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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.

Tons of Questions!!


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 04-05-2012, 10:57 AM
gage2001 gage2001 is offline
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Default Tons of Questions!!

My husband is a go getter!! His love is for landscaping!! We had 5 children and 4 of them are boys ranging from 10 months to 10 yrs old. He has been doing side jobs for as long as can remember. I have been telling him that all it takes is 1 commercial jobs and the sidework that he has now and from there he will soar!! I am taking this upon myself to get him started. I plan for the year 2013 to be our year!! My goal is set for our future. He has a relative that works for a medical building and they are accepting bids. We have never truly bid something this large, so all I am working with is a proposal from another company. I also looked up some local businesses in our area for some of the services that they offer. I believe we are low balling tremendously. The way I look at it is that it's a start. The contractor bid for a weekly lawn service 175.00 I bid 150.00. He is charging for a garbage removal 15.00 I am not charging at all. On my proposal I threw in Spring and Fall cleanup n/c. replenishing mulch beds once a yr he charged 750 I charged 650. He is spraying the mulch beds weekly for a charge of 10. I as well charged 10 for mulch bed maintence weekly. Tree and shrub pruning he charged 525 I charged 475. I would like to throw into the proposal edging of walkways and planting beds that the other con tractor did not. I am not sure what to charge??? Any suggestions? That is my final part in submitting my proposal. I am limited on time if anyone can help!! ty kindly. Wish me luck.
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  #2  
Old 04-05-2012, 02:01 PM
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CHEESE2009 CHEESE2009 is offline
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Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
I'm pretty reasonable, and I'm not going to tell you "you shouldn't undercut" but screw that, money money money baby! Go and get it!!!!

Cut out your competitor by offering them a lower price. You guys are somewhat new, and yes, this is the way we all begin.

but...

Take photos of your current work, and create a portfolio to submit along with your bid. It might give you an advantage.
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  #3  
Old 04-05-2012, 05:51 PM
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Cutting prices to get work is in my 35 years of experience why thousands of companies small and large go under every year.

The entire problem with this industry is pretty much summed up in your post, I am in no way picking on you, do you have any idea what your costs are to do the work in question?

Best
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  #4  
Old 04-05-2012, 06:07 PM
Upscale2 Upscale2 is offline
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That about sums it up. You're lowballing just to get the work, without knowing your costs, overhead etc.

Bid it like you don't need it.

Before you know it, you'll be out of business and the original guy doing the work will be back taking care of that property.
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  #5  
Old 04-05-2012, 06:13 PM
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We do things a lot differently here.

I forgot to mention, I do business in hell. Things may be different for you.

If this property was in my area for example, I would have to charge the same amount, or a little under. Making sure I can afford to do the work while making a hefty profit. The standard price in my area is so low, that there is no possible way to undercut anyone without giving yourself a headache.

My best bet in your position, would be to get the property by any means, and then raise the price accordingly over a period of time. If one were to charge the same amount as their competitor, especiallya newer company, the chances are very slim for this person to land the account.

Think of it as heroin. You get a little taste, once addicted you'll want more, but the price has gone up! Yikes! You gotta get your fix, so you will continue to pay, or browse around for new dealers. However, the account may want to replace YOU for even cheaper later on.

If the client cares not about quality, something you are strong with, prepare yourself for a price war. Other than that, I'm sure you will do just fine!


-

I do agree that you should figure out your costs. It will help you out a lot. Also think of things you may want to purchase later down the road, this is so you aren't beating yourself up when you wonder why you can't afford a new trailer, etc.

**********

None of us can say for sure if what you charge is correct, unless we do business in your area. Prices vary across the world.

Last edited by CHEESE2009; 04-05-2012 at 06:25 PM. Reason: Making a sanwhich sandwhich sammich sandwich
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  #6  
Old 04-05-2012, 06:37 PM
SECTLANDSCAPING SECTLANDSCAPING is offline
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Your making a bunch of mistakes. First off its one thing to charge a few dollars less. Its another to do something for free. To make it worst you dont know the cost.

Your basing your proposal off another company. No two businesses are alike. The other contractor could be using a $14,000 mower and cutting in 45 minutes. Your husband might take 4 hours to cut it. The contractor might have a bucket loader so he couldve bid the mulch with 2 hours labor plus materials. When your husband might pay $600 for mulch and spend 8 hours spreading.

I have been doing commercial work for years and every year at least one wont pay there final month of service. Get use to being stiffed for thousands. Can you survive that?
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:04 PM
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I truly appreciate both the ups and downs of your posts. My goal is for the 2013 year and I am so glad that I am now a part of this site. Keep it coming all!!
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  #8  
Old 04-05-2012, 07:36 PM
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Any profit is good profit, just make sure you are at least making a profit that supports your lifestyle.

Forget about your competitors, run your ship like a proud captain and blast them into oblivion. Take all you can get your hands on and never stop.

Become a filthy pirate, and rule the lands. Hardy-har-har!


It's not negative-lowballing if what you charge works for you.

Last edited by CHEESE2009; 04-05-2012 at 07:40 PM. Reason: editing for reason, and raisins.
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:00 AM
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Welcome to our forum!

A couple of things I would like to point out here is bidding on such large jobs is not found money. You may think you are lowballing a company who has accurately bid a job with a % of that bid being a profit, but what if that company already low balled it? Then you come in and go even lower. YIKES! It could be a mess! It is possible to work on jobs where you lose money and that is like doing it for no pay and then when you are done, you pay the customer money for the privilege of working for them.

Why not start small with smaller yards first and then scale it up? That way, you can feel out how to bid and learn on smaller jobs where you have less to lose.

If you don't want to do that, can you break down each part of this job you are bidding on and do your best to be scientific about the bid?

for instance.

Quote:
The contractor bid for a weekly lawn service 175.00 I bid 150.00.
For how much lawn? How many sq ft?

How long will it take you to mow it? What will you be using to mow it? How much will it cost you to mow it? Will you need a new mower?

How much for gas?

Will you be insured? Does the customer require you to be insured?

That's just a start but answering it will help you move forwards.
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  #10  
Old 04-06-2012, 03:42 AM
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Just to add to what Steve said:

You Need a business plan, determine what you want to do, the equipment you have or will need and for goodness sake know your costs.

If you read the struggles here on the forum it's low balling, it has almost killed the lawn mowing part unless you are very large, you have quite a few children and I assume a stay at home mom which I think is excellent, I also know it takes a fair amount of money to get by.

I mainly do excavation and landscaping but we have a niche business, I had the capital to buy equipment the small guys could not afford or get financing for and I stay under the radar of the larger companies by simply not doing the work they do.

But even in landscaping this year I see guys renting equipment with no experience and doing a terrible job, I would guess 70% of our business has been fixing other's mistakes, customers want to sue the previous companies and many do, problem is they declare bankruptcy and are back in business under another name in no time, it just baffles me.

I have a neighbour who had a very, very successful lawn care company and they were big, I know he had at least 4 wide area mowers, those rigs are thirty grad plus each, at least 6 trucks with trailers, they also offered snow plowing.

We had three winters with little to no snow, the majority of their lawn work was commercial which is put out to tender from time to time, they got low balled, he told me in April of last year they lost over 80% of their clients as they could no longer compete with the new guys on the block that have no idea what it costs to do this legally and right.

He went out of business and has since lost his home, it's a really sad story, I see almost all of his equipment is still at the dealership, some of it he had paid for over the years but the gear he had was top of the pack and around here if you get 30 cents on the dollar of the original cost you are doing good, I am speaking mowing and trailers.

Four years ago for example I bought two 18' trailer with dual 5,000 pound axles, I bought an additional one last week, brand new, same company and brand, the trailer has 42% less than four years ago. The dealer told me the bottom had dropped right out of the market and he suspected the manufacturer would be going under, tragic as these trailers are very well made, some of the best I have seen.

Best of luck but my best advise is a business plan and know your costs or as mentioned, you will be out of business in no time.
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Last edited by picframer; 04-06-2012 at 03:49 AM.
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