I can't emphasize enough to the youngsters to go work for someone else and learn the necessary skills on the gear. I did the lawncare/landscaping thing in high school, my dad and I did excavation in that period of time and I was figuring on taking over after college. He let the gear go when I went back to college, all was lost....or so I thought. Having 6 summers of equipment experience, I had enough of a taste to know I liked the business. I got into a union apprenticeship, hit the ground running, and haven't looked back. Been a lot of places in the 5 years since I started, run a whole lot of equipment and learned even more tricks to doing things most efficiently. Point is, work for someone else to learn the tricks. Anyone can get a mini or a skid and fumble around in Joe Blow's yard, eventually figure it out and maybe make a decent business out of it. However, if you just give yourself a few years to learn from the big time operations, you'll be much better off. Speaking from experience, I thought at 18 I knew enough about the business to make a good run at it and reality is that I didn't know sh!t. Could have made it work, but if I was to start it all over tomorrow, I'd be leaps and bounds better off with the knowledge I've gained working for someone else.
Go hard, go fast, or go home