Full time or not?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by 1145JohnDeere, Apr 9, 2001.

  1. 1145JohnDeere

    1145JohnDeere LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Posts: 21

    I hope some of the older members can help! I began mowing lawns in 1985, started with 2 push mowers in the back of my Toyota Celica. In 1997 I had about $150,000 worth of equipment, 5 employees, had great accounts, great reputation and made good money. Then the bottom dropped out. The labor pool dried up and the bottom feeders were the only ones you could find employ. In 14 mos I had employees steal over $4300 of tools, wreck (1 totaled) 2 trucks, 3 workmens comp claims (2 on their first day of work and before lunch), 1 new Great Dane torched and a turnaround of 24 employees. Of course work and reputation suffered. In May of 2001 I became so burned out with dealing with a major crisis EVERY DAY, I returned to the job that I left in 1990 to mow. This job is not physically demanding, somewhat stable, and the people are great, but there is no challenge or motivation (government job, but not all are like mine) and there is no chance of promotion. I am going crazy because I still have a lot of ambition, miss having that excitement of "earning" my pay, using my creativity, and providing a permanent testament of that in my landscaping. I loved the lawn work but I tired of fighting sorry help, etc. I've been here for a year and have had time to ponder over my mistakes and realize I lost control because I became a slave to debt, made bad hires because of it, etc. With God's grace, a lot of long hours, and selling some of my excess I have recovered for the most part. I have kept my business operating (Seeding, landscaping, mowing) and am doing better now than in three years. I am considering returning to the full time status, but now I make $21 and hour, have lots of time off, and have a 401K, am I a fool to consider this?. I am 43 years old, can I do this at 53? Has anyone else had a similar situation? Would like some advise.
  2. smburgess

    smburgess LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 469

    Since you are asking for an opinion, based on the above information I would not leave the job. I am forty-three and have seven employees at present and always looking for more. I personally don't do much cutting, mainly equipment maintenance, landscaping and irrigation maintenance. I think with most people in this business HELP is the most aggravating and time consuming aspect because it's such a big unknown from week to week at times. I'll be in great shape for six months or a year, then BAM! Your looking for another good employee to run a crew for a month or two til someone comes in that has what it takes. (I'm beginning to ramble on!)

    It sounds like you still have your hand in it, so leave it at that.

  3. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    At your age, and with your experience, if you wouldn't mind relocating there are some dynamite management jobs in this industry out there paying $45K+. The industry is starved for middle and upper management types with your kind of background and experience. For those that have been at it awhile and find that they just don't seem to be "cutting it" (excuse the pun please) - you can make a danged good living working for a larger more established organization.

    There are guys on this forum that I have thought I'd love to have working for us with their experience.

    But.... if self employment is "in your blood", it's difficult to think of working for someone else.
  4. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    just mine but stay with that job. lawncare can supply the interesting wrk and the job is steady. that way you are ready if company downsizes or something
  5. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,910

  6. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Posts: 7,886

    Keep the job and the security of benefits etc. Been there and done that too with the big company and employees. Not to that extent and i made it through the burnout. But now the market is just as saturated as ever.
  7. 1145JohnDeere

    1145JohnDeere LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Posts: 21

    Well, the economy here is auto industry based and with the elimination of overtime and layoffs there has been a heavy increase in lawn care company start ups. This has saturated the market and decreased prices pretty good. I am still considering full time status, but am giving it a lot more thought.
  8. wrtenterprises

    wrtenterprises LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 312

    I have had the same concerns over the last few years. I have a running contract with a large government contractor to provide at least 400 hours of computer assistance each year for the foreseeable future. I finally went full-time in the landscaping biz last year, and so far it has been a good decision. However the security of a full-time 9-5 with good benefits and a respectable wage are hard to overlook. Stay with the full-time job, and make the "easy" money from your best accounts. If I'm ever in your situation, I will work elsewhere full-time and do landscping on the side....

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