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View Full Version : To start, or not to start...?


Reminisce32
10-09-2010, 03:50 PM
Basically, I want to start a lawn maintenance business, but the people around me are saying stuff like the economy is so bad, everyone is trying to cut their own grass, etc. Plus I know we're heading into winter soon, but I'm in Florida so i don't think that will hinder business too bad. The reason I'm reluctant to start the business is because I have my mind set on a Hustler Fastrak (around 4-5k). I don't want a machine less reliable than that one, or used, therefore I need to spend at least that much on a mower (i have the other equipment) and I want to make sure the Fastrak pays for itself in a few months at least. So based on your opinions, do you think it will be tough to get this business going in this economy and in this season?

MAKLawnCutter
10-09-2010, 07:58 PM
First off - Welcome to the Forum...

Second Off - Are you not thinking about the full picture? A 5000.00$ piece of equipment wont pay its self off in a couple months, unless you are cutting lawns at 500$ a pop, or large acreage. Is this mower going to be 36"? You will have back yards to cut. Average gates are 36" wide. I run a 36" Wright Stander, in my trailer year round. I can still cut two acres in a little under an hour. You will have repairs, blades, tires, oil changes, plugs and pulleys to worry about.

**- My Wright Stander has broken one belt in a yr, my buddies got a brand new Dixie Chopper 34" Deck, he has put four pulleys, three belts and two tensioners on it in the same year **-

Third off - How long have you lived in FL? Cutting season is already tapering out. I run a lawn maintenance business in Central FL and the lack of rain over the last week, cooler temps have slowed the grass by atleast 50% already. You only have a 20% chance of rain in the next 12days. No more growth, No more Cuts. If you plan to start this late in the season. I would recommend a Pressure Washer or pole saw to start in on palm trees. Start checking Craigslist for a used mower for like 1500$, dont start with BRAND new Equipment. Starting a new business is like putting your first child in a brand new leased BMW as a first car? Who knows if you will yern to do this in a year. A mower with 500+ hours on it is considered "weathered" in FL.

Basics of starting a lawn Business. As a new Business you NEED to think about advertising, the economy is in a struggle if you imagine it or not. Volusia County is at a 14.7% unemployment Rate. Thats almost 2 in 10 unemployed. There are ALOT of people in FL that are starting new lawn companies. Most will fall when we are back to 12K on the stock market.

I do this because of the passion and love of 2-cycle burn.

Matt

CanadayLandscaping
10-09-2010, 08:38 PM
I myself have just started a lawn maintenance business. However, I didn't go into expecting to get anything right off the bat.

I started the business because it's something I have always wanted to do, I am tired of working for someone else. I am a truck driver by trade, and can make good money doing that, but in my eyes I am making more money for my boss, then myself, and he ultimately controls my destiny, which I don't like.

I decided when going into this, I was going to do it with very little out of pocket. The money I have spent is for advertising, and some minor supplies. Being late in the season, I really didn't have plans on getting any lawn care jobs right away. I am in overdrive lining up customers for next year though, and I will ramp up that effort in late February. Customer where I am, North Carolina, aren't thinking about their lawns right now, so I haven't gotten to many customers. However, like the other poster said, I have lined up some pressure washing jobs, in fact I have one tomorrow for a gas station. Not only will I pressure wash their parking lot, by offering this service, I have lined them up for lawn care for next season!

As far as equipment goes, here is what i'm starting with; 20" Mulching push mower, 38" John Deere 100 series, two trimmers, blower, pressure washer, spreader, and a 27hp Satoh Tractor w/60" Bush Hog.

This is stuff I already have. I plan on taking no profit for myself for at least a year, and just roll all money directly into the business. Again, I don't want to go into debt, especially in this economy.

I'm still learning myself, and this forum helps a lot.

Good Luck
Wayne
Canaday Lawn Care
www.canadaylawncare.com

Reminisce32
10-10-2010, 01:42 AM
First off - Welcome to the Forum...

Second Off - Are you not thinking about the full picture? A 5000.00$ piece of equipment wont pay its self off in a couple months, unless you are cutting lawns at 500$ a pop, or large acreage. Is this mower going to be 36"? You will have back yards to cut. Average gates are 36" wide. I run a 36" Wright Stander, in my trailer year round. I can still cut two acres in a little under an hour. You will have repairs, blades, tires, oil changes, plugs and pulleys to worry about.

**- My Wright Stander has broken one belt in a yr, my buddies got a brand new Dixie Chopper 34" Deck, he has put four pulleys, three belts and two tensioners on it in the same year **-

Third off - How long have you lived in FL? Cutting season is already tapering out. I run a lawn maintenance business in Central FL and the lack of rain over the last week, cooler temps have slowed the grass by atleast 50% already. You only have a 20% chance of rain in the next 12days. No more growth, No more Cuts. If you plan to start this late in the season. I would recommend a Pressure Washer or pole saw to start in on palm trees. Start checking Craigslist for a used mower for like 1500$, dont start with BRAND new Equipment. Starting a new business is like putting your first child in a brand new leased BMW as a first car? Who knows if you will yern to do this in a year. A mower with 500+ hours on it is considered "weathered" in FL.

Basics of starting a lawn Business. As a new Business you NEED to think about advertising, the economy is in a struggle if you imagine it or not. Volusia County is at a 14.7% unemployment Rate. Thats almost 2 in 10 unemployed. There are ALOT of people in FL that are starting new lawn companies. Most will fall when we are back to 12K on the stock market.

I do this because of the passion and love of 2-cycle burn.

Matt
Well, I found a place that is selling the Hustler Mini Fastrak for 3700, so it's a good deal compared to the other Hustler dealers around here. I looked on craigslist for used commercial mowers and only found 1 or 2, but I'm just terrified to buy someone else's headache for that price if I can throw another grand in and get a new one. How rigorous have you been with that Wright for it to have needed so much servicing? I don't plan on doing this full time, maybe around 10-15 accounts for now.

I'm in south Florida and I've lived here my whole life and its been raining like crazy lately. The mower I want is 42'', but I have my regular old lawn mower which is about 30'' in case there is gates.

So your telling me in Florida in the winter people wont even need their grass cut not even once a month? Where I live everyone has 1 1/4 acres, so I figured if I could manage to get 10 accounts with each paying around 100/mo, the lawn mower would pay itself off in 4-5 months. Is that wishful thinking?

Not sure what you mean by "weathered". Is this pressure cleaning season? I wouldn't mind doing that for driveways. How much is a decent pressure cleaner? And as far as palm trees, don't know much about that kind of work but sounds fair. I'll probably want to have a pole saw anyhow. Is this palm tree cutting season or something?

Thanks in advance for the advice.

MAKLawnCutter
10-10-2010, 08:09 AM
A trailer of equipment needs to be thought about as a whole.

Mower - maybe 2hours total time per week use on 10-15 accounts (36" deck i can cut one acre in 31min) Most yards with a back yard are 1/4 acre.
Trimmer - Maybe an hour total per week
Edger - Hour Tops
Blower - Hour Tops

A pressure washer is good for a lot of things, Spraying a building for paint prep, gutters, drive ways, roof cleaning(carefully).

I was listing off things you need to be ready for, my Wright has only had a belt in a year and i bought it used.

Purchasing off of craigslist is all about looking at it before you hand someone money. Go home and think about it. Buying a "headache" is usually user error. Purchasing anything used (Car, boat, gumball dispenser) you need to know what to look for and what to look at. Any USED mower you need to look at ALL BELTS (drive belts and deck belts), pulley sounds, oil leaks, fuel lines, carb cleanliness and of course, make sure you cut grass with it! Bad blades on a used mower are easy fixes but a knock can be a disaster in the making.

I have cutsomers i offer a "Year round pricing" to en which i take care of all the palms, low branches and all hedges included in the price. I usually dont even pull the trailer in January and early February, even some December months will have no rain and no growth. FL is unpredictable.

If you need any help at all. Im here to help.

Matt

Steve
10-11-2010, 05:29 AM
Basically, I want to start a lawn maintenance business, but the people around me are saying stuff like the economy is so bad, everyone is trying to cut their own grass, etc. Plus I know we're heading into winter soon, but I'm in Florida so i don't think that will hinder business too bad. The reason I'm reluctant to start the business is because I have my mind set on a Hustler Fastrak (around 4-5k). I don't want a machine less reliable than that one, or used, therefore I need to spend at least that much on a mower (i have the other equipment) and I want to make sure the Fastrak pays for itself in a few months at least. So based on your opinions, do you think it will be tough to get this business going in this economy and in this season?

People in general poo poo new ideas. They don't like change. If you want to change something in your life, you can almost guarantee if you ask others around you, they will say why change things, stay the same. Don't do anything different, don't think about anything differently. Keep going just the way you are.

As far as equipment goes, why not just get something that is functional and cheap for now. Test the waters and see what you think about the process of running your own business. You may like it or you may not. But one thing is for sure, the more money you have in the bank, by not spending it on purchases, will allow you more time to experiment with your new business. If you know you have a few bucks in the bank, you will feel more relaxed and that is a good thing.

What's your view on all this so far?

jasonw
10-22-2010, 01:54 PM
I do this because of the passion and love of 2-cycle burn.

Matt

HAHAHA You make very good points. I just could not help but comment, I moved to 4 cycle everything because of the 2 cycle burn, got tired of gagging lol.