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Very Small Lawn Care/Snow Removal Business

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Have any of you guys started a very small (under 20 clients) lawn care/snow removal business? I've always had the idea in the back of my mind, but never really sat down and looked into it in depth. I know much more research goes into it, but my basic idea is as follows...offer basic residentail lawn care and snow removal services to clients.

Equipment/Services:

The equipment will not be heavy duty. Lawn care equipment would consist of a walk behind mower, string trimmer, and leaf blower. Services would include lawn mowing, edging, and tree services. Snow removal equipment would consist of a two stage snow blower, ice spade, and shovels.

Clientele:

The clientele would be strictly residential. Focus would be on developements to strive for "one stop" service days (multiple houses in the development can be serviced at on stop). Services would be offered to a 10-15 mile radius of house.

Details:

Since this would not be a licensed/registered business, I understand liabilties/risks are a big issue. I plan to lessen the liabilities/risks by developing a relationship with clients to ensure the services they request are being met. A written contract would be constructed, signed, and kept on file in case any legal issues arise. I would explain exactly what the services include and have the client go on a "walk around" to explain potential problems. Compensation will be fee only and not hourly.

I'm not exactly looking for a critque of my idea, but rather if any of you have had experience with this sort of venture. Thanks for your time.

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I have not done that but my wife and I have talked about it a bit as a possible business/hobby after I retire. Just kind of something to do to make a few buck and get outside and get some exercise.

I am one of the very few that still mows his own lawn around here. I have noticed that the neighborhood gardener seems to be doing just what you have said. He has a small PU truck and basic push/walk behind mower/edger/blower and several of my neighbors are his customers. He hits our street on Wednesday mornings. I don't know what he does during the rest of the week. He has been doing this for the 14 years I have lived here so it must be working for him.

Good luck.

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Details:

Since this would not be a licensed/registered business, I understand liabilties/risks are a big issue. I plan to lessen the liabilities/risks by developing a relationship with clients to ensure the services they request are being met. A written contract would be constructed, signed, and kept on file in case any legal issues arise. I would explain exactly what the services include and have the client go on a "walk around" to explain potential problems. Compensation will be fee only and not hourly.

I would shop for some liability insurance....a stone being thrown and breaking a window will take a chunk out of the weeks profits, but a stone being picked up and tossed into a kids eye will eat your life's wages from now til the grave.

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I started up something like this a few years ago, but only did it for the one year. I started with co-workers as my clients, and wanted to branch out from there. It took up too much of my time (already working FT), and too much money (fuel in truck, and mowers). I threw a rod on my tractor mowing a small horse arena. After that, I just said "screw it."

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When I was a kid I mowed yards around my aunts neighborhood. Started out with just hers at 9, by the time I was 16 I was doing about 25 houses.

It was all cash payment, no contracts or receipts, no insurance. This was well before the world got so lawsuit happy though, these days I'd probably follow Chickenhaulers advice about a good liability policy.

Something to keep in mind when doing business with consumer grade equipment... 99% of the time the warranty is void the minute you do anything for hire unless the machine is marketed as a commercial mower.

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I have a sister in law who cleans houses this way. She has a small client base and makes decent money, most of which she does not claim for taxes, at her risk. She does have a small liability policy in case something happens. Good luck

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When I was 16 on up until I joined the military at 19 I was doing this all spring and summer. I would do light tree work, nothing that involved any danger of landing on expensive stuff, lot clearing, needles/leaves, weed wackin, and hauling stuff to the dump for people. I was making pretty good money if I bid the job right. On bigger jobs I would hire my little brother. Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. On a few jobs I got burned because I couldn't haul enough yard wastes to the dump at one time and would spend the whole day driving back and forth. A dump trailer would have been nice, but I was running a real low budget operation. This was in a mountainous region though so I spent a lot of time essentially cutting fire line. It was all word of mouth for me, and I didn't get many repeat clients until the next season.

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I have done exactly that. I started with neighbors on each side of me and across the street. You want to do multiples at one stop to decrease drive time as well as load time. Where I live there's plenty of help.

Broke my pelvis and had to give it up after 2 years and stick with the company I have worked for for many years.

I have a friend that mows 300 yards a week and is rollin in dough. Works out to about 32 weeks of service and about $1000 per year in profit for each account. Hes on vacation from Thanksgiving till about now which is what I really want.

Good luck!

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H(under 20 clients) Services would be offered to a 10-15 mile radius of house.

Hey, I own a lawn and landscaping business in NJ. Some advice I would give if you are only looking to do a days worth of work is to just stick to one or two neighborhoods close by with small lawns. I think a 15 mile radius is too large. You will spend more time driving than working. I also highly recommend insurance. You can get general liability for like $500/year (it will pay for itself in one day) well worth it.

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I own a landscape contracting business. We don't just cut grass as you plan to do (I assume). We do landscape, hardscape, sod, & irrigation installs, spring/fall clean-ups, tree/shrub maint., irrigation repair/maint/adjustment, and weekly maint.

If you are doing this "under the table and not paying taxes and are not going to become insured" to "make some quick bucks" I can honestly say I hope you shoot a rock into someone's Ferrari or injure someone and get sued for more than you will ever be worth and pay for it until the day you die.

I know you don't want this criticism and you'll probly start your venture anyway, but either do it for the long run or don't do it at all. You will quickly realize that fuel is not your only expense and my guess is that you don't know what to charge to keep your "business" afloat.

And having the contract for work to be done will not help you in court if you say you are a business and are not licensed & insured to do business.

Dont mean to be harsh, but I take my work seriously because it's how I provide myself with a nice living. Believe it or not at this time of year, hundreds of guys just like you start out with some "sweet idea" to make a "lawn company" and will "make bank" and are lowballers that aren't reg'd or insured. Once it gets hot out they die out and your former customers are calling me for weekly maintenance work and/or repair your mistakes.

I'm saving you some trouble, work for a company and learn how it works before doing it on your own, because it is much much more than cutting grass and powerwashing equip at the end of the day.

So many people underestimate what it actually takes....

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I own a landscape contracting business. We don't just cut grass as you plan to do (I assume). We do landscape, hardscape, sod, & irrigation installs, spring/fall clean-ups, tree/shrub maint., irrigation repair/maint/adjustment, and weekly maint.

If you are doing this "under the table and not paying taxes and are not going to become insured" to "make some quick bucks" I can honestly say I hope you shoot a rock into someone's Ferrari or injure someone and get sued for more than you will ever be worth and pay for it until the day you die.

I know you don't want this criticism and you'll probly start your venture anyway, but either do it for the long run or don't do it at all. You will quickly realize that fuel is not your only expense and my guess is that you don't know what to charge to keep your "business" afloat.

And having the contract for work to be done will not help you in court if you say you are a business and are not licensed & insured to do business.

Dont mean to be harsh, but I take my work seriously because it's how I provide myself with a nice living. Believe it or not at this time of year, hundreds of guys just like you start out with some "sweet idea" to make a "lawn company" and will "make bank" and are lowballers that aren't reg'd or insured. Once it gets hot out they die out and your former customers are calling me for weekly maintenance work and/or repair your mistakes.

I'm saving you some trouble, work for a company and learn how it works before doing it on your own, because it is much much more than cutting grass and powerwashing equip at the end of the day.

So many people underestimate what it actually takes....


Pretty harsh words out of an 18 year old with 36 post. My guess is your business wasn't started by only you. Yes,insurance is a good idea and is affordable.:thumbsup:

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Pretty harsh words out of an 18 year old with 36 post. My guess is your business wasn't started by only you. Yes,insurance is a good idea and is affordable.:thumbsup:

Because I'm 18 you don't think I started it? Last time I checked I licensed it as an LLC on my 18th birthday last year and continued to work my a$$ off and have already had a large amount of success.

You're really bringing in that I have 36 posts? Wow... Check when I reg'd for the site, sept 2008, I've been here for a while, I don't post very often because most of this people here are so negative like you. That, and I dont have very much time to waste on a forum, I go to college full time (taking 19 credits mind you) and have a business to run, I'm guessing you punch the clock at 8am and punch again at 4pm and go home and do nothing but spend it on this site?

Sry for the hijack.. I'd like to see the OP's reaction to my post. Hopefully he takes my advice.

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Because I'm 18 you don't think I started it? Last time I checked I licensed it as an LLC on my 18th birthday last year and continued to work my a$$ off and have already had a large amount of success.

You're really bringing in that I have 36 posts? Wow... Check when I reg'd for the site, sept 2008, I've been here for a while, I don't post very often because most of this people here are so negative like you. That, and I dont have very much time to waste on a forum, I go to college full time (taking 19 credits mind you) and have a business to run, I'm guessing you punch the clock at 8am and punch again at 4pm and go home and do nothing but spend it on this site?

Sry for the hijack.. I'd like to see the OP's reaction to my post. Hopefully he takes my advice.

I have worked at my company longer than you are old. You sir are the negative one with a tude. I have tear-offs older than you. Props to you,you sound really busy so go do your homework snott nose punk! Heheheheheh.:thumbsup:

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I have worked at my company longer than you are old. You sir are the negative one with a tude. I have tear-offs older than you. Props to you,you sound really busy so go do your homework snott nose punk! Heheheheheh.:thumbsup:

I'm negative because I'm telling the guy what he needs to know? Yeah that's it...

As a matter of fact, I am doing my hw, just taking a break and checking my email and I see a reply to this thread from you, my guess is that you didn't do your hw or even go to college and you work a dead end job and are probably union backed and most likely spend as much time taking breaks as you do actually "working".

btw you're great at hijacking and are very mature by calling people names...

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Gonna have to side with Flying here. I think dirtymax... post was pretty negative. Especially when you are hoping the PO damages property and gets sued and is forced to pay for that suit for the rest of his life. Yep pretty negative. Especially from a kid.

And before you start, yes I went to college, yes I have a degree. No I don't work a "regular" 8-4 job. I pull a minimum of 50 per week and often much more so I know what it means to be busy.

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Gonna have to side with Flying here. I think dirtymax... post was pretty negative. Especially when you are hoping the PO damages property and gets sued and is forced to pay for that suit for the rest of his life. Yep pretty negative. Especially from a kid.

And before you start, yes I went to college, yes I have a degree. No I don't work a "regular" 8-4 job. I pull a minimum of 50 per week and often much more so I know what it means to be busy.

Well I could care less if I was negative, the truth is not always positive. If you plan to operate a "business" illegally, then I (along with many other business owners) will hope for the worst for you. Plain and simple.

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I'm negative because I'm telling the guy what he needs to know? Yeah that's it...

As a matter of fact, I am doing my hw, just taking a break and checking my email and I see a reply to this thread from you, my guess is that you didn't do your hw or even go to college and you work a dead end job and are probably union backed and most likely spend as much time taking breaks as you do actually "working".

btw you're great at hijacking and are very mature by calling people names...

You're negative for wishing someone's property/someone to be damaged and hoping he gets sued and has to pay for the rest of his life you cocky ass.

Btw, you're the one who originally hijacked this thread

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Ok dirty... obviously you do not care. But since you are young and folks cut me some slack when I was young I will try to do the same for you. Let me suggest that your original post should have read something more like this.....

I own a landscape contracting business. We don't just cut grass as you plan to do (I assume). We do landscape, hardscape, sod, & irrigation installs, spring/fall clean-ups, tree/shrub maint., irrigation repair/maint/adjustment, and weekly maint.

If you are doing this "under the table and not paying taxes and are not going to become insured" to "make some quick bucks" I can honestly say you are probably in for a whole bunch of grief. Just think, ifyou shoot a rock into someone's Ferrari or injure someone and get sued for more than you will ever be worth, you may pay for it until the day you die.

I know you don't want this criticism and you'll probly start your venture anyway, but either do it for the long run legally or don't do it at all. You will quickly realize that fuel is not your only expense and my guess is that you don't know what to charge to keep your "business" afloat.

And having the contract for work to be done will not help you in court if you say you are a business and are not licensed & insured to do business.

Dont mean to be harsh, but I take my work seriously because it's how I provide myself with a nice living. Believe it or not at this time of year, hundreds of guys just like you start out with some "sweet idea" to make a "lawn company" and will "make bank" and are lowballers that aren't reg'd or insured. Once it gets hot out they die out and your former customers are calling me for weekly maintenance work and/or repair your mistakes.

I'm saving you some trouble, my best advise would be to work for a company first and learn how it works before doing it on your own, because it is much much more than cutting grass and powerwashing equip at the end of the day.

So many people underestimate what it actually takes....

It is possible to make money in this field but the bottom line is do it right, do it legally or don't do it at all. If you decide to run it as a legitimate, licenses and tax paying business and have questions, let me know. Good luck.

Karma dude. Good luck with your school, your business and your 'tude.

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You're negative for wishing someone's property/someone to be damaged and hoping he gets sued and has to pay for the rest of his life you cocky ass.

Btw, you're the one who originally hijacked this thread

Hmm more name calling from immature people, no wonder everyone talks so bad about this site.

No I did not originally hijack the thread, I told the guy what he needs to know and gave him criticism. However I'll admit I'm cocky, not like it matters to me, I can back it up.

Ok dirty... obviously you do not care. But since you are young and folks cut me some slack when I was young I will try to do the same for you. Let me suggest that your original post should have read something more like this.....

Karma dude. Good luck with your school, your business and your 'tude.

I'm aware of karma, I treat people right because I like to be treated right and give proper criticism when it's needed. Some would say I'm being an a$$, well the truth isn't always nice.

However, think about it, this guy is considering operating an illegal business, when was the last time you've seen a restaurant operate without insurance, hell or a doctor do work without it, NEVER! And don't say it doesn't compare because it's "lawn care", it's a field of work just like any other. May not be as complex as a commercial airline corporation, however it is an industry where businesses are legitimate with licensing and insurance. I can't believe some of the ignorance of some of the members on this site.

Talk with other landscape contractors and ask what they have to say when you tell them you're going to operate illegally.

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