Electrician to landscaper

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by B16bri, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. B16bri

    B16bri LawnSite Member
    Posts: 96

    Hey guys my names Brian I'm from ct and am a licensed electrician. I've been in this trade for a while and am looking to get away from it and want to start my own landscaping business. What tips do you guys have for me ? obliviously I plan on starting small doing it on weekends and after work until it grows big enough to make a living. How did you guys start out ? What equipment should I get for just starting out mowers I mean do I invest in a zero turn riding mower or do I wait and see how the business grows? Any input would be great thanks
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  2. CL&T

    CL&T LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 493

    Knowing first hand as an electrician myself I suspect that as a licensed EC in CT you would make more in a couple of hours than you would make all day as an LCO. What gives? Burnt, getting up in age? Grass is greener?
     
  3. B16bri

    B16bri LawnSite Member
    Posts: 96

    I've always wanted to own my own business and while I dont enjoy electrical work i do make good money and have good bennys. so i plan on keeping my electrical job and owning the landscaping company doing the lawns on weekends/ after work with a partner (family member) so I can own my own business and have two incomes and hopefully some day I can get big enough to hire some people to work while I keep my electrical job
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  4. britsteroni

    britsteroni LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 334

    Why not just do electrical work on the side? You won't have much to learn, and you already hold all necessary licenses I'm guessing.

    Electrical work is a much more difficult skill to learn, IMHO. If you are just mowing lawns, your value prop is basically that you'll save the client time, hassle, convenience, etc. If said client has a potential electrical problem, I'd guarantee they are looking for a professional to perform the service.

    Just my two cents, but the grass isn't always greener...
     
  5. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,021

    If I were in your shoes I would do electrical on the side. Think about this...there are almost no barriers to getting into landscaping or lawncare. What does that mean? Any teenage kid or bum with a truck, mower and a wheelbarrow can do it and they drive prices in the ground and they stay there year after year. Equipment for this business is also expensive.

    What are the barriers to entry into the electrical biz? Certifications, licensing, a skillset that not everyone has? Also, there are not many homeowners that would consider messing around with an electrical box or wiring in their home. The same homeowners have no problem mowing their own yard, putting down some mulch, planting grass seed or many other small landscaping jobs.

    I just had 3 quotes done to install 3 220v recepticals in my garage about 3 ft from the electrical box. They were 405, 450, and one ridiculous one for 900+. I'm not sure how long this would take an electrician but I am sure it is alot less time and effort than it would take to make that kind of $ in landscaping.

    Here's a good rule of thumb to remember...People don't pay good money for labor (lawncare/landscaping), they do pay good money for a skillset and cert/licensing (elec, plumbing, hvac, construction) because they have less options.

    Just my .02 :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  6. B16bri

    B16bri LawnSite Member
    Posts: 96

    You all make really good points and I do electrical on the side and i will continue to do small jobs however I do it all day long everyday and I don't really enjoy it so its hard to get motivated to do a lot of side jobs I also like I said have always wanted to own a business and I don't want to own an electrical business . I enjoy doing yard work and the family member I would be starting this with also enjoys this type of work they actually worked for a grounds crew while they were in college. I guess my question is how many people started there business while working somewhere else and establishing your business while working on weekends and after work? How long did it take to grown into a decently profitable business ? And what equipment did you start with ? Obliviously there are must have items like mowers , edgers , weed wacker's , blowers etc but how expensive and advanced did you get right in the beginning meaning did you bite the bullet and get a scag zero turn right away or did you use something cheaper to start until you made some profits and needed to up grade ? Thank you to everyone who replyed and you all made great point I just could use extra money it's a good business opportunity and I just could use a change from the normal electrical
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  7. britsteroni

    britsteroni LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 334

    I know you're not really getting the responses you want, and I'm sorry if my post comes off as offensive. I'm just trying to be helpful and provide advice from a perspective you aren't considering.

    If the motivating factor behind starting the side business is enjoyment, I think you are setting yourself up for failure. No business is always enjoyable, especially mowing lawns. There is nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy what you do, but I'm betting lawn mowing in the heat of the summer really won't feel much different than electrical in the heat of the summer.

    If you don't want to own an electrical business, have you ever considered if you just aren't cut out for business ownership? If so, there is nothing wrong with that, but don't ruin your evenings and weekends trying to start a business if you don't have the drive, skillset, personality, etc to be a business owner. After the newness wears off, it will be pure drudgery if you aren't in it for the right reasons.

    If you listen to nothing else anyone says, please listen to this: Do not go into partership with anyone, especially family members. You are setting yourself up for failure. type in "partnership" to the search box above to do some reading if you have time.

    Lawn care is NOT a good business opportunity for all the reasons mentioned above for your scenario. I'll give a few highlights:

    1. Low barrier to entry. Even Joe sixpack is your competition.
    2. You want to form a partnership. Terrible idea.
    3. You have skills, tools, and abilities that will already provide a much higher income than lawn care, you just don't like the work. If what you really need is extra money, continue doing electrical on the side.
    4. You are asking basic questions about starting up that you either didn't take the time to research (showing lack of desire), or are completely out of your element. Either way, it shouldn't be difficult to use the search function to educate yourself. If your biggest worries are what type of equipment to buy, you're already behind the 8 ball. Your biggest concerns should be marketing, legal operations, profitability, is this business even viable, etc.

    After reading this, you probably think I'm being a jerk. I'm sorry if it seems that way. Just trying to save you a lot of time and heartache. This is a bad idea if the truth is even close to what you've presented in your posts above.
     
  8. Slimreynolds

    Slimreynolds LawnSite Member
    Posts: 96

    I was in your shoes about 8 months ago. I was in a good paying job that I hated so I bought a truck, trailer, and a 36 inch walk behind. since then I gained 26 weekly accounts and now have a scag ztr, 48inch walk behind, and other various nice equipment. I was able to buy all this good equipment because Every dollar I made doing landscaping I was buying more/better equipment and reinvesting in my business...I was able to do this because I kept my full time job and used that income to pay the bills.

    I think if you go this route you will be happy and successful if you do it slowly. Good luck...from Newington, CT
     
  9. rootytalbot

    rootytalbot LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 273

    If you were closer I'd come knock that out for ya. I've been licensed since 89 and was union and military trained electrician. I'd rather mow grass than wait for an inspector - but the skills are still there.
    I like to do the jobs I dislike - elec, paint, building in the winter when I am bored and need something to do. But I understand the OP - change is necessary sometimes.
     
  10. Chuck Norris

    Chuck Norris LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 296

    Why not just start your own electrical company? I mean you have the knowledge already not to mention the tools.
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