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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.

Starting this summer


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 01-02-2011, 04:30 PM
Jack Jack is offline
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Default Starting this summer

So I am new here on this forum and could use some serious help.

Last year I started mowing lawns and had about 15 clients, but I did not go bigger because I had some issues with how I organized it all. I started with the owner just contacting me when they needed my work, and I always showed up at the time they would like. So I could never get a real flow down and get alot of work. I went and mowed one place one hour and then later in the day go to another. I wasn't able to pile them all on one day and use the other days for other projects or jobs. So that is changing this year for sure!

I have 2 push mowers, a weed trimmer, a blower and a utility trailer. I think that I will stick to residential this year. But I want to make it legal and this is where I am confused. Do I NEED insurance, do I NEED to be a registered business, Do I NEED a tax license?

I really want to take this seriously, but I don't know where to start and where to lay my money.

I would love to get into commercial stuff, but I don' really know the process of placing a bid and when I should do it?
I would feel so much more comfortable if I knew I was going to have customers now. I would feel safe purchasing equipment, but as of now I am a little scared.
Is it to early to look for customers? Offer deals?
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  #2  
Old 01-02-2011, 07:13 PM
racerdude711 racerdude711 is offline
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I don't think it could hurt sending out some form of advertising. You might get a few calls, and plus it gets ur name out there. You can always send out more advertising later to the same people to try to get there business.
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:11 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Jack. I feel your pain.
I'm just starting out and the "going legit" part was a bit of a headache. There isn't anything outlandishly difficult about any of it - the problem is getting answers to your questions. I swear if I hear/read "consult your attorney" or "speak with your accountant" one more time, my head will explode. That was the most frustrating part for me.

As for what you "need", some of those things may depend on where you live and exactly what you are doing. (services)
Try to locate your local chamber of commerce... tell them you are thinking about starting a business and see if they can point you in the right direction.

Check out this website. They were somewhat helpful for me. I went to a small business workshop ($45) that helped answer a lot of questions. (And made me aware of other things I had never considered)
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:23 PM
Growing Green Growing Green is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack View Post
So I am new here on this forum and could use some serious help.

Last year I started mowing lawns and had about 15 clients, but I did not go bigger because I had some issues with how I organized it all. I started with the owner just contacting me when they needed my work, and I always showed up at the time they would like. So I could never get a real flow down and get alot of work. I went and mowed one place one hour and then later in the day go to another. I wasn't able to pile them all on one day and use the other days for other projects or jobs. So that is changing this year for sure!

I have 2 push mowers, a weed trimmer, a blower and a utility trailer. I think that I will stick to residential this year. But I want to make it legal and this is where I am confused. Do I NEED insurance, do I NEED to be a registered business, Do I NEED a tax license?

I really want to take this seriously, but I don't know where to start and where to lay my money.

I would love to get into commercial stuff, but I don' really know the process of placing a bid and when I should do it?
I would feel so much more comfortable if I knew I was going to have customers now. I would feel safe purchasing equipment, but as of now I am a little scared.
Is it to early to look for customers? Offer deals?
Hi Jack,
I'm actually just starting out myself. I have the same equipment you do besides a trailer. Don't have that yet. I have a DBA right now. Planning on getting license later. I would definitely recommend insurance, besides to run commercial you would need it anyway. I only have 300k right now, but planning on getting 1 - 2 million when I move to commercial.

I'm not going into commercial yet until I have bigger and better equipment as using those push mowers would be torture.

This forum will really help you out. Great people! Keep reading a lot of the old posts as well and be sure you use the Lawn Business School that Steve has created. It is free and REALLY helps. Plus it will make you more comfortable since you will gain more knowledge.

Take care,
Matt
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  #5  
Old 01-03-2011, 06:14 AM
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jymie jymie is offline
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Getting Insurance should be the top priority once you register the business. Your business will start off slow the first year, and as you go to year to year, you will notice steady growth. Register as a DBA to start, thats what I did and still have it that way today, we began in 2008. At some point, we will change that to a LLC. I think that will provide more protection to me and my personal assets as we grow. First year we had 9 steady weekly customers, 2nd year we increased to 17 weekly customers and last year we had 24 weekly customers. We also had 25 or so mulch installations this past year so that was a pleasant increase for us. Advertise, advertise and advertise to get your business out there. You will be able to do more quicker with a rider mower and a trailer to transport it around.

Matt is right, there is alot of great advice here in previous threads so use the search function and do research on what you need advise on and read as much as you can.
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  #6  
Old 01-05-2011, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
I swear if I hear/read "consult your attorney" or "speak with your accountant" one more time, my head will explode. That was the most frustrating part for me.
Which questions do you feel stood out for you early on, where you heard that as an answer? Did you eventually find answers? Could you share with us some of your insight on them because I bet others are dealing with those issues or will deal with them in the future.

Quote:
Last year I started mowing lawns and had about 15 clients, but I did not go bigger because I had some issues with how I organized it all. I started with the owner just contacting me when they needed my work, and I always showed up at the time they would like. So I could never get a real flow down and get alot of work. I went and mowed one place one hour and then later in the day go to another. I wasn't able to pile them all on one day and use the other days for other projects or jobs. So that is changing this year for sure!
Hi Jack,

Welcome to our forum.

What is your view on why you felt it was difficult to get all your jobs in some kind of order where you could do them all one after the other?

Also how do you plan on changing your operations this year? What is your ideal?

Quote:
Do I NEED insurance, do I NEED to be a registered business, Do I NEED a tax license?
If you enjoy it so far, I would go to your local county court house and register a business name. I think you will really like having a name and it will make everything seem more real and legit.

The need for a tax license tends to depend on your geographic area. I would think you could go to your town hall and ask them if you need a professional license and a tax license.

It seems most of the time, sales tax is not collected on lawn cutting but it is collected on landscape projects.

Quote:
I really want to take this seriously, but I don't know where to start and where to lay my money.
I'd only buy what you absolutely need to have early on. Then you can scale up as equipment breaks down or your needs increase.

Quote:
I would love to get into commercial stuff, but I don' really know the process of placing a bid and when I should do it?
I wouldn't bother with this for a while. Give yourself a year or two. Focus on polishing your business operations while you work with residential clients. When you feel comfortable with the way you are running your operation and want to scale up to servicing commercial clients, read the articles on my Lawnchat.com blog on how to get commercial lawn care customers.

There is a ton of information there and then feel free to ask questions as you go.

Quote:
I would feel so much more comfortable if I knew I was going to have customers now. I would feel safe purchasing equipment, but as of now I am a little scared. Is it to early to look for customers? Offer deals?
It's never too early to look for customers. Talk with everyone you know and try to get them to sign up as a customer. Also give them business cards to pass out to their friends. Ask them for their help in getting the word out about your business.

With any business, you never know if you will get customers, that is why you have to take it step by step and scale up your spending as your revenues increase.

Does this help?
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  #7  
Old 01-05-2011, 08:21 PM
Jack Jack is offline
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Can someone help me out? I have been reading and I read that I don't need a license or anything, and then I came across this.... If I do need this licens, I do not qualify. I don't really understand what this is, some explanation would be great!
Thanks

http://www.dora.state.co.us/la/Statute.pdf
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:04 AM
Jack Jack is offline
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Nevermind guys, I figured it all out. Someone misinformed me, but I did some more research and found my answer.

I was wondering, when someone calls you wanting to have there yard mowed do you have set days where you JUST mow yards? Or do you just do it whenver? I could see mowing Tuesday and Thursday for weekly customers and Monday and Friday for Bi-Weekly and leave the other days for same day calls.
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:30 PM
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I would try to look at your customer route and pack as many of the customers you can in on one or two days. Make the routes as tight as possible.

The less driving you do, the more profits you will make.

As you grow, expand into mowing on more days.

Quote:
Nevermind guys, I figured it all out. Someone misinformed me, but I did some more research and found my answer.
What did you find?
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  #10  
Old 01-06-2011, 06:49 PM
xpertlawnman xpertlawnman is offline
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Make sure to open a business checking account and use a program like Quickbooks to keep track of everything. Insurance will run you about $500 a year for 1mil$ in coverage. Make sure you create a mowing schedule for your customers, and stick with it. As you grow, referrals will become a valuable resource for new business, so make sure your customers know you appreciate their business. Also make sure you bid high enough to cover your costs, gas prices are suppose to spike this spring also. Thats all for now. Good luck.
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