Anyone pick up a side job in winter?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by tamo, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. tamo

    tamo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 213

    I'm just finishing up my first full year. Things were pretty successful in my opinion. I was busy all year 40 + mowing clients and various other jobs, lawn installs, rock work, clean ups ect. but now jobs are starting to dry up.

    I live in Portland, OR and the rains have set in. I've done clean ups ect. for most of my monthly customers, but I'm only getting 1-2 calls a week for new business. I'm thinking now is not the time to spend $ on advertising to pick up new business.

    I'm pleased with how things have gone and I'm thinking about picking up a job for about 2 months this winter before I start gearing up again in Feb. I'd love to keep making money this winter so I'm not starting out behind next year.

    Anyone else pick up a winter job? Anyone feel their time is better spent focusing on their own business this time of year? I still plan on doing my own work on weekends and during free time.

    I have an application into a sports turf company that's hiring right now. I could make a little dough and learn a little more about turf maintenance too.

    thanks for the opinions
  2. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Whether you work in the winter or not depends on your marital status, whether or not you have kids, and your level of success making hay in the busy season.

    I take a bit of time in the off season to learn something 'new' in the green industry that I can try to add to the next year's offerings.
    This winter I'm studying irrigation.

    I playfully joke with my wife that it'd be fun for me to take advantage of my decent 'middle age' physique, and become a male stripper in the off season.
    All she does is roll her eyes and laugh.....really loud! :laugh:
  3. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 2,994

    Not yet! I also am finishing up my first full time year. I think I will be able to make it through the winter. I have been lucky so far and have been getting some landscape jobs....sod and mulch, etc. I'll do whatever I have to do but I would rather try not to get a side job. I have just been having to hustle to find work, but so far so good!
    As far as advertising....I still am...about to mail out a thousand postcards in the next couple of days. Been putting out a couple coroplast signs, too. I have noticed that most LCO's have just about quit advertising at this time of year, so I figure I would keep my name in front of the people.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Nope, always save my winter money first thing starting in spring, priority one.
    Nothing else gets spent until that money is put aside, other than fuel.

    In winter I usually work on the cars and the equipment, sleep a lot, and so on.

    I would work, but there's nothing out there. First it's cold and nasty, then there's hardly any demand so the few calls I might get are for such lousy pay and the kind of work I don't even get out of bed for.
    What can you do?

    Secret Bonus: Save enough so that leaves become optional.
    It's the only way I keep from getting raped.
  5. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Messages: 0

    I know there are alot of people in this industry that take the winters off but personally I perfer to keep working. The money made during the winter months usually goes towards vacations, retirement funds, a really nice Christmas and a big head start into the upcoming season.

    One can easily earn an extra 40k and more in the winter months by continuing to run your business rather then closing up shop. The grass may stop growing but there are plenty of others services you could provide your clients during the winter.
  6. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,621

    In New England most landscapers plow driveways. A plow route around here can deliver maybe $2K per storm. But sometimes it just doesn't snow last year. I hear that landscapers in California hang xmas lights. Some guys do interior painting, but that work seems to be hard to get around here right now.

    I plow and work for a friend who does remodeling/carpentry. I have painted in the past.
  7. Grazer

    Grazer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    In Montana we also plow snow. Although the winters are becoming milder. Like most, I prepare for the winter by saving. Also it gives me time to get after my clients that still owe me money. If you have absolutely nothing to do besides 1 or 2 calls a wk and you need some more money finding something to keep you busy might not be a bad idea. Remember where your priorities are though. Make sure you save time to work for YOUR clients. You want to keep them happy. Depending on your trade skills. You can also let your current clients know that you aren't as busy and you are taking miscellaneous jobs, remodels, whatever you are able to do. It works for me.
  8. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,219

    between plowing snow our other services and fixing and preparing for the next season we stay busy enough not to close up shop....i also part time drive a tow truck and am in the police academy this winter
  9. wooley99

    wooley99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    I took a job as a store detective. And to think I used to say you couldn't pay me to go the mall the day after Thanksgiving. Apparently you can and it doesn't have to be very much. It's kind of fun though. If you need/want more money than being an LCO is currently bringing you or you're stocking up for next year why waste the time available to you. Get a job, sell more of your business, kick-back and recharge or try all three...
  10. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    Basically, the bottom line is, if you need to get a side job for the winter to make ends meet ... then that's what you need to do !!

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