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Yet another newbie

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by superdave, May 17, 2004.

  1. superdave

    superdave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    Hey Guys,
    I've been lurking here for about a week and decided it was time I told my story. I've kinda got into the business by default. I have a friend who I used to work with at a large company who asked me during the winter if I would be interested in helping him with a lawn service company he was starting. He had been fired from the company and I had left about a year previous to that. I told him I would be willing to help out.

    My friend has many contacts and was able to land a decent sized chain of restaraunts and part of another chain for a total of 42 accounts. He also has a clean-up contract with a local city that he keeps for himself and I've found one residential that I do by myself. ( I have not pursued any other business at this time).

    Well, I had been doing the partial chain since the begining of summer. He had payed me $10/hr the 1st Sunday I mowed and it took me about 10 hours. (They were pretty spread out and had not been taken care of the previous fall). Also, I was using my own 21 in' non commercial mower, his Weed Eater brand weedeater, & Weed Eater brand blower.

    He couldn't believe it took me that long so I told him the next week he could just pay me $10 a stop that way he wouldn't be out more that $70 bucks and if I got quicker it wouldn't necessarily cost me money.

    We poked along at that until June 1st when we picked up the other chain and jumped from 7 units to the current 42. Now you have to understand he took this chain from the premiere Corp mowers of this area. I dont' know how big they are but there big. They also have taken care of these stores. Grass looks great, edges perfect, etc.

    The 1st weekend I recruited another friend and we mowed 11 units in 7 hours. The "Boss" also recruited his brother in law and his kid and another guy and his kid to mow other units. We all have other jobs so we try to get most of the mowing done on weekends. The funny thing was my friend the "boss" didn't get any mowed himself. I had to go out on a weekday night and pick one up for him that had called in. (I charged him $25 for a weeknight mow).

    I should tell you at this point that I am now using my friends trailer but other than that it's all my own equipment. Truck, 2 push mowers (non-commercial) and my father in law's 718D Grasshopper and Stihl weedeater. My friend who is actually mowing with me brings his Husquvarna weedeater as well.
    This week we were able to mow 17 units in 11 hours.

    The problem is only about 10 other units got mowed leaving about 15 units unmowed this week. Of the 17 units we mowed Saturday two of them had not been mowed the previous week and looked like crap. Then when we got finished I called my friend the "boss" so my mowing buddy could get paid and he was already at home. We had to drive over to his house to get my partner payed. I told the "boss" on the phone I needed to get paid too it's been two weeks and he was into me for about $225 which I think is dirt cheap considering I'm using my own equipment. He told me he would leave my partners check in the mailbox but I would have to wait till next week or the check would bounce.

    I'm going to finish this up but I wanted to add this. I have offered the boss to basically sub out the 36 store chain. I have offered a fair price I think knowing what he bid the job at (which was way underbid). I told him I would give him a 1/3 of the 1st months check + a small % each month for a "finders fee". He said he would think about it. He believes he is about to get 4 apartment complexes and said he will have to do something if he does.

    You know, my names not on the business and it's not my reputation on the line but I believe in doing a good job and I have at every unit I have mowed. However, I don't think some of the other units are getting the attention they deserve, do you think I should keep this up & help my friend the boss or just back away and see if he sinks or swims. I mean the guy could sell Ice to an Eskimo but he just can't back up what he sells. I know this has been long winded but any input would be appreciated.

  2. lawnmedic1

    lawnmedic1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 122

    My guys start out at 8.00 if no experience and go up from there. Thats in my trucks with my equipment, my insurance and workers comp. You sound like you are working as a sub right now which means you better have workers comp coverage...Chuck
  3. Fuzzster

    Fuzzster LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Messages: 12

    Sounds like an opportunity knocking for you to go out on your own and have your own business. Quality and prompt customer service will make or break any "service" related business. If he isnt providing it, you may be out of work with him in the future anyway.
  4. superdave

    superdave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    Thanks Guys,
    If it was just me subing would I still need workers comp coverage?

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