Part-time or Full-time - need advise

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawnperfections, Oct 2, 2002.

  1. lawnperfections

    lawnperfections LawnSite Member
    Posts: 63

    Kinda long, sorry.

    As always, all helpful comments are welcomed. I have been considering going full-time. I have a great full-time job (Sr. Programmer Analyst) for the largest non-profit hospital system in Jacksonville (job is very secure). I have a great boss and work with great people in a job that I got real lucky to get, considering I have no programming degree or experience (too long of a story to explain). If I left I would never be able to get this good of a setup again. I currently make $53k a year at the hospital.

    Now comes the dilemma.

    My business is currently contained in my neighborhood of 350 homes ($160k-260k). I have all new 2002 paid for equip and very, very little overhead. I have insurance and pay taxes.
    I only do maintenance and cut after work on Thurs and Fri. and 6-8 hours on Sat for a total of 15 hours +/- a week. This year I will gross $37k (estimating $43k + next year) even after turning down allot of work.
    My thinking is if I can do $37k in just 15 hours a week in my own neighborhood, with no advertising, just think what I could do if I actually tried. I live in the hottest area of town for new homes and I know there is plenty of work out for me because above all I'm reliable, professional, friendly and Oh yeah I do a pretty damm good job.

    I plan to continue to be part-time until next Christmas when my house will be paid off, that would make it less scary & risky if I have no debt whatsoever and have 6 months of expenses in an emergency fund, just in case. After that I need to make a decision because doing both is going to KILL me. I haven't really taken a break or a real vacation in 3 years and my wife would like to see more of me too, however she does like being a stay at home mom and having all that extra spending money.

    My questions are:
    1. For the part-timers what do you do full-time?
    2. Would you give it up to go full-time?
    3. What would it take for you give up your full-time job?

    For the full-timers:
    4. What does good health ins. cost. (I’m 32, wife 30, son 10 months all in good health)
    5. What other things should I consider before making the leap?
    6. Any other helpful comments are welcomed.

    Also, if there are any RELIABLE guys on this site that work the Kernan Rd area of Jacksonville, I have customers that are looking for someone to do landscape work.

    Sorry so long,
     
  2. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 648

    I have been a CPA for 28 years. Last year I started mowing a little.

    This year I decided to kick the lawn care up a notch, so after tax season, I started working mornings at the accounting office and doing lawn care in the afternoons.

    Next year I am considering going to full time lawn care (probably will still work tax season).

    As far as insurance goes, I don't know, I am covered under my wife's employer.

    I am like you, I think that I have a lot of potential business if I had time to pursue it and do the work. I think that I can make up my part time accounting income fairly easily if I devote full time to lawn care.
     
  3. SIG

    SIG LawnSite Member
    Posts: 188

    Hey Luke,
    I am almost in the same situation. I currently make $50,000 a year as a purchasing manager for a contractor. I will also be around the same gross you are making mowing, plus I have Snow Removal, sometimes. My thinking is this, if you think 50,000 a year is alot of money, great, keep your job. I personally don't think it is that much. I could not have bought my house, built my entirely too large pole building, and my new deck (ALL THIS YEAR), just by working my regular job. So, my answer is this, I am done this year. My expenses are fairly low, and I really do not enjoy what I do 40 hours a week, and I have 45 min. commute each way to work and back (PITA). THAT'S MY STORY AND I'M STICKING TO IT!
     
  4. Blessed 1

    Blessed 1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 516

    I too am new in the business and I am a Production Shop Planner (civilian) for the USMC. When I retire I will go full time but until then I choose to keep my full time job and cut in the evenings. To come out on top you will have to make $87k (50+37) before you will see any benifit to quitting your full time job. Thats a lot of pressure. I will keep my job besides if I were full time I sure would not have time to keep up with this forum like a do. :D
     
  5. SIG

    SIG LawnSite Member
    Posts: 188

    Bottom line is this: In order to make ALOT of money, you must be willing to have employees, deal with those headaches, and training etc.etc. Solo operations are great if that is what you want to do. But if you get hurt, sick, vacation whatever who is going to run your business. I believe you need to find good people and let them make you money. Just like you are making for someone else!
     
  6. Jimbo

    Jimbo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,093

    I agree with the other comments thus far.

    1. Can you make 87k in the first year by yourself? I know your probably thinking you can because you are only working 15 hours a week now, but you must consider the new insurance, and additional overhead (gas, vehicle, equipment-wear + tear, getting hurt or ill, etc)

    If you do plan on hiring help to make your goals I would recommend that you hire help while being part time to see if you can handle it (It is the biggist gripe I read on LS). You are turning work away so you can definetly use help even when part-time.

    Dont let anyone turn you away from going full-time if it is your dream. Do you really want to do this Full-time?

    I am in the same situation as you. I work full-time and Gross about 30K plus matching 401K, and Family Health Insurance. As for the business I will pull in about $33K by working about 8 hours per week with winters off. Should I go full-time with my business?
    I will lose health coverage and the matching 401k. I will have to work in the elements all week vs one day per week.

    There is alot to think about, and it depends on how much money you need to live. Personally i can live on my 30k full-time job, and the 30+K from the business is disposable income.

    My advice is to try and run the business part-time, and hire an employee to see how much money you can generate that way. If your wife is already staying at home she could take phone calls during the day in order to help out. After a year if your making enough money and things are going well you can go Full-time yourself.
    You have eased into it thus far and I think if you do things right you can ease the rest of the way into it. There is no need to jump right in and possibly make a decision which you cannot undo.

    Tough decision. Let us know what you decide.
    Jim
     
  7. scott's turf

    scott's turf LawnSite Senior Member
    from NH
    Posts: 949

    Money isn't everything but it sure is nice. Remember that 53k from your job is net income. Netting 53k from lawn care is going to mean grossing a significant larger amount. Being a solo operator that may be very difficult. Also from what I have heard FL has lower wages than around here so that 53k you are making is damn good. I am in a similar situation. I make 61k at my ft engineering job and do the lawn care on the side. For the last 2 months I reduced my hours of my FT job to 27 hrs/week and mow two long days. I will gross around 30k from the mowing but will only net around 15k. It is nice addition to my other income and is what greatly helped me in buying a 300k house at 24 years old. The tax right offs are nice and the security is nice but there are also benefits of working for someone else. Health insurance (a big one), retirement plan, paid time off, sick days, and when you leave work you are done. Once your business grows you will find that your hours spent doing things that aren't directly making you money will increase drastically such as maintaining equipment, billing, taxes, answering calls, returning calss, estimates. Just something else to think about. Talk to those guys that are netting over 60k and ask them how much they gross to get there. I think you may be surprised.
     
  8. lawnperfections

    lawnperfections LawnSite Member
    Posts: 63

    I agree the extra money is great. My 210k house will be paid off next Chistmas. I haven't had a $$ worry in 3 years.
     
  9. jsr2741

    jsr2741 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 392

    As for me I've been a cop for 10 years now and for the last 4 or 5 it's been all I can do to get myself up to go to work. Thats why I started my own biz(good therapy). My situation is if I dont get off the road in the next year, I'm going full time LCO. I've already started having stomach problems and its just not worth it to me.

    However if you enjoy your job, work with good people and your boss is good to you and the others I couldn't imagine leaving. I'd keep the lawn biz part time, maybe add a few accounts if time permits and use that money for personal spending or if you've got kids, sock it away for their education.

    Just my opinion though.
     
  10. lawnperfections

    lawnperfections LawnSite Member
    Posts: 63

    I have a 9 month old that already has an Educational IRA that is on auto-deduct from my account. I also have about $1000 a month going into a 403b and ROTH's for my wife an I.

    My schedule for my cutting days is pretty maxed out. My estimate jumps for next year because the entrance to my subdivision is expanding next year and so will the contract.
     

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