View Full Version : Confused ( please help)

11-29-2001, 05:17 PM

I am new to this so please bare with me. I have a full time job know , but am interested in going full time? I do not have many accounts. Here is my ordeal !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The job I am with full time. There is talk about shutting the doors.
I can go & get another job in the same field, with making the same amount of money or a little less, but I started this bussiness last year about August of 2001 (lawn Service)And I know things don't happen over night but I always wanted to have my own bussiness? Here r my questions???????

1. If my full time job shuts it doors?? Do I go 110% on Lawn Service? With not to many accounts? And listen to my wife complain about the money situation? ( She really is a good wife)
Just covering myself lol lol

2. Do I get another job in the same field & do it part time? Until
I get more accounts?

3. Do I get bonded & Insured with what little acounts I have?

4. I know there is work out there, but I started to late in the season{just trying to convince my wife is the hard part}

5. Here is a list of my Equipment. Is this OK for starters?

1 32" Toro walk behind w/sulky. PB 360 blower, 2 echo weedeaters, toro 21" push mower, Amigo Isuzu & 5x8 trailer

Any help will be appreciated !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


11-29-2001, 05:33 PM
1st off would be what kind of work do you do full time? If I was a doctor I would rethink this, otherwise keep considering.

It can be done, some people fail, some succeed. Every person is different. Some people can sell sand in the desert, but some can't sell food to the hungry. Personnally I would starve before I worked for someone again. Control of my own life is more important to me. Actually I consider being in my own biz more secure. If your working for someone and they shut the doors, like your situation, your without work. If you have your own customers and you lose 1, you still have many others.

Fantasy Lawns
11-29-2001, 05:34 PM
I like #2 .... keep working .... till you can not do that n maintain what accounts you have or will get ...... don't need the bond ....the occupational license n insurance is a must …DON’T spray …. Remember in Fla even Round Up you need at least 3 years in business …8 hours yearly class n pass the limited Pest Control License …. Law reads they only have to find it on the truck ….not even see you spraying it ….lot of guys do it ….but it is a $5k fine

get the name n set up at the bank ….get square with local state n fed requirements ….. you can start with the books ….but please see a CPA

the equip is OK for now ....BUT soon as possible upgrade to the largest WB or Z you can afford .... a 36" will do but with the 32" I'd at least shoot for a 48"

by mid to late Feb ..... get as many post cards you can afford to blanket neighbor hoods you'd like to be working in ..... get a big sign for the trailer ..... leave business cards n flyers everywhere

Good Luck ;->

11-29-2001, 05:39 PM
In the Transportation Industry. I am a Parts manager for a Tractor Trailer repair facility.

11-29-2001, 05:47 PM
Dear Nelson, I am 45 and wished I would have sarted in this business 15 years ago when the thought kept coming at me to jump in. There will come a time in your life when you will wonder if you took enouph risks when you were 'younger'. America was made for and by people who did not want to work for 'somebody else' all their life. This type of work is perfect for an ambitious guy. If you decide to do this, and I hope you do, go at it like a piranna and get as many accounts as you can handle. Get insurance NOW!!! Get a line of credit from your banker and get some sound financial business advice. Incorporate when you can afford to (it will protect your family from the inevitable suit). If possible try for a split between commercial and residential accounts. Get everybody on a 12 month agreement! And the last thing- the three most important words in this business are "proximity, proximity, proximity!"


11-29-2001, 05:54 PM
The number 3 is easy to answer ,get insured
Only you know your situation and id hate to advise you
But if you have the resources i say go for it.
I worked 30 years with gm tectnially 27 ,3 in armey .I hated it
the only thing kept me there was the benifits and pay ,but i was unhappy .Since i have been in this business i have never been so happy .BUT my deal is different from yours i have medical benefits and a good pension check so it is easier for me to say go for it.
But if you do other than bit**** customers it is a great business

11-29-2001, 06:02 PM
I am sure thankful for this website. I am sure by the looks of thing I will get alot of replies. I thank everybody & this website. For any help. Some people was not as fortunate as I am to have this kind of website when thay were trying to start a Lawn Service.
Thanks again !!!!!!!

11-29-2001, 06:35 PM
If you can start a business in a recession economy, AND SURVIVE(??), you are well on your way to long term success. It is difficult to get a good business going in a good economy, so be ready to rough it if you try now. But if you survive, you know for sure that you've got what it takes.

But other considerations: family to support, insurance to pay for the family, etc. If I had those concerns, I would probably retain the security until my business was well on the way to supporting itself. In this scenario, you need to know a definite point (revenue level) that you will cut your umbilical cord, or you will hurt your business by hanging onto the security too long.

11-29-2001, 06:49 PM
i too was in transportation. answered a non-stop telephone all day for 18 yrs. when i decided to get in this business i was able to rearrange my work schedule so i could get off at 1:00 each day.
after i got 18-20 customers i knew something had to go so i bailed on "the man" & i have never looked back. i live in a very small town, heck a small county (about 14000) & i'm doing ok. just make sure you provide quality work & treat your customers the way you would like to be treated & you'll do fine.

Green Care
11-29-2001, 07:17 PM
Well, Nelson follow your thought #2 +3.:confused:

11-29-2001, 09:05 PM
I would have to agree with the idea of getting another job and try and build the business at the same time. Especially since you are married. That could put a major strain on you two if the money gets tight. If you do get another job, this will mean working your ass off for awhile. I am just staring out and I plan to keep my job as well. Although I am in a different situation becaue I am a teacher and only work sept. to june. A little easier for me except March-June & sept-Nov. Anyway good luck in whatever you do and Like you I am glad I found this website, Hopefully I will avoid a majority of the mistakes rookies make.


11-29-2001, 09:22 PM
Not trying to read your mind, but it sounds like you do have a balance on things already. You may need to keep the "money" job for awhile just to get the lawn biz up and going more. Also this will prove to your wife you wont just abandon them, or the things that keep food on the table, and let you prove you can get things up and going. I have been part time for a few years too, but due to business closing I will go full time next year. If I hadnt had it going with accounts I'd feel very worried about it all. Think about it, talk it over with the wife, and you will make the right decision for "YOU".

11-29-2001, 10:18 PM
The Majority seems to lean to keep in the same Industry. Until I get more accounts?
That is all fine & Dandy, but I am so tired of the Industry itself.
+ I always wanted to start my Lawn Service. I guess I am still confused?

If the bussiness I am in goes out of bussiness, then I can go 110% on Lawn Service, but with a few accounts @ this time the money flow is not there?
Then If I go to another job in Transportation, then I will be doing nothing but using this Employer? Is that correct? Am I confusing you guys too? Just trying to do the right thing I guess. I will see how everything goes, but I do appreciate everybody's insight on this situation.

11-29-2001, 10:35 PM
If your concerned about being loyal to your employer, that doesnt happen much anymore. Do you really think that if they get into a bad situation they will be loyal to you, taking care and sticking with you? NOT! You have to do what ever it takes to take care of your family, but at the same time work hard at your goal of lawn care. Some here at lawnsite have worked many years just to get where they could quit working for the man. But if you have skills that are so valuable, then maybe your looking in the wrong direction. Only you know the whole deal. I wish you the best!

Paradise Yard Service
11-30-2001, 03:01 AM
Here you go Nelson.

I bought my 25 or so accounts in 1985 and never looked back. Lots of roller coaster stuff. One year got behind in taxes...just made it out with my shirt on. Would not change my decision. Was a bartender making good money in a very respectable local resturant, but when one customer barfed all 10 shots of Quervo Gold on the bar top I saw the writing on the wall.
Hope this helps.

Don't let your get up and go, got up and went.


11-30-2001, 03:25 AM
nelson , hang tight, keep your job for a while or if you have too get another "day job" get your repuatation built up first along with your client list. i was in your same shoes several years ago. (i was a diesel mechanic though) i actually had two full time employees and one part timer "before " i made that jump..

11-30-2001, 04:35 AM
That's a tough question but I would have to say which direction you take should be weighed against what your current financial needs are. If you can afford to go full tilt, and you are really willing to "do the time"...just go for it.

I was fortunate enough to be able to take the plunge when the place I worked for closed it's doors. I have a supportive wife and family...thank God.

I am finishing up my second season now with 30 residential accounts (roughly 1 acre each). I have already locked another 5 for starting this spring.

When I started I just printed up a bunch of flyers (250) and papered my neighborhood. My primary mower was a 42" Scotts tractor that I bought new the previous year...so I knew it was good to go for a while. As luck would have it, I picked up my first account that day from a nice lady who's lawn service had just quit the business. They also serviced a bunch of her friends from church...so I cut her lawn...she called her church friends and recommended me...and I wound up with 8 good weekly customers that first day. I was blessed that day, no doubt about it. :)

I finished up last year with 15 decent accounts. At the begining of this year I bought a 60" Laser Z and rans some ads in my neighborhood paper and about half way through the season had 30 accounts. I probably turned down bidding on 15 or so because they were rough, wanted them cut every 2 weeks, were out of the way, or look like trouble payment-wise.

My advise to you woud be this:

DO GOOD WORK, BE DEPENDABLE, AND HONOR YOUR WORD!!! Your customers will stick wIth you through thick and thin if you do these three things!

If you decide to go for it don't immediately load up on hard-to-do lawns that involve too much time. And try to stay away from the "every 2 or 3 week" types too...these will kill your efficiency and scheduling. Get as many weekly clients as you can and pad them with 10 day accounts until you can weed them out too.

Last year I had 7 accounts that were "every 2 weeks" and they were a pain and always took twice the amount of time to maintain...it always seemed to rain when it was time to do them and they were always high when it came time to cut them. Dumping those accounts as I could replace themwith "weeklys" was the best move I made as far as productivity,,,besides getting the Lazer Z.

And stick close to one area. Drive time is a loss. All of my lawns are within a 10 minute drive from my home. I don't make money sitting in my truck.

And get insurance...get insurance...get insurance. Protect yourself, your clients, and your business.


11-30-2001, 09:02 AM
You're in the same position as me!!!

SLS is right on the money. A lot depends on your market, you may want to confer with an accountant and see how much you need to cover taxes and figure out what to "set aside" - self employeed people need insurance, and retirement too.

I'm not going to do any more advertising as of yet - it's a tough spot to want to do more, but knowing how hectic things get in the growing season!! :(

11-30-2001, 10:41 AM
AltaLawnCare brought up a VERY IMPORTANT point...

...PLEASE consult an accoutant, tax expert, CPA, another professional SELF-EMPLOYEED person....about your income tax and self-employment (SS) tax!

My first big mistake was that I did not (how could I have forgotton to tell you this...too many gas fumes maybe???). I did not even know that I was supposed to file 'quarterly estimated returns (ES-1099)' that first year and just paid all my Federal taxes that following April (alright, quit snickering at me guys...heehee). I had diligently saved 30% (more than enough) of my earnings to do so but then had to pay an extra"penelty"...just for not filing quarterly. That penelty (mine was nearly $300) would have been better spent on a good piece of equipment....or Christmas presents for the family. yep...I learned this one the HARD way.:(

This year was much easier because the IRS sent me the 1099-ES forms which had my estimated payments (based on last years earnings) and the due dates one them. I just had to remember to keep saving that 30% to cover the increase in my income this year because my income/business has doubled over the last year.

Go check out the "Elements Of Business" board here at LawnSite. You will find lots of useful info about such topics there.

That's one thing to remember about running your own business...you never quite seem to learn everything. And things change all the time (about the time you've learned them). ;)

I wish I had known about LawnSite BEFORE I had started...it would have saved me from making several of the "rookie-type" mistakes I made that first year.

LawnSite has been an invaluable source of time, effort, and money saving information for me. THANK YOU, LAWNSITE!...and God bless you all! :)