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Joe Smith
02-14-2009, 01:43 AM
over 30 years as an IT professional. don't want to do it anymore. The fact is i need another 4 years to maximze benefits. So i'm looking to start part time.

No longer a spring chicken at 53, but in good shape and healthy.

Just want to start out basic with maybe ~5 yards a week that can be done after work and weekends.

Planning on using my p/u with quality 21" mower, trimmer and blower.

Now because i'm 50+ and want to ease into this. I thinking a specific customer and yard type to make this work for me.

My thought is a mow and go service and limit my self to the garden home type. think $35 - 40 per yard for about 30-40 minutes.

Anyone have a comment on specializing on postage stamp yards. Usually elderly and/or single that just need, maybe not the cheapest, but a reliable quality service.

BP348
02-14-2009, 08:45 AM
Not as old but we have the same idea.

5 - 10 yards a week, after work & one day on the weekend @ $35 or $40 is what I'm look at/for myself.

Carolina Cuts
02-14-2009, 08:59 AM
ugh............................

RGM
02-14-2009, 09:14 AM
I have all size lawns from town homes to large estates and you can make some good money on all if you get the right price. I work in town home community with the postage stamp size lawns I cut for $10-$22. Some I just cut the front yard like a 10'x10' with a sidewalk to edge. On a good day I can go in and knock them all out by myself usually in an hour and a half but I am using a 48'' walk behind on all most all of the lawns. For me its a great street $196.00 per trip in an 1.5 - 2 hours

birtchetg
02-14-2009, 09:17 AM
I have been a banker for the last 40 years and now I am mad because the economy stinks. I know! I will buy a lawn mower and run around for 30 bucks a lawn taking money out of landscapers/mower companies pockets! I will only do this for about a year till I realize that this isnt as easy as it looks and that I am not going to get rich overnight mowing other peoples lawns. But by then it wont matter because I will have ruined the relationships between at least 10 to 20 home owners and lco's. Now you guys give me advice on how to do this please.

That is what I read with threads like this.

Tommy Boy
02-14-2009, 11:01 AM
As the economy continues to get worst, and the passage of the stimulus bill, more really good folks are out of work. Many will do exactly what we did; start mowing grass and landscaping. When the economy is good, it’s hard to get quality workers, and you had to pay a good price for it. Today, I could hire that banker for $10.00 per hour. So we have two choices:

We could ***** and moan about scab cheap guys coming in and taking accounts away. Or we can try and work with them. Most will be gone in a couple of years once the economy gets better. They just want to feed the family and keep a roof over their heads. I have no problem with that.

After a season or so in the sun, they will welcome any job with air conditioning and a close parking space. South Atlanta guys, who need help, let me know, I will help if I can. All I ask is that once you pull the plug, I can take over the accounts you got. You will not be here long, so please try and be professional so you don’t screw up our industry and make it harder for the next guy.

My 2 cents worth.

Tommy Boy
02-14-2009, 11:02 AM
As the economy continues to get worst, and the passage of the stimulus bill, more really good folks are out of work. Many will do exactly what we did; start mowing grass and landscaping. When the economy is good, itís hard to get quality workers, and you had to pay a good price for it. Today, I could hire that banker for $10.00 per hour. So we have two choices:

We could ***** and moan about scab cheap guys coming in and taking accounts away. Or we can try and work with them. Most will be gone in a couple of years once the economy gets better. They just want to feed the family and keep a roof over their heads. I have no problem with that.

After a season or so in the sun, they will welcome any job with air conditioning and a close parking space. South Atlanta guys, who need help, let me know, I will help if I can. All I ask is that once you pull the plug, I can take over the accounts you got. You will not be here long, so please try and be professional so you donít screw up our industry and make it harder for the next guy.

My 2 cents worth.

DLAWNS
02-14-2009, 07:30 PM
As the economy continues to get worst, and the passage of the stimulus bill, more really good folks are out of work. Many will do exactly what we did; start mowing grass and landscaping. When the economy is good, itís hard to get quality workers, and you had to pay a good price for it. Today, I could hire that banker for $10.00 per hour. So we have two choices:

We could ***** and moan about scab cheap guys coming in and taking accounts away. Or we can try and work with them. Most will be gone in a couple of years once the economy gets better. They just want to feed the family and keep a roof over their heads. I have no problem with that.

After a season or so in the sun, they will welcome any job with air conditioning and a close parking space. South Atlanta guys, who need help, let me know, I will help if I can. All I ask is that once you pull the plug, I can take over the accounts you got. You will not be here long, so please try and be professional so you donít screw up our industry and make it harder for the next guy.

My 2 cents worth.

Good old southern advice...lol.

daveyo
02-14-2009, 07:51 PM
over 30 years as an IT professional. don't want to do it anymore. The fact is i need another 4 years to maximze benefits. So i'm looking to start part time.

No longer a spring chicken at 53, but in good shape and healthy.

Just want to start out basic with maybe ~5 yards a week that can be done after work and weekends.

Planning on using my p/u with quality 21" mower, trimmer and blower.

Now because i'm 50+ and want to ease into this. I thinking a specific customer and yard type to make this work for me.

My thought is a mow and go service and limit my self to the garden home type. think $35 - 40 per yard for about 30-40 minutes.

Anyone have a comment on specializing on postage stamp yards. Usually elderly and/or single that just need, maybe not the cheapest, but a reliable quality service.

It sounds good but as soon as you fling a rock or foreign object at someones house, car or child you'll be wishing you were at the computer. What gets me is that it sounds so simple to just go cut some lawns, or go do a fert or spray app, or dig a plant in or whatever. Your on someones property, your liable for anything that happens. Or what if you throw your back out or chop your fingers off, what you think this stuff doesn't happen? It takes experience, knowledge of equipment and materials, maintenance, back up equipment, reliability of your self, licenses, insurance, and a boat load of crap I don't want to list. What happens if it rains for a week? You know what I never had a problem with these guys I just see coming and going, because they'll always be a customer wanting this type of service. But bet your very last dollar as soon as something happens they'll put your azz in a sling, guaranteed. All I have to say now is do it right or don't do it at all, sincerely, good luck.

SCAG POWER
02-14-2009, 10:15 PM
Great another scab thread starting.Well don't forget to get your concieled weapons permit while you are at it. Because every one at this time is have such trouble getting and keeping customers. Not only that , people are steeling , every thing now , I mean even driving the trucks off, and all the equipment with it.

HOOLIE
02-14-2009, 11:14 PM
The smaller the lawn, the better profit-wise, if you're going to be doing mowing mostly.

I'm doing the opposite...scaled back the lawn biz a bit last year when I had an opportunity in IT fall into my lap. So I'm seeing things from both sides of the fence. Having my health and life insurance paid for and 3 weeks of paid vacation plus all the other bennies ain't bad. I'm guessing after 30 years in IT you must be making great money, but also dealing with a lot of corporate BS day in and day out.

Joe Smith
02-14-2009, 11:22 PM
Whoa... I'm surprised with the negative comments. Thanks to you guys with helpful posts. I had been following this site for a few months and saw a lot of friendly encouragement and all types of assistance.

You know Iím just looking to supplement income. I doubt a few yards here and there are any threat to a successful business. If I fall by the side or don't do a good job it should only help the owners to select a more 'professional' operation for their lawn needs.

No problem with trying to do it in a proper manner. Already have LLC from years ago. Buying the liability insurance protects me. These are things that reading the site had made me aware of.

I have seen many posts from the experienced people here recommending starting slow. Don't jump into debt. Keep your day job as you develop the skills and business. That's the kind of help I need. Name calling.... geez..

Joe Smith
02-14-2009, 11:27 PM
The smaller the lawn, the better profit-wise, if you're going to be doing mowing mostly.

I'm doing the opposite...scaled back the lawn biz a bit last year when I had an opportunity in IT fall into my lap. So I'm seeing things from both sides of the fence. Having my health and life insurance paid for and 3 weeks of paid vacation plus all the other bennies ain't bad. I'm guessing after 30 years in IT you must be making great money, but also dealing with a lot of corporate BS day in and day out.

Good luck to you in IT. Great career for me for many years. The corp BS can be a drag. I've been rightsized, downsized and megasized. Looking at the lawn care as a post career small business in something I believe I would enjoy.

HOOLIE
02-14-2009, 11:48 PM
Sounds like you have a "4 year plan" and realistic expectations, just set goals for each season so when you're ready to leave your job you'll be in good position to do well. Stick with those small lawns especially since you'll be doing this on your 'offtime' :laugh:

I was just a 'warm body' this IT company needed to fill overnight shifts...the company was (is) growing so rapidly they couldn't find actual, qualified IT professionals to fill it. So I'm like the 'scab' of the IT industry :) Now that I have my feet wet I'm pushing the managers for more training, certs, etc. so that if I am ever downsized, I might actually have enough of a resume to get a job elsewhere :laugh: Now that we were bought by a large company, there's a hiring/spending freeze so it's hard to get anything going.

TMK
02-15-2009, 09:34 AM
Joe Smith_same thing here_after 15yrs in corporate accounting I decided to go back into the landscaping business after doing it in TX for a number of years after college. I am 48yrs old, but compete in triathlons & marathons so my "outside challenges" are no problem. You are in the South so during the summer months it is not easy being out there 5-6hrs a day, but hey, just another workout for me. I am lucky as I cut my neighborhood which is 284 homes with 14 lakes + some vacant lots & foreclosures- (all in the same neighborhood). I can say that this site is AWESOME, the guys here are mostly supportive of what you want to do, but seriously, the information provided here is second to none. Most of the guys here are full-timers & you have to respect what they do/go through daily. We as "outsiders" coming in must give the respect they deserve, especially when they are giving out valuable info. I say make sure it is what you want to do, if so, go for it, but be smart & remember it is not easy money_you have to work hard to give great service.
Good Luck (it has worked out for me)
tmk

jhastrello
02-15-2009, 11:49 AM
Well, after 40+ years in corporate America and IT in particular, just one too many down sizings - so my wife and I are starting our own business. Our first marketing/advertising starts this week.

Make realistic goals, believe in yourself, and smile politely when the naysayers are around. Plenty of them, both from family, friends and people that don't want ANYONE to succeed.

I have to remind myself almost daily, to keep my naysayer flyswatter handy.

There are many really good people here. At first, I was 'down the internet on another site', but migrated here once found. Far more constructive, positive attitudes here that will be helpful.

Again, best wishes, and get one of those flyswatters!

HOOLIE
02-15-2009, 01:13 PM
Every spring new guys post threads about starting up, and get slammed :laugh: part of the initiation process to Lawnsite I guess. Plus with the economy in the toilet everyone's wondering how many calls they're going to get as the season gets closer.

If you're inclined to do so, you might want to focus as well on small landscape jobs...like mulch, general cleanup, etc. Since those type jobs are not time-sensitive like mowing, it allows you more flexibility to work around your day job and the weather.

gladi8r
02-15-2009, 01:20 PM
5-10 small yards a week aren't going to pay for your expenses. (insurance, repairs, travel gas) Need to do at least 20 to 30 to make any money at all, and with a push mower it's going to be a bear.

There is a night-and-day difference between homeowner-type small push mowers, trimmers, edgers, and blowers, and commercial-grade, high capacity equipment.

I'm familiar with your setup- I started with a good commercial ZTR, but had a small Husqvarna push mower, (good mower, self-propelled rear drive, but slow as heck) homeowner-model Echo trimmer, and homeowner-model Husqvarna handheld blower when I started. Once I got a REAL commercial walk-behind (1994 Woods 36" Hydro) and a Kawasaki Commercial trimmer and Redmax backpack blower, my productivity and quality doubled. I still use the Husqvarna edger (not bad) that I started with, but will get a Kawasaki or Stihl this year.

Also- there's Marketing- getting customers is harder when you're new if you're not working almost for free. Building a customer base is difficult unless you have some marketing savvy and some computer skills with graphics and printing mass quantities of material, and the legs to get them into people's hands for free. I hang 150 door hangers a day in the spring, and at the end of 2 to 3 hours I've walked 6 to 9 miles. You can expect about 1/2 to 1% of your door hangers to become customers if you design somehting that is well-written, catches the eye, and present yourself as a professional. Newspaper ads don't work unless you're in a small town. Yellow pages ads don't work unless you spend a fortune, and even then you won't make your money back on small-scale mowing.

You CAN do this, but you're gonna need to invest in quality equipment and charge the going rate to make any money. Don't even think about employees at this stage- they will suck your meager profits out of your pocket.

SHARPLAWN
02-15-2009, 01:59 PM
5-10 small yards a week aren't going to pay for your expenses. (insurance, repairs, travel gas) Need to do at least 20 to 30 to make any money at all, and with a push mower it's going to be a bear.

There is a night-and-day difference between homeowner-type small push mowers, trimmers, edgers, and blowers, and commercial-grade, high capacity equipment.

I'm familiar with your setup- I started with a good commercial ZTR, but had a small Husqvarna push mower, (good mower, self-propelled rear drive, but slow as heck) homeowner-model Echo trimmer, and homeowner-model Husqvarna handheld blower when I started. Once I got a REAL commercial walk-behind (1994 Woods 36" Hydro) and a Kawasaki Commercial trimmer and Redmax backpack blower, my productivity and quality doubled. I still use the Husqvarna edger (not bad) that I started with, but will get a Kawasaki or Stihl this year.

Also- there's Marketing- getting customers is harder when you're new if you're not working almost for free. Building a customer base is difficult unless you have some marketing savvy and some computer skills with graphics and printing mass quantities of material, and the legs to get them into people's hands for free. I hang 150 door hangers a day in the spring, and at the end of 2 to 3 hours I've walked 6 to 9 miles. You can expect about 1/2 to 1% of your door hangers to become customers if you design somehting that is well-written, catches the eye, and present yourself as a professional. Newspaper ads don't work unless you're in a small town. Yellow pages ads don't work unless you spend a fortune, and even then you won't make your money back on small-scale mowing.

You CAN do this, but you're gonna need to invest in quality equipment and charge the going rate to make any money. Don't even think about employees at this stage- they will suck your meager profits out of your pocket.



Second this..... Good luck Joe!! :weightlifter:

LKNBigFish
02-15-2009, 02:34 PM
you might not have the ability to be profitable on 5-10 yards, but it can be done. he may not need to spend any money on advertising to get 10 customers and insurance is not that expensive for a solo.

a little friendly competition really gets people fired up. the economy sucks and if LCOs cant handle the heat they need to get out of the kitchen. a lot of laid off people are going to throw their mower in their trunk/truck and try to make a little money and support their families, some will make it and some wont. LCOs are not immune to the economic situation and are going to have to get used to working for less or having less work for a while. If you dont change your model from the past few years you are a fool and wont be around long.

There are a lot of people who talk a big game on here about not working for less than $xx.xx an hour, but when spring hits I have a feeling those posts will slow down and there will be a few people swallowing a little pride.

Runner
02-15-2009, 03:00 PM
Hey, not to get off subject,...but What is IT? Is it Information technology? Industrial technology? I'm just curious, and am always wanting to learn...

daveyo
02-15-2009, 04:09 PM
Hey, not to get off subject,...but What is IT? Is it Information technology? Industrial technology? I'm just curious, and am always wanting to learn...

information technology, IT (the branch of engineering that deals with the use of computers and telecommunications to retrieve and store and transmit information) So yes your first guess.

Joe Smith
02-15-2009, 09:06 PM
Well, after 40+ years in corporate America and IT in particular, just one too many down sizings - so my wife and I are starting our own business. Our first marketing/advertising starts this week.

Make realistic goals, believe in yourself, and smile politely when the naysayers are around. Plenty of them, both from family, friends and people that don't want ANYONE to succeed.

I have to remind myself almost daily, to keep my naysayer flyswatter handy.

There are many really good people here. At first, I was 'down the internet on another site', but migrated here once found. Far more constructive, positive attitudes here that will be helpful.

Again, best wishes, and get one of those flyswatters!

Congratulations on the new venture. Sounds like we have traveled similar roads in IT.

Looks like you have started the ground work a while back. I'd be interested in discussing your business plans, organization and initial steps in getting started. I guess you don't consider our age an issue. Do you plan on doing the work yourself?

You're right about the naysayers, they abound everywhere. I do believe I can count on the majority of posters here to provide excellent advice. I admire all of these people that have established their own business and are willing to help the newbie get on the right track.

richonsa
02-22-2009, 03:03 PM
Congratulations on the new venture. Sounds like we have traveled similar roads in IT.

Looks like you have started the ground work a while back. I'd be interested in discussing your business plans, organization and initial steps in getting started. I guess you don't consider our age an issue. Do you plan on doing the work yourself?

You're right about the naysayers, they abound everywhere. I do believe I can count on the majority of posters here to provide excellent advice. I admire all of these people that have established their own business and are willing to help the newbie get on the right track.


Hey guy, good luck with your plans. This is how businesses are started. This is how dreams become reality. I myself will be doing some yards in the afternoon/evenings and on saturdays this year. Thankfully, I have a college degree so I already know the associated risks, the need for insurance, the type of equipment that will work, etc. There is no substitute for a good education, whether you are writing a program in C+ or cutting grass.

Ric