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stevenf
09-07-2008, 11:34 PM
Some of you might remember my earlier thread about firefighting but the rookie class is just around the corner and I really need to decide.
I like the idea of being a firefighter, I also like doing my own thing like lawn care. A Friend of mine is a firefighter who just finished training and is currently at $25k a year.
Realistically, a person cant support a family on that I know. I have been doing lawn care for about 3 years now and the firemen schedual will allow me to continue it.
How much do you depend on your lawn care? Is it a seasonal thing for you or do you try for it year round? Do you pull in an extra $10-$15k a year just to live comfortably?
My MAIN reason for choosing firefighter are to have benfits and a great schedual with early retirement.

KCfireman
09-07-2008, 11:41 PM
Some of you might remember my earlier thread about firefighting but the rookie class is just around the corner and I really need to decide.
I like the idea of being a firefighter, I also like doing my own thing like lawn care. A Friend of mine is a firefighter who just finished training and is currently at $25k a year.
Realistically, a person cant support a family on that I know. I have been doing lawn care for about 3 years now and the firemen schedual will allow me to continue it.
How much do you depend on your lawn care? Is it a seasonal thing for you or do you try for it year round? Do you pull in an extra $10-$15k a year just to live comfortably?
My MAIN reason for choosing firefighter are to have benfits and a great schedual with early retirement.i plan on working in the back of an Ambo while im off. I've got to get my paramedics license first.

stevenf
09-07-2008, 11:53 PM
I know 90% of firefighters have other jobs. I know another guy who works at a auto detailing place on the side. My question is how much do you depend on the side jobs? Are you at the point where two jobs isnt worth the firefighter career after all?

jt5019
09-07-2008, 11:54 PM
I can tell you one thing you wont ever regret being a firefighter, its the best job in the world. If you have a chance i would go for it . We work 24 hour shifts here so on the days off you go out and mow.

KCfireman
09-07-2008, 11:58 PM
I can tell you one thing you wont ever regret being a firefighter, its the best job in the world. If you have a chance i would go for it . We work 24 hour shifts here so on the days off you go out and mow.Jt....what can you tell me on my idea? Once i go career i would like to get some hands on expierence with basic medical calls. Then i would like to enter Paramedic school and in my off time i would work on a ambo.

stevenf
09-08-2008, 12:08 AM
I can tell you one thing you wont ever regret being a firefighter, its the best job in the world. If you have a chance i would go for it . We work 24 hour shifts here so on the days off you go out and mow.

The schedual sounds great, im not worried about that. Im worried about money. how much do you depend on your lawn care? Are you on the clock 80 hours a week when both jobs are done?

milkie62
09-08-2008, 12:50 AM
Ambulance guys around here make in the range of $10 bucks an hr.Hey KC you sound pretty young.If you can be a paid guy go for it but do something else entirely on your off days.You will get burned out staying with kinda similar fields.I am a 30 yr volunteer out in the country.We have nothing special but usually can keep up with the big city boys since we can siphon and suck water from a water puddle where the city boys can't since they only have hydrants.

jt5019
09-08-2008, 01:25 AM
well up here the pay is different we start around 37K and it increases 1 k every year for the first five years plus there is plenty of overtime. If you are only starting at 25K i would say having another part time job on your days off is pretty important. A lot of guys here deliver oil, work on ambulances, or cut lawns on their days off just to have that extra money. Unless you are on a very busy fire dept you will find you have a lot of down time so working those part time jobs on your days off isnt that bad.

We run medical calls here so you have to have or be willing to get basic medical training (EMT) to even be considered. If you want to become a paramedic thats great but i can tell you Paramedic school is very time consuming.

stevenf
09-08-2008, 12:07 PM
For the Baton Rouge fire department, you start off at $28k. After the first year and EMT certification, you get an extra $5k a year. The department I am interested in sounds bit different. I will have to look into the pay a bit more. I know someone who works for the department im interested in and he says there are 3 station that you are constantly transfered to and from. One of thoughs stations is always busy. The other two, not so much.
Any other input on pulling in $25k a year with work on the side? Also, do you get any tax benefits being a firefighter?

FERT-TEK
09-08-2008, 12:14 PM
I have been a full time FF/PM and a LCO for 19 years in a department that averages 3500 to 4000 calls per year (1200 per shift), 24 hrs on 48 off. The schedule fits perfect for a motivated guy that wants to supplement his FF income. For me, I have always maintained that the extra income will pay for the toys and vacations and NOT the household bills. This frame of mind has helped me keep things in perspective since I don't count on the money.

Regarding being a LCO vs. a fert guy, if have found that the schedule of a firefighter limits a mowing operation a little if you work alone. It seems that bad weather always gets in the way causing you to work long days when off duty trying to catch up. This is exactly why I stopped mowing and exclusively fertilize. First it pays better, allows more flexibility in scheduling and doesn't require as much equipment or manpower. I operate my business out of my garage with no problems or space issues. I am lucky enough to have fert suppliers nearby that serve as my "warehouse" for supplies.

Finally, regarding being a firefighter. As many here have already said it is truly the best job in the world. Granted you will never get rich doing it but don't forget the insurance benefits that so many people pay dearly for. Shift life is like belonging to a fraternity for life. Also, you will never get bored doing the same thing day in and out like most office or factory workers. Every shift is different and the bond you form with the guys you work with is like the ones you have with your real family.

Just my two cents. I could go for hours on this subject.

Dunn's
09-08-2008, 12:39 PM
Some of you might remember my earlier thread about firefighting but the rookie class is just around the corner and I really need to decide.
I like the idea of being a firefighter, I also like doing my own thing like lawn care. A Friend of mine is a firefighter who just finished training and is currently at $25k a year.
Realistically, a person cant support a family on that I know. I have been doing lawn care for about 3 years now and the firemen schedual will allow me to continue it.
How much do you depend on your lawn care? Is it a seasonal thing for you or do you try for it year round? Do you pull in an extra $10-$15k a year just to live comfortably?
My MAIN reason for choosing firefighter are to have benfits and a great schedual with early retirement.

wow that has to be the lowest starting pay of a firefighter I have ever heard of.

Most start in the $40k's and work up from there. Someplaces start much higher that is why it is ussually very hard to get on at a fire department. Here there is like a three year waiting list and that is if you score very high on the mental and physical tests.

My friend was a lead firefighter on the USS Kitty hawk in the gulf. He was the lead firefighter on duty when that marine helicopter crash landed on the deck back in 2003 or 2004. and he still had to wait three years to get on. They usually hire on 100 or so fire men a year.

I would look around for another fire dept. i don't know if you have smaller fire depts around the city like we have. small cities with only like 6,000 residents even have their own dept that pay better then that.

Carolina Cutter
09-08-2008, 12:43 PM
I am very qualified to answer this question..spent 18 years in the FD and can testify to what you are asking...I did not retire from the business, I left....it was too hard to support my family on the meager income. I am now a licensed Realtor and am working in that field.

90% of ff's have a second job because...THEY HAVE TO. You are right, VERY hard to support a family on that, I know I couldn't. I was at around $35k when I left, but different areas pay different amounts. New York pays a lot more..but then the cost of living is much higher there.

I had my lawn care business to support me and actually give me something other than just money to pay the bills.

I too had the schedule that you speak of and while it does take a little explaining to customers why one week you are there on Tuesday and the next weeke Wednesday, you can do it. I actually found myself making MORE doing my business than I did riding the trucks. But you are right, it had benefits and that was important although most local government jobs have benefits that are barely quialified to be called a benefit.

I caution you....working for your self is very addictive. You MUST push yourself to get out there and get the work done even when you have pulled an all-nighter. You cannot just blow it off....or your customers will blow you off.

Good luck and have fun....

Carolina Cutter
09-08-2008, 12:50 PM
The schedual sounds great, im not worried about that. Im worried about money. how much do you depend on your lawn care? Are you on the clock 80 hours a week when both jobs are done?


I worked 24 hours shifts...I worked 72 hours a week or 288 hours a month...JUST AT THE FD......

Some people say, yea...but some of that time you are sleeping. Yea, that's right...but I am still working, I cannot leave and go home so I am working, and not to mention it is not my bed....get my drift.

moose203
09-08-2008, 01:40 PM
I worked as a FF for 5 yrs as a below the knee amputee and i was stationed at a hall that ran on average 20 hrs of the shift. mowing on that next day was a b***h. it is possible but you better be ready to be very tired. I was luck enough that i worked for a high paying city and the wife has a good job i mowed for my need of expensive toys. glutton for punishment i guess

Jason

FERT-TEK
09-08-2008, 02:02 PM
A couple thoughts regarding replies you have received from others

1) Although the starting salary may be low for other guys posting here this may be the prevailing wage in your part of the country considering the cost of living there. Remember this is a starting salary and pay raises will come with certifications and time on the job.

2) I agree with the statement that these jobs are hard to find. Because of this I recommend taking any firefighter job you can get and get the experience and training needed to get hired by a larger better paying department. Use your current or future employer for everything you can. Each certification you can get through work or hopefully get your employer to pay for will make you a better candidate than the next guy when you interview for that better job.

3) I said it before and I will say it again. Dont forget the insurance and retirement benefits a full time firefighter job will pay. This is huge and represents roughly one third of your pay scale depending on the package. Again I say this is huge and shouldn't be overlooked. Unfortunately, I hear a lot of young firefighters talk about what they make and never even bring this up. If you have a wife and or family this provides the security to take chances in other business ventures.

FERT-TEK
09-08-2008, 02:14 PM
I worked 24 hours shifts...I worked 72 hours a week or 288 hours a month...JUST AT THE FD......

Some people say, yea...but some of that time you are sleeping. Yea, that's right...but I am still working, I cannot leave and go home so I am working, and not to mention it is not my bed....get my drift.

Takes a strong wife or girlfriend to work with our schedule. I personally have accepted this schedule and have found a wife that likes it also. She has her free time and I have mine = recipe for a perfect marriage. In spite of having sleepless nights at the firehouse I will take this schedule in a heartbeat. I am paid well for only working 1/3 of the year (one on two off) The downside of all this is the family parties, holidays and family emergencies that you will miss while working. Still not bad and I will take it.

Mike Blevins
09-08-2008, 09:32 PM
I am a professional Firefighter for the city I live in. I currently service 20 residential and 4 commercial lawns. One being a set of townhouses that takes me 6 hours to mow trim and blow. I work everyday except Sundays (customers don't approve). If your not scared of work go for it. The firefighting job like they say is the best job out there. We work a 3 week rotation of 24 hour shifts. Monday,Friday,Sunday,Tuesday,Thursday,Wednesday,Saturday. As you can see if it rains in the Sunday,Tuesday,Thursday week I`m in for some long days. And beleive me I have had them. I take pride in both of my jobs and try to excell in both year after year. I have built my business where I make nearly the same amount from both. I set goals every year with both professions. I will have reached my $ goal for my mowing business next week. As far as my job with the fire department I have 2 more classes (certificates) to get before the year is over and I will have reached that goal also. Its been a great year and now I'm preparing for a long winter of deer hunting a vacation with me and the wife. All to start over with new goals and exploring new lawn business ventures in the spring. I have some great ideas that i have come up with and hope to make more next year weather permitting. The sky is the limit, its all about how hard you want to work. GOOD LUCK too you. :waving:

FIREMAN Q
09-08-2008, 10:42 PM
don't look at the starting pay as much as the "top step" pay. Retirement and benifits are the reason to take the job.

I currently gross more with my business than I do at the FD. I wouldn't give it up for anything. You can manage both. Just be careful not to overdue it. Prepare for long days when coming off shift and you will be ok.

good luck to you

dura to the max
09-08-2008, 10:45 PM
go for it. its the best job in the world. i wouldnt trade the FD for anything. all the above posts are great, and like it was mentioned i could go for hours on this topic, but i think youve gotten what you need. good luck!

dura to the max
09-08-2008, 10:46 PM
by the way, i had to reply even though i didnt say much. you asked for FF's and thats what i am.

stevenf
09-08-2008, 10:54 PM
I started my lawn business two years ago and have grown VERY slowly. My intentions were to weed out all of the bad customers and build a strong customer base with only the friendly, forgiving people. Right now I have 10 weekly and 12 biweekly. Next year I am dropping atleast half of my bi-weekly and I plan to only take weekly accounts. This has gotten me partially through college while living at home. As of May this year, I have pulled in $9,560.00 not including the month of August.
The part of me that says yes to the FD is saying I already have a steady yearly income with lots of good returning customers. If I can work one 8 hour day a week and pull in an extra $12-$13k a year, then I will have more room to expand.
$25k+$13k= $38k a year plus benefits. Not to mention future customers. Another reason is that Im not very need'y. I insist on an old truck and wil never buy one brand new. There are others things like that but just the vehicle alone saves an arm and leg year after year.
The other part of me says no. My goals for the longest time have been to get into realestate. Owning small condos and complexes to rent out. I know I would have to start VERY small with this, but can a salary like that support a happy life and allow me to even attempt my goals?

ffemt1271
09-08-2008, 10:57 PM
i'm like fireman q, i make more doing lawns. making in the 40'2 at fd., been doing it 10 years though. bout to make a promotion so that will go up, but still wont match up. we work 24 on 24 off for 5 shifts then 6 days off. i mow my lawns on in between days, so i am free on days off. sometimes for bigger projects. FD is for retirement/insurance, and if you were to loose your lawn business for whatever reason, or get hurt , you still go a income.

dura to the max
09-08-2008, 11:03 PM
many FF's do it. keep in mind you will never get rich from the FD, but the benefits (insurance and the job itself is rewarding) are great. the FD is not a job for those who just want to make a living, it takes sacrifice and a special person. so that said, its got to be in you to work for the FD, not many get the job and just wing it. a FF that loves his job is the one that does well (and the only one i want behind me going in). i think its a great job, but its one that you really have to want. if your dream/goal is real estate then go for real estate. if you want to be a hero and get glory, stay the hell away from the fire service. if you want to help people in a time of need, when they are at an all time low point in their life, join the FD.

stevenf
09-08-2008, 11:44 PM
The realestate thing has been my plans no matter what career I choose. Helping people in need and staying calm and 110% focused during hectic situations is what I do best. I would be great at it I know. I just want to get to the point one day where my wife wont have to work (atleast wont work full time), and my life isnt taken away because of two jobs I have to juggle just to catch up and never get ahead.
Do you guys drive new trucks? If your spending habbits were better, could you achieve the goals I have set?

dura to the max
09-08-2008, 11:47 PM
w/ that mentality you should be fine. i dont drive a new truck (yet) but i think a FF/lco could have that if he wanted. he would just have to prioritize over his toys.

KCfireman
09-09-2008, 12:03 AM
What's your guy's favorite truck MFG? Mine are probably E-one and Pierce.:usflag:

dura to the max
09-09-2008, 12:28 AM
it dont matter, when im on the truck all im thinkin about is the code we're runnin. and when im driving it's 10-18 all the way!

stevenf
09-09-2008, 01:01 AM
So how do you guys handle commercial accounts if you can only mow every 6 or 8 ish days rather then a set schedual?

dura to the max
09-09-2008, 01:05 AM
add to the contract that it will be mowed approximately every 7 days, you cant control whether the weather changes your schedule for the week can you? and commercials are usually the easiest to do this w/. i only have one commercial customer that calls when im off one day.

stevenf
09-09-2008, 01:46 AM
With that one customer, do you tell her you are a FF or do you have to make something up? I know some people may shade away from you if you have another job...

dura to the max
09-09-2008, 09:36 AM
i usually am not late b/c of the FD. when she calls i give the real excuse and let her deal w/ it. i dont really care about that particular account anyway, so if she has a problem...

FIREMAN Q
09-14-2008, 10:56 PM
I don't tell me commercial accounts that I am a FF. I don't want them thinking that there are other priorities, especially come winter time. With my residentials I try to put it out there when appropriate. I don't flaunt it however.

I tell all of my mowing customers that I mow wed - fri with no set days. This way if I have to work on thurs I still have wed and Fri to mow.

fireguyva
09-15-2008, 04:05 PM
FF in VA also cutting grass. Been on the job for 14 years and maintaining lawns on my own for about 5. Both are fulfilling in there own way. FF pays good for the actuall hours worked and mowing pays well as long as you manage things properly. I make about 12 -15k extra doing lawns and only have 10 yards and 1 commercial account. Customers understand the tues or wed and thurs or friday thing. I leave mondays open when I am off from FF to catch up on mulch pruning or whatever...Hope this helps. Good luck with anything and everything you do!!

jds720
09-15-2008, 11:42 PM
Im a paid FF/EMT in Florida, 24 on 48 off a total of 8 24 hour shifts a month. Ive been on 2years and im making 42k(started at 31k), and my pension is fully funded by the state, and i have a health trust. Add that with working 1 day a week doing lawns, pulling in 20k gross.