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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by rb3771, Aug 1, 2005.
Don't Do It didn't make it on my last reply,sorry.
Now, if you are just considering putting your feet in the water, and doing a little bit on the weekends, then by all means,..I encourage you to. See, you are the type that is ANOTHER reason that I don't have that much trouble with "weekend warriors". I know we all look down on them because they underprice, don't have the direct related expenses like we do, and so forth, but there is plenty of work out there. this is a safe bet, and you are keeping your security. Now, ou are giong to sacrifice some time to do this, and that includes family time, so be prepared, and prepare them if this is something you want to do. Juszt think of it this way, though. You could get something established, have a foothold, and have your foot in the door with a few different places or people. Anything I can do to help, just feel free to ask.
Lots of good advice, on what someone else would do. I don't mean to offend the fellas giving you good & honest feedback, but ultimately its you that needs to answer this question.
I don't care if you desire to open a sliced bread store and it will be the only one in town, it is still a risk.... Business = Risk....
Sure there are many failures we don't always hear about, even the successful business owners more than likely have failed at the very same business they are successful in or some other endeavor, before they realized success. History and every industry/market is full of this.
So far I've been fortunate, this does NOT happen all the time. You need to determine what you are comfortable with (wife on board with the plan, sacrifices to be made, etc.) and your desire level. Someone else mentioned something about another poster forgetting to put in about the 55 hours a week worked. IMO if you want any chance at all at success this number is low. Desire = long hours.
Remember this is your decision, listen to advice, but ultimately it comes down to you, your tolerance for risk, and level of desire.
I was already committed to doing this (turned in res. at work) I felt & still feel the desire, was willing to take the risk. I just remembered something anotherr forum member once posted on this subject, truth is I tink about this particular post now & again. Mac, handle is olderthandirt once posted something to the effect " If you jump in full time, have some debt from equipment purchased, have a family to support, you will bust yur azz to make it work "
The calculation that needs to be made is can you clear more than 27.00/hr plus benefits mowing. I used to mow and could gross 40.00/hr. I was told that was good. Take equipment, fuel, and maintenace out of that and I am sure I was left with less than 27.00/hr. Plus you will not get unemployment during the winter. From a purely financial position I think it is a loss.
That's what I was saying..not to mention the MEDICAL and the retirement packages.
I would think long and hard before giving up your main job, especially the benefits. I am in the kinda the same boat. I started my lawn business for my days off (three days a week), however my business has grown faster than I expected and now I cannot accept new customers (sole operator). My primary job has excellent health and retirement benefits (law enforcement). I would like to do lawn care full time and no longer worry about changing from day shift to night shift and my daughters getting upset when I do night patrol. I could go full time, however I would lose the Bennie's and really need them. Good luck!!!!
This is a little off the subject,but did you notice no one was slamed and put down and all responses were trying to help, with a genuine concern.Think it was Green Pro who said it was great we gave honest opinions and advice...something to that effect and hoped he did not offend anyone while ( might not be along the same lines of thinking)he gave his view and his opinion.....now this has been a positive thread and a thoughtful one at that.
I know what you're saying about it being an "all or nothing" decision. My job is the same way...part time with my hours right now is impossible. But, that will change. I can make it change in time. And in the mean time, I will continue to do research and prep work for when I'm ready to make the leap. I currently have a small retirement pension from the USAF that helps give me a safety net; however, that is cautioned by the fact that my wife is a stay at home mom with my 3 & 4 year old. I'm the sole provider. My overtime and on-call hours net me $28./hr and my normal hourly rate is $18.25/hr, but I won't see any real chance at increasing my income beyond that unless I start my own lawn care business.
And like you, I don't like the thought of busting by butt to making another man richer either. That's one big reason why I want to take this leap too. I see the income potential for the area where I live to be very substantial and in time, double what I currently make and go beyond that. Yes, I'm thinking big, but one should when they're contemplating a business venture like this. I don't want to shoot for the moon and if I fall short, accept as a good attempt and I;m getting by. I'm shooting for the next galaxy. Pipe dream, maybe, but it's my dream and I'm going after it!
It sounds like you have a decision to make. Work for yourself and secure your own financial success or continue to work for someone else and increasing their wealth. I too have never fully enjoyed my job, and love working outdoors and taking care of my lawn. I'm not blind to the fact that it's alot of hard work, but that's what I'm doing already. You said you've begun to build a good reputation in your area. Test that thought. Send surveys out to those you do business with in the winter with snow removal and the new arrivals to the community. Research the market to see if it can support your business venture. If it looks like it can, and can do so comfortably, I'd say start working on a business plan right away and implement it ASAP. You're not getting any younger you know and neither am I. I'm gonna take the plunge, but that's my decision based on my dynamics. It's up to you now.
Butch (Retired USAF Medic)
just skimmed through some of the replies... all great! just a stupid little idea you can try: find one or two other guys just starting out or thinking about starting... and work together! share expenses, grow together. might work, might not. sure beets burger king!
Starting my own business wasn't a financial decision to me, it was a psychological decision. If you are strictly making a decision over numbers, then keep working for someone else. Owning and running your own business has to be generated from a deep desire. Otherwise it will be more work than it's worth if you are merely looking to make better money. Not that you can't make better money, but the time it will take to achieve that and the 24 hour a day job may not always play out in the "dollar per hour" way you had hoped. It's a passion thing, not a money thing. It takes focus at all times. There are no off days or days you don't feel like doing something. There are no sick days, and it will be sometime before you vacation. It's on your mind when you get up at three in the morning to pee, it's on your mind when you eat, talking to friends, in the shower, at a wedding, out to eat, or whenever. You never get away from it, ever! That's what the passion for it is all about. Almost obsessive. It is obsessive.
And that's what makes it rock. Going back to work for someone after five years in business, would be anything but challenging. I can't even imagine how simple things used to be. How mindless day to day activity was. Punching a clock and taking a paycheck.
You want your own business, get ready for a life altering event.