Starting a Lawn Care Business from Scratch | EP. 1

have you ever thought about starting a lawn care business that could be worth millions of dollars but you just don't know where to start well stick around for this video where we'll walk you through how to do that in this new series we are filming someone starting their business from scratch we'll talk to nick reed and his mentor mike andes can you break down the cost or maybe the profit margins on those three services me joining as a franchisee is essentially like an insurance policy i want to encourage our viewers that you don't have to have 25k to get started nick is only 21 years old and is up for the challenge his aim is to reach 160 000 in revenue in his first year and mike's advice is crucial to achieving that goal i'm looking to spend between 35 and 4 at the top end i'd say half of the year this is the best mower you're ever going to run to second year revenue what's your goal for that um second year revenue uh 300 000.

Mike is no stranger to landscaping at the age of 13 he started mowing lawns to pay his way through college today he owns his multi-million dollar landscaping company has an mba consults many small businesses and has used his top-rated business boot camp podcast to help entrepreneurs all over the world so he's a perfect mentor yeah i think the problem with you know the idea of a mentor is that like the first thing you do is ask and i don't think that's right it's easier to systematize simplicity if you've ever wanted to open up a lawn care business or any other business for that matter you definitely want to pay close attention to nick's progress and mike's advice we'll be giving you a front row seat to see how nick is building his business from scratch [Music] all right you guys we're here with mike andes owner of augusta lawn care services and nick reed someone will be shadowing and posting progress updates for you guys so let's start with mike real quick mike tell us a little bit about yourself and why you feel qualified to be a mentor oh yeah so i started agusta lawn care about seven eight years ago now and uh in terms of qualification i don't know if i'm not necessarily qualified but in terms of what gus has done since then we now have 34 locations around the united states and canada and i speak a lot at different conferences and things like that for landscapers and have a podcast called i think that makes you pretty well qualified we'll share more about why so nick how do you find yourself in the lawn care business out of all the businesses lawn care is something i've been doing since middle school i enjoy being outside it's good honest work yeah and it's just kind of led me to where i am now okay nick walk us through the first steps in starting a lawn care business what are the key things we need to look for someone watching has no idea where to start but really has a lot of passion the first thing obviously would be to find a source of knowledge um it's not good to go into this kind of thing blindly right especially if you have no experience running a business in terms of starting the physical business um you need to get licensed you need to get insured you need to make sure that you have a budget and that budget needs to include marketing the cost of all of your tools the cost to the franchisee or the franchise if you are franchising um and you basically just need to start with a budget and section that off towards all certain things and then create a one-year plan as to where that money is going to be spent and when how did you decide on what services you're going to offer and how has mike's experience sort of helped you shape those decisions so the model is simplicity so we do mowing uh landscaping and property cleanups it's all entry-level skilled labor i can take somebody off the street and teach them how to use a tool and have them doing the work within a day and so the reason why we want to keep it simple is because starting out with a lot of complexity becomes an issue when assets don't get utilized like we had a ten thousand dollar wood chipper sitting in the yard for like six months that never got used once and so it just makes a lot more sense to just really drive for the simple services and not start out with trying to offer every service to everyone because there's going to be so many more issues that pop up as a result and it's going to be a lot more difficult to train people to do those things um anything you want to answer that mike yeah i think it's a matter of you know he knows where he wants to be at right he he eventually wants to have a team he eventually wants to have where he doesn't have to show up every day for work because there's simplicity it's easier to systematize simplicity the more complexity you add to the business the more and more the owner usually has to be there to juggle all the balls and so him knowing from day one hey i want to make this simple so it can run on systems it's easier to systematize simplicity and so i think that's what he's focused on and knowing the end goal is so important when you're starting a business because you'll you'll have you'll eliminate all the juggling and changing the business model that would otherwise have to happen if you added complexity now makes sense you guys are wearing the same shirt tell us a little bit about again why the lawn care business do you have any previous experience and what does that journey look like for you start to start off with yeah so um i've been with augusta here locally for two years um and the reason why i decided to own and operate my own franchise is because i've seen all the effort that mike puts into giving content to other people to help them run their lawn care businesses and um me joining as a franchisee is essentially like an insurance policy because i i've seen the systems work i know how it works and basically i just have to learn all the back end stuff but it's an insurance policy and i just know that there is no chance that i'm going to fail because i've seen it work did you think about starting from scratch versus signing up with augusta i mean i just the question for somebody watching do i start with a clean paper or do i join a franchisee um i mean if i you know if i never worked here at augusta if i never got in touch with mike's uh podcast or any of his content i probably would have thought about starting right by myself but i probably would have followed a similar path that most people do that don't have business experience but they know how to do lawn care and then they go into the business and then the business side of things get all twisted yeah they don't do so well and i think in one way like franchising is almost kind of like mentorship even if it's not from a person right because it's a form of kind of like learning certain processes that would otherwise take money and time and you get that as part of being a franchise but there's also drawbacks right you have you have to use the same name if you paint your truck a certain color those are all parts of a franchise versus independent right and i think that's an interesting you know thought process for someone starting out people love numbers let's talk about numbers real quick those three services mike can you break down the cost or maybe the profit margins on those three services yeah so you know in terms of mowing landscaping you know obviously in this industry that's kind of like the two big ones um and for us mowing is the recurring work right and that's the beauty of mowing is every single week you're showing up you might go to someone's property 25 30 35 times in a year that recurring work is beautiful because you can build on that whereas with landscaping it's one-off jobs like you you get a lead you sell them you get a twenty thousand dollar paper install or twenty thousand dollar big project then it's done beautiful thing about mowing if i have 500 customers this year well next year i get 100 more now i'm at 600.

I can keep building we're just landscaping it's more one and done this one gets affected more usually during a recession because people have discretionary income they may don't do a big project mowing it's a little bit more consistent and so typically the margins on landscaping is going to be higher than mowing but again this is recurring right okay and then you've got the cleanup you said um yeah it kind of falls under landscaping as well i see okay just yeah landscaping you know it's pretty broad terms but at least this is the simple plan that we're looking at yeah yeah if you go on the website and look at the services this is what'll show up perfect pretty easy now for somebody watching who may want to find a mentor any ideas any suggestions on what they should do um for example they're looking at lawn care maybe somebody else is looking at our auto care business different mentors for each or let's dive into that just a little bit yeah i think the problem with you know the idea of a mentor is that like the first thing you do is ask and i don't think that's right um for someone who is of value and is very busy they're not just gonna be like yeah you can come follow me i'm gonna talk to you i'm gonna take all my time like you have to take into account the fact that he worked two years for me before ever getting you know a franchise or any sort of mentorship or help like i think that mentality of like asking first is wrong i think it's what can i do for you and then in return most people are going to want to give reciprocate that you're right because that's what i think about you ask can you be my mentor who are you what are the tips and things don't ask do what i would say absorb as much about that person from afar first so when you do ask when you do talk to them you actually have some context like he knows that i'm in the lawn care he didn't come and ask me about some other company right and then like i said first give first give and then ask later on just thinking about how we can give like i'm sitting in my office i've got a business idea and i'm like man i need somebody that knows better that can be a mentor nick you can barge in here too as well we're just kind of sharing ideas but what what can our viewers do on other tips and tricks and ideas yeah i think just looking where you can help them right like for example he came and worked right he did work here physically maybe someone needs someone to do their marketing maybe do make a free video for somebody if you're a videographer and you want a job working on some media agency why don't you make a free video for them why don't you create something of value for that person first and then let them reciprocate and most decent human beings want to do that that makes sense it's almost like using the barter system yeah you're offering someone a service in exchange for hoping that they will offer you the help that you're seeking [Music] can we take this into more of your business plan too what did that look like i know we broke the numbers down a little bit can we do that here just so that we can see how you're starting out with how much dollars and how you're breaking that down maybe give your first year projections and kind of break that down yeah yeah so um for the first year um projection kind of in the middle estimate we're looking at 150 000 starting out the budget that i had um the money that i had saved up to get started was uh 25 000 okay startup expenses included um the truck which purchasing the truck getting it painted getting the decals on it cost me around eight thousand dollars um with the registration after that we're gonna have the marketing expenses so um i think i have around ten thousand set aside for that all the other insurance um licensing fees just the miscellaneous stuff is the remainder of that and equipment yeah equipment yeah that's a big big one that's a big one yeah yeah equipment as well and i'm looking to spend probably around four grand in all my equipment which is pretty cool guys because we're going to go to the store and actually do some shopping and break down the cost of what you're looking to buy right yup so that'll be pretty fun i know we talked about budget a little bit i want to come back a little bit you mentioned how did you get started 25k came from where i spent the last year living in a van um purely to save that money i wasn't sure what i was going to do with it at that point you know the franchise popped up and i was like man i love everything that goes on here so it was kind of a no-brainer but yeah so i had no expenses during that time in the van so just saved up like crazy yep yep wow beans and noodles literally well for somebody who doesn't have a ton of money mike nick where do we get started can we go and get a loan or do we start with one machine i want to encourage our viewers that you don't have to have 25k to get started yeah like i think for a long care landscaping business at the end of the day we're providing a service and we're giving our customers time that's what we're doing well you just ask yourself like how can i save them time well you only need like a blower and a bin and a rake that's what i've always said you need a bin some cash mush get some leaves you need a rake and you need a blower if you can do that you can clean up leaves you can you know do a lot of work around someone's place and get started get that flywheel of momentum moving and then go get a mower then go get a truck and just move from there you don't need all that money but if you're gonna you know have a lot if you're into 150 000 your first year yeah you're gonna need to spend some money in advertising equipment et cetera nick in terms of being ready for day one what step are you on now what else is left for you to really hit the ground running well i'm on the final step uh after this after this interview we're going to be going to carl's and i'm going to be purchasing the rest of the power equipment and i can get started on monday i'm all licensed insured ready to go wow you guys gonna be excited we're not only gonna film him purchasing what he needs to get started next week but we've got some more updates and progress coming up for you in the next couple weeks [Music] what's the benefit mike coming back to you as far as mentorship what's the benefit to the mentor and the mentee let's assume there's a relationship like you guys you're helping nick get started what's the benefit to you what's the benefit yeah i think as a mentor that's the terminology we use i think it's uh it's very rewarding to give back to somebody uh and be able to take it's kind of like a a father and a son or a mother and a daughter or whatever it might be passing down what you've learned and your experiences down to someone else and seeing them live that out is super cool and hopefully that you kind of make the journey a little easier for them in that process so for a mentor that's very fulfilling i'd say fulfillment is probably the thing that would be the the highlight for a mentee they can avoid the costly mistakes wasted time and the frustrations of doing it for the first time by themselves [Music] mike do you have any other tips on building your customer base you know for nick just starting out for people watching right now what's really worked for you yeah i think when you're first starting out something leading back to something nick said is that he's gonna start off going door-to-door right and the reason is because when a lot of times you first start your business you have a lot of time and not a lot of money and being really just boots on the ground willing to grind is something that is very very important for someone just starting out doing those things knocking on property managers doors knocking on customers doors doing door hangers those are like the boots in the ground hard work that it requires to do something very scalable but also that is cheap because you don't have the money you don't have a bunch of of money and capital go spend on big advertising campaigns right sounds like nothing is better than face to face especially when you're starting out because you don't have the money usually right like as time goes on you get really busy a bunch of crews like here we don't do any door-to-door we don't do a lot of door hangers right we do more we have the money to spend on google and facebook and things like that as your business evolves you're going to change your marketing somewhat to facilitate the fact that you do have money and you don't have time when you're first starting out it's the opposite and a lot of people get hung up on that and they think that oh i can't door a door i can't do door hangers a lot of it comes down to pride for someone to be able to be willing to do that hard grinding work really is the thing that sets them up for success down the road we want to hear from you about what topics we should cover what questions we should ask so make sure you comment below we want to hear from you make sure you check out our blog as well and next year we've got a hub coming out that will have everything you need to start grow and be successful in any business make sure you guys go to forward slash hub and sign up for updates so that you're the first one to know when the hub goes live [Music] nick what's your revenue goal right for the first year so talk to us about that first year maybe if you have a second and fifth year little projections out there what does that look like so okay pretty cool yeah so uh first your revenue goal is 150 000 and how we're gonna get there um it's not like if you broke that down divided by 12 and you're like oh he's gonna make twelve thousand dollars every month um it's gonna be more of an exponential curve so what's gonna happen is the first three months um basically in the main of the spring rush um there's not gonna we're not gonna be making a ton of money we're gonna be dumping all of the money that we make into marketing and just growing and accelerating as fast as we possibly can into the summer and then once we hit late summer we're going to slow down a little bit and then focus on profitability so it's a lot of growth really fast kind of leveling out and just trying to sustain that through the year and end the year with money left in the bank so that we can market um even harder the next year so second year revenue what's your goal for that um second year revenue uh 300 000 and i don't have a full second year plan set up yet right um obviously that'll be in the works here pretty soon it's pretty ambitious sorry yeah yeah you know and it's it wouldn't make sense to set a goal that is easily attainable because it's not really a goal a goal is to get you to stretch and like just reach towards something so on on the first year you had said that you wanted to take about 50 000 in profit is that right yeah what about the second year um in the second year i would probably um if i'm running extremely lean between 75 and 100 000 very cool and profit yeah um and you know that's that's these are pretty ambitious numbers um but again that's that's the goal is to be extremely lean and efficient from the start because i've seen how our systems affect stuff so hopefully i won't be making as many costly mistakes early on [Music] for those that are in the business already maybe struggling adding to their customer base what's working for you now they have a little bit more money they have a budget google facebook what's the top runner yeah like right now digital is huge and because of what we've gone through in 2020 with the health crisis so many of our target population in the lawn care industry which is an affluent retiree they're now online they're now at home before the pandemic maybe they weren't on social media they rejected the thought of buying things online now all of a sudden they have to be that's the way they're communicating that's the way that they they're on facebook they're on instagram um and so this completely changed the way that we have to communicate with them and that's through more digital media in my opinion so what would be one or two that is working well for you google facebook nextdoor and youtube ads and i think if you look at the metrics behind especially youtube ads right now it's becoming very popular and how you target these customers is more and more important in my opinion with youtube for example you can target them based upon net worth and if you're trying to do lawn care landscaping you're traditionally going after a higher net worth individual and so facebook you can't do that but facebook again you're probably going to have a lot of you can also target my age so lots of different interesting ways to target people on digital media so you need to educate yourself quite a bit on on google next door facebook and really who you want to go after and just try it you know just try it you know do it do an ad see what works you know do one with your face do them with a picture do one if you're in your truck and just start seeing what works what doesn't work and what one flops versus what takes off right okay you guys you want to make sure you stick around because we're going to go to the store start picking out equipment talk about budget cost et cetera so make sure you keep watching so how do you think we'll spend the day like in terms of the equipment today at your mind yeah so um based off of just like the rough pricing that i did on stuff um the 30 inch mower it's probably gonna be my biggest expense gonna be around you gonna buy a 30x yeah yeah absolutely yeah it's i think it's worth the efficiency and i'd rather pay more up front to make sure that all my equipment is standardized in the long term um so i mean realistically i could get away with uh 21-inch mower but i have the money i may as well invest in it it's gonna make me a lot more efficient while i'm by myself and be able to allow me to get more estimates and more work done um you know so we have the 30x 30 inch mower that's gonna be what 2700 yeah probably probably around there with taxes i get two wheelers um to start i'll probably just do one with a combi yeah i'll get the commie attachment with the normal string head okay because i normally do all my edging with a string right so i just need the metal head just to establish edges so we did the this is a metal or so the combi motor we're looking at 400.

advertising equipment

And then we got the combi is 200 i think the edgier attachment are you getting a trimmer attachment yep i'll get a hedge trimmer attachment so three attachments for that one got it and in the spring and the string you're right yep they're like 200 piece cool and then a blower yep a blower and a sprayer cool so i'm looking to spend um between 35 and 4 at the top end all right so we're over here at carl's over here in ferndale washington i'm going to be buying all of the equipment that i'm going to be using to start up my business so our advantage of going with an x mark 30 over a traditional 21 is we're getting you know that much more capacity at most so we're really two passes with this is three passes with the 21. what's some of the downsides of this versus the 21 though yeah that's a great question so i like the stripes of this right it's a nice wide stripe but currently the probably the biggest struggle that we're seeing out of a 30 is the fact that it's hard to get the horsepower that we need to handle that much grass on a wet day right so if you i'd say half of the year this is the best mower you're ever going to run all right so we got the mower let's go ahead and go inside and get the handheld take a look at what you got for handheld yeah oh look at this they got the robot mowers here too that's cool man these are the robot modes they've got auto mowers from husqvarna they got one from honda and there's a lot of pros of these because you don't have to hire someone to mow a lawn anymore these can go back and forth you set them up one time and they can mow lawns literally all day long and they come and charge at night super cool i think the future of the industry these will be used more and more one thing these can't do is weed whack blow things off edge trim bushes so we still we have job security still but these are definitely a more efficient way for labor for mowing the lawn [Music] we can get the dedicated string trimmers but you're starting your business and you see the advantages of the combi setup right that doesn't lock you into a weed eater or an edger you buy one engine and then you can get different things you know i grabbed this one too yeah i like that straight edger too right that's a nice it's nice set up with pulsar so all in for this like what this cost and the attachments just approximately yeah so i'm going to round up say 400 this is a little bit high 200 for the edger so we're at 600 700 900 and again i'm going to round up on this to 200 it's actually 180 so we're at 11.

Sorry i've lost where i was about 1100 bucks to get you set up cool all right now let's go ahead and look at the blowers yeah absolutely so these guys are running 4.99 so we're about 1100 and 400 500 so we're 1600 and we're about 2300 for the mower this guy's putting you back 120 bucks it's gonna hold about four and a half pounds well that's a wrap for today hope you guys enjoyed it make sure you hit that like button subscribe to our channel because we've got a lot more progress updates coming up for nick and the amazing advice that mike is giving him on how to build a successful business make sure you check out our other video with mike and other lawn care business videos that we've done the link is in the description below and enjoy

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