What Did You Start With

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by resurectionlawn, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. resurectionlawn

    resurectionlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80


    So where did you start. . Did you have a big bank roll to start your business? Did you build from nothing, and built as business went?

    Tell us some startup stories.

  2. billslawn89

    billslawn89 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,365

    well here goes...started up in ohio back in 1989, borrowed 3,000.00 from my in-laws, ya of all people, that money got paid back real quick! :laugh: anyways borrowed the money to buy a trailer, two 36 inch walk behinds, one lesco and the other an exmark which was pretty beat up, couple weed eaters/blowers, they were junk, from this guy that didn't want to mow anymore...trailer was like new and the lesco was only a couple years old. paid him the money for equipment and his customers. this was in the fall. i started calling his clients and i guess this guy told all of them that he was quitting, starting calling and just about every answer i got from the clients was, " i found somebody already". so i just threw his list away and started advertising in the paper and word of mouth and started growing from scratch. was a hard first couple years, but built up the business, keep it for 17 years and now moved to florida and starting all over again looking for clients. its been two years here now and doing pretty good so far...keep advertising and call coming in...totally different here as in ohio..alot of lowballers here to compete with, but doing good though.....being dependable and reliable is the key, plus you must like what you do! :dancing:
  3. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    I started with nothing, built up and it was tough, seems that about the time I get a few dollars built up I had to spend it to get new equiptment, seems that I never got ahead.
    However those days are over, and it's VERY NICE NOT to owe someone or a bnak for a huge ammount,

    Looks like ya can go this way or that, It takes a while before your free and clear.

    Good luck to ya
  4. lawnprosteveo

    lawnprosteveo LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,930

    I had a Murray push mower and a homelite trimmer and an OLD Ford Ranger....and no clue what I was or should be doing.

    Six yrs later, I have a very nice clientele (40 weekly). I run a Deere Quik Trak, Toro wb, Toro 21 prolines, Shindaiwa handhelds..all toted on a 14' landscaping trailer pulled by a Ford F250 work truck. Thanks to hard work and help from the Lord.

    Had no cash...paid most of it by credit card. Its all paid for now. If you can do it without credit, thats best. But poor folks have poor ways.
  5. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    I started with an '81 Mercedes diesel wagon, a 5X8 tilt trailer, a used scag 36" walk behind, a Homelite handtrimmer, one Stihl combi unit and a Murray 21" push mower.
    I soon added a M-F (there's a reason these pos tractors have the initials M freakin F), an old 83 F150 4X4 truck, a Harley Power Box Rake - all for installs and commenced to struggle mightily.
    Fast forward seven years, I own free and clear over $100K worth of equipment, run three trucks, two crews and '08 started really well.
    My divorce took care of almost $200K in money paid out and some immediate contracts that my wonderful ex-wife managed to destroy (which so far has cost me slightly over $310K in lost gross revenue), down to five full time guys plus a part time secretary.
    The high note? Well, I'm not getting shot at anymore (really a true story - which is why I try to watch Cops on Friday nights as I am hoping to see my ex), landscape installs are moving along quite well, and I am still bringing in around $42K/month.
    I figure no more than two months and I'll be alright.
  6. deere615

    deere615 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,676

    I started pushin a 21inch around my nieghborhood, now I have a truck and mower/bigger mowers. I would like to get a bigger truck though
  7. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 616

    I traded in my 89 Ford Escort Gt as a down payment on my first plow truck in 96. Today I run 5 crews, three maintenance, 2 construction, employ 21 full time, own 9 trucks, 9 trailers, 8 mowers, including 6 ztrs and 2 wams, a Bobcat 773, Cat 257, JCB 212, Yanmar 55, IT28 Loader, CAT 416, D3 Dozer, a Johnson Sweeper, 2 Mad Vacs, attachments for all pieces-breaker, auger, forks, broom, packer, all kinds of small stuff, a house, a shop, a couple of rental properties, and a bunch of other stuff. All is paid for, (except for the rental properties) and this is my list as of now, 2 years ago there was more, but were downsizing our winter operation and have sold off alot of our winter gear. This business has taken 65-70 hours a week of my life since its beginning, now a 50 hour week feels like a long week. I dont work nights, or weekends anymore, usually home by 4 during the week, earlier on Fridays, vacation 2-3 times a year. The last 12 years have had its challenges, but I'm glad I started it when I did, living at home, with no expenses. I'm 34 now, and figure I'll probably scale back a bit more in the next couple of years, or move onto something more exciting, like flying a chopper for the police force (my lifelong dream).
  8. corey4671

    corey4671 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,931

    started with a 22" high wheel Murray push mower and grass shears! I was 15. used my high school graduation gift money that everybody else was going to florida on to buy a 5x8 tilt trailer and make a down payment on a Cub Cadet 2135 tractor. click the link in my sig to see what I have now.
  9. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,296

    Good story!
    I started last year with my Ford Escape, 21" Toro (yes, I folded up the Toro and lifted it into the Escape:), and ambition to do a good job for people. Only had 2-3 consistent jobs last year, way part time. This season, up to 10 weeklies and lots of trimming and landscape jobs. As above, the Lord to thank.
  10. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    I started with a ugly homemade trailor, rusty dodge caravan, a worn out murray, homelite weedeater and a borrowed hand held blower, with 4 clients. I was actually financially better off then than now.

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