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LawnHog
10-16-2011, 05:58 PM
Hi everyone!
I have decided over the last couple of weeks that I want to start my own lawncare business. I came across this site while I was browsing on youtube and found Steves youtube videos. (Which were a huge help )

I want to offer the following services: Mowing, trimming, edging, mulching, leaf removal, gutter cleaning, fertilizing, powerwashing, pruning/hedge trimming and small landscaping work.

I am wanting to make this a full time lawn care business. I currently have:

Zero turn Grasshopper
Self propelled walk behind w/ bagger
Gass powered weedeater
gass powered hedge trimmer
16' trailer

Before the spring I plan on getting:

Backpack blower
Edger
Power washer


None of the equipment I have or will be buying is going to be financed. So my overhead should be mainly gas, maintenance, & marketing.

I currently have a full time job that pays 45k a year but have been unhappy with it for quite some time.
Does anyone have an idea what I should expect as far how hard it will be to build my client base starting out? I realize this varies but im trying not to be just a mow and trim lawn service. Im trying to offer as many services as possible.
How realistic is it for me to to make a 45k salary the first year?

Im sorry this is so long. I have a ton of questions and dont really know where to begin. Im so thankful I came across this website, and am very excited to be joining you all. Cant wait to hear from you all

God Bless

Chad :)

SECTLANDSCAPING
10-16-2011, 07:39 PM
Its slow starting out it takes years to build a business. Keep the job your going to need it especially if your use to making good money. Its even harder to make it if your not available on a drop of a dime. The first person to show often gets the account. So theres your dilemma. If you dont care about money and like working for yourself and outside. You found your career.

It will take years to make $45k. Your tax rate will be 33%. So if by some stroke of luck you made 45k, you would only keep 30k. If you had no expenses.

Get a license for fertilizing and pruning or risk $5000 in fines for just advertising.

Your forgetting insurance in your overhead.

Its good to have your equipment paid for. I would skip the edger and buy a extra weed wacker and chainsaw. Your starting out with more equipment then most. Get some flyers, business cards, website, etc. It helps and takes time to get notice.

LawnHog
10-16-2011, 08:11 PM
Thanks for the reply! I appreciate it. Taxes you're right on 45k would put you around 30k bring home...but thats what my bring home is anyways working for someone else.

So If I can get there that would be great... IF being the main point

Can I ask you about tax write offs? If running a lawn care business, what kind of tax write offs can you get? Gas? Mileage? Equipment and supplies?

Is this something you can count on?

SECTLANDSCAPING
10-16-2011, 10:50 PM
Well it work out like 60,000 gross, 45,000 income, 30,000 after taxes. Thats still shooting real high. I never did a poll in here but I bet most peoples first year was under 20k gross.

You can get a credit for mileage but IRS might want a log book. I think it was at .45 a mile last I known.

As far as equipment and vehicles you have to depreciate them over a few years. I think every state is different with the amount. It works like this if you buy a $400 blower, you can deduct a $100 a year for 4 years.

Supplies, meals, conventions, would be a expense and not considered income so its deductible.

Insurance, accounting fees, licenses, are fully deductible.

It would be a good idea to talk to a accountant and see if they will make you a spreadsheet or something along the lines of that to track income and expenses.

mark123
10-17-2011, 07:12 AM
... Thats still shooting real high. I never did a poll in here but I bet most peoples first year was under 20k gross. ...

I don't know about my gross but my net on year one was right around $6000. That was a hungry year.

LawnHog
10-17-2011, 09:19 AM
I don't know about my gross but my net on year one was right around $6000. That was a hungry year.

If you dont mind me asking. How many years are you into it now, and how much growth have you seen?

mark123
10-17-2011, 11:16 AM
If you dont mind me asking. How many years are you into it now, and how much growth have you seen?

This is my third year and so far my gross is probably right around $25k. There's still some work to do to increase the gross and I won't know the net until my tax lady crunches the numbers. The increase is significant and if I continue on this growth curve I'll be comfortable by year 5 and I may have to hire someone.

LawnHog
10-17-2011, 11:37 AM
This is my third year and so far my gross is probably right around $25k. There's still some work to do to increase the gross and I won't know the net until my tax lady crunches the numbers. The increase is significant and if I continue on this growth curve I'll be comfortable by year 5 and I may have to hire someone.

Did you start out part time? Or did you just jump right into it?

mark123
10-17-2011, 03:16 PM
Did you start out part time? Or did you just jump right into it?
Well, basically I was working as a programmer for a guy that had no idea how to manage money. Near the end instead of getting my regular wage he'd come up and hand me $200 and ask if he could catch me up next time. Then a month would go past and he'd hand me $100 and ask if he could catch me up next time. He just kept getting more and more behind and finally he disappeared owing me nearly $15,000. During my time with him I was buying professional mowing equipment just because I liked to keep my lawn and my dad's lawn in tip-top shape.

When I had enough of not getting paid I didn't sit around and cry or grow a sandy vagina and occupy Wall Street, instead I started talking to everyone I knew about cutting their grass and showing them pictures of my lawn. I picked up my church first and I took all the jobs the other lawn care companies couldn't or wouldn't take. I was 6 months behind in getting paid from my programming job and my emergency fund was nearly gone so I guess you could say I jumped right in with both feet and started swimming to keep from drowning.

SECTLANDSCAPING
10-17-2011, 04:19 PM
This is my third year and so far my gross is probably right around $25k. There's still some work to do to increase the gross and I won't know the net until my tax lady crunches the numbers. The increase is significant and if I continue on this growth curve I'll be comfortable by year 5 and I may have to hire someone.

I was part time for a year and the first full year grossed $15K. That worked for me because I had a dead end job. I did see steady increases every year since but partly due to commercial work.

jymie
10-17-2011, 07:26 PM
My first year, I started out with 9 accounts for mowing the year, 2nd year increased to 24 accounts, mostly from referrals and website inquiries. this year had 37 accounts for mowing, found out the hard way that I need a backup mower, 3 weeks in my motor on the mower went, took almost three weeks to get it up and running and as a result lost 13 accounts. OUCH, no one around here had mowers to rent except one place who wanted $150 every 8 hours to rent it, Really? Im hard pressed to make that and pay my helper besides, couldn't do that. So I lost those accounts. My priority is to have 2 mowers for next year, I need a commercial mower and I'll use my urrent mower as the backup.