PDA

View Full Version : Help! I'm 16, looking to start a lawn care business.


tyler99
03-28-2011, 01:55 AM
Hello,
I am 16 years old, and my friend and I would like to start up a lawn care business. Together, we have all necessary supplies, including mowers (riding & push), weed eaters, edgers, and blowers as well as trucks / jeeps with tow hitches and trailers. For the last couple of days, I have been scrolling through these forums, and I decided to make an account to join the community today.

I do have a few questions as to how I should approach starting my small business.
1) What services should I offer?
2) How should I go about pricing a yard?
3) What have you found to be the best means of promotion?

Please reply to this with any information whether it deals with the above questions or not. I'm looking for all advice.

Thanks,
Tyler!

jklawncare
03-28-2011, 02:32 AM
Hey tyler, my names Justin..i started when i was 15 and im 17 now..

what type of equipment will you be using? i would reccomend a company fund where you dump part of the monthly earnings into for new equipment and such in case you break down.

as far as services you should offer, stick with lawn mowing, and some smaller things that you can handle..dont overwhelm yourself the first year..do some mulch jobs..some basic fertilization..stuff like that.

as far as pricing yards, set a minimum. Mine personally is 20$ a week. I base it off of how much i want to make off the yard..how long it will take me..how difficult it will be, slopes. Things like that. Others will have there other ways but thats how i personally do mine.. therse also some good calculators on the forum about mow time and prices..things like that.

and as far as promotion, start a website, get on local town pages. Like for me im on my duneland website. Duneland is my town district, i also have a website that draws attention. Door hangers are a good way of getting yourself out there too

most advertisements will get you about a 1-2% return rate but thats still better than nothing..word of mouth is your best bet so make your customers happy

tyler99
03-28-2011, 02:45 AM
Thanks for the reply. As far as equipment goes, I am set as my friend lives on a farm, and they have everything from 5 different mowers, to different blowers and edgers.

I myself live in a fairly small town, roughly 3,000 people, and their are already a group that have the town under control as far as lawn care goes for here, so I will be taking my business 20 miles out of town to the city to reach further out.

Thanks for the advice.

roysyardandhaul
03-28-2011, 02:51 AM
Welcome to the Biz Tyler - I read your post and I was in your shoes just a few years ago. The first bit of advice is stay around this fourm - watch the vid's and so on , There is alot of info here that will help you.

As far as what services you provide make sure you know the law in your area. I am in Oregon and I am a self employed Landscape Maintenance Contractor- Basically that means that if it's there I can work on it, Once I gain my landscapers Lic it will open me up to provide so much more.

Your local chamber of commerce should be able to point you to a website for your state landscape/contractor laws.

As far as what to charge try to figure what the going rate is and go from there. When I figure a bid I consider Labor,Time,Supplies,Gas,Overhead,Wear and tear and try to maintain profit in all areas.

And promotion? There is a million ways to do this and alot of it cost money but to be fair alot of it dosen't here is a couple of tips for you.

1. Take Care of your clients they are your lifeline if you take care of them and they love you they will work for you for Free. (I.E. bring you business) The closing ratio on a referall is 60-70% higher then a cold estimate.

In fact I encourage my frinds and clients to find me "work"and reward them for it.

2. Make sure that EVERYONE YOU TALK TO AND KNOW - knows what you do and keep reminding them. They may not need you today but when they do need somthing done hopefully your name will come to mind. This in my book is called a warm or hot estimate. (higher closing ratio)

3.When you do one time jobs - dont forget about your customers send them a flyer or newsletter every 3 or 6 months let them know that your still in business.

Good Luck and get ready to work work work (don't forget to take a day off every once and awhile) I,m going to surf the fourm looking for ideas

tyler99
03-28-2011, 02:56 AM
Thanks much for all of the info.

Welcome to the Biz Tyler - I read your post and I was in your shoes just a few years ago. The first bit of advice is stay around this fourm - watch the vid's and so on , There is alot of info here that will help you.

As far as what services you provide make sure you know the law in your area. I am in Oregon and I am a self employed Landscape Maintenance Contractor- Basically that means that if it's there I can work on it, Once I gain my landscapers Lic it will open me up to provide so much more.

Your local chamber of commerce should be able to point you to a website for your state landscape/contractor laws.

As far as what to charge try to figure what the going rate is and go from there. When I figure a bid I consider Labor,Time,Supplies,Gas,Overhead,Wear and tear and try to maintain profit in all areas.

And promotion? There is a million ways to do this and alot of it cost money but to be fair alot of it dosen't here is a couple of tips for you.

1. Take Care of your clients they are your lifeline if you take care of them and they love you they will work for you for Free. (I.E. bring you business) The closing ratio on a referall is 60-70% higher then a cold estimate.

In fact I encourage my frinds and clients to find me "work"and reward them for it.

2. Make sure that EVERYONE YOU TALK TO AND KNOW - knows what you do and keep reminding them. They may not need you today but when they do need somthing done hopefully your name will come to mind. This in my book is called a warm or hot estimate. (higher closing ratio)

3.When you do one time jobs - dont forget about your customers send them a flyer or newsletter every 3 or 6 months let them know that your still in business.

Good Luck and get ready to work work work (don't forget to take a day off every once and awhile) I,m going to surf the fourm looking for ideas

Steve
03-29-2011, 12:25 PM
Hi Tyler,

Welcome to our forum!

With all this great information, how has it helped you with your plan now? What will you be doing to hit your market hard and pick up business?

pblawncare
04-02-2011, 06:15 AM
Tyler,

I was 17 when I started advertising for lawn care services here in Liberty, NC. I can assure you, good marketing, being a truthful and upfront business man, and having an eye for perfection will take you a long way. at 22 years old, I hang with my competitors who have been doing this for 20 plus years.

My first tip of advice: start off with what you NEED not what you want.

Don't go out and buy $400 dollar trimmers, $600 dollar blowers etc. as great as those toys are, starting out young means starting out basic (like most of us probably did) get what you need to do a good job, but don't blow your wallet out.

Also, take into consideration, if you and a friend are starting the business together, that your in this to make money, and that your prices will have to cover the both of you, and your overhead.

Services- start basic (mow, trim, blow off walks, leaf cleanup etc) and grow into what will be your way of life gradually. I know when I started, I mowed and weedeated...then added chainsaw work, now... we do everything, fences, storage buildings, ramps, landscape installs etc. again...don't spend all your money on equipment that won't get used regularly. If you get a call about a job for trimming shrubs and you know you can buy a cheaper hedge trimmer, and make twice the money (covering the cost of the trimmer) then spend a few bucks to make twice as much.

the more you deal with customers, the better you'll get at weeding out whos going to be a long term, and whos going to be a thorn in your side. Stick to your guns, but always leave someone a way out. our customers like us because we do what they want done (and then some!) but we're definitely not the cheapest company around, probably one of the higher ones to use, but our work stands out.

Ask anyone here, there is ALWAYS room to grow in this business. I was a straight residential man for years, now we do commercial and residential, and I learn something new everyday, and if you truly love this business, you'll eat, sleep, breathe lawn and landscape, but remember...you run your business, your business does NOT run you. I wish you the best of luck in your venture. Welcome to the family!

tyler99
04-02-2011, 12:28 PM
Thanks very much PBLAWNCARE! The inspiration is always helpful =].

wandfsmall
04-02-2011, 12:43 PM
Services- start basic (mow, trim, blow off walks, leaf cleanup etc) and grow into what will be your way of life gradually. I know when I started, I mowed and weedeated...then added chainsaw work, now... we do everything, fences, storage buildings, ramps, landscape installs etc. again...don't spend all your money on equipment that won't get used regularly. If you get a call about a job for trimming shrubs and you know you can buy a cheaper hedge trimmer, and make twice the money (covering the cost of the trimmer) then spend a few bucks to make twice as much.
!

Do pay attention to the difference in cost for some equipment. For example a consumer rider will be at least a $1000 cheaper then a commercial rider but a commercial walk might be closer in your range. And in some cases the difference between a decent blower and a junk blower is only $50 maybe if you have the extra go with that when your replacing. But yes if you go buy all new equipment you will be working to pay for the tools.

pblawncare
04-02-2011, 08:04 PM
Wandfsmall is right.

If you can find quality (aka Stihl, Redmax, Echo) trimmers and blowers that may need some work, but at a good price.... GET IT. I bought a BG-85 Stihl with a gutter attachment back in the fall, now I never have to climb a ladder to clean gutters unless its just that big, I spend 30 minutes, make double the $$. find a good 44" or bigger walk behind mower at a fair price, they eliminate alot of weedeating. Quality equipment is worth your time, after all....time is money.