Wanting to run a volume business

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by AD1985, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. AD1985

    AD1985 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Hey guys,

    I'm thinking of starting up a lawncare business. In the beginning it will probably be strict gardening but I want to evolve it to landscaping. When I have enough accounts I want to eventually stop working it myself and hire "cheap labor" to do the jobs. I would then stick to a marketing and managerial role unless an emergency comes up.

    Has anyone been successful running a similar type of business? I imagine in working this model the quality of service would go down, so my business would change so that I compete mainly on price and volume. If anyone runs a business like this I'd appreciate some estimates for costs (equipment, labor, and anything else) as well an idea of the time commitment and stress level involved in managing a business like this.

  2. Midwest Lawn Services

    Midwest Lawn Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    So whats your level of experience?
  3. AD1985

    AD1985 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    No experience at all. I will be starting with a friend who has worked in this business though.
  4. Midwest Lawn Services

    Midwest Lawn Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    So how many years is your business plan projecting you to become the "office rat?" What kind of capital will you be using? How will you advertise and how much will it cost you? Will you be doing renovation landscaping or striclty new? The landscapers I network with are small and large, but all have offices where clients meet, plan, and can advise. What kind of an office or retail business will you have and what is the cost? These are just a few basic questions. My suggestion to you would be start by getting some experience under your belt. NOBODY in these businesses started out without experience. You have to be able to make mistakes and learn from them. Thats how you grow. I would make the mistakes working for someone else.
  5. AD1985

    AD1985 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    To answer your questions:
    It's hard to write any projections because my breakaway from the labor duties would depend on how fast the business can get new accounts. If I had to estimate I'd say 1-3 years.

    I have enough startup capital to buy all the equipment necessary for 2 people. Further growth funds will come from capital reinvested into the business.

    I'll do new and renovation landscaping if I feel up to it. I get the impression from reading around here that this stuff is not rocket science and can be learned from experience.

    As far as the whole office thing I'm trying to avoid that. I want to do all my business negotiations at the customer's property and run the business from my home. If this means sticking to residential accounts that's fine.

    Also you say no one started this business without experience. Do you mean everyone started working for another landscape company and then broke away because I find that to be very suspect. Again we are just managing people's yard's here, this business can't be THAT complicated.
  6. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    my accountant told me that he had a guy wanting to do this,,,

    he was only interested in the managment part of the business, after considering the price os everything the guy backed out,,,

    this may be a good way for you to attack it,,,go talk to an accountant,
    explorer all your expences, and go from there
  7. Fairway Land & Lawn

    Fairway Land & Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    There is much more to this business than just cutting someones grass..Make sure that when you are talking to people face to face that your arrogance doesn't show. That said, there are extremely well educated people in this industry that have worked very hard to gain the knowledge that they retain. That is why customers pay us, not just for service but also for our knowledge and expertise. Will you be maintaining just residential, or will you branch out to commercial? This makes a big difference when purchasing equipment. As your company grows minimally, your equipment costs and operating exspense grows exponetially. The best advice I can give is to not grow too fast. Take your time, cross all the Ts and dot all the Is. Maybe take the 1-3 years, and extend it 3-6 maybe even 5-8. Like said before, there are many mistakes to make in the green industry. If possible, make them early before it costs too much.....Good luck!!!!!!
  8. Your Lawn First

    Your Lawn First LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    I agree with MIdwest you do need to have some expreince but not working wiht someone else F*** that. IF that was the case then just go be another mans rat. This is what I would do, Go to your library and get as many books as you can about this business read them all. if you are doing only landscaping oh my god there is tons of books you can read and try to find a book that tells you what grows good in Cali, because not all plants and bushes/ trees can all grow everywhere. And don't go work for someone else just go out and do it. Start in your lawn
  9. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    Why will your quality necessarily go down as you grow? More to the point, why are you okay with that?

  10. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,936

    I have seen a few of these type operations in action. Employees without supervision. From what I have seen, the quality has been terrible. You would need to hire a experienced field superviser to oversee the day to day operation ie keeping employees up to speed, checking quality, collections, maintainence of equipment, dealing with customers wants and needs etc. Keep in mind that many employees do not take care of equipment like its their own. So plan on lots of repairs and downtime. You would need to get the proper insurance and get workmans comp etc The list goes on.
    Now after all this you will need to find a way to pay yourself. So a average volume won't cut it.

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