View Full Version : what kind of backing did you get?

02-25-2004, 05:29 PM
today, i saw my old boss. the one from a printshop i left 8 yrs ago. i started there as a teenager, and that was the beginning of my printing career.he was old even back then. we used to talk about lots of stuff. he took a liking to me. it was at the end of my stay with that company that i started my lawn business. i told him one day i would make my living this way. he laughed at me. he told me "95% of small businesses fail, etc", he said anything negative he could think of. even told me, if i left there to pursue a lawn business, that i would end up at mcdonalds flippin the ol burgers. i saw him today, told him that this year will be my first full time, and i'm sure i have it in total control. he still laughed, saying he had connections if i needed back in the printing business. i'm thinking like, what a thing to say. especially comming from an old timer, to the ears of a 30 yr old(at that time). wouldn't you want to encourage someone and wish them well? this guy tried to drag me down any way he could. so tell me, were your friends, relatives, nieghbors , etc encouraging or were they negative? did they back you, or try to talk you out of it?

J Hisch
02-25-2004, 05:43 PM
I can understand, most think that mowing and lawn care are a joke for a business. Had a doctor treat me like dirt one day. I told him I am not trying to be rude but for what you went to school for 8 years for I went half that and turn as much income as you. He said no way... Didnt believe it next thing you know he and I were pals, golfing and crap like that.... But when he thought i was just the yard servant it was a different story.....I bet the same for the old man too.

02-25-2004, 05:44 PM
Hey Bobby i heard the same thing when i left the factory back in 1993 to do this lawn care fulltime . i havent even looked back , they were all laughing at me and saying i couldnt make a living doing this well ............. iam laughing all the way to bank every week. I am making more than i ever imagined i ever would and making alot more and i mean alot more than i ever would there . I see some of the same people i worked years ago there and there still there making peanuts . I now have 2 large dually trucks that i never had when i worked there and 30,000 worth of mowers that i never had ............ i have sooooooooo much more now than i ever had so this summer bobby you will be laughing in everyones face who thought you would fail at this and the upside is you get atleast 3 to 4 months off every year lol

02-25-2004, 05:53 PM
I notice that people always seem to ask me what I am going to for a living. They act like I don't get paid for working the business...its kinda strange that people laugh in your face but then when you want to compare pay checks they won't. To everyone who takes part in the lawn care industry: keep striving for your dreams and let no one stand in your way. My journey has faced me with adversity since day 1 and my business keeps growing and I am about to graduate college. I can't be doing that bad!

02-25-2004, 05:55 PM
I kinda got same thing from inside the family......not many take this as a serious biz. Then again the generation of people that were negative about it, were older generations....ie....union guys 40 hr a week...30 yrs with same company. Guess what?!.....if youre with a company these days for 30 yrs....youre VERY lucky! My mother always had faith in what I was doing....got lots of support from her. My dad on the other hand was a union carpenter....didnt think you could make a living at this....it was seasonal etc. hard on the body...blah blah blah. Well im 36 now....been in this trade in some shape or form since 11. Ive grown to the point where Ive had 6 guys working for me, have a very nice house, 1 baby...another on the way, and wife stays home! For some reason people think this is a half azzed business run by chumps that cant make it anywhere else........I say bullsh#t....its a business....just like anyother.....you get outta it, what ya put into it. If you run a tight...clean....organize business, youll get the respect that so many of us are seeking! Once you have achieved youre goals in life....and have leftover $$$ to do with as you please......all the sudden people look at youanother way....if you know what I mean?!.....oh well!.....keep um wondering!!!!!;)

02-25-2004, 06:06 PM
I still get from in laws, "..when are you going back to school?" But other then that, people back me up pretty good. Even My old boss when i see em in his trucks with 7 guys in the dump body, goes out of his way to hello and good luck. especially my father, who knows more people then I ever imagined, always so and so wants an estimate. turns out he's an awesome salesman, has no problem asking people if they need work done cuz his son has a company. Defintely my #1 backer!

02-25-2004, 06:09 PM
When I decided to finally go for broke, my whole family and my wife were 100% fully supportive of me. They knew the income that it produced when I did it part time. The only thing they worried about was me getting totally comsumed by it and never having any time for family and freinds, because when I put my mind to something there is no stopping me. It took a while to balance work and family, but all is fine now. I currently make more $ now that I could have dreamed of working at a different job. The most important thing besides $ is that I am happy and content. There is no more, gee I hate my job I should go into my own business. I had that nagging feeling for several years and I'm sure many others of you out there felt or are feeling that also. There is no describing that satisfying feeling that I've done it and survived! Use that frustration that is built up from people telling you you're crazy and you can't do it and use it as positive energy to focus on building your business. Probably the most important thing I can say as you get busier, and you will is don't lose sight of the needs of your family and yourself.

02-25-2004, 06:19 PM
A year or so ago I was putting the gate up on the trailer. The junior high school bus was going by. A smart### kid yells out..."you should have gone to college." I said back..."I did. And now I make more per hour than your daddy."

Its truely funny how there are 2 thoughts of people.
1. We are just the neighborhood kid or someone who can't find a job.
2. They think we are making an absolute killing.

The first one keeps those people from entering this industry, and the second makes the get rich quick guys come here finding info out to start a business.

02-25-2004, 06:30 PM
I think a lot of people think that if you go to college, you won't have to work for a living, like being stuck in an office is somehow preferable to working outside?!! The mentality of this country and how people view trades and professions astounds me sometimes.

I've had wonderful support from my friends and family. Never has someone made the comment (to my face anyhow) that I am somehow an underachiever because of my chosen profession. Actually, many people express how lucky I am not being stuck in an office somewhere or how I have freedoms and flexibilities they can only dream of.

Sure, people will still look down on us but it really says more about them than it does about us.

And, like my sister always says (whose married to a well-paid professional painter) "there ain't nothing wrong with a man that works with his hands"!

02-25-2004, 06:33 PM
It's been a long time since someone was rude to me like that kind of sarcasim. But I know the last time someone said something to me along those lines I just looked at them straight in the eye and said, "my mom used to say, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all".

That usually shuts them up pretty fast...

02-25-2004, 06:57 PM
My favorite story on this subject is about my mother in law. When I started my business back in 1989 not many family members were supportive of me, especially her. Around 1993, when I got my first computer to help with the billing process, I remember her stopping by one evening while I was printing statements. You have to remember that this was 1993, and I was printing statements on an impact printer using continuous statement forms. I asked her to take hold of the first statement that had been laying in a box I used to collect the fanfold statements. Once she had it in her hand and while the printer was buzzing away, I asked her to walk down the hallway until she reached the front door. I then told her to open the door and go into the front yard. After she had done this and was standing in the middle of our front yard holding a long string of statements leading back to the printer, I told her " Each person on each one of those statements owes me at least $75". Her mouth fell open as she did some quick mental calculations in her head. From that day forward I've never heard anything other than supportive talk coming from the in-laws. The crowning glory was when they asked if I could give my father-in-law a job to keep him busy and earn a few extra bucks. Needless to say, I didn't hire him.

02-25-2004, 08:11 PM
The thing that I find the most amusing is "well what will you do in the winter" that is what I always here when I tell people that I am going to do this full time. Little do they know I make just as much as them working 9 months out of the year. I don't know why people think you have to work 9-5 all year around to make make a liveing. This job is great I am out side and most of all I am my own boss that is what makes it the most rewarding. I am counting the days till I start full time 385 more lol I can't wait.

02-26-2004, 01:50 AM
Originally posted by 65hoss
Its truely funny how there are 2 thoughts of people.
1. We are just the neighborhood kid or someone who can't find a job.
2. They think we are making an absolute killing.

The first one keeps those people from entering this industry, and the second makes the get rich quick guys come here finding info out to start a business.

I can relate to everything people have said here, but this struck me especially. People are crazy.

No one gave me any kind of backing when I started this. I was 2 classes from completing my degree, broke, and tired of going to school when I dropped out and started doing lawn care. Everyone thought I was nuts, or it was a phase, etc. No one could understand why I was giving up my college to do this. Even to this day I still get a lot of crap from certain family members about what I do. Personally, I think I'm doing better than my other 3 sibilings, and I know for a fact that I'm happier doing what I do than all of them are. And I've continued to do better and grow since I've started.

But for me, there's nothing like owning your own business, being your own boss. Top that with getting to work outside all summer long, and having about 4 months per year off. I used to work 3 floors under ground at the UofM in a cancer research lab, and I hated it. Not to mention I wasn't very good at it because I was always wanting to be outside. People who laugh and riducule just don't understand, and probably will never know what they are missing either.

02-26-2004, 08:20 AM
Let's see, wife has left me(for other reasons), parents still try to bring up the past failed business ventures(no help there), I do have a good friend and his daughter(now my girlfriend) who have gone out on a limb with finances. But most important, I have a drive from God to not quit, to succeed, to learn. i still believe a person can start with nothing and make everything! There are more people at the bottom to hold you down than people at the top to pull you up. I get more support from you guys and gals than anywhere. I have noticed that since i got the exmark, the real trailer, signs on my beat up truck and uniforms that people have stopped asking how that "little" business is going. I guess they still try to compare you to the kid in the summer.

Good Luck!!!

Clark Landscaping
02-26-2004, 08:46 AM
funny how no one really thinks to ask a schoolteacher what are they going to do in the summer? I am never short of work, sometimes it doesn't pay but never short. Everyone was nuetral for me, still are to some extent but they are slowly coming around.

02-26-2004, 09:02 AM

I started doing home improvement for "others" about three years ago. Last year started getting "major". So far this year, I have grossed what I did in all of '03. My family has just started referring people to me. Most of them thought this was a joke.

I was screwed out of an internal job last month. My 13th attempt at a different position w/ this co. in 11 years. I was told he was hiring outside the co. on January 13th. less than 24 hrs after we discussed pay, transition dates etc.

13th position on the 13th? 13 is my favorite number. The decision was made. My co workers have told me for years to do HI full time. This past weekend I bought a truck, in the co. name etc. I don't know when I will I will go full time, but I will go full time.

My dad actually told my wife on Monday that I always enjoyed building and he is proud of me. (Trust me, he will never say it to my face.) My wife backs me 110%.

My guess is employers are "mad" that they no longer control you. My current manager knows what I need to gross per week in order for me to walk. I may never get rich off of it, but it beats this corporate back stabbing 8 - 5 BS!

Every neagtive comment I hear, I use as incentive to succeed.

Best of luck!


02-26-2004, 09:09 AM
I was at a turning point in my life having put in 8 years in the Navy - an E7 - waiting to enter a commission program I had been accepted into - and then 3 months before my end of enlistment I was told that funding had been cut and the program was aborted. I knew I didn't want to stay enlisted - and with no other options I took my honorable discharge and never looked back. I left the military with very little disposable cash but a determination to make my own way in business. My entire family thought I had lost my mind - giving up a regular paycheck and a military retirement. At the time of my discharge - I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do - but very little knowledge about how to go about it. I sat down and put on the thinking cap and came up with some ideas that I felt would work. The one that kept coming back time and time again as the most feasible was in the area of property management - but I knew there had to be a zillion headaches with it. I bounced ideas off my wife - and all the time she said - "go back in the Navy".... I refused to give in - and so I realized I was on my own - if I was gonna make it. I called some professional people I knew, met with an attorney for some legal advice, did the same with an accountant - and came out a little more focused..... I decided I was going to start a company that there were no others of at the time - to professionally manage the property of medical buildings - everything from light bulb replacement to daily custodial services. I landed my first contract with an Orthopaedic Surgeon group and it took off like crazy. Within 6 months I had 12 medical complexes and was bidding on 2 hospitals. In 1990 I knew I needed professional office space for our company and was tired of paying rent. I went to several local bankers and was turned down for financing at all of them. I decided to try a bank in a neighboring community and the loan officer I spoke with - looked at the books and said "this is a dooable loan"........ Five years later we had that building paid for and again were looking to expand for much needed space. This time - every local bank in our area was wanting to loan us the money we needed to do our expansion - but we never forgot the small bank who took the chance with us! Today we manage over 200 independent buildings and 5 hospitals in the Metropolitan Washington DC and Northern Virginia area. A large portion - as a separate division of our company is performing work for government agencies - federal, state and local. If there is any advice that I can give to guys just starting out in business for themselves - it would be to take the time necessary to develop a business plan. Simply saying "I want to work for myself" is not enough........you must have clear, concise goals - sometimes these are on a weekly and monthly basis - as well as long term. Align yourself with successful business people that you know - and pick their brains for information - AND CONTACTS. If you wait for your family and friends to be your motivation - in many cases - it simply will not happen. Pick yourself up - dust yourself off and go for it !

02-26-2004, 09:16 AM
Ya know.Everyone has been really supportive of me.My wife is the one who recommended I start landscaping after she saw some work I did for relatives.I was just helping them get their home in shape.I loved it though.(Funny,cause I never thought I'd say that)After all the work was done,I stood back and admired our handywork.The wife told me,"You should go into business."Haven't looked back.She supports me in every way.My parents support the decision.Heck my dad even wants to work for me when he retires.Brother-in-law wants a job.Neighbors are asking for jobs,etc.,,
My biggest problem definately is not support.It's getting the work to hire all of these people.:)

02-26-2004, 09:24 AM
My family thinks its great and would give me all the referals I could want if they did'nt live in OHIO.

I do not get any support from the inlaws at all, and as a matter of fact my father in law who regrets working at the same company for 20 years and he is stuck at now told my wife that I THINK I know what I am doing. He claims he tried to start a business about ten years ago and that he lost a couple of grand because in did not pan out, and when I asked him what it was he a chain letter.

I did not recieve any type of backing and my own wife still can not try to support my decision.

02-26-2004, 10:07 AM
I have been very lucky my family thinks that this is a great carrer. I worked for three other large companies over 10 years. Everyone kept asking why I wasn't on my own, I guess I was scarred. I don't know why though. I learned alot from my bosses and after having three different ways of donig things I found the best way for me. I moved to a small town where my parents live and things are going graet. They seemed to be lacking of proffesional LCOs. Some people seem to act snotty when you tell them what you do but most people I come in contact with want free advice.

02-26-2004, 10:37 AM
I worked for a small company for 12 years, helped the owner build it up to a pretty good size company. I put myself through paramedic school, nights, weekends still worked 50 plus hours a week at company. I had a goal of becoming a firefighter/paramedic someday, When that day finally came and I told my boss that I would be leaving soon, HE FIRED ME !

02-26-2004, 11:11 AM
Heck, this is my 29th yr. full time. No other job and my dad, my own father always takes the time to remind me that I'm getting older lol and better get a job soon. My own father does not even recognise what I do as a job its only a hobby. Now thats a kick in the teeth. I would like to tell him that my "hobby" pays alot more that his job ever thought about, but its a generation thing I guess. Or he just don't like me lol


02-26-2004, 11:14 AM
You know for me it is really hurtful to say, but, my Dad is my biggest "Dream Breaker". He started five years ago while helping me cut a 20+ acre job, about halfway thru he basically called me a dumb a$$ for doing this and said I should quit. Most times things get better, not here! Now every time I have to have a repair done to my equipment, he starts it all over again. You know I fought with him about it for the entire five years, but now I do not even waste my time, I smile and change the topic.

02-26-2004, 12:20 PM
When I worked for the man a few years ago I always had to borrow money from my parents, living paycheck to paycheck. Then started my own comp. they were nervous thought I would need to borrow more money. Havent asked them for a loan in over a year, needless to say the support me 100% now, lol I dont blame them.

02-26-2004, 12:42 PM
Full support from family. Especially from my mom. Friends on the other hand are wondering what the heck I am doing. Well All I have to say is New Truck, Nice trailer, 4000 dollar lawn mower (that is what really gets them going), and an assortment of this and that.
I raced my best bud who lives several doors down in mowing our lawns. I have 8000 ft he has 6280. I sat there watching him start while I was drinking and holding a soda. finished the soda lounging in his chair watching him mow the frount yard, got up, walked 3 houses down and pulled on the cord. Finished mowing trimming and edging and went and sat down as he was just pulling out his edger. Roughly 22 minutes of work on my part with little sweat and 55 for him.
I just had to start laughing when I cracked that cold one in frount of him and he was still trying to get his edger started.

02-26-2004, 01:05 PM
You have to remember, LCO's are relatively new to the service industry. Actually, the service industry itself is relatively new.

Older generations were much more "can-do" than the majority of people today. They wondered why they should pay someone to do work that they could accomplish themselves. Children of the depression that most likely grew up in more urban areas (not many lawns there) can't fathom paying someone to cut their grass.

Not so today. The suburbs have grown in population and acerage. The service industry has taken hold in those areas due to a change in mind-set by this working generation. Work harder, longer hours, at the office and pay someone else to do the other work. If it's worth thier time and money, it's worth mine!


Lux Lawn
02-26-2004, 01:26 PM
Good story's Guys
Heres mine

I was working full time for a local city and landscaping part-time.
There was about 6 of us that did this part-time some of them did it full-time before the city.I worked there for 14 years and had 16 left before retiring.It was a dead end job and everybody that worked there knew it.The guys that worked there that did it full time first told me how hard it is and that I will hate it and want to come back in a year.One guy left to start full- time landscaping for the second time in his life and came back 4 months later and is still there and hates it.I was 31 years old and needed a change fast so I planned it out for about a year and made my big decision to quit.My wife and entire family was behind me the whole time.
Sure I gave up a lot since leaving there like 5 weeks vacation, steady raises, 13 paid sick days,2 paid personal days,13 paid holidays,a great benefits package,paid overtime.

But looking back 3 plus years later I would not change a thing I would rather work for myself and take all the responsibility that goes with it then work in a dead end job any day.
Every now and then I talk to the guys that told me how tough if will be and I will be back now they are telling me that I left at the right time and they wish they could leave also.But you have to make thing happen for yourself.

02-26-2004, 01:49 PM
Originally posted by griffin16
When that day finally came and I told my boss that I would be leaving soon, HE FIRED ME !

Go file for unemployment on him.. that is the best way to get to him..

02-26-2004, 02:49 PM
my dad didn't think of lawn care as a noble profession and tried to talk me out of it numerous times. but after two months into the business i had 3k in the bank and was well ahead of the loan i had taken to get started up. mom on the other hand hasn't stopped b****** yet!! all ever hear is things like" you don't put enough away or why do you need that mower its $8,000 dollars! stuff like. frankly it drives me insane to listen to it. dad gets the 12 month billing cycle and understands that i've got money coming in every month even during the winter when i'm sitting at home. mom she still doesn't get it. so my biggest backing is to not be at home at all so i don't have to listen to the stupid stuff that comes out of my mothers mouth. i swear some of those special ed. kids are rubbing off on her!

02-26-2004, 07:28 PM
I think parents just want thier kids to have a good life and be financially stable. She'll come around sooner or later most people dont understand you have to spend money to make money.

Eric 1
02-26-2004, 07:54 PM
Well i am 16 working part time, my parents back me 100% along with all of my local family (i do all their lawns) and i make decent money i think. And i am proud of what i do.
I get vary little comments like that, but one day this winter i was working for my dad (builds custom furniture and i work for him in the off season.)
One day one of the delivery trucks came and the driver asked who's truck, trailer, mower etc. was that, and i said mine, i do landscaping in the summer. He just laughed and said that that was a good way to start off in the work force. I just smiled and said whatever, knowing full-well i make more per man hour than he does, i am my own boss, i work when i want-were i want i have all payed for equipment, no debt and some money in the bank. and that he is twice or more my age and has considerable debt and drives a heap working for another man.

You tell me who should be poking fun.

Hang in there all you guys the world is full of opposition no matter what you do.

02-27-2004, 03:48 PM
I'm happy! Some of my family is supportive some isn't doesn't change the fact that I'm still happy!

02-27-2004, 03:57 PM
I see the guy i used to work for mowing almost 2 or 3 times a week. When i left him it wasnt on good terms buts after a few months we became friends again. He sat down with me and helped me formulate a business plan. Told me the best ways to advertise and bsically the do's and dont's of lawn care. He even sent some small homes my way to help me get off the ground. He's a good guy who always helped me out when money was tight or i was having personal problems. I can honestly say without him i wouldnt be where i am today

03-14-2004, 01:57 PM
I'm very lucky, I have a wife that loves and supports me. Without that it would impossible for me.

I have noticed alot of us saying that some people in our lives treat our businesses as hobbys or some sort of joke...I think it's just a small mindedness thats beat into some people

"if you don't punch a clock its not a real job"

"if you don't work set hours, it's not a real job"

"if you don't get a check from someone else it's not a real job"

all I know is WE are the lucky ones. We have the spirit and drive to make it work on our own, no mater the hours, no mater what...I'm 27 and I really think, i truly believe, i could never go to a "job" ever again. Some ones always the boss, someones always in control, someone always makes the decisions...i feel no one is better suited for that role than I am.

03-14-2004, 02:26 PM
This is very inspiring for me. I just thought It was only happening to me. This will be my second year doing this and during the first year I learned alot and was suprised at what people thought about this industry in general. To them I say (have a good day.)

03-14-2004, 02:32 PM
MY entire family thinks this lawn business is a joke..

I'm going to prove them wrong!

03-14-2004, 04:35 PM
I'd avoid that guy like he had the plague. You don't need that.

03-15-2004, 02:40 AM
Over all I have gotten good support from my family. When I first started and was part time I was talking about going full time the next year. My sister and I are pretty close and I guess you can say I look up to her and her opinion, so I was talking to her about it. She's somewhat old school as far as thinking you work for someone get a check and retire. Anyway when I asked her for her opinion she did not agree that I should quit my job at the Home Cheapo to work for myself. A few weeks later I'm hanging out w/her and she tells me she had talked to a friend and the friend told her about a guy she knew that does this for a living. My sister starts asking about how this guy got started and so on, she tells my sister how this guy started with a push mower, now has several crews and pays himself alittle over 100k a yr. salery. Anyway my sister tells me now she is behind me and thinks I'm doing the right thing.

Of course there will always be people that don't take the biz seriously, but at the same time I don't take them seriously either.

Stay positive, work hard, run your biz legit, and LEARN ALL YOU CAN.

Richard Martin
03-15-2004, 09:21 AM
I don't let it worry me and I never really paid attention to it. I, like most of the full timers here, make most of my money during the season. I'd say in the range of 95%. I take all winter off. I have all of the "toys" I want. I only owe on 25% of the value of my house. I out and out own other properties. I have a wonderful wife, great kids and 1 beautiful granddaughter.

It doesn't get any better than this for any amount of money.