Would you go full time lawn care if...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by CleanCutsLC, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. CleanCutsLC

    CleanCutsLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    Hello everyone. I am new to posting but I have been following threads for months now.

    My situation is this. I have always enjoyed the outdoors, getting dirty, cleaning up a yard here and there for the satisfaction, got a minor in business management, maintain the church lawn every week, mow an old lady's lawn to help out, and I maintain a vegetable garden every year. In the past I owned an LLC for power washing while in the Marine Corps, but did not do much with it due to frequent deployments. But, I learned a lot on the legal side between the LLC and school.

    Next, I got into a job I do not enjoy. I have been here 2 years doing electrical engineering by trade. I did not go to school for it, but I learned a lot of the skills from my aeronautical degree, and the work place gave me shot. I took the job because it payed the bills better than working at the gas station.

    I was doing all kinds of side projects for other people, burning myself out. Then I realized I wanted to work for myself when the situation at my electrical engineering job got crazy. The work place is horrible. The owner of the company made bad decisions, people are always bitter, pay was low.

    So, I was talking to a guy from church who has been part of a landscaping crew for a few years. We thought maybe we should give it a shot doing something together. He is under payed and would devote time on Saturdays and teach me tricks of the trade. He knows some hard scape stuff too. I created an LLC, got insured.

    Then a weird turn happened. I got a big raise at work and now make 50k before taxes. Me and the other guy have just begun working on one lawn last week, big job, but we are doing parts every weekend.

    I really want to move as fast as I can and get out of my job but I want to do this right. I also understand partners can screw things up. Something I am acutely aware of. Things just worked out that way strangely. He had skills in the trade, and I know the managing and accounting side.

    We have a 21 inch heavy duty craftsman, a John Deere trimmer, picking up a handheld redmax blower new, tomorrow, and a 96 ranger. All profits are going toward new equipment. I am confident 5 yards max right now would be plenty. So no advertising, just word of mouth. But one of us should try to go full time with this by next year, if possible.

    What do you guys think? Please advise of any pitfalls.
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  2. grassmonkey0311

    grassmonkey0311 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MD/NC
    Posts: 2,244

    From one Devil Dog to another....


    Owning a business can be long hours. Lots of extra work and dedication. Something your partner may not have. Especially if profits are going towards new equipment. Something else to look at is a proper license for the work your doing. For example, I can't touch tree cutting, hardscapes, or fertilizers without a proper license from my state. He may know hardscapes very well, but is it legal?

    The best advice I have is go at it on your own. Learn the in's and out's yourself and learn from experience. The last thing you'd need is your partner knowing all the in's and out's, but some big italian guy "offers him a job he can't refuse" and ditches the company.

    Pick up a few lawns after work or on the weekends, then fill your schedule as needed. I did that my first few years and it worked out great. I saved a lot of money to form my LLC and launched my business. Although its VERY stressful at times, so far things are going good.
     
  3. Dr. Cornwallis

    Dr. Cornwallis LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 847

    I would never do a partnership, also "heavy duty craftsman" is like saying "really great tasting **** sandwich." Not knocking your equipment, I would just recommend buying better stuff up front.
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  4. TheLugNutZ

    TheLugNutZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 410

    I make between 50 and 60k now and considering doing this full time in the future but Im starting part time now. I can tell you that after crunching lots of numbers over the last 6 months, I dont think you will be able to clear 50k with a partner for QUITE A WHILE. IMO go into business yourself and when needed bring a guy on. You will have to be splitting everything with your partner so if you want to make 50k, you will essentially have to do double the jobs that you would if you didnt have someone to split with.
     
  5. TML

    TML LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 830

    2nd the opinion on going at it without a partner. Also your equipment to date including your truck with not last or be productive in the long haul.

    I too have a job I'm miserable at that makes approximately the same as you do. I hope I may be able to ditch it and go FT myself at some point this year the next month or so is going to be huge turning point in that I'm hoping to pick up enough extra work to fill my schedule. We will see.

    I have all commercial equipment and a 3/4 ton truck (the truck I had that before I started) all that I own without any payments by buying used.

    I also was a foreman for a LCO for over 7 years do my experience is there.

    Before you go FT I would get all the basic equipment you need so you can live off your income and have low overhead.

    Lots of risk on your end at this point.
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  6. ztman

    ztman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,007

    :clapping: I agree, heavy duty craftsman , no such thing with push mowers. Whether you like your job or not, put a pencil to paper and see how many lawns you would have to cut to make $50k, and figure the equipment you need. Craftsman will not be in the equasion
     
  7. georgialawn88

    georgialawn88 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,075

    drop the partner!
     
  8. CleanCutsLC

    CleanCutsLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    Thanks for the tips. Here is a bit more info. This 'partner' works harder than most people I know. Also, between my wife and I, we have low ex
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  9. CleanCutsLC

    CleanCutsLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    Low expenses. I could by all equipment outright, but I want to start slow and build up each month. No more debt. I won't go there again. I wouldn't do it right now but, me and the wife could live on her income alone. I really enjoy the green industry. Eventually, I would like to make the move. I am keeping myself flexible in case the 'partner' bails, but really I see him as an asset. I am the sole owner, he could be considered a ' consult' kinda.
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  10. CleanCutsLC

    CleanCutsLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    Also, to me I would value $25k a year doing landscaping more than $50k as an electrical eng, where I'm at. Maybe I am weird but why not do what you love before you die? I don't want to be one of those guys that stayed at a crappy job because of the money And possibly get whacked tomorrow.
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