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Ijustwantausername
05-04-2011, 03:53 AM
Hey guys/gals, this is the first post for me and its seemingly the most important one I will have. Let me just say this is an awesome site and I thank you for your ideas and input.

I have been in the business about 5 years, which consists of lawn care, minor landscaping, foot massage, etc (just kidding about the foot massage :). I started it just as I entered Community College and grew it while attending a University. I graduated last May with a B.S. in Business Mgmt. I have started doing this full time with roughly 30 accounts, commercial and residential. I am a one man crew occasionally hiring a friend or two for really large jobs. Lately my phone has been ringing off the hook, 3-4 calls a day, thanks to my marketing late hours of the night at school when I should have been studying statistics.

To make this short, let me just say that I am getting burnt out with it. The sneezing, the dust, the trimmer shooting rocks at my head, the bouncing almost completely off my zero turn seat from hidden holes in the yard, the flat tires, you get the picture. I am very fortunate that I have a job and that I am able to be my own boss. But seriously, is this the life of a lawn care guy? Some days I just want to quit. Is this normal for this industry? What struggles/hardships do you go through that drive you batty? Thanks.

coreisntlife
05-04-2011, 03:57 AM
it's not for everybody. if you're not happy where you are, you should always change. life's too short. not to mention there's guys out there that would love to take those properties off your hands if you weren't happy with them.

with that said, in every job you will find days that just down right make you want to quit. think about your school for example, i know it sucked along the way, but look what youve got to show for it. if your phone is ringing so much, you appear to have a knack for marketing and can definitely make it in this biz with the right work ethic and attention to detail. decide if it's really for you.

Hell on Blades
05-04-2011, 04:21 AM
It is always hard to work for yourself. The old saying, " The self employed never gets a good night sleep." is not too far off.

I'm in the same boat. I work full time at a "traditional" job and then have 25 residential properties to maintain every week (most are more than mowing). I started the season comfortably with 15 and every week more calls come in. It's easy to lose sight of the forest through the trees.

Before throwing in the towel, look at the whole picture. Being your own boss is, aside from all the headaches, one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. I really wouldn't change it.

topsites
05-04-2011, 08:11 AM
Maybe you're a little bit like me and you just don't know how good you got it.

The things that drive me nuts are other drivers on the road, and certain customer mannerisms, but anyhow...
I should just be glad I have a job, which, I am, for the most part.

johnyredd99
05-04-2011, 08:28 AM
its all in how you look at it. I Love my job. I make my own hours I do what I want. I drive in my truck sit on my mower and go as fast or slow as I choose. Out in the sun or rain for that matter all day doing what I love w/o some fat slob of a boss getting on me for any reason.
or I hate my job. no matter where I sit im moving. driving the damn truck, back and forth back n forth on the loud mower...will i ever finish this yard? why cant these *holes pick up thier toys they know what day I come?....Now for the trimming..Oh what fun these people power washed thier brick patio, doesnt that sand washed into the grass feel great when it hits you? thanks alot *holes! Oh you cant pick up after your dogs? Cant speak english? Dont understand me when I tell you no i wont do it till you clean that crap up? how about I smash you in the face w/ it then you will understand.

Its all on how you look at it. I'm blessed to be doing what I enjoy and being payed for it. even if I cant stand the customer I smile and take his money.

Ijustwantausername
05-04-2011, 11:40 AM
its all in how you look at it. I Love my job. I make my own hours I do what I want. I drive in my truck sit on my mower and go as fast or slow as I choose. Out in the sun or rain for that matter all day doing what I love w/o some fat slob of a boss getting on me for any reason.
or I hate my job. no matter where I sit im moving. driving the damn truck, back and forth back n forth on the loud mower...will i ever finish this yard? why cant these *holes pick up thier toys they know what day I come?....Now for the trimming..Oh what fun these people power washed thier brick patio, doesnt that sand washed into the grass feel great when it hits you? thanks alot *holes! Oh you cant pick up after your dogs? Cant speak english? Dont understand me when I tell you no i wont do it till you clean that crap up? how about I smash you in the face w/ it then you will understand.

Its all on how you look at it. I'm blessed to be doing what I enjoy and being payed for it. even if I cant stand the customer I smile and take his money.

You're exactly right, at the end of the day it is good to be your own boss and decide whether or not you want to deal with the stupid mess. I guess its because I haven't had a "real" job yet so I don't know how good I've got it.

Thanks for the input

Smallaxe
05-04-2011, 11:46 AM
Move away from the aspects you don't like and more of what you do like... Landscape design and maintenance is much more pleasant to me...

Groomer
05-04-2011, 12:23 PM
I thought the thread title was the name of a new magazine.

BestImpressions99
05-04-2011, 01:23 PM
WELL SAID Johnny Red.

Big Jake
05-04-2011, 01:54 PM
Why dont you make a plan to grow your business and add workers to run the equipment. If you really are getting 3/4 calls a day then it really shouldnt take too long.

say, when you get to 60 lawns you hire a helper. When you get to 90 you add another. When you get to 120 you add another, promote the first guy you hired to be your crew leader and then you get off the mower and focus on growing your business.

Those are only examples, maybe it will take more or less. Just like attaining your degree you did it in phases.

BestImpressions99
05-04-2011, 02:34 PM
User Name, I understand where you're coming from. I owned the business and didn't do things the way I should and I got sick of it in a year or two. Sold it and now I regret it.

weeze
05-04-2011, 08:14 PM
i think most people feel like this sometimes...you just have to stick with it and it gets better...there are bad days at any job out there...i've never been happy with any job completely in my whole life...that's just work for you lol....but the freedoms that come with lawn care outweigh the bad days i have or whatever...some days you just wake up and don't feel like working but you have to anyways...that's just life...doesn't really matter what you are doing for a job....some days everything goes wrong and some days things go smoothly...sometimes you just have to step back and take a deep breath and stop worrying about everything and stop rushing to get things done and just relax and take your time and get done when you get done...that's how it becomes more enjoyable

jgann
05-04-2011, 08:50 PM
how did you market your business to get that many accounts in 5 years? Do you do them really cheap or what? I used to be on phone book but only got calls in areas I don't work, so I dropped that. I do put out fliers twice a year and get some work from those, and referrals come from time to time. But I am not getting 3-4 calls a day. It is me and my girlfriend that do the work, but I would like to gain a few more accounts.
Thanks

gebby
05-04-2011, 09:10 PM
Just take one day at a time. Enjoy your youth because it is over way too soon. In 30 years you will say, I wish I could do it all over again. As mentioned earlier, Focus on the part of the business that you enjoy the most. Let someone else do the jobs that you enjoy the least. Hang in there because I am still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.

kc2006
05-04-2011, 09:56 PM
I don't mind the physical stuff (my back does though), I dislike people mostly, and the fact that the industry is getting worse everyday. People are shmucks, we've had rain everyday for the past 4 days yet people still call and say "why haven't you been here". Theres never any winning when dealing with people. And I hate that prices keep getting lower yet expenses are getting higher.

I don't know where I'm going with this business, been in it for 10 years and on my own for 6. I love working outside and it's honestly not hard work, but my back is messed up, I have some disease that causes the disks to collapse and my chiropractor keeps saying to get out before it gets worse, but at the same time I know alot of guys with employees and the headache looks like it outweighs the money.

I made the comment to a friend that has a company today. "Its funny how everyone wants to get into mowing, but all of us that are in mowing want to get out"

mattfromNY
05-04-2011, 10:09 PM
I don't mind the physical stuff (my back does though), I dislike people mostly, and the fact that the industry is getting worse everyday. People are shmucks, we've had rain everyday for the past 4 days yet people still call and say "why haven't you been here". Theres never any winning when dealing with people. And I hate that prices keep getting lower yet expenses are getting higher.

I don't know where I'm going with this business, been in it for 10 years and on my own for 6. I love working outside and it's honestly not hard work, but my back is messed up, I have some disease that causes the disks to collapse and my chiropractor keeps saying to get out before it gets worse, but at the same time I know alot of guys with employees and the headache looks like it outweighs the money.

I made the comment to a friend that has a company today. "Its funny how everyone wants to get into mowing, but all of us that are in mowing want to get out"

Amen. We're 3 weeks behind from the rain!
I had a heart to heart talk today with a very good/ long time customer of mine, she is dying of terminal cancer, doctor estimates about a month for her to live. I was just bitchin about the weather and customers and.... While talking to her I realized I really dont have it so bad.

stlouis grass cutter
05-04-2011, 10:09 PM
username,

I really think what you are going through is normal. You have just graduated and are thinking about what you are going to do for the rest of your life. Possibly if you were doing something else (office job, maybe) you might be thinking the same thing. I know at your age I thought "am I really going to do this for the rest of my life"? It is what it is right now, with the emphasis on being right now. It will get better if you let it get better. If you are really fighting it everyday maybe, just maybe, you should do something else. I am not telling you to do something else. I understand you are frustrated but so are alot of other people in this world. LOL. Let me tell you this, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT JOB. Nothing is perfect, everything has its ups and downs, it is what life is all about. Please don't think I am putting you down by any means, I am just giving you my life experience's. Maybe, sit down and write a list of pros and cons about what you are doing now. Be totally honest with yourself, just don't make up cons if you want out, or pros if you want to stay. Don't make a snap decision, put careful thought into it. You will feel better about it in the long run.
Have any more questions just PM me.
Keep your chin up, always move forward and give the best you can of yourself. That way you will never regret it.

gebby
05-04-2011, 10:13 PM
I do understand. People are people. I do my best to ignore most of what comes out of their mouth's. The bad back, I have too but, not what you have. I do my best to keep on going. I am blessed with a full time job and this on the side. I have very few homes and they are older folks. After 16 years they have become friends and we over look each of our pit falls. Most of what I do is commercial accounts. Very few people to deal with. We do what they ask and, we bill monthly. I dropped a couple people this year just because of the way they acted. I do my best to eliminate the BS and to keep my life as simple as possible. I just told them nothing personal but, I was cutting back because I am getting older. Really I still enjoy doing what I am doing. I hope that what ever you decide that you end up being happy, healthy and, wise. Life is way to short not to be happy. Good Luck !!

cpllawncare
05-04-2011, 10:16 PM
I've been at this p/t for the last three years and this year decided to go at it full time, I love the freedom and the knowing I can make it as big as I want to, I've not got a huge customer base yet but I work at it on a daily basis, I just keep plugging away, I have a P/T helper for the bigger stuff, large mulch jobs and such and a P/T office girl that mans the phone and helps with the paper work stuff,overall I'm much happier working for myself, even the stressfull stuff doesn't seem stressfull. As one of my favorite teachers always said "Always keep on keepin on"

tjjn06
05-05-2011, 01:14 AM
I thought the thread title was the name of a new magazine.

Same here.

cpllawncare
05-05-2011, 02:01 PM
Wonder if we could get our own reality show?

Ijustwantausername
05-05-2011, 09:12 PM
how did you market your business to get that many accounts in 5 years? Do you do them really cheap or what? I used to be on phone book but only got calls in areas I don't work, so I dropped that. I do put out fliers twice a year and get some work from those, and referrals come from time to time. But I am not getting 3-4 calls a day. It is me and my girlfriend that do the work, but I would like to gain a few more accounts.
Thanks

Thanks for everybody's advice, it means a lot. I've been looking at the whole business thing from a different perspective this week and it's been a lot better.

As for the marketing, I just use Google Places, Yahoo Small Business, and MANY free advertising websites. I will post on anything I possibly can. And remember to use keywords like Lawn Care, Lawn Maintenance, and especially use your location several times in the so you rank higher in Google. Also, referrals have helped me a lot. I'm cheaper than most and I do a decent job.

DO NOT pay Citysearch, Yellowpages, Whitepages, Orangepages :) for something you can do yourself. Especially when they charge $500/month like they wanted to charge me. When I had a consultation with a Citysearch Rep, she tried her little pitch and searched to see if my business was on Google, haha, little did she know that I knew the ropes, perhaps more than her.

jbannick18
05-05-2011, 09:47 PM
Waiting on people to pay is the most annoying part of this business for me. Which is why I'll be going back to school this fall for my bachelor's. I look forward to the every two week paycheck

rain man
05-05-2011, 09:49 PM
Some jobs have stress, some are dangerous, some take years of your life to qualify for, so on and so forth and all that jazz. I like it ok. More ups than downs most days.

FuturePilot4u
05-05-2011, 09:50 PM
Business is booming.
Posted via Mobile Device

Will P.C.
05-05-2011, 09:54 PM
I had the same dilema after I finished my schooling. A 4 year degree really doesn't do that much for you. So many people out there have business degrees as well. I told my mentor that I went to school so I did not have to get my hands dirty. He started laughing and said don't rule out any job. I went back to school for an advanced degree.

The job market is tough for college grads. In fact, especially for college grads. Do a google search to find out how many students are being handed a degree this year. You are competing with all these people and everyone else. Bottom line is you have experience.

johnyredd99
05-05-2011, 10:24 PM
i'm alive. what I wanted to get done today is done. everything made it home in one piece. it was a beautiful day out. but when i started today it was cold. I hate being cold. I spent alot at the fuel pump, pumped it in the morning and watched it all dissappear thru the day. put alot of miles on my truck, hours on my mower. I hate all the wear and tear. and then some guy mother uckered me because he couldnt roll thru the stop sign. I listened to him as i reached for the pepper spray. watching him cry in pain would of made me smile but I drove away. the stress will kill him anyway but spraying him would of been funny as hell.
I hate the general public. I dont understand why you curse at me. I dont come to your job and curse at you. And women stop it w/ the finger. Somewhere U females have gotten the impression that its ok to flip us off. Its not. I am not sexest I will pepper spray you too.
but tomorrow I will do it all over again I love what I do and today was/is only what I made of it. I made it home alive w/ more money in my pocket then when I left. so today was a pretty good day

rcslawncare
05-05-2011, 11:03 PM
Even when Iv had my worst day, either equipment break down or customers not working out, I go home and sleep on it. I wake up early next morning to put my headphones and and do my thing. Everything has its challenges, but I like being my own manager.

Ijustwantausername
05-06-2011, 12:40 AM
i'm alive. what I wanted to get done today is done. everything made it home in one piece. it was a beautiful day out. but when i started today it was cold. I hate being cold. I spent alot at the fuel pump, pumped it in the morning and watched it all dissappear thru the day. put alot of miles on my truck, hours on my mower. I hate all the wear and tear. and then some guy mother uckered me because he couldnt roll thru the stop sign. I listened to him as i reached for the pepper spray. watching him cry in pain would of made me smile but I drove away. the stress will kill him anyway but spraying him would of been funny as hell.
I hate the general public. I dont understand why you curse at me. I dont come to your job and curse at you. And women stop it w/ the finger. Somewhere U females have gotten the impression that its ok to flip us off. Its not. I am not sexest I will pepper spray you too.
but tomorrow I will do it all over again I love what I do and today was/is only what I made of it. I made it home alive w/ more money in my pocket then when I left. so today was a pretty good day

Exactly, its the public that generally puts a damper on business as well. People are so rude nowadays. I thought I was the only one dealing with morons, and their outlandish requests.

cpllawncare
05-06-2011, 01:03 AM
Even when Iv had my worst day, either equipment break down or customers not working out, I go home and sleep on it. I wake up early next morning to put my headphones and and do my thing. Everything has its challenges, but I like being my own manager.

And there you have it in a nutshell!

KINGMADE
05-06-2011, 01:09 AM
I will not. WILL NOT mow a lawn by myself. I would probably want to shoot myself at the end of the day. BOOOORING. With that said. There are some days I think how much better it would be without them. Continue to grow then you can just let a crew do most of the sweating and you can handle sales and accounting.

Pico
05-06-2011, 04:04 AM
I'm new in this site and I just want to say that I read the 1st 20 post and I'm amazed how supporting this site is. I'm so glad I joined it.

Back to topic, hang in there and quite a few people here made a lot of great points for advice. I have a cousin that's in sort of the same dilemma, except he went back to lawn care and started his business just 3 months ago. He just graduated last year with a BS in finance and was cumlaude in his class. He worked in NYC for less than a year and was laid off, he couldn't find a job for 3 months so he went back to his old job since high school, lawn care, then started out on his own. He loves what he's doing and has gotten 70 accounts already.
The problem is, his parents spent so much money for his college (~$40,000 a year) and his mother is a bit upset because they've spent all that money for college and now he's doesn't want to make a career out of it. He loves what he's doing and I guess that's all that matters for him. So, think it through before you make your final decision.

cpllawncare
05-06-2011, 09:48 AM
I'm new in this site and I just want to say that I read the 1st 20 post and I'm amazed how supporting this site is. I'm so glad I joined it.

Back to topic, hang in there and quite a few people here made a lot of great points for advice. I have a cousin that's in sort of the same dilemma, except he went back to lawn care and started his business just 3 months ago. He just graduated last year with a BS in finance and was cumlaude in his class. He worked in NYC for less than a year and was laid off, he couldn't find a job for 3 months so he went back to his old job since high school, lawn care, then started out on his own. He loves what he's doing and has gotten 70 accounts already.
The problem is, his parents spent so much money for his college (~$40,000 a year) and his mother is a bit upset because they've spent all that money for college and now he's doesn't want to make a career out of it. He loves what he's doing and I guess that's all that matters for him. So, think it through before you make your final decision.

Sounds like a smart kid,so what will she think if he ends up with a multi million dollar business, which is very possible, sounds like a good use of a degree to me.

Ijustwantausername
05-06-2011, 04:35 PM
I will not. WILL NOT mow a lawn by myself. I would probably want to shoot myself at the end of the day. BOOOORING. With that said. There are some days I think how much better it would be without them. Continue to grow then you can just let a crew do most of the sweating and you can handle sales and accounting.

That's what I've done this year because I absolutely hate trimming. Does cut into profit a little but at the end of the day its a lot better to have their help.

D&F lawnmaster
05-06-2011, 09:13 PM
I have been in business for twenty years. I am the boss but the real boss is my clients that paids me to do their job.. If if wasn't for them you cannot be the boss. I have and sometimes still work by myself. It makes me realize how i started this business by myself. I now have two full times workers and we do 80 lawns a week. I do lawns i hate to do but they pay to good to not to do. I wear dust mask, goggles, straw hats, short pants and a business shirts. If you don't like doing this type of work you need to fine something that you like. God bless me for being a person friendly guy and thats why i have been doing this for a long time i love this job

johnyredd99
05-06-2011, 09:33 PM
momma always told me I could be anything I wanted to be when I grow up and that no amount of money matters if you hate what you have to do to earn it. Figure out what you love to do and then find someone who will pay it to do it....
people get paid to watch tv all day I get paid to cut grass they do what they love and I do what I

And no its not just you dealing w/ morons.. i have found that people these days are dumb. talk dumb act dumb and drive dumb. but i have also found that they act even dumber when they get around a truck and trailer. I dont go to thier jobs and disrespect them and I wont have them come to mine and do the same. maybe they hate thier job

jada86
05-06-2011, 10:05 PM
I've worked regular jobs in many fields and had my own business. There is no comparison to having your own business. Trust me. If it's not b.s. office politics, it's budget cuts, if you can't work the hours tough ****, if you need a day off sorry about your luck. If you need a new pencil, deal with it, if you just want to pee, forget it. It's worse now more than ever. Be ever so grateful, you are bumping along on that mower, at your own pace, starting when you want, eating when you want and billing what you can. :drinkup:

tjjn06
05-07-2011, 12:17 AM
I've worked regular jobs in many fields and had my own business. There is no comparison to having your own business. Trust me. If it's not b.s. office politics, it's budget cuts, if you can't work the hours tough ****, if you need a day off sorry about your luck. If you need a new pencil, deal with it, if you just want to pee, forget it. It's worse now more than ever. Be ever so grateful, you are bumping along on that mower, at your own pace, starting when you want, eating when you want and billing what you can. :drinkup:

Amen to that!!

weeze
05-07-2011, 12:22 AM
I will not. WILL NOT mow a lawn by myself. I would probably want to shoot myself at the end of the day. BOOOORING. With that said. There are some days I think how much better it would be without them. Continue to grow then you can just let a crew do most of the sweating and you can handle sales and accounting.

what? i mow every yard by myself lol...if you don't like it that much then this business isn't for you...i guess you can play boss man and hire people to do the work for you...i'd rather cut the yards over doing the sales and accounting any day....but i do it all lol

Ijustwantausername
05-07-2011, 01:58 AM
I've worked regular jobs in many fields and had my own business. There is no comparison to having your own business. Trust me. If it's not b.s. office politics, it's budget cuts, if you can't work the hours tough ****, if you need a day off sorry about your luck. If you need a new pencil, deal with it, if you just want to pee, forget it. It's worse now more than ever. Be ever so grateful, you are bumping along on that mower, at your own pace, starting when you want, eating when you want and billing what you can. :drinkup:

You're right, sometimes people don't realize how good they have it til its gone. Thanks for that perspective.