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Too Old to Start a Lawn Care Business?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by petara, May 22, 2010.

  1. petara

    petara LawnSite Member
    from NW PA
    Posts: 29

    Last March I was downsized and started to do lawncare. I paid cash for new equipment from my severance package and started to develop a small customer base. I'm in my second year of lawn care and have a customer base of about 25 clients as a solo. I am 46 yrs old and in good shape, but how long will I feel good doing this? ( question to myself)

    Anybody over 40 working as a solo and planning to do this for the next 15 - 20 years?

    I do have a 4 yr degree, but with the economy the way it is I gave up sending out resume after resume and only a couple interviews. So I continued to move forward with the business and working on getting a few more customers to around 30-35.

    My wife is a teacher and covers the health insurance, so that is a bonus. And she likes the daily cash flow from the lawn business.

    Anyone in a similar situation? - thoughts, comments? thx
  2. SSMO

    SSMO LawnSite Member
    Posts: 10

    Since nobody replied I will. I think what you have for the second year is great. I know the old bones and muscles ache a little more as time goes around. If you keep adding clients to your business, you can always find help.
    Pay a few college kids or high school kids and if you treat them well, they will treat you well. Plus you will be making more money to afford them. You started a business and your adding to the job market. Not bad is it?
    MDlandscaping and daddyd00 like this.
  3. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    I'm 48 and in my 9th season. My teenage son is helping out more now but for the most part I'm solo. I have to work short days at first in the spring until I get back in shape after sitting on my tail all winter waiting for it to snow, but once I get past the first couple weeks I can still bust my tail all day long. I'm a former endurance athelete so I don't mind sore muscles and aches and pains...makes me feel alive, lol.

    My problem has been injuries. Nothing too serious but enough to slow me down to the point it's a struggle - one season sprained the hell out of my ankle and was supposed to stay off it for 2 weeks...couldn't do that so worked with an air cast and oxy. Then i got something emebedded in my leg string trimming and got a cellulitic infection. The worst was seperating my shoulder boulder wrestling. I still have to baby that a bit almost 2 years later because I kept re-injuring it.

    So I say go for it!
    MDlandscaping likes this.
  4. deacon1

    deacon1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    My grandfather was 65 when he started, retired from a textile mill, got tired of sitting home with grandma. Cut grass for 12 years and had a very good customer base.
    MDlandscaping, monoshock and sjessen like this.
  5. Larry Overcash

    Larry Overcash LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71

    If it makes you happy and your making money, why would you be asking this question? Sure your not 18 anymore, so the really hot days might take a little out of you. But think of the freedom you have by working for yourself. I say stick with it...
    MDlandscaping likes this.
  6. mbrew

    mbrew LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 491

    I'm in a real similar situation. I'm 50 and a retired aircraft maintenance manager. I got tired of playing the silly HR games and started out on my own with out much prep unfortunately & I started at least a month late this year. I'm using older used equipment and using my technical skills to get it into shape. Its funny that I always tried to avoid working on small engines, but here I am.

    I'm fortunate that I don't have to make a whole lot of money to get by, but I'd like it to grow so we can travel etc again. I have days that I'm sore and tired but most of them are from clean ups and haul offs, not the mowing and trimming. One of the reasons I took this option quite frankly is that I had gotten fat and out of shape from sitting behind a desk. I don't enjoy the heat I know is coming, but I do like being out and about. I'll bet that if you use your smarts, you won't have to be a solo for long unless you want it that way.

    MDlandscaping and daddyd00 like this.
  7. petara

    petara LawnSite Member
    from NW PA
    Posts: 29

    thanks everyone for the replys.

    Basically I feel very good about the business, I sometimes just worry about getting injured or something out of my control that could mess up the weekly schedule.... I assume this goes through most guys minds from time to time that are doing this solo.

    I have been an athelete all my life so the hard work does not bother me at all, although on cleanups, etc. I do get a little sore, but fine by the next day. My 13 yr old son helps on the weekends and does a pretty good job trimming, hauling stuff, etc etc... So I do have some help on the bigger clean-up jobs...

    My second biggest concern was getting close to my 40k salary with my last job. I am always doing the math in my head to see how I will get close to that figure. I will also do snow removal ( snowblower ) for 2010-11 winter season and see how it goes... A good handful of my customers are looking forward to me doing their snow removal and don't mind if I use a plow or snowblower. The snowblower is a less expensive option for this upcoming season, but maybe I'll get a plow the following year...

    As far as the money, I figure 35 clients @ a $25-27 avg ( for a 30 week season) then snow removal and other odd jobs during the winter. My rough estimate should get me around the mid 30's for this year, which I can live with.... And who knows if I will be brave and add a couple part-time workers the following year? I just put my faith in God and keep my nose to the grindstone. I believe all things happen for a reason and new doors and options open...

    thanks again everyone for your encouragement and comments...
    sjessen and Ibow like this.
  8. N.H.BOY

    N.H.BOY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,604

    If your charging $25-27 bucks a lawn, you need to up that a bit...do not forget about insurance and gas from that as well. The clean ups are alot more of course and you can always find extra things to do or change at customers houses so keep an eye out when your mowing their lawns and maybe make a suggestion to them. Good luck and I'm 40 with four daughters:hammerhead:
    MDlandscaping likes this.

    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,526

    just because you are grossing 30K dont think thata what you are making. probably going to spend 100 a week on gas,then you need G.L. insurance and commercial auto. then there is maintenance on the equipment. say that total will run you 5K a year now your at 25K. take out the governments share and now your at 16K. i see you said your wife likes the daily cash flow so im guessing you are running a cash biz and running under the radar. if you are going to do this do it right and become legit. When not if you get caught you can loose everything you have worked your whole life for, both for taxes or in the event of an accident and no insurance.
    Ermcb70 likes this.
  10. elmnative45

    elmnative45 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    46 is not too old. Even if you're not in shape for it just yet, you will get in shape. Believe me. I like to think of it as getting paid to stay in shape :) I always stay aware of unsafe situations and always wear protective gear. The heat can get unbearable at times but I drink plenty of water,keep plenty of sunscreen on, and eat light.( No junk or greasy food) A packed full stomach can make me sluggish. Also I make sure I take my breaks to cool down. I am 46 years old, and I am grateful I can bust my buttons still. I'm in better shape than a lot of 26 year olds simply because of my line of work. Plus, there's nothing more rewarding than a hard day's which helps get a good night sleep.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
    Malk.Lawncare likes this.

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