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Starting my own landscape/concrete business

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by rab89, May 21, 2009.

  1. May 21, 2009 at 9:43 PM
    #1
    rab89

    rab89 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys! here's my situation first. I live in the Okanagan of B.C Canada, california of canada really.
    there are a lot of rich people here, and concrete work and landscaping is pretty big, so i've decided to start my own business, at only 20, I feel I can do this for quite a few years until something else comes up, so has anyone started their own business? anyone do landscaping or concrete work?
    any tips for a first time business owner?
     
  2. May 21, 2009 at 11:01 PM
    #2
    Krazie Sj

    Krazie Sj Resident Jackass

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    Yes. Don't fuck with your employees. Not to say that you would, but my ex-landscaping boss who fired me cause I took a day off to write my EMS aptitude test tried to fuck with me. Needless to say he now has to deal with the labour board cause I've had enough of his shit and he hasn't a leg to stand on with regards to my case.

    Buy the good stuff. Just cause it will last forever doesn't mean your employees want to use it. Weight is a big factor when using a piece of equipment for 8-10 hours a day. When buying equipment try to find an old model of the one you want to buy. It will give you a clue as to problem points. AKA-Where the bags on mowers will wear out and how it can be avoided.

    And don't be an asshat to your employees.
     
  3. May 21, 2009 at 11:06 PM
    #3
    rab89

    rab89 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    haha i can tell you had a terrible boss. I'll be working with 2 friends on a part time basis untill it gets going. wnt be hiring any employees right away
     
  4. May 22, 2009 at 5:21 AM
    #4
    Simon's Mom

    Simon's Mom Wag More Bark Less

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    I have my own landscaping business, very small scale, mostly older folks & a very established client base,by word of mouth. My friend Mike got me started on jobs that were too small for his business. Now if I need bigger equipment I call him. My suggestion is to network & don't make promises you can't keep. You are young & ambitious and can do well. :thumbsup:
     
  5. May 22, 2009 at 7:27 AM
    #5
    Krazie Sj

    Krazie Sj Resident Jackass

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    Did I mention one of his kids put a scratch down one entire side of my truck with a stick or something and all he said was "Wow, if that was my truck I'd be pissed off!"
    Thanks for even offering to by a touchup paint stick you fuck.

    Don't be an asshat!
     
  6. May 22, 2009 at 10:17 AM
    #6
    rab89

    rab89 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    thanks xedge, was it hard to get started? is it your primary source of income?
    what do you do in the winter? cause we get like 5 or 6 months of crappy weather
     
  7. May 22, 2009 at 11:17 AM
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    longbow

    longbow I see you now..................

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    Good luck to ya bro, starting a business is great, had one my self until all the silly city, county changes.
     
  8. May 22, 2009 at 11:23 AM
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    4x4Taco

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    You don't sound bitter at all...thats good.:confused:
     
  9. May 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM
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    OU812

    OU812 ban the term murdered out

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    You should see him when he's working on his truck. :D
     
  10. May 22, 2009 at 11:34 AM
    #10
    lsocoee

    lsocoee My hair is all natural Moderator

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    take up snowblowing.

    You should also setup an official legal business and then you would protect yourself from lawsuits. Also, you could probably write off a bunch of your expenses-truck, lawn equipment, gas, truck maintenance, etc...
     
  11. May 22, 2009 at 1:49 PM
    #11
    bobwilson1977

    bobwilson1977 Well-Known Member

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    I had my own lawn mowing/landscaping business for 4-5 years when I was in HS/college. Mowed yards mostly. First of all, it would be extremely useful to learn how to repair small engines/equipment. I took small engine repair in HS, so I knew the ins and outs of mowers and equipment. That means you can get away with using older, perhaps less than perfect equipment. Plus a shop will charge you $60-$80 an hour to fix them. Learn to do it yourself.

    I used a small rear engine Ariens riding mower from the 80's. These are built like tanks, are very easy to fix, have few moving parts and a single blade. That and they are easy to load/unload from the trailer. The engine blew up on it. Big deal. I found another Briggs 12 HP engine for $20 and replaced it in an afternoon. I would advise staying away from most any US brand 2 cycle machines. I used a Shindaiwa weedeater and a Echo leaf blower. Well worth the money. Neither gave me problems. I had 3 push mowers. All old pieces of shit with simple, 1970's-1980's briggs 4 HP engines that were like the Ariens- simple and easy to repair.

    My trailer was a bone-stock tilt unit from Wal-Mart. It was $250 and you had to get your own wood for the deck. I used a sheet of thick marine plywood. Took an afternoon to install. I still have the trailer 12 years later.
    I used the same 4 banger taco I still have to haul all the stuff with.

    In regards to what to charge, figure out what the others charge and undecut them 5-10%. Out here in Cali where there's tons of immigrants who charge nothing, I'd be out of luck. Back home I typically charged $40-$50 a yard and these were typical subdivision yards that took 30 minutes to an hour to cut.

    Lastly, wear hearing protection. I have probably lost some of my hearing from years of sitting on a mower with a super-loud muffler that was basically a pipe sticking out the side of the engine. Had I to do it over, I'd wear ear muffs.

    I never got into anything else. Just mowed lawns.
     
  12. May 22, 2009 at 5:58 PM
    #12
    surfsupl

    surfsupl Well-Known Member

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    You stated that their are allot of rich people up here.....I have news for you.........their are quite a few people w/money around, ....with the economy being in the shitter that does not mean rich people are spending money.....most have landscape guys they have used for years and don't plan on getting rid of any time soon....concrete is a very tough competitive business...not to mention its hard on you physically....most people right now are hanging on to their money...the thing that they will spend money on is repairs...........do you have any construction knowledge at all? .............you might try going into the home repair business........the feild you are looking at is going to require references also..........I know around here that allot of people are saving money by cutting back the number of times they have their yards cleaned....do some research.........good luck!
     
  13. May 22, 2009 at 6:05 PM
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    MiikeyD

    MiikeyD The Green Machine

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    try not to hire friends.. i have my friends working at my stores and sometimes a lot of tension can build up. One of my friends quit because they couldnt take my other friends shit because he always gave him a hard time at work. it goes on and on and im too lazy to explain but yeh. dont hire friends if u dont need to. Try and do a lot of work yourself also because you will save money for labor. what else.. when you start seeing the money come in.. dont spend it.. lol..
     
  14. May 23, 2009 at 5:48 AM
    #14
    Simon's Mom

    Simon's Mom Wag More Bark Less

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    My work is similiar to what BobWilson described. Most only take an hour or so after Spring cleanup. My friend Mike helped set me up in the beginning with a couple of clients, after that, these folks spread the word. lsocoee got it right as far as in winter its snowblowing, but again these are small jobs. And his suggestion on making it legit is key with insurance!

    Its amazing how a bunch of these add up. The senior segment whose kids have moved away or don't help them, well, need help. I setup up their deck furniture in the Spring, take it down in the Fall, bring them mulch, compost, bring their bikes to get tuned up, mow their lawns, swap out door screens, the seasonal stuff they are just not physically able to do. I have an hourly rate & a sliding scale for those not as fortunate. This system has worked very well for me.

    No its not my primary source for the service was my career. That is the same for my friend Mike. I do have friends that it is their primary job & its exactly what others have described here. You bid out jobs. You have to deal with rain then handle large accts. You have employees. Thats really not my thing.

    Good points made by many here. Hope it all helps build your business, maybe target the same segment up your way? :)
     
  15. May 24, 2009 at 12:45 PM
    #15
    tex

    tex Well-Known Member

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    I had a Jr High coach that mowed lawns in the summer. I ran into him last year in my parents neighborhood. Now he and and 2 other teachers do several yards in the area.
    So I guess they teach during the winter and mow yards in the summer. Might be something look into.
     
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