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Old 12-07-2016, 05:56 PM
 
6 posts, read 4,428 times
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I own a lawn and Landscaping business in southeast missiouri. Our town is growing at an astounding rate. More and more corporate stores coming into the area. Own all of my equipment. Could we ( me and my wife ) earn a living a decent size Montana town.
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Old 12-07-2016, 08:35 PM
 
Location: C-U metro
1,359 posts, read 2,628,954 times
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The mowing season is about 2 months shorter than it was in Tulsa (close enough for this comparison). Unless you want to have the companion snow removal business, you won't make it. Snow removal is profitable but it is very crowded with locals.

The price people are willing to pay for lawn services is lower as well. My mom flat turned down $60 a month as too expensive in Billings. I was paying $90 in Tulsa and I bid it out to three providers.

You also need to really need investigate the real estate prices for the area you are looking at. In some areas, you'll pay more than 2x per sf than what you are paying in Missouri.
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Old 12-08-2016, 12:15 AM
 
6 posts, read 4,428 times
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My town is not as big as Tulsa but with 15,000 in the city and another 15,000 in the county ( plus we are the county seat ).
We've owned and operated our business for twenty years. For the first ten years we did snow removal and Christmas trees sales. But the snow dried up and coundn't survive off tree sales for the whole winter. So now we expedite freight around the country in the winter. But six winters being away from home also gets old. Just spent 5 days in my van stuck in Laredo. Now were in Alabama waiting on a load out of here.
Would like to move up the there, mow some lawns, buy a small track of land that borders a natonal forest. So we feel like we own more land with less neighbors . Sorry for loving nature and the wildlife more than neighbors. Build a small cabin and live simpler but still have town 10 to 20 miles away for work and amenities. That's not to much to ask for is it?
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Old 12-08-2016, 03:42 PM
 
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Best bets might be Helena, Butte or Hamilton. The first two are bigger and would have more landscaping & trucking business. Hamilton might be leaner on those businesses. Would be good to visit for a week or two before committing. Call around ahead of time for initial information about prices, competition level, etc.


Bozeman and Missoula probably have more upscale clients if you wanted to compete for that, offer extensive services but land / housing nearby will be much pricier. Kalispell is out there too but getting more expensive. Billings would be a good market for work but you'd have to commute an hour or more out to be right next to national forest. Coeur d'Alene ID, Twin Falls ID or Sheridan WY are other options.

Last edited by NW Crow; 12-08-2016 at 03:58 PM..
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Old 12-08-2016, 11:21 PM
 
Location: Montana
387 posts, read 322,510 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NW Crow View Post
Best bets might be Helena, Butte or Hamilton. The first two are bigger and would have more landscaping & trucking business. Hamilton might be leaner on those businesses. Would be good to visit for a week or two before committing. Call around ahead of time for initial information about prices, competition level, etc.


Bozeman and Missoula probably have more upscale clients if you wanted to compete for that, offer extensive services but land / housing nearby will be much pricier. Kalispell is out there too but getting more expensive. Billings would be a good market for work but you'd have to commute an hour or more out to be right next to national forest. Coeur d'Alene ID, Twin Falls ID or Sheridan WY are other options.
I agree with NW Crow. Bozeman would have more options for clients who would use you as a business (if including snow removal), however you could never afford any land next to forest here. 5-10 acre empty tracts w/o utility run to them around here start around $200,000 minimum. Utilities are 50-100% higher in cost to run than in Great Falls, for example.
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Old 12-09-2016, 12:24 AM
 
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Thank you for all of your input. Hoping for smaller community but your probably right about earning enough in bigger areas, but that's what I was trying to get away from. Might as well stay where I'm at. At least the cost of living is cheaper.
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:17 AM
 
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What size community is your preference? Ravalli County has 40,000 but it is a big county at 2,400 square miles. Hamilton itself is not that big. Most are scattered outside of it.


If that is too big / "crowded" maybe look at places like Dillon, Thompson Falls, Townsend, Columbus, Eureka, White Sulphur Springs.


I don't how big community you need. It depends on how good you are at getting work / taking it from the other guy who lives down the road and they knew in high school or somebody's brother or son.


"Landscaping" in MT could be stretched to including baling hay and spreading it out again to feed animals in winter. Would you do any of that or other farm work (moving snow, fence repair & new, machinery maintenance & repair, firewood and forest thinning / burn pile operations, road maintenance and other bulldozing, irrigation system operation & repair, etc. )?
There are people with the equipment but without the time or inclination to do it or all of it "this time" or ever again.

Last edited by NW Crow; 12-09-2016 at 11:44 AM..
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Old 12-09-2016, 06:10 PM
 
6 posts, read 4,428 times
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First, thank you for your input. As far as what I can do, I'll do anything to earn a dollar as long as I work for myself. I can operate just about any kind of machinery and I'm a very quick learner. I just need a big enough community and people who are willing to pay for things they can do but don't want to. We are just wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of a large community.
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Old 12-10-2016, 05:03 AM
 
2,772 posts, read 3,459,975 times
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I looked at # of landscaping companies listed in yellow pages website by the communities I listed and computed ratios of # of companies per population of the metro area or county. It appears that in the larger communities there is 1-2 contractors per 1,000 population. In the smaller communities it was more contractors per thousand population. I don't know what this means for sure. Probably the big cities have more big contractors with lots of jobs and employees whereas in the small towns it is probably mostly one man operations. But I might shy away from the smallest towns. 43 landscaping contractors of one kind or another in Hamilton MT yellowpage listings. That is a lot of competition but it is probably enough business to take a piece of it.


Hamilton seems pretty ideal to me if you want a place big enough for work, a small downtown, hospital etc. Lots of gorgeous land nearby. Prices will vary by how far out of town you are. Willing to live 30 minutes out, up a side road and it will probably be cheaper than 5-10 minutes out on a main paved road.


Pick 3 places to research and visit. If you really want to try it and have some cash buffer, try it. It is a gamble to some extent though.


Butte had the lowest ratio of companies to population. Helena and Bozeman had a lot more. People want to live in those places more than Butte. Maybe in Butte more people do it themselves or fewer have enough money to attract someone to do it. Or maybe there is some untapped potential there.


You could always move again if need to.

Last edited by NW Crow; 12-10-2016 at 05:18 AM..
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Old 12-10-2016, 05:07 AM
 
15,832 posts, read 18,454,406 times
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Why would you move if you are doing so well there?
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