Entreprenurial Spirit

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Harley58, May 23, 2003.

  1. Harley58

    Harley58 LawnSite Member
    from Orlando
    Posts: 28

    The last time I lost sleep thinking about a business venture, I quit my $90,000/yr job at a large Fire Dept and went out and bought a dump truck and trailer (big thing in the Pacific NW) and started hauling big rock. Let's see...startup costs? Just the basics. No micellaneous.

    '93 Mack 4 axle dump...$65,000
    Pup Trailer....................$ 5000
    Heavy equipment trailer $8000

    Put 20% down on the truck and paid cash for both trailers.

    Rate of pay..72.50 hr


    Fuel $150 every other day
    Licensing and extra tonnage $3600 every six months
    Truck pmt. $1800/mo
    Insurance $780/mo for all equipment
    Tires (caps) $200 ea.
    Oil change and service every 5000 or so miles $460
    Run 6 days/wk 14 hr days. Not all paid. 12 if you're lucky. Break down (busted axle..flat..air leak..DOT..) you get the picture?

    I knew all the expenses going in. The one thing I didn't plan on was getting jerked around when it came time to get paid. I was being expected to be able to carry myself 90 days in the extreme before the checks arrived. You complain, they get someone else. You do eventually get paid though.

    I lasted two years, lost a lot of money, and went back to fighting fires.
    My situation is truly a case of Golden Handcuffs. Great job. Lots of fun.
    It's time to move on for reasons of my own. I plan to move to Florida shortly and am looking strongly at this business. I have been reading these forums for about a week and have developed a tremendous respect for professional LCO's.

    I know some may think I'm twisted to leave such a well paying job but I learned the following thing from the dump truck biz...no matter how much a pita the operation was, it was my first taste of being in business for myself and I have never forgotten it. I loved it.
    I have no problem working hard if that's what it takes.

    I also learned the big ones... Pay your taxes and stay out of debt.
    I'm doing my homework now on this business, and if I do decide to join your ranks, I hope to do it justice with a professionally run business. Thanks to all for all the valuable information on this site. I couldn't find anything like this when I was considering the dump truck business. Thanks.
  2. ffemt1271

    ffemt1271 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,285

    there are lots of firefighters that do this on the side some of the guys i work with make over 200K a year part time in the lawn business. the good thing is that it takes very little money to get started as compared to other businesses. plus being a firefighter also helps you get some business too. people love thier firefighters!! like when you are on a run and see a growed up lot and you go pass out a card .and there's nothing like getting paid to advertise:D
  3. Harley58

    Harley58 LawnSite Member
    from Orlando
    Posts: 28

    Great occupation. Too political within the organization though. Our administration is totally disfunctional. I'm tired. The public is the only ones who appreciate you. In this city, if the fire dept. was a business, we'd be out of business. Time to move on.
  4. Mudmower

    Mudmower LawnSite Member
    Posts: 102

    I here ya Harley, those of us who have experienced running our own business just can't shake that independence. I have gained much respect for the LCO guys after reading here. I am looking at something differant than Lawns or landscape, but VERY closely related. I can't ellorborate at this time but will if things work out.

    Like your dump truck biz, mine requires a large capital investment but has the potential to pay off quite well. I am not looking to break the bank, just supplement and make me more comfortable.
    (Just a note, this business does not infringe on residential LCO's.)

    Good luck in your endeavors.
  5. Let it Grow

    Let it Grow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 476

    Anyone thinking of starting a business should write a business plan. Then you will have a lot better of an idea whether your business will work out or not. It's basically a road map for your business.
    SBA.gov is a great site to help with business startups.
  6. Harley58

    Harley58 LawnSite Member
    from Orlando
    Posts: 28

    I still have my Bizplan software. Will definitely use it. Thanks.
  7. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    That I'd have to see a LOT of proof to believe. Heck, I'll go as far as to say I think it would be impossible!
    The only way it would be possible is if they had full time employees that worked IN the business and did all of the work, while they just ran and managed the business.

    I'd hate to see a newcomer get the wrong impression of the industry from a comment like that.

    Harley, welcome and best of luck to you.
  8. ffemt1271

    ffemt1271 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,285

    well our shifts are good we go in at 3 one evening and off at 3 the next (24 on 24 off) and 6 days in a row off after 5 shifts
    not to mention 3 21 day vacations a year too. anyone who is a firefighter will know what i'm talking about:D

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