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Need your input

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by STIPPY, Aug 2, 2001.


    STIPPY LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Here's my situation:

    As it stands ,I'm probably getting laid off next Friday(10th).
    Like Bob M. says after 14 years the "Man" has finally caught up to me. I will be able to collect unemployment for a while and I also coach football (Jr High) so I will have a little income.

    My question to you all is I can go back to school and through a state funded program and won't have to pay anything. I should be able to come out of this in two years with 2 associate degrees.
    Horticulture/Landscaping and Turf grass management. Have not worked in this field before but have worked construction in the past and really enjoyed it. Classes start on 27th so I really need to decide fast. I' m 95% sure I know what I'm going to do.
    Another twist to the story is my wife is also going to school for nursing(full time) and will graduate about the same time I do.
    We have 3 kids and have a plan to survive the next 2 years finacially.

    What would you do?
  2. roscioli

    roscioli LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 749

    You have the money to survive 2 years without work? DO IT. Nothing like education. And hey, if you realize you hate this field, you can always skip the rest of the schooling, right?
  3. i would go to school! its always good to know more than the next guy does about plants, diseases, insects, design, care of, and so on and so forth.
  4. Bob_McNaughton

    Bob_McNaughton LawnSite Member
    Posts: 94

    With any education, you have to weigh whether you will make a substantial amount more than the next guy in the field without an education.

    My experiance has shown that an associates degree does virtually nothing to increase your marketability to a potential employer. Browse the web sites for employers, such as headhunter.net, and note that all of the positions require Bachelors or higher.

    Now, the question is, if you truely desire to pursue it past the associate, and into bachelors WITHOUT a break, then go for it. An associates just won't help you land the big job. Do you want to invest 4 years of your life and money in an education are your age? If your spend 4 years building a business, instead of school, will you be farther ahead?

    Also, i'm doubtful a degree in turf management will result in much more than a 30-40k a year job as a groundskeeper forman for a golf course.. I would venture a guess that field experiance would be more valuable for these employers than book experiance. If I owned a golf course, and was looking for a groundskeeper forman, and 2 guys came up to me.. One fresh out of school with 2 years of turf management classes, or a guy thats been cutting lawns and planting trees for 4-8 years in his own business, i'd snatch up the later. If he needed some education about specifics, I would PAY for him to attend a trade school for a few months. But he really should know everything already. =p

    Just food for thought, your choice.. You've invested 14 years in a company, and they sucked you dry, and now they are casting you off. Do you really want to go through it all over again after you get your 2 year degree?

    Let your wife finish up, my wife makes close to 30$ an hour as a highly trained contingency ER nurse. Once she finishes, you will have ALOT of flexibility in life suddenly. =p

    If you really want to go into mowing lawns, you need to decide to do it full-time, as your sole income. Or do it part-time and goto school.. If *I* were in your shoes, depending on how old you are, I would go into mowing fulltime, defer your education for 2 years. After 2 years, your wife will be done, drop down to part-time mowing, and mow part-time and goto school full-time for a business degree (BA - 4 years).

    After 4 years, you will have a solid business degree, a degree in which there is no shortage of hungry companies looking for people.(keep in mind though, a BA in business is only worth about 40-60k a year nowadays!!) Then decide, mow fulltime again, or sell out to the man.. Either way, this will give you the flexibility, you have choices..

    Good luck
  5. I suggest you take just one of the green industry tracks and get a AA in automotive technology.

    Right know there is a shortage of quailified techs that can wrench (actually mouse) on late model computer controlled fuel injected trucks and autos.

    If you are getting into the green industry you will have to maintain at least a dozen machines of all sizes.

    If you cannot fix them yourself any profits from lawn and landscaping will go into the pockets of your local outdoor power equipment dirt dealer.

    When the crap hits the fan the men that will survive will be the ones who can actually fix things like autos and computers.

    Any book learned BS or BA will be worthless.
  6. crazygator

    crazygator LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,048

    Well Stone is right on the money! Auto tech's are in short supply everywhere. And I hear the money is pretty good too. But if you really want into the green industry then go for it, survive your 2 years and you'll be just fine.
  7. Lawn DOG

    Lawn DOG LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 276

    Go to college so you can tell us what we missed.
  8. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    I agree a little bit here and there all through this thread.

    My input would be to go back to school, if you can afford it, but also incorporate a business degree somewhere in your plan. It will be the best you can do for a "back-up" plan if the green industry thing doesn't work out. And if you end up in the industry, but have to work for someone else, the biz degree will prob help you get the type of high $ position you want over the assoc. in turf, etc. That can be quickly replaced with O.J.T.

    Good Luck and let us know how it works out!
  9. MJ

    MJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 312

    Stippy, I'd encourage you to go back to school. I started college at 31 yrs old. Wound up eight years later with a Master's degree. At times I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it, but it just kept working out one way or another. I'd suggest you get with a good career counselor and take some interest and aptitude tests before you decide on a definite career or degree program. Surprising what they come up with sometimes. Your state Career Center or (Un)employment office might have a career counselor. If not, look in the phone book or do a search on the Internet for career guidance. Generally, an Associate degree for anything besides a skilled trade (mechanic, computer tech etc) is useless. For a business degee you should plan on a Bachelor degree. Before you go for Landscape/Horticulture, visit your (Un)employment office. They should be able to tell you if there are openings in this field. Also, ask the college department head (chairman) about thier placement rate for graduates. If they aren't able to tell you how many students had jobs at graduation, the title, the starting salary and the company they worked for, run (don't walk) to another department. If your doing this for self-employment, get a business degree with concentration in Small Business Administration. Supplement with courses in Turf Grass etc. Many small businesses fail because the owner has good technical skills but poor business skills.

    Good Luck.
  10. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,412

    I second the Stone recommendation. If I had to pay someone to wrench my equipment I would have folded years ago.

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