Ways To Make Quick Money Launching...
A Lawn Care "Fast Cash" Business
Table Of Contents
- Ways To Make Quick Money:
- Launching A Lawn Care Micro-Business
- – What You Gain From This Venture
- – Who This Venture Benefits Most
- – Who Will Succeed
- – Who This Venture Benefits Most
- The Venture Step-by-Step
- – Basic Requirements
- – Startup Equipment
- – Delivering The Service
- – Running The Operation
- – Marketing This Baby
- – Making The Moola
- – Simple Cashflow Estimate
- – Startup Equipment
- Insights and Caveats
- – Seasonality
- – Lawn Care Tips
- – Nurturing Your Customers
- – Lawn Care Tips
- Additional Resources and Final Comments
Below you'll find a list of the basic tools needed to start a lawn care business. Lawn care equipment can be pricey, but some scrounging and searching for deals in Craigslist or local newspapers will make it much easier on your pocketbook.
This list of tools isn't comprehensive. As you grow and add more services you'll find that other tools will be necessary. But the tools we list here are the bare necessities for making money in lawn care fast.
- WALK-BEHIND MOWER
Walk-behind mowers are the most popular and widely used lawn mowers and are perfect for lawns up to about an acre in size.
When deciding on a mower be sure to consider how you'll be using it. Pick a mower that fits your needs. Here you have a few tips on what to look for when choosing a mower:
- Good Handling
You don't want to get stuck with a mower that is too heavy or cumbersome for you to use. Remember that you'll be lugging this bad boy around with you wherever you go, not to mention having to push it across quite a few lawns, some maybe along a slope.
- Reasonable Mower Deck Width
The greater the width of the mower deck, the more grass you'll cut in a single pass. If you're cutting front yard lawns, a small width mower may be fine to use. If you're looking at cutting huge lawns spanning almost an acre, then a larger mower makes more sense. You'll be done sooner and less worn out.
- Reliable Torque
Gross torque measures the amount of power delivered to the cutting blade. The higher the gross torque, the higher the force delivered to the blade. This higher force makes cutting grass much easier and allows the blade to provide a cleaner cut.
- Self Propelled Or Push Mower
A self-propelled mower is pushed by the engine so that you only need guide the machine over the lawn. This type mower is useful for larger lawns with slopes. It's a little pricier than a push mower but well worth the investment if you'll be doing a lot of uneven terrain.
A push mower requires your strength in order to move and guide it over the lawn. It will not move on its own. This type mower is great for smaller and flatter lawns that don't take much time to complete in a few passes.
- To Mulch Or Not To Mulch
When looking for a mower you'll likely notice many mowers with mulching ability. A mulching mower (click to check current price at Amazon.com) cuts blades of grass into small pieces that can be left on the lawn, which means the cut grass doesn't need to be raked up.
Besides saving time on raking, mulching mowers are very popular nowadays because the clipped grass acts as a fertilizer that helps maintain a healthy lawn.
Mulching mowers can be pricey. As always consider your needs and your limitations.
- Commercial Or Consumer
Commercial mowers (click to check current price at Amazon.com) are more durable, longer lasting, and have more horsepower. But as with all products that have extra features they are more expensive.
Consumer mowers are cheaper, but aren't as durable for commercial purposes. They work well for startup lawn services, but need to be maintained constantly.
Finding a reasonably priced mower (click to check current price at Amazon.com) that fits your needs doesn't have to be difficult. There are several options to finding a mower for your lawn care business that won't break your bank:
- Use A Personal Mower
Many successful startup lawn care businesses owners began simply by using their personal mowers.
- Use A Family Or Friend's Mower
Perhaps your family or friends have a lawn mower they don't use, and they'd be willing to let you borrow it until you can get one of your own. Or you could ask to buy it at a discount.
- Search Craigslist
What I love best about Craigslist is how much information is consolidated into a very simple but effective system. The number of people using Craigslist is massive, which makes for lots of competition.
As a result the likelihood of finding someone who is willing to sell lawn care equipment for a cheap price is high. You'd be amazed how many great deals there are to be found on Craigslist.
- Visit Garage Sales, Yard Sales, And Estate Sales
You may think that garage sales and the like are synonymous with used junk. But the fact is that a person can find valuable items from places like these at a huge discount. So I recommend visiting a garage sale, yard sale, or estate sale if you are searching for some low priced items.
- Good Handling
- TRIMMER (a.ka. Weed Eater)
Trimming a lawn is a must if you want to do a professional job. Leaving a lawn with uneven grass blade height along the perimeter is unprofessional.
You can use trimming scissors as a cheaper alternative. It takes LOTS more effort and time to complete the work with a handheld trimmer (click to check current price at Amazon.com), but it's a cheaper tool. Gauge whether this extra effort is worth the savings. Much depends on the type of yards you need to work with. Some require minimum trimming. So using a manual trimmer might be sufficient.
This tool is used to outline the edges of a lawn alongside the sidewalk, driveway, etc. It creates an even, clean cut along any of a lawn's edges.
A cheaper alternative to a motorized lawn edger is a manual lawn edger (click to check current price at Amazon.com). It just takes a little more elbow grease to handle.
Or if you own a trimmer and know how to handle it well, you can edge a lawn using your trimmer.
- BROOM AND DUST PAN
Usually grass clippings will get onto sidewalks, driveways and on the street. The clippings need to be picked up after the cutting is complete. It is critical to do this, because without a clean surrounding the impact of the work that you've done on the lawn will not display well. If the clippings are small enough, you could sweep them back onto the lawn to save you the time of picking them up. Otherwise, just pull out your broom and dustpan and get sweeping.
Many professional lawn care providers use a leaf blower (click to check current price at Amazon.com) instead of a broom to save time. But a broom works just fine for someone who is starting out. Just be sure not to wet the surroundings, as this makes sweeping cut blades more difficult and extra work.
The constant rubbing, pulling and yanking you do in handling motorized tools will wear out the skin on your fingers and hands in a matter of minutes, fully disabling your performance. Also you'll find yourself having to grab things that you won't want to handle with your bare hands, such as thistles, prickly hedges and poison ivy. To protect from this wear and tear on your skin, you most definitely will need two pairs of heavy duty pruning gloves (click to check current price at Amazon.com), one long enough to reach your wrists for pushing your mower and another long-sleeved enough to reach your elbows for picking up thorny trimmings.
- EYE AND EAR PROTECTION
You don't want to end up injuring your eyes because you didn't take the precaution to cover them while working. Your tools will kick up debris and a single stray pebble could mean the difference between 20/20 vision and an eye patch.
Just as with your eyes, you'll want to protect your ears. A lawn mower can get noisy and having it blare in your ears for hours on a day for days will have an impact on your hearing. So grab some ear plugs (click to check current price at Amazon.com) to reduce the sound.
- LAWN RAKE
Sometimes you'll have large grass clippings left on a lawn after a mowing. You'll need to pick them up. Having a rake (click to check current price at Amazon.com) comes in handy for this specific purpose.
- LEAF AND LAWN BAGS
When you start out you may not have much green waste to toss. The easiest way to dispose of the waste would be to use your client's green waste bin. Short of that, get some canvas. Spread it out on the ground and load it with the brush residuals. Wrap the canvas around it and dispose of its contents where appropriate.
As your business grows, you will have situations where your client's green waste bin isn't big enough to handle the entire volume of organic waste. At this point you'll need to use bags to store the waste to drop it off at a recycling location.
- RECEIPT BOOK
Most businesses write receipts out to their customers. It's a professional habit to keep up. You don't need a fancy receipt book. Just grab one from Office Depot or Wal Mart.
- FUEL CANS
Most lawn care tools are gas operated. This means that having extra gas available at all time is essential. You should consider getting at least a 1 gallon and 2 gallon can. You'll need the 2 gallon for your lawn mower, and the 1 gallon for your trimmer and/or edger.
Be aware that small engines use certain oil to gasoline ratios. You'll have to mix your gasoline with a little oil before using it on your tools. Check the owner manual to see the correct ratio for your equipment.
Get the correct oil for the correct engine. Consult your mower, trimmer, and edger's owner's manual for the correct oil to purchase.
If you don't have an owner's manual, do a quick online search for the type of oil to use for your specific model.
- BASTARD FILE AND BALANCING TOOL
Over time a mower's blade gets dull. It needs to be sharpened so it cuts cleanly. After sharpening your blade it's important to keep it balanced, otherwise it can damage your mower.
Using a bastard file is probably the cheapest method of sharpening a blade. After sharpening, you'll need to ensure that your mower blades are evenly balanced. That's when the balancing tool (click to check current price at Amazon.com) comes in handy.
- SMALL TOOL KIT
You never know when you will have to make some small fixes on your equipment, or have to replace a mower blade (click to check current price at Amazon.com) while on the job. So be prepared by at least having some wrenches and screwdrivers readily available.
Having a vehicle that can hold all your lawn care equipment is vital. Without a proper vehicle, you're stuck with working within walking distance.
Your vehicle will need to have the capacity to hold your equipment as well as any bags of green waste you throw away.
If you don't have a vehicle that can carry your equipment, then consider purchasing a small trailer hitch and cargo trailer. Here's a simple explanation on how to get a passenger car to tow a trailer.
Obviously you'll have to spend some extra money to put together a setup like this but if you intend sincerely to start making quick money as a lawn care provider. The expense is a small investment when compared to the profit you can make soon after.
- EXTRA SUPPLIES
Once you have a decent client base, be sure to purchase extra supplies. It's better to be prepared than rush to get items that you don't have on hand:
- Extra trimming wire
- Extra spark plugs
- Extra oil
- Extra air filters
- Extra mower blades
These will come in handy if you need to make a quick replacement of blades.
You'll need to replace the air filters on your tools when they get full of dirt. A dirty filter can result in dirt entering your engine, which can cause serious damage.
Maintaining your lawn care equipment shouldn't be neglected. The efficiency of your work depends a lot on how well your tools work. Plus a tool that suddenly shuts down because of poor maintenance can set you back not only some bucks for repairs but also in lost business.
So always keep your equipment well maintained. Here are a few important maintenance tips to keep in mind:
- Sharpen Your Mower Blade
Sharpen your mower blades (click to check current price at Amazon.com) regularly. Mowers are meant to cut grass cleanly. When a mower has a dull blade, instead of cutting the grass it shreds it, which leaves a jagged grass leaf tip exposed to disease. Not to mention that sharpening blades is much cheaper than buying replacement blades.
How frequently should you sharpen your blade? It depends on how often you are using the mower. Professional mowers tend to sharpen their blade at the end of a day – about 8 hours of mowing.
Check out this video to get some instruction on how to sharpen your mower blades.
- Balance Your Blades
After sharpening your mower blade it's important to ensure that it's balanced. A blade that has more weight on one side can lead to vibration that will break down your mower and damage your hands.
Check the balance of your blades by using a simple blade balancer.
- Clean Your Tools
Removing dirt, grime, and grass from your equipment helps keep them from building up rust. Don't forget to replace air filters every so often.
Replacing oil in your small engines is a good habit too. Usually the owner manual details how often oil should be replaced.
- Servicing Your Tools
Just as your equipment is essential for your business to function, so is having a servicing company available to repair your equipment should anything happen.
You need a quick turnaround from whatever service company you decide on. Having your equipment in shop for days can spell disaster since your clients may not be willing to wait for you to get your equipment repaired.
Look online for local service shops. Visit Google and type "local small engine repair", or "local mower repair", or "local lawn mower maintenance" and then enter your city name. You may get a load of local shops to choose from.
Better yet: learn to do repairs yourself, at least at the beginning, to save yourself time and money. As you grow, you can have someone else cover this area of repair for you.
Visit your local hardware store for specials or refurbished tools sold at a discount.
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