as soon as I open my company) and I begin advertising next weekend. I already had about half of my equipment. The place I bought the rest of my equipment from services all of my equipment including Craftsman. They will give me a 10% discount and return equipment in 24 hours or provide loaner equipment. My goal is to have 20-25 regular lawn care customers providing lawn mowing, weed eating and edging. I will provide additional services like aeration, gutter cleaning, fertilizing and seeding, leaf cleanup to them and other customers. I am looking to do lawn care for contracts. I will give seniors/retirees and deployed military 15% discounts.
What I've learned so far...This is a great site with alot of people sharing their knowledge and experience. Thank you. Besides what I've already done above I've started stocking up on Sun Screen, wasp spray, belts, blades, tools, fire extinguishers and pee bottles...etc....
I cut 2 neighbors yards this fall. I removed leaves from another. Free. I did this to help them out and to get the feel for what it was like doing someone else's lawn/yard. It allowed me to figure time, gas cost etc... It has helped me with figuring pricing. They know I am going into business and there are no more freebies.
This week I went to the Business Licensing Section of my local City to ask questions. It was slow there and they took alot of time talking to me. This was HUGE. I learned alot of do's and don't's for my local area without having to read the entire City Ordnance.
Some examples...I thought I could not apply fertilizer/ grass seed with out a license/certification. I can. In my area if I can buy it off the shelf and disburse it through a spreader I require no licensing. I need licensed if it goes under pressure from water or a tank or is a controlled chemical /pesticide.
This isn't going to be my primary business but it's nice to know that I can do it.
Local ordnance....I can't have my trailer in my front yard/driveway overnight if there is a business logo on it. I must park it in my yard behind the front edge of the house. On the weekends I can tell I am going to have to park my trailer in the driveway for extended periods to do maintenance on equipment.
Local Ordnance...If I have employees they can't come to my home to meet for work.
Local Ordnance If a customer asked I can spread topsoil and mulch without licensing. BUT...IF I do a single job charging more than $1000 then I am a Class C Contractor and have to be licensed. I can put mulch in an existing flower bed or I can create one. Locally IF applying topsoil and I change the grade of the property it has to have city approval and I have to have a contractors license. Again not my primary business but nice to know what I can and can't do.
The week before last I called my insurance company. (Highly recommended that you call and discuss insurance before hand to get an idea of what you will need and who will provide it). As long as my trailer is attached to my truck it is considered part of my vehicle and covered under my present car insurance. The trailer and it's contents are insured. If I disconnect the trailer or take it out of the trailer it is no longer covered. My insurance company does not carry equipment insurance but they will arrange it through a different company.
My Liability insurance covers any damage incurred while I am operating equipment. IF I get off a riding mower to move a bird bath, bench, chair, trampoline and drop it/break it...Not covered. I need different insurance to cover that. I may need to get three different policies. I'm still sorting this one out.
Currently I am waiting for my registration as a LLC to come back from the State. Being in the military I have kept my legal residence in Nevada (no state income taxes, cheaper car tags and drivers licensing). Before I can register my company locally I have to change my state of residence locally. I have to re-register all vehicles, drivers license and I become immediately available for the Jury pool.
I created my own logo and slogan. I made up my own flyers and business cards using power point and microsoft publisher. I went to a local company to get quotes for signs and vehicle magnets and my logo is not usable because of software differences and they want to re-do it. I am shopping around to find someone who can use my design. I have grown to like my design and don't want it changed.
These are some of the many things I learned locally. The point is to go to your local City/State and insurance company and find out what you can and can't do and what the rules are for your business. Look in this site for answers from work experience. I am sure one day I will have a long list of "lesson's learned". Thanks to all who have posted. I hope to be a contributor
Thats a heck of a first post