Electrician to landscaper

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

  1. TTS

    TTS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 615

    I'm in the same shoes as you (I enjoy my job but it doesn't fit my life goals down the road). I just started in July and I'm doing ok for myself. I also reinvest 100% of the earnings back into the business. Maybe I'm new and naive but these other guys sound burnt out to me. You can make a killing out there if you play your cards right and don't take the accounts that don't make you money. I can't answer your question because I'm not to the point you're asking about yet but I'm closer now than I was in July, the sooner you start the sooner you'll get there.

    Just a business thought from a different perspective, I'm sure you have experience and are pretty efficient with a trencher, you might even own one for your electrical side jobs. I don't know exactly how involved it is because I don't play in that game yet but a few college courses learning about irrigation which has a much higher potential profit margin and you could have a nice little niche built for yourself. Also low voltage landscape lighting is today what paver patios were 10 years ago, I would seriously look at that in your business plan. As much as you can make money mowing lawns it is a cut throat modest profit margin area. You're well on your way having the skills and or tools for some other related specialties with higher profit margins.
     
  2. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    Have you considered an electrical company franchise? just a thought! I left a electronics technician career for a landscaping career! not really by choice but that was five years ago and I am still chugging along doing a lil better every year so far, it takes time to grow a business and this industry is notoriously slow because every tom dick and harry out there doing it, not to mention all the pt's, fireman, high school kid, college kid etc etc. I'm beginning to think commercial accounts is the only thing left for the true landscaping business owner, they generally don't want just some joe smoe and not very many small solo guys can afford the equipt it takes for a truly commercial operation so they get knocked out of the game leaving only a few to get the commercial bids.
     
  3. B16bri

    B16bri LawnSite Member
    Posts: 96

    The problem with owning / starting an electrical company is its actually harder that you would think to do it legit which of course I would do you need to get a second license. In electrical there are two different licenses an E-2 which I currently have which means you licensed but not considered a master electrician (E-1) you need that license to be able to pull permits and start a business. Now I understand this is doable but until you have take one of these test you don't know how hard they can be theres a 70% fail rate so once you figure in the cost of the test the cost of the exam prep courses the llc cost and the high insurance cost along with the tons of tools I don't have that would be needed to own a business. Add all those costs add up on top of the fact I really dislike almost hate what I do for 8 hours a day and while I understand if you own an electrical company and make it big you could be rich I honestly have no desire to own that sort of business. Honestly ide rather make less money and be happier doing something else. And I understand that a job is a job and everything after a while gets old and im sure cutting grass in 100 degree heat isn't all its cracked up to be either but I want out of what im doing now.
     
  4. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    I think a LOT of us on here have been where you are now, but like I said it's not all green grass on our side either, fortunately I myself love the freedom of being self employed, and have kinda known it's where I really belonged all along, but just wasn't able to make the switch for one reason or another. Long story short just take it slow until you truly know this is for you. don't jump in head first.
     
  5. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,353

    I certainly understand being burnt out and not enjoying your job. Here are a couple recomendations.

    1. Do not enter into a partnership.

    2. Do not do business with friends or family. It rarely turns out good.

    3. Get some experience in the green industry first. It will help you with your business and before you drop money on equipment and spend every waking hour on your business you should make sure you like the industry first.

    Have you considered becoming an industrial electrician or lineman? I have heard its much more enjoyable, more money and better benefits especially if your union. The other option would be getting into the business side of your current trade. Doing estimates, working with customers etc.?
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  6. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,353

    One more thing. If I were you I would go ahead and get your E-1 license. Commit yourself to studying hard. You may not have a life for a while but your brain will get into test mode. You WILL pass. This will open so many more doors for you. This is your ticket to getting out of the field and running a business.
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  7. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,021

    A few of the guys that are recommending against it or telling you it is not always greener are the ones that have been around awhile. On the other hand you have 1 thats been doing this for all of 3 months and says it's all great. I will just add two points. Everything is great when it's new and don't overload yourself or you will be short-lived in this business.

    If you have the ability to advertise effectively you can bring in way more work than you can possibly handle without having to lowball. That part of it is fine and good but it does take some skills. The bad part comes when you have to work fulltime then get off and mow yards til dark on the weekdays and all weekend. It burns you out very fast. Don't overload yourself.

    The only way to experience for yourself is to just do it. Read this forum for advice. You might not always like what you here because it goes against your perception of this industry but you can bet there is alot of truth in what the experienced ones say. Good luck to you :)
     
  8. B16bri

    B16bri LawnSite Member
    Posts: 96

    Thanks for the input I'm taking in everyone comments the good and the bad . In the beginning when you first started what equipment did you start with I know your only a few months in what do you use I know it's smarter to spend the least as I can until it grown and I can afford to upgrade what did you guys start with ? Thanks again to everyone who replyed
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  9. Bryan27

    Bryan27 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 148

    Just like being an electrician, there are basic tools that every electrician needs and then the rest of the tools are dependent on the scale of the job. What are the types of jobs you will be going after? Postage stamp lots, small commercial, .25-.5 acre residential lots, high end residential, large commercial? They all require the same basic tools, the size of the tools depends on the size/scope of the job.

    If you tell everyone who your target customer is and what the scope of the work you want to do they can likely give you better answers. Don't take this the wrong way, but I'm new to this site and have found that there are a lot of folks that come on here and ask some pretty basic questions that they should be able to answer on their own. You don't need, nor would you likely be able to efficiently use a 60" zero turn rider on a quarter or half acre lot with a fenced backyard. If those are the customers you are targeting, you'd do well with a 48" or smaller walk behind, 21-30" push mower, blower, trimmer, stick edger, some hedge trimming equipment and a 16' trailer. You could likely get a good start without spending on the walk behind until you get to the point of actually needing it. If you are just looking for a good supplemental income, you could easily spend $4000-6000 on all the equipment you'd need to get started. Target the properties that fit within the scope of your capabilities and don't overextend yourself physically or financially and you'll be fine.
     
  10. B16bri

    B16bri LawnSite Member
    Posts: 96

    As for my target customers Ide like to do it all some day small residential , high end residential and commercial I feel diversity can only help grow and expand your business. How ever considering ide just be starting out im sure ide be limited to the small/ medium residential. until I got established. I should have clarified my question better I know trimmers, edger's, blowers, hedge trimming equipment are a must and of course mowers I just wasent sure what everyone started out with or what would be the best for me to start out with
     

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