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Rdelahunr
07-27-2012, 02:38 PM
Hi, I'm new to the lawncare business and plan to start my own next summer. I'm 16, will be 17, and live in northern Minnesota.

Is a simple mow, trim, blow and go proper or do you think I need to include edging?

Is my pricing proper? I want to achieve around $30 an hour but will not give estimates based on labor time as that is a recipe for issues with customers. I called a couple local landscapers and one charges $75-$85 for a 1/2 acre lot 3 miles from town, while the other charges $75 for a 2 man crew working a 1 acre lot for one hour, so it's safe to say it's $75 per man hour or per half acre.
Ex: I see a 1.7 acre lot and figure 3-3.5 hours of work (48" tractor), but notice a lot of trees requiring trimming, so I would charge $100-$110, right?

Do I need to buy a backpack blower or would a handheld gas one be good enough. I work at a resort and use a backpack blower weekly and feel that it would be a little over the top to go with a backpack blower when there's only a few minutes of blowing to be done.

Opinions on biweekly cuts? During the months of June and July weekly cuts are necessary but here in MN during August weekly is somewhat of a waste. How do you guys get around this issue?

When do I start and stop cutting for the season? School ends around the end of May or the beginning of June, and I play golf for the high school team, and it's possible that the lawns may start growing again around this time. How to I get around this issue? I do not play a fall sport so I can work after school, which starts right away in September.

Advertising? I live in a very touristy town of 4,500 but is said to hit 80,000 on July 4th (Area, not just within town), so there are many more places to cut than a typical town of this size due to all the lake cabins. Thankfully, my family owns a business consisting of 8 radio stations covering every age group. Is this enough advertising (free!) to get me around 15 accounts or will I need to advertise more?


Thanks for your info

SECTLANDSCAPING
07-27-2012, 02:47 PM
dont waste money on a hand blower there useless on leaves. True a backpack might be overkill for clippings but its needed for leaves. So it has more uses.

I would try to get weekly but customers are cheap and want biweekly. The problem is the lawn will look like crap in early spring and everytime you show up your cutting 5" high grass. If you can sell them on monthly service and base your price off showing up more in the spring and less in the summer, youll be fine.

When you start and stop depends entirely on the weather. Normally I start cutting end of Apr or beginning of Mar. This year I started first week of Apr.

xandrew245x
07-27-2012, 02:51 PM
I'm pretty new to the lawncare business too, but I have learned a lot from this site.

My services include mowing, trimming, bi weekly edging and blowing.

I base my price off of $50-$80 per acre, depending on the difficulty of the acre(obstacles, banks, etc). I aim to make $60 an hour, but I don't tell my customers that.

I have a backpack blower and I love it, all the weight is on your back, and I think you can maneuver it better.

Bi weekly cuts are a waste of time. In the hot summer months you should be mowing with your deck high like 3 to 4", the grass should still be cut weekly, you could right up a service agreement that states your service starts and ends this time, and is a weekly service, its better to give a per month price than a per cut price.

I'm not sure about your start and stop, I live in pa and grass mowing season starts around mid April here and ends mid November.

Best thing to do for advertising is to get business cards made and talk to your family and friends and see if you can drum up some business from them. Talk to anyone you see and tell them about your business and give them a card. Posting an add on craigslist I have heard is good too, I haven't had any luck with mine so far.

Rdelahunr
07-27-2012, 03:24 PM
Could you also give me some opinions on ZTR mowers versus the typical tractor? We are getting a newer mower before next season and would like to hear your input. Also explain which brands offer the highest quality for price (Toro, Husqvarna?). Remember that this will be relatively small scale in comparison to most of your landscape businesses. I think I will just try weekly in June, July, and August for ALL clients and biweekly for all in May and September, if we don't already have dormant grass in the area.

SECTLANDSCAPING
07-27-2012, 05:29 PM
Could you also give me some opinions on ZTR mowers versus the typical tractor? We are getting a newer mower before next season and would like to hear your input. Also explain which brands offer the highest quality for price (Toro, Husqvarna?). Remember that this will be relatively small scale in comparison to most of your landscape businesses. I think I will just try weekly in June, July, and August for ALL clients and biweekly for all in May and September, if we don't already have dormant grass in the area.
Theres not much difference in brands. When choosing go by engine brand and pump size. The rest really doesnt matter. Youll see guys on here with homeowner models but there no different then your tractor. They go the same speed but can turn better. A real ZTR goes 3-4 times faster then a tractor.

xandrew245x
07-27-2012, 07:21 PM
Theres not much difference in brands. When choosing go by engine brand and pump size. The rest really doesnt matter. Youll see guys on here with homeowner models but there no different then your tractor. They go the same speed but can turn better. A real ZTR goes 3-4 times faster then a tractor.

All I have is a homeowner toro zero turn, I love it, but I can't wait to buy a real commercial mower. If I land this 4 acre property job and can get them to sign an annual contract, I think I'm going to get one.