I joined this forum back in april of 2009. roughly 2 weeks after i was laid off from my job. i was doing mechanical engineering drafting for about 2 years for this company. total experience about 12 years. the economy took a turn for the worse and out the door i went. I had to re-evaluate my income options. When i was a kid, i ran a landscaping business with a buddy of mine. he stuck with me for 1 season. i did it sucessfully for 5 seasons. til i went off to college for engineering. I should have just stuck with it and expanded. but foolish me didnt. I am currently engaged and have a 5 year old. so I not only have to support myself, but 2 others, which makes one self try to work harder to survive. I mowed my neighbor's lawn the past 3 years cause she approached me and asked if i could do her and i said sure gave her a price and went with it, but only her. when i was laid off. i did some searching online and most of my searches lead me to this site. I signed up. downloaded some contract ideas and flyer advertisement ideas. printed out several flyers and distributed to about 30 townhomes in my alley and ended up with 8 customers all within eye sight of my backyard. so i was on foot. i started out with just mowing. then after a few months added in trimming,edging, hedge trimming and cleanup utilizing old equipment from when i first did landscaping back in 1991-1996. i included everthing in my price for each property. i charged a little bit more for end of group townhomes but still had no idea what to charge and just based my estimated off my old estimates back in 91-96 plus the rate of inflation. now you try mowing with a gas mower, electric trimmer, electric blower and 150-200 foot of power cord. I was referred to a friend of one of my customers and thats when i discovered. HEYY my mower and equipment fits in my trunk of my car with the handle folded up. at that rate. i decided to expand my business to another neighbor about a mile away and BAMMM after passing out some 60 flyers. i landed an additional 10 customers. So end of season i have 18 total customers and i am looking to expand more. i recently updated my equipment. i got a gas powered trimmer from a friend who donated it to me. but stil had the electric blower. the beginnning of october 2009. i just purchased a new gas powered blower/vac. this gave me 2 additional options. 1. completely gas which meant less time to provide my service to my customers. and 2. leaf cleanup in the fall. Next year i intend to charge extra for hedge/bush trimming since thats solely electric. I do not haul away clipping but brush them under the bush for them to break down into natural fertilizer. i mulch all my lawns which again eliminates the need to bag. i am considering on expanding further into snow removal if i can sign enough contracts for it. so i can purchase a snow blower cause god as my witness. i am not shoveling manually 20 properties. i am not nuts. but thats my new/old business in a nut shell. in my off time. i like to spend time with my fiance and daughter and go biking, hiking, swimming, all the fun things to do with the family. i have more time now available for that working for myself then i ever did working for someone else. hope i didnt write too much. i'll write more as time follows. Steve you have an awesome site and all the info here is priceless to me. keep up the good work. happy mowing everyone.
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Hi everyone from baltimore,md.