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Accounting VS Landscaping

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by jeffreyask, Oct 7, 2004.

  1. jeffreyask

    jeffreyask LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Just looking for what you guys would suggest. 23 and from toronto, just graduated with a bachelor of commerce, majoring in accounting. Through high school and part of college did the small time lawn maintenance thing to make some extra cash. After graduating I'm now thinking about taking it seriously and try to build a serious landscaping company (one day 500,000 in sales). This is mostly because i have that entrepreneur itch, and this seems like an easier industry to step into, and then go from there.

    Or I could just use the education and get a soft accounting job, and one day become a CPA/CA.

    Am I nieve and should just stick to the office work???
    Do landscaping companies reach sales numbers anywhere around 500K after years of growth??
    Kelly's Landscaping likes this.
  2. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Posts: 4,041

    Hi jeffreyask,

    I am sure if you put your mind to it, you could do anything.
  3. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,351

    Of course they do if you want it bad enough this is year 2 for us we will be hitting a quarter million. Next year we want to triple that and it looks like we will the work is there if you want it.
  4. Little o

    Little o LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23


    Your situation sounds very familiar to mine. I actually have a degree in accounting from a PAC 10 school from the 80's. Right out of school I sat for the 20hr CPA exam and passed. Instead of going into the accounting industry like most of my fellow graduates, I went into the family landscape construction business. It was dicey at first but the company grew and prospered throughout the 90's. My brother and I recently have sold the business.

    All my friends and family are extremely sceptical on my decision to try starting a landscape maintenance business with my educational background, almost to the point of laughing at me. But being self-employed all my life and looking at the starting wage of a entry level accountant I am sure that I am making the right decision. I figure a can make as a solo as much as a could working for the man pretty easily, with unlimited growth potencial, and the freedom of a business owner.

    The major difference is our age, you entire working future is in front of you, where as mine is half over. If I was you I would sit and pass the CPA exam as soon as you can while the information is fresh and your in the study mode, get the certificate, it is your insurance card if whatever you decide doesn't work out.

    If you put the time in the accounting profession can be very lucrative, maybe even more so than the LCO industry. A CPA with his own business can easily make 100k a year with not much difficulty. The demand curve for a CPA is a whole lot more inelastic than for a LCO.

    Bottom line is work for the money you will be comfortable with, but pick the profession you will make you happy. I picked this line up at this site; "If you enjoy going to work, it isn't really work."


    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    You are already ahead of most people who start in this business because you have the business knowledge and that is the hardest part of being sucsessful.
    Be sure to get the CPA as it will be with you forever.
    As far as $500000 as a number to shout for, I think that is a hard number to work at. As a solo or you with a helper you can see the 150-200 range as about the max. To grow more you have to invest in more trucks/crews- Installs-Landscapes/Hardscapes. When you start to get into that much building of the company I believe you will fly right past the $500000 mark and keep growing. Just know that at that point you are not going to be in the field any more but working the office and using the skills you just got at college.
    Making a living is hard work no matter which way you do it. I think you can see good numbers both ways so do what will make you happy. Good luck.
  6. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    I have a degree in accounting. 3 yrs of sitting in an office and I quit, reopened my business, and been happy ever since.
  7. jeffreyask

    jeffreyask LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    ya for me its whether or not I want to sit in the office. And if I do this I don't want to be solo. I expect to have itleast a crew of two or three in the first summer. The trick for me is pricing. I know the easiest to start with will be maintenance jobs. The plan so far is to under cut last years guy by 5%, offer 5% off the first year if you sign a two year deal, and also offer a commission situation. If you refer someone within a 1 or 2 mile radius I'll give you a 5% commission of their billings. For not for profits I would offer to them, I'll donate 5% back to your church/foundation or to one of your choice, and price match from last year. But that still doesn't solve have to make estimates which maybe a bit of a problem. I would also like to mix in decking and fencing, which both seem to be a 'like' service.

    The thing i like about this business is that you usually get the customers well before you start the work so you can use the contracts as leverage to getting financing for equipment.

    Oh and the ultimate goal would be to sit in the office and do all the work for the company, but the diffence from a corporate office is that i'm doing it for myself!!

    Let me know what all you guys think about all that!!
  8. Island Lawn

    Island Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 632


    You say that the trick for you is pricing...

    BTW, it's spelled "naive"

    Congrats on your graduation!
  9. jeffreyask

    jeffreyask LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    What should be the trick?????
  10. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    Based on your pricing policy I almost gave up on you. Being a lowballer will not get you anywhere. That type of thing will lose respect for you very quickly by the vast majority here and around your local area. Then in 5 yrs you will be complaining about the next guy doing it to you and lowering the industry that supports your family.

    You are an accountant. Use the knowledge you have. Figure out what you must make. Figure out your cost to the penny. Then you can give educated prices to people and have the respect for yourself and your industry that you want.
    Island Lawn likes this.

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