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View Full Version : is this industry hard on your body?


stevenf
10-11-2008, 11:17 AM
A friend of mine works at a bank and says lco come in all the time. He says they all look old, frail,week, and there skin looks terrible. Do any of you feel the effects on this or can this be avoided? Mabey suspension seats, extended trimmers, lighter blower...

topsites
10-11-2008, 11:31 AM
You tell your friend what he is seeing is the plight of the American worker,
one direct result of that attitude of wanting everything handed over on a
silver platter, what he is seeing is the dire situation of today's economy.

This is what depression looks like, we are killing ourselves to survive, literally, death but two steps
from our front doors. The reason we look beat is because we are, our skin looks frail and sick
because the cost of fuel takes food out of our mouths, we lack the sustenance to feed
ourselves properly and we would charge more for our services but we can't.

That is the reality of things, that is what he is seeing, cold hard reality,
hard to look at straight in the face if you ask me but this is what America
has come to, and the longer we ignore the problem the worse it gets.

And there is little or nothing anyone can do, but it's all right, that's just the way it is.

landscaper22
10-11-2008, 12:24 PM
Well if you do not protect yourself from the elements you will be like that. Years of no sunscreen will take its toll on your skin. No hearing protection will take its toll on your hearing. People like to go out and destroy their bodies when they are young and don't worry about what will happen to them down the road. Take care of yourself now, and you don't have to be like that later.

LawnTamer
10-11-2008, 01:42 PM
Yes, it is hard on your body. I've been doing it more or less for 18 years, I have back and hip issues. Nearly everyone I know who has done this for any long period of time has acquired some type of long term injury or malady.

whoopassonthebluegrass
10-11-2008, 01:58 PM
Using one's body to make a living definitely has drawbacks... but that's how it's been done for thousands of years, so I'm not too bothered.

I do the sunscreen, hearing protection, and have begun to purchase equipment that makes my labor less intensive (hydrostatic mower instead of belt drive, etc)...

This industry is tough. The only way to succeed is to get in, make your money within a short period of time, and then be in a position to walk away from it all before you're completely spent. Anyone who's skating along at $30-40k/year is in for a world of hurt...

There ARE perks, though. I still eat like 6,000 calories a day and am fit. I don't shy away from physical labor, or put myself on the injured roster everytime I have a "project" needing to be done...

There are definitely better ways to make money, but there are FAAAAAAR more worse ways.

stevenf
10-11-2008, 01:58 PM
Is there anything you can do for back and joint problems? do you guys get them from riding the mower, bending down while trimming, turns on a
WB? What would you say is the leading cause?

HOOLIE
10-11-2008, 02:03 PM
I've been fortunate for as long as I've been doing this (almost 20 years) to have never been seriously injured, nor have any nagging problems.

I sleep with a lot of pillows....put several under the legs and one of those long body pillows to sort of hang on, this seems to keep my knees and legs fresh. Years ago I had chronic sore knees, not really an injury but they always felt stiff and sore.

markahurley
10-11-2008, 05:23 PM
You tell your friend what he is seeing is the plight of the American worker,
one direct result of that attitude of wanting everything handed over on a
silver platter, what he is seeing is the dire situation of today's economy.

This is what depression looks like, we are killing ourselves to survive, literally, death but two steps
from our front doors. The reason we look beat is because we are, our skin looks frail and sick
because the cost of fuel takes food out of our mouths, we lack the sustenance to feed
ourselves properly and we would charge more for our services but we can't.

That is the reality of things, that is what he is seeing, cold hard reality,
hard to look at straight in the face if you ask me but this is what America
has come to, and the longer we ignore the problem the worse it gets.

And there is little or nothing anyone can do, but it's all right, that's just the way it is.


please tell me this is satire. please.

landscaper22
10-11-2008, 05:40 PM
Get rid of those WB's and get some ZTR's and you will see your profits go up, and your body feel better. (I know I stepped in it with that statement, but oh well). The only thing that bothers me is my wrist when I have to use the string trimmer for extended periods of time. Other than that I don't put much pressure on any other joints or body parts. I can see where landscape installs could be rough on a body over a long period of time, but you have to be smart and let the younger employees tackle the more back breaking portions of the jobs.

david shumaker
10-11-2008, 06:28 PM
Get rid of those WB's and get some ZTR's and you will see your profits go up, and your body feel better. (I know I stepped in it with that statement, but oh well). The only thing that bothers me is my wrist when I have to use the string trimmer for extended periods of time. Other than that I don't put much pressure on any other joints or body parts. I can see where landscape installs could be rough on a body over a long period of time, but you have to be smart and let the younger employees tackle the more back breaking portions of the jobs.

You are right. I used a walk behind only my first year and all the walking wore me out. Now I dread using one. I had to use the walk behind last week because my ZTR was in the shop. I still get enough exercise doing trimming.

topsites
10-11-2008, 06:36 PM
please tell me this is satire. please.

Not unless I am not reading this correctly:

A friend of mine works at a bank and says lco come in all the time.
He says they all look old, frail,weak, and their skin looks terrible.

And maybe I didn't interpret that quite the way I should have,
but I think these Lco's really do look as bad as his friend says they do.

djchiodo3
10-11-2008, 08:52 PM
I wear long sleeve shirts and long pants to protect my skin. A big hat with neck guard and ear muffs. Never operate with out my safety glasses. I use sun screen on my face, but am constantly wiping it so I don't know how effective it is. 5 years ago I had a spot on my lip burned off. Doctor said it was benign. Been mowing for over two decades with sit down mowers. My hearing is still very sensitive. My back is about 80%. I train in Karate(18years) this keeps me in shape and my weight in check. I find that after a long day mowing, if I hang from a bar and do some back stretching exercises this helps. Banks should be happy. Lawn company owners are the only ones still thriving in this economy.

nobagger
10-11-2008, 09:03 PM
A friend of mine works at a bank and says lco come in all the time. He says they all look old, frail,week, and there skin looks terrible. Do any of you feel the effects on this or can this be avoided? Mabey suspension seats, extended trimmers, lighter blower...

Is this business hard on your body? let see... a torn L5 disc, several times back goes out, sore backs, almost lost an eye due to slipping offof a truck tire and the knife was still open and went right past my face, cuts, pure exhaustion at times so imo YES! Also it drains you mentally, its a mind screwa lot of te time.

S man
10-11-2008, 10:03 PM
I'm asking myself the same question. I'm making my money in it now while I'm young and in shape but if something better comes along I will take it. Including becoming a musician.

Whitey4
10-11-2008, 10:28 PM
I'm 53 years old. I started last year as a schlock part time mower, but went legit and legal thise year, with NYS DEC certification.

Frankly, besides being in the best shape of my life since my twenties, my old back problems disappeared with the laborious work of landscaping. Sure, I have aches and pain, but I feel and look GREAT!

I have a friend who is 62 and still goin strong. Try driving a subway train for 9 hours a day, working on Christmas and every other holiday. I was fat, unhealthy and miserable. Sinus infections from the mold in the tunnels. Bad back from the crappy seats...

You own your own biz.... you are your own boss. You do what you want when you want. The harder you work, the more $ you make. I find little to whine about.

Kennedy Landscaping
10-11-2008, 10:39 PM
I'll have on hell of a rough life. I'm only 15 and have to go to physical therapy because my knees are messed up. I heard that the sulky can be really bad on knees. I have had less back pain though after going to straight shaft trimmer instead of curved. Some days my knees will hurt so bad I can barely put any pressure on them. Almost any time you see me I am wearing a knee brace

Whitey4
10-11-2008, 10:44 PM
I'll have on hell of a rough life. I'm only 15 and have to go to physical therapy because my knees are messed up. I heard that the sulky can be really bad on knees. I have had less back pain though after going to straight shaft trimmer instead of curved. Some days my knees will hurt so bad I can barely put any pressure on them. Almost any time you see me I am wearing a knee brace

Hey Forrest, you might want to hit the books and get a desk job.

Kennedy Landscaping
10-11-2008, 10:49 PM
Hey Forrest, you might want to hit the books and get a desk job.

Not gonna happen hoss

stevenf
10-11-2008, 11:44 PM
Your 15. Your knee problem is probably just growth plates

dura to the max
10-11-2008, 11:55 PM
Not gonna happen hoss

DONT LET IT HAPPEN! take care of yourself, but dont let other tell you that you cant do this. while i dont plan to stay in this forever, ther is some good money in it, but i would jump at the chance to leave this for something else. dont get so caught up in this, or ANY job for that matter that you cant walk away from it when your body or wallet says too.

you have many perks and many trials being your own boss. it can be a great thing, and it can be horrible. not everyone is cut out for it, so you ought to weigh that out. but if its for you then go for it full force, just dont do like me and sacrifice education for it...that definately aint worth it...

dura to the max
10-12-2008, 12:03 AM
back to the thread topic...

i think it can go both ways. the biggest issue that many of us face is stress from the job and the headaches that go with trying to squeeze a living out of it. ( i know there are some big guys out there, but they aint the ones out there working themselves to the dirt). we're up early, late getting to bed, never can clear our minds of the problems at hand, worrying about money, the mower that broke down today, the mower that has to be fixed by 7 am in the morning so that we dont get behind, etc...its a hard industry on your body yes, but i think its more from the stress factor than the physical issues. if we were getting enough good sleep, notice i said good, and not eating on the run every day, we would most likely be in much better shape and wouldnt be the LCO's that were mentioned at the start of this thread. its tough on the body no doubt, but if much of it could be prevented no doubt. how do we get to that point where we aint worrying and are more carefree? i dont really know, but we have the power to prevent being the old, frail, weak, lco w/ bad looking skin. it starts mentaly though with being able to let more go, and not worrying as much. get our heads right and the rest should follow.

i say this all stepping on my own feet because i am horrible about worrying and pushing myself just like i previously advised against.

dura to the max
10-12-2008, 12:10 AM
i guess i should add that we should do our best to use the best equipment possible for our bodies. i do agree with that idea of prevention 100%, i just dont think thats all there is to it.

Kennedy Landscaping
10-12-2008, 12:18 AM
DONT LET IT HAPPEN! take care of yourself, but dont let other tell you that you cant do this. while i dont plan to stay in this forever, ther is some good money in it, but i would jump at the chance to leave this for something else. dont get so caught up in this, or ANY job for that matter that you cant walk away from it when your body or wallet says too.

you have many perks and many trials being your own boss. it can be a great thing, and it can be horrible. not everyone is cut out for it, so you ought to weigh that out. but if its for you then go for it full force, just dont do like me and sacrifice education for it...that definately aint worth it...

I definetly plan on continuing with my education clear up through college. It is not growth problems. Three different doctors have said no. Its something to do with my knee caps being in the wrong place and not moving how they should when I bend my knee

Roger
10-12-2008, 12:36 AM
... He says they all look old, frail,week, and there skin looks terrible. ...

You could go to many office environments and find people old beyond their years, severely overweight, and waddling like a duck -- all because of inactivity.

I think the key is balance. It is clear that everybody needs exercise to keep reasonably fit. Too much heavy work will take its toll, and no activity will also take its toll. Likewise with lifestyle habits. Heavy smoking, excessive drinking, doing drugs, and other such behaviors will take their toll over time.

Also, some part of the toll will depend upon the individual, their body structure, and their ancestry. There is plenty of risk of injury in our work, equipment, on/off, slippery footing, etc.

I grew up on a farm, where everybody worked hard, with no vacations or time off. People got injured, but in the end, most were still working hard day after day, well into their 60s. Nobody retired, just slowed down in later seasons of life. All these people did hard physical labor for all their lives, starting as a young person. We all worked outside, all Summer, in the sun, and suntan lotion was only something somebody used who went to the beach (we never went to the beach, so never used the stuff). Nobody knew of sun block, yet I don't recall ever knowing anybody who got skin cancer. Rarely did anybody take vitamin tablet, or any other dietary supplements. Everybody ate hearty breakfast, two large meals each day, plus a "lunch" in late afternoon. So, did the hard work take a toll? The evidence seems to indicate otherwise.

DLAWNS
10-12-2008, 12:44 AM
I'm 53 years old. I started last year as a schlock part time mower, but went legit and legal thise year, with NYS DEC certification.

Frankly, besides being in the best shape of my life since my twenties, my old back problems disappeared with the laborious work of landscaping. Sure, I have aches and pain, but I feel and look GREAT!

I have a friend who is 62 and still goin strong. Try driving a subway train for 9 hours a day, working on Christmas and every other holiday. I was fat, unhealthy and miserable. Sinus infections from the mold in the tunnels. Bad back from the crappy seats...

Dude, that's a pretty cool story. You seem to be doing pretty well for yourself considering you only started full time this year. Congrats.

redmax fan
10-12-2008, 12:48 AM
no this type work is not hard on the body , its light manual labor .
whats hard on modern day americans bodies is the lame diet the elite society / government has us eating , all the cooked / processed garbage is slowly suffocating our bodies off our souls . bringing us to death by slow dietary caused disease . ide suggest a book called ' the china study ' .

loom-gen
10-12-2008, 05:10 AM
drink lots of water and take some days off. I don't do either of these things so my body is killing me.
remember, the more employees you hire to do the work for you, the harder you have to work. I have five guys and my brain is killing me.
ztrs hurt your back, standers hurt your knees, walk behinds hurt your bottom line so my equipment is killing me.
all in all this is a great way to make a killing. {figuratively speeking}

Richard Martin
10-12-2008, 09:05 AM
Is there anything you can do for back and joint problems? do you guys get them from riding the mower, bending down while trimming, turns on a
WB? What would you say is the leading cause?

Being human is the leading cause. We're taking a skeletal system that was evolved to walk on four legs and using it in a bi-pedal fashion. In addition to that we have only extremely recently begun to live beyond 30 or so years and the human skeleton has not had a chance to adapt yet.

The visual effect that stevenf talks about can be attributed to exposure to the sun. The internal maladies are simply being human. Back pain and other frailties are not limited to those that work outside.

Charles
10-12-2008, 09:35 AM
I use one of those full length body message pad now a days. heats up and vibrates. Works wonders. Then there are the leg cramps and back aches. I keep aspirin handy for those.
I wear a hat, short sleave shirt and jeans to keep that deadly skin cancer at bay. So far so good. Skin cancer generally begins to show up from sun damaged skin at 45+
Lawn care has kept the weight off me and I have been free from any type of sickness. If I do start feeling sick then I just work it off in the hot sun. That does the trick every time.
Really its just a job now. The only thing stressful about it to me is chasing money from a few slack buttes:rolleyes:

djflats
10-12-2008, 10:04 AM
I work as an electrical worker in substations. For the last 14 years I've cut the substation yards. Five days a week, rotating cutting 34 yards. Because of drive time I can only do maybe 3 a day. Plus I've been using a Kubota tractor, a 1750 diesel. It can be hard work but it's a lot easier than climbing around on steel towers and structures which I do in the "off-season".

landscaper22
10-12-2008, 10:10 AM
Really this business is not unlike any other. The sun would indeed be the most dangerous part of this job. But there lots of other contractor service industries that deal with the same thing. Any job has its good points and bad points. You know you can sit at a desk all day and you may die from obesity or a blood clot, or you may get carpal tunnel and have to have surgery.
Since this job involves more manual labor, you would be more inclined to have a healthy heart and stay in better shape. But being more of a physical labor job it would tend to be rougher on the old joints. You can get injured doing physical labor jobs. But you can just as easily get injured when you have a 3 year old child that leaves toys scatted all over the house, or when you participate in other hobbies or fun activities. It is just one of those things. You can always try roofing...:laugh:

jbell36
10-12-2008, 11:01 AM
YES this job is hard on your body in pretty much all aspects...in my opinion the sun is the worst part about it, and that goes for all outside workers...not to bash topsites by any means but i think his post was a little dramatic, we're not quite to that point of a "depression," though could be close......it's all about how you take care of yourself...i'm very worried about the sun, i'm 22 and put on sunblock at the beginning of the day and lotion at the end as often as i can so i don't look 90 when i'm 50...many outside workers don't do this and that is why they look "frail."...fortunately i love to work out, about 5 times a week, and eat healthy therefore i'm in very good shape, but the majority of people especially in our field don't do this because it's easy to eat on the run (fast food) and not workout because this job is very tiring and working out is the last thing you want to do at the end of the day...hopefully when i'm 30 i'll have a few fulltime crews with about 250 accounts so i won't have to be the one out in the sun

it's all about health and how you take care of yourself, bottom line...

DLAWNS
10-12-2008, 11:30 AM
YES this job is hard on your body in pretty much all aspects...in my opinion the sun is the worst part about it, and that goes for all outside workers...not to bash topsites by any means but i think his post was a little dramatic, we're not quite to that point of a "depression," though could be close......it's all about how you take care of yourself...i'm very worried about the sun, i'm 22 and put on sunblock at the beginning of the day and lotion at the end as often as i can so i don't look 90 when i'm 50...many outside workers don't do this and that is why they look "frail."...fortunately i love to work out, about 5 times a week, and eat healthy therefore i'm in very good shape, but the majority of people especially in our field don't do this because it's easy to eat on the run (fast food) and not workout because this job is very tiring and working out is the last thing you want to do at the end of the day...hopefully when i'm 30 i'll have a few fulltime crews with about 250 accounts so i won't have to be the one out in the sun

it's all about health and how you take care of yourself, bottom line...

Great post, I wish I could say I do all of the stuff that you said, but I do my best. I think this industry is hard on your body. I've torn cartilage in my shoulder, almost broken my foot, torn a tendon in my foot, numerous pretty serious cuts, and many other injuries. I am also get pretty mentally worn out and quite sore and tired. However believe it or not I'm not complaining. I love what I do and don't mind all of these problems that come with the job.

Whitey4
10-12-2008, 12:38 PM
Dude, that's a pretty cool story. You seem to be doing pretty well for yourself considering you only started full time this year. Congrats.

Thanks... yeah, I'm happier doing this than any other "job" I've ever had... including being a sales exec in high tech defense electronics pulling in 6 figures. You want to talk about stress.... this biz comes no where near the stress levels I've worked under.

I posted my story in the "Who are you" forum. Bottom line, I went in having done my homework... and did have 2 years of trade school training in ornamental horticulture back in high school. I have turned bad lawns around in less than a year. My customers are very happy... I am meticulous. I will not have to spend a dime on advertising anymore... I'm getting referrals left and right, and I don't offer anything for referrals... I get them based on my results.

The economy? Hasn't affected my biz at all... I'm growing. Some people would say I should be more profitable, but my work generates a lot of the premium more profiable jobs. Just finished a $1000 job... transplanted six 10 year old shrubs that had gotten over grown and crowded in some foundation beds. Renovated the back lawn, did some spot turf repairs, threw in a few accent plants... heather and dwarf grasses... material cost about 80 bucks. $920 gross profit for about 8 hours of work. Got that job by explaining why the shrubs were doing poorly, combined with having turned the lawn around in such a short period of time... replacing Tru Green at that account.

I think far too many LCO's get caught up in growing based on getting more mow and blows... there isn't any money in it. I mow ONLY to get the other work. It's a loss leader.

My territory is well suited to this biz plan, so it might not work for everyone.

Sorry to go so seemingly off topic, but my message is work smarter, not harder. That will help keep the body from wearing down, reduces the stress level and makes this biz more fun.

DLAWNS
10-12-2008, 03:02 PM
I hear ya, man. You definitely hit it on the head. I'm glad your doing so well. I know what you mean about the economy. If anything I've sold more jobs and done more work during this time. Keep up the good work.

truthnlife13
10-12-2008, 06:05 PM
I'm asking myself the same question. I'm making my money in it now while I'm young and in shape but if something better comes along I will take it. Including becoming a musician.
sorry but being a musician myself I couldnt resist. The music business is by far the worst business I have ever seen. I am a performing musician and own a multitrack recording studio, there is no money in it whatsoever.

S man
10-13-2008, 12:33 AM
sorry but being a musician myself I couldnt resist. The music business is by far the worst business I have ever seen. I am a performing musician and own a multitrack recording studio, there is no money in it whatsoever.

I know. I talked to several musicians including a guy that lives on my street and they say the money isn't that great and that you have to have a day job. I just enjoy playing though and want to use that talent. What instrument do you play?

truthnlife13
10-13-2008, 10:12 AM
If you can get into playin covers you can do alright. Around here a good cover band will get about 700-800 for a night (of course that is split up amonst band members) Some of the original bands in our area actually pay to play out ! So in short it costs them money, they don't make any. We are fortunate in that we've been able to build enough of a following so we dont have to pay to play out but after expenses we typically might make 50 bucks a piece on a good night. So i look at it 2 ways. 1st it sux, used to be I made 300 -400 a night(3 nights a week) back in the 90's. However 2nd gettin 50 bucks to play my guitar and do somethin I love ain't all that bad. I could spend an hour diggin a ditch or an hour playin my guitar. Not a tough choice. Only problem is there are many more ditches to dig than shows to play !

Frue
10-13-2008, 11:11 AM
I think it is the strain of being in debt. think about it if one was not so in the hole, one woukld not have to take on so much then, one would control the business instead of the business controlling them.

stress in this business is crazy, it rains two days you are baried and have to work sun up sun down. Witch burns you out quickly.....

Kennedy Landscaping
10-13-2008, 11:31 AM
Honestly, you have to deal with alot of stress. I mean you have to remember to call people and go give estimates and keep up on bills and job schedueling. It is probably more mentally stressful than it is physically, although it does take ALOT of physical effort

Charles
10-13-2008, 11:43 AM
I did leave out the stress concerning droughts. This has been very stressful year(last year too) for many of us in that department. We have had to deal with. Grass usually dries up for short time every year. Maybe in the spring or the middle summer or in September. This year it has dried up at least 5 times. Last year was just about as bad. In Fact, we have had less and less rain since 1998. I never get used to it and get very stressed out about it. I imagine that takes a toll on our bodies and mind too

LawnBrother
10-13-2008, 11:54 AM
This job is hard on your body, it WILL take it's toll on you over time.

TCL
10-13-2008, 12:32 PM
You tell your friend what he is seeing is the plight of the American worker,
one direct result of that attitude of wanting everything handed over on a
silver platter, what he is seeing is the dire situation of today's economy.

This is what depression looks like, we are killing ourselves to survive, literally, death but two steps
from our front doors. The reason we look beat is because we are, our skin looks frail and sick
because the cost of fuel takes food out of our mouths, we lack the sustenance to feed
ourselves properly and we would charge more for our services but we can't.

That is the reality of things, that is what he is seeing, cold hard reality,
hard to look at straight in the face if you ask me but this is what America
has come to, and the longer we ignore the problem the worse it gets.

And there is little or nothing anyone can do, but it's all right, that's just the way it is.
WOW! You need to find a hobby bro!