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View Full Version : Fear of the Unknown: Where did you find the courage?


Ursushorribilus
07-23-2004, 04:06 PM
So I've been a member of Lawnsite since February of this year, and was reading it for some time before that. Every day that I follow the trials and tribulations of this group, that I feel like I have come to know, I get excited and want to run out and "get busy". But I must confess, I'm somewhat scared to take the first step. I've read Lawnsite for hundreds of hours, I've checked Websites adnauseam for equipment and prices, and have been to dealers in my area for this as well. I've posted questions about equipment and have refined my selections to a few because of your collective insight, and just yesterday test drove some awesome cube trucks. But I don't yet dare to venture into the "wilderness", and here it is almost August. The old adage, "he who hesitates is lost", may apply here, because I continue to procrastinate.

Being scared is not my forte, I'll fight the devil himself if provoked, and have battled most of my life. I'll run off to a third-world country where common sense would dictate that Americans should avoid, and have the time of my life. But finding the courage to make this career move has eluded me, and I'm angry at myself because of it. How have you, collectively and/or individually, dealt with this at the beginning of your lawn career(s)? Am I alone in agonizing over the decision to start, and if not, what kicked your butt(s) into gear and got you over the hurdle? Tony

lqmustang
07-23-2004, 04:13 PM
What motivated me was knowing another person who has been mowing part time for 10 years now. After a long talk about what he did, I went home and did some math. Realized that I could do what he is doing now, and add a nice cushion to my then full time job. After some research, went out at the end of that winter and plucked down about $4k on a new Scag 48 wb, and a new 5x10 trailer, and started advertising for some customers. After my 'normal' job of 13 years closed down, (a year later) that gave me even more motivation to make a big push in lawn care. That was the best thing that ever happed to me. Make alot more $ now in my 2nd year full time than I did after 13 years with that company.

all degree
07-23-2004, 04:14 PM
Cmon Man just do it. Sell your car and get a used pickup. Then spend $2000 on a used WB or even a new 36" Belt drive. Another $500 on a backpack and $350 on a trimmer and start cutting.

If you are that scared use a 21" and just do two or three for a few weeks. Worst case scenario is that you lose a couple grand. You can always sell your stuff.

Reading about it, thinking about it and talking about are going to do nothing for you. Go out this weekend and find a neighbor or someone that needs there lawn cut an DO IT.

What you are doing now is getting you nowhere. YOU CAN DO IT!

bobbygedd
07-23-2004, 04:25 PM
tony, ask yourself a few questions. #1-will my current job give me the income i want? #2-will my current job give me the lifestyle i want? #3- will my current job provide me with the time off i need? ask these 3 questions, then ask yourself if u like someone else controlling your destiny.and if you have any control over your future. if the answer to EVERY ONE of these questions isn't YES, then look at yourself in the mirror, and ask , "what are you gonna do about this?" if you answer nothing, well, i'm sorry for you. i left my job in nov. 2003, i had a few bucks saved, not that much, but i decided i needed to make a move now, right now, not in 2 weeks, a year, right now. never regretted it yet, i doubt i will.

CuttersCove
07-23-2004, 04:29 PM
Ursus,

I would wait until next spring to start. With that in mind, you sound more prepared than most. Look at this way what's the worst than can happen? You end up doing the same damn thing you did yesterday.

You can sell the equipment so it isn't like you are wasting money.

good luck

-matt

Ability
07-23-2004, 05:34 PM
I started with my own "home" equipment. A 22" Toro push mower, and an echo trimmer. I ran out to Lowes and bought a back pack blower and then got some business cards and spread the word around. I picked up a few lawns and man it was a hard go with a 22". I then built it up until I got enough accounts to justify a commercial mower. I bought a Toro 48" WB, a trailer and started cutting more lawns. I do this part time and currently have 19 properties.

Oh, and the transition between my personal equipment and commercial price tags scared me a little. But, as someone else said...Just Do It!!!

rtyus
07-23-2004, 05:43 PM
All great advice. Anyone with average intelligence, a willingness to work hard and a willingness to learn can do it. When we started we had people telling us that there were already too many lco's in the area. We've had at least 50% growth every year and it's still growing.

Start part-time and grow your business slowly. You CAN do it.

eshreve1234
07-23-2004, 05:51 PM
What finally gave me the push was after college and working for peanuts as an accountant. I was tired of having no life to make the owner(s) rich. Why work 60 hrs. a week to make someone else money while you just get by? Work 60 hrs a week to make yourself money and not only will you get more money, but you will make yourself happy.

HOOLIE
07-23-2004, 06:00 PM
I worked for the same LCO for over 10 years, always dreaming of the day I would tell me boss "adios". But always there was SOME reason why I wouldn't take the plunge. Year after year went by, and my boss began to "upgrade" his lifestyle, new Beemer, $800,000 house, several trips to the Carribean each year. Every time I tried to negotiate a raise he would say "the business isn't doing so well this year" (because he was keeping all the money for himself) Finally I realized that he was satisfied with where the business was at, and that a raise for me meant less money for him.

When the last straw had been broken, I went in his office and told him I was gone. I've been a lot happier ever since.

captken
07-23-2004, 07:01 PM
unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.....

Follow your dream

and put your faith and trust in God....

...the flip side of fear is faith...

works for me...kenny.:angel:

Pilgrims' Pride
07-23-2004, 07:44 PM
ursus,

Who was it who said that a coward dies a hundred deaths and a brave man but one?
Reach down, check your package, and jump.

Gr grass n Hi tides
07-23-2004, 08:20 PM
Money & all is important. Most of us need it to live. But, money isn't going to keep you in or out of this. I don't know what your current job is but I'd be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that you free yourself up in many more ways than you can imagine by making the change. If you're in an office job I can all but guarantee you're being emascualted like so many other guys out there in the corporate world. Pray. It works. You'll be provided for.

Ursushorribilus
07-23-2004, 08:22 PM
Thank You, You guys are indeed a source of inspiration, and having just read these posts I feel a surge of adrenaline.

I want to share a small slice of my life with you, to let you know where I'm coming from and what's running through my mind. In 1999 while working as an ironworker to finance my final year of college a roof collapsed and I fell about 30 feet to a concrete floor. Got smashed up pretty good, had a bunch of surgeries, spent a month in a trauma unit, a year in physical and occupational therapy, and four years putting myself back together. Well, now I'm back together, I have some funny bodyparts twisted and bent in odd ways, but as strong and mean as I ever was. A bunch of people want me to sign up for Social Security on total disability because of my plethora of busted bodyparts, but that's crap and will never happen as long as I can move.

Because of the accident I will have in August about $50,000 to invest in a business, and I know that sounds like alot of money, but I figure this is my last bite at the apple, so to speak. So whatever direction I go in has to work, and you guys have steered me in the direction I believe I will invest it in. Now, getting this money in August, what do you think would be the best time frame to buy equipment and start? Right when I get it, or gear up for the following year?

Again, thanks for the inspiration...Tony

Gr grass n Hi tides
07-23-2004, 08:52 PM
You're gonna get a lot of opinion & rightfully so. So many here have come into this in so many different ways, but that's good because it shows that you can make it work and there's not a set formula. Lots of folks here have a ton more experience than I do.

You're ready to do this so don't listen to any of the nay-sayers. It can be done. Being prudent is good of course, but.........

I can say this - the middle of the summer is a fine time to pick up clients. It really is. The phone starts ringing when all the want-to-bes start falling by the wayside when it gets hot outside. A few of the best clients I have this year were pick-ups during the summer last year.

That 50K..........you don't have to spend anywhere near that kind of money to get started. I'm sure you know that from reading LS. Why not spend enough to get launched & make sure you like it out in the field. Get a taste for it this summer. You could do it as a side gig for the remainder of the year possibly. Then, over the winter you start building toward next spring. You can target commercial props. in the winter if that's what you want in your area. Then come next spring you can add more equipment as your business grows.

Littleriver1
07-23-2004, 08:54 PM
It's a hard decision. At what point do you go to all your friends and family and say to them. Tomorrow I will be quiting my job and starting a new business, and be working for myself. At what point do you say to your boss, I quit. When the door closes behind you, you'll be thinking, I'm unemployed, I don't have a job. Starting a business is like dying, "Your the only one going". It's lonely out there. That's what makes this site so great. There are a lot of people here that really do care what happens to you. The spirit of the entrepreneur will never leave you. Not very many will admit that they started a business and did a poor job and lost a lot of money. How many started 2 or 3 or even 4 times till they got it right and made it work. It's no shame to lose a business and have to start over, it happens every day in America. This is the greatest country in the world. The reason it is the greatest country in the world is because of the entrepreneural spirit. God Bless America. To the terrorists that want to tear it down, I say"Screw You"

specialtylc
07-23-2004, 08:58 PM
I started doing lawn care as a parttime thing. We got so busy that we had no choice but go full time. Didnt have the strength to do a factory job and mow any more.:D

txlawnking
07-23-2004, 09:07 PM
Tony, go for it!!! Ask the Lord for guidance and wisdom, and he will give it to you..

Ric Harris
07-23-2004, 09:26 PM
Gear up lightly to finish off this years mowing season. Look toward the purchase of leaf collection and disposal equipment before the mark up in prices. Purchase your lawn mowing equipment, WB's, ZTR's, Trimmers and other equipment just before your local dealer stores them for Spring. Carefully look at business insurance and select one from the many that fits your outline to the "T". You don't want to leave home without it.

Don't forget the equipment for snow removal, and please, don't spend it all ($50K) at one time. There are operational cost, wages, equipment replacement and upgrades, the killer of them all.. the "I Want & I Need" equipment list.

Good Luck!

ric.

celebrating my 3rd successful year in the business.

eshreve1234
07-23-2004, 10:10 PM
50k eh? Remember debt is a good thing for a business. Make sure to put some of that money aside for yourself, and let the bank take on some of your risk. There are alot of good financing deals on equipment right now.

captken
07-23-2004, 10:44 PM
I put my faith and trust in God, as I understand Him to be....

I have my wants....

I want a Ford GT-40....in the worse possible way....

And of course...

I have my needs...and....

I own a Ford F-150, that drinks gas, but pulls my trailer effortlessly.

My wants and my needs may not exactly be the same.

However, I find, that if I turn it over to Him...

I find that my wants and

my needs are getting closer together.

And I have a life...

kenny




:angel:

Ursushorribilus
11-03-2004, 08:30 PM
Well, alot has happened since I first posted this thread... I came into a little more money, and after thinking and researching and soul-searching - I'M JUMPING IN!!!

New Kubota L48 and 12,000 lb trailer, tomorrow a down payment on a 2005 Chevy Kodiak 5500 4WD Crew Cab, and there's no turning back now... I am very excited about next summer. I still have alot of work to do this winter, with accumulating more equipment and getting the business official and insured and all that, but I find this all very exciting! Tony

Ursushorribilus
11-03-2004, 08:34 PM
tony, ask yourself a few questions. #1-will my current job give me the income i want? #2-will my current job give me the lifestyle i want? #3- will my current job provide me with the time off i need? ask these 3 questions, then ask yourself if u like someone else controlling your destiny.and if you have any control over your future. if the answer to EVERY ONE of these questions isn't YES, then look at yourself in the mirror, and ask , "what are you gonna do about this?" if you answer nothing, well, i'm sorry for you. i left my job in nov. 2003, i had a few bucks saved, not that much, but i decided i needed to make a move now, right now, not in 2 weeks, a year, right now. never regretted it yet, i doubt i will.


Well Bobby, I answered those questions: no, no, no, and No, and I'm rolling the dice...Again, thanks for the encouragement...Tony

Ursushorribilus
11-03-2004, 08:36 PM
unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.....

Follow your dream

and put your faith and trust in God....

...the flip side of fear is faith...

works for me...kenny.:angel:


Amen, my friend, and follow it I shall, with no fear...Tony

Ursushorribilus
11-03-2004, 08:41 PM
ursus,

Who was it who said that a coward dies a hundred deaths and a brave man but one?
Reach down, check your package, and jump.

I reached, I checked, I am now in the air... :drinkup:

Zach76
11-03-2004, 08:49 PM
I reached, I checked, I am now in the air... :drinkup:


Squeezed too hard, did ya? :cry:

Liberty Lawncare
11-03-2004, 08:53 PM
good luck nice truck the kodiack I wish I could get one. :drinkup:

Ursushorribilus
11-03-2004, 09:22 PM
Thanks Liberty:) Yeah Zach, they're still aching, but it's worth it:)