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Old 10-03-2011, 06:58 PM
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coolluv coolluv is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 3,351
Originally Posted by diamondlandscaping View Post
Guys, not disagreeing with what a lot have said, I agree with a good portion of it. You have to understand that a successful business doesn't happen overnight. There are plenty of successful companies in my area, that aren't lowballers, but they have been in the game for at least 10 years, most closer to 20. The biggest misconception IMO is that you will just jump into the game and be a millionaire overnight. Talk to Azgardener here on lawnsite. He has 30 years experience in this biz and has had his biz for 10 if I'm not mistaken. He is my role model on lawnsite bc he does high end resi, which is what I'm doing. It takes many years to have a great company and awesome client base.
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Hey Diamond I agree. I'm just posting what is the reality of this business. You hit the nail on the head and its part of what I was saying that most of the established businesses that have been in the game for a long time are the ones that are making money and are able to hang on.

It takes a long time to build that good customer base. I'm not saying that you can't make a good living either, but it takes years. I think most come on here and think that in a year or two they will be making what they made at their regular job or more. I was naive myself. I knew it would take a while but I didn't realize how long or the challenges involved.

I think most come on here with unrealistic expectations of how hard the work is or how long it takes. Sure if you have deep pockets you can buy a few trucks, and equipment and advertise like crazy and in a year or two become a player in the game.

Ive seen it in my area. But I'm not talking about spending a few hundred on advertising or even a few thousand on advertising. I'm talking about companies that spent hundreds of thousands on equipment at start up and then spent 20 or 30 thousand a year on advertising and salesmen etc.

If you think your going to run out and buy a few mowers off of craigslist and then throw a few magnets on the truck and take over the world well then your sadly mistaken. That is what most that come here think.

It takes a solid business plan with company trucks and equipment and uniforms and websites etc etc etc.

If you want to supplement your income that is one thing. If you want to live on this that is another story all together.

I'm not arguing with you or anyone else, just stating the facts.

$50k net takes a lot of business to reach that point. $50k gross you can do in a few years but your net will be maybe $15k or less.

Good luck to the Op whatever he decides.

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Old 10-03-2011, 07:23 PM
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BFLL BFLL is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 42
Originally Posted by coolluv View Post
Your Crazy!

I think everyone thinks this is an easy business, hell when I was like you I did too. I came here and read and read and read for months and hours and hours. I was totally consumed by it.

I ran the numbers and ran the numbers and thought man this is easy and the more yards I get the more I make. I have a guy that lives down the road from me and he was in business for 10 years at that time and I talked with him about the business for months.

Every time I saw him we would talk about his business and the LCO business in general. All seemed good and I thought why not.

Problem is most people lie about their business and this business in particular. Why, hell if I know. Maybe an ego thing.

I started this part time in 2006 and its one thing to be part time and able to buy things you need and put your earnings back into the company because you have the income of your regular job.

That is what I was able to do. I worked my full time job for 50 to 60 hours a week and on the weekend or after work I did my route. It was hard work but I thought this is not bad and I could do this on a regular basis.

That was right before the economy took the big dive. I thought I could get as many customers as I wanted. I had all the pipe dreams and misconceptions that every other new guy without a clue has.

Just count those lawns baby. If I have 10 I can make this much. If I have 20 I can make that much. Hell if I can get 50 I would really be in the $hit.

Well let me tell you from someone who is not going to lie to you. Its not that easy. The equipment is just the beginning. Advertising is what you better have money for and lots of it. Not $300 or $500 on some piece of $hit fliers.

I'm talking about thousands of dollars, and be prepared to run around on estimates that don't go anywhere. Be prepared to to spend that money for a little return. Be prepared to keep on spending money on advertising until you find what works and even then be prepared to spend a lot of money.

Your going to have thousands of guys with the same thought process and attitude that you have doing the same things but only on different scales. Be prepared for the Walmart mentality guys and the illegals working for peanuts and every Tom,Dick and Harry doing the same thing.

I looked around me and thought the same thing, look at all the new subdivisions around me and the high end ones at that. Let me tell you something, that doesn't mean $Hit. Every other newbie is thinking the same thing and those same places are going to be inundated with advertising as soon as February rolls around and the onslaught will continue well into June and July.

You will soon find out just how hard it is to get all those customers you dreamed about when you stood on the field or in your classroom looking out the window thinking if only I could.......

If you want this to be your main source of income and you don't want it to take years to get there then you better be able to spend big money on a lettered truck a website,company uniforms and advertising of all kinds. And be prepared to work your @$$ off for very little money after expenses. Prices have fallen off a cliff because of the current economic situation and the amount of new guys running into this thinking they found the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Dreams are nice but reality is a cold harsh #itch.

Don't mean to piss in your Cheerios but that is what you plan on getting into so just a fair warning from someone who will tell you the honest truth.

PS. Most on here are part timers or are retired or have wifes with good jobs so they can hang on and talk like things are great, and most will lie on here also. 1% on here are doing well with this business.

But they were here and had an established business long before the down turn in the economy. Don't believe the bull that gets thrown around on here daily. It will suck you in and you will find out the truth the hard way. If you think what I have to say is bull and you decide to jump in anyway, you better have 3 things. A lot of patience. A lot of money. And a very good marriage.


Very Well Said...and very true!!
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:29 PM
32vld 32vld is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 3,970
Originally Posted by jfan View Post
I am currently a teacher/coach and have always said if I was to do anything else it woudl be in the landscape industry. well I thinks it may be time for me to do something else. I have been considering starting my own landscape business, I would like to jump in this spring and stop teaching in June and start it full time. Is it possible to start out this spring and by the end of august when my paycheck from my current job stops, be able to make a somewhat smooth transition financialy? I currently make just shy of 50,000 a year and bring home 3,400 monthly. Maybe Im crazy but I llive in a very populate area with housing develpment after development and very affluent neighborhoods.

Im not a high school kid or college kid just trying to make a buck If i was to do this it would be my livelyhood.

I would like to hear some financial stories of people just starting out. how much are you billing per month, how many yards were you able to get. How mutch did you have to hustle just to pay your bills. and how long did it take you to get to a good spot financialy?

If Im crazy please let me know??
You left out how old are you and how many years you have in the pension system. Without that info no one can give advice if it would be better to teach or mow grass. Also left out where you are on the pay scale, where it tops off at, and how many more years for you to reach it.

Those that can't teach mow grass. I just coined a new phrase.

Next I don't understand how you can get fired and be moved from school to school every few years when Texas has tenure for teachers.

It seems you place more importance on coaching HS football then being a teacher.

Most teachers teach because that's what they want to do. Coaching is viewed as a bounus.

It appears you are opposite and rather have the steak sauce instead of the steak.

In NY most school coaches get an extra $4000 to $8000 a season to coach a sport.

I taught for 13 years, have 15 years in the pension system and past I'm 55. Thing is I would go back to teaching tomorrow because there is no way I would make the money mowing as I could teaching. Teachers work 40 weeks a year, 180 days. Many get done by 2:30 PM. Plenty of time to do and build a landscape/snow removale business to have when retirement comes.

Matter of fact give up coaching and doing landscaping after school will make you more money and take less time then you now spend coaching.
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:22 PM
GravelyWoman GravelyWoman is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Fairhope, AL
Posts: 75
Originally Posted by DEPENDABLE LANDSCAPING View Post
Start small and stay debt free! This way when
You are ready to go for it whole hog you are most of the way there. Then all you have to do is worry about making the business end of it work. Good luck.
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Amen!! STAY DEBT FREE!!! Any extra money put it back into your company! After buying my zero turn, blowers and other hand helds, I added an Echo Bedredfiner. This one piece of equipment paid for itself within 7 days of purchasing it....I pushed this one service of "recutting" flowerbeds at $1.00 per ft. People love this service! Find other services that you can "up sell" so that you can make extra monies on top of the the regular lawn maintenance.
Find your "niche" and separate your company from other "mow, blow and go's". If you do this and serve up great customer service....the sky is the limit!
I became "legal" licensed and insured this year. I am still working 32 hours per
week and then work my company after I get off and on Fridays & Saturdays.
Stay with your job at least two good years and by this time you should have a great feel for how and where you want your company to go. Build a business plan and stick to it....
I wish you the best of luck and please reach out if you have any questions!

Gravely Woman
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:10 PM
masonenterprises masonenterprises is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 61
Its definitely a tough go at it these days, but stay part time for a few years and invest money correctly. I dont agree that debt is bad. There is such a thing as good debt and bad debt. Know what you need, and what will make a good ROI. Also try to subsidize income by doing something else. Scrap metal, a paper route. Whatever it may be. The extra income can be nice if you need it. I started off with 2 lawn accounts. But my big focus was on lawn expansions and design work. I had a good network of people and good access to borrow equipment when needed. Give it 110%.
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