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Wisconsin. I have the equipment... Now what?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Bob-Cat#1, Feb 25, 2005.

  1. Bob-Cat#1

    Bob-Cat#1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 110

    :help: I have purchased a Bob-Cat 61" ZTR and a 48" gear drive WB. I am wondering how I get started in this business. Hell of a time to learn, I know... but here I am... I am going to keep my full time job and my brother is going to work for me during the day and I will join him after work.

    Should I set up my business as a soul proprietorship or an LLC?

    How much insurance should I carry?

    Should I take my brother on as an employee or should I use him as a contractor?

    Legally speaking, what is involved in having an employee?

    Do I need to seek any sort of licensing?

    How do I go about approaching people for bids?

    Is there some legal form I need to use for contracts?

    Is there software available for people managing business in our industry?

    Residential or commercial lawns?

    I would sincerely appreciate any advice anyone can offer, especially that of someone operating in Wisconsin.

    If anyone that can help and is willing to have a chat sometime that would be awesome.
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    Here is some broad advice for you

    1. just set up as a sole prop right now, make sure to get a DBA through your county and setup a business checking account and you need a federal id number.
    2. 1 million liability minimum I feel
    3. neither for your brother, it will be nothing but a headache
    4. for having an employee you need workers comp, a proper payroll system setup (making sure all taxes are taking care of properly), you sometimes need to register the employee with the state, and also make sure to fill out all federal forms and state forms for deductions. Talk to an accountant.
    5. some states might require certain licensing for certain things, such as pesticide applcation
    6. what some techniques for marketing might work for people, won't work for others
    7. my best advice to you is to get a bunch of contracts/agreements together, and pull from them all. Also talk to a lawyer.
    8.Quickbooks, Gopher, lawnmonkey, Groundskeeper, RealTree, and many more.
    9. it's up to you who you want to pursue. SOme people only do one of the other. I do both, but I would rather do just residential.

  3. grass disaster

    grass disaster LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,748

    i would not want to be in your shoes. If you can't figure out about 90% on your own you better keep your day job. What do you expect? You want us to run your business for you?
  4. Bob-Cat#1

    Bob-Cat#1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 110

    grassmaster, grassmaster, grassmaster...

    Sometimes it's a shame they give people freedom of speech.

    Don't assume that I'm some simple mind without a clue. I feel that I have a sound business plan and understand the market quite well. I have been working in the professional lawn care industry for 7 years now, and am simply seeking advice about business ownership from experts like you. So I can learn from your's and other's experiences. With which I foolishly assumed you would be eager to share with me. Isn't that what this website is all about? I am just at a different level of business acumen than yourself. I've never owned a business before. So shoot me...

    It's too bad our first exchange couldn't have been more positive, but thanks for caring enough to write anyways. payup

    Thanks much for the help tiedeman. I appreciate it.
  5. promower

    promower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,233

    Drive to madison a few days a week and work with me and I'll show you the ropes, and pay you! :p
  6. grass disaster

    grass disaster LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,748

    sorry, i was kinda fn' with you.

    get the llc. do it right the first time that way down the road you won't have to go throught the proceess to change it to a llc.

    my cpa charged me $200 to set up my name and start the llc(cheap).

    i too have a lot to learn but part of being your own boss is you have to make decisions on your own and cut through some of the crap that you read on this site.

    by the way what's a DBA. i don't think i need one in MN?????
  7. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    Hi Bob-cat,
    Welcome to Lawnsite. Just so you know, there is a forum for all us fellow Cheeselanders. If you click the link below you will be transformed into an all knowing Wisconsin LCO.


    Well not really but we will try and help you as long as you send some of that quality Wisconsin ale my way. I am a little pressed for time this AM but will try and get back on tommorow. Search around the site its is like an encyclopedia of Lawn Maintenance. Good Luck.
  8. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    DBA=Doing Business As.....
  9. Rick Jones

    Rick Jones LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 427

    I have heard from more than one attorney that incorporating or setting up an LLC will won't help much in shielding your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit involving a company that you are the CEO, shareholder, laborer, etc, of. Plus, consider all of the costs and regular required filings associated with a corporation.

    Just go with the sole proprietor status and have plenty (1mil+) of liability insurance.
  10. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,569

    Now that's a new spin. I bet that setting up a business as a "soul proprietorship" vs. as a sole proprietorship would be one funky business :cool2: :cool2: :cool2:

    All kidding aside Tiedeman gave you good advice.

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