Originally Posted by MDLawn
It's just odd to see guys such as yourself living at home with mom and dad and others who in 5+ years are running a $500,000 to $1 million dollar business (although few). This is the question to seek the answer to before any decisions get made. What makes that person better than you or anyone else that they have a live and viable business and you and others need to live with their parents? Business is booming for them and your struggling to make ends meet that it's keeping you at home. Unless you're there for other reasons. Are they better business people? Was it luck? Was it their passion? Better advertising? Better people skills. I mean my friend who is part time does $60k+ each year, mainly lawn and maintenance work.. Are you not making that full time??? I just wonder what the actual business sense is on this site. Are the majority sick of minimum wage so $2 above minimum is better? Or is it just that complicated to make money in this industry? I have to say its not based on my friends business and his part time income. YardGuy, I'm not pointing at you but your situation makes me wonder how many people don't find success and why is it they don't when others flourish?
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There are lots of reasons why some businesses flourish and some just get by.
Money and connections are a big part of being successful. If you start this business with little money and your family is not connected...then its going to take a few years just to break even.
I've talked to a lot of small business owners over the years. In every type of service business. There are a lot of things that look like one thing on the surface but when you dig deeper you see the reality.
I see larger companies around me and I think...man I would like to get to that level someday. But if you look behind the scenes you find out that they are barely making ends meet and can barely pay the guys.
I've talked to guys that in 4 or 5 years grew to a million dollar company. Your thinking...wow that's impressive. But..what you don't know is...they have parents with money and connections. When I worked in construction I would see all the subs performing their work. I would talk to the owners of the companies.
After doing some digging you find out that the guy that has all the fence work is somehow related to the developer. The concrete guys are connected somehow. Point is....if your just a Joe Blow its going to take you a lot longer to grow your business.
Money also plays a big part. How much you are able to spend on advertising. Advertising is not cheap. You also have to look at how much competition is in your area. What types of customers are in your area. If you live in Bum **** are those customers going to be able to pay the wages you need to make a living...or will you be struggling just to make ends meet.
Location plays a big part of your success. This business is a never ending money eating monster...that needs to be fed constantly. Every time you turn around you need more equipment as you grow. What most don't realize is the true cost to running a business like this.
They get the counting lawns syndrome. If I have 10 $30 lawns I can make $300...so if I get 20 I can make $600. What they fail to realize is that with growth in income comes growth in expenses. Your not filling up that gas can once a week and that truck once a week...your filling it up daily.
The shooting star syndrome. What's that? That's the guy that thinks if I lowball I can get accounts....and they will....and you will see them grow really fast in a short few years. Then that nasty thing called overhead rears its ugly head. See from the beginning they were making money...cashing checks..life is good.
They really didn't know how much they were making but they were paying the bills and had some left over so life was good. See that's the thing...you don't really have to pay attention to money in the beginning and you can get away with that for a while.
Its the frightening realization that hits when you get to the point you realize you have more going out then you have coming in......then poof...your @$$ is gone....and the next fool comes along to take your place. I know of a few companies right now that are on thin ice....can't make payroll and tell the guys they can't pay them today but will pay them next week.
But on the surface you would never know that. You see the trucks and you see them on those big commercial properties and you see all the residentials that they do and you think....Man those suckers have it going on...I want to be them when I grow up. Then Poof...their gone. When you look in the sky you see that shooting star that is bright as hell and then the light dims out and poof its gone.
Back in the little town I grew up in I remember they had a Young entrepreneur section in the local paper highlighting these young successful business men. I would laugh when I read the names...it was a who's who of the local rich kids.
Not hard to start and run a successful business when your parents are wealthy and have political connections and Daddy funds your operation and insures your success. These guys don't bid work...they get work because of connections.
Its no different in any part of the country. Those sweet contracts just don't go to any Joe Blow. I'm sure there are guys on this site that have commercial accounts because they know someone and if they didn't they wouldn't have those jobs. The bigger guys get big because they grease the wheels....have the connections.
Its possible to start out as Joe Blow and make the big time....but its going to be a lot harder and take a longer time. Commercial accounts are not the Holy Grail either. Like most know..the industry in general has been on a downward slope for years. But some guys will trip on their Dick just to say they do those commercials...even when they may not be making any money or very little money.
Then of course you have the illegals that are bringing down wages to match Third World wages. Around here its like Cockroaches. You drive into a Subdivision and you have to drive around the other 30 LCO's in there to get to your job. Most of which are illegals or rednecks that don't have a clue.
I got into this business part time as an experiment of sorts. I wanted to learn the ins and outs of running a business. I had a good career making $75 thousand a year...company truck...good benefits..and so on. I was forced into full time when the economy crashed and I lost my job.
Its funny how you don't realize how many other guys are in this business until you start your own and then you start to pay attention and realize...Wow how many guys are doing this? Are there enough customers to go around? Most customers want a low price and just mow, blow and go. You can't make enough on those types and building a business on those types is hard.
Finding good paying and loyal customers is hard....and it takes a long time to build a business on those customers...but it is possible. But you can't be just a mow,blow and go business. So that means you have to be able to do it all...and that means more equipment and more knowledge...and more money.
Then there is the employee aspect of this business. Its hard to find guys that are willing to work in the heat and bust their @SS for the money you are willing to pay.
I could go on but that is enough for now. Remember most people will lie about their business and how successful they really are. This is an easy business to start and run in the beginning...but you will soon find out that its not as easy as you think it is...and that job you hate now...may look like paradise once you've been in this business for a while.
BTW... ask your buddy to see his tax returns. He may be *********** you.