View Full Version : Time frame to go full time?

11-14-2004, 06:33 PM
For a new company starting part-time, what would be a reasonable time-frame to go full time?

Also, what is the real potential here?

Anyone have a story to share?



11-14-2004, 11:18 PM
The timeframe is up to you. If you're working a full-time job and doing this on the side, you have to be realistic, there's only so many extra hours in the week to get stuff done. Most guys get to the point where they have to decide to take the plunge or keep turning work down.

You'll find a wide range of LCOs on here, from the solo guys to those that gross over a million a year doing residentials, so the potential is certainly there.

In some ways full-time mowing is easier, you have the whole week at your disposal. Of course you'll want to take into consideration that you'll need your own health ins., business ins, etc. Basically you'll be responsible for yourself 100%. Some guys enjoy the challenge, others prefer to keep it as a nice part-time venture.

Good luck!

11-15-2004, 05:56 PM
I'll need to replace an income of about 30,000 plus insurance. I am currently a school teacher and feeling burned out on it.

My eventual goal is to build from scratch to the point that I can run a few crews and manage them from home, doing little of the actual (physical) work myself; maybe a day or two a week. Is that doable? Or do most of you put in long hours behind a mower even after many years in business? Of course, I understand that I'll have to work quite hard until I get to that point.



11-15-2004, 09:03 PM

The answer to your question about going full time is:
When the income from your business exceeds all of your expences.

If your operating costs are low and your living expences are reasonable then you should have no problem making the switch to full time your first year in business.

The potential is out there.....its up to you how hard you pursue it.

11-15-2004, 10:02 PM
Thanks Wells and Hoolie.

Anyone care to comment on how long to switch from being a laborer to being more a manager of employees?

I like this sort of work, but I do want to get to the point that I have a choice whether to be at the mower or at the office, if possible.


Gautreaux's LNG
11-15-2004, 10:45 PM
Hard numbers to come up with! Some have taken forever to get enough accounts to go full-time others can afford it with their first account (Large commercial). Just remember what full-time means, fully insured? licensed? rainouts? truck repairs? mower repairs? advertisement? FUEL? There's a great amount more expenses associated with full time. Not to mention payroll taxes?

I pay payroll taxes on myself, this way I have a W2 at years end. This really helps if you wanna buy a house or auto! W2 gives you legitimacy!

11-15-2004, 11:08 PM
I have been mowing lawns part time for 10 years plus, I usually have between 25 to 30 accounts, this season the number has almost doubled. I'm looking at going full time next year with a crew or two. I have two other business that I have also. Making the choice when to go full time is really in your own hands or when you have enough contracts to make the income you currently have or more. Having all the expenses to run a business can be overwhelming if you do not plan right. Hope this help's.

Kelly's Landscaping
11-16-2004, 01:20 AM
I would have to say spring is the best time get your advertizing out before the reg cutting season begins and there are lots of lawns not under contract yet. It only gets harder the deeper into the year you go.

11-16-2004, 01:21 AM
As far as being able to just manage, and not be to involved in the physical work, mostly it would depend on how fast you can get to the point where you have a few crews working for you. If you have the money to advertise aggresively it might happen sooner than you think.

The guy I used to work for accomplished this by his 3rd season, but his father lent him a ton of money for advertising/equipment. He was running 4 mowing crews (5 in the Spring)

I think if you're willing to commit to the physical work for maybe 5 years or so, you could get into the office so long as you have a plan for expansion and the money to accomplish it. And of course, hopefully, you'll stumble upon some good employees you can trust.

11-16-2004, 08:42 PM
Five years was actually what I had in mind; maybe part time 2-3 years. As a teacher, I can work "part-time" and still hit the major portion of the season pretty hard. I hope I can get some temp help when the school year starts if need be.

Does this sound doable?

As far as good help, I most likely will have prospects in former students, and I already know their work ethic. Also, I've a cousin who works in the lawn care industry who would consider working for me (as an employee; he just doesn't have an entreprenuerial spirit) when I get large enough. I think he'd make a good crew leader.

Thanks much for the replies.


11-18-2004, 04:55 PM
Hoolie made some good advice that it's all up to you. You really need to sit down with the family an discuss things and options. And make sure to cover everything!

11-18-2004, 08:47 PM
I was in the same position. Take the plunge and like I've said stay small and powerful. I was making 35k 6 months ago as teacher and now I'm contracted for 60k this coming year. That's all I need and I'm by my-self (no employee's) the weekends are free. All your energy has to go into building your business - you can't do that with another business. You will have down times and wonder if you did the right thing but if you hustle it will happen.
Good luck and email me if you want any help.

11-18-2004, 09:20 PM

Discussed it w/wife. We're for it. It must be part-time to start, and grow from there. Little money for start-up, but most of the money can go back into the business for the first year or two that way to build it.


Thanks for the encouragement. Same to everyone who's offered it, but it is especuilly good to hear from someone who knows where I'm coming from. I got into teaching for the time it offered me w/the family, and for the love of doing it. Now, they're taking that love away little by little, bit by bit. Less support from parents, administration, the government, society, and the community in general.

I expect you know what I'm talking about in a way that no one who's not been a teacher (recently) can understand.

Thanks again.


11-19-2004, 07:39 AM
I went into this business just after being fired from a company called Van Dyne &Crotty, which by the way was one of the worse sales jobs that i ever had.

I walked out the door with only $165.00 dollars in my pocket , wondered what in the blank will i do. Went and got approved for all commercial equipment, which was at the start of the season. Started cold calling for my self no team work here just me me me me get it.

During the April got all the legit paper work to go through. Started mowing in May have not stopped mowing yet and now it is November.Teamed up with some other contractors that offer different services. So when they are to swamped to work on their own yards i get the work.

Just to make sure i was not missing any thing i have gone some interviews for other company's, well guess what i have found out you an't missing a any thing, working for your self is where its at, there is nothing they can offer me that i cant get for my self, but your backside on that.

Spring will be here before you know it and so will the grass, use this time too map out the areas that you want get list ready of potential customers, get the mailings ready business cards printed signs made up any and all marketing stuff that you need.

Hit the ground running like a mad dog feed those mowers all they can eat have some one go with you while you mow, they hang doors around where you cut.

O and while every body else is having to work the day after thanks giving i will be going to Falcons foot up in Atlanta for a few days.

Ps. here one for the boys I "BACK MY TRUCK" in to any space i want. :gunsfirin :gunsfirin :gunsfirin payup payup

11-19-2004, 08:08 PM
I started my seeding business with the plan of going full time in 5 years. By just being part time I was able to reinvest the money I made into the equipment I felt I needed. I am three years into my five year plan. I am turning down more work than I can do. My wife quit her job to run the company while I work. We use partime help when things get busy and the rest of the time she either does it by herself or she will wait for me to get home for the big jobs. Next year we are looking at hireing someone full time. My wife will still be in charge but she needs someone for the heavy lifting. I will retire from my present job in two years and hopefully this business will support use until I reach 60 and can actaully start drawing my pension. Now we are grossing about $100k per year , net is about half that. Mostly two days a week. Not bad for a partime business. And not a drop in the buckett to what is out there just waiting to be hualed in.

11-19-2004, 08:50 PM

This isn't an aspect of the business I've heard much about. Exactly what is involved with a seeding business?



11-20-2004, 09:25 AM
I sarted with a 500gal hydroseeder. I was just wanting to pick up some extra cash. My mother and a neice had had some hydroseeing done and the results where not as favorable as they would have expected. I ended up reseeding both areas by hand but these jobs sort of got me to thinking about the business as a whole. The person that seeded for them charged what I thought at the time was an outragous price, the quality of work was terrible and he didnt go back to fix his mistakes. I figured if he could make money and stay in business, I could to. Of course I was in for a rude awaking after buying my machine. I found out right quick that there was more to seeding than just spraying seed and fertilizer. It took me a year of making the same mistakes the other guy made before I started figureing out what I was doing wrong. Thru a lot of trail and error and repeated callbacks, I started seeing the results that I thought that I should see and what my customers expected. I Purchased a bigger machine, 1000gal, at the end of the first year so I could expand into larger seeding jobs such as road banks and fields. This machine was paid for by the profits I made with the smaller machine. I could do these jobs with the smaller machine but it just isnt as efficent and takes to much time. I started doing development roads as well as lawns. Building of new homes has exploded in my area so there is always new work. With the ever expanding EPA laws that keep coming into effect, devopers are under more pressure than ever to control erosion. Hydroseeding is a fast economical way to do this. And about the ony way when having to work with steep, hard to access areas. I also do prep work for new lawns and have purchased several pieces of equipment just to be able to work around the new homes. All of my equipment is the smaller mini type of tractors with various attachments. I have found that I dont have the time to do as much prep as I had antisipated so this equipment mostly sets unused. But the hydroseeders paid for it and it will be there when I retire from my present job and have more time to do the prep work. Again this is part of my five year plan to retire and have an established business with my equipment paid for. I should mention also that I havent taken a check from the business since I started, this year my wife has started drawing a salary. By being part time and having a good paying job I am able to reinvest the monies into the business. Next year I plan on hireing a full time employee. This will allow me to continue to grow the business as I finish building my retirement for the comapny I work for. It will also be a lithmus test as to the feasibilty of just how much income I can expect to earn from the business if I decide to retire and relie on the seeding business as my soul source of income. I might also expand my business into the weed and feed side of lawn care as well. My wife and I have both obtained the proper licenses, we just havent actually started using chemicals, except for the occasional total kill for lawn renovations. chemical use is something that a lot of my costumers have started requesting. They want someone to maintain their new lawn after seeding. I currently refer them to another contractor for this service. Mowing is also another area of expansion I am considering. To do this means additional employees. By being the seeding contractor would mean being the first person on the potential new lawn and, by offering a full service maintance package, I should be able to continuely expand my business. Seeding is usually just a one time deal but the full service can continue long after the hydroseeding has taken place. I also renovate existing lawns. Sometimes this just means a simple over seeding and sometimes its strip off the old turf and plant new. I usually get these jobs beside where I have hydroseeded a new lawn. I call it the keeping up with the Jones syndrome. It takes quailty work to make this disease contagious among the neighbors. One screwup and you wont get the whole neigborhood. This means doing what it takes to keep the customer satisfied. You can make money in the seeding business but, like every business the quality of work that you do will determine how much money you make and how large you can expand your business. If you are considering hydroseeding I would suggest that you visit www.hydroseeding.org. There you will find a forum that is dedicated to the hydroseeding industry. It is also the home site of the International Association of Hydroseeding Professionals, IAHP. This is an organization that was just formed this year with the purpose of educating the hydroseeding operators and promoting the hydroseeding industry. A visit to this site can save you a lot of the trail and error that can come with the purchase of your first hydroseeding machine. You will find a lot of discussions involveing topics from seed types, proper mulch rates, to machine types and advantages and disadvantages of each type. There are several regulars at that site that dont mind answering your questions and giving help when it is needed.

11-20-2004, 11:13 AM
That's cool. I'd heard of hydroseeding, but don't really know what it is. I'll check out the link you suggest. ONe other question. In TN, the requirements for chemical application liscencing are steep. Are there similar requirements for hydroseeding?

Thanks again.


11-20-2004, 02:24 PM
In hydroseeding your are not exactly spraying any chemicals unless fertilizer is considered a chemical in your state. Some states do require a landscaper license, I dont know about Tenn. There are few herbicides that can be safely added to your hydroseeding slurry. If you do use one that is safe for your new seeding, you would have to be licensed for chemical use. Other wise, if you follow the standard business practices in your state, you shouldnt have any other license requirement. Excluding business licenses and permits of course.

11-28-2004, 01:02 PM
Hard numbers to come up with! Some have taken forever to get enough accounts to go full-time others can afford it with their first account (Large commercial). Just remember what full-time means, fully insured? licensed? rainouts? truck repairs? mower repairs? advertisement? FUEL? There's a great amount more expenses associated with full time. Not to mention payroll taxes?

I pay payroll taxes on myself, this way I have a W2 at years end. This really helps if you wanna buy a house or auto! W2 gives you legitimacy!

Please explain how you are able to W2 yourself? Did you have to set up your business differently? Can you collect unemployment?

11-28-2004, 08:10 PM
Most any business will have employees. Each employee is required to be given a W2 to use for tax purposes. If you are a owner operator company, you are your employee. This means you would give yourself a W2. It also means that you will have to pay both parts (the employers matching amounts as well as the employees contribution),of your Social Security and Medicare as well as unemployment insurance. As an employer you are also responsible for tax witholdings and payments for yourself as an employee.

11-29-2004, 12:14 PM
I don't know about you, but I'm in the landscape maintenance biz not an accountant.
That is one of my advisors and I pay them well to keep me from having to pay taxes. If you are w-2ing youself you may want to find a good accountant.
Good paperwork will get you more credit than you need.

Luck has nothing to do with it!

11-30-2004, 11:57 PM
A good accountant will help you fill out the paper work you need for a loan, but if you are in business and not making enough money to draw a paycheck then you probably wont have that much paper work to fill out, and you probably wont secure the loan. If you are making enough to qualify for a loan then you are making enough to pay your self a wage. If you pay yourself a wage you will pay taxes on that wage. Unless your earnings and deductions work out so that you dont owe any taxes. Whether you owe taxes or not you will still have to report the income. Even if you are a solo operator and you are your company's only employee, your wages are a legitimate business expense and are subjet to tax withholdings. Including Social security, medicare/medicade and unemployment taxes. You should recieve a W2 form for income tax reporting.