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Chaz
01-14-2012, 10:27 AM
Starting my business this year!!!! so stoked!!!

a little about me; I am 21, a college student, got my first associates degree in horticulture in December '11. I am still enrolled and going for my second in small business management (very good program i might add). I managed to get all of my classes to be night time classes this semester to allow me to start my business this spring. I have six years of landscaping experience, Worked for one landscaper who happens to be a great friend, like a second dad to me. I am starting a Sales job today, I am doing it mainly for the sales experience and I am selling something completely unrelated. It's only on the weekends, to keep my weekdays free.

I have created a list of items that I will need to buy as a start up for my business. I have also determined what the estimated or exact cost for each item would be, it totals just over $10,000. I also want to have about $2,000 in starting cash.

Some of the stuff can be paid through-out the year in payments...

I have $6,000 in loans coming in soon.
probably $800 in taxes
and hopefully about $1200 from family debt
I could probably borrow some money from family and friends


http://img692.imageshack.us/img692/203/estimatedstartupcosts.png (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/692/estimatedstartupcosts.png/)

Is there anything that I am missing?
(besides a shed to store my mower (when i get it)) $800 in building material's
Anything that looks unnecessary? I think i will wait on blower and weed trimmer.

the stuff that i already have;
new computer
new printer
good quality camera
website for paid for 18 months ahead ($180 or so) www.local-landscapers.com (should be up later today, NOT FINISHED would like suggestions though. I am honestly not impressed with it at all, it looks too amateur)
fictitious business name filed
2003 f150 long bed 5 speed (paid $1400 hell yeah)
2010 6x10x24" mesh sides carry on trailer single axle (paid $1000)
Husq 125L (or B) weed trimmer
Husq 125B (or L) hand held leaf blower
Single wheel barrow standard size
The huge bicycle wheel barrow (solid plastic from lowes) (like $250)
All sorts of Aime's hand tools that have 5 - 10 year warranty's (i keep stickers safe in a notebook)
Tarps
Straps for towing
Nice large tool set (sockets)
Several gas cans
Husq 21" push mower
Craftsman riding mower with bagging system (some one owes me still hasn't been fixed)
Husq radio headphones (i personally recommend if you don't have already)
Loppers, hand pruners, hand saw
a strong collapsible debris bag (forgot name)

Everything listed has been purchased within the last year so it's all new
(except the truck was 2 years ago)

I am in process of writing business plan, trying to get some financial forecasting done, I will be posting parts of and pieces to get you're experienced approvals, to keep me in check and make sure i am not dreaming. I am also creating my marketing plan/calender for the year, and next year. I used a lot of ideas from your books Steve!

Also i plan to be offering landscaping maintenance services

sorry it's so long, got so excited typing and didn't stop lol

please post criticism, advice, and any thoughts.

SECTLANDSCAPING
01-14-2012, 12:01 PM
you look to have it mostly covered. I would just put off everything I could till you needed, like get the backpack blower right before fall. See if you can wait on the ztr. Chances are you might be able to do all properties with a push mower. The only advantage would be to save time. Which wont matter if you dont have a full schedule.

Chaz
01-14-2012, 12:14 PM
you look to have it mostly covered. I would just put off everything I could till you needed, like get the backpack blower right before fall. See if you can wait on the ztr. Chances are you might be able to do all properties with a push mower. The only advantage would be to save time. Which wont matter if you dont have a full schedule.

you know after writing this all out it seemed to paint a clear-er picture for me. I think i will start off with a residential mower. I started the lawn care school and it got me thinking that I do plan to be advertising to people that have smaller lot sizes.

If I started with a smaller mower (48" husqvarna) and kept the current equipment then I'd have a start up costs of about 5,500. This is about half and it makes more sense

SECTLANDSCAPING
01-14-2012, 12:30 PM
you know after writing this all out it seemed to paint a clear-er picture for me. I think i will start off with a residential mower. I started the lawn care school and it got me thinking that I do plan to be advertising to people that have smaller lot sizes.

If I started with a smaller mower (48" husqvarna) and kept the current equipment then I'd have a start up costs of about 5,500. This is about half and it makes more sense

Yes it does. Its not good to start off in debt. A key to any business is low overhead. Some people will skip the insurance, thats a big mistake. You always have the option to buy a new piece of equipment if you land a large account.

I did my whole first year with push mowers and a rider I paid $175 for. Then I picked up a 44" walk behind and did the second year with it. Now I have a ZTR and another walk behind.

thegroundscrew
01-14-2012, 12:44 PM
Hey Chaz,

I am also young and am getting more into the landscaping business (only three years in business). When picking out a mower, it really depends on the sizes of the lawns. I also have 60" scag zero turn mower but I only put that to use four times a week. I only use it for my commercial jobs. A 60" is a lot bigger than what you might think. What I use everyday is my 36" scag walk behind mower with a velke. It has a kawasaki engine and has 19 hp. It's perfect because it goes fast (and I mean it can go fast), it is easy to manuever with, able to get through gates and around things. That is the main issue with a 60" is that it can barely fit through most residential gates. Also a 60" mower will require lots of extra parts and maintenance time which should be taken into consideration. And $5,500 for 48'' is a too much. You can always buy used for about a third or half the price. That will help with lowering startup costs.

Then you can put your money towards something else. I would reccomend a back pack blower because when you have a powerful one then you are able to get through a lot of houses. Even though it is still not fall you still need to blow off the driveways and walkways of all your properties before you leave the job site. It is like the finishing touch.

You also want to make sure that you have a place to store all your equipment. If you do not I would reccomend a storage unit if you have to but you can also get an enclosed trailer to hold all your tools. I have two of them and they work like a charm.

Also, when you advertise dont just advertise to multiple people one time but the same people six times. It is way more effective and will get you a lot more customers.

Do you plan on doing the work yourself or have employees?

How are you going to make your business stand out from all the other thousand landscape businesses?

Well good luck and if you need any help you can always shoot me an email. Just remember that their will be lows, just like any other job.

Curtis Michael
President
The Grounds Crew
www.thegroundscrewllc.com

Chaz
01-14-2012, 06:57 PM
the 5500 was for all of the start up costs, the mower itself ranges from 2500-3200 in cost

I have a hand held blower, it works superb for blowing off debris after mowing jobs, its so convenient to get out of the truck and all. My current employer has the biggest back pack you can get, and when i had to drag that thing out of the truck start it up, put it on, walk down the hill to the back of the house to blow off their little back porch it wasn't even worth the trouble. however those beasts are great for leaf clean up.


Alot of the shed builders in my area offer "rent to own" on the sheds so if i did consider a storage unit it would be in the form of a shed ;)

Yup I totally agree with this, i plan to send the introduction letter then about a week later go door to door with either the door hangers or flyers. Then every client i get in my prospected neighborhood I'll be using the clover leaf method for their neighbors.

First year I plan to do it by myself, however the state of virginia requires workers compensation insurance if you have 3 or more employees, gonna look a little further into it to see what i'd need to get if i bought one.

I am a student and I will be making a huge emphasis on it.also going to be emphasizing on excellent service and keeping close contact with all customers, I will also be trying to press annual contracts. also gonna be doing some community service around the neighbor hood and try to build a brand

Thanks you might here from me!

thegroundscrew
01-14-2012, 07:12 PM
I like how you said you want to emphasize that your a college student. Anything you can do to separate yourself from your competitiors is great. I also emphasize that i'm a college student. Linked is the door hanger i use that has college student owner in bold on it. good luck!

http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=15267

jymie
01-14-2012, 07:14 PM
You may want to figure in a cost for website and hosting. A website is crucial to any success.

joeblack
01-14-2012, 09:19 PM
I didn't see an edger on your list. Maybe ya had it and i missed it
Cant tell ya how often i see blo n go companies do everything solid on the yard except a crummy edging job.
Ill swear that a good/bad edging job can make or break your finished product.
Clients can always notice a rushed edging job.

Chaz
01-14-2012, 09:55 PM
I like how you said you want to emphasize that your a college student. Anything you can do to separate yourself from your competitiors is great. I also emphasize that i'm a college student. Linked is the door hanger i use that has college student owner in bold on it. good luck!

http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=15267

Yeah, How much were the door hangers with the free design? I might go with that company as well.


You may want to figure in a cost for website and hosting. A website is crucial to any success.

Yup I have a website already so I didn't include that in my start up costs. It was about $180 for 18 months.


I didn't see an edger on your list. Maybe ya had it and i missed it
Cant tell ya how often i see blo n go companies do everything solid on the yard except a crummy edging job.
Ill swear that a good/bad edging job can make or break your finished product.
Clients can always notice a rushed edging job.

I didn't have one, didn't really consider edging with an edger, i usually just roll with a weed eater, but you bring a up a great point and if i want to have excellent service then i should probably gear with the proper equipment

thegroundscrew
01-14-2012, 11:58 PM
An edger takes much longer time so if you do want to use one just remember how much longer it takes when estimating your jobs. I have both so I can give my customers the option. That seems to work well for me.

DCL Graphics is really cheap and amazing quality. He charges $120 for 1,000 hangers and $160 for 2,500 door hangers. I definitly recommend them. Plus a free high quality design.

Chaz
01-15-2012, 12:01 AM
This is my updated start up cost list.
removed the blower, and trimmer, also changed the mower to a 54" deck husqvarna, might got smaller size but i want to be able to keep the strong deck (the stamped decks are not very strong)

http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/8840/estimatedstartupcostsre.png (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/140/estimatedstartupcostsre.png/)

Chaz
01-15-2012, 12:06 AM
An edger takes much longer time so if you do want to use one just remember how much longer it takes when estimating your jobs. I have both so I can give my customers the option. That seems to work well for me.

DCL Graphics is really cheap and amazing quality. He charges $120 for 1,000 hangers and $160 for 2,500 door hangers. I definitly recommend them. Plus a free high quality design.

are these prices for both sides?

thegroundscrew
01-15-2012, 12:10 AM
The price is for only one side but that is all you need there is no need to pay for both sides. I wouldn't recommend paying more for both sides. But you wont be let down by DCL Graphics I have used them for quite some time.

Chaz
01-15-2012, 12:16 AM
sounds great, I will definitely consider them.

just looked at the prices, you have the prices for two colors, full color is $180 for 1,000 and $286 for 2500

Not sure if i want to make that leap

hawthornelawncare
01-15-2012, 12:25 AM
The price is for only one side but that is all you need there is no need to pay for both sides. I wouldn't recommend paying more for both sides. But you wont be let down by DCL Graphics I have used them for quite some time.

hey there you have a website for dcl graphics?

Chaz
01-15-2012, 12:26 AM
hey there you have a website for dcl graphics?

http://www.dclgraphics.com/index.php

hawthornelawncare
01-16-2012, 12:50 AM
This is my updated start up cost list.
removed the blower, and trimmer, also changed the mower to a 54" deck husqvarna, might got smaller size but i want to be able to keep the strong deck (the stamped decks are not very strong)

http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/8840/estimatedstartupcostsre.png (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/140/estimatedstartupcostsre.png/)

hi there how are you figuring up your cost on marketing? are you doing the printing and design stuff yourself?

mark123
01-16-2012, 08:54 AM
What are your software plans?

wandfsmall
01-16-2012, 10:01 AM
This is my updated start up cost list.
removed the blower, and trimmer, also changed the mower to a 54" deck husqvarna, might got smaller size but i want to be able to keep the strong deck (the stamped decks are not very strong)

http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/8840/estimatedstartupcostsre.png (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/140/estimatedstartupcostsre.png/)

I just noticed this post you might want to check the stats of that mower again. from my knowledge it does not have a fab deck on it, or even close to a commercial deck. If you want that you will be looking at a Hustler Sport or a Badboy MZ.

Chaz
01-16-2012, 03:39 PM
hi there how are you figuring up your cost on marketing? are you doing the printing and design stuff yourself?

I am not sure on everything, the only thing that i was actually considering on printing myself were the introductory letters. everything else is about an estimate for having it printed for me

I just noticed this post you might want to check the stats of that mower again. from my knowledge it does not have a fab deck on it, or even close to a commercial deck. If you want that you will be looking at a Hustler Sport or a Badboy MZ.

I am going to check, where i checked didn't have a picture, I wanted to stick with Husqvarna because i have a local dealer but if it comes down to it I will probably get the troy built from Lowe's, it was like a 50" and 25hp and has a fabricated deck in the picture. and is priced at $2899 but for the $300 extra I get the convienance of local dealer, 4" extra deck width, and .5mph faster, and it can mow in reverse...

wandfsmall
01-16-2012, 03:46 PM
I am going to check, where i checked didn't have a picture, I wanted to stick with Husqvarna because i have a local dealer but if it comes down to it I will probably get the troy built from Lowe's, it was like a 50" and 25hp and has a fabricated deck in the picture. and is priced at $2899 but for the $300 extra I get the convienance of local dealer, 4" extra deck width, and .5mph faster, and it can mow in reverse...

Troy Built also does not have a fab deck nor does the toro timecutter, and the ability to mow in reverse is a nice perk it will stop you from blowing out your electric clutch as soon. I would check with the dealer before you buy elsewhere as he might be able to match the price, it will benifit you to buy from him if you ever need his help.

mark123
01-16-2012, 03:55 PM
Personally, I'd rather use software that helps me cut down on office work and work more efficiently. Have you used the demo? Have you tried Gopher?

Chaz
01-16-2012, 04:18 PM
Troy Built also does not have a fab deck nor does the toro timecutter, and the ability to mow in reverse is a nice perk it will stop you from blowing out your electric clutch as soon. I would check with the dealer before you buy elsewhere as he might be able to match the price, it will benifit you to buy from him if you ever need his help.

Oh yeah, that's why i wanted to buy a husqvarna, because he is a dealer. I am pretty sure I can get one from him for not too much above cost, although profit margin's on new mowers are not very high.

Personally, I'd rather use software that helps me cut down on office work and work more efficiently. Have you used the demo? Have you tried Gopher?

Yeah I have downloaded the demo for gopher played with it. It overall seems a more thorough of a program.

mark123
01-16-2012, 04:33 PM
You may want to look through the Gopher manual. It does all those things you mentioned. Unless I misunderstood what you were saying.

It's the most efficient application.

Yeah, I'm a Gopher evangelist. :D

jymie
01-16-2012, 04:46 PM
hey there you have a website for dcl graphics?

You may also want to consider printing your own. You can get card stock with the perforations already in the card stock, hole included.

http://www.blank-doorhangers.com/doorhangers/index_files/dk3p.htm

SECTLANDSCAPING
01-16-2012, 05:54 PM
You may also want to consider printing your own. You can get card stock with the perforations already in the card stock, hole included.

http://www.blank-doorhangers.com/doorhangers/index_files/dk3p.htm

Have you used this? If so, what paper stock? I want something somewhat glossy but not thin like printer paper. Also how many were you printing out of a single ink cartridge?

Chaz
01-16-2012, 06:06 PM
You may also want to consider printing your own. You can get card stock with the perforations already in the card stock, hole included.

http://www.blank-doorhangers.com/doorhangers/index_files/dk3p.htm

I saw their site, looks like they have some great products! would a lot of companies print something on those if you actually brought that paper to them? I don't see why they wouldn't though. Thanks for sharing that, that is something i will definitely be looking into.

Chaz
01-16-2012, 06:34 PM
Have you used this? If so, what paper stock? I want something somewhat glossy but not thin like printer paper. Also how many were you printing out of a single ink cartridge?

they have pretty good descriptions of the paper on the side