Career Decision? Feedback and thoughts PLEASE.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by theyatesies, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. theyatesies

    theyatesies LawnSite Member
    Posts: 144

    I keep this as short as possible. I have mowed lawns for about 13 years now. During that time I have also been a school teacher for nine of those years. I am 38 years old and I am about to start my masters in education so I can become a principal. I only felt truly happy when I only mowed lawns during a 4 year span between teaching jobs. My wife is worried about health ins. as we all are and also since mine is 100% payed by my school district. I also know that what I get payed as a techer and my small lawn business income is pretty good and secure. But as I said I am not completely happy and there is no reason why I cant be. Here are some questions for anyone that wants to respond.

    Q: How many of you have regular Health care ins.

    Q: How many of you have made the leap(like I am wanting to).

    Q: Who has started as a sole LCO and moved forward to employees etc. and have grown as a business.

    Q: How many lawns do you service(just mow) that you think is enough to be 100% self-employed and in YOUR OPINION secure

    Please add any other thoughts you might have, THANK YOU
  2. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,067

    You owe it to your family to make the right decision. In this business, the competition is great because nearly anyone can mow a lawn. Being a teacher with a job is a very secure profession. You are fortunate to have that job.
  3. Two Seasons

    Two Seasons LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 791

    If you can pay a foreman what you are paying yourself now, with the net income and still have enough to set aside for new equip and repairs, then I'd say keep the lco business and have a fallback plan. Businesses that you control will, in the end, be more satisfying that one that you just reside at!

    And, of course, pray for guidance.
  4. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,472

    I made a leap in 2003. My wife is a teacher and I live off her insurance. I think you should rethink your notion, The reasons being is

    If it rains 4 days and you have to cut 70 lawns in 2 days your screwed!
    Teacher it rains 4 days who cares

    Drought year like this year you lose income and put your lively hood in jepardy
    teacher drought who cares

    You get sick for three days you have to work or lose income.
    Teachers take sick days

    I am not discouraging you, I am just trying to give you the other side. I got into business to get more time but ended up giving more away. If I did not love this business I would run!
  5. Mountain Gardener

    Mountain Gardener LawnSite Member
    Posts: 79

    KEEP YOUR TEACHING JOB AND THE INSURANCE!!!!!!Keep mowing as a second income if you like mowing. I wish I could go back about 30 years and find a job with paid medical ins. Life is full of compromises. I doubt you will ever find "Complete Happiness". BTW - I have been out About $45,000. since early March on medical expenses. We had to drop our insurance in 1998 due to premium going to over $1000.00 a month.
  6. juspayme

    juspayme LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 299

    Maybeeee, its an itch u need to scratch. i know a guy whos quit teaching and is now in the pizza business. he said it was the best thing he ever did. todays kids were nightmares he said.

    alot of perks in the teaching business, princpals in pennsylvania go year round. so if u go year round ask yourself, when your 60 have you done everything u wanted to do? if quitting teaching to mow lawns will make u happier do it.

    but frue is right alot of unseen factors like rain, equipment breakdowns, paying your own health insurance, and i cant forget, BUNK dealers.

    any you have to make those sales happen every year. back hurts, too bad. family picnics on sat, too bad. rains 4 days in a row , too bad. you have to produce or someone else will service your customer.

    i took the leap . no regrets for me. some days i get mad, but, not to often. i have alot of freedom which i like. i really dont want for anything. i have my plan, you need yours. good luck bro.
  7. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,923

    A recent thread was started by a person just graduating with an education degree and was asking: Do I go into teaching, or do I build my lawn service business? My advice to him was to do himself, the school system, the future students a favor by developing his lawn service business. As many who have read my posts in the past, I rarely suggest anybody pursue lawn service business as a a career. I think there are many other pursuit more worthwhile. I always get flamed out with these suggestions, but my ideas are not changed on this point.

    My advice to you would be the same as to the other person, and for the same reason. Please stay out of the education field if a career in education, especially in the area of administration (e.g. principal) if it is not your passion. The education system is already too populated with those who are there for the wrong reasons. You have already cited them, and others have given you more reasons (e.g. insurance, security). Our nation's education system, especially at elementary, middle, and high school levels, needs those who are passionate about educating our children. I am convinced the outcomes of poorly educated students is related to the lack of concern for the children's education by those charged with that responsibility.

    Why are the charter schools, the parochial schools, and the home educators become more and more popular? The parents who are really concerned about their children's education are fed up with those teachers and administrators (and I should probably include school boards in the list too). In many cases they believe the people involved are much more concerned about the perks, the security, the pension funds, etc. for the profession, than about the education of their students.

    To ask the question as you have (just as the other thread by the college graduate) means that your passion is conflicted. This does not bode well for further pursuits into the education career.

    Just as I was flamed out about my comments in the other thread, no doubt I will be flamed out here too. But, the education of our nation's children is too important to be led by those who have wrongly-placed priorities. As an industrialized nation, one that prides itself on advancement, technology, and knowledge, we fare very poorly compared to other nations around the world. The lack of passion with regard to education on the part of the parents and education profession (both are equally responsible here) is coming back to bite us.

    In other words, please mow grass. Many fewer people are impacted by your decision, and the consequences are less.
  8. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,933

    I have been a mailman for 24 yrs. I had a business I started in college and worked it for 6 yrs after graduating. I made good money but burned out with no social life. took the mailman gig just to have a job where I could punch out and leave the job at the job. good bennys and retirement too. I started side work when my son was born 19 yrs ago. Deck & fence building, handy man work, Pressure washing and then lawns. Now its a mix of pressure washing and lawn care. I can tell you every time I thought about dropping the full time job I would get injured and be thankful for the steady income and bennies. In 5 more yrs I will get a retirement check and work my business full time and do with it what I want. If my wife had a job (quit to raise family) now with health benefits I might consider it but not the case for me. Good luck but the decision is still yours to make.
  9. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,472

  10. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,780

    I have to agree with the above statments. If you were younger - I would say go. This is all I have done. My wife does work but it is a sale/commission type of work and she does well for the hours she works but no insurance.

    I pay everything. Jan & Feb are slow. I don't leave the house until I dropped my oldest off at school. Mid march thru Oct - I am rollen by 4 in the morning and usually never home until 7-8 at nite. Everyone says your the boss man - be home when you want etc. Well - if I don't make this work - no one else will.

    Go with the teaching job and try to balance the lawn care biz during the summer - if that is possible if your going to be a principle. I know a few teachers around here - who hire a few guys and paint houses and have a small roofing crew. Only thing I don't like is they under bid the rest of us cuz they don't need that money or charge fair market prices and ususally there busy as ever cuz people feel for them being a teacher and all that they let them have the work.

    What ever you decide - it is the future of yourself, the family and rest of your life. Bottom Line - What is your PASSION?

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