Originally Posted by Steve
Welcome to our forum!
What kind of advice could you offer the new lawn care business owner just starting out?
When you look back what problems did you run into that others should avoid?
In addressing your advice question, it is a very difficult one to answer. I have learned so many lessons over the years, some good & some not so good.
First, I would suggest to buy the best piece of equipment (mower) you can afford to from the start. Do not go so far as to finance your entire equipment line as this is very risky for any new business. Get one good piece of equipment at a time, budget for additional equipment needed, then add to your equipment line only if you can afford to. Try pawn shops, craigslist, yard sales etc. for small equipment like blowers, trimmers, edgers etc.
Rent equipment whenever possible for jobs that are not part of your day to day operations. Buying equipment that sits idle most of the year does not benefit you and can and does become a drain on your resources, not to mention it will not start when you have the occasion to use it, a maintenance nightmare.
From equipment to the field to the office there are so many considerations that are overlooked or just not done. From the office aspect, those pesky little receipts you get from the gas stations ect. that are thermally printed, make a physical copy and attach the original receipt to it. In about 1 years time that receipt is going be faded to the point that it is unreadable. The IRS doesn't accept a blank receipt as a deduction and that receipt is your proof should you get audited. Making copies of the receipt also helps to prevent loss, keep them in individual folders marked accordingly (IE gas, meals, repairs etc.) This makes the accounting process much more organized and easier to understand for both you and your accountant.
If you do not have a copier, get an all in one printer, that will do what you need, copy, fax and print.
I am glad to see that you have calculators available for everyone to use. I wish something like this had been available to use when I first started out. The calculator does not cover all considerations in the bidding process for a job but it does give a great starting point, use it.
There are just too many things to possibly address in this thread so I will be adding to it as time goes.