BIG QUESTION!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by RyanCanMow, Apr 23, 2001.

  1. RyanCanMow

    RyanCanMow LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    Guys, I have reached a "fork in the road" so to speak. I live in central Mississippi and am finishing my sophomore year of college. I currently own and operate a lawn service that services around 45-50 regular residential accounts, and 1 commercial. My brother is my partner, and only worker for now. I am driving home every weekend from college to mow,about two hours. Right now I am majoring in construction management. I have invested around 12K in equipment so far, and I don't know what to do as far as expanding. I AM CONFUSED!! I plan to finish school, and get my degree, for sure. I just don't know if I should expand, like purchasing more equipment and trying to find some good help, and increasing services we offer. Let me know what you guys think. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE to mow grass!! I could see myself doing this for the rest of my life, but I need some advice. I am planning on purchasing another Lazer, and consequently will have to upgrade to a larger trailer. The 16' is too small, to carry all we need. I am thinking about a 20' gooseneck with sides, is this a good idea or not? I also need to use some kind of scheduling software that has the capability to grow as the business hopefully grows. Any suggestion? I have read a lot of old posts, but I just can't make my mind up on which one. Naturally, I would prefer the cheapest, but I want some kind of system that crew members can use for their routes and daily checklists for the clients.(If I ever am able to hire a crew). I am just in a position where I don't know what to do. If you guys could let me know what you think, I would GREATLY appreciate it!
    Thanks a lot, sorry so lengthy, lots of things on my mind!

    RyanCanMow
     
  2. dmk395

    dmk395 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 1,003

    I am in a similiar situation. Nevertheless I graduate from college in December. A degree is something nobody can take away from you, if I were you I would transfer to somewhere closer to home, then work and go to school full-time, its tough going but to be successfull you must make sacrifices.
     
  3. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    get as much education as possible.you are young and can do lawncare anytime. but its hard to get an education if you got a couple kids an mortgage payments to make.good luck
     
  4. parkwest

    parkwest LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 678

    Welcome to the world of business owners. Making these decisions is what makes or breaks a business and you, as the owner, have to make them. Seek competent council but then you will have to decide. No one else can do it for you. Those are the risks and rewards of being an owner.
     
  5. mike

    mike LawnSite Member
    Posts: 84

    I SUGGEST NOT GETTING ANY LARGER UNTIL YOU CAN BE AVAILABLE
    FULL TIME WITH YOUR COMPANY. I AM A SMALL COMPANY & WOULD LIKE TO GET BIGGER, BUT I HAVE FOUND THAT KEEPING A GOOD SERVICE LEVEL IS A LOT HARDER WHEN YOUR NOT AVAILABLE
    ALL THE TIME. THERE ARE TIMES WHEN BIGGER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER. GOOD LUCK & HAVE A GOOOOOOOOOOD DAY!!!!!!!
     
  6. jcoat

    jcoat LawnSite Member
    Posts: 112

    I got my degree, got married entered the corporate world and started making the big bucks and now have come to a crossroads. I absolutely LOVE to cut grass. Not for the simplicity, but for the pure fact I love it! Now, here's the crossroads... I have a good paying job that pays the bills and then some, however, I have no passion for it. Recently I incorporated my lawn biz, filed tax papers, legal mumbo jumbo, etc... and even though I haven't locked in customers yet, I feel rejuvenated because I've taken the first few steps (ten years too late and I want to grow slowly)...
    Now, look @ your situation (hind-sight speaking here...). It sounds like you have a solid business, you're REAL close to graduating and you love to cut grass. Here's the advice: Maintain your book of business; graduate w/ the CS degree(btw, the construction science will help you a lot in bidding and scheduling, so it probably will be smart to continue on that track) and if you still love to maintain turf, the sky's the limit!!
    Btw, have you done a CS internship yet? Too many hours for too little pay once it's all said and done. I'd rather work for myself.

     
  7. RyanCanMow

    RyanCanMow LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    Thanks for the replies! JCoat, I have not done my internship yet, but I figured I would have to next summer or something. I really don't want to, I would rather cut grass. What should I do? Bypass the internship and hope to land a job later and cut grass, or take the internship in hopes of getting a job out of the deal? Thanks for the help!
    Ryan
     
  8. jcoat

    jcoat LawnSite Member
    Posts: 112

    Well, here's the deal. I was in a construction science degree here in OK, did the internship and, after talking to foremen, superintendents and PMs came to find they're salaried for $40k+/year, but work somewhere in the range of 60-80 hours/week. Last I checked, that doesn't amount to much UNLESS you're making salaried + overtime @ 1.5 or higher or you own that company. I made the decision to chance vocations and have been corporate for the past 4 years and just now am making the move to lawn maintenance. Again, I haven't established any customers, BUT am prepared for them thanks to Lawnsite. My move to turf is going to be slow and controlled since I have a 40+ hour/week salaried + OT job and am pretty comfortable. Once I come to the crossroads of breaking even, I'll make the decision to be a full-blown, full-time LCO or continue in the a/c of corporate life (which I'll probably ditch).
    Bottom line: If you love it, do it and be the best you can at it. If you hate it, ditch it. The sooner the better. Btw, just because we cut grass doesn't mean it's a job everyone can do. After a lot of research, I've come to find this is an exacting science. If you continue, learn as much as you can.
     
  9. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    Only you can answer this question. I would bet money that you are already leaning in one direction, you just wanting reassurance.

    Do what you love and the money will come. Do what you hate, and you'll have a heart attack at 40. You only have one chance, do it your way!
    Eric
     
  10. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Posts: 7,952

    Mow grass for 10 years like some of us have and sooner or later you will be sick of it. Anything(beside sex of course) gets old after awhile. Mentally challenging grass cutting is not. Maybe some of you just need to find another field to go into that will challenge you mentally and physically and not waste all that college education. Now landscaping challenges you creatively but you live from job to job always bidding for your next paycheck. I do a little bit of everything when it comes to this biz but i dream of something that would take more thinking and problem solving while you in this post dream of the opposite. I guess its true that the grass is always greener on the other side.
     

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