Crossroads in my career, need advice

Discussion in 'Lawn Care Business Management' started by Jweturf, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. Jweturf

    Jweturf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    At this point in my life i'm coming into the reality of owning my fathers tree/horticultural business that I have worked for off and on throughout highschool/college and post college for the past 10 years. I have degrees in turfgrass management and plant and soil science. With experience in high end golf operations doing maintenance and tournament construction projects. I'm a Certified arborist, have a pesticide license, CDL, I consider my self highly qualified, I'll be 25 in a month.

    However I've grown up in the green industry my entire life. I've seen the struggles of being a small business owner in this industry. I do love the work and enjoy a lot of things about the green industry. My father has never been a good business man and would be leaving me a pretty disorganized business. I would try to diversify business from a heavy pruning/removal tree business to an entirely turf care (lawn fert, aeration, etc) Plant health care, and landscape install business. But see a mountain in front of me to climb.

    I'm looking for advice on weather I should go be the employee for someone that I would desperately be looking for and probably never get, where I can receive a steady income and benefits. Or tough it out and see what I can make of this, with the uncertainty that comes along with it. Something I've been battling with my self over the last few months, and just looking for some advice from someone that may have been in my shoes at one time. Thanks
  2. Matthews Lawn Care

    Matthews Lawn Care LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,218

    I’ve never been in your shoes but I did build my entire lawn biz to be full service and I run it solo. If you like the green industry and have an act for business, I’d give it a go. Obviously, you’ll have to address the areas your father may have not and you will prob lose a little business due to the change but you’ll also be more appealing to others and potential to gain better customers. Either way, it’s really about how you feel. I really don’t have any competition with being a full service professional. Of course that all depends on your market but I enjoy being the guy who is a little higher priced but can address everything a lawn needs and maintain it.
  3. Jweturf

    Jweturf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    Would you mind having a private convo with me about some things?
  4. Matthews Lawn Care

    Matthews Lawn Care LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,218

    Sure, pm me. I’ll be glad to help anyway I can.
    hort101 likes this.
  5. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,246

    Your experience makes you a sought after employee not actually an experienced business owner.

    If I were you I would seek two way interviews with companies that would acquire your business and you.
    Unlike most people selling a small business you have a leg up in that you’re not just selling a bunch of stuff but the employees including you one with it.
    You can use the business to negotiate a good position and salary for you and you can use you to negotiate a good price for your business.
  6. Jweturf

    Jweturf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    I kind of agree with that. I do believe I have a business mind though, and would love to grow the successful business that I want, rather than sell out at this point. I just want to make sure the hassle of owning and operating my own business will be worth it in the end compared to going elsewhere.
  7. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,273

    try it yourself. you can always go work for someone else later if it doesn't work out.

    i didn't start my business until i was 35. you have plenty of time. give it 5-10 years and see how it does. a job working for some other company will always be there. any of us could sell our business and go work for someone else. we'd get hired right away especially since we would be bringing in a lot of customers with us.
  8. That Guy Gary

    That Guy Gary LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,412

    My goal is to eventually go out on my own to do full service residential. Right now I'm fortunate enough to work for a company that's big enough to have a lot of work but not so large that they can pigeonhole people into narrow job tasks.

    At the end of the day a job is still a job, meaning you're primary purpose is to pay bills and possibly support a family. If your dad's business can pay the bills and you see an opportunity to mold it into something you enjoy, go for it.
    Jweturf and Matthews Lawn Care like this.
  9. RussellB

    RussellB LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,693

    I really can't tell you what to do but two points stand out to me. You say this is your dad's business. He built it, his sweat and he purchased the equipment. That said my son stepped away from my business for a different career. I believe if he would have taken my business and then turned around a sold it I would not have been a happy camper. It's one thing to set your son up, it's quite another for a son to take advantage of the situation to make a buck.

    Secondly, if you're asking what to do, your heart isn't in it and you might as well just move on. Make it easier for your dad to collect on his labor and retire with a few bucks in his pocket.

    Glad your asking but do your homework so there are no hard feelings when all is said and done.
  10. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Gold Member
    from WV
    Messages: 3,028

    How's the business currently look? Apparently he's been in business a while since you said "10 years".... What's the books look like, what kind of area are you in? As far as we know your father could be running a multi-million dollar operation that just needs leadership.

    Almost sounds like you have already begun to talk yourself out of wanting it.

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