What do I need to know before buying a lawn maintenance business

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by sokenfused, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. sokenfused

    sokenfused LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I am looking at buying a lawn maintenance business in the Sacramento area. It has 80+ customers all centrally located. One employee. I am looking to run and build the business while having employees who handle the routes.

    What should I be aware of?

    How are Lawn Maintenance businesses priced?

    I know in this area pool care routes go for about 10 times the monthly gross. Are lawn businesses priced in a similar fashion?
  2. richallseasons

    richallseasons LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479

    When I first started my business I was overwhelmed with all the information that I did not have also, but I spent a lot of my free time here, as well as on plowsite and gained tons of good solid, usable information as well as a network of great guys with varying amounts of experiences. This site will surely be one of your best assets as you will be able to read through posts or do searches for various topics that you may be interested in.
  3. noseha

    noseha LawnSite Senior Member
    from MI
    Messages: 554

    whats the cost of the business how much experience do you have? what kind of service will you offer? how much equipment will you have (list). what is your gross? what do you pay your worker? what is your advertising budget? total cost for 1 year of ins,comm plates, maint,taxes, ss comp? do you need a license and fee. are you getting any property or buildings.
  4. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    My personal suggestion to you is come up with a list of about 8 or 10 questions/topics of interest to you. Use the search function to obtain the information you are looking for. If you don't get what you are look for sprecifically, then start a new thread and see what infor you get from the members here.

    I can tell you a question like "how are lawn maint. businesses priced" is way to generic and broad...be more specific.
  5. jsf343

    jsf343 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,786

    I went through very much the same thing this year. Here is a few tips from my experiences (good and bad)
    1. First and foremost know your costs and what you need to charge.
    2. keep careful records, keep all receipts, log your miles, track your employee
    time sheets, and ALL COSTS!!!
    3. have the insurance that you need, Workman's comp, on your equipment,
    vehicle even an umbrella policy.
    4. keep careful records of employees in case of an audit.
    5. Buy quickbooks pro, groundskeeper, or some kind of good software to
    help track all of your accounts.
    6. Know where to get a good accountant if you need one (which from time
    to time you may)
    7. make safety a priority! set up a safety policy. Also have an employee
    handbook ( with all of your policies) ready and in place in case you hire
    more help. (which I think you will)
    8. Have contingency plans in place in case the "normal" plan breaks down.

    here are some examples we faced....
    * truck broke down 2 different times
    * employees who don't call or show up or suddenly have a different job
    * equipment breaks down
    * weather related problems
    9. read and learn from this site! it is like a free college education because of all the good advice and tips.
    10. in other words have your ducks in a row!

    hopefully you see the need. This kind of stuff happens to everyone and when you start getting more accounts there is more that can go wrong and you need to be ready to adapt and go to plan b.

    I will shut up now because this is getting long. These are some of the things that I learned or knew but had to get better at after growing the way we did this year. Also don't get discouraged if and when things go bad (they will from time to time)
    one last thing, try hard to get everybody on contracts if they are not already. Hope this helps. Jeff
  6. Gene $immons

    Gene $immons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,028

    I would ask to see his Schedule C forms from his last TWO years of tax returns.
  7. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    good point Gene...and both sets of books as well. :clapping:

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