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View Full Version : Weekend lawn business - what do I really need?


knosaj
02-08-2012, 06:16 PM
Ok when I started considering this venture, it was to pay off some bills and save some money before thet baby gets here. Then, I would just see how far it went. I currently have a fairly good paying career, with 2 to 3 times what I currently make potential. So I don't want to bail just yet.

But, it is not mine.

Now, considering the weekend plan. I know that i will get what i put into it, but How much do I really need to to make a fair go of it? Honestly.

Once the a huge bill is paid in a few days for medical stuff, I will have the free money to start really moving forward.

My plan:

door to door, door cards, maybe friends who are realtors.

Regular bag push mower, craftsman? Already have
Gas weed whacker, craftsman. Wll get.
Blower, prob craftsman. Will get.

I realize that craftsman is not ideal, but, it's ok and will work for now.

Mow and go with additional services like Debris removal, will get a simple power washer if I get a contract or two, gutters, maybe some mulching and possibly (after reading about organic spraying on here) some yard treatments.

I have A DBA, a cheap cell phone on the family plan, and will get a tax I'd number and basic insurance.

Will get business cards, door hangers, and maybe some door magnets.

Now, this all seems like a lot of formality for a weekend thing. And after reading all the info here, it seems like almost more than I intended to deal with. I am willing, but still.

I this just the price of doing business as a responsible adult?

Am I over thinking it?

Or, is there anything I am not considering?

Thanks all for all of your help.

Ducke
02-08-2012, 06:48 PM
Business License and Insurance

willshome
02-08-2012, 06:53 PM
Sounds like you know whats going on. to be insured is like $500 a year aka two fall cleanups. DO you have a truck now? You can by a mower used 22" on c-list for like $100. I would get a backpack blower the hand held ones get old very fast. ARE you going to have time with a new baby?

knosaj
02-08-2012, 07:35 PM
yea i have a truck now. yea i planned on the back blower, unless i want to have popeye forearms.

well, im not happy about giving up the family time, but, paying off student loans and approaching med bills, ive gotta do what i gotta do. plus the wifes office has slowly been laying people off. well, she is the last to go, and might be next. so, for now, cash is king. lol.

business license....this is a DBA correct? or doing business as. yea, i dont know very much when it comes to business.

willshome
02-08-2012, 08:15 PM
business license....this is a DBA correct? or doing business as. yea, i dont know very much when it comes to business.

I think it verys state to state
I think your doing good just get a move on flyers and do it many times.
I would look at echo for the blower and trimmer @ home depot good for the money about the same as sears

knosaj
02-08-2012, 08:51 PM
thanks.

i found a lightly used a "smart" self propeled 6.5 hp 22" recycler toro on craigslist for 175.

willshome
02-08-2012, 09:04 PM
check it out and then see if you can get for like $140
BTW whats wrong with the one you have?

knosaj
02-08-2012, 10:14 PM
welll, not sure. i think it runs...lol

it was practically brand new and my dumb *** brother in law left it out in the weather for i don tknow how long. a couple of weeks anyway.

so i started trying to get it running, changed gas, i think the oil too. it was just starting to start and i pulled the cord off. so, this weekend im going to give it a shot at getting it going. if not, ill take it to the repair guy to see what he says. im not real familiar with small engines, but they cant be too complicated.

CHEESE2009
02-08-2012, 10:18 PM
Read post title: Weekend lawn business

Weekend lawn business
Weekend lawn
Weekend

Weekend, the time in which clients are home, and often most annoying towards lawn maintenance professionals.

If you can withstand the chit chat, and the feeling of being watched all day... I say go for it!

willshome
02-08-2012, 10:49 PM
welll, not sure. i think it runs...lol

it was practically brand new and my dumb *** brother in law left it out in the weather for i don tknow how long. a couple of weeks anyway.

so i started trying to get it running, changed gas, i think the oil too. it was just starting to start and i pulled the cord off. so, this weekend im going to give it a shot at getting it going. if not, ill take it to the repair guy to see what he says. im not real familiar with small engines, but they cant be too complicated.

Sounds like water in carb check youtube on how to fix
more or less it's
1. drain gas tank
2. remove bolt from bottom of carb bowl (I think its a 1/2")
3. clean small holes on bolt with small wire (feed wire throw holes)
4. clean bowl
5. feed wire up into hole where bolt was unscrewed from to clean
6. rebuild

Hedgemaster
02-08-2012, 10:55 PM
Read post title: Weekend lawn business

Weekend lawn business
Weekend lawn
Weekend

Weekend, the time in which clients are home, and often most annoying towards lawn maintenance professionals.

If you can withstand the chit chat, and the feeling of being watched all day... I say go for it!

Haha! Good point!

I was just thinking that I don't see 95% of my clients and a few I've never met beyond an email conversation.





Last season was my first full season, so take my input with a grain of salt.

As for equipment - I started with a Craftsman, but I quickly replaced it with a Toro Super Recycler. No regrets.

I also started with a cheapo Troy Bilt trimmer which I burned up trying to "mow" an overgrown lot. I had planned on saving up for a commercial grade trimmer, but that got fast tracked when my trimmer crapped out on me. I bought a Stihl FS90R and HIGHLY recommend picking up a commercial trimmer, as it's one of the most important pieces of gear you'll use. The difference between commercial grade and a homeowner trimmer is the difference between a butter knife and a steak knife when eating a T-bone.

Unless you're doing leaf cleanups, I disagree on the backpack blower. For blowing clippings off a walk, a handheld will do just fine, and takes up less space, while being easier to carry for the 3 minutes you'll need it.


All in all, can you make enough money working two days a week to cover your legal obligations?

knosaj
02-08-2012, 11:42 PM
Never thought of the home owners being around. Oh well, I'll just have to deal with it. No other choice.

Legal obligations? If your talking about insurance, I think so. I have a general liability quote that is like 40 a month.

I figure,

I am hoping for 10 , but If I can get 5 lawns on a weekly basis at 35 a lawn that's, 700 a month. Maybe I am being naive but I feel that's pretty easy. Phone, 10 bucks, then fuel, not sure yet. I live in an area dense with neighborhoods. Thousands of residences in a few square miles.

No to bad return. I could knock 5 yards out in one day easy.

We have mowing here year round.

Am I way off base?

willshome
02-09-2012, 08:05 AM
your numbers are not that off but the first year you may spend 50% or more of what you make on tools... growing costs. starting with like 5 to 10 yards is smart learn the ropes & see what happens if it does not work out your not crazy money

Steve
02-09-2012, 03:16 PM
How many lawn care customers do you have now and what is your goal as to how many you want with your business?

How long do you plan to keep it operating on the weekends only? Will you next expand it to week nights?

knosaj
02-09-2012, 08:43 PM
i hate to admit it, but, i am, at the moment, mmm, all talk and no action. i have zero customers.

what i am really waiting on it to pay off this huge med bill in a few days then i can x off the last few things on my list and get started.

-insurance is the big one.

-cards and door hangers. i have designed these already and are ready for print. again, in a few days ill have them printed. they should be in my hands a couple days after that. i know these arent nesessary, but there is TONS of competition here and i want to look legit. first impression.

other than that and shaking off the cold feet, i am set to beat the street.

Hedgemaster
02-09-2012, 09:25 PM
Do you need to do anything locally in the form of permits, or such?

Here, I needed to apply and be approved to run a home based business.
It wasn't expensive, or difficult, but when I registered my business name with the state, the municipality must get notice of new businesses in the area because before I had a chance to submit my zoning application, I received a letter stating that it was illegal to operate a business without zoning board approval along with the necessary application.

Just something to think about.

Everyone has their hand out for a piece of you.

willshome
02-09-2012, 09:31 PM
Have you talked to insurance agency yet You may not need it til you start working just get licensed, line up work then when, or if you get work start the insurance ( my insurance started 24 hours after signing)

btw a lot of guys find it helpful to post there flyers here

Lake Area Turf
02-09-2012, 10:30 PM
my advise would to get set up to do the odd jobs first. Such as spring clean ups, small mulching and plantings, shrub trimming, cleaning gutters, etc. THese jobs will get you the weekly maintenance stuff.
This is how i am going at it, but on a larger scale. It all depends on your experiance dealing with turf, and landscapes.

Also, dont worry about getting liscensed just yet. Get your insurance and get your *** out there. As any thing else the govt. is involved with liscensing will take alot of time and you want hit the ground running. If you can conceal your eqpt. on your property with out it being an eye sore you can get out there.

wandfsmall
02-09-2012, 10:35 PM
Haha! Good point!

I bought a Stihl FS90R and HIGHLY recommend picking up a commercial trimmer, as it's one of the most important pieces of gear you'll use. The difference between commercial grade and a homeowner trimmer is the difference between a butter knife and a steak knife when eating a T-bone.

Unless you're doing leaf cleanups, I disagree on the backpack blower. For blowing clippings off a walk, a handheld will do just fine, and takes up less space, while being easier to carry for the 3 minutes you'll need it.


All in all, can you make enough money working two days a week to cover your legal obligations?

I agree with this statement for the most part, spend just $20 more on a piece of equipment and get more then triple the life out of it. The CRAPsman stuff it totaled if you break a rope start on them. Most shops will not touch it and it can take up to an hour to change just a rope start on one. A good commercial unit will take less then 10 min.

Hedgemaster
02-09-2012, 11:20 PM
my advise would to get set up to do the odd jobs first. Such as spring clean ups, small mulching and plantings, shrub trimming, cleaning gutters, etc. THese jobs will get you the weekly maintenance stuff.
This is how i am going at it, but on a larger scale. It all depends on your experiance dealing with turf, and landscapes.

Also, dont worry about getting liscensed just yet. Get your insurance and get your *** out there. As any thing else the govt. is involved with liscensing will take alot of time and you want hit the ground running. If you can conceal your eqpt. on your property with out it being an eye sore you can get out there.

Great advice. Hey, and when your driver's license is up for renewal, don't bother - spend the money on flyers instead and just drive really carefully.

What the OP does is ultimately his decision, but telling people to ignore the law does nobody any favors.

knosaj
02-10-2012, 12:36 PM
Have you talked to insurance agency yet You may not need it til you start working just get licensed, line up work then when, or if you get work start the insurance ( my insurance started 24 hours after signing)

btw a lot of guys find it helpful to post there flyers here


-i dont think i need anthing more than the DBA and tax number. just to be sure i will double check.

-yea ive spoken with the agent. i will start it once i have the jobs.

how would a flyer here help me? do potential clients search here or is there some sort of link between my location and this site? sounds cool.

willshome
02-10-2012, 01:03 PM
"Flyer" just having others look it over helps. you may get some good feedback. We have all been down this road.

Lake Area Turf
02-10-2012, 06:30 PM
Great advice. Hey, and when your driver's license is up for renewal, don't bother - spend the money on flyers instead and just drive really carefully.

What the OP does is ultimately his decision, but telling people to ignore the law does nobody any favors.

Relax hedgemaster. :p
no where did I say ignore the law. The guy wants to do some weekend work and see if he can pull it off. There are plenty of legit, insured, self employed Americans working out of there homes, that dont have or require Bus Lisc.

I was just saying dont let the govt. slow you down. Cover you *** with G.L. Insurance for lawn care and see if you can pull it off. If so, and you start growing then do the deed and let govt. have there share. Maybe I'm just old fassion.:D

Now back to the topic of the thread... doing the odd jobs and clean ups especially in spring WILL land you the summer long maintenance jobs you want. something to seriously consider.

Johnny_boy02
02-10-2012, 08:24 PM
Dont get insurance till you have customers.

Get a business license. Mine is only like $50ish a year.

If you use your name in the company name you dont have to deal with the DBA stuff. I didnt go that way and it end up being way more $$$$

A hand held blower is fine in spring and summer.

What size lots are in your area? That cheap lawn mower will kill you. I worked 2 days with a cheap Chraftsman before I gave in and bought a good mower. It will save you time and energy.

You mentioned 8 lawns a day. On a good day I can do 15 so you may be able to do more.

knosaj
02-10-2012, 11:00 PM
wow! I would love if I could get 20 yards a week.

Johnny_boy02
02-10-2012, 11:09 PM
It all depends on lot size. Some parts of the country have huge lawns that take awhile. Most of my yards are 7-10.000 square feet or less. And a spring/ summer "day" for me is 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. or later.

With a full time job you may not want to put in those kind of days on your weekend.