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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.

Ahh! This sucks!


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 08-05-2009, 05:17 PM
Scottler
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Default Ahh! This sucks!

So I've finally started to get some business....and I've gotta give it away!

First call was from another LCO in a different county. He'd received a lead for a client who had FOUR ACRES that she wanted mowed. He doesn't operate in my county, so he referred her to me! This would've been great, except that I'm brand new, and I'm pushing my pusher around. A job of that capacity would take me AT LEAST a full day with a tiny little pusher.

Second call is for a guy who has 1 1/2 acres. This is more manageable, and I may estimate him anyway, but still....at least it's not FOUR acres, right?

Unfortunately right now I just don't have the money to buy a rider, and I'm a very staunch "no credit cards" kinda guy, so my wife and I are working to eliminate the debt we built up prior to taking that position.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to not feel RIDICULOUS while I'm literally giving away business?!?!

Like I said, the first one was a no brainer. I may still estimate the second one and suck up spending a half day mowing ONE lawn.
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Old 08-05-2009, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Scottler View Post
So I've finally started to get some business....and I've gotta give it away!

First call was from another LCO in a different county. He'd received a lead for a client who had FOUR ACRES that she wanted mowed. He doesn't operate in my county, so he referred her to me! This would've been great, except that I'm brand new, and I'm pushing my pusher around. A job of that capacity would take me AT LEAST a full day with a tiny little pusher.

Second call is for a guy who has 1 1/2 acres. This is more manageable, and I may estimate him anyway, but still....at least it's not FOUR acres, right?

Unfortunately right now I just don't have the money to buy a rider, and I'm a very staunch "no credit cards" kinda guy, so my wife and I are working to eliminate the debt we built up prior to taking that position.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to not feel RIDICULOUS while I'm literally giving away business?!?!

Like I said, the first one was a no brainer. I may still estimate the second one and suck up spending a half day mowing ONE lawn.
A couple of weeks ago I needed a riding mower to tie me over for a few days while my main one was in the shop. I went to Aarons (Like Rent-A-Center) and got one for $35/week. Those 2 jobs would surely pay the rental.

Steve
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Unfortunately right now I just don't have the money to buy a rider, and I'm a very staunch "no credit cards" kinda guy, so my wife and I are working to eliminate the debt we built up prior to taking that position.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to not feel RIDICULOUS while I'm literally giving away business?!?!
Scott,

I would say not to feel bad about this. Sometimes we are able to jump on opportunities and make something with them. Sometimes we can't. It is way better in the long run to slowly and methodically scale up your business than to make huge jumps that may or may not work.

If you can't do it, thats ok. There will come a time in the future when you will be able to, if you keep working at it step by step.

Keep me posted as to what you decide to do.
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:41 PM
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Check out the payment plans for a rider, you might be able to make small monthly payments or make a deal with your dealer lol.

YOU COULD also get a friend with a mower to help you cut the job time in half.

When I started I received calls from people with yards the size of golf courses, I was ready to jump on over & give them an estimate. Then I realized how foolish & dangerous that would be to my business if something were to go wrong.

If you can save a full day to do ONE yard of a large size, do it. It's not as bad as doing 50% of the yard one day, & the other 50% the next day.

In other words, if you can complete a maintenance job in one day, do it. If it takes too long & you have to come back the following day, it looks horrible.

If you decide to go for this job, make sure your estimate is either average or above.

It would seriously suck to manage the property without making a good buck.
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Old 08-07-2009, 01:49 PM
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Goto lowes. Apply for credit. They will more than likely give you a temp card on the spot for $500. Max it out and pony up another 500 for a riding mower. I found out very fast that in order to keep up with demand one should have at least 10K in reserve. When you do what I do "buy equipment as you need it" you can rack up a lot very fast but you never have to turn down work.
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:12 PM
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I found out very fast that in order to keep up with demand one should have at least 10K in reserve.
Why did you pick that figure? What's your thoughts on this?

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When you do what I do "buy equipment as you need it" you can rack up a lot very fast but you never have to turn down work.
Is there any other equipment currently on your 'to get list'?
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:41 PM
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No, no...credit isn't the issue. Well, sorta.

I already have a Lowe's card, but we're in the middle (technically the beginning) of becoming debt free - no credit cards, no mortgage, no car payment, etc....thank you, Dave Ramsey! The objective here is to just not be a slave to money - rather, make it work for me. So taking on MORE debt would be counterproductive at this point.

As long as I know I'm not shooting myself in the foot for having to actually turn down business initially, I can live with that. Fortunately this isn't my main source of income yet!
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:51 PM
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As long as I know I'm not shooting myself in the foot for having to actually turn down business initially, I can live with that. Fortunately this isn't my main source of income yet!
This also got me thinking about a conversation with Justin on here a little while back. He was using a small tractor to service his properties. Then he got a ztr that was a lot faster. I think he bought it on payments but he was saying how if he would have gotten the ztr sooner, he would have been making more money with his lawn care business.

I thought it was a great insight. I personally prefer the start small and scale up approach but he did show how another point of view that if you start with a certain level of equipment, your return on your investment is a lot higher.

It does make you wonder. But ultimately you gotta do what is best for you in your specific situation and all our situations differ. It's nice to see multiple sides.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:07 PM
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I had been telling Justin (based on canversations we've had on here & on skype) for over a year that he was ready to step up to a ZTR....
Glad he finally pulled the trigger!
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:13 PM
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Chuck, what is your take on it for others considering this. What kind of a productivity difference can they expect in their business?
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