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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.

FYI for people trying to do the right thing...


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.
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  #1  
Old 10-26-2010, 06:15 PM
cwt2112 cwt2112 is offline
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Default FYI for people trying to do the right thing...

I'll try to keep this short. Went to the city of Apopka, FL to to get a license. I read the affidavit for a home based business thoroughly and believed 100% that I was not in violation of any code. I have a 6x12 trailer with 2 mowers and trimmers, basic setup for a one man operation. Until I grow the trailer will be kept in the garage out of sight. I don't want it taking up room in my garage, but you gotta make do. Took the forms to have them approved, by an individual, for some reason the affidavit is not enough and was told that I couldn't keep the trailer on my property. One, because the person approving the forms assumes that I have no place to keep the equipment other than my yard or driveway (even though I told him otherwise) and two because of the noise. What noise? I was told that I would have to produce a contract from a storage facility proving that the equipment is not being stored at home. Or, because I asked, I can come back with a letter stating that the equipment will be stored on private property that is not in violation. Not one mile, as the crow flies from where I live is a guy who keeps his ragged out trailer and equipment parked in his front yard and has business signs posted in his yard, so I get it, I understand the rules but I wonder if he has a license?

Has anyone ever experienced this kind of subjectivity before? How, if I am clearly not in violation of any of the conditions in the affidavit can someone come along and say no, you have to spend $100 plus on storage. I do have a place to keep it free if I want but that only puts that person out. Tomorrow I will go back and have the individual explain to me every condition and prove to me that I am in violation. Not that I could "potentially" be in violation, it says nothing about that. Once I sign that affidavit how is it his problem anyway. What about the guy that can have a home-based business in art but he's up at 3am jack-hammering on piece of granite for a new sculpture. The only thing that will happen to him is someone telling him to keep it down but he's not going to be fined for code violations. I hope I can overcome the odds and reason with a government employee. The ironic part is that some of that tax will pay his salary... it's just beyond me.
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  #2  
Old 10-26-2010, 08:17 PM
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WOW!

Do you have any idea who has to get a home based business license? Does it apply to everyone with home businesses or is this more a lawn care business license?

Secondly, if they can't point to you specifically or direct you to where the law is that states you need to do x,y, and z, I would do one of a couple of things.
  • If I didn't want to make a stink about it, I would just get a receipt from some space rental place, even if it was for a single day.
  • Or I would go to the newspapers and tell them this story and blow it up as big as possible to get attention focused on this.

    I bet this person is just putting their own spin on what you need to do. When this happens, they are operating because they feel they can do whatever they want. So I would go over their head and talk to their superior or just go to the mayor.
  • Lastly I would say screw it and hire an attorney.

I am sorry you are having to deal with this.

Keep us posted on what goes on.
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:23 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Sounds like someone peed in their Cheerios that morning.

When I went to find out what I needed to do to operate a business (from my home) in my municipality, I was given a paper to complete, and return with a one-time filing fee. I asked if there was anything specific I needed to know, and he casually asked a few questions of the type that they find are major concerns, like "Do you have off street parking for your truck?", (yes) and "Will you be stocking/keeping materials on your property?" (no) "Will there be any concerns by the neighbors in regards to noise generated by your business?" (no, again)

"Just the basics", he said... "We should be able to drive by your house and not really know that there's a business there."

I will have to go before the board to be "approved", and he said that it's mainly a formality - that there should be no issues being approved for what I'm doing.

It's the way it should be for everyone - sorry they seem to be dicking you around.
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:26 PM
Jack Rabbit Jack Rabbit is offline
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Haven't had that subjectivity but I did find out something when I got my home based business license. By local regulations a home based business can only employ immediate family members who live at the home. So if I try to grow and hire people I would have to have at least an office in a commercial/business zone for the business location.

That means I can't legally hire a guy and pick him up from his house and go to work sites unless I have the expense of renting an office somewhere just to get the non-home non-residential address. Talk about regulations stifling business and jobs.

"talk to their superior or just go to the mayor." I mow the former mayor's yard!
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:16 AM
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As for the employee.... use a temp agency and they are not your employee (technically). This would get you around some of that until you grow more.

Man that sucks but I am seeing a pattern on the east coast of thinking all business is bad so they should have to pay. Just because you own and operate your own business does not automatically mean that you have pockets full of money. Unfortunately this is how most people think.
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:10 PM
cwt2112 cwt2112 is offline
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Thanks for the input! Steve, if I understood you right, because the business address and home address are the same it becomes home-based and the code applies to all home-based businesses. As it turns out I was dealing with the "new guy". However, I was able to sit down with his supervisor and him at the same time but the supervisor was not going to overturn any decision. I'm satisfied that I was able to express my frustration with the situation in an articulate and knowledgeable manner but still had to produce a letter stating that the trailer will be stored somewhere else (they're covering their butts). Anyway, to do it all again, if possible set up the business at another address outside of any municipality and zoning restrictions and only pay for county taxes.

One interesting point, they showed me an overhead of my property and said that because I couldn't get to my backyard with the trailer, therefore I couldn't park it there. So I let them finish and the first thing I asked was... So you're saying that if I could get to my backyard then I could park it there? Total silence from both of them. I went on to tell them it would only be stored in the garage anyway because I don't want to devalue my own property. Didn't do any good. Anyway, enough of that. Thanks again, good luck to everyone!
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:06 PM
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How about changing it all to a gardening business where your tools are all hand tools that can 'be stored in a shed.' ?

Isn't it amazing? Here we are with this slowed economy. Every politician is talking about the importance of job creation and two dim wits at the local town hall are giving you crap because you are trying to get something started to make money and pay their salary with your taxes.

This country has got to put business development first. Without it, nothing exists but government jobs.
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:36 PM
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Couldn't agree more Steve. I think a big part of the economy coming back will be due to all of the new entrepreneurs, the professionals who have lost their jobs. I hope they all flourish. I was a PGA professional for ten years when I myself became a statistic and lost my job. I decided then that I will do for myself from now on. Fortunately I do like lawn work and have done it professionally in the past. Although, if there is anyone out there in the southeast that has any advice on picking up new customers while things are dormant I would appreciate it. One thing though, it seems that any new clients picked up during the non growing season will be good ones. Let's do it right and make a name for ourselves!
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwt2112 View Post
Thanks for the input! Steve, if I understood you right, because the business address and home address are the same it becomes home-based and the code applies to all home-based businesses. As it turns out I was dealing with the "new guy". However, I was able to sit down with his supervisor and him at the same time but the supervisor was not going to overturn any decision. I'm satisfied that I was able to express my frustration with the situation in an articulate and knowledgeable manner but still had to produce a letter stating that the trailer will be stored somewhere else (they're covering their butts). Anyway, to do it all again, if possible set up the business at another address outside of any municipality and zoning restrictions and only pay for county taxes.

One interesting point, they showed me an overhead of my property and said that because I couldn't get to my backyard with the trailer, therefore I couldn't park it there. So I let them finish and the first thing I asked was... So you're saying that if I could get to my backyard then I could park it there? Total silence from both of them. I went on to tell them it would only be stored in the garage anyway because I don't want to devalue my own property. Didn't do any good. Anyway, enough of that. Thanks again, good luck to everyone!
why don't you cut another garage door in to your back yard? LOL sorry not funny.
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
I was a PGA professional for ten years when I myself became a statistic and lost my job. I decided then that I will do for myself from now on.
I don't know enough about the PGA to know what all this means. Have you been able to utilize this in your marketing to your advantage? Can it be spun to show you are well versed with lawn care and making it look as good as a country club?

Quote:
if there is anyone out there in the southeast that has any advice on picking up new customers while things are dormant I would appreciate it. One thing though, it seems that any new clients picked up during the non growing season will be good ones.
I think this depends on what additional services you would like to expand into to offer to your customers.

As you visit their properties, can you ask them, what services they would like to prepare their property for winter? The answers you get may surprise you. Can you ask your friends and family that same question and see if certain answers reappear.

Can you clean out gutters? Help them remove junk from their house? Help them with any interior issues?
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