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rikmn
05-14-2005, 10:04 PM
I'm 40 yrs old and have spent the last 22 years in the heavy construction industry as a heavy equipment operator and project manager. I was thinking of starting a groundskeeping company because the only job I ever really loved to do was when I was 16 and worked for the local school district mowing and doing upkeep on 5 schools, although if I do start this company my wife and oldest son will do most of the day to day work. I noticed most of the posts on this site are from warmer climates, we are in minnesota, where the season can be short. maybe some folks from the north can comment on that issue.

grass disaster
05-14-2005, 10:08 PM
I'm 40 yrs old and have spent the last 22 years in the heavy construction industry as a heavy equipment operator and project manager. I was thinking of starting a groundskeeping company because the only job I ever really loved to do was when I was 16 and worked for the local school district mowing and doing upkeep on 5 schools, although if I do start this company my wife and oldest son will do most of the day to day work. I noticed most of the posts on this site are from warmer climates, we are in minnesota, where the season can be short. maybe some folks from the north can comment on that issue.


22 years?? you better start looking for a desk job!
maybe get a city or county job, all they do is stand around.

rikmn
05-14-2005, 10:23 PM
22 years?? you better start looking for a desk job!
maybe get a city or county job, all they do is stand around.

city and county dont pay nearly as much as the union, and standing around isnt something i like to do

yrdandgardenhandyman
05-14-2005, 10:33 PM
22 years?? you better start looking for a desk job!
maybe get a city or county job, all they do is stand around.



Why? Because he's 40? He is still a young man. No age is the wrong age to start a new career.

Jeff@SGLC.ca
05-14-2005, 10:40 PM
Age has nothing to do with it. One of the companies we contract with the guy is at least late 40's and goes harder then even I do. He even sent home his helper one day after he wasn't happy with her work and did the next 2 days solo.

Toy2
05-14-2005, 10:47 PM
You can look into snow removal, not sure what it takes,,,,,but I know some folks do that in the winter!!!Good luck!!

Lawn Wolf
05-14-2005, 10:47 PM
Oh yeah !!! There are a lot of 40 year old that's athletic as the young ones. As a matter of fact they have a better angle due to experience. The older folks have learned from their past young mistakes and go at it better. :blob3:

Green-Pro
05-14-2005, 11:00 PM
rikmn,

Don't listen to the "kids" I started my own Lawn & Landscape company this year and I will be 40 in June. I walked out of a job at a company I had been with twenty-one years, mainly because after fifteen in manufacturing the last five being in an office was killing me (factory closed so it was office or nothing).

Since leaving Feb 18 this year things have been pleasantly surprising, true its hard work, especially being solo, but your working for yourself and the end results mean much more. Personally I've never been happier in my working life and I know I can support my family of wife and four daughters. No we won't set any financial records this year, but I am learning alot and we won't starve. We will be able to cover costs of business, pay our bills and my wife is a stay at home mom, although she does substitute teach once in a while.

Anyway bottom line is do what your heart and guts tell you, heck no 40 is not to old.

Good Luck

-Geoff

P.S. forgot to mention make sure you Plan...Pray... and know what your costs are business and personal.

grass disaster
05-14-2005, 11:07 PM
You can look into snow removal, not sure what it takes,,,,,but I know some folks do that in the winter!!!Good luck!!


WOW this is a funny one. i think the guys around here went out a total of about 5 times. i tell you what go for it :cool:

rikmn
05-14-2005, 11:19 PM
I plow snow already, went out about 5 times, kinda sucked. snow is feast or famine, I really didnt miss the 35 hour shifts though

Forest
05-15-2005, 05:29 AM
Welcome to lawnsite! Lots to learn and share. BTW, Minnesota may certainly have an intersting climate, but from where we're at its not to shabby. 7 months give or take a few weeks or so with cleanup and all. I just wish we had more snow during the winters. Good luck. Hollar if you have any questions. -Forest. :waving:

Roger
05-15-2005, 07:11 AM
I started at 57, after 35 years of a professional job. I yearn for the days of having my old job back, but was "exited" after a buyout. After eight seasons, I have made enough money for my wife and I to live two seasons, all others we had to use savings. We live very frugually, no vacations/travel, no health insurance, no house payments, no savings/retirement set aside, ... just bare bones. I keep looking for alternatives to get out the business ASAP.

Others are right - age has nothing to do with it. However, 60-70 hour weeks for a 20-something, or even 40-something, is probably easier than a 60-something.

I realize conditions vary so much around the country, but in this area, I think 8 of every 10 that start lawn services are out of business after 1 or 2 seasons. Apparently, other places the business is more stable.

Others have said "make a plan." This is vital. However, also the comments include "know your costs." When starting out, this is very difficult, if not impossible. Your equipment needs will be different than somebody else and what kind of service work will dictate what equipment you need. And, we see on LS every day that individual considerations vary widely -- somebody "has to have" this or that, others consider it unnecessary. In my area, I see the LCOs that are around more than 2 seasons running very little new equipment. The ones with shiny trucks, trailer's full of equipment -- gone!

One thing I've learned from all the reading of threads on LS is that situations and working conditions vary so much around the country. True, some things are similar, but so much of the business is different (e.g. customer's expectations, LCO's services offered, equipment that can be used, work season length, ...). What works for some folks in one area will not work in another.

Remember this business is a service business. If you are not interested in providing services, getting customers, working with customers (and their quirks), and you are not ready to accept the most important item of the business (the customer), then find something else. I read often about those wanting to get started because "... like to mow grass," "... like to be outdoors," "... like to be my own boss," "... like to run equipment and maintain it," and so forth. These are important reasons, but I believe the most important thing is wanting to be in a service business -- providing services for others, getting customers, keeping customers, and running the business as a service company. All the great equipment, right kind of blades, nice trimmers, etc, riding around on a trailer is of lesser importance than wanting to be in a service oriented business.

I'm sure some will disagree. I read so many threads of complaining. After reading all those complaints, I wonder if some people really want to be a service company.

Sorry to ramble, but my encourgement is to look at the bigger picture of being a business owner, not just an equipment operator.

cantoo
05-15-2005, 10:13 PM
rikmn, I live in Ontario and work in Michigan so I'm not home that often. My wife does most of the daily work and I do the maintenance and equipment upgrades. We have about 35 regular cutting customers and about another 50 or so leaf or cleanup customers. We also do other kinds of work that don't need a set schedule like cutting trees, parking lot grading, maintenance work etc. Our weekends are pretty much full of extra jobs or doing maintenance on equipment. Yesterday I worked on equipment most of the day, this morning we went to town to buy some more parts for another mower and I just got in from changing and sharpening blades again. She works about 4 days full time mowing. We have 3 times the equipment we need to do the work but at least this way if something breaks she can just go get another one. We have around 10 lawnmowers most of the time, everything front Walkers to JD. They are all advertised for sale (except the Walker) at all times so that if someone comes up with the right money it's gone and replaced by another right away. We make as much money selling equipment as we do driving it. We enjoy doing what we do but last fall decided that we were going to slow down some and enjoy our motorcycle more. We dropped some pita customers but ended up getting more from referals so much for free time. We are not taking on as many side jobs though. We're both over 40 and been doing this for quite a few years. I wouldn't worry as much about your age as I would your competition, make sure there is room for you.

Todd's lawncare
05-15-2005, 10:45 PM
22 years?? you better start looking for a desk job!
maybe get a city or county job, all they do is stand around.
Ddddi you see what he does now ???????????????????/ he runs thing that are 100 times bigger then you 21'er ya dumbie and why would any one in there right mind work for the city and tget a bad name ?? Because thats about all there good for is hold up shovels, walls and holding the ground down !!

Mike's Yard Services
05-16-2005, 12:24 AM
Good Luck and welcome to the bizzzzzzzz............I am to be 42 in Nov.and have been working as LCO for the past two summers, still have fulltime/benefit job as powerplant operator but really love being in service industry and keep plenty busy between regulars and occasional vacation or "equip in shop" customers..........Just looking to put aside enuf $ to pick up that first decent WB...........btw 4 kids too...from 11 weeks to 17.5 yrs..............