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Steve
05-08-2007, 08:27 PM
How much does it cost on average to start up a business? $70,000 !! WOW that is quite a bit as an average.

How does that compare with your start up costs?

7 great ways to finance a startup (http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/03/magazines/fsb/raising.money.fsb/index.htm?postversion=2007050407) - Entrepreneurs spend an average of $70,000 to start a business, according to William Bygrave, the Frederic C. Hamilton professor of free enterprise at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. And most of that money is provided by the small-business owners themselves.

JP Landscaping
02-17-2010, 11:30 PM
well for me taking into consideration I was mostly a lanscaping biz:

Truck 5000
Trailer 1000
Advert. 120
equipment 700 (rakes, shovels, wheel barrows, etc.)
Truck ins. 300/yr
company reg. 100
comp. ins. 700/yr
Truck reg. 120
Trailer reg 70


So about 8000

MountainViewGreenskeeper
02-18-2010, 12:22 AM
Hmmmmz I really havent added it all up
02 Dodge Ram 2500 8.0L(way to much truck to start but great deal) $4000
Custom built trailer from my dad Free + 4ft sides Free material + extras $200
Equipment: $1600 2 of everything
Advertising: $200 so far
Truck ins $1200/yr
Truck reg $120
Company reg $300
Lap top lol $350
Soooo... 7970 roughy feel like im missing something

ProCut TM
02-18-2010, 10:57 AM
not mine, but a realistic bottom line LCO start up

used pick up $1500
used 21" mower $75
used string trimmer $50
used blower $50
used edger $50
business license $80
1 mil. liability $478 (yearly)
truck insure $150 (monthly)
gallon of 2stroke oil $10
5 gallon fuel can $10
2 gallon fuel can $8
7 gallons of fuel $19 (89octane)
so roughly $2480 could put you in business legally and grow it from there.

psparaco
02-18-2010, 07:08 PM
Now your making me think. Lets see

My car i own and pay on monthly. i use the trunk for my lawn care. Sucks but its better than nothing.
So....

Used Car-$60.00/week
22" mower $75 (bought off season) in season its $150
string trimmer (FREE) giving from a friend. Sells for $70 at walmart
New blower $100
car ins. $18.75/week
2 gallon fuel can $5 (mower)
1 gallon fuel can $2.50 (Trimmer) 40:1 ratio oil/gas
1 gallon fuel can $2.50 (blower) 50:1 ratio oil/gas

so roughly $400-600 put me in business but i still need to go legal and most of the equipment i had already for my own yard. i just use it since i already have it. when i get more money i'll buy what i need to expand with cash only. so there is not borrowing.
theres my 2 cents.

paul

ProCut TM
02-18-2010, 07:23 PM
Now your making me think. Lets see

My car i own and pay on monthly. i use the trunk for my lawn care. Sucks but its better than nothing.
So....

Used Car-$60.00/week
22" mower $75 (bought off season) in season its $150
string trimmer (FREE) giving from a friend. Sells for $70 at walmart
New blower $100
car ins. $18.75/week
2 gallon fuel can $5 (mower)
1 gallon fuel can $2.50 (Trimmer) 40:1 ratio oil/gas
1 gallon fuel can $2.50 (blower) 50:1 ratio oil/gas

so roughly $400-600 put me in business but i still need to go legal and most of the equipment i had already for my own yard. i just use it since i already have it. when i get more money i'll buy what i need to expand with cash only. so there is not borrowing.
theres my 2 cents.

paul

under 4 digits AWSOME!!
my estimate would be lower if you broke the truck into payments, but I was just trying to give people a realistic cash out of pocket bare boned start-up

thelawndoctor
02-18-2010, 07:35 PM
truck 89 gmc long bed full size $750
toro proline walk behind 52" $1300
husky weedeater$199
husky backpack blower$199
new 16' trailer$1175.........soo thats $3623 plus your monthly bills

ProCut TM
02-18-2010, 07:39 PM
how many of you guys are riding dirty? (no license & insurance) seems foolish as they are very cheap.

psparaco
02-18-2010, 08:34 PM
dirty for now. Cant afford or justify coughing up $200-$600 to go legit when it doesnt get me more business . just a piece of paper. spend the money on better equipment to get bigger jobs. go legit when you got the extra. my guess within 1-2 yrs running, i'll be legit. have to start somewhere. this is only the start of my 2nd year in operation. I opened my doors so to speak on april 1, 2009.

Several proposed equipment purchases i am looking into are as follows:

5X8 open trailer - $599.00
hitch and all accessories and have it installed on my car****$200-$300.
license for trailer and insurance****$300

additional mower - $150.00

total needed $1350.00

I plan to save up as much as i can and purchase them with cash. that way i dont have any more debts than i need to. If i dont have the cash for it. then i dont need it. all a trailer wil do for me is allow my loading and unloading to speed up and allow me to carry a 2nd mower.

my fiance will be helping april til the end of the school year ( we have a 6 yr old at home) and sept til end of october. i may hire my neighbor for june-aug unless we can get a sitter for 5 hours or make my days longer to support the workload. my hours of operation are 9am-2:30pm with 30 minutes for lunch. on average it takes me 30 minutes per lawn to do. including travel time, load/unload. if i have my fiance helping it takes about 20-25 min per customer. so we can easily knock out 10-15 lawns a day and 50-75 lawns per week. so 50 is my goal for the year. 75 is the max i will accept unless i hire more but by than. i'l have enough to go legit and have my trailer.

the reason for such a small trailer. its 350 pounds empty. my car's towing capacity is 1,000 lbs. so 2 mowers, trimmer, gas, blower is about 500lbs which includes weight of the trailer too. that means if i can get a commericial walk behind mower under 400lbs. i am golden. oh it needs to fit too which i layed out on autocad and tried different patterns. I have autocad a graphic design software cause thats what i did for an office job for 12 yrs. computer aided drafter. i drew the trailer footprint. all equipment footprints and played with it til everything fit. now if i wanna save a few pounds, i can put the trimmer and blower in my trunk.

again all this is up in the air. winter(off season) allows me to do tons and tons of research and planning.

well time to put the little one in bed. be back soon.

paul

picframer
02-18-2010, 09:04 PM
How much does it cost on average to start up a business? $70,000 !! WOW that is quite a bit as an average.

How does that compare with your start up costs?



For lawn care that is in the ballpark for me, landscaping/excavation it would be about 1/2 of what I put into the company last year but if the demand is there I say grow it.

MountainViewGreenskeeper
02-18-2010, 09:10 PM
how many of you guys are riding dirty? (no license & insurance) seems foolish as they are very cheap.

Sadly I must admit Im riding dirty cant justify the expence with so few customers give me a month or 2 when season is in full swing and I will. I am ashamed of the fact but just cant do it now. Will probly lose a few customers from not having it so that alone justifies getting it as soon as possible. I digress.....

ProCut TM
02-18-2010, 10:15 PM
Sadly I must admit Im riding dirty cant justify the expence with so few customers give me a month or 2 when season is in full swing and I will. I am ashamed of the fact but just cant do it now. Will probly lose a few customers from not having it so that alone justifies getting it as soon as possible. I digress.....

yearly
license $65
1 million in liability $491

it will get you better accounts, as the higher end customers will ask about it.

psparaco
02-19-2010, 12:09 AM
alot more is involved in my state. I need a state tax id, fed tax id, a enterprise or llc which ever i decide to do. DBA (doing business as) is pointless and a waste of money and has very little tax advantages. Liability insurance, Equipment insurance. Off the top of my head. I need between 300-600 to cover all that. 90% of my customers are townhomes or small small single family dwellings and all they care about is their lawns being cut. once i get into commericial accounts is when i'll need the above alot more. just my opinion on it.

ProCut TM
02-19-2010, 12:43 AM
federal employer id # is FREE (http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/)

fictitious name registration is required in FL $50 LINK (http://www.sunbiz.org)

check with your local SBA (http://www.sba.gov/) they can help

Steve
02-19-2010, 10:00 AM
DBA (doing business as) is pointless and a waste of money and has very little tax advantages.

Can you tell us more why you feel this way? I think a lot of members are either doing this or looking into starting a DBA.

i use the trunk for my lawn care. Sucks but its better than nothing.

Could you take a picture of your setup? I'd love to see it and think it would inspire others who dont have a truck to start with.

psparaco
02-19-2010, 11:21 AM
ok here is what i found on why i would choose an llc or corporation verses a dba.

http://www.businessnameusa.com/info/dba_vs_corp.htm

all information is copied from here. these are not my own words.

WHAT IS A DBA

A dba is just a certificate you are legally required to file. It helps you open a bank account and be legal but it does not protect your personal assets because the business entity is still a sole owner. A sole owner is liable for all civil or financial liability that the business incurs.

WHAT IS A CORPORATION OR LLC

A corporation or LLC is a separate and distinct business entity - separate from its shareholders / owners. Thus, a shareholder's / owner's assets, such as a home, personal bank account, or automobile, are not at stake if the corporation is sued and a court judgment is entered against it for civil or financial liability.

Only the corporate assets are at state. If the corporation has one computer and $1,000 in a corporate bank account, that is all that can be seized. If you file a dba and you are sued, you are liable for all business liability.

Should you file a dba, Incorporate, or Form an LLC

In general, if you are one person, and have a lot of personal assets, incorporate or form an llc. You will be protected. If you don't have a lot of assets ( such as a home and an expensive car ), you may want to just file a dba to start. A corporation, depending on the state you want to incorporate, or form an LLC, may cost $100 to $200 more than a dba but it protects your personal assets. A dba does not protect you. If you file a corporation or an LLC, you don't need a dba.

Note: If you incorporate, the default type of incorporation is a "C" corporation. Then, you can change it to an "S". So, just go ahead and incorporate or file an LLC, you don't have to worry a lot about the type of corporation or LLC.


goto the link for the rest of the info.

in my personal opinion. i'd rather spend the extra money for an llc so if i ever were sued. they couldnt touch my personal assets. just the business assets.

CHEESE2009
02-19-2010, 12:12 PM
Lawn Mower: $1,500.00
Trimmer: $500.00
Blower: $200.00
Marketing Material: $250.00
Cell Phone: $100.00
Gas Can: $20.00
Mix Can: $20.00
Trimmer Cord: $30.00
Eye Protection: $15.00
Grass Can: $40.00
Garbage Bags: $30.00
Rake: $30.00
Tarp: $15.00
Garden tools: $50.00

Total: $2,800.00

Does not include Truck payments, Gas, or Oil.

JP Landscaping
02-19-2010, 12:21 PM
An LLC is a popular choice for those just starting out. I started out with as a sole proprietorship and got a dba that didn't cost me anything. But I also registered my business name so no one could take it. that cost me $100 for a filing fee. If I remember correctly I get to have that name for 10 years and no one in the state can use it even if i go out of business within that time.

But in this state, you are not required to have a DBA or register your name or basically anything. Except licenses for spraying but that's about it. As far as banking, you could have the checks made out to you personally.

The disadvantage of not having all this is that you can't open a banking account under your business name and your business won't have a banking history so you won't be able to get loans under the business. some banks require you to be in business for a few years before they consider lending your business money. So it is a good idea to at least get a DBA so you can open up a business accoutnt.

As far as being protected from getting sued... Well the person can sue you as well as your company. so It doesn't really protect you if they decide to sue you personally. But i would say most would sue the company if that were to happen.

ProCut TM
02-19-2010, 01:15 PM
Something to think about that most of us have probably skip, is a written business plan (http://www.myownbusiness.org/s2/); no time like the present to get it done or at least started.

Steve
02-20-2010, 10:49 AM
When deciding between the llc and the dba, how much does insurance come into play? If you have insurance, wouldn't that protect your assets?

JP Landscaping
02-21-2010, 10:59 AM
I'm not sure on the difference on insurance rates between a LLC or a DBA. When I talked to my insurance guy, he told me it depends on the expected gross income, employees, etc. But didn't ask how it was structured.

When you get insurance, you make a list of your equipment and insure them as well.

picframer
02-21-2010, 05:24 PM
I'm not sure on the difference on insurance rates between a LLC or a DBA. When I talked to my insurance guy, he told me it depends on the expected gross income, employees, etc. But didn't ask how it was structured.

When you get insurance, you make a list of your equipment and insure them as well.

Not sure how it works there but the tax side of it here between the two is very very different.

As for insurance it's a wash and here is why, with a Limited Liability company your operating insurance may be less but you have to carry Officers and Directors liability insurance as you can still be sued as an officer of the company.

Also in addition to faxing receipts of all equipment to the insurance company, I have pictures of everything I own on my laptop, backup hard drive and DVD.

What bugs me on the insurance side is every piece of gear I own has motion activated GPS tracking monitored 24/7 yet I don't get any brake on rates.

At the same time I would not set foot on a customers property without Insurance, just too much to loose, as for operating without a license it's against the law here and the fines start at $2,500 and yes they will catch you as the by-law police are out in full force year around, we were checked several times last year not only for being registered but they also went through the material data sheets on all the sprays we use.

ProCut TM
02-21-2010, 05:58 PM
Great info Andy, hopefully some of these young guys will step up and get legal. It's plain foolish not to.

MikeO
02-21-2010, 09:19 PM
Do they take your equipment as well or just fine you as you go?
What I mean is first offense, second offense etc...

After a certain point Im sure your done yes?

picframer
02-21-2010, 09:26 PM
Great info Andy, hopefully some of these young guys will step up and get legal. It's plain foolish not to.

I think if many that do things without a license and Insurance really thought about what could happen and if it did happen they would probably go ligit.

Last year on a tractor forum the guys were talking about things they ran over while mowing, it was something to read. I think the one post that really stood out was a fellow mowing very tall grass and hit a golf ball that launched and went through the windshield of a car, scary but if you consider the gear we all run it will launch whatever we run over.

Then we have the commercial vehicle insurance, I have been pulling trailers for over 28 years and consider myself well experienced yet I had a few heart pounding moments last year. One was when I was on the highway last fall pulling a 16 foot trailer with a tractor and the Dr. Lawn vac, a gust of wind came out of no where, even though I am running 6 ply tires, weight distribution system and sway bars, the trailer started to sway like crazy, without thinking I reached down and locked up the trailer brakes but in those few seconds it was enough to snap the sway bar right out of the plate and I was only going around 50 mph.

Another time I was pulling the 3 ton excavator and took an exit ramp off a four lane highway, there was a serious accident in a blind spot off the ramp, I might have been going 25 to 30 mph at the time and as soon as I saw the police standing on the road and a car upside down I locked everything up however there was no way I could get stopped in time and had to go between a concrete median and the car that was upside down, I cleared by less than a foot, I was wild as there were 4 police cars present yet not one was on the highway slowing traffic taking this exit so I stopped and had quite a discussion with the police and they quickly moved a car to the highway.

At any given time stuff can happen and it would be quite an embarrassment to get a stop work order while on a clients property because we were not licensed or worse yet and something did happen without insurance to protect us.

MikeO
02-21-2010, 09:35 PM
I think if many that do things without a license and Insurance really thought about what could happen and if it did happen they would probably go ligit.


Do you advertise that you are legit and carry insurance? Do people even question that your company is?

We all know that some are and some are not legit. The question that i always think about is does that scare away people if you say you are, or does that help you? I have my insurance and license and its very affordable, but when I advertise I, always hinder the thought Do I add that in that I am?.

The more people who know you are, are they ready to sue you or come up with some crazy story that you broke there window or did damage to there roof or gutters or whatever to get something for free?.

ProCut TM
02-21-2010, 09:40 PM
Do you advertise that you are legit and carry insurance? Do people even question that your company is?

We all know that some are and some are not legit. The question that i always think about is does that scare away people if you say you are, or does that help you? I have my insurance and license and its very affordable, but when I advertise I, always hinder the thought Do I add that in that I am?.

The more people who know you are, are they ready to sue you or come up with some crazy story that you broke there window or did damage to there roof or gutters or whatever to get something for free?.

Yes I advertise LICENSED & INSURED and I have had many customers ask. It is an excellent closing tool when you can say you carry 2 million in insurance.

picframer
02-21-2010, 10:12 PM
We do state that we are registered and insured. Just a rough guess but on lawn care all the gated communities we do ask for proof, residential homeowner maybe 25%, commercial all ask for documentation.

I have never had a claim nor have I had a client state that we broke something, however I sleep well at night and during the day when I have staff at several sights it is simply something I don't have to worry about.

We do everything above the table, I refuse to do cash jobs under the table, aside from audit issues you never know who the prospect works for, just a headache I don't want.

I don't think it hinders our business, prospects bulk at having to pay tax which has cost us a few jobs but that is the way things go.

picframer
02-21-2010, 10:20 PM
Do they take your equipment as well or just fine you as you go?
What I mean is first offense, second offense etc...

After a certain point Im sure your done yes?

I asked one day as I was curious. A stop work order is issued and you would have to load up and leave until you have your house in order, if you left the site until the officer left and then came back and were caught then your equipment is seized and you would be facing two fines, that is a lot of mowing just to get even again.

So you would have the down time, up to three weeks while you did the paperwork to become registered and insured and may the good lord help you in the event of an audit and it is determined you were self employed without being registered. IMHO you could kiss your customers good bye as clients will not wait two or three weeks for you to come and mow their grass.

It's something that is taken quite serious not only by the city but by the provincial and federal governments, yet some still manage to get away with it. I think what they do is show up with a truck or van with no company name and maybe one employee, mow and leave. In this case if the by-law people were driving by they would probably not even stop as you could be the homeowner.

Steve
02-22-2010, 09:38 AM
As for insurance it's a wash and here is why, with a Limited Liability company your operating insurance may be less but you have to carry Officers and Directors liability insurance as you can still be sued as an officer of the company.

This is fascinating as I don't think it has been brought up yet. Can you tell us a little about this kind of insurance and when it comes into play?

Also in addition to faxing receipts of all equipment to the insurance company, I have pictures of everything I own on my laptop, backup hard drive and DVD.

Would you have to do this for both a dba and an (llc/scorp)? Or is this based on the way you register your business?

JP Landscaping
02-22-2010, 10:02 AM
wow Andy, you guys have it pretty tough as far as getting into business. Where I live, you don't need a license, or to register your business, or insurance to run a business that provides services.

You can claim your income on your personal tax return. same with an LLC or DBA. All the net profit goes directly into your personal income tax return and is taxed at your rate.

But here, $100 will register your business and the insurance companies don't track your gear with gps. Also insurance is determined on expected gross income. If you are starting out, you can get 1 mil liability for a few hundred bucks a year.

As far as patrolling... I guess for the same reason you don't need to register, we don't have people inforcing it.

picframer
02-22-2010, 10:43 AM
This is fascinating as I don't think it has been brought up yet. Can you tell us a little about this kind of insurance and when it comes into play?



Would you have to do this for both a dba and an (llc/scorp)? Or is this based on the way you register your business?

Directors and Officers liability insurance is a policy that covers you should the company get sued for any reason, but where it really comes into play is if the company were to not have enough insurance or insurance didn't cover whatever happened.

On the second question I take images of everything I own, it's something I have always done, this way there are no questions.

psparaco
02-27-2010, 07:20 PM
dirty for now. Cant afford or justify coughing up $200-$600 to go legit when it doesnt get me more business . just a piece of paper. spend the money on better equipment to get bigger jobs. go legit when you got the extra. my guess within 1-2 yrs running, i'll be legit. have to start somewhere. this is only the start of my 2nd year in operation. I opened my doors so to speak on april 1, 2009.

Several proposed equipment purchases i am looking into are as follows:

5X8 open trailer - $599.00
hitch and all accessories and have it installed on my car****$200-$300.
license for trailer and insurance****$300

additional mower - $150.00

total needed $1350.00

I plan to save up as much as i can and purchase them with cash. that way i dont have any more debts than i need to. If i dont have the cash for it. then i dont need it. all a trailer wil do for me is allow my loading and unloading to speed up and allow me to carry a 2nd mower.

my fiance will be helping april til the end of the school year ( we have a 6 yr old at home) and sept til end of october. i may hire my neighbor for june-aug unless we can get a sitter for 5 hours or make my days longer to support the workload. my hours of operation are 9am-2:30pm with 30 minutes for lunch. on average it takes me 30 minutes per lawn to do. including travel time, load/unload. if i have my fiance helping it takes about 20-25 min per customer. so we can easily knock out 10-15 lawns a day and 50-75 lawns per week. so 50 is my goal for the year. 75 is the max i will accept unless i hire more but by than. i'l have enough to go legit and have my trailer.

the reason for such a small trailer. its 350 pounds empty. my car's towing capacity is 1,000 lbs. so 2 mowers, trimmer, gas, blower is about 500lbs which includes weight of the trailer too. that means if i can get a commericial walk behind mower under 400lbs. i am golden. oh it needs to fit too which i layed out on autocad and tried different patterns. I have autocad a graphic design software cause thats what i did for an office job for 12 yrs. computer aided drafter. i drew the trailer footprint. all equipment footprints and played with it til everything fit. now if i wanna save a few pounds, i can put the trimmer and blower in my trunk.

again all this is up in the air. winter(off season) allows me to do tons and tons of research and planning.

well time to put the little one in bed. be back soon.

paul

NIX everythign i said i was planning on getting. I was in a bad car accident thursday 02/25/10. Some woman in a truck go figure, ran a red light and creamed my car. My car is totaled so no chance in ever seeing what my equipment looks like all in the trunk like i used to do last year. right now i am worried about when i am getting a new car once the insurance claims are settled. If i play my cards right. i am going to try to get a used truck to replace my car. for now i am car less with a gash in my head and moderate pain all over my body mainlly my back and neck. both air bags were deployed thank god. i think thats what saved me. and i was wearing my seat belt. i'll keep you all posted on what happens in the coming weeks.

paul

ProCut TM
02-27-2010, 07:40 PM
that sucks Paul, take care of yourself and get well.

dulle
02-27-2010, 10:29 PM
hi new to here but I really enjoy landscapeing and am looking at starting a new bussiness.
so how did you guys spend at the start to promote your bussines?
and what kind of matterial did you use to promote it?


Dulle
saskatoon sk

JP Landscaping
02-27-2010, 10:45 PM
I started out by buying a pick up and some common tools like rakes, shovels, a wheelbarrow, some hammers, levels, string line, measuring tape, etc.

Then i bought a trailer after I started getting more jobs. I rented a trailer from Homedepot a couple of times. It was like $25 for the day so that's an option if you don't want to invest into a trailer right away.

I advertised thru craigslist. I got most of my business from there. when things started to slow down, I spread about 300 professionally printed glossy small fliers door to door. out of that I got about $6500 worth of work. But craigslist and referrals pretty much took me thru the season.

Just remember that when you start out, you usually start out by yourself and add employees as you need. I could get about 2-3 jobs a week and that was enough to have me busy for at least 40 hours. So you don't need to have a ton of jobs to make money.

If you're averaging $2000-$4000 per job. sometimes one job will get you thru the week. It did sometimes in my case.

Steve
02-28-2010, 11:49 AM
NIX everythign i said i was planning on getting. I was in a bad car accident thursday 02/25/10.

I am glad you are ok! Keep us posted on how this turns out.

EgLawns
04-18-2010, 07:50 PM
I personally started with only $0, but that was because my dad already had the equipment. That was about a month ago. Sence then I have bought a new trimmer, gas so about $300.