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View Full Version : thing about going on my own


lawnchopper
01-15-2004, 02:40 PM
if been doing lawn care for 8yrs or so and im starting to think of going on my own I would rather get up to work for myself than listen to the manager tell me what do do since the pay as a employee is rather poor and no benifits anyway.
can a person make a living just mowing and doing clean ups????
or should I be diversified and do lots more like fert/ weedcontrol.
I really dont want to get in over my head and have to hire staff.
I want to stay small and solo or would it all just be a totall headache???

soonernation
01-15-2004, 03:04 PM
I havent been on my own for very long, but I love it. The guys on this websight know there stuff. You want to talk about a mecca of learning, I wish I had a computer 5 years ago. I would say the hardest part is the initial investment of getting good epuipment. It adds up fast. From my experiance, I wouldnt go in to fertilizinf and spraying until much later. One of the senior members of this sight had an awesome idea. If you can find a licensed sprayer and tell him youll give him all your spraying business if he will direct customers to you for cleanup and mowing. If you can sell yourself, you'll have your hands full with mowing, flowerbeds, shrub trimming, leaf clean-up, snow shoveling...you get my drift? There is a lot of money and pride that goes in to this job. Good Luck Brother.:D

NCSULandscaper
01-15-2004, 03:05 PM
Yes you can make a very good living doing mowing and cleanups. It will be tough for the first couple of years because you do not have a good customer base, but eventually things will go in the right direction and you will be happy. Just make sure you do not forget about insurance, and pay your taxes. If you ever decide to do applications, then please get your pesticide license also. If you keep your mind to it, and dont give up the first few years because you are not making the amount of money you were hoping to, you will eventually.

I work solo and make a very good living, but i do mostly landscape installs, not mowing. And i plan to stay solo for as long as possible just because of the headache to find good employees and messing with all the appropriate paperwork that goes along with having employees.

Good Luck

JimLewis
01-15-2004, 05:33 PM
I agree with the other two posts. The answer to your first question is yes, you can make good money doing this. And in fact, even the first couple of "rough" years, you'll very likely make more than the $10 or $12 per hour your making now. And you've got a wealth of experience under your belt. You can take what you've learned from your current boss - the good stuff - and use it, and then improve on the stuff where he was lacking. Then, of course, you have Lawnsite, which is just an amazing resource. If you pay attention here, you'll save yourself a gazillion headaches. I wish I had had Lawnsite back when I started.

The thing that concerns me though is this comment...I really dont want to get in over my head and have to hire staff. Because thinking long-term, being a solo lawn care operator the rest of your life is very limiting, risky, and doesn't have a lot of security.

I suppose if you built up a good business, never really got injured or came down with any health challenges, maintained your current energy level, AND planned your finances very well with an IRA, etc. then MAYBE you'd make it to retirement age somewhat comfortable. But to me - that's a huge risk! And one I'm certainly not going to put me or my family through.

The only real security in this business is to eventually begin the process of duplication. That is, duplicating your efforts and begin making money off of the efforts of others, not just yourself. That's not foolproof either. But at the very least, it teaches you how to run and operate your own business and that's a skill that can be transferred to other industries if the lawn care indiustry ever dries up. Sure, it's a daunting task to think about. It's hard work having employees, managing different crews, managing job projects, office work, marketing, etc. all at the same time. I won't lie to you. But it's also hard work mowing lawns in often crappy weather conditions 10 hours per day, coming home smelling and sweaty and dirty and your muscles all tired. It's just trading one type of hard work for another. One is less physically demanding, the other is more mentally taxing. So it's a choice. But again, I opt for the choice with more security.

My advice to you is if you honestly NEVER want to have to deal with employees, but still want to be your own boss, get into a different industry. You can make gobs of money in sales, being a mortgage broker, running other types of businesses, all by yourself. And without the demands lawn mowing puts on you. Lawn Care just not a good thing to do, SOLO, for the long term.

That's my 2 cents. I know others differ.

Turfdude
01-15-2004, 07:06 PM
Jim Lewis said it all again!!!

You either have to be prepared to deal w/ employee headaches, etc or pray that you are the healthiest and most ageless person alive.

greenngrow
01-15-2004, 08:13 PM
Jim said it all.
I have employees that I deal with in my Lawn Care operation.
As well as the employees that I manage at the store.

I get hit twice with all the headaches that go along with the job.

Best of luck to you.....

Ground Master
01-15-2004, 08:21 PM
lawnchopper......welcome to the show! Step to the plate and never look back!

kootoomootoo
01-15-2004, 08:32 PM
Enjoying being a landscaper will keep you poor...enjoying being a manager of landscapers will keep you rich.

NCSULandscaper
01-15-2004, 11:18 PM
Originally posted by kootoomootoo
Enjoying being a landscaper will keep you poor...

Whatever you say....

bastalker
01-15-2004, 11:37 PM
lawnchopper....Yer the creator of your own destiny.

If you think in yer heart you can do this. Your on the right path already.

Be fair, treat people the way you want to be treated...Maybe treat em a little better...heh heh heh

The rest just falls into place.

Now all ya need is a little cash = P

Royalslover
01-16-2004, 01:37 AM
I kinda disagree with you guys that say old guys can't do this. I'm 38 and this year will be my 17th year of full time mowing by myself. I have friends who are in white collar well paying jobs. Because of the stress they are a lot more tired when they get home than I am. Everyone thinks that I work so hard but the only time I even walk on the job is when I trim. I think I can do this this untill I retire and still have as much body left as a desk jockey will. As for you guys that say us guys who mow by ourselves are mental midgets, how much are you making. Is the extra money(?)worth all the headaches. I would bet that most guys running several crews don't make too much more than I do, and I guarantee they have waaayyy more stress than I do. And I only work 9 months a year.

Turfdude
01-16-2004, 10:20 AM
Originally posted by Royalslover
I kinda disagree with you guys that say old guys can't do this. I'm 38 and this year will be my 17th year of full time mowing by myself. I have friends who are in white collar well paying jobs. Because of the stress they are a lot more tired when they get home than I am. Everyone thinks that I work so hard but the only time I even walk on the job is when I trim. I think I can do this this untill I retire and still have as much body left as a desk jockey will. As for you guys that say us guys who mow by ourselves are mental midgets, how much are you making. Is the extra money(?)worth all the headaches. I would bet that most guys running several crews don't make too much more than I do, and I guarantee they have waaayyy more stress than I do. And I only work 9 months a year.

God bless you then man! I'm 37 and have been doing this for 20 yrs full time (attended and graduated from college full time early years). I'm not feeling that beat up yet, but I don't run behind a WB in 5th gear anymore either. I do have several friends/colleagues that are solos in this profession. We've had to bale some out when they had a streak of bad health (hepatitus and prolonged sickness). I have read many posts on this forum of those who have lost accounts or business due to prolonged sickness. It is kind of a double edged sword. I see where you're coming from financially and all, but its probably a lot tougher for you to take a week or 2 vacation in the summer w/ your family than it is for me.

JimLewis
01-16-2004, 07:03 PM
I see where you're coming from financially and all, but its probably a lot tougher for you to take a week or 2 vacation in the summer w/ your family than it is for me. Not at all. I took two such vacations this year. When you got a good team and a good foreman and a good system, it is pretty easy to leave if you plan it all in advance.

In fact, in some ways, it's even better because when I leave for two weeks, I'm still making as much money being gone as I was being here. Can't do that when you're solo.

Royalslover
01-17-2004, 03:25 AM
One thing is true about working by yourself, you can't take more than 3 days off in the summer. But like I said I get at least a 3 month vacation in the winter. I'll take the trade off.

David Haggerty
01-17-2004, 09:53 AM
Originally posted by Royalslover
One thing is true about working by yourself, you can't take more than 3 days off in the summer. But like I said I get at least a 3 month vacation in the winter. I'll take the trade off.

Me too. Plus during the 3 winter months you can go somewhere warm and take a real vacation. With a 2 week vacation it seems like half of the time is taken up with travel, making preparations etc.

Dave