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rick3499
02-26-2010, 11:00 PM
Hello everyone,

As you can see I'm new to this forum, I have been reading along and all of your information has been so helpful as far as the templates, bidding, etc. One thing I'd like to see and learn more about is where to start. I plan on beginning my landscape business in the spring of 2011. I have a truck and a utility trailer so far, clearly I have a lot of equipment to purchase. Before I start out my major investments into a mower, blower, etc. I'd like to put together some sort of a business plan. What steps did you take to start your business? What are the first steps you took? Did you buy your equipment before you had any contracts or clients? Do you suggest I gather information from clients first and try to get a few accounts in the off-season before I buy equipment?

I am a 24 year old graduate with a business degree and will be doing business in Vermont. I'm not sure what other information you may need to help me out, I really appreciate your help and look forward to your educated responses. I have been doing as much reading and learning on this site as possible and if you can suggest other posts I may have missed when reading over I'd be happy to look. Thanks so much for you help.

Cheers,

Rick

JP Landscaping
02-27-2010, 12:29 AM
I think the first thing you should start with is writing down your business plan. you can down load templates that will help you with structuring one or if you kept any of your business books then you can use that.

Next, figure out what services you will provide. I know you said landscaping but there are many and you can try to as many or focus on a few. Example: doing patios, retaining walls, etc (hardscapes) or perhaps more on planting or rain drain installations... figure out what you would like to do and this will tell you what equipment you will need.

I didn't start out with too much equipment. A truck, trailer, rakes, shovels, two wheelbarrows, hammers, levels, tape measures, etc. small stuff. you can rent the bigger machines when you get jobs that will need the. Example: sod cutters, bob cats, ditch diggers, etc.

After that I would figure out where you want to do this work. I don't know how big of a town or city it is where you live but if it is a smaller town, you can market to the whole town. if you live in a bigger city, you can focus on certain parts of the city or certain neighborhoods.

since you want to start in 2011, you have more than enough time to plan this. This year you can follow other landscaping companies and check where they are doing business in. then you know in which areas people pay for landscaping or lawn services. now you will have areas to market to.

There is some stuff to think about. But I would suggest if you have the time this year, then start this year at least part time so you start to get a feal for things. like steve says "if you don't start your business today you'll be at least one year older when you do" lol

good luck

lklandscaping
02-27-2010, 08:18 AM
Get you business name out there. It is not worth investing in a landscaping company if no one knows about you.

Start out with limited services. As you pickup more clients add to your list of services.

Check out this link.....
http://www.business-plan.com/daynplan.pdf

Steve
02-27-2010, 02:04 PM
Welcome to our forum!

Why not start small? Start with a push mower, blower, and a trimmer. Start getting customers from the area and then scale up as you need to?

You may find as you do this that you like the business or you may find that you dislike it and want to do something else.

Either way, it's easier when you scale up slowly and don't invest too much too soon.

What's your view on that?

rick3499
02-27-2010, 10:09 PM
Thanks for your replies, very informative article on making a business plan, I will have to read again further in depth.

Steve, I have been doing some seasonal landscaping for about 5 years now, I just would like to go out on my own now and do it for myself. I am thinking I will need a ride on mower, I'm looking at a John Deere 757 Z-Trak 60". For the area I look to do most of my business I believe I will need a large ride on to get the lawns done appropriately. Do you have any suggestions for other good z mowers? I would like to be able to put a striping kit on as well, I've been tryin to research it, can you put those on most all z's?

I'm trying to figure out if I will need to get contracts before I buy equipment still, anyone have experience with this or any ideas? Thanks again, I look forward to hearing back from you all.

Steve
02-28-2010, 11:47 AM
I would think you would want to have customers lined up before you went out and purchased any equipment.

Also you should be able to use a stripe kit on any ztr mower.

lklandscaping
03-07-2010, 08:20 AM
Although I know many people hate the brand, my favorite is my Hustler ZTR Sport.