Confessions from a part-timer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by BAMARED, May 28, 2002.


    BAMARED LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    I am a perverbial part-time grass cutter that services about 15 accounts in addition to my regular 7 - 4:30, M-F job. I was just wondering how many others that frequent this site are in the same boat as I?

    I cut grass for (2) reasons:

    1. Income supplementation. If I didn't generate this extra $ during the months of April - October, there's a very good chance that my wife would have to go back to work due to the declining industry where I'm presently employed. (Not good w/ (2) children.)
    2. I enjoy doing it. After sitting behind a desk all day, the thought of going out and mowing someone's lawn sounds pretty good. Not to mention the excersie.

    I've been averaging $1000 per month cutting (1) yard a day on M, T, Th., F. and Sat. and 2-3 yards on Sunday afternoons from a customer base of 15. I feel like with a very spread out schedule like this, I'm better able to maintain the delicate issue of time with the family vs. at work.

    But like I was saying, I was just checking to see how other part-timers do it and balance their time?


  2. Russo

    Russo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 287

    I've been in the industry for over 10 years and decided to go on my own. Thus, I am a part-timer until the biz grows enough to support a family.

    I do about the same thing as you. 1 or 2 weeknights, a 6 hr Saturday, and installs or mulch on Sundays if I have one.

    Mowing brings in around $ 1,000 extra / month, but the big bucks come from the tree work, weeding, pruning and all the other add-ons that I pick up from mowing customers. Usually the add-ons are at least $ 1,000 more / month.

    You're very right, the family time issue is a delicate one. No one puts on their grave stone..." I wish I'd spent more time at work ".

    The only consolation my family has is that they understand that it is a short term sacrafice for a long term gain , and that they are supporting my dream. I am truly lucky.

    Anyway,....that's how I do it.
  3. HLC

    HLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    I'm in the same boat. I work fulltime, service 15 accounts and am bringing in about 1k a month from the lawn biz. I am married but don't have any kids.

    I do it for the same reasons.....Supplemental income and I enjoy it.

    As far as balancing time. I work 4-10 hour days, always off on Monday. I try to cut all day Saturday, about 1/2 a day Monday, and I try to do one or two yards on my way home one or two days a week.
  4. wmsland

    wmsland LawnSite Member
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 127

    Just curious if all of you part-timers carry all the necessary insurance, business licenses and most importantly do you claim all of your "extra Income" on your taxes?
  5. wojo23323

    wojo23323 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 608

    i am part time now, but will be full time next year when i retire from the navy. i am licensed and insured and will be taking my commercial pesticide applicators exam in 3 weeks. i also claim every dime that i make on my taxes. last month my gross sales was almost $5,000. Not to bad. I also have 1 part time employee, who i pay $10 per hour. I bought a hustler super z last week and a 36" exmark metro last month. i'm really looking forward to retiring from the navy!:D
  6. maple city

    maple city LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    My husband is a full time firefighter. We do the lawns on his days off from the fire dept. We do about 20 accounts/week plus extras like rock beds, edging, clean ups, etc.

    We do claim all income from the lawn care on our taxes, and we carry insurance.

    Doing this allows me (the wife) to be able to stay home with our kids on the days my husband is at the fire station. It also allows my husband and I time together. Even though we are working, it's kind of nice to do it together.

    Right now it is EXTREMELY hard for us to balance our schedule. I do all the house work on the days that my husband is at the station. On the other days (never Sunday, usually not Saturday), we mow from about 8-4, then go to the gym. Our older son is in little league, so we are making time for his games as well. If it ever stops raining here, we will get on a better schedule.

    I guess if something is important enough to you, you find a way to make it work. Since this is our chance at working for ourselves and owning a business, we work it out.

    Good luck!
  7. AltaLawnCare

    AltaLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 961

    Would you full timers prefer if all the part timers quit their jobs, went full time? This would mean that their survival would depend on the Lawn Care business....

    Whos more likely to low ball, a Part timer whose time after work is compared to a second job with no benefits and a chunk of overhead OR time and a half or double time from just working overtime at their regular job????

    Everyone needs to go slow, figure out what to charge and learn the business - AND DO IT RIGHT!!!.

    Even if you're part time, theres too much money not to pay taxes on, unless they're killing the market making an extra $50.00 or so a week.

    I had 2 million Liability, before I ever even bid on any commercial accounts,
    I pay a lot of money to an accountant,
    I pull into a driveway with about $40,000 worth of equipment,..
    I wear uniforms!

    I see Full timers in my area using a $200.00 truck pulling Snappers, Lowes mowers, and everything else. I wonder if THEY are paying the overhead I am!

    If theres anyone servicing any accounts for too cheap of a price in my area, it doesn't bother me...I don't want those kind of customers anyway.

    I work 7 days a week. If it rains, I service the equipment, or do book work. I run it like a second job with set hours.

  8. fastcut

    fastcut LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    I have been part timing it for about 12 yrs. Had about 35 accounts at one time early on then my first wife got sick of me mowing all the time so cut back to about 15. Didn't make much differance, we still ended getting divorced. Any how my new wife is behind me 100 percent. I do work a 40 hr week job but I have Wed. and Thurs. off so I can get most of my accounts done those two days. But during July & Augest I have weekends off so Its a little more difficult to get every thing done but I allways seem to manage. I dont like to mow on weekends If I dont have to. Cliff
  9. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,910

    I'm not sure why even part timers wouldn't pay taxes etc, the write offs make it worth it. It's not worth the hassle of trying to sneak around I would think. We do spraying and work for Townships so we have do it by the book. As for insurance, you would be crazy in today's world not to have it.
  10. We do 4 U

    We do 4 U LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    I am a full time firefighter and I have about 20-25 lawns I do by myself. I have good equipment, insurance, a business license and pay taxes.It is hard for me to balance my time between the fire department and the family. I usally work at the station 24 hrs then leave there and cut gass utill 6 or 7. But i get at least 2 days off a week from working so late.
    I like doing what I do but I am hoping to give it up in 3-4 years when my wife gets out of shool. And I do notice that some of the "full time" guys kind of look down on me. Like thier isn't enough work out there for everyone. If you do good work, you will stay as busy as you want.

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