Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by yardsmith, Feb 1, 2000.

  1. yardsmith

    yardsmith LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 627

    hey guys-<br>Just reading all of the posts, & wheels turning prompted me to ask what & why did we all get into this profession, with so many to choose from? How did we get started?<br>I myself am in tool & die, with machinist background, & got sick of being inside all summer long. My buddy got started in mowing, & he was blowing me away with his hourly earnings- $15 an hour is alot in the factory (figure insur. & benefits too), but he can make $15 in 10 min. & have 50 min. left to do something else. I'd rather have 15 in 10 to work with & budget.:-D<br>So I started mowing lawns 6 yrs. ago part time, & this year with the help of the good Lord, we want to go full time. My full time job really gets in the way of the bus. LOL<br>But insurance for my family has always been the kicker. Anybody got good leads on affordable, quality health care for the self-employed? & what are your rates (just a quick fig.) I got tired of turning down work all the time; my yellow pages ad was working overtime for me, & I hate to not fully utilize that. But God has been good, & we've never gone hungry. So hopefully we'll be able to go full time this year. <br>Do any of you get a part time job in the winter, to level off plowing in-between time?<br>I'm figuring on keeping a 2nd shift job in the winter to supplement the irregular snow season. Just curious as to what all got us into this trade, & where we came from.<br>Smitty
  2. Jason

    Jason LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 256

    Smitty,<p> I grew up on a farm in North Dakota, after college and trying a few other things out I went back to the farm and took over after my father became terminally ill. I ran the farm for two years before selling out due to the horrible commodity prices.<br> I just moved with my new wife to the Spokane, WA area in October. Currently employed at a salvage yard as a mechanic.<br> I'll be leaving my job in a couple of weeks to start full time in the lawn care business.<br> The reason's for me are many. First of all I really miss the independence of working for one's self. Also I don't see myself moving up the proverbial ladder at my current job. I like to think of lawn care as a micro sized farming operation. I used to farm 3000 acres. And even though the size of the ground is smaller and the machines are smaller it still is similar. Plus love to work outside.
  3. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Posts: 4,831

    Jason, I grew up on a farm in South Dakota and moved to Illinois to do my mini farming as I call my Lawn Business. When you grow up outside, it's hard to go inside to work. I tryed that for a while and ended up being a Carpenter for 20 years. After breaking my back the second time, I decided I better keep my feet closer to the ground and started mowing. Any way, good luck in your lawn business. I'm sure you will enjoy it.<br><p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://www.townserver.com/elm/&quot;&gt;Eric@ELM&lt;/a&gt;<br>
  4. accuratelawn

    accuratelawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 922

    My &quot;past&quot; life was in the restaurant field. After 15 years of running several million dollar per year units for the company, I decided to run my own business. Working inside all the time and following procedures written by somebody who had little or no hands on experience drove me nuts!<br>Started mowing part-time three years ago. Been full time two years and really enjoy it. <br>Insurance is a problem. I pay over $400 per month for health and dental for my family.<br>There are always trade-offs.
  5. Jason

    Jason LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 256

    Eric,<p> I am looking forward to this season, a bit nervous hanging everything out on the line, but as you know that's like farming too. :)<br>Thanks for the words of encouragement, One of my goals is to try and achieve the level of quality that is so evident in the pictures of the lawns that you mow. Hopefully I'll be able to achieve that someday. But much to your disappointment and Lazer's delight I'll be doing it on an exmark. I'd love to try a chopper but no dealers in my area. And I got a screaming good deal on a demo lazer.
  6. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    The stork picked me up out of a factory I had been at for 15+ years and dropped me on a lawnmower (full time) in May of '98. When I quit I had around 30 total customers and very few were year round! I knew I had to go when my mind was on what was going on outside more than inside. I was the Q.C. Manager at a flatbed trailer Co. I needed to be more focused on my job and couldn't. When you have a 10,000 lb. trailer hauling 50,000+ lbs. at 75mph, things need to be 100%. I did not want to run the risk of getting someone killed because my mind was on me and my side business. When it's time to go I think you will know. Put it in God's capable hands, close your eyes, and jump! I could still be there in my a/c'd office talking on the phone all day answering questions as to why this broke or why that didn't get put on. 15 years is a long time, I could have been on my second million by now!!!<p>As for Insurance, we are paying $290.00 per month for Blue Cross Blue Shield. The coverage is not as good as I had but it will keep us out of the poor house should anything go wrong. Our deductible is 500 per person or 1500 per family. It is 80/20 also vs. the $15-$20.00 co-pays we had. If anyone has a better plan let me know. I checked around and this is the best I could find.<p>Homer<p>
  7. jrblawncare

    jrblawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 445

    In 1980 I started working for the largest photo co.in the world [yellow box]in upstate NY and did well.In '87 I stared a part time lawncare service,really enjoyed the work and found I was good at it.In '90 after 10 years I had fested rights with that co. and almost left to run the business full-time.I should have done just that,doing both as some of you know is hard,burning the candle at both ends.I stayed with that co. because I had the best of both worlds...a steady pay check,benefits,insur.paid vac....Well in Feb. of last year I was downsized after 19 years a real kick in the a--.We sold the home and moved south,should have went farther down the ground is still white here!!My wife is from KY...The southern Bell got this Yankee.I have been looking for work but finding it hard to go back to a factroy.I think I owe it to myself to try the business here and the season is a little longer too..I should have taken that jump as Homer put it years ago.You can't 2nd.guess your past and just go for it.
  8. lbmd1

    lbmd1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 462

    Hey JRB,<br> Just want to know one thing about Rochester. Do you miss Nick Tahoes garbage plate?
  9. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Posts: 4,831

    Jason, I'm also sorry you don't have a Chopper dealer close by. Lazer and I have a friendly little sqabble going here and we are having fun with it. He likes his Axe Marks and I like my Dikie Choppers, but it is a friendly thing. We even email each other and have our laughs. I have even heard from some that say they have to read all the posts, just to see what we have said for the day. <br>BTW, I realize this is off topic, but today is 02/02/2000 and it is the first day with all even numbers since the day of 08/28/888, so it's been a while.<br>As I said before Jason, the best of luck to you in your new city farming adventure. The way I look at it, you have a good idea how much you will make in this business even if you have a hail storm, unlike with farming after a hail storm. :)<p>Eric @ ELM<p>
  10. DavidATL

    DavidATL LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    Well you guys are an inspiration to me. My only regrets is that I did not see doing this sooner. Actually I have had Lawn Care on my mind for years and have decided to jump into it feet first this coming Spring. I had the cush job at the Bank that paid me well having worked up through the ranks to a VP slot. Life was great, until it became fashionable for bank mergers, acquisitions and buyouts. After 18 years I was told I was no longer needed. After scrambling I went to work for another local bank, and guess what..after 2 years, out again. Then after landing a super opportunity with a start up company two years ago, well, you guessed it...going south and I am out March 31st. So this is it! I just cannot fathom having to go back to work for someone else! Today's corporate dream is just not there anymore when one day everything is fine and tomorrow profits dictate another downsizing to save the top executive jobs. I have lived this too long and want to try my hand at being self employed. While I know a great deal about lawn care I fear the start up and building of a customer base. I may work a part time job of sorts while I forge ahead with my new venture. Did any of you guys see taking the ultimate risk of starting this business with the motivating desire that you never wanted to work for someone else that could decide your future and fate on a whim? Tell me I am not alone and this is going to be OK. Just needed some moral support on this. Thanks for listening!

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