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Calling it quits.....maybe.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by rixtag, Aug 27, 2019.

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  1. No gloves

    No gloves LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 574

    used to work physical labor for a long time.i was younger and most help they gave me were older men.they couldn't keep up and foremans were trying to get them in trouble.i used to stick up for them to no avail.they were mistreated and eventually let go,as was i,for my injuries and sticking up for guys like them.management wanted to treat them like 20yr olds when they were 55-60s age.i learned then and there I need to work smart and do anything possible to rid myself of unneeded repition/bending/turning,etc.post like this are frustrating to me because I know I may one day be in same situation and be devastated because I really enjoy working for myself.hope you figure your situation out and hope others can share their experiences with how to better extend the health of our bodies to last for the long haul.thank you
    MattZ28, Cam15, rixtag and 2 others like this.
  2. sjessen

    sjessen LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Knoxville, Tn
    Messages: 24,164

    Burnout is a real thing.

    Hits me every season too.

    Hang in there.
    Ridin' Green, MattZ28, Cam15 and 4 others like this.
  3. watatrp

    watatrp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 557

    Yup. 50 of them were at a condo association. I had a about 10 hours a week of part time help. There were weeks when I was mowing more than I did working my full time job. Doing the condos, I always finished up the quarter mile island at the entrance w/ my push mower because it had street lights. Spent a lot of days starting at 5 am at my office job and finishing up at 10 pm mowing. I'm stubborn. Don't know if that's a good or bad quality.
  4. sjessen

    sjessen LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Knoxville, Tn
    Messages: 24,164

    Persistent is a better word. At least that is what I told my mother as a teenager.;)
    Cam15, rixtag and watatrp like this.
  5. K c m

    K c m LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,024

    Good luck fellas. I hope you all make the right choices for yourselves.
  6. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,007

    This is a rough year. Not daily rains, rains sometimes 3 to 4 times a day. And a lot of it. August is usually the month people break down and want out. Whether it’s employees or owners. I can’t fault anyone for throwing in the towel.
    Jeff@diyokc, zlandman, rixtag and 3 others like this.
  7. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,396

    actually i start to like it again this time of year as fall comes around. it's my favorite time in the mowing business. the cooler weather and things slow down a bit and it's not so hectic. i guess i'm just more of a laid back type of person. some people thrive on challenges and stress and pressure and that sort of thing but i'm the opposite. i like everything to go smooth with no hiccups and as little stress as possible. obviously we don't live in a perfect world so it can't always be like that but anyways that's what i prefer if given the choice.

    i'm only throwing in the towel because of all of the up's and down's and in's and out's involved with this business. in the past things seemed more steady and the up's and down's weren't so drastic but this year it's just gone nuts. i don't know what will happen each day. anything can happen at any time.

    it used to surprise me when someone said they no longer needed me to mow their lawn but now it's almost like i expect it to happen. it no longer catches me off guard. i'm just like "yep i figured that would happen."

    i used to be shocked when it happened but now it's like i just expect it to happen sooner or later. it's kinda crazy.

    overall this year i lost 15 customers. i lost about 10 at first and it just kept going. i was like "is everyone gonna quit this year?" i ended up gaining about 8 new ones which is only half of what i lost and i ended up even losing one of those later in the season.

    i can start to tell that 3 of the other new ones just aren't gonna be good customers. they've already been skipping cuts in august and such....so you might as well say i only gained 5 new customers.

    ...also i know of 3 already that will be gone come next spring. it just keeps rolling downhill for some reason this year. i have no idea why. no other year has been like this. in the past 10 years i may have lost 2-3 customers or even none at all. this just came out of nowhere and blindsided me. i guess i've been lucky the past 10 years. i now realize just how unsteady this business really is. you just can't count on it....at least not in my area.

    most guys around here "mow on the side" so it's not a big deal to them. they don't depend on it for their living. it's just a side job for extra money to them. the only steady ones are the big companies that have been around since the 80s so they are well established in the community. a solo guy like me doesn't stand much of a chance. everyone treats you like you are a kid just trying to make some spending money for the summer even though you are 44 years old. :laugh:

    i know many people on here say to "branch out" into other things. it probably works in their area but around here there isn't much of a market for the other things. even from my steady customers i only trim the shrubs on about 2-3 of them out of 30+ total. in 10 years i only did small mulch jobs for 1-2 customers. any landscaping and that sorta thing around here is done by the homeowners....really most of them just don't ever do it and they aren't interested in paying someone to do it for them either. it's just a small town and people don't make a lot of money around here to have the extra to spend on these types of things. they tend to just get by doing as little as they can get away with.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
  8. OP

    rixtag LawnSite Senior Member
    from Lehi Ut
    Messages: 441

    I hear what you are saying about the turnover. We don't get a lot of that here in my area but when I talk to other potential customers they are always talking about trying to find the right company so I'm sure it happens but then again people for me have been extremely loyal and we all get along fantastically.
    I'm one of the guys who does it on the side, never wanted to do it full time because I wanted to always enjoy it. I'm a small fish in a huge pond.
    I only ever had one lady quit on me and it was like this: I come over on the regular day at the regular time and there is another LCO just packing up!! That was after cutting for her for several years. It happened a few years ago and to this day have no idea why. I don't miss it either.

    This is my favorite time of year as well and if the summer temps would give up, it was 99 on Monday, then I would like it even more. I'm bagging more grass right now than I did this spring and that is a mystery to me. It usually starts slowing down by now but not this year.

    I feel you Weeze, it just might be time to chill for a while and take up a new experience.
  9. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,844

    One thing to consider...If you have some money to put down, most companies have been running 48 months at no interest. i mean, it is still money that has to be spent, but if that is the only thing making you want to quit, then just consider doing like 2 more yards per week..That's like less than 2 more hours for an average size yard here. Say $50 per yard, and that's about $400 extra per month. You can pay about $250/month for the mower, and still make a little extra. Just something to consider...Then you will have a nice mower to carry you through a few more years.
  10. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,844

    Again, your mentality is exactly like mine. I didn't know you were looking for something else to do. Can't say that I blame you though. The only thing is, I have been there and done that...The grass really isn't much greener. The only reason I got back in full time is because the guy that took over most of my accounts just sucked and he started losing a lot of accounts. If you ask him, it's anyone's fault but his...But people kept calling me back..The final thing that got me back full time was when my large industrial account called me back. I think it was great that they thought highly enough of me to want me back after I let them go lol...I realized that the other job I took was crap and they were just blowing hot air and making false promises. So, I ended up back in this. I really don't like this any longer.

    I have different issues that you. I could rule this area in lawn care if I had the proper mentality. I know what I am doing, I do it well, but I can't seem to get others to do it well. It is difficult to branch out because mowing takes up so much time and the accounts are on a schedule over and over which doesn't leave much time to do all day jobs like landscaping or irrigation. I'm not gonna lie though the longer I am in it, the more I think this business sucks. Too many people doing this now. Too many lowballers, too many ass hats that don't care and make our job difficult. Like you said, they want to treat you like a kid, or at the very least unimportant. Yes, you can make money, but you are not going to get rich. You really can make a decent living though. But the equipment costs and fuel costs kill us.

    My biggest thing is my health. I keep pushing, but don't know how long I can. The only thing saving me now is a good helper. I went a week without him when he had to help with his church camp, and I could barely do it. I have some other ideas up my sleeve, but nothing I can do really quick. Working for someone else is going to suck though. Even though this sucks and it seems like you are always doing something for the business and don't have much free time, nothing is worse than being a slave to the clock and having a job with unrealistic goals and expectations. Just be careful in the job market and don't get into something you will regret in a year. I think you will find that you are just like me and its going to kill you to not have that freedom any longer. The thing is I dread May-September, but I literally still make a good living and only have 2 days of work to do from about Thanksgiving through the end of Feb. Sometimes its not even 2 8 hour days. I just can't beat that. I guess I will spend some of that time this winter learning to build houses with my dad. He wants to teach me and wants me to work with him and get my general contractor's license.

    I know how you feel though. We are about the same age and you start thinking different in your 40's. I never even intended on doing this full time. It went from a side biz to full time in about 2 years though. The older we get though, we need to think of our health and what if we become limited in what we can do (like I am now lol) It's just a lot to think about.
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