Down sizing from employees to solo operation.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by prizeprop, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. prizeprop

    prizeprop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 820

    Just curious. Do any of you that now run operations with employees ever think about downsizing to a solo operation? I think about it, but my biggest fear is getting hurt and no income!!! These are my thoughts and plan on the subject. I could cherry pick my best paying customers and difficulty level of service and still make a very comfortable living. There are pluses and minuses but I think quality of life might improve as well, less stress. If God willing, I hope to have my house paid for in the next 3-4 years, then and only then will I think of pursuing the solo route. Will go into more detail if a discussion developes.
  2. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,624

    Ever think of keeping your best guy? Would save your back and then you have some help on the tough jobs. Just talk to this guy you would keep and make sure he is on with you for the long haul. Thats what I would do.

    How many guys are you talking about letting go?
  3. Woods Edge

    Woods Edge LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    Past 13 years I have been anywhere from 1-5 guys.
    The past 3 years I have myself and 2 guy's in the spring for 3-4 months. Then I keep 1 guy for the remainder of the year. Some years I add 1 guy for the fall leaf clean up.
    The problem working solo is getting sick or hurt can put you out of business. I find that having 1 or 2 guys with me is best for staying productive.
    There's 2 ways to make money in this business grow large and do a lot in sales for a smaller percentage return
    or stay small and very productive. Larger companys always have the potential to make more money but the headache
    tends to grow with the company.
    I have decided that smaller is better for me but i realize that will always limit my earning potential.
    You must weigh these things and decide for yourself.
    Just remember when working solo a broken ankle or such can put you out of business.
  4. prizeprop

    prizeprop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 820

    Like I said 3-4 years I can only start to entertain this idea.I would want to be totally free from employees, no problem to take a day off when needed, not have to stress about getting enough work for an employee etc. Also if I was to do this, I would have to stream line expenses to make it work. No more $700.00 a month yard rental. Would work from home(1.6 acres)Low profile though. maybe a box truck and pickup only. would maybe cut 40-50 lawns a week in 3-4 days and do trimming,mulch,misc plantings,etc on off days or if rain.
  5. prizeprop

    prizeprop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 820

    Were not large now. 3 employees, the most was 5 about 3 years ago and myself. Yes, the main reason I cannot do it until my house is paid for and a years cash reserve is because of the getting hurt factor. I run a tight efficient ship now and make really good money but it consumes your life at some point.Just thinking a simple life again? Now, I don't work hard but my time is spread over along day.
  6. prizeprop

    prizeprop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 820

    Forgot to mention, I'm single with no kids.:clapping:
  7. buckrufr

    buckrufr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    I choose to stay small/solo as i am not a good manager. Plus a big reason for doing this work is the flexibility.
  8. johng

    johng LawnSite Member
    Posts: 52

    I have a buddy who is also solo. We have agreed to do each other's props when one of us needs time off for any reason. Sucks when you have to work twice as hard one week but nice when you can get a week off if you want one. Just an idea because I could see where it would cause trouble if you couldn't trust him.
  9. palawnman

    palawnman LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 159

    If you are happy going solo, how long do you think your body can do this job for? After your body gives up, do you think you will have enough money to be able to still live comfortably?

    I guess when I ask myself these questions, thats why I come with the answer that I want to get big but not too big, I want to eventually be able to get away from everyday work and run the business. Because in the long run, I dont think I can do this everyday and be happy with it. I want it to be a business not just a job....just my thoughts.

  10. GreenN'Clean

    GreenN'Clean LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,512

    I did it a couple of years ago and I now do 75 yards solo each week I figure I won't need any help until I get 100 or more yards in which I can't handle alone

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