Dave, thanks for the response and the thoughts you say are already in my head, whether anyone wants to believe it or not. I'm not some po dunk moron who thinks there is a golden chalice at the end of this. Far from it. Part of me was thinking about just making enough to have a self employed job.
Have I used a spread sheet to estimate incomes, yes. But my spread sheet includes proper amount of things like:
Appropriate amount of equipment needed to complete the work
Appropirate amount of man power needed & wages
Insurace costs (auto, business liability, workers comp, eqiupment, etc...)
Fuel costs per day based on the number of accounts
Equipment turnover (the stuff doesn't last forever)
Advertising costs that as you say are astronomical
40% taxes taken from my income (remember I live in NY)
I can go on but don't really want to have a list a page long. Basically I started this thread because everytime I pump numbers into the spreadsheet (which have formula's to increase the costs per job) that end result is just a low number for a full time job, because of those costs. And like you said the more jobs you take the more equipment and manpower you need which neither are cheap. So again I'm no dummy. Have I done it full time, no. But I have a bunch of paid off eqiupment from being part time. That's why I'm starting this and made the statements about living in mommy and daddy's basement.
Connections, you bet, doesn't any successful business have connections? And for those that are still ragging on my friend, he has too many connections. Friends and family owning large commmercial properties and $500,000+ homes. When I started with him we mowed his uncles place in one of those neighborhoods and in 2 years he had 20 properties in that place and honestly I think he has them all now except the people that mow themselves. He basically kicked every other contractor out because of his quality. For years all the neighbors would come to me or him asking how much and they'd all roll their eyes and walk away. Finally after years of Joe Mow they sucked up and went with him. So drop the trailer tailgate and mow for 6 hrs straight. Making more just by doing that and not driving everywhere. Then each of those wealthy doctors, lawyers, etc... referred him to more wealthy doctors, lawyers, etc.... So for sure he has had inside help. Also he hasn't advertised one day in his life, go figure. I think we had one dumpy house on his route. Then on top of the lawns we were doing everyones landscape maintenace. We only did a few install things when I was with him but now he does much more of that too, along with picking up more mowing, more landscape maintenance, more snow plowing. So his connections definitely helped him and I don't need to see his tax records. I've seen enough checks, know what he charges (we talk every year), know how many accounts he has, etc... Again anyone can point the finger and say "Yeah right", mainly the ones who are struggling. He's been at it 15+years and he tells me ALL the time, "If you want to make money doing this stuff you have to be in it for the long haul" Did he make a ton of money year 1-10, probably not. But now he is soo much more established so what is there to doubt?? He gives people a price and if they don't like it he walks away, funny thing is like I said above they all eventually sign on.
Dave, you had a job that paid well (eventhough it ended), this career I have pays like garbage (because of the place I'm at is super cheap) and there are not many positions available in the career field but some pay well into the 6 figure range. But again even these need connections or being part of the "Good Ol Boys" club. I sit at my job for no other reason than top people in the field making reccomendations for me, not because my resume was typed correctly. I do live in and right next to one of the wealthiest communities in the western half of NY state so that isn't a problem in terms of having poor people wanting services. Getting the wealthy to part with their money is tough with po dunk larry thinking the thoughts you have posted. I'm sure I'll continue to plug away part time. Like I said I've got the equipment paid for and both my wife and I can support our family on our to two paychecks. The landscaping is just the gravy on top I guess, just like my friend. Yes I pay taxes on my income, have business insurace, and any other documentation I need. Heck, I even have a website, most full time guys on here do not.... So please people don't give me the part timer rant.
Again I like the thoughts being tossed around, critical thinking at it's best even if we all don't agree. We don't learn anything by always being nice to each other and saying everything is gold.