View Full Version : Burnout
01-17-2000, 12:49 PM
I been in this business 9 years now. About 5 years ago I went through a burnout period. The thing about it is the year before I had a great year. Though I think I may have over worked myself. The next year I couldn't even stand the smell of grass. I started a parttime trucking business to just get away from lawn service and out of town. Trying to do both was no picnic. It took me awhile to get back to where I enjoyed the lawn servie business again. I don't know exactly how that took. I know it was over 2 years. I guess the moral is do things in moderation. As anyone else been through anything similiar?<br>Charles
Charles, I work full time at General Motors. sometimes 9 hours a day 6 days a week. I also have a very good lawn business on the side. I peaked out last year at 55 lawns. Most of my lawns are commercial or open areas. I have 2 Grasshoppers and one exellent helper. I get up every morning at 7:15 and cut until 2:30. Then get ready to work 2nd shift at GM. I get off between 1am and 2am. Then back up at 7:15....the cycle continues. About every 10 days I get burned out. I'll try to sneak a power nap in here or there. It really helps out a lot. My helper also works 2nd shift at GM. This year I've been selling off the lawns I don't want to trim down the work load. Keeping the prime lawns and letting the fat go. This should help make things easier next year. Bob
01-18-2000, 02:23 AM
I wouldn't say that I get burned out, but seems like every fall I get frustrated. I don't know what causes it, maybe the past 8-9 months of working long hours, customers wanting work done before winter, odd ball customers calling and only wanting one leaf clean up at the end of the year. Also the equipment has been working hard all season, without any breaks, and if it if going to give you troubles, that is when it will happen. <p>I get that way for a week or so, and want to sell it all, and go to work for someone else. I think of how noce it would be to put in your 8 hours, and forget about work till the next morning. I usually get my senses knocked back into me beofre I hand out the for sale sign though. I just wish that we could get just a little bit of a break throughout the season, instead of one big break at the end.
01-18-2000, 05:30 AM
That's what I feel too every year Jeff. But this particuliar year the excitement I usually feel at the start of the season didn't come back. Dread is what I felt. You hit the nail on the head in the first paragraph. I had used my off time to travel around the country. After you have been in this business or any other business you better use a large portion of your off time to rest and relax. Let your mind rest too. This could happen to anyone at anytime. Did you watch that Seinfield episode where MR Peterman just walked off the job and went to Burma? He was burnout you could tell. Not real life, but close to what I wanted to do.<br>Charles
01-18-2000, 03:48 PM
Hey Charles, I hearn you. I've been mowing since 1981.Been big, been small. Sold half of my work four times cause I could not find good help. I dont just feel burntout,but trapped. Where else am I going to earn 30 an hour.I tried to reenter the regular world once,it lasted about four months. I believe over the years, I've taken for granted some of the benifits self employment provides. There are many office boys who probably dream of the freedom we have. By the way Charles, how did the trucking thing work out? Yesteryear L/S
01-18-2000, 06:59 PM
Bobby your story sounds familiar. I bought one of those expediter type trucks. Hauling automobile parts from here to up in Canada to points in between. Some loads were 6000lbs+. Did it parttime for 3 years. Had to get CDL class 3 with hazmat. Was on call though 24hrs a day 7 days a week. But would come back right away to do yardwork. Talking about a pain!! Some of these trucking companies don't care how many hours you run long as you turn in a good log book. They get you out in the middle of nowhere and say you are going to sit if you don't take this 20 hr straight load without any sleep or rest. Sleeping in that truck and truckstops and taking showers there got old fast. They get you to drive to pick up a load without paying milleage or get you to take short loads that didnt pay much... I could go on and on but you get the picture. Hope things work out for you. I agree its hard to go to a regular job after being paid a good hourly rate like we are. One load I got paid me 1100$ from sc to london ontario canada. So on the long hauls you were paid good.Problem is once they get you out away from home they rarely will give you a load going toward your home until they get good and ready. Maybe 2 weeks. Maybe a month. They don't care. You end up driving home on your on. No money in that.<br>Charles<br>
01-19-2000, 06:10 AM
Okay, Here is my story on the whole thing. Started working for my dad 7 years ago doing purchasing at his company. Moved from Ohio to AL. for $6.00 hr. with the hopes of eventually making a whole lot more money and a better future. 5 years later and mounds of stress and friction between me and my dad I quit. By that time I was up to $8.50 hr.. Hardly a whole lot more money. The one thing working for my dad allowed was alot of liberties. We didn't punch a timeclock, if we were a little late it was okay, if we didn't have vacation it was extended to us, we could run errands through the day you get the picture. I didn't realize how nice this was until I went back to work for someone else. Everything was done by the book. I realize you have to have structure and order in a company but I guess I became accustomed to the freedoms I enjoyed working for my dad. I already had my lawn equip. so last summer I decided to quit my job and mow full time. It was great but I realized real quick that mowing full time was different than part time. Now I was out all day long in 95-100 degree days where before I was mowing 2-3 lawns in the evening (much cooler)after work. But It was great I had the freedom again and that over rode any of the bad things. By October I was ready for a break and contemplating selling everything. I think this was the same burnout that some of you guys experienced. But I knew for me I had to find a way to make it work, whether it be in lawncare or something else because I didn't want to go to work for someone else. The other dilemma I face is my wife. She would rather me be working 40 hours a week for some company with a guaranteed paycheck on Friday. She needs that security, and I guess I understand where she's coming from to a point. But I also know thats how most of us are trained to think all are lives and it's hard to break that cycle. Sometimes I even feel a little guilty this time of year when it's slow and I'm hanging around the house. <p>The bottom line is... Yes, I get burned out but I think it's better than the alternative. Theres not a job yet that I haven't gotten burned out in, I think you just have to find a way to work through it. Maybe it's making changes in your business that will freshen things up, maybe you need to get into another business I don't know. I get excited reading the articles in this forum. It helps me to know that other people face the same problems and dilemmas that I do. I get good info. and I try to apply it to my situation.<p>I know one thing I just dread the day I have to go to work for someone else.
01-19-2000, 06:46 AM
I guess I learned through this experience is to waite things out. I never quit the lawn business. Didn't lose many customers. Now during the past 3 years have been enjoying it again and my toys. Guess sort of like a marriage:)<br>Charles
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