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  • #31
    my truck has commercial plates on it as do theirs (I would guess to be covered by commercial insurance...which i require...they would need to get commercial plates.)

    I will check out what you said though about having to have a logo on a commercial vehicle.

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    • #32
      my truck has commercial plates on it as do theirs (I would guess to be covered by commercial insurance...which i require...they would need to get commercial plates.)

      I will check out what you said though about having to have a logo on a commercial vehicle.
      just figured i would give you the heads up in case things are the same there as here.

      Comment


      • #33
        what state do you live in?

        my state nj has a law that any commercial vehicle must have a name on it as well as if the cop feels you are useing a non commercial plated vehicle for commercial purposes you can get slammed as well.


        even if other guys are doing it, i don't think you should because you need to do things that seperate you from them.

        Well, you do live in NJ.


        I chuckled the first time I noticed that and your avatar at the same time.




        Seriously though, yes, it's always good to look into that sort of thing because it can vary wildly from location to location.
        In PA, I do not have to register my truck as a commercial vehicle unless I have employees that will be driving it. My auto policy remains unchanged from before I started my business - all coverage is same, no increase in price. (trust me, I triple checked this info before I started) The only way it would change is if I titled my truck as a commercial vehicle, or as above, have employees who will drive it.

        As for "truck lettering" - in this state, if your business makes over "$x"/yr, you must register with the state. (I think it's $70/2 yrs to register) If you have any lettering on your vehicle, you must include your "PA#" on the vehicle as well. (That actually goes for ANYTHING that has your info on it - bus cards, invoices, ads)

        Comment


        • #34
          Well, you do live in NJ.


          I chuckled the first time I noticed that and your avatar at the same time.




          Seriously though, yes, it's always good to look into that sort of thing because it can vary wildly from location to location.
          In PA, I do not have to register my truck as a commercial vehicle unless I have employees that will be driving it. My auto policy remains unchanged from before I started my business - all coverage is same, no increase in price. (trust me, I triple checked this info before I started) The only way it would change is if I titled my truck as a commercial vehicle, or as above, have employees who will drive it.

          As for "truck lettering" - in this state, if your business makes over "$x"/yr, you must register with the state. (I think it's $70/2 yrs to register) If you have any lettering on your vehicle, you must include your "PA#" on the vehicle as well. (That actually goes for ANYTHING that has your info on it - bus cards, invoices, ads)
          it's pretty amazeing how things differ from state to state.

          your comment went above my head and i appologise for being a little slow but i thought my avatar was a american flag? or at least it appears that way to me.

          Comment


          • #35
            it's pretty amazeing how things differ from state to state.

            your comment went above my head and i appologise for being a little slow but i thought my avatar was a american flag? or at least it appears that way to me.

            Heh. That's the irony of it. If I'm not mistaken, you aren't allowed to pump your own gas, and your rights as gun owners are abysmal.
            Sort of the way many view California as "not a part of America"... that was where my mind was going.

            Just some light hearted humor. I make fun of my Canadian friends as well.

            Comment


            • #36
              Heh. That's the irony of it. If I'm not mistaken, you aren't allowed to pump your own gas, and your rights as gun owners are abysmal.
              Sort of the way many view California as "not a part of America"... that was where my mind was going.

              Just some light hearted humor. I make fun of my Canadian friends as well.
              the gas pumping thing aint no big deal because on a cold snowy night it is nice to stay warm in the truck while habeeb fills her up for me.
              it really don't matter anyway because when you pull in with your trailer and equipment to fill, good luck finding someone to help you and its self serve anyway.

              as far as guns go i got my share and as long as you go through the legal proccess it aint no big deal.
              we must be some part of america judgeing by how many PA plates i see on I80 everyday going to work in jersey.

              its cool, new jersey always finds itself the brunt of most jokes.

              Comment


              • #37
                you must include your "PA#" on the vehicle as well.
                What does that mean? Is that Pennsylvania #?
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                • #38
                  What does that mean? Is that Pennsylvania #?
                  probably means pesticide applicators number.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Heh. That's the irony of it. If I'm not mistaken, you aren't allowed to pump your own gas, and your rights as gun owners are abysmal.
                    Sort of the way many view California as "not a part of America"... that was where my mind was going.

                    Just some light hearted humor. I make fun of my Canadian friends as well.
                    as far as california is concerned i could understand it not being considered to some degree of what you say " not part of america " as far as the early years of our country goes.
                    but to consider nj " not part of america " i would suggest you open up a history book and learn a little bit about the garden state.

                    the most critical battles and victories in the revolution war happened in nj as well as the first president of the united states was headquarted 5 miles from where i live.
                    remember the crossing of the deleware? it was not PA they were trying to get to.
                    nj was actually one of the first thirteen states of the united states and was actually declared so 17 years prior to PA.

                    i figured i would chime in on a little history to try and sway your opinion of nj, ha ha ha.
                    Last edited by dpld; 01-23-2012, 03:07 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      What does that mean? Is that Pennsylvania #?

                      Yes, "PA" = Pennsylvania.

                      Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor number (PAHIC#)
                      http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/hic.aspx

                      Must landscapers register?
                      Landscapers whose work is limited to services performed under Pennsylvania's Plant Pest Act do not need to register. However, landscapers who perform other work at private residences including, but not limited to: the placement of retaining walls, fountains or drainage systems, or the construction, replacement, installation or improvement of buildings, driveways, swimming pools, porches, garages, roofs, siding, insulation, solar energy systems, security systems, flooring, patios, nondecorative fences, doors, lighting systems, concrete walkways and windows must register and comply with the act.

                      I believe that if I were to ONLY mow lawns and such, I wouldn't need to register, but since I started out doing lawn care AND handyman work, it was required. As shown in the quote above, the listed work provided by most landscapers would require them to register.





                      The pesticide thing is a whole other ball of wax that I've not yet decided when I'm getting involved in.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Thanks for all the great feed back and replies everyone

                        Hey everyone, Sorry I have not been so involved in this particular thread, been rather busy. First off, I appreciate everyone's insight. This made for a pretty good conversation. In regards to USA Lawn Care, thanks a bunch for those awesome tips. I know this business model may not be "ideal" for some, but the way I look at it is; I don't want to end up operating a waterfall (where if I am not there, it all falls apart) By concentrating on being a business owner and operator it will allow me to grow the business and let me be good at what I am good at (organizing, selling, customer service, etc) Like you had mentioned USA, I most definitely will be apart and realistically, the force behind the growing of the business. That will be my JOB, while the IC's JOB is to cut the lawn, mulch, fert, so on and so forth. It would be silly of me to think I can pawn off running a business to someone who thinks like an employee. That is actually the point, I want to be an employer, and not an employee. I know so many people out where I live that just want to show up to work and get their steady paycheck and know they got a secure gig. That's great, but that lifestyle isn't for me.
                        With all the money I made from this past season learning in the trenches by myself, I anticipate using this money for marketing (postcards and door hangers) and try that route. I appreciate your suggestion (USA) on maybe giving myself a couple more seasons before I run off and sub out the work. I definitely need to learn how to price out the jobs better. I am going to specifically try the door hanger and postcard route and see how it goes. Is it wise to have a marketing campaign that spans along the whole season? I noticed in my area all the lawn service companies market HARDCORE in the beginning for mulching jobs, dethatching and what not, and then the marketing seems to disappear? I am assuming this is due to locking in customers with the aforementioned; What do you all think?
                        In regards to your #4 tip, If I am to sub out IC's to do my servicing of the accounts, should I be requiring these gentlemen to be insured with their own policies? Do I need to insure them under my policy? I have actually yet to get a policy, so I have no idea what that entails. Before I get scolded at through the written word, I don't have insurance yet cause my first season operation was less than 12 clients and I was just learning. It seems by all this talk that INS is crucial in this business and I am going to look into it, especially when I restructure the business to an LLC and I begin implementing this business model.
                        #7 tip was genius. I did not think of that at all. I wouldn't mind having a bunch of IC's. In my mind, that is just helping out the economy and job growth Here is a two-part question for you; you said you know what makes the "sub's tick", what exactly makes them tick? Second, how do you pay an IC so they feel they are earning a decent wage, but, as an owner, i'm not losing my ***. I know its all about the volume so if I am cutting a lawn for $25-$35 a wk (avg out in my area) what would your suggestion be?
                        Oh, and also, when hiring out IC's I am thinking its better to hire guys with their own equipment right? Last thing I am thinking in my mind is to have all this overhead in equipment for them to just treat it like ****. I figure if they use their own they will take care of their equipment which will ensure the proper cuts of the accounts.
                        I have never hired before and this business model may seem to be a bigger bite for me to chew, but as you advised I will take this slowly and grow with the business, i am 25, I got time to grow One last question, when I hire my IC's should I be looking for the guys that do lawn servicing already or should I be hiring someone who I think is capable of offering a quality honest service (i know I wil have to weed through alot of IC's before I get this one right) My gut tells me I should be hiring some guys that have the tools, meaning a truck or trailer and a mower and a trimmer or whatever but do not have the heart or ambition to go out and start their own lawn care gig. I feel I would be looking for the guys that are just interested in making a few extra frogskins. Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Thanks all! You guys make this forum being a pleasure to be apart of.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Hey everyone, Sorry I have not been so involved in this particular thread, been rather busy. First off, I appreciate everyone's insight. This made for a pretty good conversation. In regards to USA Lawn Care, thanks a bunch for those awesome tips. I know this business model may not be "ideal" for some, but the way I look at it is; I don't want to end up operating a waterfall (where if I am not there, it all falls apart) By concentrating on being a business owner and operator it will allow me to grow the business and let me be good at what I am good at (organizing, selling, customer service, etc) Like you had mentioned USA, I most definitely will be apart and realistically, the force behind the growing of the business. That will be my JOB, while the IC's JOB is to cut the lawn, mulch, fert, so on and so forth. It would be silly of me to think I can pawn off running a business to someone who thinks like an employee. That is actually the point, I want to be an employer, and not an employee. I know so many people out where I live that just want to show up to work and get their steady paycheck and know they got a secure gig. That's great, but that lifestyle isn't for me.
                          With all the money I made from this past season learning in the trenches by myself, I anticipate using this money for marketing (postcards and door hangers) and try that route. I appreciate your suggestion (USA) on maybe giving myself a couple more seasons before I run off and sub out the work. I definitely need to learn how to price out the jobs better. I am going to specifically try the door hanger and postcard route and see how it goes. Is it wise to have a marketing campaign that spans along the whole season? I noticed in my area all the lawn service companies market HARDCORE in the beginning for mulching jobs, dethatching and what not, and then the marketing seems to disappear? I am assuming this is due to locking in customers with the aforementioned; What do you all think?
                          In regards to your #4 tip, If I am to sub out IC's to do my servicing of the accounts, should I be requiring these gentlemen to be insured with their own policies? Do I need to insure them under my policy? I have actually yet to get a policy, so I have no idea what that entails. Before I get scolded at through the written word, I don't have insurance yet cause my first season operation was less than 12 clients and I was just learning. It seems by all this talk that INS is crucial in this business and I am going to look into it, especially when I restructure the business to an LLC and I begin implementing this business model.
                          #7 tip was genius. I did not think of that at all. I wouldn't mind having a bunch of IC's. In my mind, that is just helping out the economy and job growth Here is a two-part question for you; you said you know what makes the "sub's tick", what exactly makes them tick? Second, how do you pay an IC so they feel they are earning a decent wage, but, as an owner, i'm not losing my ***. I know its all about the volume so if I am cutting a lawn for $25-$35 a wk (avg out in my area) what would your suggestion be?
                          Oh, and also, when hiring out IC's I am thinking its better to hire guys with their own equipment right? Last thing I am thinking in my mind is to have all this overhead in equipment for them to just treat it like ****. I figure if they use their own they will take care of their equipment which will ensure the proper cuts of the accounts.
                          I have never hired before and this business model may seem to be a bigger bite for me to chew, but as you advised I will take this slowly and grow with the business, i am 25, I got time to grow One last question, when I hire my IC's should I be looking for the guys that do lawn servicing already or should I be hiring someone who I think is capable of offering a quality honest service (i know I wil have to weed through alot of IC's before I get this one right) My gut tells me I should be hiring some guys that have the tools, meaning a truck or trailer and a mower and a trimmer or whatever but do not have the heart or ambition to go out and start their own lawn care gig. I feel I would be looking for the guys that are just interested in making a few extra frogskins. Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Thanks all! You guys make this forum being a pleasure to be apart of.

                          good luck with everything and to answer one of your questions, yes your IC's need their own insurance and if you insure them they would be your employee which would also result in you needing workers comp.
                          insureing IC's would defeat the purpose of haveing them to begin with and the whole purpose of useing IC's is to distibute the liabillity as well as the work load.

                          also, whether you are starting out or a seasoned veteran and whether you have one account or a hundred YOU NEED INSURANCE there is no means to justify not haveing it.
                          anyone working without it is asking for trouble and in the end if something were to happen it will destroy you financially.

                          my question to you would be do you actually have any prior experience in the industry before you started your business?
                          did you work for a established company prior to starting your own business?

                          i am not trying to belittle you or anyone for that matter, it is just a observation i have noticed on this site with a lot of new and younger guys that seem to bypass one of the most critical parts of being successfull in the business as well as paying your dues.

                          i am not saying this is the case with you because i don't know you but it seems today younger folks in general want to go from nothing and go straight to being the owner of a business and learn on the fly.

                          it seems that a lot of questions that get asked on this site could and would be eliminated if prior experience with a established company was accomplished first.
                          i only say this in a way to better prepare new business owners for a successfull future.
                          what better way to learn the in's and out's of the business then on someone elses dime?
                          when i started in the business at 22 i worked for a large company for 5 years and by the time i left i was a foreman and in that time i had seen everything as well as learned from what i seen.
                          i got to see what happens firsthand with unsatisfied customers to disgruntled employee's as well as how to better take care of equipment as well as what equipment would be best for me.
                          i also got to see what issues arise from a poorly planned job to a under priced job as well as what happens when you do things without putting it in writing first.

                          knowing what i know now i would have never considered going about it any way other then what i did and i would have never went into it blind.
                          it saved me years of trouble as well as in the end got my business up and running and more successfull from day one.

                          most guys look at working for someone as a waste of time and a delay on their future and i personally veiw it as a way to fast track you future and save you from a lot of wasted time at your expense.

                          like i said, this is not a attack or me trying to insult you as well as most of what i am saying is just a observation from what i read on this site and your thread seemed like a good place to mention it.

                          once again, best of luck to you.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Check your local and/or state laws regarding the use of subcontractors.

                            It was mentioned above that YOU would need to have worker's comp insurance. I do not believe this to be true here in PA. In this state, if you operate without employees, you are not required to carry worker's comp. insurance.

                            Before I started out on my own, a guy I know (working as a sole proprietor) wanted to hire me, but when he found out how much it would cost him in insurance, he scrapped the idea in favor of hiring me as a subcontractor.
                            I scrapped THAT idea, because I wouldn't make enough money working for one guy as a sub, so I went out, got my insurance, required licenses, etc., and started my own business.

                            My insurance agent DID note that if I hire a subcontractor, I need to provide her with a form that proves that said subcontractor is insured.

                            Just be sure to double check all of the insurance requirements. It's one thing to squeak by without doing everything legit on your own, but bring others into play and it's going to have the potential to REALLY bite you in the *** if something isn't done properly.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Hi Chris,

                              Insurance: Yes....go to your local agent. They will set you up with liability insurance (mine runs right about $500/yr). Tell your agent exactly what you are planning to do and he will then let you know how to go about working with the subs with regard to insurance. They basically have to get a 'certificate' which costs them about $25 for the year thru their insurer. It's nothing new. Building contractors get them all the time and require them. What happens is at the end, info about who you paid gets matched up against certificates just to make sure everyone is covered properly.

                              Marketing: Some marketing I do is all year....some is 6 months. You can market all year but if you're not doing snow removal, you might just market spring thru fall. Some places it's simply a year contract for an ad so there's no choice.

                              Pay to keep subs happy: I am at 80/20 (plus or minus a percentage here and there). Subs know prices and percentages going in. If you're worried about losing your a**, then you should be mowing the accounts. It is a volume business. Only sub as much as you want based on income requirements on your end.

                              Should you look for experienced guys: Most definitely. Your sub is representing your business. No offense to new guys but there are plenty of operations out there with years and years of experience, crews, equipment, etc that are looking for extra work. Use one of them....talk with them...see their equipment and location....call references....etc.

                              What makes the subs tick?: Pay them on time every time and they will keep working for you. REPEAT: PAY THEM ON TIME AND EVERY TIME and they will stay with you and continue to do good work. It's that simple.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                oh....and no need to apologize to anyone about not having insurance your first year. It's called being a new guy who just started a business and had the business sense to finish up a year, ask a lot of questions and decided he needed to get insurance after talking with experienced people in this business. Most one of us have been in your shoes and started the same way somewhere along the line. At least you decided you need to get it before something really crappy happened.

                                Comment

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