So I figure this is the appropriate place for my first post. I've been lurking around these forums a couple days after numerous google searches led back to you guys, and actually spent half of yesterday afternoon reading this book of a thread.
There is a huge amount of info here and I will likely be rereading some parts. I plan to begin my business in the coming spring as a side gig next to my fulltime working for another established landscaper locally. It isn't going to be easy. I have a long road ahead of me, but I know the game well enough now that I'm confident I can do this. I've been working for someone else for 7 years full time, he's a good person, not a great boss, but he tries to treat his employees right. He is in his late 60's but isn't ready to retire, we've talked a buyout in the next couple years but his numbers are a bit overreached as far as my research speaks and I'm the man doing the majority of the work, training crew supervising etc. I've treated the business like my own for the past 5 years, but I'm not the one renting a house in Florida for a months vacation while we are on layoff. I'm the one barely surviving the winters on UC and scrounged up work. I've been planning this move for the past year as things between us got, strained. I'm not going to quit flat out as I don't think I can pull enough profit out the gate to eat for the year, and I still hold hope that we can workout some sort of deal in the coming season. But it's become clear to me that starting my own business is the only way I will improve the quality of life for my family. Short of jumping ship to the gas industry which is the only other decent paying industry in my area that doesn't require a degree. Plus I love the lawncare business, I want it to be my career.
I have to say the best piece of advice I read here, and one that hit home hard for me reading it was...
"Don't do anything stupid"
So I got to thinking. And here's a few I do. Scratch that, I used to do and won't again.
#1 Stay the *&^% off steep side hills that make you uncomfortable. My boss doesn't believe in using pushmowers, so I push the limits of a ZTR to avoid extra hours trimming. As I'm growing up and married now I realize this isn't something to be proud of it is plain stupid. For Pete's sake I make hourly.
#2 Test wet areas with your feet and don't try to cut time by speeding over them. Actually come to think of it my boss does this more than I do. Muddy ruts make you look like a hack.
#3 When Dropping a tree Do NOT assume it will go where it's expected. Be as safe as possible but be ready to drop saw and bolt. I had one defy the laws of physics and slingshot backwards off another tree 1/3 its thickness to launch straight back at me. A fraction of a second slower on my dive and I'd be dead.
Safety is the single most important thing to consider in this business. Speed and efficiency are secondary to it. Be safe, your life insurance policy, no matter how well stacked will not console your family.