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Tips on starting my own business!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by charrod, Apr 18, 2001.

  1. charrod

    charrod LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Ok folks! I'm a true GREENhorn! I just left the corporate world after 23 years and have my heart set on never going back! I'm putty in your hands so mold me into one of the best lawn care persons in the business, like yourselves no doubt! I'd appreciate advice on mowers, trailers, accessories, etc., in terms of performance, cost, advantages, disadvantages.
  2. CSRA Landscaping

    CSRA Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,232

    Just remember that you get what you pay for. Don't go with the homeowner specials, they won't last. Test the mowers out until you find one that you like. I like a covered trailer for my equipment.
  3. grassyfras

    grassyfras LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,475

    addvetise- get your name out there
    buy the best equipment you can buy ask the dealer for help
    stay legal - pay all isurances and taxes
    do good wrok that will gorw your buisness by word of mouth
    its not to hard i did it and im 15 so not to dofficult
  4. Kends

    Kends LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    I'm doing the same as you. Corp. world for 12 years and here I am. I started planning 5 months ago. started buying equipment a little early, but bought new 2000 stuff when the 2001 things were comming out. Got some good prices that way.

    Tips from a new guy:
    Use this site A LOT!

    Use the search function towards the top right of the screen b/4 you post...or you'll be slammed (politley).

    advertise. Find the best way to do this in your area. I've done the door hanger thing (1000+) and the local paper thing. The paper has by far been much better for me.

    Do a quality job! After you cut the grass step back and take a look...How does it look? If it dosen't look good to you guess what's the customer going to think? Do it again. You can't afford to lose any customers at this point.

    When you do get a job, hang your flyers up and down the block. The less wind shield time the better. I'm solo right now and can cut 6 lawns a day and be home by 5. Get up early and take care of all the things that need to be taken care of...gas, oil, grease and so on.

    That's it for now. Like I said, I'm a new guy too, and have been cutting full time for 2 weeks now. And man, have I learned A LOT in those 2 weeks! And I'm sure there's more to come


  5. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    Don't do it. Call and get your old job back. The market in Memphis is dried up. We're all going broke. Move out of town, say Jackson.


    I can tell you who not to deal with as far as small engine shops.
  6. Barkleymut

    Barkleymut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,117

    I quit my job at the bank 3 years ago and have never looked back. I just got the biggest chuckle about the guy who said he's learned so much in the first 2 weeks. I didn't have a clue my first couple of months. But thats the best way, you learn from your mistakes and once you have done something stupid you will never do it again. Anyways if you are looking for a walk behind go with Exmark, Toro, Scag, Bobcat, etc. Find the best dealer in your area and make sure that if you have a problem that you can bring it in and have it worked on right away. Talk to 65Hoss since he is in your area. Also my first year I got a good response and a few fulltime customers just from advertising aerating specials. Find one special service like aerating and become an expert at it. Don't go into debt too much. How much is too much? I would say 15K debt on a truck is the most. Then 10K on equip. and trailer would give you some good equip. and a good size loan. The #1 reason guys in this business fail is because they don't know enough about the business side. You can have a bunch of lawns that all look great but unless you know how to bid, bill, keep cash flow, project costs, etc. you have no chance of ever making it.
    The best way to get business is to let people know that you need it. When you get a new customer don't be too annoying but remind them that you are still "taking on a couple more customers". And don't let them know you just started your business, I wouldn't want a new guy paving my driveway, fixing my plumbing, and the same goes for lawncare. Good Luck and happy mowing.
  7. George777

    George777 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 305

    My plant that I had worked for closed the doors and put us on the street. My partner and I have been building this thing day by day. I must say that this Lawn Site has been a very big helper.

    I would get the best equipment that you could afford. Don’t get over your head with to much debt. I could not afford a X-mark ztr so I got a 48” Lesco walk behind. We are working off our 12 foot trailer and a High vac snapper. We paid off all our debt in one month and so now we are seeing some profit.

    I started placing flyiers out in Feb before I bought the Lesco. I have to admit I do not enjoy putting out flyers but they do produce results. You can then target the locations you want to work.

    You will have to learn how to bid jobs. I messed up big time on my first few clean ups. We had one account last month and now have 21. flyers have produced the best results for me.

    I have found out that if you do what you tell your customers you’ll be ok. I have gotten some accounts simply by showing up. One customer said he called 4 compaies and I was the only one who returned his call. He said bring my equipment when I give his estimate.

    I believe if you treat this like a business you will be ok. I wish you well and don't hesitate to ask for help. I have had many people on this site lead me in the right direction.
  8. KD'sLawns

    KD'sLawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 160

    I say that you should start out small and test the market before you go to far in debt. You should have tested your market before you quit your other job though. If you had been thinking about this for a while, then you should have been trying to buy some equipment. You should have also taken some vacation time from work and picked up some accounts. Make sure that you purchase good commercial quality equipment. You can not afford down time ever and especially starting out.
    Most importantly: Talk to Hoss about rates and some other lawn care specialists about their rates in general. Keep your rates the same as theirs. You can't have all the lawns, so don't try to get them all. DO NOT LOWBALL other lawn care companies for the work, that's a good way to not have any contacts in the business. When I get full up on my schedule, and can not squeeze any more in, a always refer them to another respectful lawn company that may need the work. Good luck!
  9. cajuncutter

    cajuncutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 626

    George brought up a good point. The customer told him to bring equipment when comming to bid. 90% of the times I make bids my guy is with me along with equipment. I have had the "I called several companies and no one has shown up" many times. They usually ask when I can start and I say "right now!!" My equip is there and we do the work. This is how I usually win my bids. In the customers eye sometimes I might be a little higher cause they got a bid from a lowballer and they realize they under bid and never show back up but the customer gets instant service..they like that and will most of the time remember that..good luck
  10. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    you dont say what your money situation is so ill
    assume you got some.
    try to find a good ztr, i guess every body is not going to be lucky a i was here.i found an excellent condition 52 inch for 2250. i dont know if id advise the cost for a new one but if you have one, your production ability doubles
    and if you take care of it you can get your money out should you decide to sell.
    buy quality equipment,
    use stihl and 91 octane in 2 cycle motors, and MIX EXACTLY AS STIHL CONTAINER SAYS,NO LITTLE MORE OR LESS.
    takes most of the trouble out of operating 2 cycles.
    stihl is not the only good one but i cant speak for the others.
    go an look at some well manicured places,and write down everything you see that might make it look well taken care of . adopt as yours
    keep fescue at least 3 inches in summer.
    get some kind of insurance protection
    clean mowers and equip regularly an grease where applicable.
    dont try to do volume wk at discount,only works in consumer goods and your body is not a walmart.
    make yourself almost indespenceable to your customers with quality wk and the difference you make by being there.
    there some whos methods will differ and theirs will work also but the key is quality at a price that makes it wort your while. good luck
    oh one other thing sighn on to lawnsite and just read old post.

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