I need some major advice...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by TennCuts, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. TennCuts

    TennCuts LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    First I want to say 'hello' to everyone on the site...I found it a few days ago, and it has been very informative. This is my first post, so please forgive any 'posting goof-ups' I may be responsible for.

    My situation is as follows. I work as a mechanical maintenance tech in the automotive industry. I carry a 2-way radio and respond to equipment breakdown issues in the production plant. I make $30 an hour with good insurance. I also work from 10:30p.m. til 7:00a.m. I have been at this job for 15 1/2 years, and I must say I hate my job. To the point....There is supposed to be an employee buyout offered next week, but it's very measly. after taxes, I would have maybe 45,000. in cash. I'd need 20k of it to pay my very modest house off. That leaves 25k to purchase a mower or two( I have a 12ft trailer already). I'd need a blower, and an edger...I've got a shindaiwa trimmer already. I naturally have no clients, and working nights with overtime has me too exhausted to do it part time to start. I know I could get equipment for much less than 25k, but that money is also what I have left to try to survive on and pay other regular bills with...so it won't last long...I also have a 99 tahoe...2wd that I could use to pull my trailer...although it's not ideal.

    Many of you have been in the business for years, and I value your opinions. Should I stay where I'm at and make the $30 an hour with benefits and be unhappy? Is it worth taking the leap into the unknown when I have a wife and a teenage daughter? I'm pretty stressed over this, and I know that here very soon I'm gonna have to make a decision. Thanks very much for any and all input.
     
  2. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 798

    Don't know what to say. You're gonna do what you wanna do. you have a good job now. You are not gonna make that kind of money doing this type work for a couple years. It can be done, but it will take you a few years and lotsa time and dedication. It's not as easy as everyone thinks it is.
     
  3. TennCuts

    TennCuts LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Yes, I understand what you're saying. I have been debating this for several years already, but with the announcement of the tiny 'buyout' option coming forth, it just kinda re-lit the old flame. I have 'some' college, but no degree, so it's just a little scary...I'm sure some of you have had to make similar decisions. Thanks! Keep it coming...
     
  4. Robert S

    Robert S LawnSite Member
    from tx
    Posts: 97

    sounds you should try to find some happieness in your other job cause thats good money get your house paid off build a nest egg. think of it as you dont have to like it but its supporting your family real well.look at me my 8 doller a hour job ends in one week and i want to mow but cant afford a weed eater or blower or mower till i get my tax return i have a wife and 3 kids my wife works for minnumem wage at a retirement home. rent went up last week.man if i was you id keep the mechanic job.if your unhappy with it maybe see a counsler.you got a good life.and again i know how you feel because i quit to many jobs because i wanted to be a painter and be my own boss.try to cope with it .i go to aa im sober 3 years now and regret quiting jobs as a result of my alcholisim.well good luck and keep the faith.turn it over to God
     
  5. TennCuts

    TennCuts LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Thanks Robert. That is a different perspective, but it is very accurate. I guess that is what makes the situation most difficult. I have had several bouts of depression since working in the maintenance field. There is so much mandatory overtime, and when I do have a day(night) off, I feel so tired from the night shift hours that only one day off is a total waste. There are many good things in my life because of this job...no doubt...but there is such an empty feeling too. We should all try to see the positive things we are blessed with.
     
  6. Robert S

    Robert S LawnSite Member
    from tx
    Posts: 97

    ther you go. things could be worse.just think your young got your family and supporting them well just think of it as the labor of love.i get tired alot to from working to pay rent etc.sometime a multivitamen will help alot.good luck bro.it will get better. turn it over to God.one day at a time
     
  7. Albery's Lawn & Tractor

    Albery's Lawn & Tractor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,674

    One thought, why don't you try to get hired by one of your local lawncare companies. You'll get hands on expierence and you'll get to find out if its what you want to do the rest of your life. Granted you might only make $10 or so an hour but if you decide its not for you then you didn't go out and buy $20,000 in equip. Most people like to mow there own yard and think they can make it a career and then when they realize they have to mow 25 plus a week its not so fun anymore.
     
  8. brocksdiesel

    brocksdiesel LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    Sounds to me you are a go getter. If you hate your job i don't think the good lord would have you stay there. If you pour your heart into it and do a great job you would be suprised what the Lord will bless. I think working the long hours you are now you'll probably get off the ground pretty well. Take anything at first and then weed out your customers. I have been doing it for 13 yrs. I don't cut lawns anymore mainly new installs but started the same way. There is always gonna be days that are trying but i will say i never wake up saying i hate what i'm doing. you need to make sure you enjoy this line of work or find somthing you do. I will agree you are making pretty good money but money ain't everything.
     
  9. CA CLT

    CA CLT LawnSite Member
    Posts: 61

    TennCuts,

    Pay off the home and take the buyout. You can start your business for next to nothing, and I'm going to suggest how.

    Your trailer is already covered, so that is a big part of it you don't have to contend with. You can sell the 99 Tahoe and buy a truck if that concerns you. You should be bale to move into a pickup or stake bed of the same vintage for less money than the Tahoe brings.

    What do you need to get going? That depends in part on what size properties you are going to maintain. I worked for an outfit when I was a kid and we did 80 high end residentials per week with 4 guys, all using 21" Snappers. For this situation we are going to assume that you are going to do some larger residences and a walk behind mower is necessary. A ZTR riding mower IS NOT necessary for your start up.

    Right now on craigslist.org in Nashville, there is a 48" WB ExMark with a velkie for $1400, and a 48" Bunton for $1000. I like you, we're getting you the ExMark!

    Used 48" Mower $1400
    New 21" Mower $900 ( I like you remember?)
    New Line Trimmer $350
    New Blower $400
    New Hedge Trimmer $350
    Sprayer, Trash Cans, Tarps, Gas Cans, Rakes, Shovels etc. $500
    Insurance, Business Licenses, Cards, Website etc. $1000.

    Total Investment for a ready to advertise setup. $4,900.

    Now you are going to incrementally invest $1,000 sums on advertising (mostly print, postcards, door hangers, flyers etc) until you get to the point that you are making your target gross income. Each $1,000 will give you some experience in your market to determine what advertising vehicles have been most successful for you, and where future dollars are best spent. I'm thinking that before you ever get to having $5,000 invested in advertising you will have a good little business that meets your needs and that you built debt free.

    Total investment $9,900 maximum. That leaves you over $15,000 as a nest egg to survive on. Remeber though, that early in this process you will have some income that will start flowing in, which will stretch your $15,000K much further.

    Your challenge is going to be gaining as much knowledge as you can about lawn care and landscape maintenance in the interim. Particlularly how long it takes to do a job so you can estimate effectively and competitively. Learn the names of commonaly used plants, names of turfgrass varieties, how to program common irrigation controllers, polish up your sales skills. Knowledge is part of what will close the sale for you once your effective advertising gets people to call.

    Best of Luck!
     
  10. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,320

    In my past job I had maintenance guys who went off and got community college degrees and worked themself up out of technician jobs. Is that a possibility at your company? You ought to consider something more technical than lawn care....maybe airconditioning, plumber, or electrical work. You got more on the ball then you realize.. However if it makes you feel any better there are a lot of guys in your situation and they do it for the money not for fun.
     

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