When to quit my 9-5...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by cutiegotherown, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. cutiegotherown

    cutiegotherown LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Thank you all for the advice and well wishes I've received from my other thread "Equipment advice and guidance needed." I'm getting so busy right now working part time that I don't know what to do! I don't want to quit my 9-5 because I have a mortgage and a car note. Besides that I'm not licensed or insured yet. My plan was to get "legal" this year and quit my 9-5 in February and start full time in Spring 2006. I'm made about $1000 in April so far with no advertising or anything. Just word of mouth. I'm afraid to advertise because I don't want to turn people down. BUT if I advertised I'd probably be making more than I do at this 9-5. I'm short on equipment too. Don't know what to do...

    I've also been looking at mowers but here are so many to choose from. Can I get some pros and cons on walk behinds versus the riding mowers? Before I spend thousands of dollars I really want to good/horror stories about what to get and not to get. I'd also like to know what are some of the biggest problems you've encountered in starting your business.
     
  2. LawnBrother

    LawnBrother LawnSite Senior Member
    from SW Ohio
    Posts: 867

    There are so many things that can go wrong, are you prepared? What if your truck breaks down? What if your mower(s) break down? What if it rains for 2 weeks straight? Do you have adequate cash reserves to cover your cost? And you are short on equipment too. You don't want to pick up too much work at once unless you are sure you can handle it. You may be seeing dollar signs right now, but you have to keep in mind that before you can quit your job, you have to be legit. This means: get insured! Now. Insurance is not expensive, and if a rock flies out from under your mower and hits some poor little kid in the head, you are OUT OF BUSINESS. Plain and simple. You have to get legal before you can think of quitting your full time job. Get insurance, file your paperwork with your state, then plan to grow you business from there. It may take you longer than you want to get to where you want to be right now. But be patient, and your hard work and planning will pay off. You will know when the right time is to quit your job. There will be no question in your mind. If you are too busy for a 9-5, why not work another job part time evenings while you mow during the day? That should help ease the transition. What ever you do, please plan ahead. That is probably the best advice I can give you. You have worked hard for you money, but make sure that the money you have earned works for your business. Hope some of this helps! Good Luck To You! - LB
     
  3. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Listen to this guy^ Must have some cash reserves ready.
     
  4. KurtisInIowa

    KurtisInIowa LawnSite Member
    Posts: 60

    Yep, cash reserves is paramount. After my first month in biz (April), I felt like i was kicking arse. It was good, but I spent 3x the income on gas, flat tire fixes, tools, startup supplies, etc. I expected that though. I plan to take a tax loss the first two years for sure. I am fortunate that I have a large home equity line available to me on my mortgage. At 5%, I'm not afraid to spend a good chunk of it ($20k comfortably). Obviously, it has to be paid back, but in this type of loan, i am paying myself back the interest. What makes most new biz fail is a lack of cash flow to cover the bills while trying to get established. I started literally on a shoestring, and that is by design.
    Good luck.
    P.s. On the insurance, it's not bad. I paid $500 last winter for annual premium on a commercial snow plowing policy with American Family. It is a general contractors policy and will cover my landscape and tree work also. Matter of fact, my agent says i can add whatever services i want throughout the year and remain covered....they will do an annual 'audit' and give me a new premium based on the riskiest of all my services. Also, turning my personal truck policy into commercial coverage was only like $80/year extra and WILL cover any employee use should i ever hire any.

    ~K
     
  5. mowboy1

    mowboy1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    I remember being in a similar situation when I started my business in 1990. I quit my job and went for it and it went well... never looked back. But, alas, I was young and I did not have a mortgage. :dizzy:

    If you had a plan to go full time next year I think I would stay the course, start planning for next year and work at building up some quality customers. As has been noted get your stuff together (ie insurance, cash reserve) before you think about making that big step.
     
  6. Black95gt

    Black95gt LawnSite Member
    Posts: 56

    Can you take off of your 9-5 job and only work part-time as needed? or do you have to be there all the time? If you cant, i would go for it and get all them accounts then quit your 9-5 if you can. Take the risk and if it doesnt turn out like you think, then you have your 9-5 career to fall back on. Good Luck!!
     
  7. Toy2

    Toy2 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,924

    Have a back up in everything....equipment...I have a Pro Toro 36" and 2 HD 21", Crapmens Blower, a Kawi Blower, same on the trimmers...two of everything just in case...you can keep on going..no down time...you will know when you are ready....don't be scared, many people are cuffed with the "Golden Cuffs" to employers, in my case what's the worse that can happen? No mowing, ok I'll get a job....jobs are everywhere, then you become a number again....$1000.00 a month right now is pretty good, not sure your cost of living....and if you advertise I think that grand will grow....great luck to you!!!Don't ever look back, it slows you down!! :)
     

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