I may have lost the drive...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by OnMyOwn, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. OnMyOwn

    OnMyOwn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 372

    -In this since '92, full-time for the last (3) years. Just cannot seem to find the magic to make the $$$ I need to support a growing family. We are paying the payroll, the bills, both corporate and personal...but just want a little more. I've been large, medium, and small, yet small seems to be the smallest amount of headaches with the largest ROI.

    Recently took winter work as a Financial Controller for another company in town, not seasonal by any means. I intended for this to be P/T, but has been F/T since day 1. I find myself more interested in this company, than mine. In addition, IT IS SO NICE PULLIN A BIG, NICE CHECK ON A WEEKLY BASIS. The lawncare was incorporated and I was set for weekly payroll, but often held off to make sure bills / employees were paid first.

    I have a few opportunities to sell it off. If not, I may back-down to a small role not active in daily operations. Regardless, I seem to have gotten soft over steady money, growth and satisfaction offered by other employment. I have a lot of mixed emotions, but am very happy to be stepping down at some level.

    A great clientele, vendor support, "fair" employees and good equipment is about all I can do to increase profits. I'm tired of struggling.

    PLEASE...tell me this is the right decision!!!!!!!!!

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    If it feels right then it's probably the best decision for you... It is nice to go to work and shut it off at quitting time. And if you can be paid well at the same time then why not?
  3. dlm17

    dlm17 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 102

    simple question to ask yourself, why did you go in to buisness for yourself to begin with, if you cant remember or it does not apply today then go for it, dont look back and dont blame anyone else later if its the wrong decision. good luck which ever way you go
  4. cborden

    cborden LawnSite Member
    from 46140
    Posts: 177

    Think five years down the road and do what will make you happy, and still be the best action for you family. There is nothing wrong with steady money.
  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    The way it sounds, you must be doing the lawn work on a per time / hourly charge??

    You capped the line "NICE BIG PAYCHECK". I was the same way 8 years ago when my wife and I got married.

    I had 7 guys working for me, but there were weeks when I could hardly make payroll, especially if things got dry, skipping accounts, and then had a major breakdown on a truck, that sort of thing.

    I told my wife that I was going back to working solo, dropping 2/3's of my accounts and keeping the ones that I wanted on a flat fee. 1/2 of the accounts that I kept on a flat fee, I plow as well, so they're on a flat fee year-round.

    My best year 8 years ago with the 7 guys working, I grossed about $170k.

    Last year working solo, I grossed just under $150k.

    Anyone can do the math and see where I'm better off.

    I know that not every situation on here is the same. Nor are the areas in which people are able to do their operations. I realize that not everywhere are companies able to switch to a flat monthly fee in order to plan a budget, that some customers won't go for it.

    I had to let some real good paying (on time / price-wise) customers go when I switched. Sure they were good accounts when the grass was growing, but if it got dry, they weren't irrigated, so if you're skipping accounts, the bank doesn't care where you get the money for the house payment, they just care that they get the money.

    Trust me, it wasn't overnight that I've acquired the accounts that allow me to run my business this way. Every year there's 1-2-3 accounts that turn over, I'm always getting rid of the lower paying accounts for something that pays $25-50 / month more for roughly the same amount of work, or at least raising the prices on my accounts $25 / month every other year.

    Anyways, if you want more detail, send me a message, I'll spell it out for you if you'd like.

    Again, I'm not saying it'll work for you, just like JustMowIt's plan will never work where I'm at, the yards are too big and too spread out. Just trying to give you another option that may work, or may not.
  6. gardenkeeper88

    gardenkeeper88 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 347

    In addition to the above. what drove you 2 years ago, what excites you today, what do you enjoy, can this job give me that back? Headaches? yes but i haven't been in a job without those. If the answers above can't be reached again then maybe u need to look at the new job. What will drive me in this job 2 years from now. What excites me about this new job. what enjoyment do I get from this job. What headaches might pop up on this job. What ever decision u make, u will be making it for the future and hopefully long term (for the family). Good luck, these decisions are never easy, Talk with your life mate, pray to God, and weigh the pros and con. of each.:confused:
  7. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Posts: 5,407

    If you had 7 guys and only grossed 170k... something is seriously wrong! That number should be somewhere between 500k-600k. And I will guarantee running a business solo is not the answer.
  8. Frosty_03

    Frosty_03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 333

    Man I would do what makes me happy, it sound like you are looking for the excuse to bale on you oown company and work for someone esle and let them have all the head aches. You can only do what make you happy. We all can sit here and give you advise, however you decision will only effect you and your family and your employees and thier families, YOu have to weigh what is best for you. I hope this helps out.:weightlifter:
  9. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    Again, if you read my whole post, you'll realize that yards are too spread out in my area. Windshield time kills a person. THAT'S what is seriously wrong.

    There's times we would drive 1/2 hour to do a yard for $50 to try to get into an area.

    You're right, in a perfect world, where everyone always gets the minimum of $60 / hour, for 7 guys, that SHOULD gross out about $420 / hour, which means it SHOULD gross out about $3,400 / day for 8 hours, or about $17,000 / week for a 5 day week, and since I have a 6 month season here in MN, about $403k / year.

    Now, that's if they're running SOLID at $60 / hour, every hour, every day, every week, all summer. No rain days, no break downs, no holidays.

    This was 8-10 years ago, when the norm (still is some places) where yards are $30 / time, and that was good money. Plus, since it was per time, you'd run into skipping accounts in the summer, people didn't water NEARLY as much as they do now (irrigation) and I'd try to get work, just to keep the guys busy, maybe not looking totally at the profit margin.

    Plus, if you did one yard for $45, it would take 3 guys 1/2 hour to do it, so really you're only getting about $20 / hour, $30 tops.

    Also, I really wish people would quit posting that running a business solo will not work. I look at the numbers, and realize now that my area is growing like mad, that I could (should) start running employees again. However, I see numerous companies still, talk to some of them as well, and the only ones that stick around are the guys that are running solo.

    The ones that were running crews (1 company that's actually been around for 14 years now) they all still say the same thing, windshield time. The one guy that's still in business, he's gone to pretty much strictly HOAs, which he can have, I can't stand them.

    All in all, we don't have 1/4 acre lot next to 1/4 acre lot next to 1/4 acre lot for miles here, where you can do 50 yards for $30, all within 1 mile. Where I live, everyone has to have a 5 acre minimum, and most will have 1-2 acres of grass, the rest just woods and or prairie grass, depending on what was natural.

    My demographics are 25-60 year old, blue collar workers who like to drink beer on their rider on the weekend. That pretty much negates any reasonable chance of lining up every other house on a stretch like some guys do in other areas of the country.

    Again, I didn't say my business model will work for everyone, nor did I say it'll work for some. It's the only way that I've found I can make the best money for me, with the situation that I'm in, after fine tuning it now for 18 years.
  10. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Posts: 5,407

    Don't you get burnt out? What happens if you injure yourself? What happens if you are sick for a week?

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