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View Full Version : Ever get the end of the year burn-out?


JimLewis
12-31-2004, 05:56 PM
Man, I have had it BIG TIME lately. I pretty much do this every year. But it seems to get worse each year. Come December I just don't want anything at all to do with business. I won't answer the phone, I won't check voicemail for a week or so, I don't go out to our shop, deal with the employees, nothing. I just ignore my business for a few months, as much as possible.

Then I always seem to bounce out of it and start getting excited again around January or February. Sometimes it's as late as March before I get the bug again.

I don't think there's any other way to do it. By the end of the season, with the hours I put in, I really NEED the break. I hate to neglect people and callers. But I just really need the break.

jwholden
12-31-2004, 06:01 PM
I hear you 100%. I just spent the last few days splitting some wood at my house and taking care of 'little' projects around the house that I ignored for too long. The only problem is, some of the calls I got last week were about deposits for work in 2005, so I try to check the messages atleast daily.

I joined a Gym this year and hope to stay in 'shape' through the winter. I'm also hoping it helps combat the January/February blues.

impactlandscaping
12-31-2004, 06:43 PM
Jim, I've had our phones off since Dec. 20th..I'll turn them back on Jan. 6, 2005. I still had people calling Christmas week for early spring installs, wanting to know if they could be bumped due to the nice weather..I was way too busy to keep track of client calls with all the commotion with Christmas...

I was at the printer today, getting our invoices , cards , and spring flyers all ready. I'm in de-program mode for a while..... now,time for some R&R :D

sildoc
12-31-2004, 06:44 PM
Unlike you Jim, I am the business. As a solo Op this is the time of year I actually enjoy the business rather than hit burn out. I am only working every other week so it is nice to know that I can relax at least two weeks out of the month. My burnout period is during spring clean ups, where I know there is no break in site for at least 6 months. This is where I start asking myself what am I doing. But come June I snap out of it and resume with the happy go lucky again. I cant help not answering calls as that is what most of my customers have kept me for. When the others are so busy to do so I seem to keep in touch with customers that have questions and I think that is what really sets me apart from the rest. We have good to excellent companies around here and quality is expected but answering a call that day or the next is what keeps customers happy.

pjslawncare/landscap
12-31-2004, 08:27 PM
Im there as well Jim. Bought a couple "toys" in the fall and all I want to do is mess with them. I havent really winterized my equipment yet, but I was still mowing last week untill the snow storm hit & then it was plowin time. Now its high 50's today and Im still messin with other things. I do know in a couple months Ill be "bittin the bit" getting all ready for another cutting season

Soupy
12-31-2004, 09:32 PM
We are off for the most part 3 months out of the year. We start in March or April 1st at the latest. By mid August I am burnt out. Then as the weather starts to turn I get a little motivation until a few weeks into leaf season and then I am praying for the end.

My activity on lawnsite shows this as well. During the burn out period I don't visit lawnsite either.

Rhett
12-31-2004, 10:05 PM
When I first started I had a couple of months off during the winter. Now I am at the point where it is January and my phone still will not stop ringing. Yep real Burnt.

newbomb
12-31-2004, 11:36 PM
Unlike you Jim, I am the business. As a solo Op this is the time of year I actually enjoy the business rather than hit burn out. I am only working every other week so it is nice to know that I can relax at least two weeks out of the month. My burnout period is during spring clean ups, where I know there is no break in site for at least 6 months. This is where I start asking myself what am I doing. But come June I snap out of it and resume with the happy go lucky again. I cant help not answering calls as that is what most of my customers have kept me for. When the others are so busy to do so I seem to keep in touch with customers that have questions and I think that is what really sets me apart from the rest. We have good to excellent companies around here and quality is expected but answering a call that day or the next is what keeps customers happy.


I am a solo operator too. I work 50 hrs/wk for someone else then another 30 hrs/wk for me. I fry about mid August and just suck it up till fall. I usually look forward to the summer dry spell but we really haven't had one for a couple of years.
Sildoc, any advise for someone ready to jump in full time? Really, please don't say Don't do it. :)

sildoc
01-01-2005, 12:15 AM
I am a solo operator too. I work 50 hrs/wk for someone else then another 30 hrs/wk for me. I fry about mid August and just suck it up till fall. I usually look forward to the summer dry spell but we really haven't had one for a couple of years.
Sildoc, any advise for someone ready to jump in full time? Really, please don't say Don't do it. :)
Advice, Well hmm, Have a good business plan. Make sure your lawns that you have now can sustain at least the business and little for your self. Then grow to make your profit. The first two years are the hardest. Then it is either make or break. So far it is make but some times I wonder if it is worth it. Hard work but it is nice being your own boss. That is priceless.
Learn from this site. I wish I had had this site 4 years ago when I was looking at going this route. I started when I was young mowing neighbors yards for 4 or 5 years then went to college and then to the Navy. In the Navy I mowed through the summer with a crappy Murray for people that did not want to mow. No edging or blowing just mowing. Then got out and went to school again. Got tired of school full time and laid in bed with my wife supporting me and our kids. Half of our income from the Navy. So I started mowing. Got my business license and insurance. Started with a crapsman and ended up taking it back and buying a commercial honda. (best investment ever).... 10 accounts. Then a blower and trimmer.
3 years full time I now have 36" hydro, the same honda. A couple of trimmers and edgers. A couple of blowers. A back up Toro Re-cycler which is still recycling in the corner where it was 2 years ago. and alot of other crap.
Now I have 40 Accounts Full service through out the year and 10-15 Seasonal. Work 3 Days straight mowing and full service and another day or so doing odd jobs.
I guess to sum it up when you start don't turn anything down unless you are making nothing. If anything you are learning and getting your name out. Then as they start rolling in replace the crap with good. Soon you will have gold instead of $h!t.
What worked and works for me will not necessarily work for you but you never know until you try.
Good luck

HAPPY New YEAR!

Envy Lawn Service
01-01-2005, 12:21 AM
Yeah, even "I" get burnt out.

I thought it was just me for the longest time though. I was thinking maybe it was the weather induced brutal punishing pace that has been going two years running. Basically I burn out in late fall... leaf season... This year I started to burn out around the 1st of November.

I get burnt out mentally and physically now. But I can remember the days when it depressed me to put the equipment away.

Jusmowin
01-01-2005, 12:59 AM
This year is the first year that I really said to myself "I NEED A BREAK". I just need a week or two off and then I can work on my winter bi-weeklys.

jajwrigh
01-01-2005, 03:08 AM
I know that there are preparations that I need to make now, but I need a little more time away from it!! Once winter hangs around for awhile I will get the itch to get back outdoors....

JimLewis
01-01-2005, 04:40 AM
The thing I love about the burn-out is the Fire that comes when I am finally OVER the burnout period. Like I said, sometimes that's January. Somtimes that's March or April. But when I am finally sick of slogging around, not answering the phone, being lazy, etc. I get this fire inside and my mind starts working overtime! I start planning the new year, all sorts of new ideas start coming to mind and I out them into action immediately. It's great! It's like I needed the break, in order to find my inspiration again. Then I am on fire for quite a while.

But right now, I am still relaxing and enjoying the burn-out.

SpudsM15
01-01-2005, 09:28 AM
I just finished working last week.... Been working like a dog since march, But i took a 10 day trip in the middle of summer very therapudic. Considering the week before I had a job go completley bad and lost almost all of the 3gs i was supposed to profit!

I hate sitting around doing nothing but I'm constantly thinking of this biz. I think you really need something to take your mind off of it when u get home.
Its a good feeling when the existing clients send in the new years contract signed and with a check in january! So i kind of have the feeling that i'm gettting paid to sit here, even though the hours will add up in the season!

rodfather
01-01-2005, 11:35 AM
Even renting a house at the Jersey Shore for the month of July didn't keep me from being burned out by December.

Lux Lawn
01-01-2005, 11:39 AM
Yes-By about Oct. I am ready for it to be over for a while but then when the snow hit I change my mind and think I would rather it be warm and be out working in the good weather.

alpine692003
01-01-2005, 01:46 PM
Jimbo - maybe its a sign of old age ;)
:rolleyes:

65hoss
01-01-2005, 02:01 PM
My burnout has been gone for a few months. The weather here for the last 8 weeks has given me enough break to get the burnout gone and looking forward to getting back at it.

PMLAWN
01-01-2005, 04:51 PM
Jim, I remember a post like this last year from you, so you are right that it happens every year.
The flip side to this is sitting on our butts with nothing to do all year.
Planning for the next year always helps to build excitement. Hang in there, this too shall pass. Happy New Year. 05 will be the best ever.

P&C Lawn Care
01-01-2005, 10:52 PM
Glad to know I am not the only one who gets burned out at the end of the year too. Like having a few months to do whatever I want to do, so by Nov I am looking forward to the last mowing or clean-up job,

Envy Lawn Service
01-02-2005, 02:46 AM
Jim,

I was thinking and I also wanted to point out that seasonal burnout can sometimes be both physcological and physical. Running out of the mental fuel and physical fuel needed to sustain ourselves. In my situation, this is the case and it runs a bit deeper than you might think. Here take a look....



Whew....two rough years in a row....opposite but rough. Last year it was drought conditions, heat, eating dust all year, leathery leaves in the fall and dealing with all the client problems associated with extreme dry weather. This year completely opposite. Today was the first day I ate dust, rain-rain-rain-and rain some more, not enough hours in the day/week/month, plus dealing with the recovery from last year's drought.

I'm not really looking forward to the end of the season, but I can sure use the winter rest. I am one that just hates this time of year. I know some of you will think this is silly, but I get down in the dumps this time of year because the warm season grasses are transitioning into dormancy. Not dark green, not totally just green and not totally brown. Where it really gets to me is where it is mixed in with my nice tall fescue lawns.

It's a drag for me when I'm not able to look at my lawns when I'm finished and think to myself, wow that looks amazing.
:(

It's easy to tell where I am in the piramid of "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs."

.....humm it might make an interesting thread to share info about that on lawnsite.

My Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs thread:

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=53644&highlight=Maslow%27s+Hierarchy

mtdman
01-02-2005, 03:24 AM
I get burned out at the end of the year, yes. Once I'm done working, as long as it's not snowing, I don't bother with the phone. Last year I was really burnt, and kinda depressed during the winter. I ignored everything for a few months. Thought about quitting. But then things start to get back in motion and I want to get busy with stuff again. This year, I haven't really been burned out, I just have been taking some time to myself to relax. I've got lots of new stuff in mind, and I'm kinda eager for the season to start.

PMLAWN
01-02-2005, 04:06 AM
Would like more info on the burnt. Jim do you work in the field still or is the burn-out more mental.
How many of us looking for the down time are still spinning blades compared to pushing pencils. Than would be interesting to know.
I don't work the field except on occasion and at my church. My body is not as tired but the mind can wear thin.
Downside to the office is we don't get the downtime during the winter. We are busy setting up next year and also working projects.
Looking foreward--Wife has a business trip to Houston where some old friends live, so I will tag along and spend a week doing nothing. Also plan to do some training in Orl. Fla. in Feb. so will have time to recharge.
As I sit here I see that it is 4:00 am Sun. already the 2nd. That means that the 1st is over and I did absolutely nothing yesterday. I feel better already.

JimLewis
01-03-2005, 02:00 AM
Jim do you work in the field still or is the burn-out more mental. How many of us looking for the down time are still spinning blades compared to pushing pencils. Than would be interesting to know.

No, I don't work in the field hardly at all. Once in a great while. It's just burn out from the hours, customers, employees, office work, everything. Just dealing with all that 60+ hr.s per week all year gets to me. I am really enjoying the break.

It's not like I don't have anything I could be doing. If I wanted to, I could be busy every day with stuff. I could be working on fixing up and cleaning our shop. I could go help my foreman with winter pruning. He has a lot of it to get done before March. And there is still office work I could be doing. But none of it is really all that important. And it will all get done sooner or later somehow. So for now I am just taking it easy and doing as little as possible. I'll snap out of it like I always do and be back to the grindstone. But I am enjoying my lack of enthusiasm right now. :D :D :D

desert rose gardening
01-03-2005, 09:56 AM
Burn-out! Geezz Where I live I work all year, thats why I do this kind of work. I don't have time to get burned out of making money.

CamLand
01-03-2005, 10:32 AM
Yes for the first time in many years I was burned out.My dad died suddenly and really sent me into a depressive nosedive where i didn't want to have anything to do with work.I was going between Michigan and Florida and dealing with lawyers BS.Then after that I watched my mother waste away with Cancer.She is now in remisson and I have a new son so things are looking up and and have 10 more years before I retire...

Roger
01-03-2005, 03:50 PM
I must be a bit differently wired than most. In these parts, the working season ends shortly after December 1, starts again in mid-March. I dread getting to Thanksgiving because I know shortly thereafter, the Winter off-season sets in. I don't look forward to the off-season at all -- I would rather be working. From April 1 to Nov 1, I usually work 60-70 hours per week, six days. After Standard Time hits and the daylight gets shorter, the full work days are gone.

I suppose I learned my habits as a kid on a farm in Oregon -- we worked hard six days a week, and never took vacations. The only income resulted in the harvests of Summer and the 365 days per year, twice per day milking of 25 dairy cows, plus other farm animal care. I believe I was "scarred" for life!

Even when I went to college, got two degrees, and worked as a professional for 35 years, we took a trip for "vacation" twice. We haven't traveled for "vacation" now since 1990. Being unemployed for 10 years, unable to get reinstated into my career, I value the ability to work even more. This makes the off-season difficult for me. Oh sure, I spend time getting all my equipment ready, but that doesn't take long. I've gathered up several homeowners who provide me with their mowers or tractors to do PM work.

Spring -- where are you?

jasonnau
01-16-2005, 10:57 AM
This was the first year in business for myself. It's been a whole lot of work. I didn't know the first thing about keeping up on paper work. I never kept track of my personal checking acount ect.. Everything about this year was hard to get used to. Just keeping track of what's going on seemed to be a full time job after the physical labor ends each day. But, the more organized I get, the easier it seems and the more it all makes sense. It is very hard running a solo operation. No matter what, it is definitely worth being your own boss and calling all of the shots. I would'nt go back to the 9-5 for anything in the world. I hear all the time of people getting laid off, fired, loosing pensions, etc. Not me, don't have to worry about that anymore. Remember working all winter, leaving for work at dawn and coming home at dark working for the man? In winter, I sleep in if I want, If I do have work, I start at 10 in the morning, work a few hours and go do whatever I want after that. Hell, I can't tell you how many times lately I've asked someone "What day is this?". That's a really really relaxing feeling. I visit friends, family, ect.. This is the time of year that makes all of that hard work the rest of the season worth it. Oh yeah, I doubled my income this year as well..... Hmmm?

jasonnau
01-16-2005, 11:13 AM
I would rather be earning my money in the summer months too. Around here it always changes from 33 degrees to 32 degrees at oh about 1 o'clock in the morning. But, the weather told you it would happen at 9 o'clock in the evening, so, you had to wake up every hour on the hour and check. No sleep. Then it freezes first, so you go and salt everything, then it snows 2 inches. You finally get everything in check by 8 in the morning, when it decides to drop another inch and a half. So, you have to start all over. Get home finally sleep, and it does the same thing every other day for a week. Then, it doesn't snow for a month. Snow just bugs me. I like to start at 7 in the morning wearing shorts and a t-shirt, come home around supper time, and crack a cold one on my deck. Plus, I always feel like I'm gonna screw up and do a few thousand dollars damage to either my truck, someone elses vehicle or a building. I'm always wired, tired, and stressed doing snow. In fact, it's snowing as I'm writing this, and I'm going to have to go out in about 45 minutes to hook everything up and get started. I'd rather go to a nice cozy restaurant have a good meal and chill out inside watching a movie. Sure, It's winter income, and I really not complaining to anyone else except myself in reality. But, if I had a choice, I'd be out mowing or landscaping instead.

TurfGuyTX
01-16-2005, 11:22 AM
I know the feeling. I get some burnout every year. The Winter breaks seem to get shorter and shorter. Sometimes I wish we has more Winter weather here in Tx.

Turfcutters Plus
01-17-2005, 03:59 PM
I'd be burned out too with a business as big as yours.I don't get burned out that often as a solo operator due to the breaks i get.Droughts,winter,ect...I've learned to do everything ahead of time for preparation,making season just float by.I have many back-up plans always in tack.I'm just glad i still enjoy what i do. :cool2:

scaglawnsnj
01-19-2005, 11:41 PM
Man, I have had it BIG TIME lately. I pretty much do this every year. But it seems to get worse each year. Come December I just don't want anything at all to do with business. I won't answer the phone, I won't check voicemail for a week or so, I don't go out to our shop, deal with the employees, nothing. I just ignore my business for a few months, as much as possible.

Then I always seem to bounce out of it and start getting excited again around January or February. Sometimes it's as late as March before I get the bug again.

I don't think there's any other way to do it. By the end of the season, with the hours I put in, I really NEED the break. I hate to neglect people and callers. But I just really need the break.
DAMN I FEEL YOU ON THIS ONE..ITS CALD BURNT OUT..I CAN HONESTLY SAY I DO THE SAME..TILL I RUN OUT OF MONEYS TO BLOW ;) ;) ;) :dizzy:

dkeisala
01-20-2005, 01:34 PM
WOW - I could have started this post. I've had it with everything by the time the season shuts down. I b!tch and complain about my business until people around me are tired of hearing about it. I'll sit here in the office and just let the phone ring and ring - they can leave a message or not, I really don't care. I still work in the field as well as the office and I'm tired of both. I don't hate what I do, I just hate doing it :rolleyes:

My equipment sits there needing to be pressure washed and fine tuned, trailers need some work and papers pile up in the office. Our recent ice storm was the perfect excuse to just sit here and do absolutely nothing but I really don't need an excuse for that. Then our temperatures warm up and we have a couple of 60+ degree days (in the middle of January, gotta love that Pineapple Express weather system) and I start to snap out of it, think to myself "I can do this." Besides, what else am I going to do. I gotta work, I'm good at what I do and make a decent living doing it. What do I really have to complain about?

Soupy
01-20-2005, 01:53 PM
WOW - I could have started this post. I've had it with everything by the time the season shuts down. I b!tch and complain about my business until people around me are tired of hearing about it. I'll sit here in the office and just let the phone ring and ring - they can leave a message or not, I really don't care. I still work in the field as well as the office and I'm tired of both. I don't hate what I do, I just hate doing it :rolleyes:

My equipment sits there needing to be pressure washed and fine tuned, trailers need some work and papers pile up in the office. Our recent ice storm was the perfect excuse to just sit here and do absolutely nothing but I really don't need an excuse for that. Then our temperatures warm up and we have a couple of 60+ degree days (in the middle of January, gotta love that Pineapple Express weather system) and I start to snap out of it, think to myself "I can do this." Besides, what else am I going to do. I gotta work, I'm good at what I do and make a decent living doing it. What do I really have to complain about?

Your not the only one with dirty equipment. I got all the grass and what not off them, but never did get around to pressure washing them. Oh well, a little dirt never hurt anything, at least that's what my momma used to say as she picked my Bologna off the floor and threw it back on my plate. :)

JimLewis
01-20-2005, 05:13 PM
I'll sit here in the office and just let the phone ring and ring - they can leave a message or not, I really don't care.

LOL! That's me to a T lately. :D

Hey, if we're both not too tired, we need to get together for lunch or something one day since we're so close. Email me; jim@lewislandscape.com

Besides, if we are out at lunch that's another excuse to not be answering the phone or cleaning our equipment! :D