View Full Version : New and looking for advice
03-03-2010, 12:10 AM
Hello Everyone how are you?
you all seem to be nice people and ive learned alot just through browsing but cant seem to find anything on my situation.
Let me tell you about myself. My name i Justin and my partners name is Kaleb.
were just starting our own lawn business
for now its just the usual mow edge trim blow and a few extra services upon request
Ive been creating everything we need that i know of for the past half year so were all ready to go come late march early april
Heres the main problem. Im 16 and kaleb is 15
now were not just some kids trying to mow lawns for some cash
we are both going to work hard towards this so we can have a solid business hopefully by our junior year if not senior and hopefully a good enough business to depend on after.
Ive created Contracts,Advertisements,Recipts,Payment Plans,Website,Order Forms etc. Even a quickbooks account to keep our information more organized.
We currently have one weedwacker, 2 standard lawnmowers, a blower, edger and a blazer well use as our vehicle.
Once we have 15 customers we agreed to go get a licence.
However im not sure if i can even get the licence let alone be bonded or insured at our age.
I know its important and thats what customers look for and i want them to take us seriously because we know alot about what were doing. maybe not as much as most of you but were not clueless and no alot more than the average person.
We need ADVICE and kind harsh or nice.
anything to help us get this started most of all and to keep it going.
I appreciate your time and hope you can help some way
Thanks, Justin&Kaleb; JK Lawn Care
(cheesy name we know)
03-03-2010, 09:51 AM
Not sure how it works in your area... But go to your local courthouse or where ever you apply for licenses and ask them..Down here we go to our DMV for licenses..
03-03-2010, 11:12 AM
Welcome to our forum!
I don't know for sure what the age requirements are in your area to do any of this but why sweat it.
Look into it. If you can do it, great! Do it.
If you can't, who cares? Keep going until you can.
I wouldn't let any of that stop me from growing a business as a teen.
If you can't use contracts yet, then don't use them.
If they won't sell you insurance yet? Oh well! You may lose a few customers (maybe) but in the bigger picture, people are not going to expect teens to have their 'business act' together as much as they are going to expect adults.
Do the best you can with what you have at the moment and strive to make it better.
Keep us posted on all this.
03-03-2010, 01:28 PM
Thanks for the encouragement so far guys and ill look into it.
As far as contracts go is there a limitation to why i cant use them?
I have contracts that just state what they want done,when they want it done,and when theyll pay. Nothing like a 1-4 year contract or anything like that.
Even though we are teens we have our act together. Ive researched and practiced for about 2 years
I have Programs to organize and keep track of my business such as quickbooks but look forward to getting the gopher software once business gets better.
I was thinking in compensation for our age to low ball a bit. Theres a few Lawn Care and Landscaping companies in the area but there pretty expensive. So i figured maybe if we low ball a little bit and offer certain competitor coupons we could get some business.
Thank you again for the advice and encouragement :D
03-03-2010, 01:53 PM
Sounds like your ahead of the game. I started mowing when I was 12. I just turned 17. I started out like you, except for having a partner. Last summer I was doing 16 weekly lawns. Early last summer, I did low ball a bit to build up the clientele, and for the most part I think it was a good idea. At our age, we don't have nearly as many costs. So lowballing a bit to get the customers only makes since to me. I just recently contacted my clients from last year to ask them if they would like me to service their yards again this upcoming season. Everyone said they would, except for one person that will be moving. I did tell them that there would be a $5 increase in price per cut. They had no problem with this, now knowing that I do good work. (I think most people think they are going to get less "professional" work when they hire someone young, but that's not always the case)
As far as contracts go, we can't legally bind to a contract. Most states require you to be 18, some 19. There is a way around it. Instead of calling it a contract, you call it an agreement, which is basically the same thing. I use an agreement with payment terms. I bill monthly, so the agreement basically says when payment is due, and how long they have to pay it before there is a late payment fee added on. I've never had a problem with the monthly billing.
Getting licensed is not as important as getting insured. You can get liability insurance through your parents insurance provider. For just liability, it's not too expensive. If you do end up getting liability, make sure to advertise that you have it. It will make your clients more comfortable with you being on their property, and it is often something homeowners look at before hiring a lawn service. Also, I personally advertise no contracts. Most lawn care companies around my area require a 6-12 month contracts, which will often steer people away.
03-03-2010, 02:07 PM
Thanks Racer that helps alot
and i like the calling it agreement idea.
Thanks for clearing me up on the contract issue i was unsure after what steve said.
In order to get new equipment we were planning on putting 40% of our profits in a fund to save for new mowers,equipment, and advertisement costs.
Is it a good idea to Save for a wide deck push mower or save a bit more for a zero turn.
Most of the homes we will be servicing will be average size that can be mowed with a standard mower but if we plan on expanding to larger homes and companies im not sure what would be best at this point.
And probably one of my final questions is Do you have to be a certain age to work for a company. Im sure they will look for more professional companies but in the even we get a company property is there an age limit or something we have to do for it to be legal?
I wouldn't think so but i thought contracts would be okay too..and i was wrong about that aha
Thank you again
03-03-2010, 07:00 PM
Ive been looking around the site all over and i cant seem to find an example of an agreement like i can a contract..
I tried writing one my self like i did my contract but everything i do makes it look well..like a contract..any pointers? maybe an example?
03-04-2010, 09:05 AM
I'm at school right now, so I don't have the agreement to send you, but when I can get, I'll send it.
03-04-2010, 12:42 PM
Did you look here http://gopherforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=34
There are a bunch of links. Maybe the contract section would be where you want to look?
03-04-2010, 01:41 PM
Thats true, I would also look there. The contracts on that part of the forum have most likely been used by the "bigger" guys on here, so they're probably pretty good. (i haven't personally used any word for word, but have looked at many contracts/proposals and invoices in that section for good ideas.)
03-04-2010, 01:45 PM
What part of the U.S. are you in, and when will your working season start?
03-04-2010, 10:02 PM
I looked there a while back and didnt remember seeing anything but theres some good ideas in here i can put towards my own.
And thanks racer you guys have been a big help and i appreciate it since im kinda in a rush
i live in nw indiana and i wanna get my flyers out within the next week so we can start fast..i dont wanna wait too far into spring and have all the people in my area looking for a company to be signed to somebody else.
I was reading another post the other day about sending new flyers over and over to get your name stuck in there mind and i was thinking about doing that however im a bit short on cash right now to do that.
03-05-2010, 11:06 AM
I probably wouldn't send people more than one flyer at their door. Mainly because of cost, but what I would recommend is putting some flyers or business cards at local oil change places. While people are getting their oil changed, they walk into the little office to wait, and while they are sitting there bored, they will pick up your flyer just for something to read. I used this method for getting snow removal accounts. Worked pretty good
03-07-2010, 10:06 PM
Thanks Racerdude once again your alot of help
I posted this in another thread but i figured id post it back in here again to get other opinions..no one has replied to the last..
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