Hopeful Entrepreneur in need of advice.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by D. R. Martin, Jul 22, 2014.

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  1. D. R. Martin

    D. R. Martin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 56

    I am a full time police officer who knows little about lawn care and less about equipment maintenance. I've never driven a trailer and don't even know how to hook one up. Obviously, I have a lot to learn. But I'm fully committed and ready to do so.

    My wife is going to quite her job to stay home with our new babies. I have always dreamed of owning my own business and being my own man, so to speak. We will need some extra income to cover our living costs because she will be unable to reenter the workplace for a while. Hopefully, she will never have to. I don't know that I'll ever be rich monetarily. As weird as it sounds, I'm far less driven by money as much as I dream of having time freedom to spend with my family as my children grow up, and hope to have the money for us to live our lives comfortably. I recognize that everyone and their brother, including people like me, are trying to enter this market space, primarily because there are so few barriers to entry. I hope I'm not disillusioned concerning whether the market is to heavily saturated for me to carve out some business. I plan on starting small, only working two full days and a couple of evenings (I get home from work around 18:30) every week.

    I got some good advice recently. Which was to spend what little money I have on a commercial grade walk behind as opposed to a residential to entry level commercial ZTR. The thinking was that I will always have a need for a walk behind, and a good one will last for a decade or so. Conversely, a cheaper ZTR will only last for about a year. The local Ace Hardware has a small sized Exmark walk behind. It is the Commercial 30. It has only a 30" cutting deck, so I don't think it will save me a great deal of time per yard. It was priced at $1,800. It isn't the prettiest. By which I mean it doesn't scream professional grade. Therefore, I doubt it will lend credibility to my company. However, I think this could be a good way to start. I could purchase this mower and an Echo base, string trimmer, edger, and limb pruning attachments, as well as an Echo blower for around $3,500. With it I wouldn't need a trailer either.

    The other mower I saw was last years model Husqvarna commercial walk behind. It has a whopping 48" cutting deck. I could get it for $3,200 plus tax.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I'm happy to be a new member of this community.
     
  2. Efficiency

    Efficiency LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 1,544

    I'm going to repeat what I read: you want to be able and value highly the ability to spend time with your family. So, to accomplish that goal, you are starting a business with you as the first and likely only employee.
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  3. D. R. Martin

    D. R. Martin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 56

    Wow. First response from the community and it is from a sardonic twit. I want to start a business to earn extra income so that when I come home from work my wife isn't walking past me to hot seat the car to go to work. I want to come home to my wife, who incidentally was watching my children all day, as opposed to a babysitter.

    I want to grow a business that my wife, and some year my children, can work with me. I want grow the company to the point where I'm a business owner who works part time. You know, someone with employees, eventually.

    I don't understand how that confused you. Do you have any comments on the Exmark Commercial 30, or did you just want to break balls?
     
  4. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    Contact score.org and schedule an appointment with a councilor. Tell the councilor what kind of business you would like to start and your own employment history. You will be given a homework assignment and that will consist of creating a business plan. After you have completed the business plan you will meet up with your councilor or Two to discuss your plan going forward. Ask about any mentoring plans available to assist you moving forward. The cost is free, before you go out and spend a single cent on anything else make a plan and than move forward. Confidence and wanting to change careers is good. Have a plan and executing the same is priceless.
    easy-lift guy
     
  5. D. R. Martin

    D. R. Martin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 56

    I'll look into that sir. Thanks for the good advice.
     
  6. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,100

    Both of us speaking from experience. This isn't the choice of business to have more time with your family. You need a lot of capitol to grow fast and get out of the field. Even though something always needs your attention

    Especially combining that with a full time job, but all these solo people are going to come in and say it'll work fine.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  7. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,416

    This particular sardonic twit is actually one of the more legit...wait for it...entrepreneurs on this forum.

    What he's pointing out is that, while you say this...

    "I want to start a business to earn extra income so that when I come home from work my wife isn't walking past me to hot seat the car to go to work. I want to come home to my wife, who incidentally was watching my children all day, as opposed to a babysitter."

    ...the reality is that you will not be a part of this awesome life you're building for them. You have a full time job, which is full time. You're going to add another layer of time on top of that which, again, is not being spent with your wife and children. You have a pretty good stretch of time you're likely looking at before you can get to a point where it's smooth sailing. And, by smooth sailing, I mean able to enjoy what you think it is you're building. Sure, you won't have to be walking in the door as she's walking out to work. She'll be getting ready for bed and your kids will have long been asleep.

    At least that's my guess as to what Efficiency was saying, which I agree with. I sense a romanticized view of what being an entrepreneur is. It is not as idyllic as you seem to think.
     
  8. D. R. Martin

    D. R. Martin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 56

    Are you saying that if I put in the time now and for the next 3 years or so, I won't A.) earn a hell of a lot more money, and B.) be well on the way to hiring employees, which will require less time working than my 40 hour a week plus 10 hours weekly commute time?
     
  9. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,716

    Efficiencies post while blunt was sound advice in a round about way.

    I agree with building something for your kids, but as far as family time in the short term, well, it won't exist. I can't remember how many long weeks i put in, how many times my wife was upset because I walked in the door at 9 pm and walked out at 5 am.

    Owning a business requires sacrifice and for all parties in your family to be on board.

    Best of luck.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  10. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,716

    Been at this over 10 years and I still work over 50 hours..........
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
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