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Old 11-28-2012, 12:24 PM
britsteroni britsteroni is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Missouri
Posts: 334
Originally Posted by RScapes View Post
Gentlemen and ladies: I have made the decision to start a small lawn care business. I am retired, have a very good pension (39 k annual) but still need to net about $13,500 annually to supplement the pension to pay the bills. The additional 13.5 K will keep us at about the same standard of living as when I was employed. I'm still in pretty good health/shape and don't mind hard work and good Lord willing will be ready to go at it in 2013. My lovely bride has a good job, kids are out of the house with 1 still in college.

Goal is to primarily offer mowing service but leave the door open to other services (mulch, edging, installation, clean ups) as long as the other services/projects are small as I do not intend to hire/work with anyone-I am going solo. I would be happy doing nothing but mowing-but would be willing to look at other work.

I have saved enough to pay for all of the equipment I need (and already have most of the equipment). Overhead will be kept low. The plan is to stay lean.

I have no customers, but, I have not hit the pavement yet to get my name out. I intend to start advertising and networking soon and will continue to do so throughout the winter right up to mowing season/2013. The thought of no customers lined up is a significant concern. But, I have saved enough money to get through year 2013 in case the $13,500 net doesn't happen.

Does it sound like I am on the right track? Is $13,500 net doable just starting out? Any advice would be welcome. Thank you in advance and God bless.

Have you already gone out and purchased equipment specifically for this business? If not, I would take the next few months to evaluate whether you are making a good decision or not.

This business can easily net you $13,500 per year working part-time, but it will take a lot of work to get there.

Here are some questions I think you should consider before you jump into this head first:

1. If you currently need $13,500 to maintain the same standard of living, what will the plan be for the future as prices continue to rise (inflation) and your body breaks down as you age? I'm guessing you are in your 50's, so SS and Medicare will kick in once you reach 65 (there are a myriad of other factors, but 65 for simplicity). In my opinion, it is risky to bank on your body holding up into your middle to upper 60's chasing a mower around all day.

2. What other skills and abilities have you acquired over your lifetime? Is there another part-time business that would be available for you to start with similar start up costs? There is nothing wrong with mowing lawns, but the barrier to entry is so low that competition is fierce all across the country. That doesn't mean that you can't be successful, but in a heavily competitive market, econ 101 tells us that it is a race to the bottom for profit.

3. If you only need $13,500 a year, have you considered part time work doing something you enjoy as opposed to starting a business? By my calculations, if you could find a job working 20 hours a week at $15/hour, you should be able to meet your yearly need of $13,500. You need to do a self-assessment and decide whether you want to own a business, be self-employed (you own the job of mowing people's lawns), or work for someone else. All three have pro's and con's, but you should decide which of the three fit your desires and personality best.

4. Have you considered reducing expenses instead of trying to increase income? If you are not required to work, most folks are able to significantly decrease what they spend per month. Things like clothing, fuel, auto repair, eating out should all decrease as you no longer are required to do those things to work. Maybe a combination of both? You could try to reduce expenses by $6,500/year while increasing income by $7,000/year. Then you would have less pressure to work or start a business.

These were just a few of the thoughts I had after reading your initial post.

Good luck!
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