PDA

View Full Version : Thinking of starting a business


Malrex
10-22-2006, 01:52 AM
Hello everyone!

Not sure if this is an appropriate place to try get some advice, but thought I would give it a shot.

Will try to make this story short. I have a Masters in Environmental Science**working with creek restoration and watershed management. Wife wanted to move to PA to be close to family, I quit dream job and moved here with her. Picked up a landscaping job, was somewhat similiar to what I did and I enjoy being outside (and couldn't find any environmental type jobs that I was interested in.) I have done landscaping for a year and have picked up alot of different skills. I have always done my own landscaping for myself and have done maintenance type jobs (weeding, leafblowing, etct.) while in middle school and high school. The business I'm in is sorta shady and 90% of the employees are leaving after we get laid off during winter. I had a buddy who wanted to be partners with me and have us start our own landscaping business. Well, of course, his last application landed him a great job with benefits, so now I'm stuck on my own.

I don't want to give up my dream. I would like to start my own landscaping business**most likely going solo until I get the hang of things (business-wise) and eventually hiring people. I'm not interested in a huge company, I would like to operate from home with 2-3 employees in the future. I would like to focus on design and build**mainly ponds (which I enjoy and feel comfortable doing), new planting beds, and maintenance (leaf-clean-up, spring clean-up, weeding).
My wife's father is an accountant and is willing to help me on the business side of things...and I do have some of my wife's family members who I could get to help me during weekends if I needed them with large projects. I have been researching heavily into books on how to run a business, how to design, different landscaping ideas, ect., and have started writing a business plan.

My main questions are:
Do I need to be certified and/or licensed to do a design and build landscaping business (small projects) in Pennsylvania? I've searched around and only could find landscape architect licenses.

Is it viable to run a landscaping business solo? (no hardscaping or mowing...yet).

Am I crazy?

Any advice would be great. I have never run a business myself, but my wife's family has and her father has a good grip on how things should be run (his wife runs her own business).

Steve
10-22-2006, 01:08 PM
Quote[/b] ]Do I need to be certified and/or licensed to do a design and build landscaping business (small projects) in Pennsylvania? I've searched around and only could find landscape architect licenses.
Have you seen this site?http://www.plna.com/content/?/members/certification-programs
I think there is a possibility you might need a business license and you can find that out through your local township but that's probably it.

Quote[/b] ]Is it viable to run a landscaping business solo? (no hardscaping or mowing...yet).
You never know until you try. I think most lawn care operators mow because it creates cash flow. It is steady work. It might not be as easy to get started with steady work by offering only landscaping.

Quote[/b] ]Am I crazy?
I don't think you are. Why should your dreams of owning your own business be any crazier than others who are doing it?

Quote[/b] ]Any advice would be great.
Have you thought about how you will advertise? What services you want to offer. Who you will market these services too?
How will you fund your operations until it can generate a positive cash flow?

myrlin
10-25-2006, 05:03 PM
jump in with both feet and do it. http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif

Steve
10-25-2006, 07:56 PM
I agree http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

tiedeman
10-25-2006, 08:32 PM
Some landscaping stuff you do not need a license for. *For example, here you do not need a landscaping license, but once you start to build huge retaining walls, or changing the grade then you will need a license

I like the idea of her family helping out, but then again I don't. *A lot of times when you have family members try to help you out, it usually turns into disaster. *I don't like the idea of your father in law helping you out. *I mean, it's great that he can give you advice, but don't let him look at your books. *It really is none of his business and way too personal in my opinion.

If the family wants to help out now and then with work, or giving advice I would take it, but that is all I would do. *Anything further I would turn down.

If I was you I would really try to incoporate the hardscapes into your work though. *Hardscapes right now are a HUGE selling point for customers. *I know one local guy here that all he does is hardscapes and hydroseeding. *He makes a killing doing it.

Steve
10-25-2006, 09:01 PM
Quote[/b] ]If I was you I would really try to incoporate the hardscapes into your work though.
Does that include lighting projects?

tiedeman
10-25-2006, 09:29 PM
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Oct. 25 2006,9:01)]Quote[/b] ]If I was you I would really try to incoporate the hardscapes into your work though.
Does that include lighting projects?
Lighting in my opinion is a whole new area, seperate from hardscapes

All Aspects Landscaping
10-28-2006, 03:50 PM
One big area that is growing by leaps and bounds is landscape lighting. We've been doing outdoor low voltage lighting for about 2 years now. The profit is unbelievable and now I try to incorporate it in every installation job... awesome upsell. I you need more info feel free to email me and Ill put you in touch with a local guy (NJ PA NY DE VA) who does seminars and you will also get a certification from them. Im owner operater of a small company out of South Jersey. Been doing it for over 10 years and I love it!! All headaches and hassles aside!! Good luck to you all.
Jamie
allaspectslandscaping@yahoo.com

Steve
10-30-2006, 02:50 PM
Jamie,

How do you handle your electrical connections? Do you do it yourself or do you have an electrician?

All Aspects Landscaping
10-30-2006, 03:55 PM
The transformers are setup to plug into an existing GFI on to outside of the customers' house (or other location). If one is not present, I then instruct the customer to contact an electritian to install one. All connections from the transformer out is solderd (sp) and wire nut connections are used.

Steve
10-30-2006, 05:14 PM
That really sounds like it works smooth! What's your view on why more lcos don't get into this field?