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IN2MOWN
10-15-2008, 09:20 AM
Over the years here I have noticed more and more "new to the business" people here which in turn has led to more threads like "What to charge?" "What to buy?"

Im just wondering what peoples backgrounds are when it comes to the lawn and landscape field. Did you just jump right in or did you work for a company before you went on your own?

I spent 5 years working for a 7 figure company as a crew chief and learned what to do and what not to do. We maintained over 700 commercial and residential lots when it came to mowing, maint., and snow removal.

IN2MOWN
10-15-2008, 12:18 PM
27 views and nobody wants to share huh?

Interesting...

CLARK LAWN
10-15-2008, 01:30 PM
i worked for somebody else for 4-5 years before i got a job driving a truck locally then the company got bought out and i got downsized and couldnt find anything making anywere near what i was at so i took a job as a truck mechanic afternoon shift and started my biz during the day. the last year that i did both i was working from 730 am til 1130 pm m-f and most saterdays and sundays. that got old real fast

zeroturner
10-15-2008, 01:47 PM
Worked with a landscape company on one of their maintenance crews during college. After college took full time job in area of my degree. Kids came along and we decided that my wife would stop working and be a stay at home mother. I secured some contracts (convinced people to just give me a chance and they would not be disappointed), got insurance, certification, equipment and I was off. Nine years later I am still going strong and have not looked back. It can get a little stressful sometimes juggling 2 jobs, but I still put my family first and I am already seeing the benefits of the sacrifices we made for my wife to stay at home with our children. Besides, I truly enjoy being outside and admiring God's creations.

jbell36
10-15-2008, 03:41 PM
started when i was 12 with my bro, two 21" mowers, weedeater, and a truck...gpa saw potential in the business so three years later invested about $22,000 and built it up from there...i'm now 22 with about 80 accounts, biggest we've ever been so to answer your question no i've never worked for another company but have had much experience...

IN2MOWN, what company did you work for in shawnee, epic?

IN2MOWN
10-15-2008, 04:10 PM
started when i was 12 with my bro, two 21" mowers, weedeater, and a truck...gpa saw potential in the business so three years later invested about $22,000 and built it up from there...i'm now 22 with about 80 accounts, biggest we've ever been so to answer your question no i've never worked for another company but have had much experience...

IN2MOWN, what company did you work for in shawnee, epic?




Boresows.


And let me explain why I started this thread. It was not to bash all the new people in the business asking questions. I love getting asked things and sharing my knowledge.

I just have to wonder if people who get into this right off the bat with no experience wonder if its just an easy quick buck and you dont need a lot of knowledge to do it.

I see some questions on here and Im stunned that people dont know the answer to them even people that have been doing this for a couple years.

MnDLawn
10-15-2008, 04:27 PM
Started when I was 14. Learned from doing not being told. 12 years later, over 250 combined regular accounts and growing, fast.

DLAWNS
10-15-2008, 05:23 PM
I started when I was 17 working with a friend where I was his weedwhacker guy for like 2 years. I learned how not to run a business from him. I then went and worked as a crew leader for a reputable company for a year. Later moved to Florida and worked as a fert and spray tech and started a small part time mowing company. Hated it down there, moved back to Jersey, worked for a few smaller companies, worked for Brickman for a year and then everything fell into place and I started my company with my wife. If you didn't notice a trend, I'm a very bad employee. I've worked for about 10 different companies in that time. Most of them I left because they were full of drugs. I feel I'm a great employer but a bad employee. Anyway sorry to ramble.

punt66
10-15-2008, 05:45 PM
Owned construction company for 11 years. Doc said i had to retire so now im mowing. hahhaha

jbell36
10-15-2008, 06:05 PM
Boresows.


And let me explain why I started this thread. It was not to bash all the new people in the business asking questions. I love getting asked things and sharing my knowledge.

I just have to wonder if people who get into this right off the bat with no experience wonder if its just an easy quick buck and you dont need a lot of knowledge to do it.

I see some questions on here and Im stunned that people dont know the answer to them even people that have been doing this for a couple years.

ya i completely understand that, especially since the economy is down a lot of people are jumping in, so that means very low quality equipment and no idea of what they are doing...i know i haven't worked for a big company but i know what i'm doing...i was driving a few minutes ago and saw this ****** mowing the strip between the street and sidewalk and blowing it into the street...now that's just common sense, great work!

lawnman_scott
10-15-2008, 06:33 PM
I worked for Pepsi and wanted to start a business. This was something I could do on the weekends till I got it going. I just used some common sence to come up with prices. I was low in the beginning but just bidding higher and higher until I wasnt getting all of my estimates and figured I was close.

hillbilly_lawnboy
10-15-2008, 06:44 PM
Well i started 10 years ago doing it in my spare time. i got alot of jobs fast thanks to my dads construction company. i try to stay small in my mind thats the key to survival in a climate that only allows mowing to be 7 months out of the year. and in an area where most can't afford snow removal. i love what i do and i learn new things everyday. im not cocky i think rookies are good i mean think about it guys we were all rookies once in our lives. but anyway the real morons who came to make it rich will find out quick that that doesn't happen here. The true proffesionals will always be here customers are for the most part loyal to a good worker. if you do an awesome job they will be there next time around.

topsites
10-15-2008, 06:49 PM
No offense but I don't really see how having worked for someone else is that helpful either.
Because while the same old questions bore me to tears too and while having worked
for a licensed chemical applicator might assist in that department... So without taking into account
that having worked there and running your own show are two entirely separate things, what I also notice
(and I'm guilty too) are folks so set in their ways they (we) are no longer able to see new methods
as potentially useful.

If that makes any sense, I realize probably a thousand of these so-called new methods are as much snake oil
and waste of time but unfortunately it appears one needs that trial and error thing to hit upon the next improvement.

Because one thing is for sure, passing the ever-rising cost of doing business to the consumer is an idea that got old fast.
Customers are unwilling to tolerate any more increases and to be quite honest WE are sick and tired of
manufacturers and service providers always sticking it to us!

Because raising the price is the stupidest of answers, it doesn't hardly befit 21st century companies to
utilize such outdated and simple minded solutions. So the next step has to do with changes, adaptations,
things we must do to improve not just the service but at a lower cost if not to the consumer
then at least to ourselves, but preferably to the consumer as well.

Without this ability, without these improvements we will be unable to continue to provide the same service
for the same price for the next 20 years, and I hate to say that but then considering it hasn't gone up in the
past 40 years I figure it only stands to reason the price will as likely remain the same for some time to come yet.

And without fresh blood to provide us with new ideas, granted some won't work, if many won't work,
but I can and will use anything that saves time and money, and for that we need folks whose ways
haven't been set by years of drudgery.

[/rant]
Peace

TNT LawnCare Inc.
10-15-2008, 07:48 PM
I was an Auto Technician for Ford for 20 plus years,The work and the money was gone. To say it just wasnt cuttin it anymore.Take a look at our Auto Industry now. It was the best move ive ever made and should have done it sooner . Before i quit 4 years ago i had been cutting some lawns on the side to help make ends meet.

So it got to the point where i had to make a decesion cause i just couldnt do both anymore, well i took the leep of faith with lots of prayer.

Now 3 years later were close to 90 residentials and 5 commercial accounts. Ive been able to add about 20-30 new clients a year. This year was the best about 30.

Iam hoping to hit around 200 in the next 2-3 years,so to answer one of your questions ,no ive never worked for an LCO company.

STIHL GUY
10-16-2008, 11:00 PM
started off with a 21'' when i was 10. used hand clippers and a pushbroom before upgrading to old used equipment. I invested in a backpack blower when the old craftsman crapped out and then year or 2 later got a new steing trimmer. I now have a 48'' WB and have expanded to mulch hedge trimming and spring and fall cleanups

carcrz
10-17-2008, 12:06 AM
I started with my dad while I was in college. He did a lot of the research & at the time, I did most of the labor. He talked with a lot of other companies on our side of town who he had known for quite some time. I believe "We Care" was one of the companies he spoke to on a regular basis. Since then, he has realized that it wasn't for him & I have bought his portion and have continued where he left off, going on 5 years with out a sidekick.

S.A.L.
10-17-2008, 12:35 AM
I used to bush-hog with an old guy that lived in my neighborhood when I was 11.
That's right; an 11 year old on a 1948 Ford tractor.
His wife hated it, but I loved it and he was from the country, so he didn't see anything wrong with it.
I did it for no pay. Just hot dogs and Pepsi. That's what he used to give me.
Then he bought some lawn equipment and we picked up 30 or so residentials. He started paying me at that point and I've been manicuring lawns on and off ever since.
That was 20 years ago.
I've gone to college, held several corporate jobs, sold life insurance, bought and sold cars, been a factory rep for lighting companies in The Home Depot, I held the top sales position for Cingular in my metro area for a few years, blah blah blah... there's just something about manicuring a lawn that I can't completely break away from.
It must be the freedom and the instant gradification because I hate the heat and I don't like being dirty.

SETH

brucec32
10-17-2008, 12:32 PM
Over the years here I have noticed more and more "new to the business" people here which in turn has led to more threads like "What to charge?" "What to buy?"

Im just wondering what peoples backgrounds are when it comes to the lawn and landscape field. Did you just jump right in or did you work for a company before you went on your own?

I spent 5 years working for a 7 figure company as a crew chief and learned what to do and what not to do. We maintained over 700 commercial and residential lots when it came to mowing, maint., and snow removal.

It's not brain surgery, but apparently a lot of these guys think it's so easy they can just jump in with almost zero experience and learn on customers' lawns. Hence the numerous threads titled "Help, how do I change blades?" or "how much do I charge for this (see attached photo)?" or "what kind of grass is this?"

It's not doing any wonders for the industry's rep. After one guy butchers a lawn or wreaks some other havoc, I'm sure that customer assumes most of us are equally inept.

Many seem infatuated with the shiny equipment, vehicles, signage, marketing, etc, but lose interest in the hard work itself and quickly depart. See Ebay for listings of their equipment. Then they're on to their next endeavor, maybe selling Amway or giving hot stock tips.

Some are just guys looking to supplement a low income in what is a decent part time business on a limited scale. Others are unemployed and desperate to make a buck somehow. Can't blame em. But they'd be better off taking a $9/hour gig working for another company in many cases, if only to learn the ropes on someone else's dime before learning from mistakes the hard way or deciding they hate the work after they've shelled out thousands in equipment they have to unload cheap.

But as EZ credit in the US dries up, you'll see less of this type of new competition, as they'll have to have a few thousand saved to start up, buying used equipment for cash, instead of some dealer setting them up with a rig for a monthly payment with nothing down. Give it 6-12 months before that type of credit becomes either much more expensive or impossible to get without significant down payments. Capital is scarce now, and it's doubtful they'll want to lend precious money out to start ups with high default rates vs established businesses with track records and real assets available as collateral.