Jason is just getting started in lawn care and has some questions.

Jason, a new member of the Gopher Lawn Care Forum, is just getting started with his lawn care business and he posted a bunch of questions that I think many new lawn care business owners might have. I hope this discussion helps you grow. You can join this specific post by clicking on this link to the Gopher Lawn Care Forum.

Jason Wrote:

Hello guys, my name is Jason, I am 16 and I am starting a lawn mowing business in my local area. I need a lot of advice and stumbled upon this great looking site.
I decided to start one up because I have been mowing my neighbor’s yards and loved the money that came from them.

Heres some of the things I need advice on,
1. I have a old walk behind mower that I can use but I am going to buy a new one…..What kind should i get? (price range:$0-800)
2. How should I charge my future clients?
-per sq. ft.?
-base price?
-difference in price every week to every two weeks
3. I am looking to employee 1-2 people to work with me (fellow students)—I have told them $8.50-$9 an hour is this a reasonable price?
4.Since I am under 18 I can’t apply for a business permit.—Does this mean that someone can steal my name?
5.I got to buy a truck for the business but also as my first personal car.—-Any ideas???
6. When it comes to advertising WHAT KIND OF PAPER ARE BROCHURES PRINTED ON?!?!(I have looked forever…Its the thin type paper not copy paper or thick paper)
7. Should I go door to door and personally pitch my business?

I am sure I will think of many more questions as time progresses…

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Sincerely, Jason”

Gerald then responded by saying:

“Hey congratulations on making the jump to start your own business. Run your old mower until it falls apart. no need to spend money on a new one right off the bat.

I would definitely ask your parents to get the business permit in their name if possible. You want to do this right and legal so get the name registered with your local area and also check on business liability insurance.

With the price of gas i would go with a smaller truck to help save money on gas. I have a 2005 f=150 4×4 and i get like 10.5 miles per gallon. my truck drinks gas quickly so go smaller right now to start.

As far getting business cards and flyers made up to hand out. I just started my business this week and thats what i had made first to get my name out there and generate some business. Heck pay a few friends to go with you and put out flyers everywhere asap to get your name out there.

Also remember to do a good job for every customer. There will be people that are ##### but remember try to treat everyone the same way that you would like to be treated. Alot of your business can come by word of mouth and you want that word to be good. Sure there will be bad days but try to do consistently good work and it will pay off in the long run. You may also want to think about getting some signs made up to put on your vehicle for when you are driving around. Nothing beats free advertising. This site is awesome and most of the people on here are very helpful so don’t be afraid to ask any questions that you are unsure about. Remember the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. good luck and let us know how things work out for you.”

Rob has some great advice as well. He said:

Actually # 1 should be to make sure you finish school!

1. I would recommend a Honda mower of some kind. The Honda brand not just a mower with a honda motor on it. I never have any problems or here complaints about them. They can be a little expensive but well worth it. Try to buy the best I can

2. Figure out how much it is going to cost to operate your business. Gas, Insurance, Paying employees, money for parts, saving for emergency break down,  etc. You need to know how much all the parts of running your business however small of big it might be.
Then figure out how much you need to make per hour to get to the profit margin you want.
Do some measuring and figure out how long it takes to mow edge and trim a given amount and you can use that as a base when giving bids. Don’t just eyeball it and guess. You can lose money on bigger lots like that.
And have a minimum that you charge no matter what. Like mine is $30.

3. I would suggest working by yourself until you really need some help. Once you get a full schedule then hire someone. You can make more by yourself until then and even more with a helper when it gets to that point.

4. Talk to some one at the county clerks office or city hall as to what your options are concerning this.

5. If your just doing mowing then start with a small truck like a S-10 or something similar. You don’t need a huge truck to pull around lawn mowers. Gas is to outrageous.

6. Go with flyers and business cards and base it off of what Chestin posted in the other thread… Maybe Steve knows where the link is for it…For the sample flyer…

7. I here that works well. I’ve never done it myself though.

Thats all I can think of for now. Its late for me.”

Lastly to round out all this great advice, Kenneth LaVoie III, author of the book “How to start a lawn care business a whole new way” shared with us some insight as well. Ken said:

1. I have a old walk behind mower that I can use but I am going to buy a new one…..What kind should i get? (price range:$0-800)

I PERSONALLY WOULD KEEP MY EYE OUT IN WHATEVER SERVES AS YOUR USED ITEMS FLYERS. WHETHER IT BE THE CLASSIFIEDS OR THROWAWAY TYPE OF PAPER. I WOULD BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR A 32-36 COMMERCIAL WALK BEHIND. I THINK YOU HAVE THE BEST CHANCE OF FINDING THAT IN THE PRICE RANGE YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT.

2. How should I charge my future clients?
FOR MOWING, I’D SAY TO KEEP IT AS SIMPLE AS YOU CAN. $60 PER HOUR IS GOOD IF YOU CAN GET IT. USUALLY THOUGH SPRING MOWING TAKES LONGER, SO THIS CAN BE DECIEVING. WE MAKE $40 PER HOUR IN MAY AND PARTS OF JUNE AND $65 PER HOUR IN LATE AUGUST EARLY SEPT MOWING THE SAME LAWNS, SO KEEP THIS IN MIND. I PERSONALLY SHOOT FOR A $26 MINIMUM, $40 THE MINUTE I HAVE TO USE A PUSH MOWER. MY TYPICAL PRICES ARE 26, 35 - 40 AND UP. AFTER A WHILE YOU JUST GET TO KNOW A “40 LAWN” WHEN YOU SEE IT. THIS MIGHT NOT SEEM OVERLY TECHNICAL OR PROFESSIONAL, BUT OFTEN TIMES, ADDING FORMULAS AND DOING THINGS BY SQ. FT. CREATES MORE MISTAKES AND BIDDING ERRORS THAN JUST A GOOD GUT GUESS.

(I CANNOT COMMENT ON WAGES AS I AM NOT IN YOUR AREA)

4.Since I am under 18 I can’t apply for a business permit.—Does this mean that someone can steal my name?
USE YOUR OWN NAME FOR NOW … WORRY ABOUT BRANDING LATER.

5.I got to buy a truck for the business but also as my first personal car.—-Any ideas???
TOYOTA!! YEAR AFTER YEAR, TOYOTA HAS FAR FEWER COMPLAINTS THAN THE BIG 3. ALSO EXPENSIVE. IF YOU HAVE A SMALL TRAILER AND 36 INCH MOWER, YOU PROBABLY CAN INDEED GET BY WITH  A SMALLER TRUCK

(NO COMMENTS ON MARKETING. I JUST WAIT FOR THE PHONE TO RING!) - THOUGH IF YOU HAVE A BUSINESS LINE, YOU CAN USUALLY GET A FREE ONE LINE YELLOW PAGES AD, WHICH IN AND OF ITSELF SHOULD ACTUALLY GENERATE SOME BUSINESS.”

Well that certainly was a lot of great advice from people in the know. These lawn care business owners are out there day in and day out making a living at this and I am glad they were able to share their words of wisdom with all of us. If you would like to add anything to this discussion or ask any further questions, please join this post at the Gopher Lawn Care Forum.

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success