Women Landscapers?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by lifesaverbuddy, Apr 15, 2005.

  1. lifesaverbuddy

    lifesaverbuddy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    Hi Kris,

    I know you are busy, and I dont want to bother you, but I dont know anywhere else to go to get information. Please understand you don't have to answer any of the following questions if you dont feel comfortable, however I can assure that you take very little risk, if any at all, if you do answer them, for these reason:

    1) I am only in this business for 2-3 years max. I am in my 2nd year of Engineering and when I am done school I HAVE to work in that field full time in order to get my 4 years experience to become a professional member of APEGGA and work on my own.
    2) I love landscaping, but after 3 years on the shovel, I am getting lazy. I want to have my free time and I want to have energy for my kids when I get home. My mother does physical labour, and she never did. I dont want to live the rest of my life in bed after 8 like I have the last 3 summers! Thus I refuse to put in more than 45hrs a week on this job. I am tough, but my body just cant take it, and I need my rest. I can't imagine doing this in 10 years!
    3) I am very limited in what I can do. I dont have a machine of my own, so that makes planting trees, and moving materials very difficult. Plus I am only one person and will NOT hire employees. So I do not want to spend 3 hours trying to get one large calibre tree planted straight and correctly! I also dont want to spend a week hauling paving stone by myself and be having nightmares about whether my base has washed out while I've been sleeping!
    4) I literally have no money. My dad is going to loan me the money for a $2500 truck. And as long as I can get a $2500 credit card, that's what I'll be running off. Of course, $450 will go to eguipment(wheelbarrow, sod roller, hand tools, hoses and sprinklers, etc), $300 to insuring my truck, $75 to storage, $160 for a general contractors licence, $50 to business cards, and after that I'll be lucky if I can afford to finance 1 sod job in the new developments(sod + topsoil + bobcat rental). All money that I make in this business will go to the $5000 I pay in tuition and books every year, the rest will go to part of the $8400 I pay in rent and $1600 I'll pay in insurance every year. My business has to support me, because I can't afford to support it.

    I think that's all I need to say about the sorry state I'm in!

    So, here are my questions:

    Who would you reccomend for:
    hauling topsoil?
    spreading topsoil?
    bobcat rental?
    small equipment rental, like packer, tub saw, etc, if I need it?
    trees and shrubs?
    subcontracting tree planting to?
    landscape fabric?
    mow edge?
    bark, rock products?

    I know most aren't willing to give out rates, but I would like to know so that I am not one of the "lowballers". Maybe it would be better if I give out what I have an idea of charging, and you could just say too high or too low?

    For sod, about $0.75 per square foot, incuding 6 in(4 in with compaction) of topsoil. (It costs about $0.45 per square foot for sod, topsoil, and machine rental, the other $0.30 is for labour and overhead)

    My old boss suggested twice the wholesale price for shrubs, with a minimum for a small order. Not sure how to go about getting wholesale though.

    As for trees, I would just charge the customers what the subcontractor charged me.

    When it comes to things like, barking, installing mowedge, paving stone, pruning, etc, I have no idea what to charge, but I'll figure that out later.

    Anyhow, if you are able to answer some of my questions, that's great, if not, that's okay too. I did take a look at a greenhouse website going by the same name you used in the paper. I'm not sure exactly what services you provide, yourself, but let me know if you provide some of the things I'm looking for. Thanks for your time and any advice you're able to lend. Hope the season's starting well for you.


    P.S From your ad in the paper, it sounds like you offer a lot of overtime. One thing I liked about my old job is that we closed up by 6 every night, except on rare occaision, and only worked a saturday every 2nd week. I don't mean to sound like a baby, but after 9-10 hrs, I'm just not that efficient anymore! So, if you are connected with the greenhouse, do you know if they might have a part time job that pays okay?
  2. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Geez... I had a long post and then I hit something and its gone :angry:

    I'm not going to post it all again right now .... I'll help you out with almost all the suppliers you need.

    I won't tell you what we pay for things at any of them because we would get better rates because of the volume we do.

    I can tell you of at least ten soil pit locations around the city ... most opened this week...these guys also haul.
    I dont know anyone to spread soil unless its large scale.....find a owner operator bobcat service for best rate ...paper is probably full of them.

    Rock products ...you are probably better off going to burnco ...also, Alberta rock has a great pit west of the city .

    Look in the book for tree shrub suppliers ... Mill creek is great ....
    We don't really wholesale although I would give you a discount. ... we are digging about 500 caliper trees this week and next so we will have a bit of a selection ... probably wont bring in our spruce and pine till about another month.

    I cant remember the name of our fabric supplier but they are just off argyle near the freeway ... If I remember Ill post the name...they just changed it around last fall. we buy a years supply late winter.

    Lisa .. I dont do any hiring for the greenhouse ..they would hire 60-70- 80 people to help out for a very short time ...then they just keep a select few after May, long weekend...they dont pay that much .. It's run completely separate from the Landscaping division.

    We are a design /build landscape construction company, interior and exterior maintenance as well as a couple small tree farms. Yes we work a lot of overtime and are one of the very few that pay it. ...not unusual for our foremen to gross 5-6 thousand a month.

    I like to stay annoy mus here because i visit this site mainly for entertainment and act unprofessional from time to time lol I'd appreciate if you respected that.

    Chances are Lisa that our prices are way out of line compared to yours ... keep in mind we have been around for 40 years. I wish you the best of luck... you never know... I might turn some work your way.... give me a call to say hello and I can give you some numbers of suppliers if you cant find them.
  3. lifesaverbuddy

    lifesaverbuddy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    Hi Kris!

    Thanks so much for all your advice. It really helps me out a lot. I know I have a lot of research to do as I am new to the city, but I am busy with exams at the moment and I am running out of time, so every tip helps.

    I don't want to bother you too much, so if you could just send me a quick email at lifesaverbuddy@excite.com, then I would know how to get a hold of you. I can then send you my number if you happen to have any work to refer, which would be greatly appreciated(Let me send you picks of one of the first things I do this summer though, so you know what kind of work you're refering). I will try my best to get things figured out on my own, but if I do have questions I will email first to see when a good time to chat is.

    I know the place off the freeway that you're talking about. I'll go down there this weekend and see what they have to offer. And will definately check out Mill Creek too

    I do respect your privacy, and my own too, so I'll try not to post any area specific info.

    Thanks again. Hope you're having a great start. Lisa

    P.S. Please send a couple names in the email who deal in topsoil.
  4. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Did you get my email?
  5. Opal

    Opal LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Hi, i live on long island new york. I just started my own weeding business. Now i am starting to add lawn raking. I work solo. I just bought a blower. So we need to get on the band wagon. Guys in this business are making a killing!!!...

    We can get our hands dirty too. :) girl power!!!!!

    Opal's weeding service, hauppauge, new york...
  6. RussellB

    RussellB LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,738

    I'm not so sure about this. Many are not making it. Good luck and enjoy the Holidays.
  7. Opal

    Opal LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    I am not sure what you mean by "not making it". I do make money. I started out late in the game--Not Trying To Get Rich With This. My significant other is making a killing as a man who has been a landscaper for the past 30 years. He is now 55 and doing very well. So I love to make other people's yards beautiful. It is very rewarding to me. So I don't need the profession to survive. We do very well just the way things are.

    :) Opal
  8. Opal

    Opal LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Oh, have a good holiday. I understand what you are trying to convey. Did not mean to come across as not accepting of constructive comments. :Opal Bye now.
  9. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Opal, what do you charge to weed?

    How many of your work do you get through your husbands business?
  10. Opal

    Opal LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17


    I started this business in August of this year. Decided to put it out there. I had nothing to work with as far as supplies. Someone called me to do a weeding job. It was a 20 min. ride from my home. I had to load up my sports car and go. My boyfriend gave me some tools from him. I had no clue. Customer had two area in her front yard--flowerbeds--two of them--and the mailbox post had a flowerbed also at the curb. I priced her $75.00. She gave me $100. Most people give me more. I learned from this first one. I can not predict how long it might take me to weed a home. I usually never tell customer what I make an hour. Put your hourly rate as: 35 to 40 hourly. It just depends on how many weeds are there. I have had about 7 more jobs. I just did a raking job three weeks ago, since I can't not start weeding again in the early Spring. I made $100 doing that job--3 hours--. I had other people calling me also. Some were too big for me. I now have a blower, so that will make it easier for me to blow leaves next year. I have learned a lot about different types of weeds by going online to utube videos. It is good to know what is in the yards, and not just pulling up weeds that you have no knowledge about. Also get some books from the library regarding weeds. Also go online to utube to learn about mulching, etc. There are other services to try to incorporate into the business.


    Now I have everything I need. I went to garage sales to buy used tools. Don't buy any new items. My boyfriend has supplied some tools for me, but he has to keep his inventory good because he had 4 guys working for him. Oh yes, he works near me in a small area. I told him that I would not steal any of his customers :). So I stay clear of his customers. He does not do a lot of weeding for his customers, only if they ask. I did some gutter cleaning jobs for him all this month. I just hold the ladder for him. Some times I had to go up with him to hold the ladder for him to get to the secondary roof of the home (scary) but not too bad. I noticed his customers yards had a lot of weeds. So there are so many homes to concentrate on. So I could get business via his customers, but I don't because I would take away duties from his 4 men who would do the weeding if requested. He has about 250 accounts. He has been doing this for 30 years. (pro).

    I am sorry for the length of reply. If you met me in person, I would talk your ears off. :) A good pointer is to be extremely nice to customers, because if they like you they will use you again. I already have some people calling to inquire and that they will call me next year. So by then I will get a small ranger truck to work in.

    So I advertise by using Vistaprint.com to make my business cards. I go from mailbox to mailbox putting out my cards. In my area, most mailboxes are near the curb, and my car is so low to the ground that I can just reach out (I have long arms) and put in them. Some that I can't reach I just pass. The reason why I do it that way is that a couple of times when I was on foot I was approached by dogs. Don't want to get bitten. So I do it this way to be safe. I would rather walk to pass out but that way is safer.

    So if you are interested in weeding lawns, I think you should try and specialize in that. But in the long run try other things such as I mentioned: lawn raking in the fall, mulching, removing mold, edging beds, planting. Just go on line to utube and there are so many videos to watch and learn. You don't need to go to any horticulture school to be professional.

    I take pride in doing this. I love to please these customers. I love when they are very happy with the results.


    (check out my ad on craigslist now. it is only advertising lawn raking for now)
    I am having trouble with my business number. So it is being prepared. So I can't advertise the weeding as of yet. my website is: opalsweedingservice.com

    BYE BYE.

Share This Page