Get out there and mow before I flick your ear, you little twerp! That's what I would hear from my dad 20 years ago. I'm 32 now. The summer I turned 16, my dad said I needed a job, he wanted to know what I wanted to do. Typical teenager, said... "uhhh dunno". He decided he'd put an ad in the local paper, "Lawn mowing -- $10 / hour". Got my first call the next day, still have that same account, 16 years later. Over the years it's been an up and down battle. I went to college for 3 1/2 years, then dropped out after I figured out I could make more money mowing grass that I could taking a chance with a business degree. There's been setbacks, headaches, sore shins from wearing shorts and trimming sandburs. At one point I was up to 135 properties, 6 guys, 2 trucks. Did that for 3 years, then realized I didn't want to be an employer anymore. 3 years ago I told my wife (5 year anniversary this July) that I was going back solo, if I can't make any money, it's time to do something else. I dropped back down to 35 commercial accounts, all on contract, 16 of which are on contract year-round with the snow removal included. I figured I'd do the contracting this way, now I'm basically a salaried employee of 35 bosses. I've got my budget from working over the years, and since it's the same 35 accounts, I can keep pretty accurate records from year to year. Last year I picked up the local school district, which is 5 schools, about 120 acres of mowing. It doesn't pay as well as some of my commercial accounts, but it's all guaranteed money, and this year I got a 3 year extension. I've hired my dad, he runs my tri-deck mower on the open fields at the schools 2 days a week, and I've got an uncle that's a pastor, he does the trimming at the schools. As for me, right now I'm running 85+ hours / week when it isn't raining, and netting WAY more money than I ever did with 2 full crews running. Now I'm the one that gets to say "Get out there and mow before I flick your ear, you little twerp!"