Where did you start?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mwalz, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. TPCLandscaping

    TPCLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 338

    I started out 9 years ago working for a friend of mine… i then bought my own Procut20 ferris and sub contracted to him…then smartened up and went off on my own… now I have 3 employees and take care of about 40 properties just for lawn care and multiple landscaping jobs
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,135

    is that what they used to call their three wheell rider?
  3. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    I started out about 12 years ago with an old scag hydro walk behind my dad bought off his friend so I could cut our yard faster, being only 13 years old I had no means to drive a truck anywhere or really get any parts, I had to tell my dad when I needed gas and he would go to the gas station and fill up a 5 gallon can. my trimmer was a husky 326xl multi tool, I had two of them, my dad bought them used at tag sales to use around our house, my blower was a gas powered hand held echo leaf blower, it was pretty weak. That was my equipment, somewhere along the lines my dad picked up a sulky for the mower, and I expanded beyond the 5-6 neighbors I was doing to further down the street, and my left hydro was way out of adjustment so I was only cutting at about 3-4 mph in a straight line but I didn't care enough to fix it. after using this setup for a 3.5 years when I got my drivers license, my dad bought one of my older brothers a 1984 ford f250 with the high beam switch on the floor, and I towed a heavy duty 12' tilt paving trailer around with my mower on it and trimmer and blower in the back and expanded through my dads friends which all paid ok, by now I had car insurance to pay, gas in the truck and gas in the mower since I could now drive to the gas station myself. As soon as I got my license my dad sold the 52" walk behind for 1000 dollars to his friend and took that money for a down payment and co signed for brand new scag tiger cub, for whatever reason he made the choice that a 48" deck was what I was gonna be paying for so that's what it was....I didn't care all that much because I was just happy to be sitting down and going faster. So i used this 2005 tiger cub from april of 2005 to june of 2012 and put 985 hours on it until I traded it in. oh about 2 months after I bought this mower, there was a price drop of 500 dollars and my dad took that and bought an echo pb755h back pack blower, which I kept until 2012 and it ran perfect the whole time. Around the summer of 2008 I started working for a commercial landscape company part time and continued doing lawns on the side as hobby and I did this for 2 seasons. spring of 2010 I told the landscape company I quit and was gonna try going full time on my own, I did it money was tight between putting diesel in my dodge, keeping it on the road, paying insurance, mower maintenance, and paying a small credit card I had. but I survived, and even had a little money left over and dumped it into aftermarket stuff for my truck. 2011 came around and I went legit and advertised, got insurance and I doubled the number of accounts I had to 20, I quite a few but I dropped them all to try going to college, biggest mistake I could have made. so I had to start over after I moved back home. anyways I was back up around 20 accounts and a customer asked me to cut her ornamental grasses back and I didn't any means to do this so I went to my local power equipment store and bought an echo 15" gas powered shears and I put that on a credit card, best 300 dollars I spent. that thing has made over 100 times that back by now, still my only set of shears and still works great even being a low end homeowner set, then summer went along I picked up landscape maintenance work and now had plenty of money to pay all my bills each month and maintain my mower easily as to before I struggled to come up with 120 dollars for cutting deck belt on my tiger cub. Then october 2011 hit us with a super storm and we had trees down everywhere, this was also my first year plowing driveways. I also did a large retaining wall, walkway and rock garden for one of my customers I had for 7 years and thought I would have forever but I guess not. So I purchased a little wonder walk behind leaf blower. so after I went door to door asking if people needed any storm clean up using my dads mitsubishi fuso cab over with a 12' dump body and paying him 200 a day to rent it plus putting fuel in it, I still ended up with about 10,000 in the bank and decided it was time to upgrade to dual axle trailer, buy a leaf vac, to use with my dad dump truck, and i bought a 12" 1988 morbark cummins non turbo diesel wood chipper, it was pretty but it got the job done and made me a lot of money, I used it for about a year doing storm clean ups, made enough money to actually go away on vacation with my buddies to miami for 3 weeks in feb. 2012 because my other buddy who owns a tree service and has a bucket truck, made over 100k october alone from the storm and finally decided it was time he got himself the cigarette boat he has wanted and looked at a picture of for 7 years. so he did. and dam was it fun 3 weeks in florida, my first time on an airplane and first time in florida too! after I got back I continued advertising and grew a little more and traded in my tiger cub for a 61" cheetah and bought a bagger for it and some other stuff because this was the size deck I actually wanted. I did a lot of storm clean ups in 2012, I was unloading my truck bed every single night with logs, so in spring of 2013 I went and bought an 18' landscape trailer, and 7x14 heavy duty dump trailer, both were financed and both could have been paid for by now if I chose to. then december of 2013 I bought my 2010 f350 crew cab 6.4 lariat and my dads friend asked me if I wanted work with him doing commercial flooring, and he said i could take days off when it snowed so i could plow my accounts, so I said yes to that and that was nice help, meanwhile from all these storm clean ups, a few of the customers have had me start cutting their lawns and do a lot of other work for them so that helped tremendously, and now summer of 2014, i had work booked for july/august back in the spring time and even have stuff booked for september and october and november are pretty booked with fall clean ups. While I haven't hired anyone yet, I'd say i'm pretty close to and this whole year I haven't advertised at all, I got all my work by word of mouth and just showing up to cut my accounts and doing what I am supposed to be doing, and hard work and quality work. So hard work does pay off. So i have my dad to thank for a lot of my success.
  4. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,135

    Dude, wall of text, use enter/return occasionally.
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Actually, we have two. I forgot about the older one we use as a back-up. We have a service division in our company. 3 FT service technicians. And I'd have a 4th one if we could find one who was qualified and reliable. They're some of the better paid employees in the company, making $18-$21 per hour plus benefits. The service techs mostly do irrigation system repairs and additions to irrigation systems. But they also do backflow testing, outdoor lighting repair or additions, water feature repair, pump replacement, stuff like that. It's a pretty profitable division of the company. We have a $120 min. service call fee, which covers the first hour. Then every add'l hour is $75 per hour. Plus the markup on parts is really good.

    Two of the techs prefer driving a pickup. One of them just drives a pickup with a canopy on back. The other drives a service truck (pictured below, last photo) and then the other one prefers driving a van (pictured below). It's not that the get their choice of vehicle, but when it comes time to get rid of an older vehicle and buy a newer one, I do discuss the options with them and ask them which they'd prefer. Then I try to accommodate it if I can.



    Ryans Service Truck After D.jpg
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    HA! I loved those little blue Shindaiwas! They must have quit making them about what? 10 years ago??
  7. snomaha

    snomaha LawnSite Bronze Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 1,269

    Jim - sprinklers is also one of the most profitable divisions we have. What percentage of total revenue is sprinklers for you?

    Sprinklers is 39% of revenue for us - service makes up 49% and install 51%
  8. caseysmowing

    caseysmowing LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,137

    Started out almost 3 years ago PT with a 98 1500 long bed 4x4, 6.5-12ft landscape trailer, 61 cheetah,48 vride,36 sfw wb, br600, km90 kombi system, and with a dream and a prayer.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    When I first started; I borrowed my dad's Craftsman (not self-propelled). I didn't have a weed trimmer at all. I didn't have a truck yet (I wasn't old enough to drive it anyway) and I was mowing lawns in my neighborhood up to an acre! Sometimes I used the customer's (usually horrible) equipment, especially electric weed trimmers.
  10. ManuelMowing

    ManuelMowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

    Started with Snapper push mower and a electric plug in blower with a craftsman trimmer. I just walked down the street because I only had 2 houses. 1 guy actually let me use his mower. Got 1 more yard and used their mower and had my parents drop me off. Made like $100 a week. I was big time back in the day. Gas was only $1.60 back then. :(

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