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Old 11-16-2012, 01:02 PM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Western NY
Posts: 1,284
Originally Posted by thomas.creation View Post
I'll start out with some background. I'm a High School Shop teacher with 4 years under my belt. I'm married and have one child. My wife is a stay at home mother but has a Bachelors degree and I have my Masters. I've always wanted to own my own business and have looked at teaching as the fundraiser for this. Don't get me wrong, I love teaching and I do my best every day but I like my business life more. Diversifying is always a good thing for business owners and this is where I'm a little different. I do lawn maintenance and light install work along with snow in the winter. Averaged out I'm only at $700/mo net. I also own rental properties and currently bring in close to $2k/mo net. Combined I'm about dead even with my income from teaching minus the benefits. So right now I feel I'm doing real good for central IL where cost of living is low. I'm starting to plan out my departure form teaching and would like to hear some input and advise. Things I should consider ext. At this point I'm thinking it could happen within 2yrs but I don't want to wait more than 5. In that time I plan to purchase additional rentals and grow the lawn business a little but I'm about out of free time to do so.
I'm not a teacher but work in education, have a masters, and not feeling fulfilled either. I've been doing this lawn/landscape stuff for 11 years, 6 helping and 5 on my own part time. My job should make 60-75K per year. Unfortunately I work at one of the cheapest places on earth and my job is harder to get than most I know. Anyways I've been contemplating for the past few years if I could get this lawn gig going. My ace in the hole is my wife has an excellent state job and could carry benefits if we needed it to. My salary sucks, I work long days, have a ton of time off, deal with crazy people all day, have incredible health and retirement benefits, and do enjoy what I do (that list shows whats going on in my head). I have 2 kids that as of right now suck all the money and life out of my wife and I but I love every minute with them. What to do? If logic is on the right shoulder and desire is on the left one here is what they are saying.

Logic tells me that giving up a ok paying job with pennies out of my pocket for a $15,000 full family health plan that includes $1,200 for copays, a 1:3 retirement plan (I put in 3% they put in 8%, yes thats almost 3 times what I put in), get raises every year, have some unseen benefits, get EVERY major holiday off and still run my own show is the dumbest thing I could do.

Desire tells me that dealing with the crazy demanding personalities, 12-14 hour days, missing family time, paying insane amounts for day care, dealing with poor pay (compared to the industry) is not worth the headaches of benefits my wife can carry. Having personal freedoms, making every decision, enjoying family time can make me a happier person.

Obvioulsy strict logic guy chooses the 1st scenario, the desire guy chooses the second scenario, but I'm completely in between. I have the money earning wife for money and benefits but I still need to contribuite. I have that advantage over you in that my wife works (and she has a bachelors and makes more than me). The desire in me wants to get the business going just enough to pay what I need to pay. Enjoy more flexibility maybe, more family time. I have all the equipment needed and most paid for, even the big stuff. But the logic guy in me is saying "what are you friggin nuts!!" You have a guaranteed paycheck!!!!

I do like the freedom side of the business being part time. If I dont want to work, I don't have to. Plus the money doesn't always have to "support" anything. It kept my wife home for 5 months each time our kids were born. It remodeled a bathroom, gave me tons of commercial grade equipment for my newly acquired home and larger lot I have, and money to just go spend vs. paying bills with it. But the spring and fall are tough as thats when my 10-12 hr days start up again, plus needed to possibly work weekends. Creates a little stress with mowing nights and/or weekends. I'd like to focus on the landscape side like mulching jobs, sod installs, landscape installs, etc.. because there is no long term commitement like mowing. But these jobs can tend to come from mowing.

So what am I going to do??? Well I'm going to see what next year brings. I moved this year so had to restart, did ok, but need to do much better even for part time. I have my bad days at my job but then there are days like today where I had a few morning commitments, nothing for 6 hours, going to eat a steak and chicken lunch (on them), and one more late afternoon commitment. So for now I think part time is the best choice until things just get unbearable and they may never get there. In times like this and with a family it's probably a bad choice to leave logic in the wind. But that desire is always knocking at my door.

I will say this and some have answered this. For the guys who say "What are you crazy?" Did they move from a full time to landscape? Are they high school educated vs higher college, meaning that can't even apply for jobs educated people have so they are frustrated they can't even get out of the industry? Are they just a bad business that can't make anything happen? Are they 40 or 17 (and that goes either way)?
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