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  #1  
Old 07-10-2000, 03:52 PM
Scraper Scraper is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: SE Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,654
I've been planning on giving a shot at going at this full-time next season. I regrouped this year and after letting go 20 lawns (mostly townhomes and a few residentials) in a distant market, I have made back what I gave up in the area I plan on servicing. All was made up without advertising, only word of mouth. <p>Question is...for those of you who jumped the corporate ship or whatever ship you were on before you decided to give this a whirl how long did it take for you to get up to full speed with enough work to keep you busy for a full week and felt comfortable with being able to cover all expenses (i.e. one season, two seasons)? And before you say anything Charles (please take no offense for my singling you out, but you seem to dig at these kind of posts discouraging people!) I understand that this is a tough &quot;field&quot; to get into as there are many people to compete with, but I have been doing this on my own for the past 5 years and prior to that I worked for another LCO for 7 years so I know what I'm getting into and I like what I'm getting into. <p>It's just that the wife and I bought a new house and I don't want to lose it. I totally hate my day job and dream of Fridays when I'm out doing what I enjoy. Not to mention the money is a lot more than I make at my &quot;full time&quot; job. I understand benefits and 401k is lost, but the upsides seem to be more than the downsides. I have actually been going along as planned as I wanted to get the house while I still had a job that the bank wouldn't question when applying for a mortgage. Now that I have the house the bank can't take away the house....unless I can't pay for it, but the wife has a job that takes care of that so I guess if things are slow going at first I just get a second job to help out during the slow period of starting full time in the field. <p>Thanks for any and all responses! <p>And SORRY for such a long post it's just something that has been bothering me for a long time and I want to do this change soon as I'm not getting any younger!!!<br><p><font size="1">Edited by: Scraper
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  #2  
Old 07-10-2000, 04:11 PM
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Charles Charles is offline
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Who me? hehe Let me see. With the help of therapy and luck it was 2 years before I felt comfortable. But it really depends on the market you are in. Competition, length of season, going rate, climate etc. How many hours you are willing to put in to build a good 70+ customer base. Willingness to charge a profitable rate. Kinda a individual thing as to how long it will take you.
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  #3  
Old 07-10-2000, 04:19 PM
Scraper Scraper is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: SE Pennsylvania
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How come you had to be first to respond? LOL I figured there would be many variables and the ones you point out are good. I'm just trying to get a general idea what others went thru. Competition is fierce here in the Philadelphia suburbs. For example I was mowing a cul-de-sac Friday where I have all three houses. While mowing I watched 4 different lawn services doing houses on the same street of which there are only 10 more houses. <p>So Charles...you would say 70+ is a good comfort point? I guess as long as all are good paying (i.e. not $20 townhomes) Oh yeah...I would say my rates are at the top of the spectrum. Actually just picked up a new lawn which I charge $60/cut where the old guy charged $35. Don't understand how he did it and when she commented on my high price, I referred to all the problems she was having and noted that's what you get for $35.<br><p><font size="1">Edited by: Scraper
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Old 07-10-2000, 04:49 PM
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Charles Charles is offline
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Sound like you going in the right direction, Scraper. Competition is fierce here too. More than ever this year. When we did get some rain everyone was back out in full force. Was hoping the drought would put some of them out of business. It was harder for me down here to get started because of the regular drought we have every year. Sometimes worse than others. I would think PA would not have that problem and you will not have a problem getting those 70+ profitable yards you need to make a decent living. Getting 2+ of every piece of commercial equipment when you first start out is a challenge too. But it is required to be dependable and alot less stressful too. Knowing you have a backup in case something goes to the shop for an extended period time. You have to build up a cash reserve in the process to get through the winter months. Unless you have a winter business like snow-plowing etc.<br><p><font size="1">Edited by: Charles
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  #5  
Old 07-10-2000, 05:14 PM
accuratelawn accuratelawn is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: SW Missouri
Posts: 922
After two full time seasons I felt like I was getting a handle on things. Tight routes and profitable accounts are key.<br>65+ accounts if you are solo. Get your applicators license this winter. Try to provide full service to your customers.<br>If you can stop...mow, fert., & etc. makes for a great account.<br>Make sure you are insured, you can't afford the risk.
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  #6  
Old 07-10-2000, 05:27 PM
eggy eggy is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Seymour Indiana
Posts: 770
To say you need x amount of lawns is crazy...You need to look at your bottom line..keep expenses under control...and save ...reinvest in the company...and grow rather that means one more 10,000 contract or 70 30 residentials....Good Luck!!
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  #7  
Old 07-10-2000, 06:23 PM
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Charles Charles is offline
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eggy, we said profitable lawns. Look up profitable in the dictionary. I believe that is watching your bottom line. Anyway not to dissappoint you Scraper. You never make it you are doomed.......
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  #8  
Old 07-10-2000, 06:33 PM
BRL BRL is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Somerset, NJ
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Scraper, <br>I jumped ship 2 years ago and I think I understand what you're asking, as I had the same question. Half way through the first season the question was answered. There is plenty of work out there and you will fill your schedule easily & quickly in these good economic times. The biggest question you have is &quot;will I get enough work to be full time&quot; and the answer is yes. I only mow 2.5 days and do mostly landscaping, with no advertising and a customer waiting list of 30-45 days to get to the landscape projects. I have a good reputation I guess because the customers are telling me &quot;whenever you can get to it&quot; even when I tell them it will be a month or two and they're welcome to call someone else if they can't wait. Actually none of the other companies even call back around here because everyone is so booked up. You might have to pick up a winter job for the first couple of seasons, but after that you will be well on your way. Good luck.
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  #9  
Old 07-10-2000, 06:37 PM
Toroguy Toroguy is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Sacramento CA
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Scraper,<br>My first day away from the real world job was a feeling like I was skipping school in 11th grade. It was freedom and fear all in one. I felt comfortable after two months, once my trust in the customers grew with good payment reciepts. <p>This is my second year FT and I need to &quot;tweek&quot; my route and raise some prices next spring. <p>I agree that you should focus on net profit before focusing on customer account growth. The area you reside may be different than others areas who post here. But you know that this is the place to read and ask questions.<p>Max out your wifes 401K and you two should be fine for retirement, depending on your ages.<p>Have fun!
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  #10  
Old 07-10-2000, 08:39 PM
eggy eggy is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Seymour Indiana
Posts: 770
My mistake...but corrected ....
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