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groundhog104
09-02-2008, 11:58 PM
Hello,

I have been kicking around starting my own Lawn care business, but want to do it a little differently. I want to put my father into the business and let him handle most of the lawn care work. He is very capable of the work and is probably the only person that I would completely trust with my $$ and or equipment. I am a sales consultant at a local Dealership and have made a good living for a few years and am looking to put some money into something that is a better gamble then the market or banks. I will provide all the equipment and do all the billing and scheduling. I have based starting with about 25 accounts half acre to acre lawns and already have the inside track on my wifes co. she works for and 2 or 3 word of mouth if you start this you can mow my grass type of deals from neighbors and such. I don't think that 25 would be unrealistic by april 1st. I have spoken to a few folks that I know that have landscape co. and mow 100 accounts a week, and they all have been very supportive and have reassured me that there is more out there then can be done. There are a ton of trailers with mowers in our town, but I don't know the quality and or desire of some of these small guys. My major questions are

1. What do I pay my father based on 25 accounts per week?

2. Do I contract everyone in the beginning?

3.Am I nuts?

I am trying to get a feel for expense, I am not looking to have instant riches, but just want to be able to pay my father and for a new mower and equipment. I would like to eventually in a few years work my way out of the rigors or a dealership life and join him with the work aspect. I would appreciate any comments I didn't mean to ramble on. Thank you

Mike

Steve
09-03-2008, 04:51 AM
Hi Mike,

Welcome to our forum.

Very interesting situation you have there.

1. What do I pay my father based on 25 accounts per week?

Why not just split it 50-50 with your dad?

Buy some used equipment and get started cheap at first until you get a feel for it. See how the whole thing works out and see how you and your dad are able to work together.

As you get yourself up and going you can scale up more and expand as needed.

2. Do I contract everyone in the beginning?
Sure you can but I think most new businesses starting out tend not to do that for at least a season or two. Sometimes never.

Usually when you are new, you have no idea what you are doing so I think keeping the structure loose and simple tends to work out better for everyone.

3. Am I nuts?
I don't think so. I think you have an entrepreneurial spirit and I commend you for that.

I am trying to get a feel for expense, I am not looking to have instant riches, but just want to be able to pay my father and for a new mower and equipment. I would like to eventually in a few years work my way out of the rigors or a dealership life and join him with the work aspect.

I like the idea. A big thing though is take is step by step. New equipment does nothing for you but create debt. You have no idea what all these dynamics will do as you bring them together so start small and scale up.

What kinds of marketing will you be doing and when are you planning on getting your start?

groundhog104
09-03-2008, 08:08 AM
I will use mostly word of mouth, Flyers, door hangers, craiglist, things that I can do on the cheap starting out. I also have some of the local landscapers that have already said they would swing business my way that they couldn't handle as well as utilize my client bsae with at my dealership. I won't mix and match many just customers that I have built strong repeat busines relations with. Starting small is a definite, I will continue to work at the Dealership and let my father run the business from the working aspect. I was thinking paying him $15 per hour to do this and cover all the business expenses. If we start and stay small I think he will be fine until we grow it and and some help. This would give him his weekly whatever money, and as it grows to where someday hopefully I can join him full time I would make him a partner 50-50. Thank you for knowledge I appreciate everything.

Steve
09-03-2008, 08:40 AM
You are welcome!

Hey since you work at a vehicle dealership, do you have any advice for lawn care business owners looking to buy trucks for their business? How can they go about getting the best price?

Any tricks of the trade that would help?

groundhog104
09-03-2008, 11:25 PM
I would suggest someone that you know who has bought the brand you desire introduce you to a sales professional that they have dealt with. When I have a previous customer bring me business it puts me as well as the customer at ease they know me and are comfortable with me as well as I am them. I do handle some fellas that do the lawncare business and they seem to know what they want and what they need, this is a great help. Price is the double edged sword in the car business anymore, some customers will sell you down the river for $50, and who can blame them for what vehicles cost these days. With the internet customers are more knowledgeable than ever before about what vehicles cost. The days of big $$ deals are over and it is a job now. You need to find a dealership as well as a salesman that is willing to do what ever it takes after the sale as well as up to the sale. A great deal is all in what you precieve, I have customers who will pay a little more for things that I provide them that alot of dealerhips won't. Simple things matter to people and that is some of the reason that I am hesitant about this venture because if I can't provide that same logic to lawncare I have no business doing it. Thank you

Steve
09-04-2008, 01:47 AM
Very interesting!

What is your view on purchasing or leasing trucks? What is better for the lawn care business owner?

Simple things matter to people and that is some of the reason that I am hesitant about this venture because if I can't provide that same logic to lawncare I have no business doing it.

What kinds of things are you thinking of in the auto industry? Maybe they could translate into the lawn care industry.

groundhog104
09-05-2008, 08:11 AM
I lease all my personal vehicles I know that in 2 or three years I will want another vehicle so I am never in a negative equity position. I simply am paying for what I use and am done at the end. If your going to have a monthly vehicle expense like a large majority why not be able have a new vehicle more often. Miles are what a lease is but miles can be built in at what ever you think an average year will be. There is a certain break point where x amount of miles a year start to out way a purchase payment but a salesman will be able to break that down. Damage is the only thing I would be cautious of with a lawncare business. you are allowed a little, and there are insurances that you can buy for a few extra dollars a month that allow say up to $5000 damage when turned in. They are insured just like a bought vehicle. Miles may also be a downside to a lease with the travel involved. Leasing runs in spells, I know as of right no our leasing programs have gotten worse do to the price of fuel the companies are haveing all these large suv's and trucks coming off lease and are worth nothing so that will affect it as well. Thanks