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  1. #21
    Elite Member hazmat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    4,018
    Location
    West Newbury, MA & Harrison, ME
    Tractor
    Kubota L5460HSTC

    Default Re: Landscaping Business...

    smilingreen,

    How long to make the transition from engineer to green thumb? I am assuming you did part time for a while. I am sitting in the cube farm right now dreaming of greener pastures. I spent summers in high school & college working for a small lawn company. I really miss it.

    Steve

  2. #22

    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Posts
    1,806
    Location
    Houston, TX.
    Tractor
    2001 TN65, 1951 8N Ford

    Default Re: Landscaping Business...

    I find your response most amusing. I really enjoyed the part where you knew just how much I pay her. For your information, I employ her because I've known her for years and know she could use the extra income. When she isn't doing lawns I employ high- school kids for about half of what I pay her. I can get an immigrant crew, with their own equipment, for 10 to 20% less. I can also do like the previous owner of one of my properties and have the tenants mow themselves. I have obviously rubbed you the wrong way some how, judging from your snide-assed comments. Sorry about that! My point is that if you have the drive and ambition you don't have to spend a ton of money up front to get started. If this isn't applauding this lady, I don't know what is.

  3. #23
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    232
    Location
    Lebanon, Tennessee
    Tractor
    JD 5055D, JD 790 MFWD

    Default Re: Landscaping Business...

    Steve,
    I started "dreaming" about a little over a year ago. I would see all these landscape trucks running around town, and when I say trucks, I mean "NICE RIGS"! I was thinking to myself....OK, self, either these guys are in hock over their eyeballs, or else, these guys are making a butt load of money doing this. I started checking things out, and lo and behold, most of these guys are making a butt load of money. It got me thinking. Life is too short sitting in a dark, dingy cube farm, slaving away on useless projects that get scraped anyway. ( I worked for a Corp. Eng. Firm.) Why not just bite the bullet and give it a try yourself? For the past year, I have been reviewing equipment, the market needs, insurances and the local economy. It all worked out and at the end of this past February, I turned in my resignation. I started out making business forms, brochures, business cards, got some good quality T shirts emboydered with my company name and set out to hit the street. First couple of weeks were totally dry, no leads. Kept passing out cards and lit, and now I have about 2.5 weeks of work back logged. Spring is here, now and I get word of mouth leads all the time. (best advert. is word of mouth) I still am finding what works the best for me, but it is starting to look like the landscaping end, not the mowing end is where the money and work is at for me in this area. It is the type of work most of the lawn mowing companies do not have the equipment for or the interest. And the great part about it is I am making 2 times the amount of money I was sitting in a boring office! Not to mention getting lots of seat time on my tractor!! Check your area where you live and see what type of services are offered in the newspaper. You might be suprised to see all these fly-by-night lawn mowing companies mowing lawns with their cheap Murray push mowers they drag out of the trunk of their sub-compact car or mini-van, but no one is doing landscaping, lawn installations, driveway grading, construction site clean-up, planting small to med. size trees and shrubs, etc.
    Get yourself a good looking truck and trailer and keep it clean. Image is everything in this type of business. Get some good, hi-visibility signs to go on your truck and trailer, also. When doing a job, try to park your truck in a highly visible place. I pressure wash all my equipment that I have used every day. I even keep wax on them. Something about seeing bright shiny equipment makes people slow down and look twice. Well, I have rambled on enough. Let me know if you have anymore questions.

  4. #24
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    232
    Location
    Lebanon, Tennessee
    Tractor
    JD 5055D, JD 790 MFWD

    Default Re: Landscaping Business...

    Steve,
    Wanna hear a good one? I was finishing up a driveway excavation job this past Friday afternoon, and I watched next door as a old beat-up truck pulled up and off loaded 2 old beat up 8 hp riding lawn mowers. They had to jump start both riders to get them going. As they were mowing, one of the riders deck height adjustment levers kept jumping out and would bury the deck in the ground. Of course, it would stall the rider engine out and they would have to bring the truck over and jump start it to get it going again. Not to mention the big bare patch in the lawn where the blades dug in. Now, keep this in mind, I have my truck & trailer rig parked right by the street with the signs in high visibility. This guy gets off his rider, goes across the yard where my customer is sitting watching me work, and offers to mow and weed eat his 1.5 acre lawn for $20.00. My customer comes over and says to me:"this guy just offered to mow and weedeat my lawn for $20.00." I looked at him and said" You better jump on a deal like that. I can't mow your lawn and properly maintain it for under $50.00". (never mind he just paid me over $1200.00 to excavate his driveway) So the customer tells this guy to go ahead and mow his lawn. I told the customer to be carefull, that this guy can't possibly be licensed and have insurance for that little amount. About 20 minutes later, this guy is mowing my customers lawn, and sure enough, the deck drops and hits the ground. Out comes this piece of 1 inch gravel and zings across the yard and shatters his tripple pane thermo insulated picture bow window on the front of his house!! Well, needless to say, my customer is red faced, stomps over and asks the guy what he is going to do about the window. The poor guy tells my customer he doesn't have any insurance, promptly gets in his truck, drives it over, jump starts his rider off and proceeds to load his rider on the trailer. Then, he jumps in his truck and drives off!! I wanted so bad to say "I TOLD YOU SO!!!" Well, now I am mowing his lawn for $55.00 a cut and also when the neighbors found out what happened and that I had insurance, I got the next door neighbors multi scalped and bare patch lawn at $65.00 a cut!! Funny how things worked out?!

  5. #25

    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Posts
    501
    Location
    South Weber Utah
    Tractor
    Kubota B2710

    Default Re: Landscaping Business...

    Landscaping is an interesting business. Love it. Nice to put my degree to work. Speaking of labor, I bid a few jobs and get told I'm higher than some others. Yes, I need to charge a bit more than some of the guys. I have licenses and insurance to cover in my costs. Guys who don't have licenses, insurance and who don't pay property taxes on their equipment and deal in undocumented cash (not income taxes) can afford to charge less. They are always out there underbidding those of us who like to stay legal. But we're making it, not big, but getting by.

    Fun job if you can make money at it.

  6. #26
    Veteran Member Rowski's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Posts
    1,478
    Location
    North Central Vermont, Jay Peak Area
    Tractor
    2004 New Holland TN70DA with 32LC loader, 2000 New Holland 2120 with Curtis cab, 7309 loader

    Default Re: Landscaping Business...

    Many thanks to all the replies. I didn't know about the insurance for digging deep holes. I do agreee with the insurance, need to have it. I did mow lawns as a teenager. I think I want to stay away from that route. Although it seems the best way to start small and cost effective. But there are many mowing companies around. I really don't whant to get into pest control. I find that there is a need for a finish landscape, after the big boys get done digging etc. Also property maintance, like cutting a tree, roto-tilling, grading roads, brush hogging etc. Winter snowplowing is not a problem. Keep the ideas comming, I've got my question list growing. Thanks again

  7. #27
    Veteran Member gordon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    1,786
    Location
    Delaware
    Tractor
    L4310hst-loader-hydraulic top link

    Default Re: Landscaping Business...

    I get the same ---shew your higher than the other guy---. There is one thing that I"m quick to point out what is involved with my bid and why it's higher. If they choose to listen fine if not oh well.

    One of the key factors of any bid is factoring in all operating costs and insurance is one of them. I keep copies of the policy amounts and show them to the customer. This helps, compete with the scabs. Yes they will always be out there it's a fact of life. But there are ways of handling the higher operating costs. That is one way I use to justify my bid. For some people it really opens up their eyes and others don't give two hoots.

    Scabs all but put me out of my small scale skidding for about a year, but it's coming back little by little. Ya see even if you go in cheap you still have to give the customer what he wants. I would do the smaller plots that none of the big guys wanted to touch and also some pretty large jobs that the big guys would have loved to have. Key is what ever you do give the customer more than he or she expects and the work will come.

    Just have to find the niche market and stomp on it and you will make money even with the legal operating costs figured in. Oh and yes I can sleep well at night knowing some customer wont end up owning me and all my equipment from some mishap.

    Gordon

  8. #28
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    1,384
    Location
    michigan thumb
    Tractor
    jd 970, JD GT235

    Default Re: Landscaping Business...

    You already have enough equipment to get started but need $5000 and should have $20-30k for a truck and trailer to get equipment to the job site. I would suggest a heavy one ton with a 10-12ft dump bed that has fold down sides and 20ft trailer or go the medium duty truck route with a 14-20ft dump bed with fold down sides. Of course these are not prices for new equipment.

    $5-10000 for nickel and dime tools, startup (insurance, advertising, attorney if incorporating, office supplies)

    Is your land in a location that would make a nursery feasible?

    Take the door or whole cab off your tractor.

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