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At a cross road, help needed

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by JS Landscaping, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. JS Landscaping

    JS Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    Hey guys, having a bit of trouble here, just looking for some advice. I have been in business for about 4 years now, this year everything went wrong. I mean everything, to the point where I pretty much threw in the towel in sept. Ive started working for a tree service as a climber, and love it very much climbing and doing tree work, but the money potential isnt there. And im starting to miss being my own boss and the landscape industry, and ive only been out of it since sept. I dumped pretty much all of my clients, due to frustration of not being paid and things just not going right. Not really too sure what i want to do right now. Should I start over fresh this comming season, new name, new game plan, new everything, cut my losses with this past season and JS Landscaping and chalk it up as a lesson learned? Everyone else is advising me to just give up the business for good, its better to work for someone and be guarenteed a check. I just feel as if its limiting my potential...if i was going to go back and start up a new company this comming season, i mean completly new, nothing similar to JS Landscaping, it would be a Lawn/Tree Service, probably 50/50 between lawn and tree service. Not really too sure what to do as of right now, trying to figure it out. A part of me really wants to go back to being my own boss, to prove to myself and everyone else who said I should give it up that I can do it. Any advice? Ideas? Comments are greatly apreciated. Thanks!

  2. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,524

    I'm not too familiar with your markets up there compared to down here. Heck, we rarely ever even talk about snow removal!:laugh:

    But that being said, I believe once you've developed an "entrepreneurial" spirit by being in business for yourself, it will be tough being happy working for anyone other than yourself.

    Good Luck with whatever you do.:)
  3. B_gerrits

    B_gerrits LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 297

    I feel your pain I have been in buis for 5 years and at the end of this year the wheels have pretty much popped off. Tree climbing is a risky buis and you work for peanuts when you work. I noticed that you called yourself JS landscaping which is not really correct because at least in my mind you need a contractors lic to be a landscaper. To run a tree service don't you need a lic for that? and I imagine the insurance for that would not be cheap. I see from your profile that you are 22 so your career potential is pretty much unlimited. If you really want to work in this industry you would open a lot more earning potential if you get a landscape contractor lic. The decision to go back into buis should based on whether this is what you really want to do, not to show doubters that you can do it. Running your own buis is a roller coaster ride with lots of ups and downs and you really have to have a burning desire to make it work.
  4. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,933

    If it were easy everyone would do it. Starting a business from scartch is a tough row to hoe. More details about what you considered a failure are needed. I remember just having one customer. It takes time and perseverence to grow a business. I started my business part time as a suppliment to my regular job. Try growing your customer base while still working for the tree service and don't get discouraged. I can't tell you how many start ups put out thousands of flyers expecting a hundred customers to only find the get 3-5. You have to start at the bottom unless you can afford to buy a customer list. Good luck

    DLAWNS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,780

    From what you have said I would start from scratch. Learn from any mistakes you may have had this past season. I've tried both working for myself and working for someone else and I could not ever go back to working for other people.
  6. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,209

    James, that is a tough decision to make. There is a lot to be said for being self employed, but as you know lots of headaches, too. I am just finishing my 12th year of my own business and have been thinking a lot of selling and getting out. But my mind always goes back to when I was working for someone else for peanuts, really giving my all, just to make my boss money. I think the unlimited income potential is what keeps me going. Every day is a challenge, and I think I need that.
    Some days the last thing I feel like doing after a 12 hour day is calling back a client who has a problem with the work we did or is refusing to pay a bill, that definitely sucks. There have been lots of lousy situations over the last 12 years, including problems with clients, employees, being sued, not having enough money for bills or payroll, or to pay myself, you get the idea. Somehow through all of it, I just learned to keep my head up and keep fighting.
    I'm nowhere near the income level that I would like to be, and in all honesty could probably make more working for someone else in another industry, but I will get there eventually!!:waving: Go for your own business
  7. JS Landscaping

    JS Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    I was a licenced and insured busienss. And thanks for the help guys...I am thinking about giving it a new shot with a fresh start, new everything. To be a climber for 15 dollars an hour for this tree company doesnt seem to be really worth it. Althought it is nice having a guarenteed check at the end of the week, what im making is a far cry from what I was while being self employed...and I do feel as if im being limited. If I decide to go back into it for myself, I want to make sure I do everything right, I will be a licenced and insured Landscape/tree firm...actually studying for my ISA Cert. currently. The list of things that went wrong this past year I guess just built up to where I hit my breaking point. Between no payers, late payers, equipment failure, a business deal that went bad at the begining of the year, and not finding any good employees, kinda killed it for me. At the begining of this year i lost over 18 thousand to another contractor who I was suposed to be taking over all his commercial plowing accounts. Sent the accoutns the bill, they sent him the check and he took off with it, never found him or heard from him again. So that kinda set things off on the wrong foot. But right now Im flat broke working for this tree company, almost seems like i was in a better spot when i was my own boss. It is all very confusing to me. Part of me wants to give it a shot again, and make things work. And ive started to get the itch again, almost seems like my fire burned out, but now there is still a hot coal that is starting to rekindle again. Just the pride of owning my own company is enough for me...still trying to figure it out, any more advice is greatly apreciated. Thanks for your help guys! :usflag:
  8. B_gerrits

    B_gerrits LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 297

    I noticed you stated that you were lic and insured if that was in response to what I wrote I never was insinuating that you were a scrub. At 22 I doubt you have a landscape contractors lic. One of my regrets was not getting one because all the bigger jobs with the higher $$$ amounts here the cust wants to have done by lic contractors. Another thing to consider is to make sure the insurance you carry will cover your tree work. I live in Calif and everything here is highly regulated, to do trees over $500 you need an arborist lic and to be a pro tree service a lot of expensive equip is needed.
  9. Sammy

    Sammy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,734

    Try and find a Small Business Class that you can take this winter.
    It may well be worth it.
  10. Cedar Valley Landscapes

    Cedar Valley Landscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 131

    B gerrits, i was just wondering what you meant by landscape contractors lic? Because here in Illinois there is not such thing.

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