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View Full Version : Question for you folks who are 45 or over, when do you say enough?


QualityLawnCare4u
03-07-2011, 07:03 PM
When I started in this biz I was 38 and in great shape. Now at almost 52 I find myself really burning out fast. I have been working on a shrub job since last week, life long client, who has these huge boxwoods that I have to stand on a 6 ft ladder and lean just as far as I can lean with my 8 ft long pole hedge trimmers to do them.

Today I worked on them and only lasted 2 hours and I could not even pick up the clippers above my chest I was so exhausted. I lacked 4 bushes of being through and I don't care if the client had handed me a 100 dollar bill I had no more to give. I also have rheumatoid arthritis and fybromyalgia and just ain't worth a chit no more:laugh:

I thought back to the first year I did these things and all I had was a POS homelite wal-mart trimmers and I have no idea how I made it back then. I hired a guy last year to help me on these, a young buck with big arms and he was whining like a baby before dinner:cry: I don't know if I will make it thru another season and the phone ain't ringing much and I am not upset about it...yet.

Just wondered how you other old dodgers are holding up?

rwar
03-07-2011, 08:09 PM
I hear you,Im only 42 and I really dont like trimming anymore.One thing is these gas trimmers are just too heavy to swing for very long and I havent seen a set of electrics I like.Back in the 80s the place I worked for had a set of little wonder trimmers,at least a 30 inch blade one sided,no safeties so you could cut with one hand as far as you could reach,wish I could find something like those.

outlaw1960
03-07-2011, 08:17 PM
LOL, I just pick and choose my jobs now, sub out the rest. Been doing this a long time, part time from 1982 to 1991, then full time ever since. The days seem a lot longer now!

QualityLawnCare4u
03-07-2011, 08:34 PM
I have always heard that the fun begins at 40, however, I think I missed it or still waiting on it to catch up. I hate admitting to myself that I just can't do the things I used to do. I need me a 21 yo GF to straighten me out!:nono:

Lawn Pawn
03-07-2011, 08:37 PM
SixtyTwo and getting really slow and sore...

Picking jobs that my machines can do, eliminate as much bull-work as possible.

Know when to pass-up certain jobs.

Go slower, but keep it steady and productive.

Work smarter not harder.

THINK ! . . . . . . Work safe....

gene gls
03-07-2011, 08:37 PM
When I started in this biz I was 38 and in great shape. Now at almost 52 I find myself really burning out fast. I have been working on a shrub job since last week, life long client, who has these huge boxwoods that I have to stand on a 6 ft ladder and lean just as far as I can lean with my 8 ft long pole hedge trimmers to do them.

Today I worked on them and only lasted 2 hours and I could not even pick up the clippers above my chest I was so exhausted. I lacked 4 bushes of being through and I don't care if the client had handed me a 100 dollar bill I had no more to give. I also have rheumatoid arthritis and fybromyalgia and just ain't worth a chit no more:laugh:

I thought back to the first year I did these things and all I had was a POS homelite wal-mart trimmers and I have no idea how I made it back then. I hired a guy last year to help me on these, a young buck with big arms and he was whining like a baby before dinner:cry: I don't know if I will make it thru another season and the phone ain't ringing much and I am not upset about it...yet.

Just wondered how you other old dodgers are holding up?

As we get older we learn that we have to give up things of the past. Its tough to admit that we just can't do the same things year after year. When you mentioned an 8' pole pruner, I automaticly felt pain in my back. But your still a youg guy. I'm 68,I started down sizing 3 years ago and finially gave up last year and sold out. I kept my best coutomer and worked about 20 hours a week all last season, even then there were some tough days. Take care of your health...........

fireman gus
03-07-2011, 08:42 PM
I am 59 and still going strong. The reason - my 35 year old son does the majority of the work. I try to just supervise. In truth I play out by noon and then go half speed the rest of the day. I am very fortunate to have someone younger to help.

davidcalhoun
03-07-2011, 10:12 PM
At age 52 you might want to go see your internist or urologist to check your testosterone levels.

Some times our testosterone levels are lower than they should be (even after being adjusted based on our age).

If you are low, they might prescribe testosterone. It might help some.

Also as others have said, pick and chose your jobs. You might be in a position finically to be equipment intensive instead of labor intensive.

kilgoja
03-07-2011, 10:23 PM
i'm only 35 but i still pick and choose my jobs lol...i'm not 20 years old anymore...even at 35 i have limits compared to what i used to could do...so above 45 you are gonna have even more limits...my dad is 68 and he doesn't understand that sometimes...ended up hurting his back one day too....gotta know when to say when...and when to say no i'm sorry but i just can't do that job anymore...stick to the easier things like riding a mower and such...i wouldn't do what you are describing and i'm 35 lol...i hate trimming bushes and shrubs...i did a job of 40 bushes last year...never again...i'm fine doing 10 bushes or less for my customers but i'm not gonna be climbing a ladder to do them lol...they can call someone else for that type of thing

Florida Gardener
03-07-2011, 10:25 PM
Not to knock any guys in this age group, I admire your hard work, but why are you guys still solo? I am right now but the goal is to have 1-2 crews. I hear guys say I don't want the hassle of employees, but is it worth this?
Posted via Mobile Device

davidcalhoun
03-07-2011, 10:30 PM
One of two things you can't stop - is aging. We all do it.

txgrassguy
03-07-2011, 10:41 PM
I'm 48 this year and haven't really slowed yet.
A long time ago I learned how to schedule 'heavy' days at the beginning of the week and taper towards routine maintenance by the end.

That and drinking good bourbon helps.

cvcook
03-07-2011, 10:49 PM
At age 52 you might want to go see your internist or urologist to check your testosterone levels.

Some times our testosterone levels are lower than they should be (even after being adjusted based on our age).

If you are low, they might prescribe testosterone. It might help some.

Also as others have said, pick and chose your jobs. You might be in a position finically to be equipment intensive instead of labor intensive.

Your'e right, I'll be 45 in a few months, still slim (6'6" 220lbs) a while back asked my Doctor why i don't have the energy that I used to a few years ago? he thought my testosterone levels was low. sure enough it was low, started getting a testosterone shot every 2 weeks and it sure has helped increase my energy, not to mention my DR said low testost is the BIGGEST reason for men over 30 don't have the sex drive they used to. so get it checked, your body, and your WOMAN will thank you LOL!

siclmn
03-07-2011, 10:53 PM
I am 61. I worked 4 hours on saturday and 6 hours on sunday. Today I went out with my bicycle group and rode 50 miles. I came home and mowed 3 yards and aereated one of them. I still feel like I am 20. Just sayin. Oh yeah I am solo too. You must stay in shape and just working the job won't do it. I also motorcycle 20,000 miles a year for fun. Tomorrow is a rain day so I won't work at all.

Tyner Lawn Service
03-07-2011, 10:56 PM
I could go pretty steady up till my early 50's but now find at 56 slowing down but not out. Wish I was 35 again could burn the candle at both ends and still feel good.

cvcook
03-07-2011, 11:00 PM
I am 61. I worked 4 hours on saturday and 6 hours on sunday. Today I went out with my bicycle group and rode 50 miles. I came home and mowed 3 yards and aereated one of them. I still feel like I am 20. Just sayin. Oh yeah I am solo too. You must stay in shape and just working the job won't do it. I also motorcycle 20,000 miles a year for fun. Tomorrow is a rain day so I won't work at all.

Would you mind sending me some of your energy LOL!

Merkava_4
03-07-2011, 11:10 PM
Just remind yourself of how great of shape Sylvester Stallone was in when he did Rocky VI . . . he was 60. :D

Buddy Buds
03-07-2011, 11:30 PM
After 41 years in the grocery business I'm starting my fourth spring. The trimming shrubs and pinestraw work are bad. But I'm ready for some busy days. Usually Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday are12.5hr days and Friday is an 8to9 hr day. I might do 2 to 3 on Saturday if needed. Monday is a makeup day or a special project day. I'm 61 short, fat and bald and I love being outside. 95 degree days don't bother me because I stay hydrated.

QualityLawnCare4u
03-08-2011, 12:24 AM
Would you mind sending me some of your energy LOL!

Yeah, same here!

davidcalhoun
03-08-2011, 12:26 AM
Sylvester Stallone got busted for having unprescribed HGH (human growth hormone).

QualityLawnCare4u
03-08-2011, 12:26 AM
Your'e right, I'll be 45 in a few months, still slim (6'6" 220lbs) a while back asked my Doctor why i don't have the energy that I used to a few years ago? he thought my testosterone levels was low. sure enough it was low, started getting a testosterone shot every 2 weeks and it sure has helped increase my energy, not to mention my DR said low testost is the BIGGEST reason for men over 30 don't have the sex drive they used to. so get it checked, your body, and your WOMAN will thank you LOL!

Actually, mine was very low last time it was tested, I got the shots and could tell no difference. I'm having it test again this week along with some other blood work.

ncknaklawns
03-08-2011, 12:42 AM
I thinks its worth it to stay solo. I hope I'm right. I don't want the hassle. I have 1 customer with 10-12 ft Arborvitaes along 1 side and another with 10 fters along 3 sides. Total of 350ft. I told the short 50 ft one that its at about my limit last year. Standing on a 6 ft ladder trying to make them flat on top. The other one just told me their selling and want a monthly lawn contract, and don't need to cut them this year-I hope. When I can't do it I'll try to keep their other business but I'm not going to push myself too far. At 47 I'm glad to hear some of you older guys still going at it. I had some job losses before starting business- been at it now for 5 yrs. As long as I hold up I'm lovin this job , beats the High Tech sector sitting at a desk all day designing stuff looking out the window. Now I am outside the window. Sometimes it rains but I like camping anyway, no big deal.

ncknaklawns
03-08-2011, 12:46 AM
Another thing, those power bars really help with the energy thing as well as Gatorade/poweraid. I bring 2 gallons (powerder mix from walmart) every day and sometimes a gallon or water too. I am flying by the end of the day. Its really just the stairs in the morning, once I'm moving I'm good to go.

Exact Rototilling
03-09-2011, 11:27 AM
One of two things you can't stop - is aging. We all do it. You can slow it down - I drink red wine. Google "red wine anti-aging".

You can fight gravity. :hammerhead:

MOW ED
03-09-2011, 11:59 AM
I will be 49 in late May and still feel, think and act like a kid. I do feel aches and pains from time to time but I am not dreading work at all. As a matter of fact I can't wait. I have found that I have to keep myself in shape or somewhat resembling being in shape all year. I got back on the treadmill and elliptical this winter and dropped 15 lbs. I feel good and have started to eat better.
I know that has alot to do with how I am in the field. My other full time job demands I be in good shape too. So far so good.

BrunoT
03-09-2011, 04:29 PM
I wasted some early years trying to be the all-inclusive solution for people. I soon realized that was costing me revenue. I'm glad I switched, as at my age I could not do a lot of that stuff anyway w/o hating it.

1. You just described doing a particularly physically difficult job requiring a lot of lifting over your head. Sucks doesn't it? Try to work towards finding niche' where you do the less physical jobs and stick to it. Don't be afraid to say "no" , especially with new prospects or customers coming on. For example, concentrate more on mowing, aerating/seeding(with the right machine), applications, etc, and less on heavy cleanup work, mulching beds, installation, and other "grunt work". If someone calls up with a huge cleanup and you don't want to do it, say "I'll be glad to give you a mowing quote, I'm not set up for these big cleanup jobs and you may be able to get it done cheaper by someone else". Many will wind up calling you back for the mowing/maintenance.

2. Invest heavily in labor-saving devices whenever possible. Like your pole pruner. But other examples are ZTRs/stand-ons vs wb's, edgits for edging (back saver), ride/stand-on aerators if you do a lot of that,

3. Spread work load through season better by various methods such as incentives to customers (or even requirements) to get tasks done in 'off-season' that can be done then. Pruning, mulching, etc there's not a lot of reason it has to wait till warm weather. Aerate Bermuda lawns in April/May, when it's cooler. Don't wait till they call in July and want it done because the lawn is rock hard and not growing well. Tell them when you're available to do it and they'll have it done then.

4. Be willing to work a wider area and maybe drive more to be able to get the kind of jobs you want to do, even if its not technically as efficient as taking on all comers closer to you. Would you rather make the same money in 8 hours or in 9 hours if a lot of that extra hour was spent in the truck and it meant you could sit on a ZTR, mow flat lawns instead of hilly ones, and not have to do these big cleanups that wear you out?

5. Be realistic, your income may level out or decline unless you hire people.

6. Again, try to work easy rather than maximize every potential dollar of revenue. For a solo operator this is as much a lifestyle choice as a business decision. For example, it may be better in the long run to sometimes pass on a steeply sloped horror story of a lawn which would leave you exhausted in July and later pick up a couple of easier flat ones. And if you show up and the place is 2,000 ft of lawn but has 200 huge shrubs in the landscape, you might want to pass.

7. Sometimes the middle of the market pays better. A very high end home will require a lot of turnkey service detail work where you are not really any more efficient than a $10/hour worker. And that work I find more tiring anyway. A really low end customer may be too open to lowball bids. Maybe find a customer who wants a quality job but doesn't need all the bells and whistles. They don't mind doing the other stuff, they just want the lawn mowed.

8. Track your energy expenditure as well as hours on jobs. At your age energy is a lot more important than time. A $40 lawn that has you padding around behind a wb and doing a lot of trimming edging is not the same as a $40 lawn where you quickly mow a much larger rectangle of flat lawn on your ZTR, then barely have to trim/edge.

9. Charge a little less for the "easy ones", so that over time, you wind up with a lot of easy properties at a slightly lower price, but you are not dreading doing the demanding properties. If you want, charge more for the tough jobs so that only those willing to pay extra for it get you for those.

10. Be selective of who you deal with. If someone with a decent home calls you up and the place is a mess, ask a few questions. Why did it get so messed up? If they didn't just buy it, odds are higher-than-average that they are a deadbeat, a total slob, or something else you don't want to deal with. Normal people don't let the shrubs reach the roof. They're either broke or just don't care about how the place looks. So why rush out to kill yourself cutting them all down to get their business? If they don't care about quality, they'll likely just replace you with a cheaper guy soon, or bail if money gets tight. Size them up. It is, after all, a job interview situation. You wouldn't take a job somewhere w/o finding out what the company is like.


To the degree its possible, DO WHAT YOU ENJOY, DON'T DO THE STUFF YOU HATE. You may not make quite as much. But if you do the stuff you hate all the time you will not last as long.

Also think about the future and maybe work a little less (on better jobs) and start thinking of your post-lawn care career. If you're exhausted and busy all the time now trying to please every caller, you will never have the time and energy to start exploring other avenues for later.



When I started in this biz I was 38 and in great shape. Now at almost 52 I find myself really burning out fast. I have been working on a shrub job since last week, life long client, who has these huge boxwoods that I have to stand on a 6 ft ladder and lean just as far as I can lean with my 8 ft long pole hedge trimmers to do them.

Today I worked on them and only lasted 2 hours and I could not even pick up the clippers above my chest I was so exhausted. I lacked 4 bushes of being through and I don't care if the client had handed me a 100 dollar bill I had no more to give. I also have rheumatoid arthritis and fybromyalgia and just ain't worth a chit no more:laugh:

I thought back to the first year I did these things and all I had was a POS homelite wal-mart trimmers and I have no idea how I made it back then. I hired a guy last year to help me on these, a young buck with big arms and he was whining like a baby before dinner:cry: I don't know if I will make it thru another season and the phone ain't ringing much and I am not upset about it...yet.

Just wondered how you other old dodgers are holding up?

RECESSION PROOF MOWING
03-09-2011, 04:46 PM
When I started in this biz I was 38 and in great shape. Now at almost 52 I find myself really burning out fast. I have been working on a shrub job since last week, life long client, who has these huge boxwoods that I have to stand on a 6 ft ladder and lean just as far as I can lean with my 8 ft long pole hedge trimmers to do them.

Today I worked on them and only lasted 2 hours and I could not even pick up the clippers above my chest I was so exhausted. I lacked 4 bushes of being through and I don't care if the client had handed me a 100 dollar bill I had no more to give. I also have rheumatoid arthritis and fybromyalgia and just ain't worth a chit no more:laugh:

I thought back to the first year I did these things and all I had was a POS homelite wal-mart trimmers and I have no idea how I made it back then. I hired a guy last year to help me on these, a young buck with big arms and he was whining like a baby before dinner:cry: I don't know if I will make it thru another season and the phone ain't ringing much and I am not upset about it...yet.

Just wondered how you other old dodgers are holding up?

I'm 48 and I can still carry a trimmer with the best of 'em but I get where you're com'in from. I can follow your logic and how you feel about the business. It's not the same as it was in the 1990's, with us over 45's out there when the bids were strong and we could do it all. You gotta work smarter...that's where I think I can give you a lift.

I love the actual physical act of mowing grass on a beautiful spring day. I mow with a stander, that's my mower of choice. I feel more involved with the process standing up there watching the terrain and the world go by. But I also know my limitations. I used to, for example, mow this 9 ac church property then take a swig of mtn dew and go trim the entire thing, then blow it. Took me all day but I kinda liked it. Now, with labor so dirt cheap and all, I hire a guy for $75/day to trim while I mow. And it only takes half the day, fill the other with other jobs. When I get off the mower, the trimming and blowing is done. That's the business side of things. These days, if I tried to do everything by myself, it would wear me out by August. Now, I'm fit as a fiddle all season long.

I concentrate, as one member stated, on choosing what I want to mow and for how much. I'll turn down jobs now that back in the day I would've think of turning down. But on the converse, with the cheap labor thanks to Obama's Recession, I can TAKE jobs now that I'll never personally touch. Subbed out. I do that at least 50% more often now than back then. I sub almost all my bigger subdivision lot work out. Why? Becuase I can hire cheaper than it costs me to put my own crew out there.

If money isn't an issue, at your age I'd begin to either sub out or siphon off jobs, get rid of ones that don't make sense...keep the ones that do. If money is moderately important to very important...there's no better angel sent from above for a businessman's peace of mind than finding a decent sub. You've got to find a guy that needs work, that WILL work for the money you'll offer. I found that. Wasn't easy, damnit, it...was...not...easy, but I did. I went through plenty to find the guys "with big arms" that didn't pussyout on me. But now I've got a group of hungry, low end hardworking ballbust'in guys that will do anything I want 'em to do for $75/day. Concentrate on that, especially in this incredibly dire labor market...you must might be thanking me bigtime in the weeks to come...

PetesLandscape&Supply
03-09-2011, 05:07 PM
I'm 52 also ...and I pick what I want to do ...my son is 22 and I have a 35 year old employee......spend most my day on a zero turn....or delivering in the 1-ton dump truck the rest is up to my young guys...........If i had to do it all myself I couldn't make any money payup

weed wacker 2
03-09-2011, 06:27 PM
Well guys its nice to hear yall are still hard at it. Im only 24 and got burned out last year. We were working 7 days a week 3 months straight. That has changed this year. We are goin to work mon-sat and leaving sat for makeup or to work on equipment. I use to love what I do and absolutely hate it now. In august going back to school to try and get in the medical field.

ed2hess
03-09-2011, 07:53 PM
I am 68 and still work about 8 - 10 hours a day 6 days a week. Took 25# off and I think I can now do what I was doing at 58. Some of it is genes and most of it is working at hard jobs all my life. I would never stay solo doesn't make much sense to me. Since you are going out every day might as well get a helper.

MOturkey
03-09-2011, 07:55 PM
I wasted some early years trying to be the all-inclusive solution for people. I soon realized that was costing me revenue. I'm glad I switched, as at my age I could not do a lot of that stuff anyway w/o hating it.

1. You just described doing a particularly physically difficult job requiring a lot of lifting over your head. Sucks doesn't it? Try to work towards finding niche' where you do the less physical jobs and stick to it. Don't be afraid to say "no" , especially with new prospects or customers coming on. For example, concentrate more on mowing, aerating/seeding(with the right machine), applications, etc, and less on heavy cleanup work, mulching beds, installation, and other "grunt work". If someone calls up with a huge cleanup and you don't want to do it, say "I'll be glad to give you a mowing quote, I'm not set up for these big cleanup jobs and you may be able to get it done cheaper by someone else". Many will wind up calling you back for the mowing/maintenance.

2. Invest heavily in labor-saving devices whenever possible. Like your pole pruner. But other examples are ZTRs/stand-ons vs wb's, edgits for edging (back saver), ride/stand-on aerators if you do a lot of that,

3. Spread work load through season better by various methods such as incentives to customers (or even requirements) to get tasks done in 'off-season' that can be done then. Pruning, mulching, etc there's not a lot of reason it has to wait till warm weather. Aerate Bermuda lawns in April/May, when it's cooler. Don't wait till they call in July and want it done because the lawn is rock hard and not growing well. Tell them when you're available to do it and they'll have it done then.

4. Be willing to work a wider area and maybe drive more to be able to get the kind of jobs you want to do, even if its not technically as efficient as taking on all comers closer to you. Would you rather make the same money in 8 hours or in 9 hours if a lot of that extra hour was spent in the truck and it meant you could sit on a ZTR, mow flat lawns instead of hilly ones, and not have to do these big cleanups that wear you out?

5. Be realistic, your income may level out or decline unless you hire people.

6. Again, try to work easy rather than maximize every potential dollar of revenue. For a solo operator this is as much a lifestyle choice as a business decision. For example, it may be better in the long run to sometimes pass on a steeply sloped horror story of a lawn which would leave you exhausted in July and later pick up a couple of easier flat ones. And if you show up and the place is 2,000 ft of lawn but has 200 huge shrubs in the landscape, you might want to pass.

7. Sometimes the middle of the market pays better. A very high end home will require a lot of turnkey service detail work where you are not really any more efficient than a $10/hour worker. And that work I find more tiring anyway. A really low end customer may be too open to lowball bids. Maybe find a customer who wants a quality job but doesn't need all the bells and whistles. They don't mind doing the other stuff, they just want the lawn mowed.

8. Track your energy expenditure as well as hours on jobs. At your age energy is a lot more important than time. A $40 lawn that has you padding around behind a wb and doing a lot of trimming edging is not the same as a $40 lawn where you quickly mow a much larger rectangle of flat lawn on your ZTR, then barely have to trim/edge.

9. Charge a little less for the "easy ones", so that over time, you wind up with a lot of easy properties at a slightly lower price, but you are not dreading doing the demanding properties. If you want, charge more for the tough jobs so that only those willing to pay extra for it get you for those.

10. Be selective of who you deal with. If someone with a decent home calls you up and the place is a mess, ask a few questions. Why did it get so messed up? If they didn't just buy it, odds are higher-than-average that they are a deadbeat, a total slob, or something else you don't want to deal with. Normal people don't let the shrubs reach the roof. They're either broke or just don't care about how the place looks. So why rush out to kill yourself cutting them all down to get their business? If they don't care about quality, they'll likely just replace you with a cheaper guy soon, or bail if money gets tight. Size them up. It is, after all, a job interview situation. You wouldn't take a job somewhere w/o finding out what the company is like.


To the degree its possible, DO WHAT YOU ENJOY, DON'T DO THE STUFF YOU HATE. You may not make quite as much. But if you do the stuff you hate all the time you will not last as long.

Also think about the future and maybe work a little less (on better jobs) and start thinking of your post-lawn care career. If you're exhausted and busy all the time now trying to please every caller, you will never have the time and energy to start exploring other avenues for later.

Bruno, there is a ton of very good advice. Kudos.

goodgreen
03-09-2011, 08:43 PM
Just turned 62 and a couple of years ago I started hiring a younger helper to trim and blow. I do all the mowing. Makes a huge difference and I'm giving a young person a job for the summer. Biggest problems were constant pain in my right shoulder from the trimmer, and back pain from the blower.

Patriot Services
03-09-2011, 08:52 PM
Not to knock any guys in this age group, I admire your hard work, but why are you guys still solo? I am right now but the goal is to have 1-2 crews. I hear guys say I don't want the hassle of employees, but is it worth this?
Posted via Mobile Device

Because young guns like you that know which end a trimmer is which don't grow on trees.
Posted via Mobile Device

Patriot Services
03-09-2011, 08:55 PM
When I started in this biz I was 38 and in great shape. Now at almost 52 I find myself really burning out fast. I have been working on a shrub job since last week, life long client, who has these huge boxwoods that I have to stand on a 6 ft ladder and lean just as far as I can lean with my 8 ft long pole hedge trimmers to do them.

Today I worked on them and only lasted 2 hours and I could not even pick up the clippers above my chest I was so exhausted. I lacked 4 bushes of being through and I don't care if the client had handed me a 100 dollar bill I had no more to give. I also have rheumatoid arthritis and fybromyalgia and just ain't worth a chit no more:laugh:

I thought back to the first year I did these things and all I had was a POS homelite wal-mart trimmers and I have no idea how I made it back then. I hired a guy last year to help me on these, a young buck with big arms and he was whining like a baby before dinner:cry: I don't know if I will make it thru another season and the phone ain't ringing much and I am not upset about it...yet.

Just wondered how you other old dodgers are holding up?

Brother you got 2 diagnosis' that ain't gonna get any better and just sap your strength. Maybe time to sell?
Posted via Mobile Device

gene gls
03-09-2011, 09:06 PM
Because young guns like you that know which end a trimmer is which don't grow on trees.
Posted via Mobile Device

The times have changed......Years past guys were interested in earning thier pay. Now a days, employers end up as babby sitters. Most of the younger generation is looking for a hand out. They expect so much for so little work. Employers waste a lot of time tracking thier movements and work quality. You hire one employee and you realise real fast that you need two employees because the first one ends up not working steady and you have comitted to lot of jobs. I had five guys when I got fed up with the younger attitudes.

Patriot Services
03-09-2011, 09:12 PM
The times have changed......Years past guys were interested in earning thier pay. Now a days, employers end up as babby sitters. Most of the younger generation is looking for a hand out. They expect so much for so little work. Employers waste a lot of time tracking thier movements and work quality. You hire one employee and you realise real fast that you need two employees because the first one ends up not working steady and you have comitted to lot of jobs. I had five guys when I got fed up with the younger attitudes.

That's because now you get a trophy for "graduating" kindergarden. We continue to praise mediocre substandard performance. The whole younger generation wants accolades just for participating. Not all but unfortunately most.
Posted via Mobile Device

Roger
03-09-2011, 09:42 PM
I will by 70 in September, and had a great season last year. I've kept pretty much the same work load for several years. I just work as much as the day will allow, sometimes 12 hours if need be. Typical day is 10 hours, six days a week. I never work on Sunday. I am solo.

Frankly, I believe last season was my best with regard to productivity. No, mark that -- it was the best. Over time, I've learned to work smarter, and be more productive. As efficient as I think I am at working a property, I always believe I can do better. Every job is clocked with a stop watch, so I know how long a job should take. I can do a couple of jobs together, and still finish within a couple of minutes of last time, the time before that, etc. If I've taken a minute or two longer than the last time, even from a few years ago, I want to know why, and what I need to change next visit.

The productivity is especially true of bush trimming. Over the past couple of years, I've done much better than 5-8 years ago. I've learned how to do the work efficiently, which tools to use, procedure, ladders/planks/tarps, cleanup, etc.

After working this business for 15 years, and after reading so many threads on LS, I'm convinced that most people leave the business before they learn how to do the work efficiently. No, just buying a mower with a maximum speed of 15 mph does not mean working efficiently.

The primary issue is not soreness, stamina, strength (never been a strong person, 5-9, 170). The major change is flexibility. Sitting on the ZTR for an hour, or two, in the Fall, with the temperature at 35 degrees, I nearly need somebody to pry me out of the seat. Also, in just maneuvering, climbing on and off equipment, trailer, the lack of flexibility just requires some adjustments.

Yesterday, I spent four hours cleaning up my JD ZTR and my Exmark w/b, changing oil, oil filters, changing the hydro oil and hydro filter. The lack of flexibility shows itself when doing all the ups and down, lifting the jacks and ramps, working up under the machines. Last week, I spent a couple of hours changing out hydro drive belts and deck drive belts on both machines. Again, lots of laying on the pavement, working up underneath to get the idlers off, belts mounted, etc. These jobs aren't as quick as they were a few years ago.

Eat right, get the right rest, and stay away from the medical folks. During the off season, I walk a brisk walk 7-8 miles each day (1:47-1:55), with heart rate average 115-117, maximum 146. Keep moving every day. After reading threads every year, "What do you do for lunch," it is no wonder why some are fading out at 45. The same goes for "What do you eat for breakfast" threads. These threads reveal how much abuse the human body will take.

Some of you have a long time ahead to work. Don't fade away, just keep at task, work hard, keep yourself healthy, and stay with a positive attitude. Be glad you are out working, walking behind your mower, handling bags full of grass clippings, handling the hedge clippers, blowing and loading leaves. The alternative of sitting in the house because you are sickly is far worse. If you fade out, you will be the one sitting inside the window, unable -- yes, unable, to do much of anything. Many of my friends - one has friends your own age - are in that state. I think they convinced themselves they were "too old to be active."

Reading the ages and tales of woe earlier in this thread is pretty depressing. I grew up on a farm, and nobody quit working. Farming was the livelihood and continuing to work hard on the farm was just part of the gig. Age wasn't much of a consideration. People did not think of quitting at 45 because "the body was getting tired." Oh yes, the percentage of people with ailments was far less than the typical 2011 suburban population.

Florida Gardener
03-09-2011, 10:06 PM
Because young guns like you that know which end a trimmer is which don't grow on trees.
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Sorry patriot I don't follow....
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ncknaklawns
03-09-2011, 11:31 PM
Good advice Rodger, Hope to work to at least 70 maybe 73 maybe just keep going if they'll have me.

Patriot Services
03-09-2011, 11:53 PM
Sorry patriot I don't follow....
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Its a compliment to you. You seem to do good work and have a good business head.
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Florida Gardener
03-10-2011, 12:07 AM
Oh ok thanks a lot man!! My parent taught me about hard work. My dad came to this country at 19 with very little and has always worked hard. Heck, he can outwork me and he is 35 years older than me. I agree that most kids these days want everything handed to them on a silver plate. I understand because I see high schoolers driving new beamers, escalades, etc. Plenty of kids that went to UF were there on a free ride and had the golden ticket waiting for them after graduation.
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BrunoT
03-10-2011, 06:05 PM
Why still solo?

Some don't want to break the law and screw their countrymen and future countrymen just to earn an easier buck. The idea of paying "off the books" wasn't always so cute. Not wanting to go to jail or face huge fines, some don't want to play that game. The also know the future is bleak if we become a nation of cheats and scammers who rely on the exploitation of the world's desperate and turn the nation into a 3rd world one, with "haves" and "have nots".

Some have other sources of income in their off hours and don't have to earn $100K at this to live well. It takes a lot more mental energy and time to have employees.

When you're solo and you finish your work day, you have no worries.


The quality of the labor supply isn't conducive to a happy time with employees. 25 years ago I had 40 employees aged about 17-24 and they were shockingly hard working considering the pay and that it was not a career job. (mostly students, some teachers and firemen working part time). Today the little darlings would be traumatized if they had a part time job outside. The thinking seems to be "That's immigrant work, I won't have any son of mine doing that!" And it's considered a status thing not to have your kids working for many. Yet another reason the baby boomers suck.

Before TV warped everyone's idea of what a good life is you didnt' feel the compulsion to have to be "a big shot" not to consider yourself a failure. On TV 21 y/os have secretaries and their first job is in an office and pays $90K even though they display no particular skills other than dressing right and being witty. They live in NYC in a $6,000/mo loft and eat out every meal and never seem to come up short. Hammer latch key kids with that for their first 18 years and they find the idea of this line of work appalling. They'd rather fake it by living with the folks and pouring coffee for $8/hour.

Back then the idea of a grown man not in college living with his parents and having no job carried a stigma it does not today. You were a loser and unlike today, there was shame in that. You certainly weren't getting laid.

The welfare state and unemployment compensation was not as expansive, and illegal hiring was not winked and smirked at.

If you didn't work you didn't have money, period.

Before mass immigration this actually paid pretty good relative to the other jobs available for non-college grads. But toss in millions of new laborers w/o language skills and that advantage evaporated.

For the above reasons, the supplly of motivated legal workers was much bigger and it was a much easier and pleasant thing to have workers.

Once you've supervised real men it's hard to start being a babysitting service for deadbeats, druggies, and losers who know they can just bail and go play nintendo in the folks' basement while they wait for their social security "disability" or other handout checks to arrive.

The society was not as mobile an anonymous, you actually had to have some sort of a "reputation", so if you couldn't prove you were a good reliable worker you would never get another good job again. That gave employees a big incentive to at least give notice before leaving and to do a good job otherwise. But today, with millions of people working who use fake names or dont' even give you a name, enough employers figured "why bother with that?" that reputations don't seem to even matter much anymore. So you can get drunk, fail to show up to work, get fired, and manage to get hired again at some other place the next week. In economics that's called "commoditizing labor". (any worker is the same as another)

So, theoretically I made $2.5M last year on paper, hiring 1986 quality employees who nearly always show up, don't steal or wreck my gear, and do quality work. It also helped that nearly all my competition did the same and didn't just hire illegally to cut costs and undercut prices.

gene gls
03-10-2011, 07:40 PM
Why still solo?

Some don't want to break the law and screw their countrymen and future countrymen just to earn an easier buck. The idea of paying "off the books" wasn't always so cute. Not wanting to go to jail or face huge fines, some don't want to play that game. The also know the future is bleak if we become a nation of cheats and scammers who rely on the exploitation of the world's desperate and turn the nation into a 3rd world one, with "haves" and "have nots".

Some have other sources of income in their off hours and don't have to earn $100K at this to live well. It takes a lot more mental energy and time to have employees.

When you're solo and you finish your work day, you have no worries.


The quality of the labor supply isn't conducive to a happy time with employees. 25 years ago I had 40 employees aged about 17-24 and they were shockingly hard working considering the pay and that it was not a career job. (mostly students, some teachers and firemen working part time). Today the little darlings would be traumatized if they had a part time job outside. The thinking seems to be "That's immigrant work, I won't have any son of mine doing that!" And it's considered a status thing not to have your kids working for many. Yet another reason the baby boomers suck.

Before TV warped everyone's idea of what a good life is you didnt' feel the compulsion to have to be "a big shot" not to consider yourself a failure. On TV 21 y/os have secretaries and their first job is in an office and pays $90K even though they display no particular skills other than dressing right and being witty. They live in NYC in a $6,000/mo loft and eat out every meal and never seem to come up short. Hammer latch key kids with that for their first 18 years and they find the idea of this line of work appalling. They'd rather fake it by living with the folks and pouring coffee for $8/hour.

Back then the idea of a grown man not in college living with his parents and having no job carried a stigma it does not today. You were a loser and unlike today, there was shame in that. You certainly weren't getting laid.

The welfare state and unemployment compensation was not as expansive, and illegal hiring was not winked and smirked at.

If you didn't work you didn't have money, period.

Before mass immigration this actually paid pretty good relative to the other jobs available for non-college grads. But toss in millions of new laborers w/o language skills and that advantage evaporated.

For the above reasons, the supplly of motivated legal workers was much bigger and it was a much easier and pleasant thing to have workers.

Once you've supervised real men it's hard to start being a babysitting service for deadbeats, druggies, and losers who know they can just bail and go play nintendo in the folks' basement while they wait for their social security "disability" or other handout checks to arrive.

The society was not as mobile an anonymous, you actually had to have some sort of a "reputation", so if you couldn't prove you were a good reliable worker you would never get another good job again. That gave employees a big incentive to at least give notice before leaving and to do a good job otherwise. But today, with millions of people working who use fake names or dont' even give you a name, enough employers figured "why bother with that?" that reputations don't seem to even matter much anymore. So you can get drunk, fail to show up to work, get fired, and manage to get hired again at some other place the next week. In economics that's called "commoditizing labor". (any worker is the same as another)

So, theoretically I made $2.5M last year on paper, hiring 1986 quality employees who nearly always show up, don't steal or wreck my gear, and do quality work. It also helped that nearly all my competition did the same and didn't just hire illegally to cut costs and undercut prices.

Very well said.............

mmacsek
03-10-2011, 07:53 PM
This thread started off very depressing but got better as it proceeded. Well put Roger. I will be 50 this spring and started this business when I was 39. I have more energy and stamina than I did when I started and also lost about 25 pounds since I started. My wife is my partner and runs her own mowing truck solo. We are the same age. I don't plan on ever retiring unless I become wheelchair bound. From what I see retirement is when people go downhill very quickly. Matt

lifetree
03-10-2011, 09:16 PM
Not to knock any guys in this age group, I admire your hard work ... I hear guys say I don't want the hassle of employees, but is it worth this ?

Very good question !!

Exact Rototilling
03-11-2011, 12:12 AM
This thread started off very depressing but got better as it proceeded. Well put Roger. I will be 50 this spring and started this business when I was 39. I have more energy and stamina than I did when I started and also lost about 25 pounds since I started. My wife is my partner and runs her own mowing truck solo. We are the same age. I don't plan on ever retiring unless I become wheelchair bound. From what I see retirement is when people go downhill very quickly. Matt

You are one lucky blessed man with a wife that will work with you like that. One that supports your dreams and goals. Hats off to you.