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Leap of Faith

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by jfan, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. Good advice here. I like your positive view. I started this business bc I enjoy it. I have a finance degree from a really good school, but I wanted to be my own boss and I like this biz. You have to work very hard, invest a lot back in the business, and do a great job. You won't need to advertise bc word of mouth will get you more biz. Another thing I will add is network with good people. I just picked up a $1,750 single residential account from networking in a very wealthy and affluent area here. Good luck with whatever you do.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. djagusch

    djagusch LawnSite Platinum Member
    from MN
    Posts: 4,231

    If your a teacher so you can coach that says enough right there. If you don't like being in the classroom quit right now. If you don't like that part of the job (the important part) then I don't want you teaching kids. There are many teachers out there that want to teach kids and enjoy the classroom. Quit wasting taxpayers dollars please.

    As for the landscaping job. You have a cheap workforce (high school football kids) what you could bill out decently. But I don't know your market, I don't know your work ethic (85hrs a week sounds good but I would bet most landscape guys put in those hours throughout the summer, maybe not in the field but estimates, equipment maintainence etc), I don't know if you can sell (which is key). Most buisnesses fail are you willing to take that risk.
  3. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Gold Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 3,755

    He said he makes $50,000 a year. How many of you guys net not gross. Let me repeat net not gross. $50,000 a year?

  4. jfan

    jfan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

  5. cle.lawn

    cle.lawn LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 17

    Along with many other pieces of good advice. This is the bottom line, literally. I have been in business a couple years now and do not make this.

    Talk with your wife, make sure she is on board. Then my suggestion for you, knowing only what you have said, is to quit coaching and start part time. See where it goes. You can always get back into coaching if it fails or you lose interest. And if it takes off then you are on your way and can maybe replace your teaching income when the time comes.
  6. jfan

    jfan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Probably the most logical, and I have been seriously Leaning in this direction.

    Thank You
  7. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Gold Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 3,755

    Here is another thing that I learned. When your part time you have the luxury of being part time and not having to worry whether you fail or not and the money you earn can go right back into the business.

    I was part time for 2 years and didn't need the money and was just trying it out to see if I liked it. I also wanted to see what it was like to run a small business.

    So I did everything with that mind set. Its a whole other ball game to have to live off of this income. I was legit from the start because I wanted to make sure if it grew I would not have to look over my shoulder and I wanted to protect myself. I'm not a young kid with no assets and I didn't want something stupid to happen and lose what I worked for my whole life.

    I started late at 40 years old and I had some experience from my teenage years. Ive always worked hard in construction and made it to a superintendent position and life was good. Then all hell broke loose and I found myself without a job and no prospects.

    So I all ready had this going so I just went full time. Going full time allows you to fully concentrate on the business and that is what you will need to do if you want to make it. But it also is very scary and you have no life vest and your in the deep end of the pool now.

    It will definitely motivate you that is for sure but it will also show you just how hard this business is. When you have to keep a roof over your head and pay the bills and put food on the table the reality sinks in quick.

    There are companies that do well over a million dollars a year and the owner might take home $50,000 after its all said and done. Sure he has business assets but he also has business liabilities.

    Everyone right now is doing whatever they can to pay the bills and lawn care is flooded with people trying to do the same thing. Some are legal but most are not and hell I can't blame anyone for trying to work and make money.

    Thats not the point, the point is there are so many in this business that is has become so saturated that even the giant companies are just working to keep the crews busy. Meaning they are not making a profit they are just hanging on.

    That is the reality not the fiction. It was hard enough to make a living in the go go spend and burn times. But now everyone is looking to get everything done on the cheap.

    This is one of the few business that you cannot pass along rising cost. As expenses go up you have to eat it or lose the customer to the cheaper illegal. Gas goes up, mowers go up,oil goes up, maintenance cost go up but guess what doesn't go up? Your ability to charge more.

    Profits were thin in the good times but now they are worse than ever especially when you have kids, firefighters, retired folks, people without jobs, illegals, school teachers etc. They can work cheap because its not their main source of income or they live 20 to a house.

    Even the nice neighborhoods are no longer a safe haven. Down here you can drive through 600,000 neighborhoods that were once pristine and see foreclosed houses and ratty landscapes and people just hanging on afraid to open the mailbox or looking out the window waiting for the sheriff car to pull up.

    Everything is on sale in this economy at basement prices. Go to the supermarket and see how they pass on the rise in costs. Hell you can't even afford a good steak now a days. They can get away with it because you have to eat, but people don't need lawn care.

    Just my opinion. I used to make $75,000 a year in my job, company truck,401k 5 weeks vacation etc. Now I struggle to make ends meet and its not from a lack of trying. I spent over $5000 this year on advertising and the results were not that good and that is a drop in the bucket to what others spend.

  8. Glenn Lawn Care

    Glenn Lawn Care LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,647

    You are crazy!!! You have a stable 50k a year job and you wanna give that up to do back breaking landscaping.... I don't think crazy is the correct word!!
  9. Guys, not disagreeing with what a lot have said, I agree with a good portion of it. You have to understand that a successful business doesn't happen overnight. There are plenty of successful companies in my area, that aren't lowballers, but they have been in the game for at least 10 years, most closer to 20. The biggest misconception IMO is that you will just jump into the game and be a millionaire overnight. Talk to Azgardener here on lawnsite. He has 30 years experience in this biz and has had his biz for 10 if I'm not mistaken. He is my role model on lawnsite bc he does high end resi, which is what I'm doing. It takes many years to have a great company and awesome client base.
    Posted via Mobile Device

    Posts: 1,343

    Start small and stay debt free! This way when
    You are ready to go for it whole hog you are most of the way there. Then all you have to do is worry about making the business end of it work. Good luck.
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