I want to start a lawn care business but people tell me I shouldn’t.

People in general poo poo new ideas. They don’t like change. If you want to change something in your life, you can almost guarantee if you ask others around you, they will say why change things, stay the same. Don’t do anything different, don’t think about anything differently. Keep going just the way you are. As we will see from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, it is tough enough to get mental support from those around you even before you ever start marketing your new business.


One lawn care business owner wrote “basically, I want to start a lawn maintenance business, but the people around me are saying stuff like the economy is so bad, everyone is trying to cut their own grass, etc. Plus I know we are heading into winter soon, but I live in the deep south so I don’t think that will hinder business too bad. The reason I’m reluctant to start the business is because I have my mind set on a new commercial lawn mower that is priced around $4 to $5k. I don’t want a less reliable machine, or a used one, therefore I feel I need to spend at least that much on a mower. I have the other equipment needed and I want to make sure the new mower pays for itself in a few months at least. So based on your opinions, do you think it will be tough to get this business going in this economy and in this season?”

A second business owner said “are you not thinking about the full picture? A $5,000.00 piece of equipment won’t pay itself off in a couple months, unless you are cutting lawns at $500 a pop, or large acreage. Is this mower going to be 36″? You will have back yards to cut and the average gates are 36″ wide. I run a 36″ Stander, in my trailer year round. I can still cut two acres in a little under an hour. You will have repairs, blades, tires, oil changes, plugs and pulleys to worry about.

My Stander has broken one belt in a year. My buddies got a brand new 34″ ZTR and he has put four pulleys, three belts and two tensioners on it in the same year.

I’d figure the cutting season is already tapering out in most of the southern states, this time of year. I run a lawn maintenance business in Florida and the lack of rain over the last week, cooler temps have slowed the grass by at least 50% already. We only have a 20% chance of rain in the next 12 days. No more growth equals no more cuts. If you plan to start this late in the season, I would recommend getting a pressure washer or pole saw to start in on palm trees.

Start checking craigslist for a used mower for like $1,500. I’d advise you don’t start with BRAND new equipment. Who knows if you will want to do this in a year from now. A mower with 500+ hours on it is considered ‘weathered’ in Florida.

As a new business you NEED to think about advertising, especially when the economy is struggling as it is right now. The county I service is at a 14.7% unemployment rate. That’s almost 2 in 10 people unemployed. There are ALOT of people in Florida that are starting new lawn companies. Most will fail because they have no idea what they are doing.

I do this because of the passion and love of 2-cycle burn. So take slow deliberate steps and see how you like it as you go.”

A third added “I myself have just started a lawn maintenance business. However, I didn’t go into expecting to get anything new right off the bat.

I started the business because it’s something I have always wanted to do and I was tired of working for someone else. I am a truck driver by trade and can make good money doing that, but in my eyes I am making more money for my boss, than myself, and he ultimately controls my destiny, which I don’t like.

I decided when going into this, I was going to do it with very little out of pocket. The money I have spent is for advertising, and some minor supplies. Being late in the season, I really didn’t have plans on getting any lawn care jobs right away. However,¬† I am in overdrive lining up customers for next year though and I will ramp up that effort in late February. Customer where I am, aren’t thinking about their lawns right now, so I haven’t gotten too many customers.

Like the other business owner said, I have lined up some pressure washing jobs, in fact I have one tomorrow for a gas station. Not only will I pressure wash their parking lot, by offering this service, I have lined them up for lawn care for next season!

As far as equipment goes, here is what I’m starting with. A 20″ mulching push mower, a 38″ riding mower, two trimmers, blower, pressure washer, spreader, and a 27hp tractor w/60″ brush hog. Before you buy any equipment, why not just get something that is functional and cheap for now. Test the waters and see what you think about the process of running your own business. You may like it or you may not. But one thing is for sure, the more money you have in the bank, by not spending it on purchases, the more time you will have to experiment with your new business. If you know you have a few bucks in the bank, you will feel more relaxed and that is a good thing.

I plan on taking no profit for myself for at least a year and just roll all money directly back into the business. Again, I don’t want to go into debt, especially in this economy.”

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