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  • Happy New Year

    Hello, well after gardening & landscaping for myself & a few paying customers over the last 30 years. I decided if I ever wanted to be my own boss, I better try now before I get much older.
    As crazy as it may sound, until I found this Gopher website, I never really gave it much thought to go full time. After reading many posts & looking over the many free template's available. I thought "hey I can do this".
    So far I have just 2 customers who have signed a contract with me for the following season, more shall come.

    Again, thanks Gopher for all the information your site provides!

  • #2
    Hi Julian,

    That is a great story! You are very welcome!

    I bet there are many others who view this site who never actually make the jump to do it.

    Can you tell us a little about the mind process behind the decision of actually making the jump?

    What were the sticking points in your head and then what made you over come them? What was it that was holding you back?
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    • #3
      Hello all, well really haven't "jumped" yet.
      I still work 45 hours a week as a purchasing agent.
      Just for now though. I have two kids so insurance for kids & I is one reason I must stay until I have a reliable source of income. *I am sure every family person who reads this will understand, you must consider the kids all that you do.

      Funds were getting "real" tight last fall, so I advertised on Craig's list. Offering mowing & leaf removal. Upkeep of flowerbeds & prepare for winter.
      Well got a few good calls & many many NUTS!
      It did get me to thinking though, this would be a great part time gig. Of course my idea died out fast when we got 3" of ice & then some snow came. That pretty much killed outdoor work around here.
      Well about 4 weeks ago the owner calls & is pissed off. Says I ordered the wrong stuff. I said well I ordered what you asked for, he gets even more pissed. Proceeds to call me a Mother-F
      Of course that doesn't fly with me, I am pissed about it. have been ever since, butt again, I have two very young kids, I not only need the funds, but the insurance.

      So I come back & reread & reread posts & look over the many idea's lurking here.
      I tell my wife, well there are only a few things that I really can try w/o investing big bucks.
      SO here we are just about 4 weeks into my decision, to invest in my own business.
      So far I have resvered a website, getting biz cards & some flyers from Bob a Plan-it & just emailed some info to Tony at AMW to see about some graphics for the van & my utility trailer.
      The previous folks I worked for were very happy & said they enjoyed having someone who actually knows the difference between a boxwood & a yew.
      2 not only signed a contract(I used from Gopher) but have PREPAID me to mow thier lawns for the upcomming season.
      So the money I was paid, I used to buy a utility trailer. I have been landscaping & gardening for so long many tools I have already, my only upincomming investment will be a 32" or 36" walkbehind.
      I looked at this on the internet Quick 36 Super-Duty™ 14.5 HP Briggs Electric Compact Hydro™ Commercial Mower(pictured below), sounds OK, but I am gonna look here a local dealers.

      Ok, I have gotten way to long here.
      Sorry I am just a gabby person.


      • #4
        I was emailing back and forth with Julian and I wanted to share some more of his thoughts because I know others are going to be interested in what he has to say.

        Quote[/b] ]Hi, well thanks. Not sure how much of a inspiration I am. I am still very undecided. Scared about leaving the comfort of a steady paycheck.
        I today's world though, all that can be gone in a instant.

        Here is a small picture I cut from out from a recent family picture.
        My only advice to anyone wanting to stat a LCO type business is be sure you like doing this kind of work.
        I have had a inside job now for 15 years & I have never enjoyed what I do. For me I looked at what I like to do, my hobbies'
        are few so it was a easy choice.
        Not to mention I have been buying lawn & garden equipment for so long, I didn't need to buy anything to get started.
        Craig's list is free, so other than the gas to travel between jobs & the gas & oil used in equipment. I maybe invested $50.00 of gas money & made $335.00 on 4 jobs. Spent about 7 hours total. I figured that = $40.00/hour which is much better than my hourly job! I was able to up sell two customers on a season's worth of mowing, which they prepaid me for. (I offered a 10% discount for pre payment)
        With the money i made so far I bought a utility trailer & a Stihl hand held blower(Homelite one died), next will be a Stihl or Echo trimmer & a 32" or 36" walk behind.
        Now Julian, the magical mix in all of this that is going to make your business take off is your marketing.

        Can you tell us a little what you will be doing to get your name out there for this season? How will you stand out?
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        • #5
          I hope to stand out by teaching people to enjoy their landscaping & not let it be a chore. *Set up the wow factor for them. Everyone enjoy's complements. They especially like them when they are paying for them. Consider how many owner's consider their LCO to be the lawn mower. I want to be known as their personal gardener.

          Then you have to look at some workers attitude. Do you mow, blow & leave. Or do you look over the area, mow & blow & look over again to make sure it is what you would expect yourself. Not to mention, when you look over the area-there maybe more work that you can upsell & do during your next visit.
          Comodity sells cheap, specialty work brings in higher margin's.


          • #6
            Hi Julian,

            I like what you are doing. I think you have something here. I haven't seen much of the 'personal gardener' concept but I do think you are right about the potential for it to bring you a higher margin!

            This is going to be an interesting year! I can't wait to see what happens with all that you do.
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            • #7
              Sounds like youre on the up and up... remember to take care of the business side... its not all about working in the field.... the main reason for being in business is to make money... plus you have to factor in all the expenses to be a legit company.. Good luck in '08


              • #8
                Shoot it is the business side that is wearing me out so far.
                In order to be "legal" really doesn't take much. In order to have protection for yourself, you better get every license & insurance you think you might need.
                I have been working on some very expensive homes. I can not afford to have problems.

                I am keeping my fingers crossed, I think I may have a buyer form my ATV. Not sure which mower to hunt down. That "Better" mower look's appealing, but it is not made like the Scag's & Exmark's. There usually is a reason why something is half price. The brackets that mount the front wheels do not look nearly as strong as the other two I mention. look at this picture of it.


                • #9
                  Better is a newer mower company but it seems we hear a lot of positive things about them. In fact I don't think I have heard one negative comment from their users.
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                  • #10
                    There are a few major differences from the better outdoor products mowers to exmark and hustler. First off the better mowers only use one hydro to drive the wheels. There for steering is manual, kinda like steering a shopping cart (just to give you an idea)...on more expensive machines you have dual hydros independently driving each wheel. Also I believe the decks are made of steel not aluminum like exmark and that would affect the end price too. And thirdly BOP cuts out the retailer therefore being able to offer the public lower prices.

                    All of the staff at BOP are fantastic and enjoyable to talk to as well. They'll answer questions truthfully too...which I like.


                    • #11
                      Hey thanks for the replies on the mower!

                      We have a customer here at my current job who is the Scag dealer.
                      Sounds like I can get a 36" Walk behind belt drive -used for $1800.00.
                      I have looked in Dixon , Exmark & Scag. All seem to be very good mowers but with one heck of a price tag.

                      I figure if I can get a Better mower for $2600.00 new, the resale should be at least $1000-1500.00
                      I can pay cash for something in that range.
                      Buy used, prolly spend nealy as much money, not get a hydro & resale will still lose approx. $1000-1500.00
                      I will call them though, I would like to hear what they say about their product too.

                      So next question, would you buy a 32" or stick with the 36" size?
                      I have always thought a 42" gate is most common, do you folks run into 36" gates at all? At the rate the website suggests. A 36" will cut 1000 square feet more every 5 min. over a 32" Does any one agree with those numbers?


                      • #12
                        cant lie... im an exmark guy... started off my business running 5 Snappers varying in size form 32s to 52s... the problem I had was the nearest parts house for Snapper was 40 mins away... I have an exmark dealer 3 mins from my shop.... I bought a 52 ZTR HP with a bagger attachment on it... that thing is work every penny at $8999. Dont skip...its hopefully a long term investment... we turn our equipment around every two years with about 2300 hrs on them...


                        • #13
                          BOP brand mowers? Never heard of them, can you explain what BOP stands for and the who, what, when, and where you get them?


                          • #14
                            Check out the mowers at
                            I am looking at the 36" Super Duty $2595.00 w/15hp kawasaki
                            36" Wright Velkre walkbehind with pistol grip gear drive $2615.71
                            36" Wright Velkre walkbehind with pistol grip & Hydro $4271.11
                            Wright Stander. Very nice mower. $6000

                            Just not sure what to do... I have decided a 36" is in my best intrest. I have not ordered it yet, but I am really leaning towards this Better Outdoor mower. I have a hard time thinking the Wright, Scag, or Exmark will last twice as long.
                            Which for the money they would have to do.

                            Seeing how a new mower will be my biggest expense so far, I have tried to study every angle.
                            I have done purchasing now for 20 years, if I had lots of money. I would buy the Wright w/o looking further. For the value though, this Better product seems to be pretty good.


                            • #15
                              Well keep us posted as to what you get! I would like to see some pictures too
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