Big decisions, dont know what to do?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DoetschOutdoor, May 4, 2007.

  1. DoetschOutdoor

    DoetschOutdoor LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S. IL
    Posts: 1,818

    Here is my current situation:
    Attending St.Louis University, majoring in marketing, have 1.25 years to go.
    Currently mowing 30-40 lawns weekly, doing fert., mulch, clean up, etc. and been bidding my first patios and a few SMALL walls. Been slowly doing more landscaping in the area as word spreads.

    My question is, what do you guys think I should do when I graduate and my parents want me to use the $150,000 education they just financed. I like marketing and can see myself working for a sucessfull firm but then again I also like being outside, going and dealing with customers(yes, I usually like this part, just makes you feel good after you close that big deal), being my own boss, and determining mainly by myself how much I bring in.

    Have any of you guys got a biz. started, ran it for a few years and then turned it over to a foreman and a few trustworthy guys? Im thinking of maybe getting my biz to 75-100 weekly accounts and hiring a few guys to help. Over the course of 1-2 years, I can find a couple 2-3 guys, train them, and then basically let them take over the mowing. I really enjoy mowing but I've got alot of time and ALOT of money invested in my education. Ideal situation would be me keeping the biz and having the guys mow while I can go out and go after my marketing job.

    Sorry for the long post, just been racking my brain lately and as school is ending all I can think about is growing my biz and finally putting out the 5k flyers I have waiting in my room that I got too busy to put out this year
     
  2. violatorjf

    violatorjf LawnSite Member
    Posts: 55

    That's a tough one. I'm 3 years into my education and I have the feeling I'll never use it. I have a lot less money invested than yourself, but the idea is still the same. I think the bottom line is do something that will bring joy to your life. If you do something you love every day it will make you much happier and satisfied than any high-pay business position. Sure, you might have oodles of money, but if you want to be outside working then you have yourself a problem. The good thing is having a degree is awesome whether or not you use it right away.

    Are your parents financing that $150,000 or is that what you'll owe when you're done?
     
  3. DoetschOutdoor

    DoetschOutdoor LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S. IL
    Posts: 1,818

    Parents are taking care of most of it, some of it got covered by scholarships, and Im paying a little. I know it will be worth it either way but its a tough decision because I have so much invested in my biz right now...
     
  4. Nathan Robinson

    Nathan Robinson LawnSite Senior Member
    from 47712
    Posts: 317

    So Market your business. Production lawncare is very profitable.
     
  5. David Hartzog

    David Hartzog Banned
    Posts: 532

    i can honestly say that this has never been a problem that i have had. i barley graduated hs. but, it seems to me that you have/are getting the perfect education to really help build something. i mean, lawn buisness can be a nice buisness. certainly, you could branch out, francise, go into different aspects of the industry. heck, you could BE the "firm" in a few years with a lot of hard work and a whole lot more "smart" work.

    now, i know my dad is dissappointed that i didn't go to auburn and be an engineer or something like him. he worried that i won't make a fit living for my family. and my sis got all but one credit towards a bachelors and quit school to clean houses. and, she's got it made working 4 days a week and investing in real estate. all i know is, as a dad, i'm gonna try to get all my kids an education 'cause it's important...but if one of my sons come home and say, "dad, i know you paid for dental school, but i wanna cut grass (or pick pinapples, or raise alligators or something) i'm gonna tell him how proud i am that he's finding out what he wants in life,,,then i'm gonna hand him the student loan bills to pay himself. :)

    don't be afraid to take up the payments for the education when they are due, i paid my wife's off, on the money i made cutting grass.

    work hard, live smart, and think out-side the box. good luck. :)

    Let us know in a few months how it goes.
     
  6. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900

    For someone who has so much invested in his education, don't you know that A LOT is two words??

    Anyhow, no matter how well you train someone, once you're gone, the work will never get done the same way you would attend to it personally. Good luck w/ yor endeavor. My advice is this.... take your degree, find a job in your field that you think you can live with and run as far away from this business as possible!!!! I graduated from college in the late 80's w a comp. sci degree w/ honors. I chose at the time to keep my landscaping company going. I have done well by it, however each year, the help gets lazier and less intelligent. Anymore I feel like I own a daycare center rather than a landscape biz. Yes, I generally have 4 crews and 1 applicator out working every day, but I am not sure the long hours and headaches are worth it. No matter how much you give an employee, it is never enough! The time away from my family is getting almost as old as I am. I do not mind working, but 14hr days after 20 legit years of this gets very olde very fast. Use your degree wisely and market it to sell. That is the best advice you'll get from anyone here at lawnsite. If you're interesrted in buying me out, give me a call! I have a 2400 sq. ft. building on 3/4 acre, 5 vehicles, 5 trailers, 1 rider, 7 walk behinds, 1 200 gal sprayer, a ls-180 new holland skid steer, auto lift in shop, lots of blowers, trimmers, hedge trimmers, pruning ladders, a great clientele list and approximately 350 clients that I provide services for ranging from full service landscape maint, fert only, snow only and landscape design & install. Just let me know!!
     
  7. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,837


    With respect for your parents, Follow your heart, what are your long term goals?

    For me that question is a no brainer. I dont know about your area but in my area 70 to 100 weekly accounts is far more money that a Marketing position with any degree you could possibly get. and in fact it is more than what you paid for your education all together. (For just mowing) Use your marketing skills to grow your company, dont stop at 70 to 100

    If I had 70 to 100 full service accounts the gross would be well over 6 figures
     
  8. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,837


    With respect for your parents, Follow your heart, what are your long term goals?

    For me that question is a no brainer. I dont know about your area but in my area 70 to 100 weekly accounts is far more money that a Marketing position with any degree you could possibly get. and in fact it is more than what you paid for your education all together. (For just mowing) Use your marketing skills to grow your company, dont stop at 70 to 100

    If I had 70 to 100 full service accounts the gross would be well over 6 figures
     
  9. dhardin53

    dhardin53 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 711

    If a wife and kids are ever going to be in your picture you better look at utilizing your degree and get some health insurance established. Self employment has one huge draw back. You pay heavy to have health and life insurance.

    Just my opinion. not to confuse you or change your mind. But something to think about.
     
  10. Mark in MD

    Mark in MD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 322

    I think your decision should be based on whether you think you can find "a foreman and a few trustworthy guys." If you really and truly think you can find them, then you should do what you described. If you are not sure, sell the customers and get out clean and use your education. Because even though you enjoy what you're doing now, managing lawn care workers is a totally different ball game. MHO
     

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