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  #11  
Old 12-14-2011, 12:26 PM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
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I'll give my spin on my part time venture and a friend's whom I worked for. At max I had 15 mowing accounts which was great for me during the spring and summer months because my workload is light. Come fall it was more difficult as my fulltime job, which is never a 9-5, 7-3, 6-2 (you get my point), takes much time away from mowing. I was forced to cut on Saturdays which no one seemed to mind as the fall is cold around here and not many people are having outdoor parties. Everything worked great for the first 4 years as it NEVER rained on a saturday. This year different story, rained all the time. No one was upset but it just took more time from me. If you're single or married with zero commitments (children) then this can work out ok. So as of right now I am out of mowing for next year but will be focusing on just landscaping work. I have commitments from most customers to continue landscaping and landscape maintenance work (non-lawn) for them. We'll see how it goes.

Now my friend I worked for years before I did my own thing has quite a different story. When I started with him we may have mowed 10-12 lawns and did about that same amount of landscape work, mostly at those properties but some stand alone landscape jobs. We mowed Thurs and Fri. His job is a 7-3 and I was free to work all the time. When I left 5 years later we were mowing about 25-30 lawns with the same amount of landscape work. My last year he brought on a second guy to help with the landscape jobs. The last time I spoke with him a few months ago he was doing about 40+ mowing jobs, 50+ landscape jobs, plus snow removal which he was doing from the start. He has 2-3 guys doing the work while he is at his full time job now but I know he is at every job when he can be. The man loves to work and save all his money. He told me he makes more than his current full time job, which pays really well, and I fully believe this. Without "needing" the money to live off of he has the best equipment and employees. Again he is a saving type of person and now lives on 5 prime acres with a new beautiful 2500 sq ft home. I think it's all paid for too!! Oh he has a family too.

So it's a commitment and he always told me "You have to be in this for the long haul to make money" I'm upset that I need to stop mowing but I cannot give up a guaranteed income + benefits. Hopefully I can get the landscaping end fired up and be able to just do jobs in the spring and summer. I will never have an 8hr/day 5 days a week life with my career. So unless that changes I will need to put things on hold with mowing.
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  #12  
Old 12-14-2011, 12:36 PM
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RGM RGM is offline
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Originally Posted by SMSnyder View Post
Yeah I will definately tell potential customers up front I'm P/T. So do any of your guy's customers have a problem with you doing their yards in the afternoons/evenings? I'd hate to roll up and start my mower while they're eating dinner with their family etc etc. I've seen my neighbor's LCO come at 9pm during the week in the summertime.
I'm with you also on this I won't start a lawn before 9 am or after 5pm unless someone asked me to get it done or its a empty/for sale house or commercial.
If I have to cut on a Saturday I won't start before 10 and finish by 3.
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  #13  
Old 12-14-2011, 01:04 PM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
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I'm with you also on this I won't start a lawn before 9 am or after 5pm unless someone asked me to get it done or its a empty/for sale house or commercial.
If I have to cut on a Saturday I won't start before 10 and finish by 3.
When I worked for my friend (see above) we were always finishing by sunset. We often mowed from 1-8ish (he'd get out of work early on thursdays) and 5-9 on Fridays. Never a complaint. We never missed a week and I think that says more sometimes than the time you mow. People want commitment as most have been burned too many times by lawn guys not showing up. When I told people I was not longer mowing they were rather angry. My theory was that I have been completely consistent for 5 years never missing a beat. When I acquired these customers they all told me stories of previous companies not showing up. When I explained how my schedule would work most said "I don't care when you do it, just make sure it gets done." Now I had picky ones that wanted certain times but I could work with them on that. Customer service means more than anything, in my opinion. If that entails making sure certain lawns are mowed by certain times then thats part of it.
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  #14  
Old 12-14-2011, 10:59 PM
SMSnyder SMSnyder is offline
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TripleA - I didn't really think to flip the script like that even though I planned on putting a quote or something on my website (when I figure that out...) that says, "Don't have time for yard work," or "want to spend more time with the family." I just kinda have this silly notion most people aren't home when the landscapers come.

Nyscaper - Very true. I drive a garbage truck for Waste Management and my district manager said something along these lines (people watching you) a few months back. An older lady called WM and complimented one of our drivers that he picked up a huge mess when birds got into someone's trash. I've been in the refuse industry for 10 years and STILL have a hard time with thinking people aren't watching.
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  #15  
Old 12-14-2011, 11:10 PM
SMSnyder SMSnyder is offline
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MD - First point is I live in the NW, north of Seattle = lots of rain. I figured if I had trouble mowing while it's wet I'd just have to keep the lines of communication open with the customers HOPING they'd understand though I know you cannot please everyone. Also, how your buddy did it with working F/T and having a crew do the work did cross my mind, haven't thrown that idea out yet either but I know I have a lot of learning to do still. Being the absent boss is sketchy to me unless I can some how find great employees....and I don't trust anyone lol.

RGM - My neighbors LCO has mowed at frickin' 9PM before, though it just got dark (summertime) I think that's a little over kill. We have sound laws around here that's why I was thinking if I were able to snatch up any commercial accounts that I'd do them on the weekends...if that worked for them.....and weren't near neighborhoods I'd start them early at like 7-8am.

Sorry guys, I hate mult-quoting.
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  #16  
Old 12-15-2011, 08:02 AM
ralph02813 ralph02813 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGM View Post
If you have an night time job it works kind of hard if you work a 9-5 job.
I tried the part time thing 3 different times and found it hard to keep up with my lawns because of the demands of my job. You get money tied up in equipment that business truly isn't making enough to pay for. The third time I guess was a charm for me I kept it going for 5 years but when it got rough in the fall the last year I quit my job instead. For the next 7 years I went all out full time 6 days a week and was loving the money but where was I going. About 8 years ago I got a part time job at home depot now I have better health insurance for a 1/3 of the cost a 401k and can buy Home Depot stock 15% of 2 times a year.
I have been at Home Depot for 5 years the first three I was full time and did 10 a week - the hd schedule can be nuts as a full timer, you have to be availble form 5 am to midnight - the good part was you always work weekends which gave me to days to cut grass and 5 days to pray for no rain on those days otherwise that would put me on the lawns before working a 3pm to 12 shift.
As a parttime I share the same experience as RGM, my availability is Sat, Sun and Monday before noon, I get 10-15 hours a week reduces health care and my 401k which because of my age I can put up to 50% of my salary before taxes in.
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  #17  
Old 12-15-2011, 03:23 PM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMSnyder View Post
Also, how your buddy did it with working F/T and having a crew do the work did cross my mind, haven't thrown that idea out yet either but I know I have a lot of learning to do still. Being the absent boss is sketchy to me unless I can some how find great employees....and I don't trust anyone lol.
Ok let me explain this better. I worked for him for I believe 5 seasons. Himself and I were on EVERY job together besides one leaf clean up one year. After I left he was still working EVERY job with the new guys he took on. He still tries to be on EVERY job that he can but I know he lets his guys do more alone now. He's got a good landscape guy that trims bushes and edges well, plus guys who know how to mow. He's more likely just to meet them at the end of the day to finish up and check it out. He's done this for about 12 years I believe. I think when you've put the time in and can get good people it can work. He's a strickler for getting it done right.
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  #18  
Old 12-15-2011, 03:26 PM
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RGM RGM is offline
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Originally Posted by ralph02813 View Post
I have been at Home Depot for 5 years the first three I was full time and did 10 a week - the hd schedule can be nuts as a full timer, you have to be availble form 5 am to midnight - the good part was you always work weekends which gave me to days to cut grass and 5 days to pray for no rain on those days otherwise that would put me on the lawns before working a 3pm to 12 shift.
As a parttime I share the same experience as RGM, my availability is Sat, Sun and Monday before noon, I get 10-15 hours a week reduces health care and my 401k which because of my age I can put up to 50% of my salary before taxes in.
I put 20 to 30% in the lawn season when I'm making money and 5% in the winter in 401k and 5-15% in the espp depending on the time of year my availability is sat all day sun 6am -noon then I carve and shuck at football parties and Mon eves. In the slow times I open up Monday and Tues and keep Wends-Fri for lawn business. I have been there for 8 years and get treated pretty good.
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60'' Gravely pro-turn 29 hp
60" Exmark lazar 23 hp
48" Snapper pro walk behind 14 hp kawasaki
21" Lawn boy
echo blower trimmers etc.
2005 Ford ranger v 6 4x4
Go O's
Go Raven's
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