Greetings!

another member

LawnSite Member
Location
Central VA
Hi there- long-time lurker, finally decided to get off my duff and join.

We (me and my wife) have a side-gig after our "day jobs" doing some occasional hardscapes and landscaping for a LCO run by a friend. We clear enough here in VA to warrant starting an LLC to make things more official- plus we're both 50-ish and poised to retire in a couple years. The friend has been trying to get more organized and honestly, he needs some assistance, which is where we step in. He's lost some contracts due to a lack of follow-through along with overbooking, so we're filling that role.

Me? I'm just your average software support guy- except my background is pretty extensive mechanically (ex-Navy submariner machinist mate, HVAC/well-pump/L&G tech for Sears back before they were bought out).

So I've helped a few friends over the years get established as solo-operator LCOs, but never took the plunge myself (just some contract work, lot-clearing, hardscapes, and equipment maintenance). My wife? Full-time nurse but now she's at a private practice. Equivalent pay, less responsibility, less wear-n-tear on her body and WAY BETTER profit sharing. Anyway, she's capable at laying stripes (and good ones) and her "hobby" is hardscapes- picking up big heavy objects and moving them around, and she has an eye for figuring out what people want when they try to explain their vision of some landscaping. If you turn her loose with the Billy Goat she's in her element. I love running a line trimmer and the walk-behind trimmers, so we've landed a few (more than a few) jobs clearing overgrown yards/lots and mulching.

We enjoy helping the buddy out, so we're looking for a few more purchases; a 32" or maybe 36" stander for next year to ensure he can keep up with the work. We have a 52" Snapper Pro WB and it handles big spaces fine (we were using a Husq rider with a 42" but sooo slow!). Why a smaller stander? Our buddy is using a 21 in backyards his 48" ZTR (Husq) can't fit in.

You could say this is a hobby that makes us enough extra money to justify buying commercial equipment, but our property also justifies it. Plus we'd both rather be outside laying stripes and knocking back brambles than watching TV.
 
OP
A

another member

LawnSite Member
Location
Central VA
She is amazing;, feel like I caught the best fish in the sea, if ya know what I mean.

By the way, that Snapper Pro is one heck of a machine. Cuts great, but that 52" deck is a monster on a bumpy hayfield-turned yard We have a Jungle-Jim sulky so it really helps, except the dips. Our first times operating were about what one would expect. What's that saying about falling off a horse? Gotta get back on. Only beef with it is the neutral isn't neutral. It still creeps forward, so after starting you gotta hop right on. Still money well-invested, and by and large a simple, rugged, and reliable machine. With the season wrapping up we're focusing on mastering controls- big open spaces are easy enough to lay some pretty stripes but we've been setting up obstacle courses for practice.
 
OP
A

another member

LawnSite Member
Location
Central VA
If it's feasible, especially since my daughter is an R.N. and I know what they can make, I'd keep the wife employed with her primary job and just assist, as needed.
We've discussed this- I originally thought as you do knowing an RN can make some serious bank, but my end-game shifted when the company I work for sold (I was fully vested and my IRA has done incredibly well even after a brutal divorce). The entire pandemic has brought us nothing but good luck.

Main goal is retiring and doing something we both love, and our bills are almost non-existent compared to the vast majority of our friends. We live pretty frugal so a comfy retirement is not far away. :cool2: payuppayup
 

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