Bam! Outta business.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Yesterday I was running the back pack blower and I bent over to pick up a customer's news paper and throw it on the porch. BAM!!!!

    Back is out. Throw the back pack off and drop the ground. This happened about 6 weeks ago on a Sunday as I was bending over to pick up the shampoo bottle. I just laid on the couch all day and Monday morning I was still a little soar, but once I started working and got the muscles warmed up, everything was fine.

    Well, I tried the same thing yesterday after the newspaper problem. Things were gradually getting better. Last stop we were trimming shrubs and were supposed to remove four trees. BAM!!! Again. Dropped to the ground. Much worse this time. Barely able to walk. Go home last night, laid on the heating pad for 3 hours on the couch. Decided to get up and go to bed. No way to get to my feet. Rolled onto the floor. Now I'm really in trouble. No way to get to my feet. Ask the wife to pull on my arms to help me up. Of course, she's the meanest ***** on the planet and pulls real hard. I screamed in agony. It was so bad I started crying. Finally made it to bed and felt a little better this morning. At least I can walk. But I can't work. Just to get up out of a chair is a 90 second procedure.

    Went to the doctor this afternoon. He's certain I'll need surgery. I plan to take my MRI pictures to the chiropractor tomorrow and see what he says.

    I've got my steady hand out right now running my route with a Guatemalen guy. I'll have to pay the Guatemalen guy cash at the end of the day. And I have no workmans' comp on him either. My employee is driving my truck and he's got no drivers license. One serious wreck and I'm ruined financially. Same plan for tomorrow (the Guatemalan guy). If things aren't much better by Tuesday morning with my back I'll have to close down the entire business. Just not enough revenue to support two guys on a crew without me. It's either that or I finish out the season using two employees (which means very little profit for me the rest of the season) and then buy three more trucks next spring and just hope and pray that I can fill two more schedules. One two man crew with a full schedule just doesn't leave anything in terms of meaningful profit for the owner. Three crews might, but that means adding a ton of customers almost over night.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. Lakeside

    Lakeside LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    sorry to hear about your back. good luck on your surgery and quick recovery.

    where in DFW do you run?
  3. Up North

    Up North LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MN
    Posts: 1,063

    DFW, man I'm sorry to hear that. That really sucks. I had back surgery in November of 2002 due to ruptured & herniated disk. I was brandished to the bed for a month before the surgery. IMMEDIATELY that night after the surgery it was 100% better. I actually spend 1/2 the night walking around the hospital because it felt so good to walk around without pain. Wish I had done the surgery years ago as I'd spent many $'s with the chiro, I haven't been to one since the surgery.

    Anyway, good luck and hope something works out as far as the business. Any way you can shift the accounts over to someone reliable for 3 months or so, then start them up again next spring?
    If you have any questions about the surgery I'll try to answer what I can.

  4. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    Nows the time when you need a friend or 4 in the business. I helped a guy out who had surgery a couple years ago.........did my best for him although he didn't think so. I'm really fortunate in that, if something were to happen .......... I think I could get some help to get me through.

    When in biz for yourself........make all the friends you can......never know when you'll need their help.
  5. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,410

    Sorry to hear your back is so bad, sure hope it gets better. At least your having some medical attention to your back and hope they can remedy. Take care of that thing, its so strange how just leaning over can screw the back up. Mine hurts sometimes if I dont work out for a little while. Just like your, I bend over to pick up a peice of trash & WHAMO. Even though Ive been picking up RR ties all day.
    Sounds like your "helpers" are more like liability problems. Its hard to find good help. Im about to can one of my guys rite now for being slow and having quality issues as well, but Id be scared to death letting anyone work without workmans comp. I think I would use my down time to put into play a search for better help. Hang in there man, some how, some way, this may be a blessing in disquise if you wind up with three crews and a thriving business heavily based on your decisions you make in "survival mode".
    I once worked for a guy that had a chain of gas stations after he bought one when the doctor told him he was terminally sick. He bought one as an investment to take care of his family, then ended up with seven. Guess what, he is still alive (25 years latter) and worth millions. Sure when the doctor layed it down his world came crashing down, but hes smilling today. Oh did I tell u bout his babe of a wife
  6. locutus

    locutus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Posts: 1,266

    Dont throw in the towel. Let those guys work until you are back on your feet. At the very least you will still have a revenue base when you come back. If you feel up to it just ride with them and supervise. This might give you the sense that you are still in control of things.
  7. zz218

    zz218 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    if you able drive truck and supervise till winter then get surgery. That would get you bout three months to recoperate.
  8. alpine692003

    alpine692003 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,502

    Sorry to hear that,

    sometimes unfortunate things happen.

    Good thing I'm in shape..
  9. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,973

    Sorry to hear that mate, I can say I honestly know that pain, I am having the same probs, bloody hurts, the sudden no back strength and ya fall is scarey!

    I often lose muscle strength in my arms and hands afterwards too, and legs are very weak for days after.

    As I'm not a landscaper I'm not lifting things like you guys, but sitting on a ZTR all day sure doesn't help an already bad situation.

    If I walk on uneven ground, or trip, bam, i'm on the ground, try and move and i think i'm gunna die. bloody wife laughs!

    I'll have to get it looked at too...

    As said above, try to drive and supervise until winter, if your guys have a prang ya gone if they aren't licenced.

    I wish you all the best mate!
  10. imograss

    imograss LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 796

    I have 2 herniated discs in my lower left back (L4 & L5). It happened in 98 while mulching. After several weeks of going to a neurologist I was evaluated by a neurosurgeon and recommended surgery and therapy. I know several people that has had the surgery and most are worse than they were. Now I still have problems with it and have to be careful and it seems that the little things are what throws it out. I do know that the heating pad feels good but it is not helping you at all because it causes the blood to flow to the injured area more rapidly and ice is recommended, but if your like me an ice pack on your back while trying to rest is impossible. If I lay around when it is re injured it is way worse than if I try to move a little. Hope you can get by without surgery and you can stick with your business. I like you , don't have anyone that could run the biz. for me if I were injured for a long period of time. Good luck and chiropractors have done wonders for me.

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