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Calling all firefighters

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by stevenf, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,612

    Some of you might remember my earlier thread about firefighting but the rookie class is just around the corner and I really need to decide.
    I like the idea of being a firefighter, I also like doing my own thing like lawn care. A Friend of mine is a firefighter who just finished training and is currently at $25k a year.
    Realistically, a person cant support a family on that I know. I have been doing lawn care for about 3 years now and the firemen schedual will allow me to continue it.
    How much do you depend on your lawn care? Is it a seasonal thing for you or do you try for it year round? Do you pull in an extra $10-$15k a year just to live comfortably?
    My MAIN reason for choosing firefighter are to have benfits and a great schedual with early retirement.
  2. KCfireman

    KCfireman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,863

    i plan on working in the back of an Ambo while im off. I've got to get my paramedics license first.
  3. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,612

    I know 90% of firefighters have other jobs. I know another guy who works at a auto detailing place on the side. My question is how much do you depend on the side jobs? Are you at the point where two jobs isnt worth the firefighter career after all?
  4. jt5019

    jt5019 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,432

    I can tell you one thing you wont ever regret being a firefighter, its the best job in the world. If you have a chance i would go for it . We work 24 hour shifts here so on the days off you go out and mow.
  5. KCfireman

    KCfireman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,863

    Jt....what can you tell me on my idea? Once i go career i would like to get some hands on expierence with basic medical calls. Then i would like to enter Paramedic school and in my off time i would work on a ambo.
  6. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,612

    The schedual sounds great, im not worried about that. Im worried about money. how much do you depend on your lawn care? Are you on the clock 80 hours a week when both jobs are done?
  7. milkie62

    milkie62 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 833

    Ambulance guys around here make in the range of $10 bucks an hr.Hey KC you sound pretty young.If you can be a paid guy go for it but do something else entirely on your off days.You will get burned out staying with kinda similar fields.I am a 30 yr volunteer out in the country.We have nothing special but usually can keep up with the big city boys since we can siphon and suck water from a water puddle where the city boys can't since they only have hydrants.
  8. jt5019

    jt5019 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,432

    well up here the pay is different we start around 37K and it increases 1 k every year for the first five years plus there is plenty of overtime. If you are only starting at 25K i would say having another part time job on your days off is pretty important. A lot of guys here deliver oil, work on ambulances, or cut lawns on their days off just to have that extra money. Unless you are on a very busy fire dept you will find you have a lot of down time so working those part time jobs on your days off isnt that bad.

    We run medical calls here so you have to have or be willing to get basic medical training (EMT) to even be considered. If you want to become a paramedic thats great but i can tell you Paramedic school is very time consuming.
  9. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,612

    For the Baton Rouge fire department, you start off at $28k. After the first year and EMT certification, you get an extra $5k a year. The department I am interested in sounds bit different. I will have to look into the pay a bit more. I know someone who works for the department im interested in and he says there are 3 station that you are constantly transfered to and from. One of thoughs stations is always busy. The other two, not so much.
    Any other input on pulling in $25k a year with work on the side? Also, do you get any tax benefits being a firefighter?
  10. FERT-TEK

    FERT-TEK LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,035

    I have been a full time FF/PM and a LCO for 19 years in a department that averages 3500 to 4000 calls per year (1200 per shift), 24 hrs on 48 off. The schedule fits perfect for a motivated guy that wants to supplement his FF income. For me, I have always maintained that the extra income will pay for the toys and vacations and NOT the household bills. This frame of mind has helped me keep things in perspective since I don't count on the money.

    Regarding being a LCO vs. a fert guy, if have found that the schedule of a firefighter limits a mowing operation a little if you work alone. It seems that bad weather always gets in the way causing you to work long days when off duty trying to catch up. This is exactly why I stopped mowing and exclusively fertilize. First it pays better, allows more flexibility in scheduling and doesn't require as much equipment or manpower. I operate my business out of my garage with no problems or space issues. I am lucky enough to have fert suppliers nearby that serve as my "warehouse" for supplies.

    Finally, regarding being a firefighter. As many here have already said it is truly the best job in the world. Granted you will never get rich doing it but don't forget the insurance benefits that so many people pay dearly for. Shift life is like belonging to a fraternity for life. Also, you will never get bored doing the same thing day in and out like most office or factory workers. Every shift is different and the bond you form with the guys you work with is like the ones you have with your real family.

    Just my two cents. I could go for hours on this subject.

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