what would you guys do??????

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by rock, Apr 26, 2003.

  1. rock

    rock LawnSite Member
    from V.A.
    Posts: 37

    I have been a logged on user of this site for a while,but this will be my first post so it may be a little long.I want to start off by saying how great this site is and how wonderful all of the people on this site are.The people on here seem to really know what they are doing in the green industry,and the knowledge that is shared on here is wonderful.With that said now here's my problem.I'm going to start out by giving a brief description of myself,and the area in which i live.I currently have a very good fulltime job working for the man,and make a very good salary with very good benefits(I'm not going to say what my job is yet because i don't want it to play a part in people's response to my problem).My problem is trying to decide wheter to start a machine shop on the side,or to get back into the lawn biz.I had a part time lawn business from 96-99,but when i changed full time jobs i wasn't going to have time to do both anymore.The problem that i'm having with this decision is that i enjoy doing both.There are good and bad things no matter which direction i choose.The startup cost for a machine shop would be quite a bit more,but there are some good things that go along with it also,like not having to worry about the weather outside.The biggest thing going for the machine shop is the fact that you have a much larger market area.I would be doing aftermarket products for the streetrod and racing industry,and i already have a few products of my own that i have designed and plan to manufacture.Now to give you guys a little more information to go on as far as the lawn business goes.To begin with the market in my area SUCKS,just to give you all an idea as to how bad the economy in this area is the unemployment rate for the month of march was 12.6 percent.The economy around here is really bad our area had the highest unempoyment rate in the state of Virginia for the month of January.Most of the jobs around here are very low paying mostly in the $7-$10 hour range.There are a few lawn companies in this area and it looks like most of them are struggling for the most part.There are to many people in this area that aren't charging as much as they should be,and it has really hurt the market in this area.I have seen on here where some of you guys charge in the
    $50-$60 hour range,there is no way i could get anywhere even close to that around here.People around here don't care about quality or dependability all they care about is the price.There are only a few commercial jobs even available around here,and even they don't care about the quality of the work all they care about is the price.I charged more than anyone in this area when i had my business before,and it was still hard to make any money at all,and by the way i did have commercial grade equipment and $500,000 in insurance,but nobody cared about that.There are a few good markets around but they are about an hour away.Do any of you guys travel that far to service accounts,i realize you would have to have several in that area to make it worth the drive,but would it be feasable to do this or should i just forget about the lawn biz all together.We'll i have spent enough time on here talking about my problems so i quess i will just sit back and take in all the advice.I would like to thank all of you very much for taking the time to read this thread.
  2. TotalCareSolutions

    TotalCareSolutions LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 518

    1) do both
    2) move
    3) do machine shop
    4) move, do both

    Hows the money in after market street rod machine shop type stuff? "Therein lies your answer Luke..."
  3. Clay

    Clay LawnSite Member
    Posts: 236

    Hey Rock... Rock on out of that place!!! :) Come on out here to the West Coast (sounds too depressing out there) I know of a good and profitable landscape maintenance business for sale...
    (no, not mine... a friends)

    Think, think, think about it... Clay
  4. Ed Ryder

    Ed Ryder LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 541

    If you understand the machine shop business, go with that. Year-round income. Nationwide market area. And probably better income potential. I'm confused why you are debating this? You said your local grass cutting market is ****.
  5. gravedigger5

    gravedigger5 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 505

    Rock, I like you also work for the man (full time) as a journeyman machinist. Good job just can't seem to quit even though I really enjoy running a lawn care biz. I spent several years looking for "something" to do on the side after my Dad quit farming. I own my own lathe, mill, and welder and even considered doing some job shop work, but after running machines for 8 hours or more a day, I decided to do something else. Your right, lawn care doesn't require as much money to startup vs a machine shop, but that machine shop should be grossing more on the hour. From your post you don't sound like you really want to cut grass and are looking for someone on here to tell you it is not as good as most of the people here make it seem. Since you already have a full time job paying the bills, and if you really do want to do some lawn care, get out there and get with it. The money you make however much it might be is just icing on the cake. Just my 2cts worth, Marc
  6. rock

    rock LawnSite Member
    from V.A.
    Posts: 37

    I would like to thank all of the people that took the time to read my post,and i would like to especially thank the ones that took the time to post a remark.Total care solutions you asked if the weather was really a problem?Let me ask you this was the weather a problem last year with the severe drought that we had everywhere?Yes i realize if you had yearly contracts with your clients that you actually came out better because you didn't have to cut the lawn as often,however if you didn't have a contract you were in trouble.I tried to get all of my clients to do a service agreement when i had my previous lawn biz,but out of 44 customers i only had 5 that said they would agree to it.Alot of you guys talk about just doing the mowing to get the add-ons,well around here nobody wants the add-ons.They just want the basic mow,blow,and go(for the least amount possible).I have already made up my mind to go with the machineshop thing,but anymore responses are more than welcome.As far as my knowledge of the machining business goes i have a very good understanding of that.I am currently a machinist at Richard Childress Racing(the Winston cup team that the late Dale Earnhardt drove for).I have worked in the racing and machining industry since i was 17 years old and started working for the Wood Brothers Winston cup racing team when i was 18 years old.
    I currently do CNC machining as well as manual machining(most of the manual machining i do is prototype parts or fixtures for the CNC machines).I do programming,set-up,and i also run the machines as well.We have such a small number of people that each person does every aspect of the job for each part.You do your own programming make your own fixtures,decide what order to do the machining,select which tools to use,set-up your own machine,and finally run the machine and actually make the parts.The reason i was thinking of getting back into lawn care was because i really enjoyed doing it,however i would have to be able to make a living at it,and i'm not sure if it is possible where i live now.I do however have 2 really good markets about an hour away from me but i'm not sure if it would be feasable to do all of my business an hour away(i currently drive an hour to get to RCR to work).What do you guys think?Thanks again for the replies.
  7. lawnworker

    lawnworker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 899

    I would not start the lawn business if I were you. Your area sounds pretty bad. I think your current job sounds cool with Richard Childress, but the opportunity to do custom work does sound intriguing.
  8. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    I only read your first post here not the reply later on, but with that said I'd say go for the machine shop if you aren't wanting/planning/going to move out of the area. The lawn care sounds like a dead end in that area and with the machine shop you can reach out of your local economy into other economies. Plus that, alot of the people who build street rods are retired and aren't hurt that much by bad economics I would think. Not just that but people always will spend money on hobbies but not always spend money on luxuries as much. Especially something as simple as mowing the grass :D

    You could do both part time for a year or so and go with whichever one is most successful? If the lawn care market is that bad you wouldn't have to have alot of startup expense I mean just a old walk behind, trimmer and blower. If you are buying the trimmer new try for a split boom so you can get more tools for it later on. They're handy and makes it more affordable and with less engines to maintain.

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