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Old 02-01-2010, 03:07 AM
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I have a unique situation here. I have been in lawn care for 4 years total on and off. I am going into business this spring and was planning on running a one man show and servicing residential lawns. Eventually expanding into commercial accounts. Specializing in weekly lawn maintenance. Before i had a chance to get my feet wet i was asked to bid on 7 manufactured home facilities mowing, trimming, edging, mulching, and fertilizing twice a year, all common areas and vacant lots. I looked at one of the larger properties with one of my associates (5+ years solid commercial mowing experience but not knowledgeable about the business side of things) and we estimated it 24k per 7 months. Just to give you an idea. I was told that with my contacts it would be likely i would get the contracts if my bids were not outrageous. I have about a week to decide what to do. This would be a lot of money as we figured but I'm just not sure what to do.

At this point I'm not structured to do this magnitude of work at all, and was wanting a different point of view.

I would be sprinting before i crawled, but it is what I want in the long run and feels like a great opportunity to make some serious money.
I have been talking to a lot of people and thinking so much its hurting my brain.
A member wrote me and wanted me to anonymously post this question to see if others can offer their advice on the situation.

Can anyone offer their insight?
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:21 PM
lawncrafter56 lawncrafter56 is offline
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Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
Go to a Toro dealer and see if you qualify for credit, if you do buy a commercial grade zero turn and get busy. They are good starter machines Don't walk away and do what ever you have to get rolling and if you do, give it effort like no other can. Appear to be busy even when you are not. I used to haul my mower around town in the beginning telling everyone I was swamped when I was not. Have a smiling pleasant caring personality no matter what you are doing or where you are and it will also pay off. Keep yourself neat and well groomed with clean clothes & clean boots looking far more professional than Brand X and you will draw the best clients over time.$$$ Never ever look like you or your work just fell out of Fido's *** as so many of the competitors do!
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:35 PM
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I wouldn't buy new, I would try to buy used, either a walk behind, ztr, or stand-on. Try to keep your overhead low and you'll make more money for yourself. I'd go for it though, especially if you have a contract for the year, you'll at least be able to make enough not to go out of business.

Just act professional and try to please all of your customers and you'll do fine.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:24 AM
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If because of a contact you have, you are more than likely to get this job. If you want it, I think you should go for it.

What's the worst that could happen? If you can't do all the work, sub contract it out?

I am sure you will be able to find some staff to help you.

I'd like to know what kind of equipment you feel you would need to get this job done and how many people. Then ask yourself how big of a reach would that be to obtain all that?

If this is the direction you want to go, it sounds like a big door has just opened for you. But it doesn't sound overwhelming, which is good.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:35 AM
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I agree with the previous post. Definitely go for it. Don't turn business down. OF course, that means good profitable business.

I find myself in a similar situation. My growth may exceed my abilities at present. But I don't have contracts for large acreage. Use caution, but don't be afraid. Your grasp should always exceed your reach.

Good luck
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Old 02-02-2010, 03:01 AM
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I find myself in a similar situation. My growth may exceed my abilities at present. But I don't have contracts for large acreage. Use caution, but don't be afraid. Your grasp should always exceed your reach.
Dale,

What's your view on how much growth is advisable? I have seen a lot of discussions on here that point out a business shouldn't try to grow more than 20% a year for fear of imploding upon itself. Although this % may not apply to your first couple of years because you are still trying to fill up your schedule.
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:33 AM
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I'd say go check out the dealers around you & figure out which decent zero turn mower you can get for your money (down payments) & if they offer the ability for you to make monthly payments.

With the job you will land, you can most likely afford this & probably take on a helper for a few weeks until you plan out a new strategy where you can manage the work yourself.

The most important thing to do in my opinion, is figure out how long it will take you to mow all of these properties, & exactly when they have to be mowed (all in one shot, or spread out during the week). Just schedule yourself based off of a push mower, then alter your results when you get a ZTM.

Will this job jeopardize your current clients? If so, you have to figure out which clients are most important to you.

If you lose this new guy, you lose everything & the other clients you dropped for this job will be with some other company.

Though if I were you, I'd give it my all & take the chance. This is a great opportunity, though it sounds painful for a one man show. Give your bid, then start looking for helpers.

I'm just thinking of it as maybe mowing 35 lawns a day give or take? For one person, that's tiring.
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