PDA

View Full Version : Annual Income...


quickcuts
04-23-2005, 10:50 PM
Hey all. I don't want to be rude at all when I bring this topic up, but since we are in this business I think we should know how much we're making. I have decided to not go to college and continue to work my lawn business. Most people have told me that I am basically an idiot and that I will end up going back to school after I fail in my business. I think, though, that I can make an honest living doing this thing and doing it well. My goal is to have 200 weekly lawn maintenance account by the time I am 21 (I am 18 now.) Right now, we have 38 accounts and I just hired my first employee. Anyways, what do you guys think about skipping college to work my business? Do you think one would ever be able to achieve a six figure income from owning a lawn and landscape business? Any advice/critism would be helpful. Thanks, guys!

pjslawncare/landscap
04-23-2005, 11:05 PM
Honestly, If I were 18, I would stay in college to better my chances. Its a big gamble if u dont. Some areas, u can do just fine, but some areas are so saturated with LCO's, you may not do so well even if your the best. I think its wiser to continue education since your still young.

pjslawncare/landscap
04-23-2005, 11:08 PM
Oh yea, my annual income is 6 figures gross, but my net is only 46 k

mower_babe
04-23-2005, 11:09 PM
Do you truly want an honest opinion? I truly think that you should finish school. At least get a 2yr degree in some skill. Do it while you are young and do not have spouse, kids, etc, etc, etc... OMG - I sound old. I could bore you with the details, but I won't do that. Remember that this advice is just a blanket answer, I don't know you or what would make you happy. And we can't look into a crystal ball to see what would be the better scenario. If you can handle school do it, you should always have a back-up plan. JMO

rclay11541
04-23-2005, 11:13 PM
Chandler,

You need to go to school. I am 21 and have been an official LLP for a couple of years now. If your going to make it big you must have some sort of education behind you. I luckly have two very sucsessfull parents, they are both captains of industry, and as much as i learned from them i still found the need to go to Collage. Collage teaches you so much about business and how to suceede, some of it you must be born with, but some you have to learn. Its also a saftey net. Lets say (god for bid) you get injured and cant work manual labor anymore how are you going to earn a living? Your company isn't big enough yet where you can hire people to do your work for you and support yourself.

Im still in school im going part time and continue to grow my company. Do yourself a favor go take management 101, I guarentee you after you take that course you will see the need to go to school.

Landscaping is also risky there are plenty of guys on this site who make over 100K annualy but there are plenty others who have been doing it for practicly thier whole lives and they are still hovering around the poverty line.

Your goal of 200 lawns is admirable for me to make 100k a year with a partner i would need approximatly 275 lawns.

mkroher
04-23-2005, 11:26 PM
200 lawn accounts requires a lot of overhead to mow. 2 trucks? 2,3 or 4 guys? how many mowers? How big are your lawns? You have 38 accounts and already need a helper? Are you in an area where people go with the low baller? Where I live, my customers pay the extra to get the service.

I myself dropped out of college to start my company. It's my 5 year. I mow 60 residential and 3 condos... by myself. I hire help to condense the mowing schedule to get side jobs in. I have my pesticide license and offer that service too. I have two kids and my wife is the "at home mom". Just remember that being self employeed can be hard at times. How will you support you and your family over the winter? Plowing? That's a whole different ball game in itself. Plowing sucks either way you look at it. Some people say "thats where the money is". To me.. I'd rather bust my butt in the summer when it's warm and make all the cash, and sit home during the blizzards and drink hot chocolate with the wifey. But... I plow. Because i have to.

My advice: Finish school. If you get hurt and can't do hard labor, then you're screwed. Make sure your wife (in the future?) has a job that provides benefits for both of you. I pay $800 a month in health insurance (sucks). Also, find your nitch (thanks Tony).. pick a service in the green industry and perfect it, be a pro. I found that i do too much, take on every job, and this increases the need for more "tools of the trade", and up goes the overhead. Stick with a few things you like, and be good at it. And as far as employees, don't hire white guys.

I don't know if my babbling and patheic story was helpful to you or complete garbage. Good luck with your decisions and grow slow!

BALDEAGLE
04-23-2005, 11:38 PM
get the schoolin while ya have the chance... as mowerbabe said...,and if that last post is what a COLLEGE education will get ya, i think i'd add a english
class or 2

nocutting
04-23-2005, 11:42 PM
Hi, anything is always possible, but you should have as many options as possible too....I know plenty of guys who started out as you & today are in there 40's & "Burnt Out", sure they gross 6 figures, have 1 or more crews [ & equipment]2-300 weekly lawn accounts.....But you gotta have a niche, Me, I started out at 18, worked for "Lawn Doctor", than Managed a LCO for 3yrs [ At 22 w/ 6 service crews], it wasnt till I was 28till I went into Tree care, By a national company, got promoted to Sales Rep. at 30 [ but was at a severe disadvantage] compared to the guys that came from college w / degrees in "Arborculture", sure I was "Smart", learned Fast,took class's at nite, on weekends [ in Horticulture, perennials,insect / disease ID,IPM,,ect]....Now I'm 40's, considered a "Organic Specialist"by my peers, [ benificial releases, biological controls,native plantings,Arbor care/ Tree surgery, cables, rods, cavity & root care- speciality pruneing by hand / & power tools,Compost tea brewer, the works, I do it all]....run a part-time biz, gross the 6 figures, [ my net is my personal bizness] ....but how do I feel that my sisters kids [ after summering with me, graduate and get starting salaries of 6-digits?...."Woopie", [ & they have something to fall back on if the market crashes again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]...Hope you see my point, stay in school, learn something, that little piece of paper will take you to places only "Dreamed" about by some of us other guys....Good Luck, mowing will always be around after school. :cool2: :cool2: payup payup

mkroher
04-23-2005, 11:48 PM
baldeagle i hope that english crack wasn't about my post...

this is just a forum, so who cares? lay off

Jeff@SGLC.ca
04-23-2005, 11:55 PM
Forget school, who needs it. LOL...I did 2 years of college without actually graduating but I had a couple things I knew I would be getting so I wasn't too worried. Best thing is run the business, take evening courses, nothing too busy just enough and continue school that way. If you find you can't make a go at the lawn care biz then you aren't starting from scratch in school again.

DALMlawn&landscaping
04-24-2005, 01:18 AM
dont go to school, school is for fools!

don't be a fool, stay in school!

read Rich Dad, Poor Dad

justanotherlawnguy
04-24-2005, 01:31 AM
I believe it depends on your area. If the business is there, and you can make a living doing lawns, go for it. People think I am an idiot for having a Landscaping/Lawn Business. But if you do it right and have a plan it can be extremely lucrative, even in Florida.

I say skip college. I can say that because I went and got a degree. No not just a Bulls#it degree either. I have a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a major in Information Systems Management. It sure looks beautiful framed hanging on my wall. What a waste of time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If I took the the time and cash that I invested going to school. and put that into my business, I would be swimming in cash right now.

Unless you are going to school to be a doctor or lawyer, dont waste your time. Maybe at most take a couple of business classes. I get more answers right on Jeopardy because of my degree, thats about it. I would rather have the Benjamins and the security of knowing that my job is not about to get downsized or outsourced........................just my $0.02

Richard Martin
04-24-2005, 04:58 AM
Stay in school. I wish you could come to my area. I would take you for a ride in a boat down the South River and show you hundreds and hundreds of million dollar waterfront homes that advanced schooling bought.

Roger
04-24-2005, 05:56 AM
Go to school!!! If a four-year program is out of the question because of costs, then at least get to a trade school. Some quick money now will not carry you for the long term. You have 40 years of working career ahead, and most of those years will have to be fruitful to support yourself (family?) and the likelihood of doing it well will come because of an education.

northmichigan
04-24-2005, 07:46 AM
why not do both! take some classes that support your business and interests even if they are in the evening.maybe just one accounting class to help with all that money you are going to make.Remember this:school is the best way to meet single ladies...........................
study hard.
mj

K&L Landscaping
04-24-2005, 08:06 AM
I believe it depends on your area. If the business is there, and you can make a living doing lawns, go for it. People think I am an idiot for having a Landscaping/Lawn Business. But if you do it right and have a plan it can be extremely lucrative, even in Florida.

I say skip college. I can say that because I went and got a degree. No not just a Bulls#it degree either. I have a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a major in Information Systems Management. It sure looks beautiful framed hanging on my wall. What a waste of time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If I took the the time and cash that I invested going to school. and put that into my business, I would be swimming in cash right now.

Unless you are going to school to be a doctor or lawyer, dont waste your time. Maybe at most take a couple of business classes. I get more answers right on Jeopardy because of my degree, thats about it. I would rather have the Benjamins and the security of knowing that my job is not about to get downsized or outsourced........................just my $0.02
You just said everything that was on my mind. I went to the Univ. of Texas for 4.5 year's and graduated with a BS in Bio-Medical Science. That's the hardest crap I have ever done in my life. Now look at me, I landscape and cut grass. You ask about income, well let's say that we are comfortable. Not rich but we are in the middle class for sure. The point being, college was a 4.5 year waste of my time. Look at how many people who went to college are not even in their respective career field any longer.

MMLawn
04-24-2005, 08:16 AM
Stay in School! You can always cut grass later.

Also if you go against the advice that everyone is giving you and do the LCO thing instead then take this advice. FIRE that just hired employee because at only 38 lawns you are along way from needing any employees yet! Unless they are each multi-acre estates, which I doubt, and assuming you have the proper commercial equipment, then 38 lawns at your age should only be a "part-time" gig anyway so to speak still as you should be able to knock those out in 2 days, no more than 3 as a solo. If you can't then I can already tell you you aren't going to last in the business anyway, so another reason to Stay In School.

Littleriver1
04-24-2005, 08:23 AM
My biggest mistake was not staying in school. I've been paying the price for it all my life. The amount of money you will make during those years you should be in school can be made up in a few months in the green industry. Don't let the love of money make your dicisions in life. Money is easy to come by.

Charles
04-24-2005, 08:30 AM
I go along with staying in school too and/or doing both at the same time if possible. You may change your career choice many times in the future. Education will help you ease into something else if you desire to do so

Southwest Lawns
04-24-2005, 08:30 AM
Stay in school....

For me its very nice to have a a six figure household income outside of lawn care (it takes some of the pressure off) and do high quality lawn care part time.

With that being said, if I were you, I would
1. go to a junior college (part time) cheaper and at least here the institution really doesn't matter
2. take at least two classes a semester (two classes is not that much and gives you more time for studying and working)
3. keep your GPA high 3.5 or better
4. run my lco part time
5. Find a good graduate program (B.A.'s are like LCOs now-a-days nearly everyone has them).
6. Build your LCO try not to spend a lot on equipment while you are a student.
7. and above all Keep learning
8. Once you graduate and you need tax shelters (grow your business i.e purchase equipment, building, hire employees ect).

BTW, I'm working on steps 7 and 8.

It takes a while doing it this way and I'm a new lco but I'm also not stressed about seeing a lot of trucks with mowers as I drive through town. Face it, there is a lot of competition in this industry and a lot of people are doing really good jobs at next to nothing; some because they have to (i.e. its their only source of income and low ballers are eating up the market share) and some because they want to. Since you are young, you have to decide if you want to be a HAVE to make money in a highly competitive industry or WANT to make additional income and have tax shelters using a saturated industry.

Aaron
BA Chemistry 2000
Masters Public Administration 2002
Soon to be student in Landscape Architecture

carolinacutter
04-24-2005, 08:38 AM
Sounds like you are getting answers from both sides of the fence.....I say marry a rich chick and RELAX....just kidding!! I had close to 30 accounts (solo) when I was a senior in H.S...dropped them ALL cause I "thought" I was gonna go to school. Here I am 8 years later trying to get em all back. I screwed both, got outta LC and didn't go to school so dont take my advice. Well maybe the part on the rich chick!! :D

EC-Rider
04-24-2005, 08:49 AM
…A collage degree will give you prestige and bragging rights later on in your life, plus if an unforeseen opportunity should knock on your door you don’t want to lose it to the lesser guy b\c of a degree. :p

Now having said all that, school will not give you common sense, make you smarter, more knowledgeable, or a better person…That will always be up to you…much like common sense, which is free BUT…some got it, some get it, some don’t! LOL! ;)

Good luck and I hope you make the right choice.

Hope that helps!

It’s all good! Enjoy! Peace! :angel:

Regards,

ProLawns
04-24-2005, 09:03 AM
There are a lot of variables involved in whether or not you will be successful in your career. I tried the college route and after about two years and an insult from the Dean of engineering who told me I wasn't "the right caliber for college", I guess that was his polite way of saying I wasn't smart enough, I dropped out. I've always had a mechanical aptitude and that's really helped out in this business. I worked as a small engine mechanic/power equipment salesman for several years and I do 99% of the repairs on my equipment myself which saves a lot of time and money, a very needed skill in this business. I'm 45 and been in business 14 years and have been fairly successful. However I would rather have a degree and be doing something less stressful but then the grass is always greener on the other side. I guess my biggest worry is that will I be able to continue this type of work until i'm 65. That thought never crossed my mind when I started out. I turn away tons of business every year because i'm scared of becomming too big. I lack the management skills required to oversee employees. I carry one part time helper during the season plus my son who is with me full time during the summer. What ever route you choose I wish you well.

SunSwept
04-24-2005, 10:40 AM
A little of my background before I give you any "advice":

I am 48 years old and my fulltime job is computer programming. I have been programming since I was 15 (in the early 70s) and I make some very good money at it.

I went to college (after 4 years in the Army) to study nuclear engineering. I quit after my third year because I could make a lot of money programming computers. Just afterwards, the bottom fell out of the nuclear field. No new power plants have been built in the US in about 20 years.

From 1994 until 2004 I had earned 6 figures each year as an independent "contract programmer". 2004 was a bad year for me. I got stiffed outta 3 months of money and ended up hiring lawyers to finally get it in 2005.

That being said, in 1999 I made over $200K and knew that the proverbial "end of the world" was coming for computers and started looking for a way to get out of the field. I came up with 4 rules: 1) Whatever I did was not going to be so complicatred that I couldn't explain it to my cat: 2) Eventually, I was not going to be the one to do the work and that was the reason for rule number 1; 3) What I call the toilet-paper rule: whatever I did, everyone would need at least a little bit of it all of the time; 4) Instead of 1 or 2 large clients, I would have many many small clients and if I lost one or two it wouldn't hurt so bad.

There is much work out there that fits all of these rules but I chose lawns. Hopefully, this year will be my last with the computers. I am doing well and growing all of the time.

WOULD I GO TO COLLEGE? Probably not. I would make sure that I was literate, that I could properly spell and use the words (there, their, they're, for example) so as to appear intelligent to the customers and employees. I would take 'continuing-education' classes. I would attend seminars. But I would not go for the college degree as the degree is only helpful when you want to work for someone else as an employee. Think of it ... Orville and Wilbur Wright built the first airplane to fly under it's own power. Where did they get a degree in aerospace engineering? The answer is, they didn't. They made the rules! And the world is full of examples like this.

One other thing .... another post mentioned that you might get hurt and can't do this kind of work and then "what will you do?".

The difference between a small business and a large business: walk away for 3-6 months. If you still draw a salary, if the business still moves on without you being there, if everything is still going when you get back, then you have a big business and not a small business. Strive for the big business, then RETIRE before you are 35, buy a sailboat live on it for 6 months per year while the rest of us sweat out butts off cutting grass.

kevinsky
04-24-2005, 12:13 PM
Go to college now. It will never be more conveinent. I earned a degree in business while I worked my father's lawn business. Although I started my own business soon after college, I think the education ultimately led to my success in business. There is no doubt you can make more money owning your own business than with a four year degree, but why not do both? There are so many doors that will not be open to you down the road without a college degree. Good Luck!

BALDEAGLE
04-24-2005, 03:40 PM
baldeagle i hope that english crack wasn't about my post...

this is just a forum, so who cares? lay off

that was intended for the post before yours, ya snuck in ahead of me there,as i don't type real fast,not having a college education, and all...
just kinda grabs me by the booboo sometimes when some 21 yr old snot-nosed punk says ya can't get anywhere w/out an education...when his apparent 3 yrs. so far, haven't even learned him to spell college.
ok - the bad day, and a few brews, might have had a little to do w/ it too.

hoyboy
04-24-2005, 07:52 PM
Go to school. Yes, the stats clearly point out the fact that college educated people make more. That's not the reason for my recommendation, however. Contrary to some posts, college will make you a better person if you apply yourself. You will learn to reason. You will learn discipline. You will learn thought processes that far exceed the degree that you obtain. Even if you end up in a completely different career than your degree (even landscaping), the wealth of knowledge and personal enrichments you learn while in college will follow you all your life. Get it while you're still young. 200 accounts sounds like a huge business to you right now. It is not. A lack of education will eventually handcuff you to remaining small and "manageable," as so many other here have found themselves in that same predicament.

Dan

lawnranger44
04-24-2005, 08:32 PM
Go to college, maybe a community college close to where you live if you are dead set on running the business. I am in college and my brother is keeping the business running when I am not home so I've got it covered but...

College rocks! Not only is it fun and a great way to meet people and get out on your own, it will make you a hard worker and you will learn how to discipline yourself. If your lucky your parents will help you pay for it (I'm not). But even if they don't you can get a nice loan to help you pay.

I might run my lawn business after college, but my degree will give me options in case I want to run the business part time and get a full time job. The possibilities are endless now.

lawnandplow42
04-24-2005, 09:53 PM
If you know you are going to be doing this work the until retirement, then i don't think you need college. But it depends on how good you are with the business aspect of landscaping, not just the actuall work. IMO, i'd skip college.
I've always thought that the money you spend on college, plus the money you could have made while you were in class, just doesn't make sense.
I know there are exceptions to that but just my idea.

joes
04-24-2005, 11:08 PM
Yes go to college! I just turned 24 I have owned my business for 4 years. I have also gone to school for 2.5 years of engineering then switched to business. I am graduating in two weeks with my associates in business administration. I will be continuing possibly for my MBA. I currently maintain 51 accounts commercial and residential. College is a HUGE help. In class we discuse many business issues and I have to say it really helps. I currently take six classes at night and work during the nights and weekends. It also challenges me alot and makes me feel good about myself that I can do so much. It's not easy but I am sure you will not regret going to college. College will only help your business grow!!! I know from experience.

BCSteel
04-24-2005, 11:11 PM
Go to school. Yes, the stats clearly point out the fact that college educated people make more. That's not the reason for my recommendation, however. Contrary to some posts, college will make you a better person if you apply yourself. You will learn to reason. You will learn discipline. You will learn thought processes that far exceed the degree that you obtain. Even if you end up in a completely different career than your degree (even landscaping), the wealth of knowledge and personal enrichments you learn while in college will follow you all your life. Get it while you're still young. 200 accounts sounds like a huge business to you right now. It is not. A lack of education will eventually handcuff you to remaining small and "manageable," as so many other here have found themselves in that same predicament.

Dan

That is EXACTLY why I'm going back to school after 8 years of self employment with a high school education.

Greenstar Services
04-25-2005, 02:23 AM
I've been in the industry for over 20 years now and I still don't know what I would major in if I went back to school. The money I make is in the 6 figure range.
Set yourself a time line or goals. If you don't reach your goals you can go back to school and still have staff run your service for you. All you would have to do is check up on the quality of work after your school day is done.
Good luck.

Aussie Topcat
04-25-2005, 03:10 AM
Stay in school Mate!

You'll burn out by about 25, then you will wish you stayed in school :blush:

To late, then you will be "stuck" mowing! :cry:

We love what we do, cos we dont know better....lol :p

I stii0ll go back to do courses, so stay at school-

Thank us all in 5 years! :waving:

bicmudpuppy
04-25-2005, 01:45 PM
To go or not to go?

Yes, I have a college degree (it's even in this field roflmao). What did I most get from my BSinAg? A complete disrespect for college degrees.........

That being said, STAY IN SCHOOL. Doesn't make sense, right?
Let's assume you have the skills to make what you have work and your business grows. Your making a comfortable income. Who do you socialize with? A college education goes way beyond the degree you earn. It gives you a perspective on life. Go part time. Don't give up what you have, enhance it. Is there a good, small 4year college close by? or better yet, a nice Div.I school?
Since your not going to be trying to impress a prospective employer, pursue your personal interests. Do I recommend some buis Mngt and acct? You bet. But take an art class. Take a communication class and learn about advertising. Feed the hunger for knowledge that any educated, successful person has. SOCIALIZE. College will provide you opportunities to meet people and form bonds that will help you later in life. Cram a 4 year program into 6 or 8 years. Who cares when you graduate? I would recommend you compile the credits necessary to receive a token for your efforts. And, if you find something you really enjoy (and don't tell me the hard work and sweat of this business is your life long dream), pursue it. If an advanced degree is a possibility once you are in school DO NOT GRADUATE w/ a bachelor's degree until you have taken every class you can in your chosen direction. You can take classes that qualify for graduate credit at undergraduate prices if you hold back graduating. Most can't afford this luxury. If at the end of the day, your goal is to enjoy life, a quality education will help you have the right contacts down the road to make your life easier.

Black95gt
04-25-2005, 02:26 PM
i would go with the lawn care. If you can make about $60,000 a year and be happy with that, i would take that path. It sucks working for somebody and to be your own boss, there is nothing like it. get to that 200 weekly accounts, and hire employees to do the work and sit and collect your money doing nothing. But i do suggest taking a few business-entrepenuership classes and some business law classes. it could save you if uncle sam comes knocking at your door.

quickcuts
04-25-2005, 09:22 PM
Hey guys, I really appreciate all of you who responded to my thread! Your advice has aided in my decision-making process. After talking with my parents, friends, youth pastor, and so on, I have decided that I will continue to run my business as full time as possible, but still take business courses at night. As far as socialization, not an issue. The University of Tennessee (go Vols!) is 5 minutes from my home, and most of my best friends are going there next year. Also, as far as my getting hurt and the business sufferring, not a problem, either. I have a partner that could handle the lawns solo, and we share the profits because we both own the equipment. There is a community college about 15 minutes away which I plan to take my business courses from. I think they also have some landscaping courses. Anyways, I really do appreciate all your advice!