You solo guys.......

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by gogetter, Jun 11, 2003.

  1. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Posts: 3,256

    I know there are quite a few guys here that are addiment about staying solo because they don't want the headache or responsibility of employees.

    But I gotta wonder about all the "what ifs?". I myself would be scared to work solo for the rest of my working career.

    What if you get seriously injured?
    What if you become sick, and I'm not talking about the flu.
    What about when you get up there in years, will your body hold up?

    Then there's the whole income issue. Working solo has to limit how much you can earn. There's only so many hours in a day.

    What about the times where you really need a second pair of hands or some extra muscle to tackle a particular task?

    I'm not talking so much about par time guys here, but those of you that do this full time and work solo with no regular employees.

    Don't you ever get concerned about the "what ifs?"?.
     
  2. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,660

    I was solo for 2 years and unfortunetly this year i lost my license due to a bad decision i made last year. So this year i HAD to hire some help, specifically for driving purposes, but after working together for a few months, we realized that we can handle so much more with us both working, so we took on quite a few more accounts. It is also nice for safety reason if you're cutting down trees or doing landscaping. yes, it kinda stinks that you can reap all the profits, but you have to make due, especially in my situation. also, he is trained enough to where if somehting happens to me, he can handle all the duties.
     
  3. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    I can't let the "what ifs" bother me. Life is too short to begin with and to start worrying about "what ifs" would be a waste of time. Truth is if I became incapacitated I would have larger problems than who would cut somebody elses grass. Right now I am working towards semi retirement in 5 years. Then I can get sick.
     
  4. Injuries, illness and age.

    I don't figure I would be better off working for someone else.
    Companies today show no loyalty to employees and would fire a person for any of the above infirmities.

    I hire help occasionally, but basically I am the guy with the green shoes. And that's the way I want it. I can't think of anything I would rather not do than try to supervise a bunch of underpaid laborors who would rather be anywhere else than on the job.
    It's true people make money running small businesses. But I'm not a businessman and would only loose my shirt trying to be one.
    So I guess I'll content myself with what I can earn on my own.

    The pay for me doesn't look better anywhere else.
    A devistating illness or injury is going to be devistating no matter where I am or what I'm doing, so I might as well do this.

    Dave
     
  5. Lawn Specialties

    Lawn Specialties LawnSite Member
    Posts: 207

    I know there are issues to being solo like you said however there are alot of benefits as well. First understand that I don't use the words never or always in regards to where the biz might go.As far as man power goes I do have a couple dependable guys willing to work for me from time to time. The main trick to being solo is learning not to bight of more than you can chew. When looking at having staff I think you have to look at it both ways. how much time and money have large companies spent training employees that will never work out or will just use you to start there on own biz. My philosophy right now is to buy bigger equipment as needed. Does bigger equipment cost money to buy maintain and repair? Yes. Does equipment brake down and leave you hangin? Yes. Does equipment get wasted drunk the night before and call on sick or just not be worth a **** all day? No. I know most companies have some great staff and profit from them to a great degree. All I'm saying is there are ups and downs either way.
     
  6. Toroguy

    Toroguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,075

    What if there was an earthquake?

    If you live your life worrying about what might happen, nothing is certain to happen.

    I have thought about the concerns raised. I have several people who would take over the route in the event of a serious illness or injury.

    I figure I can do this until 55. After that I will do it Part time.

    Everyone knows someone who can help out from time to time, once in a while I use the someone even when they are not needed. Makes for a short day.
     
  7. Craftybigdog

    Craftybigdog LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 425

    The middle word in "LIFE" if!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  8. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    I had a partner from start up to this year, 7 years. I never worried about any of that stuff because he was always there. This year, he quit and I am all alone. Sniff sniff. I have thought long and hard about hiring help, starting more crews, whateva. For me, I just can't make the numbers work or even be attractive enough to me to consider any of it. I am doing 80% of the work I was doing with my partner, and working harder! But I am making far more now than I ever did before. I kinda like being solo, and I have a few sources of part time help if I need it.

    There are "what ifs" having employees, as well. What if that kid I hired doesn't show? What if my employee hits someone or damages something while mowing? What if he quits on me in the middle of the season? There is risk in anything you do, you just gotta decide what risk you're signing up for.

    I like what David Haggerty said. I just wanna be the guy with the green shoes. I don't want the biggest, best company in town. I wanna make a buck, enjoy what I'm doing, and have fun in life. Supervising employees and the hassel that comes along with it ain't part of that.
     
  9. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,194

    I make sure she has something to worry about so she'll stay out of my hair.
    I'll bet there are a lot of things that everyone does 'solo' that you don't even give a second thought about.
    According to the insurance companies, the bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house, slip & fall. Elvis was found after he went to the toilet by himself.

    I may not always do things like everyone would expect, but there've been very few things (physical chores) that I've not been able to accomplish solo.

    Always carry a charged cell phone and be aware of address you're working at.

    To maintain the same % of profits earned when working solo, you must increase your total income a lot more than you'd think when you start adding crews and helpers.
    You have to make a decision on just how big do you want to get, you want to own the green industry market in your town, stay at the office all day, write crew schedules and payroll checks. Worry about who showed up for work and who didn't, and will they be there tomorrow. What quality work is that crew really doing, and what about that call you just got from a lady screaming something about your man, a lawn mower, and her dog?
    If you want to make maximum dollars, then yes that's the way to go, just don't do it half way, take the whole apple, not just a bite.

    On the other hand, if you want to maximize your individual income, percentage wise, solo is where it's at.

    But, the what ifs in my life have to be spent thinking of the smart/safe way to do things without causing damage to property or myself. Don't have time for what ifs about, sickness or injury.
     
  10. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    If you want to be solo, or are stuck that way, you have a good reason for networking on a local level. In my 23 years in business, I felt most confined during the three years I tried employees. I could not get away from the business.

    But when I'm working solo, I have taken up to 2½ weeks off, by having one or two other operators mow my lawns. A few years ago, when my truck broke down just before Memorial Day weekend, a good friend who was done with his mowing lent me his truck and an afternoon of his time to help me get my lawns done.
     

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