Can't get away from it.... so..........................

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by FrankenScagMachines, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Man you would never meet a person as undecided as me....

    First I was gonna sell my business. Then I was going to keep it. Then I was going to sell it. Now I'm going to keep it.. why oh why can't I make up my mind?!?!?!

    I was selling some of my stuff, actually had everything listed on Ebay and sold the big trailer, dump truck, and some of my 2 cycle equipment but the plow, spreader, rider etc. didn't get halfway to the reserve (kinda the wrong season) but I realized how much money I would be losing on the rider and I was like man this really sucks its too nice and almost new to be losing that much money on... I even had 2 guys ready to buy my accounts.... So I was thinking well selling that dump truck and trailer I didn't have to have those things, now i work at Advance Auto Parts but your not allowed to work more than 40 hrs a week. I said well I can just keep my job there and keep my 12' trailer, my Z, plow and spreader, and about 12-15 of my best accounts and I'd be better off financially than taking a loss on the mower, plus I'd have something to do in all that time off.. no girlfriend to take up all my extra evening hours.... So I figured, hey, the mowing would more than make payments on the mower maybe better than taking a loss on it. Just quit trying to do it full time and deal with too much headache and hassle... and one of my buddies at work used to work for a large landscape company here in town so he can run all equipment and help out if i get in a tight spot or just find a need help one day a week or whatever....

    Anyway one of my largest aggravations in the business was dealing with paperwork stuff... I got a laptop a year ago and found I really like that for keeping track of stuff, never lose papers anymore, gobs more organized, had a printer setup in the truck, great for estimates, invoices, etc. but just couldn't keep everything organized enough, like when it came time to make invoices every month had to go to a great deal of effort to dig up all the info of when i was where and what I'd done, then go back and put that into an invoice and print those all out.... the records for work stuff were a hassle and I have racked my brain to think of a better way I think I just need to break down and go buy a software program but how much would this cost and which are some of the better ones out there?

    Thanks for any help in advance and thanks for all you guys' support.... I hope 2006 is an awesome season for you guys and remember, bigger isn't always better, and its not the size that counts its how you use it! :weightlifter: :cool2: :usflag:


    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Good to see you back in the business...nothing wrong with keeping your options open :) Maybe we'll see you posting more often???
  3. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    So your saying that you'd rather work at Advanced auto parts with nbo benefits, and do 12-15 accounts parttime????????????

    IMHO you should do one or the other, your just screwing yourself in the long run. Your limiting your business growth where you can make real money, and your also limiting your time in the work force by not having a fulltime gig with benefits. If you keep doing that long enough (dibbling and dabbling ) you end up with nothing except some cash.

    And I hate you for sell MY TRUCK...I loved that thing from the min. You posted it. Personally dude I think your messing up, if you think about it man YOU WERE ALREADY "THERE". I think your jumping the gun as far as getting out of business. I say stay in and build your business, SAVE SOME $$$$$$$, and after 10 or so years, if you want to go do somthing else.

    My plan is something like that...I love the Lawn/Lanscape business...But I want to do other things, but they require alot of $$$ to get into. So I just gonna keep building the lawn business, and save money buy a home, and them when the money is right start another venture, hopefully in like 5 years not 10 LOL.
  4. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,850

    HaH! i knew you wouldn't survive away from the landscaping biz. you're too outdoorsy of a person. Do it on the side, thats how a lot of people get started, you could easily fall back to that position. I would look for a job with benefits if you're not planning on going FT with the landscaping though.

    do a demo on gopher dude, its great for startups/small companys. i think the basic starts around $200. I recently upgraded to quickbooks, but i'll still be using gopher for my mowing routes because the billing/scheduling is so great.
  5. jpmako

    jpmako LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 593


    Glad to see your somewhat back in the game.
    As far as software for the business that will make your life a little easier I would check out Gopher and/ or Quickbooks.
    Quickbooks is an invaluable tool to my business for invoicing. It saves sooo much time. I guess that I do things the old fashion way, I have route sheets that we fill out at every stop and then this information is transfered to the computer at night. One thing that has really made my life easier is having everyone on a monthly fixed price. Managing 20 or so clients should not be a problem for you. But I already know from having experienced this first hand, once you get back in it will take over your life again. Those 15 or so clients will be 30 by the end of the season. It is a never ending cycle. Pretty soon you will say man this job at Advance Auto Parts sucks. I make more cutting five houses a day than working here. You just remember who said all of this when next spring rolls around and you are doing an expansive marketing campaign and you have 70 houses. :waving:

  6. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    I went through the same thing a few years ago. I either wanted to go full-in or get out. I was making a list of what I wanted to sell and what I wanted to keep. The Walker has a nice cut and I have a lawn...better keep that. I will need a trimmer and I can always use a blower to clean out the garage. I can always use the dump truck and a standard truck is nice to addition to my personal truck. I "half-assed" try to sell some stuff, but no luck. So I made the decision to go full-in. Three years later I gave 3 weeks notice to my employer. I have been working for the Coleman Co. for 14 years, making $40K+ a year and now have one week until I am out of there. It has been the toughest decision of my life, but I am so excited.

    Good luck with whatever decision you make Eric!!!

  7. Rhett

    Rhett LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,071

    Welcome back to the light side Eric. Don't forget about the colledge you were talking about a long time back. Best not to look around in ten years with a wife and kids and not have options.
  8. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Thanks guys. Well here's the thing, last season I was trying to be full time with the company, even advertised more and had the best equipment setup you could ask for, but the phone just wasn't ringing enough... and i'm too particular... I only ended up with about 20 jobs and I couldn't make enough to be full time at that. With more advertising I got less work than the year before (was close to 30 the previous year).... so I figured drop a couple of the ones I don't like and do both jobs at once this year put in 110% into the lawn biz, if the lawn biz is meant to be, then it will work out and business will pickup, I would gladly do it full time if the work was there...

    Also I still live with my parents and still covered on their insurance for a while so I don't need insurance at Advance, and the benefits are very minimal especially this early in the career and when your just a salesperson (counter work) ie, not a manager. They pay me the same rate per hour as if i were full time, so no advantage there...

    So really I'll just work at Advance to fill my spare time and its better to make a little money than to make none!!!

    I'm dropping all advertising this year, I would have kept the phone book line ad but at the time of renewal I was planning on selling out so I told them no...
    So, no advertising this year just some good loyal faithful customers that would hate to see me leave them... If its meant to be then the phone will ring from word of mouth and let it go from there :)

    Oh and i just downloaded Gopher trial, will see how I like it...

    Thanks guys!
  9. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,850

    what other advertising methods have you tried? signage on truck? job site signs? flyers? doorhangers? teaming up with another (unrelated) business? newspaper?

    The best is word of mouth and referrals BAR NONE I have one customer who got me in contact with another manager and that turned into a $4K contract for half the year, this year should just top over $10K from them alone. The other day I asked him to refer me to another manager that I'm interested in selling my service to and he's workin on that for me now too. It's all about who you know, not what you know sometimes.
  10. kppurn

    kppurn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 426

    Eric, you may also want to take a look at QXpress by Alocet for your scheduling/invoicing.

    With the standard version you can set up your schedule and click "completed" at the end of the day for all services done. At the end of the month simply click "generate invoices" and an invoice is created for each customer. Export to Quickbooks, print, and you're done.

    May be worthwhile if you ever decide to give it another go full time.

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