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Top 10 reasons why you can't stay Solo

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by echeandia, May 22, 2007.

  1. echeandia

    echeandia LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,131

    I have been at this LCO thing for two months now and have come to understand and learn many things. As a result I have come up with my top 10 reasons why staying as a solo LCO isn’t possible. Enjoy.

    10 – There aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything you need to do
    9 – Larger LCO’s running crews will undercut your prices every day
    8 – You will get sick or hurt and will not be able to work
    7 – You undervalue your time and work product so you don’t charge enough
    6 – You think mowing is everything when it isn’t
    5 – Your equipment will breakdown and you don’t have a backup
    4 – You don’t charge enough to pay for non production hours working
    3 – You don’t have anyone you can rely on for assistance
    2 – You want to go on vacation but you can’t afford the time
    1 – People on this site will give you bad advice that you will listen to​
  2. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,128

    I am tempted to agree that if you don't plan, these are very valid reasons for not staying solo... however, there happen to be solutions to all these problems with being solo ranging from planning to experience. I am at that point right now where I could make a big push for business and take on some hired help that would make my life much easier in some areas while adding headaches in other areas. The pro to doing this is that I will inevitably earn more money. The con is that I now would have to deal with the headaches of having someone else on the payroll.
  3. MNBOY

    MNBOY LawnSite Member
    Posts: 56

    I'm solo right now and I can't argue with any of that. I think you just described my business:dizzy:
  4. howardsells2000

    howardsells2000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 355

    I hired someone this year and I don't know how I did it all last year by myself. There are lots of pro's and con's to working solo versus having a helper. I think I'm spoiled now. If my helper doesn't show up, I'm disappointed that I have to do it all by myself.

    Pro's, I'm making more money
    Con, I'm paying out more money. Salary, Workers Comp and Taxes

    I personally am liking having a helper.
  5. dcgreenspro

    dcgreenspro LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Posts: 689

    All of these are valid points but I think that they would apply to someone that doesn't know what they are doing.
    10. Proper planning prevents piss poor performance.
    9. Good, then I didn't need that client. Most, if not all of my clients come from referrals.
    8. Don't really have an answer for that one.
    7. I try and be most expensive in the area.
    6. Fert programs, fall renovations, land clearing, spring installs, etc.
    5. I have back up.
    4. see #7
    3. I can get help (brothers, friends..both did golf course work w/ me).
    2. When it really gets hot or all winter long.
    1. I listen to what people have to say and from there make my own conclusions.
    10. 5 P's (proper planning stops piss poor performance)

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Employees should earn you more money than you pay out to them, otherwise there's no point to it.

    Working solo is a comfort zone...once you overcome that mental hurdle it's easy to hire and manage employees. Sure there are headaches involved with it. It's all what you make of it. If you can make a decent living solo and that's what you like, I'm not going to knock that.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    These, in a nutshell would be mine:
    6 – You think mowing is everything when it isn’t
    2 – You want to go on vacation but you can’t afford the time

    This one I think is funny:
    1 – People on this site will give you bad advice that you will listen to
  8. capetan

    capetan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 226

    i find i can do lawns and weed trimming, by myself, but the landscaping and manual labor can really tire you out quickly, bending, squatting, leaning, pulling, carrying, lifting, and any other descriptive word...... 8 hours of labor intensive work is killer.....young teenagers will do anything for $10 an hour, i wont :)
  9. stroker51

    stroker51 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 819

    I can see how all of these are valid points, but the words of several contractors i work with everyday ring really true in my mind. One of them was huge, for our area, about 10 years or so ago. He had around 20 employees, several rigs, mowing/landscaping/fert and weed control/sprinkler install and maintenance. He is now back to himself, one full time employee, and several subs. I am solo right now, but the possibility of adding someone is becoming more and more of a reality probably in the next year or so. I've talked to him about it, and he's told me to always stick with as small of a crew as you can, and if you need more help, get some subs. Another contractor went from 10 employees, one of the biggest strictly maintenance companies in our area, back to himself, and now has both of his sons working for him. Back before he had his boys working for him, he told me he was making more at that time, than he did with 10 guys working for him mowing 4-5 days per week, and he was making good money then. And the third guy I work with, I remember when I first started working with him he had the big ideas of being a big LCO, where he just had to bid jobs, do design, and a little work when they were behind. This was 3 years ago, when i talked to him about 2 months ago, he had attained his goal, and was taking it back smaller. He told me he made more money, had zero complaints, and half the headaches when he was solo, and had people who could help him when he got behind. Proper planning and execution of that plan can, I think, lead to a very successful solo operation.
  10. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,570

    Stroker51 I think you are on to something there. I have been part of large construction crews and (with the same company) it was me and the boss. They subed out a lot of the work - building town houses at the time.

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