Career change cubical to outdoors

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by liquidice, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. liquidice

    liquidice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Hello all,

    First time poster on these boards. I have been going through lots of posts and soaking up lots of information. Let me tell you all a little about myself.

    Currently 29 and working in the computer field. I put together and install the nice computers that are automated for callers. Yes I hate calling them just as much as anyone else out there. Anyway that is what I have been into since I was 18. Before that I did just about anything for the money. Was in the Navy for 4 years and ran a wiring crew for 2 years when not working on computers. My whole working life has been spent indoors. When I am not working I spend my time outdoors with yard work, fishing or doing anything outside.

    Some have already told me that I would be stupid for leaving my computer field. To be truthful I am done with computers and the indoors. I have set a goal for myself. By 2009 I want to be out of the computer field and into a self employed job. I started my search about 4 months ago and have started narrowing my search to the point of investing a little money in information on said fields.

    My computer job also has me travel. When I mean travel I mean 40-45 weeks of the year. This becomes a burden on my wife and family. They live wiithout a father for the majority of the year. Even if I do pull an 80 hour week in this industry I will still go home at the end of the day.

    So having said all that I do have a couple of questions.
    1. My area is Auburn Al so the majority of area is decent yards in city and lots of big yards in the county. I look in the phone book and see alot of Yardcare/landscaping businesses. How would one tell if the market is to full?

    2. Being that some of you have been in some what of a situation what advice would you give me for my '09' goal to be met?

    Sometimes I think to big upfront and dive in to fast. That tends to get me in trouble sometimes. Example would be stock up on equipment and find myself faced with big bills and paybacks but no income to cover it. (My wife tends to help me in this area a bit.)

    I think I will end it here for now. I don't won't hurt people's eyes to much with a huge wall of text.
  2. MrTim

    MrTim LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Shoot me an email offline at Folkenson at gmail and I'll throw an MP3 DVD your way. (Required reading for every self employed individual)

    Tim Folkenson, MCSE
    Recovering IT professional and "Your Favorite Realtor"
  3. NELawnCare

    NELawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 175

    When I read your post I thought I was reading my own story. I am 42.

    I spent 10 years in the military in the computer/software field. After the military I stayed connected by becoming a Defense Contractor. I worked at General Dynamics for another +/-14 years. I've been in the DoD IT industry for about 20 years. Yes, these jobs come with big bucks and hefty bonuses. But it comes at a price. There is an incredible amount of travel and stress. I've kept my lifestyle simple and never lived beyond my means even tho I was pulling down well into the six-figures. I invested and banked 70-cents out of every dollar.

    In the fall of last year I decided it was enough. I'm too young to retire so I wanted to jump ship and start doing what I love to do...maintain lawns. I used my investments to buy 7 acres of prime wooded land and build a new modest home in the north woods of Wisconsin, my childhood vaction spot, my dream fishing location. I crafted my business plan and started two small businesses. My new primary business is lawn care, but I still perform some computer consulting to help make ends meet. When I build my lawn care business to maintain a supportive income, I will cease computer work all together.

    I was fortunate (and wise) to save my money. I was able to buy all new Ferris, Echo, Red Max, and BOSS equipment. Many say it is not wise to buy new when starting. But, it is an investment and my business plan supports a 5-year goal. What the heck, go for it.

    You only live once! When you're in that pine box and being lowered into the dirt, it's too late to say I would-a-should-a...

    Good luck and I hope things work out for you.
  4. Ecoscape01

    Ecoscape01 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    I didn't know you spent some time in the military NELawn - that's good stuff. And hello and welcome to my fellow squid! I did four years in Va Beach with an F/A-18 Squadron and two deployments on Truman.
  5. paul vroom

    paul vroom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    Same here guy's. 42 and with the same company for 23 years. I manage a Desktop publishing dept. I started last fall with clean ups and getting my name around. I still work in desktop and I spent the winter taking as much overtime as I could and bought equipment. I put myself on nights and will do both while I grow the company. For the first time in 23 years I can say I have a window. Good Luck to you all.
  6. liquidice

    liquidice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Wow! Thanks for the responses. I was stationed on the CVN 68 USS Nimitz for my 4 years. Round the world cruise and ended in Newport News VA for the first Nuclear engine overhaul.

    As far as seeing that window, it is still only a vision right now. I will be talking to some business owner in the coming days and start to lay things out. I can see what I want to look like in 5 years. I can see what I want to look like in 10. It is the begining and middle that is all hazy.
  7. GravyTrain

    GravyTrain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    Holy smokes...I never imagined there would be this many computer "nerds" wanting to get in the lawn business. I have been a computer engineer since around 2000, and am even a pretty good way towards getting my masters in Applied Computing. That didn't change the fact that cutting grass has always been one of my passions.

    As for your plan, you've got yours spread out more than mine. My goal is to be out of the computer industry after 2 years. At the rate I'm going, I see no problem with that, but I know it's going to be hard work, 40 hours at the day job, and then another 40 after work and weekends getting as many customers as I can handle. I had planned on putting up a post about my experiences so far (just started a month ago as a "real business").

    Basically, my suggestion to you would be spend this year mowing when you can where you can with whatever equipment you have and save everything you've got to purchase the equipment you need (or want in some cases). I was able to save nearly $2000 doing lawns and a little bit of computer consulting on the side. That allowed me to purchase a used Exmark TTHP 48" (and I wish I would have gotten a 36" right now, too many houses with smaller 44" gates). My wife and I had saved several thousand over the years and she said I could use it to purchase the trailer and some commercial grade hand tools. I purchased 2500 door hangers, 250 business cards and my number will be in the yellow pages in June. I've passed out just under 1000 of the door hangers and I've got 8 residential and 1 commerical contract, not to mention a handful of one-time mows.

    I can't speak for your area, but I am in Conway, AR not sure about the population, but it's a college town with lots of younger couples. I targeted smaller home sub-divisions (with smaller lawns/lots) to help me expand my client base (and in return help with word of mouth).

    Basically, I love what I'm doing so far, I'm still moving a little slower than I'd like (still getting used to the new equipment) but I'm spending time doing what I love, and you can't put a price on that. I wish you the best and hopefully this post isn't a lot of rambling, because I'm pretty tired right now.

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