I've been doing lawn applications for 16 years and I love it. Been on my own for 5 and you can become a very desired person in your field. Think of how many services do not really offer that personalized service because they are in a production mode. You do not have to be a super large service to make a good living. Strive on making a customer base that will never ever will think of switching to another service because you're the man and no one else.
Use you buying tools and good turf management skills and you
will make money. And do not give your services away. You have to make living. A shopper will shop again next year.