Last month we posted some highlights from the appearance of Teddy Mathis, our national sales director, on Lawn Care Live, the series on which Jason Creel of Lawn Care Life and occasional guests answer questions on a livestream. Asked for advice to help people entering the industry, or considering it, their comments, mostly about equipment, were so interesting that we decided to devote a full post to the subject.
And they know what they’re talking about: Teddy ran his own company for more than 20 years, and Jason started and sold two lawn care businesses before founding Lawn Care Life. The following is based on their conversation.
How Much Money Do I Need?
The initial investment needed to enter the lawn care industry can be as low as nothing, if you already own a mower and a vehicle you can transport it in. Wear and tear from professional-level use will have you shopping for more durable equipment soon, so it’s a good idea to plan on spending your initial earnings on upgrades.
If you don’t have access to used equipment and have money on hand, you should expect to spend up to $30,000. Those initial purchases will include a commercial lawn mower (around $8,000), a truck ($20,000 and up), and a trailer ($1,000), with another $1,000 set aside for supplemental equipment. For example, if you want to offer treatments, you’ll need a tank. A 200-gallon model costs about $500.
Don’t Sweat the Details
Both Teddy and Jason emphasize that equipment decisions shouldn’t become obstacles to getting started. Jason calls the indecision common to this phase of the business “analysis paralysis.” Teddy points out that he started his business with a 200-gallon tank on a trailer and over 17 years expanded to $1 million in annual sales. They agree that getting out in your community with services and marketing should be the top priority. They’re not saying that equipment isn’t important – just that a lot of decisions that people think they need to make before they can start can actually be made along the way.
Both share the belief that investing in your business as it expands allows expansion to continue. If a piece of equipment will empower you to operate more efficiently, then you should buy it as soon as you can afford it. For example, Graham spray rigs are often more expensive than others on the market, but with many customization options on offer you pay for the features that you know you need. In addition, the durability that comes from Graham’s high-quality components and workmanship translates into a decades-long working life with fewer maintenance costs.
You can find more information about operating a lawn care business in the blog posts and videos here on the Graham site. If you contact us, we’ll always do our best to answer your questions. To dig even deeper, visit Jason’s site, lawncarelife.com.