I know there are a lot of teenagers who are avid readers of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and I am sure they are constantly looking for inspiration. One of our forum members who is 15 years old has given us some great insight after ending his first full season running his lawn care business. He isn’t old enough to drive so a family member helps him by driving his truck from job to job. I do hope this story inspires other teens to think big.
Mitch: “I want to update you guys on what I’ve been up to this year. Things have gone great! Gross profit is over three times what it was last year. I ended mowing this year with about 40 weekly mowing customers. I have an employee, retired gentleman who is a very hard worker.
I added a few new pieces of equipment:
Toro Pro-Line 21″
Lesco 48″ WB
Lesco 32″ WB
Rice 7×16 Trailer
Billy Goat Leaf Vacuum
I traded my old 60″ ZTR for a commercial 48″ walk behind. It really was overkill for most of the yards I was putting it on, and the 48″ walk behind is perfect! I do plan on adding another ZTR next year.
I really took a liking to my new mower and my dealer support is tremendous! So I bought a 32″ walk behind as well. I have a lot of gated properties, where the 48″ doesn’t fit, and this takes care of that! I got it on sale, at one heck of a price.
My old push mower basically fell apart on me. The wheels started coming off the frame, and it was a mess. So I got a professional grade mower and have had no regrets.
I found a trailer online and got it in September. I don’t know how I got by without it! It’s awesome to have space to spare! I do still have the old 5×10 trailer for aerating, landscaping, etc.
The truck is doing great. It has just under 115k miles, with no major problems. I will be getting a snowplow next year.
Next Year’s List:
48 or 54″ ZTR
STIHL KM 110 Multi-Task
Western Plow “
Steve: “Great job this year! What lessons have you learned so far this year that you can share with others just getting started out?”
Mitch: “There are a ton of things I have learned. This year was an eye-opener for me. I was busy all year, never struggling to get lawn care work. I really worked myself hard this year, but it is all paying off.
1. Develop Relationships. I got to meet the owner of the biggest nursery/supply yard around here. He started out just like I am. I do all my plant purchases there, etc. I walked in one Saturday afternoon, very close to their closing time, and I really needed a delivery. They took care of it. I will never forget that, because they came through for me, so I could get this job done. That means a lot to me, and its how I like to treat people.
2. As Forrest Gump says, $hit happens. Don’t get frustrated. I had a day where I blew a trailer tire on the side of a major highway, had no spare, then I missed my exit getting back into town, had to drive an extra twenty minutes, then had to go back to school, get my school schedule, drive back to the town I got off the highway at, had to go back to town, then back to landscape supply shop, where I started my day off at. I traveled 150 miles that day. I had an employee on the clock, etc. It sucked, but it could have been worst.
3. Learn from your mistakes.
Mistakes I made:
Not asking for help when I needed it. Especially in the spring, I was working myself to death.
Buying used equipment. I don’t plan on buying used mowers anymore. With new stuff, you get a warranty, and a little more power at the dealerships.
4. Marketing: Word of mouth. That’s how I have expanded my lawn care business. Truck/trailer signs are great for getting noticed as well. Yard signs work great as well. Even for small jobs (ex. bush/hedge trimming job, stick the sign in the yard while you are there, take it with you when you go).
5. Being professional. I have shirts, hoodies, windbreakers, all with my logo on the back. I’ve been walking out of the hardware store and gotten people to ask me about work. I always have jeans on when I’m mowing, shirt always tucked in. Safety equipment: Ear muffs (with the radio of course), glasses, gloves, etc.
You have to show people you are serious, then they will take you seriously. Most people don’t realize I’m just fifteen years old. I normally tell them after we have discussed work and such. Most people are just impressed and willing to support me.”
If you would like to join in on this discussion further visit the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum here.