Graduating high school... What to do next?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mzarlenga, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. mzarlenga

    mzarlenga LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    Hey guys, this will be my first post on the forum so bear with me. I know there's been threads like this posted already, but I can't really seem to find a good answer to my question: What should I do after high school to start a career in the landscaping business? My buddy and I have a decent little business in town. We do all sorts of basic lawn care & landscaping services, we have good commercial equipment, trucks, trailers, etc. and we stay busy and make good money in my opinion for high school kids. I've decided that I want to make a career out of this business because I prefer working for myself and being in charge of the operation, I have a head-start by already having clients and equipment, and it's simply what I like to do. However, there's still A LOT for me to learn, and I'm stumped on how to gain the knowledge that I don't have. I live in CT and I will be going to college next year most likely for business management because I want to make my old man proud. He thinks education is key, and coming from an immigrant family he was the first one to ever go to college and the whole reason why he and my mom moved to where I live is to get a good education to have a good opportunity to go to college. I honestly don't want to go to more school. I'm sick of it at this point, and I believe that college is way too expensive for what it is, and because of this I don't believe that it will be a good investment from a business perspective, considering I want to turn my small lawn/landscape business into a career. But I'm going to do it anyway to make him happy. My question now is what is the best way to become knowledgable in the actual field of landscaping/lawn care? I figure the best way is to work for someone else, but I won't have to do that if I will be going to college and running my business at the same time. I'm really stuck and need some advice. Any help is greatly appreciated. P.S. sorry for the long rant
  2. AMW Landscaping

    AMW Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 630

    You can learn a lot on this site. If you get on here every day and read the threads you can gain a lot of knowledge. I do agree that working for someone is the best way to learn tho. Can you manage a few hours a week working for another company to learn the secrets they have?
  3. mzarlenga

    mzarlenga LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    Probably not during the school year at least. I will most likely be living on campus at school
  4. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,940

    Go to college and focus on horticulture and business management. Get some design courses, so that you will be better qualified to do design/installs, if you want to set yourself apart from the truck/shovel guy. You will have the knowledge and credentials. And, you will get the business management to better be successful at your business and growing into something for a career.

    I am doubting you want to do the same thing you are doing now in the landscaping efforts for the next 40 years. Therefore, you need to find ways to extend the business into new areas, have reason for clients to hire you over somebody else.

    After you get to college, find some other courses, you may find other areas of interest that will better prepare you for a career. Statistics now show that those entering the workforce will have 4-5 career changes. Your success in navigating those changes will depend upon how nimble, and how adaptable you can make yourself. Going to college isn't just about learning something specific, rather learning how to learn. This skill will serve you well in adapting to changes in later years. Holding a college degree does not guarantee you anything. But, it may open opportunities to you that otherwise would be closed.
  5. mzarlenga

    mzarlenga LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    That's what i was originally going to do... But the college that I am most likely going to decide to go to (Southern CT State University) doesn't offer horticulture and/or landscape design. I'm in CT and the only state school that offers that program is UConn, and I don't want to go to a huge school like that and be that far from home. Are there any online courses or anything of that nature that I could look into?
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  6. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,281

    I had to make that choice a couple of years back. I tried college but the reality is you have to choose one or the other for that time. You will not want more than 20 hrs a week in the fall/spring. People that I know who took business management courses all said they did nothing for them in the real world besides the foot in the door. My gf will be graduating from msu with a agribusiness major and I can tell you knows very little about the business side of things. I would go for entrepreneurship and a minor in architecture or landscape design if they have it.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,281

    As far as hardscaping you can get certified by unilock and what not where you go and they teach you how to install it. One guys suggested I join a master gardeners program in my area or any garden club. I need to find a program for learning about plants myself.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,281

    I worked for a tax office once as a tax preparer. That was the 1st greatest experience for me. I would suggest trying to do that in tax time if you can.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,395

    I used to have a business in Fairfield CT.

    If you wanted I could tell you where to go to get the choice lawns in the Greenfield Hill Area.

    If you want to stay local, apply to Fairfield U. ( I always liked the idea of getting a degree from FU)

    If you Really want to learn the biz, Give a guy named Phil with Ivy League Landscaping in West Haven, CT a call.

    Phil started his business in high school, ran it all through college (he went to Yale…hence the name "Ivy League") and has been doing great for years.

    Phil has all the insight and knowledge you will want. He is now, who you want to be someday. (having started lawns in HS, kept it going through college, and still doing it for a living after all these years)

    Phil is (or was) the President of the local Professional Landscapers Association and heavily connected to and involved with the Certified Landscape Technician program.

    Any advice. knowledge, head start, right direction or mentorship you might need or want, can be gotten from him.
    Look him up in the Yellow Pages.
    You can also buy supplies and plants from him… he runs a nursery and landscape supply store, and he's only 30-40 minutes up I95 from you.
  10. easy-lift guy

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

    IMHO although admiral that your willing to go to college to make your father proud I believe you don't understand that your Father is already proud of you. Going to college to take random courses in this industry can be done. You may want to seek a degree in Horticulture, however many courses and or certificate programs may be available from your local Vocational/Technical school at a fraction of the cost and time required compared to college. I would suggest contacting Schedule an appointment to meet with
    A SCORE councilor and explain just as you have here what you want to do. If possible ask if there is any mentoring programs available specific for what your trying to accomplish now and in the future.
    There is no cost for this service, the members of this organization are all volunteer. Taking the time now will help you better plan your direction for your future. All the best.
    easy-lift guy

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