Help for a Newbie: Landscape Design  -- Landscape Discussion Forum and Review Help for a Newbie: Landscape Design -- Landscape Discussion Forum

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 04-25-2001, 07:21 Post: 27208
Thomas Nowacoski



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 Help for a Newbie

Hoping some of you have advice! I am thinking about starting a Landscaping / Water Garden business! I would like to start by using my own house as a 'showcase' but do not have the funds to purchase all of the euipment needed! Should I bite the bullet and hope all works out okay, should I lease, Rent, etc?






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 04-25-2001, 19:53 Post: 27242
jeff winter



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 Help for a Newbie

Newbie how much experience do you have in this venture? With enough experience and a few jobs lined up you might be in line for a small business loan .

jeff






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 04-26-2001, 05:59 Post: 27254
TomG

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Tractoring is a capital-intensive business and such businesses only work when the capital is kept busy (otherwise savings bonds make more money). Unless there's a ready to go client base, a lot of time has to be spent developing clients. Without a developed customer base, the conventional wisdom is 'plan to loose money for about 2-years. Generally, capital intensive businesses don't work very well as 'side-line' ideas, because the owners don't have enough time to spend both developing customers and doing the work. They also don't usually have enough work to justify hiring somebody else. Unless the equipment is kept busy, the investment is just sitting there creating a capital depreciation allowance, which doesnít make much money and gets the tax people thinking that itís not a serious business after a few years. Anyway, I had a capital intensive sideline sound and lighting business for 10-years. Didn't make much money, but I did have fun. Then, I discovered it's more fun to be on-stage than behind the audience operating a soundboard. Being a performing musician is an even more sure way not to make much money--sure is fun though.






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 04-26-2001, 09:45 Post: 27263
Ted Kennedy



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 Help for a Newbie

Thomas, I really had to work hard on not going off the deep end with a response to your post. Both Jeff and TomG make good points, and I know what you're thinking, "...all I wanted was a little help!" Not knowing your background makes it hard to write a good response so if this isn't germane you'll have to forgive me. The very first thing I'd do is honestly ask myself what makes me think I want to do landscaping? Next, what do I know that is better than my competition? How much do I know about operating a business? How much capital do I have for startup, how much saved to live on? How well do I tolerate hard physical labor? If you can answer these questions in a positive way, honestly, then you've got a shot at the banks for a loan. I'll also tell you what I tell everyone who wants to get "in", and that is, go to work for a landscaper, a golf course, or a big nursery. Act like a sponge and soak up everything, but pay considerable attention to how your employer cost estimates jobs, how he/she orders plant stock, what kinds of equipment is owned, what is rented or leased. Consider some adult education classes in small business, agriculture, and landscaping if available. And if after you've gotten your feet really wet for about a year, and your thumbs start to turn green, then honestly ask yourself, "do I really want this?" If "YES", then welcome to the club.






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 04-26-2001, 13:33 Post: 27268
JJT



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 Help for a Newbie

A lot of good advice already. A quick visit with your local loan officer will probably answer your questions if you havn't had a business loan before.

Good Luck JT






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 04-27-2001, 06:10 Post: 27284
TomG

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Banks in Canada where I am are a little conservative. They also make record profits--good for shareholders and executives not particularly good for depositors and borrowers. Anyway, Canadian banks almost always ask for collateral for personal and small business loans. First rule in small business (I learned it at a night course) is NEVER NEVER EVER UNDER ANY CONDITION offer your house as collateral for a business loan. If a bank insists on personal property for collateral, what they're telling you is they don't think the business idea is particularly good. However, they'd be perfectly happy to make the loan provided they can get their loan back by throwing you out of your house. On the other hand, right now in Ontario, there are some government assisted loans for small business startup. Such programs probably are available in many places and should be checked out.






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 05-12-2001, 20:57 Post: 28097
Peters

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 Help for a Newbie

My advise is start slow and learn about what equipment you need. Don't give up you day job until you have the clientel and equipment to cover you.
I have a compact tractor 2 yrs old 4x4 with bucket, low hours, a large tractor, equipment trailers and attachments, but less than 15K invested in all.
If I had to sell every thing tomorrow I would make money. Learn about what equipment you need and shop for the deals. Be patient. Learn how to take care of your equipment, running into the local dealer for everything will only delete your savings.
Finally consider small equipment more suitable to the task. The small tractor I just purchase was from a landscaper that decided to get more into installing irrigation systems. He had found that the tractor was too large around many houses and backyards. He was looking to purchase a Toro Dingo or Ramrod. The Ramrod is less money than the Toro. Everything can be transported on a small trailor and can be pulled with a small pickup.
A friend of mine has one for a stump grinding business has has on the side.






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 05-13-2001, 06:54 Post: 28108
Art White



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 Help for a Newbie

Thomas, take your time and see if the buisness can exist. Low investment dollars would be renting from a yard until you have built enough of a buisness base to see what exact equipment you need to buy. Are you in a area you can do this year round or just part time? Where is your nearest competition and how are they doing? What is the potential for growth in the buisness? Your work now will lay the ground work to sucess or failure, dig deep!






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 05-13-2001, 22:11 Post: 28128
Rick Cosman



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I'll be blunt. When someone is starting an enterprise or investment they think of return ON investment. When it fails they pray for return OF investment. Good news will always take care of itself. Ask all the questions that were well put from Tom, Ted, JT, Art and Peters. I will tell you that Banks DO Not lend to little individual guys ( no offense) regardless of your experience to start a NEW business. If you have some ace in the hole contracts from proven paying customers up front and you have answered all the other questions objectively, you could consider putting your house up. Perhaps its not alot of money you need. And you have your old job or source of income to fall back on so you wouldn't lose your house. Otherwise, Tom G. is Right on! Business's fail from lack of capital and experience. And by experience I mean Business Experience in general not specifically your type. Dealers and suppliers that sell and rent the type of equip. you need are probably going to be your best source of finance. I once financed an addition to a commercial bldg. using money from a vending company and guaranteeing them exclusive vending rights. Banks don't put there capital at risk on equipment that goes down in value each day. Your credit rating has little to do with a straight business loan. Loan to value ratios do. Banks like to finance invent. or equip. purchases to established (5 to 10) year business's. And preferrably with cross collateral and personal guarantees. But most importantly think of where your income will come from. Without cashflow every other positive aspect of your enterprise dims. The fellas on this board who are in the business are too modest. I'm sure each of them spent some sleepless nights wondering how to make payroll or overhead, let alone pay themselves. A business has to be focused on the production of income! Products, service, reputation, all that stuff is the means to the end. But producing income is what you do! Whoo...aren't you glad I'm done? Rick






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 08-23-2001, 01:45 Post: 31210
Ken Tajchman



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 Help for a Newbie

Buy a sharp shooter shovel, a spade, a four point, a pick axe, a three pound sledge, a 6 cube wheel barrow, gloves, knee pads, hedge shears, pruners, a cooler, a truck to haul it, a wife that loves you, a chiropractor, and get started on the weekends. Notice nothing there cost more that $100.00 Work one weekend a month for six months, mostly for friends and co-workers. Do volunteer work, network. Work for little old ladies, they bring you nice cool tea and sandwiches. Then re-evaluate. This is a back breaking business, and contrary to popular belief you don't need a loan, you need little if any capitol. You do need a vociferous want and a desire to work with the earth. You need motivation to get out of bed when every muscle in your body hurts, and it is going to be a hundred and two today, and you are still dehydrated from yesterday. You need to start small, and ONLY buy tools and equipment when the need arises, or WHEN yours break. Henry Ford didn't start out building the model T, he built a crappy little single cylinder converted horse buggy with a wick carb. Reset your sights lower and work into it slowly, before you know it you'll be working more than you want to. Then get that business loan.






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Landscape Design Forum

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