Lawn Care Business Forum Lawn Care Business Book Lawn Care Business Blog Lawn Care Software
Home Forum Contract & Flyer Templates Blog Software Videos Podcast Calculators / Estimators Store Mower Review Design It Yourself Lawn Business School

Go Back   GopherHaul Landscaping & Lawn Care Business Marketing Forum > Just starting your lawn care or landscaping business? > Starting a lawn care business.

Starting a lawn care business. How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.

New at this please help


Starting a lawn care business.

How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
  #1  
Old 03-24-2011, 11:14 PM
timm5544 timm5544 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 3
Rep Power: 4
timm5544 is on a distinguished road
Default New at this please help

My friend and I are starting a new lawn service business in Ohio. we have some decent used equipment and are going to do mostly residential properties at first. We plan to mow, edge, trim and blow. We also plan to try to up sell mulching, weeding and gutter cleaning. The equipment belongs to my partner and we agree that the equipment he comes in with will be his and anything I come in with will be mine. And any profit and equipment we acquire together will belong to us both 50/50.

I have several questions about getting started. Please advise if you can.

1. How much should we pay ourselves and keep for service/repair of equipment and keep for purchase of newer/better equipment? If you could put it into percentages that would be great. (we talked to a local equipment dealer who also owns a lawn service business who states that he splits it into 1/3 labor 1/3 equipment upkeep and 1/3 profit.)

2. Is there a rule of thumb on how much to charge to mow based on sq footage? Or based on man hours (both of us working on the project)

3. Do we charge extra (how much $)for the first mow if there is edging to do that has never been done before or is very overgrown?

4.How often would we upgrade equipment?

5. How often would we "service riding mower, trimmer, trim mower, and blower ? (oil change, plugs, filters, blade sharpening)?

6. What is the best way to market our business in the beginning?

7. How much to charge for mulching?

8. Would " Quicken Home and Business" be adequate to keep track of our various expenses and upkeep and upgrades. and be able to keep track of each of our customer accounts, including keeping track of income from each account and accumulative income all together and keep track of unpaid customer accounts ??

9. How much discount to offer if the customer will sign a monthly/yearly contract? Is there a cancellation fee assessd to the customer for cancellation of a contract? i was told that in Ohio, one would expect to mow a lawn 25 times a year on average. Does 25 sound like a reasonable number for Middle/Southern Ohio??

Sorry for so many questions at once. Any advice would be welcomed and appreciated.

Thank You and God bless you.


Tim
Reply With Quote

Stop guess-timating. Learn how to estimate and make money! $$$
Mow Time Estimator Lawn Care Price Estimator Mulch and Topsoil Calculator Snow Plow Estimate Calculator


  #2  
Old 03-25-2011, 06:33 PM
ToastedToad's Avatar
ToastedToad ToastedToad is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Pac NW
Posts: 64
Rep Power: 4
ToastedToad is on a distinguished road
Default

Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
As far as software goes, I'm using Google Apps/Docs and Gopher 2006 to run my new business. Gopher is pretty sweet, and it's made right here by the folks who run this forum, so we can pay back for all the great advice.

I try to double the price of my first mow if it is out of control, most folks have not had a problem with it. I figure it will take twice as long so I charge twice as much.

I'm sure the vets will stop by and help out with your other questions.

Welcome to the forum and the LCO family!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-26-2011, 08:39 AM
Steve's Avatar
Steve Steve is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 35,752
Rep Power: 10
Steve has disabled reputation
Default

Quote:
The equipment belongs to my partner and we agree that the equipment he comes in with will be his and anything I come in with will be mine. And any profit and equipment we acquire together will belong to us both 50/50.
Welcome Tim to our forum!

Are you concerned at all this is going to turn into a mess quickly?

Quote:
1. How much should we pay ourselves and keep for service/repair of equipment and keep for purchase of newer/better equipment? If you could put it into percentages that would be great. (we talked to a local equipment dealer who also owns a lawn service business who states that he splits it into 1/3 labor 1/3 equipment upkeep and 1/3 profit.)
Why not split the income equally and then split the expenses equally?

Quote:
2. Is there a rule of thumb on how much to charge to mow based on sq footage? Or based on man hours (both of us working on the project)
Early on, go with a man hour approach. Check your area but maybe try $45 if it is competitive.

Quote:
3. Do we charge extra (how much $)for the first mow if there is edging to do that has never been done before or is very overgrown?
I would say yes if you are going to be there longer than a normal cut. If you go with charging per man hour, you need to charge for all the time you spend working.

Quote:
4.How often would we upgrade equipment?
When it calls for it or if you have some money to re-invest that will speed up your production and allow you to make more money with the same amount of time.

Quote:
5. How often would we "service riding mower, trimmer, trim mower, and blower ? (oil change, plugs, filters, blade sharpening)?
I don't know, it will be based on the amount of usage. Check your owner's manual on it.

Quote:
7. How much to charge for mulching?
Try experimenting with these lawn care job calculators, they should help you figure out prices.

Quote:
8. Would " Quicken Home and Business" be adequate to keep track of our various expenses and upkeep and upgrades.
Try the free 30 day trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

Quote:
9. How much discount to offer if the customer will sign a monthly/yearly contract? Is there a cancellation fee assessd to the customer for cancellation of a contract? i was told that in Ohio, one would expect to mow a lawn 25 times a year on average. Does 25 sound like a reasonable number for Middle/Southern Ohio??
You may want to avoid contracts early on until you get comfortable with the business. You don't want to lock yourself into something you are sure you are going to do for the year.
I have seen 5% for an annual contract, 10% off and even two free cuts during the year.

Does this help?
__________________
- Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-26-2011, 09:23 PM
joe2025 joe2025 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: NEPA
Posts: 11
Rep Power: 4
joe2025 is on a distinguished road
Default

Hi Tim. Welcome to the lawn care business. Can't answer all your questions but one word of advice for you guys is before you get started decide what you want to do with the income and put everything in writting. Friends or not you need to have the business spelled out and you must have a written agreement. I would go to a lawyer and have him/her write up the agreement for both of you to sign. In the event of a disagreement or a break up of the business you and your partner will have everything in writting so there is no "I said he said".
If you are just getting started you can skip the buying software part for now and use the money to have a lawyer write up an agreement for your business. I speak from experience on this and I would never enter into a business with a partner without first getting some type of agreement made up. It can just be basic for now and revised as you progress.

Good luck in your business.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-27-2011, 08:53 AM
Steve's Avatar
Steve Steve is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 35,752
Rep Power: 10
Steve has disabled reputation
Default

Quote:
I speak from experience on this and I would never enter into a business with a partner without first getting some type of agreement made up.
Joe, can you tell us a little about the experience you have had with this kind of situation? Also, any other thoughts on how best to prevent things from unraveling?
__________________
- Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-06-2011, 01:20 AM
joe2025 joe2025 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: NEPA
Posts: 11
Rep Power: 4
joe2025 is on a distinguished road
Default

Hello Steve.

In response to your questions I will try to give some advise from my experience.
The bottom line is if you do not have an agreement in wriiting you will not have a leg to stand on if something happens within the partnership. It will become a case of he said/he said. What I mean by this is that the old saying "possession in 9/10 of the law" will hold true. In my case we had equipment that my so called "partner" took possesion of (stole) and I had no way of disputing the ownership. Although I had a copy of the receipt for the equipment there was nothing spelled out in a partnership agreement that stated "who" owned the equipment. He also went behind my back to the customers we had (which were large commercial accounts) and lied about who was in control of the cotracts. Although there is not much you would be able to do about this, if you have a written agreement you may be able to use it to sue for damages in the event something like this happens to you. It's an expensive lesson to learn the hard way.
So as I said before friends or not get it in writting because you never know what the future will bring. If we all knew that we can all win the lottery every week and not have to work for a living.

iI read your response to Tim's questions and agree on what you said, although I would have advised a little differently. Not to say that any answer is the right or wrong answer because everyone has a differnet goal in mind.
For example: Tim had asked about how much they should pay themselves. My answer would be "nothing". Depending on if they are doing this to make a living from the start then by all means pay yourself. If not my suggestion would be to build up cash in the business if you want to grow. I got back into this business a little over two years ago and I have yet to take any money for it. I have taken very little for myself. I have invested most back into the business, buying equipment and so on. As well as building a cash balance. You need to remember that if you are after large commercial accounts as in my case, you need cash to carry you until you receive payment which in some cases can be two months from contract signing. I have several large commercial snow plowing accounts and need to have a large amount of cash on hand at the start of the snow management season to carry expenses (fuel, payroll, material,equipment rentals, etc..) until the first check comes in. This can be several thousand dollars.

Sorry for being so long here but I know of no other way to explain it.
My thought is that if you want to grow you need to suffer a little in the beginning to climb to the top and stay there. And the last thing you need to loose sleep over is your partner thinking differently than you. So get it in writting and plan meetings at a minimum of once a month to discuss the direction of the business. If things change from the original agreement make sure to modify the agreement to reflect the changes. List all equipment that the "company" owns and what the percentage's of ownership is.

The only other advice I have after looking at Tim's questions is when he asked about charging extra for the first mow if there is edging that has not been doen before or is overgrown. My thought is to say no. If it is a new customer why not get their property in good condition and maintain it the way a professional would without charging extra. If you spend a little extra time to make their property look professionally maintained it is like free advertising for you and your "new" client will tell their friends what a great job you are doing and this will lead to new business. Sometimes you have to give a little to move ahead. This is very true when you are first starting out. The longer you do it the more efficient you will become.

Last thought before I put you to sleep is forget about a contract for residiential clients. As far as I'm concerened they are a waste of time and in some cases scare some people. I find most residiential clients do not feel comfortable with a "contract". All you really need to do is to send them a letter of intent to pay when they agree to hire you for your services. Now this is not for everyone and if you are doing an upsale for other services like tree cutting or mulching by all means draw up a contract to protect you and your client. Again this is just my feelings and everyone is different.

Bottom line in you are only going to become better at what you do by making some mistakes along the way. Sometimes you will under bid a service and not make as much as you should and other times you will over bid and not get the job. So when first starting out you need to ask yourself, do I want the job so I have cash flowing or do I price high so I can hit a home run. My feeling is that I would rather have 100 accounts that make me profit and if I loose 1 then so be it or would you rather have 1 account that makes you a ton of money but if you loose the account you have nothing.

No matter what, when you are in a partnership you need to have everything in writting and you and your partner need to talk about your business as often as you can. Even if you disagree on some things it's better to discuss it and come to and agreement as things happen rather than have to try and figure things out in court.

Last edited by joe2025; 04-06-2011 at 01:28 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-06-2011, 12:30 PM
Steve's Avatar
Steve Steve is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 35,752
Rep Power: 10
Steve has disabled reputation
Default

Quote:
All you really need to do is to send them a letter of intent to pay when they agree to hire you for your services.
Can you tell us a little more about what this is? When would this be sent and what should you include in such a letter?

How does this differ from a contract and why do you feel it is better to use?


Also as far as partnerships go. With your experience with them, what is your view on why you went into one and if there were warnings signs that were going on that you might have ignored as they were happening that now seem to be clear and that others need to look out for as well?
__________________
- Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-07-2011, 09:39 PM
jymie's Avatar
jymie jymie is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Hamburg New York
Posts: 898
Rep Power: 6
jymie is on a distinguished road
Default

Ive been changing my mower oil every 50 hours of operating time.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump

» Recent Threads
  RatingTitle, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views
What Fertilizer to Use?
acrajchel
04-07-2014 01:56 PM
Today 09:43 AM
by grassdoctore
18 481
this mower is driving me...
boog
04-17-2014 12:07 PM
Today 09:33 AM
by Just for Cuts
12 261
Back for this year
xandrew245x
02-21-2014 04:30 PM
Today 08:49 AM
by xandrew245x
15 891
quickbooks users
CDLAWNCARE
Yesterday 09:03 AM
Yesterday 09:58 PM
by MBLC
3 87
employee pay
4 seasons maintenance
04-10-2011 09:34 PM
Yesterday 04:40 PM
by Dan Tanner
20 6,826
These are the days on...
ExtremeLawncareServices
03-22-2014 09:12 AM
Yesterday 11:13 AM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
32 1,131
Lawn Renovation
stevef1201
04-11-2014 12:00 PM
Yesterday 11:11 AM
by kslawn
10 308
danny 2
danny2
04-19-2014 10:19 PM
Yesterday 05:13 AM
by Sprinkler Buddy
2 96
I Got Taken...,
Dan Tanner
04-19-2014 06:26 AM
04-19-2014 08:15 PM
by Dan Tanner
3 156
new to this forum!
mower13126
04-18-2014 07:37 PM
04-19-2014 05:34 PM
by Sprinkler Buddy
3 116
REO calling
Dan Tanner
04-16-2014 05:03 PM
04-19-2014 11:17 AM
by kslawn
11 283
Customers droping like...
goodtimez
04-18-2014 09:53 AM
04-19-2014 08:09 AM
by CDLAWNCARE
7 192
Any greenhouse operators...
GoGreenerKS
04-15-2014 11:21 AM
04-19-2014 07:49 AM
by CDLAWNCARE
4 153
Looking for advice on a...
Tekeda1
04-13-2014 09:53 AM
04-19-2014 04:22 AM
by Tekeda1
17 417
2.5 acre mowing
xandrew245x
04-18-2014 06:55 AM
04-18-2014 08:57 PM
by xandrew245x
6 146
Best Bulk Mulch delivery...
Steven Virgadamo
04-18-2014 09:52 AM
04-18-2014 05:34 PM
by Steve
2 78
Steve Virgadamo,...
Steven Virgadamo
04-18-2014 09:49 AM
04-18-2014 05:08 PM
by Steve
2 68
Instagram
Gerardo_Landscape
04-16-2014 11:28 AM
04-18-2014 04:51 PM
by Steve
3 114
Help with weed liability!
Prolawnofchatt
04-15-2014 09:10 AM
04-18-2014 04:47 PM
by Steve
5 204
Nationwide lawn care...
Billy Goat
04-15-2014 05:21 PM
04-18-2014 04:39 PM
by Steve
9 228
Truck Signage
Dan Tanner
04-16-2014 11:00 PM
04-18-2014 04:04 PM
by stevef1201
10 254
leaf removal
tlf59263
04-15-2014 10:00 PM
04-18-2014 03:59 PM
by stevef1201
6 201
Pay per click advertising
roostertail
02-12-2014 07:26 PM
04-17-2014 07:11 PM
by yardrate
10 617
Accepting credit cards,...
Darksteel
03-17-2014 08:01 PM
04-16-2014 01:02 PM
by jymie
15 756
Trimec
acrajchel
04-15-2014 08:24 PM
04-16-2014 11:10 AM
by Steve
3 125
Gopher Forum Discount!
BlackRain75
04-12-2014 10:44 PM
04-16-2014 10:50 AM
by Steve
9 293
hello
NFrailey
04-15-2014 01:39 PM
04-16-2014 10:48 AM
by Steve
1 107
Pricing a Mulch Job
dmcalpi
04-07-2014 02:16 PM
04-16-2014 09:40 AM
by jymie
21 666
google earth
CDLAWNCARE
04-12-2014 03:24 PM
04-16-2014 09:36 AM
by jymie
8 250
There has to be an...
CDLAWNCARE
04-14-2014 12:59 PM
04-15-2014 04:06 PM
by Dan Tanner
6 193
First Day Back!
BelleCityLawn1
04-09-2014 09:13 PM
04-15-2014 11:16 AM
by Steve
11 332
Mow America
stevegredler
04-13-2014 01:02 PM
04-14-2014 09:53 PM
by kslawn
5 233
Power Broom
acrajchel
04-14-2014 07:46 AM
04-14-2014 12:47 PM
by CDLAWNCARE
2 124
Say Hello !!!
Steve
03-19-2007 11:18 AM
04-14-2014 11:34 AM
by Steve
1,176 285,992
Equipment reviews
Greg'slawnandlandscape
04-09-2014 07:17 AM
04-14-2014 11:27 AM
by Greg'slawnandlandscape
13 490
Sulky and Turf Tracer
acrajchel
04-07-2014 01:44 PM
04-14-2014 10:51 AM
by Steve
8 385
Aerating Prices?
Dan Tanner
04-08-2014 03:16 PM
04-14-2014 10:31 AM
by Steve
13 481
Estimating help
acrajchel
04-11-2014 06:06 PM
04-14-2014 10:20 AM
by Steve
3 193
Need help bidding church...
GreenRidge Lawn&Landscape
04-07-2014 08:01 PM
04-14-2014 09:49 AM
by Steve
12 457
Hello all
Griff20114
04-12-2014 05:08 PM
04-14-2014 09:46 AM
by Steve
1 130
Step by Step Spring Lawn...
WarriorLawnscaping
04-10-2014 07:01 AM
04-14-2014 09:43 AM
by Steve
5 270
Jeff Cowden
jcowden
04-11-2014 07:27 PM
04-14-2014 09:39 AM
by Steve
1 122
Exmark Commercial 30...
Dan Tanner
04-11-2014 05:35 AM
04-14-2014 09:37 AM
by Steve
4 218
What Was Your Setup When...
superrman77
02-11-2014 10:53 AM
04-14-2014 08:04 AM
by acrajchel
21 1,624
Small guy time to get a...
googus
04-08-2014 08:16 AM
04-13-2014 07:18 PM
by A. Kulak Landscaping
9 357
Weekly vs. Bi-weekly
CDLAWNCARE
04-12-2014 01:48 PM
04-13-2014 06:03 PM
by kslawn
9 368
Weed ID help
TwinBrosLC
04-12-2014 10:39 AM
04-13-2014 07:40 AM
by stevef1201
4 188
Lexington, KY
acrajchel
04-07-2014 01:06 PM
04-11-2014 09:49 PM
by acrajchel
1 154
Food Plot Management
BlackRain75
04-11-2014 10:20 AM
04-11-2014 03:51 PM
by Steve
4 158
Estimating a job
acrajchel
04-08-2014 11:07 AM
04-11-2014 03:32 PM
by Steve
6 335
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.1.0

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:16 AM.


(C) 2011 Riggs Publications - Terms of use & Privacy Policy

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:16 AM.

(C) 2011 Riggs Publications - Terms of use & Privacy Policy