Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Your House Soon...Soon
Thanked 2,249 Times in 1,094 Posts
Welcome aboard. I'll try and answer of few of your questions.
The mowing season for northern Illinois runs from April 1 thru the end of October.
If you are interested in doing big ticket items for Nationals, be ready to carry your costs for 60-90 days and upwards before reimbursement. That number is dependant on the National, their policies and whether they are reputable. You can expect to kick back 25% as a discount on each and every order.
How do you determine whether the rates for mowing are fair?
You set your own rates based on the private sector and then hold them up against the Nationals. You'll pretty much know after that.
I'm not sure what you mean by having your own equipment will get you a little more pay. No company I know of lends equipment to their contractors. If they do, you are most likely an employee.
The main variations to lawn care for nationals are the initial and the recut.
During the initial you will likely be expected to do more at the foreclosed property than you would do at your own house.
The recuts are basically the same as the initials, you are simply paid less.
The "QC" aspect of all this is when the late teen/early 20's cubicle intern goes over your photos and decides which jobs they are not going to pay you for. This can vary from as little as 5-10% and upwards.
If you are interested in working for a sub of one of the nationals, that means you are probably around 4th or 5th on the food chain, and the money is awfully thin at that point.
Yes, everything I just mentioned is pretty cynical; it's also based on fact and experience. Preservation work is truly a "don't quit your day job" type of sideline. The money train has passed for the lower tier contractors. Read thru the forum and you'll pretty much find all the answers to your questions in much more detail and from other viewpoints. Godspeed.