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Old 09-02-2007, 02:10 PM
leardriver's Avatar
leardriver leardriver is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 22
Leaving the rat race.

Well guys, I've finally decided I need to get out of the rat race. Next year I'm going back into the lawn/landscape business. Having been an employee for most of my working life makes me envy the guys who run successful companies. Time for me to do the same!

I graduated from the University of Georgia in 91 with a degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology. Just a fancy name for a Human Resources Guy. I always wanted to learn to fly, so I sold my jeep and used the money to get my private pilot certificate. Long story short, I got all of my ratings and commercial certificate and became a flight instructor from 93-96 making about $12,000 a year and waiting tables on the side to make ends meet. In 96 I flew cargo in a DC-3 and in 97 got a job as a copilot flying learjets for a charter company making a whopping $20,000 a year. In 98 I upgraded to a captain and made between $50,000-$70,000 until I left in June of 2001 for my present job. Started as a first officer (copilot) for ASA/Delta Connection making $19,000 and upgraded to captain in 2006. My current pay is about $63,000.

Many of you are probably asking why I am listing pay. Well, it just goes to show you that not all airline pilots make $200,000 a year and it's a long road. Mostly because the system is based on experience and seniority. Granted 9/11 played a large role in my progression from first officer to captain at my current job, poor management is the real culprit. Don't get me wrong, I love flying airplanes, but I'm tired of being a number in a mismanaged corporation.

I mowed lawns as a kid and worked on a maintenance crew during the summers while in college. In 2004 I did some pressure washing on the side and in 2005 I started Silverleaf Lawn & Landscape, LLC and built it up to about 30 accounts running a Quick 36 and eventually a 52" Hustler Super Mini Z. In 2006 I had my Redmax 7001 blower and stick edger stolen. I decided not to replace them because I was about to go to class to upgrade to captain and lose my senior schedule as a first officer. So I sold most of my accounts.

Well, now it's 2007 and I'm itching to get back into business in 2008. My flying schedule should be conducive to running a side business, but eventually I am willing to take a leave of absence from my
job to build up the business and one day leave my job.

It took me a long time to figure it out, but I'm an entrepreneur at heart and really enjoy running my own business.

Sorry for the long post, but that's my crazy story!
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