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mikewhit1010
03-20-2008, 06:51 PM
Hey everyone I have read a lot of post on here and I want to give some words of encourgement. I have been in this business before but nothing like what I have currently grown my business to. I am at 36 accounts. Which includes an apartment complex, church, storage shed, and a large account with a property management company. I currently have atleast 2-3 landscape projects weekely. No this is not cleaning up leaves or trimming trees.

I do this all with a full time job. I work 8-5 and I have to leave to work at 7 and get home at 530. I work in a corporate office and during this cooler months I bid jobs at lunch and sometimes get a quick mow in. I havent low balled or anything and I have done this all since October 5 2007. I am not bragging but telling you guys that are having problems to hang in there. I could be at a lot more accounts if I did this as my main priority. For you guys thinking about quitting your jobs make sure you have enough work for the slow season. For you young guys stick with it. I graduated from a private school (TCU) and got made fun of when I got back into this. My first year I should push just under 55K. With my full time salary I should make just about 100K. True I have worked myself to the bone. Lost one relationship in the process (She needed to go anyway) and have been sleep deprived for the last 9 months but it is worth it. Young guys do what you can.

Once again you do this job and you are succesful by working 7 days a week and doing it when the sun gets up and goes down. When it goes down that is when you start doing your books.

I did this all with $400. I purchased a toro and homelite equipment. 10 mows later toro is still there and homelite stuff is in the dumpster. Currently I have 3 toros, a tiller, 3 echo trimmers, 2 echo hedgers, 4 chainsaws ( I do a lot of trees, misc other stuff.

Smith Lawn & Landscaping
03-20-2008, 07:40 PM
Good story welcome to lawnsite.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
03-20-2008, 07:56 PM
mikewhit - hats off, you are ambitious and I give you credit for that.

What are you driving at though? Why do you work full time when you have a 40+ hour work week of work with your own green business? Do you love your full time job? Debt?
I'd hate to see an ambitious, hard working guy like you lose relationships with other people for the pure sake of working 80 hours a week. Just my two cents...

zz4guy
03-20-2008, 08:03 PM
WOW that is awesome. Like you I work full time and do this on the side but man you are kicking my butt. 36 accounts!!

I've been doing this since Jan. 07 with about 10-15 accounts the whole year plus working anywhere from 40-70 hours a week at my main job.

This year I am trimming things down a little. Ditching the low and late payers and far away people and focussing more on quality. I already make more than enough $$$ at my full time job so wanted to only keep the customers that I enjoy.

Good luck this year man.

four seasons property
03-20-2008, 08:15 PM
mikewhit
I know how you feel, I myself have a full time job and a small lawn maintenance business, which is fully insured and registered. Unfortunately my past upbringing was not the best therefore I need a second income to help with two great kids in University and a beautify wife helping out the best she can.
I myself started out with a $1000.00 investment and have improved it to approximately $3000.00. The good news is the great customer’s I have and the support I get from my family. Mike there is a lot of mow and blow guy’s out there with the same story

TexasFire221
03-20-2008, 08:19 PM
I have always enjoyed lawn care and mowing. Worked for a guy in West Texas when I was younger. He had a huge company with about 50 employees. I am a firefighter and only work about 3 days a week. In January I found a ad on Craigslist for a Lawn Care Business for sale. He had all equipment and about 30 clients for sale. I purchased it all. He called all his clients and I sent letter out to them also and so far have only heard from about 5. I have picked up about 6 new ones since January so if those other 24 start calling I will be in great shape. Yesterday I purchased a 49 inch Bush Hog ZTR. VERY VERY solid mower. I just signed up at this site today so just wanted to introduce myself.

4curbappeal
03-20-2008, 09:18 PM
Good luck! I know how it is.

paul vroom
03-20-2008, 09:22 PM
Sounds like you have it going on:cool2:

But what I really want to know is how did you get rid of her?

mikewhit1010
03-20-2008, 09:51 PM
Thanks guys for all those kind words. I wanted to post that so that if anyone is having second thoughts then to keep pushing. You have to work hard to get to where you want to be. I believe anyone who has ever been given something wont appreciate it as much as someone who has worked for it. I also believe if it wasnt for bad times there wont be any good times.

That being said I underbid a job last weekend and ended up working for $200 a day. Not bad except I was 40 feet up in a tree for 16 hours. Now for the good times. I just landed a landscape job at a guys house who wants to spend nearly 75K. This is a shock to me and I guess he just liked me.

Hang in their guys and I strongly believe we are some of the most unique people because of the amount of work we do, what we do it for and how we beat our competition with our quality.

Thanks for replying to my post. Didnt mean to get serious but just wanted to give people some hope even though the economy is down.

mikewhit1010
03-20-2008, 09:54 PM
mikewhit - hats off, you are ambitious and I give you credit for that.

What are you driving at though? Why do you work full time when you have a 40+ hour work week of work with your own green business? Do you love your full time job? Debt?
I'd hate to see an ambitious, hard working guy like you lose relationships with other people for the pure sake of working 80 hours a week. Just my two cents...

To answer this: She thought with my private school degree I should be doing something else. I believe that there is money to be made in this industry if you do it right. I think its easy to make 40K a year in this business but I think its hard to make 500K or more. I think with the right business plan and the right marketing and structure you can do it. She basically didnt want to bring home a guy who was pushing a lawn mower to her daddy. Funny thing is her dad just got laid off and is to embarressed to tell her family. I wonder if he owns a mower? I also need to add someone to my crew. Ha ha just kidding but this is a great industry.

N.H.BOY
03-20-2008, 10:00 PM
Good luck to ya and hope you have insurance being up in a tree. Must cost alot for it...I know my insurance goes up alot if I even climb a ladder past the sixth step:dizzy:

Whitey4
03-20-2008, 10:49 PM
OK.... you have a full time 9 to 5 job, and do 35 properties a week? As a solo? I know solos that have 35 accounts (all small plots) and work 50 hours a week to get that done. With commuting time, just doing the work between a full time job and 35 accounts has to be 100 hours a week, and that doesn't include billings, trips to suppliers, equipment miantenance and on and on. There is only 168 hours in a week. If you only sleep 6 hours a night, you are up to 142 hours.

Call me skeptical. With a schedule like that, you have about 24 minutes a week left to sit on the john. Show me a breakdown of where your hours are spent.... and I MIGHT buy into half of this story.

cgaengineer
03-20-2008, 11:31 PM
OK.... you have a full time 9 to 5 job, and do 35 properties a week? As a solo? I know solos that have 35 accounts (all small plots) and work 50 hours a week to get that done. With commuting time, just doing the work between a full time job and 35 accounts has to be 100 hours a week, and that doesn't include billings, trips to suppliers, equipment miantenance and on and on. There is only 168 hours in a week. If you only sleep 6 hours a night, you are up to 142 hours.

Call me skeptical. With a schedule like that, you have about 24 minutes a week left to sit on the john. Show me a breakdown of where your hours are spent.... and I MIGHT buy into half of this story.

Damn Whitey you got out the calculator didnt you!!

paul vroom
03-20-2008, 11:34 PM
I am waiting for the sales pitch.............:D

coif_kid
03-21-2008, 12:06 AM
I don't mean to start an argument here, but I'm not so sure there is that much to be proud of. At the end of the day, the money is great, but it is the relationships and time spent with others that matters most. Now if you're making this money and still maintaining and growing the other more important relationships than great. However, if you making more money at the expense of these things then is that really what anyone wants?

CustomKare
03-21-2008, 12:16 AM
Whitey,

I have a full time job and did 31 accounts solo last year. It can be done but I was glad when the season was over. Infact a tough year with snow... I was hoping for more time off this winter. As one of the posters said...you sacrafice relationships when you work this much. 25 years with my wife...I figure she'll get over it.

Good luck to all this season

Weekes
03-21-2008, 12:48 AM
Whitey, no disrespect (though I felt some from your end). But, been here done that and I think many on this site have. It is called hard work. It can be done and in fact I recommend it. It is a great safe way to start this business. It is hard, it is no fun; but it is done more than you think.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
03-21-2008, 02:12 AM
weekes - understand your point of view, most guys here work their buns off.
But to work a full time job + full time in the green industry, that equals little time spent on what really matters in life like relationships, helping others, etc (unless you are incorporating these ideals into your work). Good thread though, its good that someone started this and advised what they are going through...

JohnnyRoyale
03-21-2008, 02:42 AM
We all know where we came from, and how we got started. We all know theres no such thing as luck, and the fruits of our labours come from putting in the time. Sometimes we have to sacrifice some aspect of our life for those fruits, and if the timing is right, and your willing to bust your ass now for a better tomorrow, my kudos to you. If you say this is how you want to live your life till the end-i'd suggest you have a few issues to resolve. If she can't understand your motivations, and isn't willing to be there by your side, show her the door. Keep it up and you'll do just fine. I'm sure we all can tell stories of what we had to do to make ends meet in the early years-at least he's not wasting his life away on meth or something stupid like that, you gotta respect a hard working, ambitious young guy. Just remember brother, your back might allow you to do it today, but someday, its your brain that will have to do most of the work, cuz good backs don't last forever.

Roger
03-21-2008, 08:32 AM
Whitey - I agree with those who have said that your pattern of life is not something to be proud. It demonstrates a lack of balance. The claims of making $xxxxx are fine, but to what end? Often, working many hours per week is a form of escapism. Based upon the comments of broken relationships, perhaps the working time filled that requirement.

These lifestyle patterns also speak to a growing trend of narcissism. Being proud of self-dependency is only a mark of isolationism, not being part of community in some form. Everybody needs community and relationships -- that is indisputable. To think that we can remain apart, and yet gain something (whatever the somethng might happen to be), is to delude one's self.

Having $xxxxx in the bank account beyond what is needed, at the expense of other experiences, is having a focus far too narrow. I don't know how the story can be any source of encouragement to others, especially any of those in a younger generation. I too applaud hard work, and have my own irrational behaviors from time to time in this regard. The extreme patterns of laziness or escaping through long hours of work are helpful toward a balanced lifestyle.

The employer who is paying for your efforts at a full-time employment is also taking a hit. Nobody can be effective on the job when so many hours of non-employment time is being devoted to another form of work.

mikewhit1010
03-21-2008, 10:24 AM
OK.... you have a full time 9 to 5 job, and do 35 properties a week? As a solo? I know solos that have 35 accounts (all small plots) and work 50 hours a week to get that done. With commuting time, just doing the work between a full time job and 35 accounts has to be 100 hours a week, and that doesn't include billings, trips to suppliers, equipment miantenance and on and on. There is only 168 hours in a week. If you only sleep 6 hours a night, you are up to 142 hours.

Call me skeptical. With a schedule like that, you have about 24 minutes a week left to sit on the john. Show me a breakdown of where your hours are spent.... and I MIGHT buy into half of this story.

I send a crew out and do landscaping myself. I make a 25% margin on my lawn accounts and do two lawns after I get off work and work all day saturday.

mikewhit1010
03-21-2008, 10:31 AM
Guys I dont know if you know but I am 23. I have a lot of time ahead of me. I am in a relationship currently and it is fine. She supports what I do.

That being said why did you take the smallest thing I posted on here and decide to talk about it. I agree with you family and friends come first but have you ever grown a business. It takes times and like others say it takes sacrifices.

I do believe its words of encourgement. I am giving people the idea that this can be done if hard work is put in. Time and sacrafice is part of that just like everything else. I make good money but money is not an issue. One day to be able to run my own lawn care company and take off when I please. That is one of the most important things to me. I believe if a girl doesnt want to stick it out then she isnt worth it. I believe if you put in the hours now you will have to put in less later. I enjoy this too just like many of you. I enjoy going out and getting paid is an extra bonus. I love landscaping. I think its great how one day you are wondering about projects for the next month and then you get booked up in one day based off referrals.

Guys focus on what I was saying. Hard work and dedication will pay off. It is feasible to get 50 accounts in your first year if you know how to market yourself. If you spend the time visiting commercial sites, talking with the right people and flyers flyers flyers.

mikewhit1010
03-21-2008, 10:44 AM
OK.... you have a full time 9 to 5 job, and do 35 properties a week? As a solo? I know solos that have 35 accounts (all small plots) and work 50 hours a week to get that done. With commuting time, just doing the work between a full time job and 35 accounts has to be 100 hours a week, and that doesn't include billings, trips to suppliers, equipment miantenance and on and on. There is only 168 hours in a week. If you only sleep 6 hours a night, you are up to 142 hours.

Call me skeptical. With a schedule like that, you have about 24 minutes a week left to sit on the john. Show me a breakdown of where your hours are spent.... and I MIGHT buy into half of this story.

I wake up at 6am and pass out flyers for 30 minutes (not a lot but that still gets some out for me) I get dressed and head to work. While at work I skip lunch and go bid properties and have mowed on some occasions. After work its straight back to the house to get out of the yukon and into the old s-10 and trailer. It stays light out until 815 here so that is normally when i head in. i do books and reply to emails until 9. that gives me 3 hours a day to hang out with my dog and my friends. M-F is dedicated to work. Saturday is for projects and I try not to plan anything on Sunday but its turning out I have more and more. The guys that work for me will soon know how to lay sod which will be a big help on my projects. Last friday I took off work and cut trees from 7 am to 8pm then when to Home depot to pick up supplies for the beds the next day. I got home and backed up my trailer at 930. I replied to emails and was asleep by 1130. I am not a saint nor can I work harder then the next guy. I just have the demand for it and I want to ride this wave until it crashes if it does.

Sorry if you dont believe me but that is your choice.

mikewhit1010
03-21-2008, 10:45 AM
ALSO TAKE IN MIND MY ACCOUNTS ARE SMALLER THEN .25 acres.

kleankutslawn
03-21-2008, 11:24 AM
good story Mike.keep on keeping on

DA Quality Lawn & YS
03-21-2008, 11:27 AM
Mikewhit - no one is questioning your ambition or work ethic, it looks top notch:)

But there are many wise vets on here that see your focus as limited toward working as many hours as possible and taking away from what really matters, like relationships. Your story is inspiring as pertains to work alone, but there is WAY more to life than working two full time jobs and little else, especially at your age. I obviously don't know your full story, just what is in this thread, but I hope that you take some time to slow down a bit and focus on some of the other good things life can offer you (or you can offer it)

paul vroom
03-21-2008, 11:34 AM
Mike, sometimes it is hard to relay what you are trying to say in text. I thought you were going to sell something here. Youi would not have been the first. No biggie. Mike, I wish I started when I was your age, I am 42 and I am a manager in a desktop publishing dept. I make good money but I was married when I was your age. At 24ish I had a mortgage, two car payments and a kid on the way. I really got caught up in the good pay but I always wanted to go into this field. Last year at this time I put myself on second shift and invested 10 grand into my start-up. I printed business cards and handed them out, I was hoping to end last season with 5-6 clients being my son was 16 last June I wanted to start slow and solo. Well I ended with 12 and also did several landscape jobs that got great feedback and led to more clients this year, plus with the random mulch and clean up I ended last season making several more thousand that I aimed for. I have yet to advertise yet I priced four new lawn care jobs yesterday. I am hoping to be full time in 09. I think the timing is bad though, there has to be a lot of changes in the economy to support this field long term. I am thinking maybe we should not quit our "day jobs" just yet....Anyways, I appreciate that you spent the time to inspire and I am sorry for being negative. Best of luck and keep up the good work...........:weightlifter:

mikewhit1010
03-21-2008, 12:29 PM
I know guys I need to slow down but I started this like others because I enjoyed it and I wanted to pay down debt quicker. Well we all found it grows and its a great thing. Sitting at my desk at work feels like 20 hours a day. Mowing or landscaping the days go by so quickly. I did decide to take a vacation this week. Its funny how much more people will offer you when you are not available and they want you. I was going to lay sod this saturday and pushed it to tuesday. He tried to offer me almost double. I told him I cant. I need Michael time.

Thanks guys and good luck to you today.

zz4guy
03-21-2008, 08:28 PM
Mike - What is your story while you are at work? Do you tell people you run a big part time business on the side? I'm in the same boat as you and I keep it on the low down at work. Not that it affects my work but it's the perception that I am at this 9-5 job for $$$, which I'm not.

One time last year I mowed for a client and a month later she was on my team writing software with me and sitting in meetings. It was a little weird so she cancelled the service. Probably a conflict of interest there.

paul vroom
03-21-2008, 08:34 PM
zz4. I keep it low key at work also. My GM would freak. There are maybe three people here that know.