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Full-Time Paramedic looking for PT advice

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Coolclay84, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. Coolclay84

    Coolclay84 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    I work as a Paramedic (I'm also a police officer) near Houston, Tx and I make a good living but I'm ready to try something on my own. I'm not quitting my FT job, but because I only work about 8-10 days a month (24 hour shifts) I could work almost as much OT as I wanted, but after 11 years of EMS I'm ready to spend more time at home with the kids and be home at night.

    I'm considering starting a lawncare business to do PT while my kids are in school or at their various activities during the day. I was wondering if any of my public safety brothers and sisters did lawn care on the side, and if so, what has your experience been? On average what can you bring home only doing it 2 days a week?

    I've mowed on/off for a long time but I'd like to get "serious" about it this year.

    I read this forum regularly and I appreciate any information from any of the experienced guys. Part time or Full time.
  2. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,478

    You might actually do better working the OT shifts that you are able to. I worked did lawns for nearly 2 years part time, it did help pay for all the equiptment. Seriously if your just looking for a "dollar", which is in no way a bad thing I go with the OT at your job. I alaways say if Lawn Care is your "passion" then you can find a way to make a decient living, but if not you will have mowers for sale before long.
  3. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,360

    I did it for many years as a FT military member. It was the best decision I made. Extra money and set me up for my second career after retiring. Looked great to my superiors. Since its not your prime income you can do as little or lot as you want. You can be more selective of your clientele. There really isn't a downside for you. Its different from what you currently do and that helps add balance to your life. Make sure your family is on board too. You should be able to do 20-25 decent size acccounts and not kill yourself. That's a nice chunk of change. You will keep most of it your first few years with equipment and expense write offs.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
    ericg likes this.
  4. hemifan4272

    hemifan4272 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I'm a career FF/Medic and started my company as a way to put money away for my kids college and as my future business when I retire. Depending on lawn sizes and how close together they are, 20 lawns should keep you busy. I quickly found out how much more I could make doing cleanups, mulch and other services. This year I got my applicators license and next year I will start to grow the landscaping side. Basically you can be as busy as you want and make as much as you want, it's up to you. I like doing this work because it gives me a chance to mentally get away from all the bad stuff we see.
  5. Coolclay84

    Coolclay84 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    Thanks for the info. It's not the "Bad stuff" that bothers me so much as it is the stupid stuff we deal with. Getting up 4 times at night for leg pain, toothaches, drunkeness, ect. wears on your insanity not to mention your sleep. Having something that allows me to make some extra cash while taking me away from home for an entire day or night sounds good.

    What other services were you speaking of when you say clean out? Like cleaning flower beds or hauling off trash?
  6. mowerman41

    mowerman41 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    I have been a corrections officer for over 12 years I started my company in 2007. I currently have 23 customers my average price lawn is $50. I finish all my lawns in about 14 hours. I could easily have 50-60 customers but I enjoy being solo right now, so I keep my customer total around 25.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. Coolclay84

    Coolclay84 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    Mowerman thats awesome especially if you have good margins. Do you mainly do residential?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. hemifan4272

    hemifan4272 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I moved from one of our busiest stations to one of our slowest to get away from the BS calls. I burned myself out working as much OT as I could get and needed to do something else to save my career ( 15 years on ). My extra services are like most on here: spring / fall yard and flower bed clean ups, aeration, over seeding, leaf removal , mulch, weeding and pet waste removal ( dog only). This year I also started doing irrigation turn ons and winterizing and seasonal color changes. I have subs for my tree work and snow removal. I got my applicators license this February and I have been "practicing" my fertilizer and weed control program on my lawn and a few friends lawns to get comfortable with it. That alone has generated a ton of interest in services for next year. The biggest advice I have is once you figure out what you want to do and offer, is network with people in this business. I know 2 guys that own large grounds maintenance companies ( also career FF) and asked them if they would mentor me and they said yes and have learned tons from them. I have 15 full service clients and a couple of clients I do other yard services for, but not mow. I work solo, but have 2 part time people to help in spring and fall when things are busy. I am currently talking with a person retiring from lawn care about taking over his business, which would more than double my clients ( if I was able to retain all of his clients ).
  9. LFD 1249

    LFD 1249 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    I'm a career FF/EMT. You will do just fine. I have one part-time employee. He does a great job and I think that is real important for those accounts that want cut on a certain day of the week and I happen to be on duty. I cut around 50 acres a week. And I have about 30acres of applications every round. I'm the only licensed applicator for my business so I do all of those by myself. I'm sending my PT guy this winter to get licensed to cut the workload next year. In my area there isn't much money in only mowing. Next year I'm going to market the applications heavily and try to convert more towards treatments and renovations.

    In my opinion again you have one of the best Fulltime jobs to start your partime business. Keep in mind the family time though. We miss out on a lot of family times working 24hr shifts. Make sure you always keep family first!! When I'm doing lawn care I'm always home by 6pm to eat supper with the wife and kids. Then we all head out to the shop and unload equiptment. My 7 yr old loves driving the ztr.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    I believe what ever your reasons are, you will loose out on time with your children and your home life will also change, not necessarily for the better. Taking on more responsibility and the cost of equipment, maintenance, insurance, etc. will prove to be at best a break even proposition or net loss. If your wanting to try this for extra income, stick with working extra shifts with your present employer.
    easy-lift guy

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