Hopeful Entrepreneur in need of advice.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by D. R. Martin, Jul 22, 2014.

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  1. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    For the OP

    I had the opportunity to get a 2 yr Land/Hort degree back in the early 70's. Being I am in this business now I wish I had and started my business back then.

    Though I do not regret not doing so because I went in other directions. Had the opportunity to make good money. Had it for a while though when the economy took a dump in 2007 it dumped me as well.

    After going through 99 weeks of UEI. Low pay temp, part time jobs, I hung on till 2011. At that point when you hit 55 people do not want to hire you. They can get a person in their 20's for a third of what you were getting paid. They do not even say we will hire you for a third of what you were making. They also deem you to old to train in a new career. Though when most people change jobs every 2.5 years on average. So when that 22 year old guy quits, or I drop dead from a heart attack what is the difference. I did not want to work a minimum wage job. Did not want to be a greeter at Wal Mart.

    I wanted to work for my self. For many reasons. So I am in my fourth year now and I am 60.

    In 2011 I started out with already owning a 01 Suburban. That is my back up tow vehicle. A 05 Jeep TJUL, the LWB model. Roll Bar wind screen that converts the Jeep into a 2dr pickup cab. I removed the rear seat, carpets, side and rear curtains, and now have a pickup bed.

    I had a 4x8 Harbor Freight trailer that was bought 06 because I did not want to get the inside of the Suburban dirty.

    I had a 42" JD LT180, 20" Sears push, line trimmer, borrowed my friend Sears hand held blower. That thing had a hard time blowing out a candle on a birthday cake, electric trimmer, electric chain saw, and a load of hand tools. I started my business with the stuff I used to take care of my own property.

    Still with the 01 Suburb and 05 TJUL though now the trailer, all of the mowers and hand helds have been replaced and added to.

    No cash was needed to outfit me. So I am here because of that and very limited employment opportunity.

    I enjoy being my own boss. Though I will make the same money if I had a full time $10 an hr, 40 hr a week job. Though I work half the time.

    I would rather of started another business though I do not have the money. My son is looking to start his own business not landscape related in a year or two. If I had the money I would offer to be his partner and get things started by spring of next year.

    Yes I would throw away my Landscape empire because it most likely will never grow large enough to support a management staff where I do not have to be there full time and can be semi retired. Also none of my sons want to come into this business so who am I building this for? No one. I am doing this for the income. If I had a better way I would not be here. Even though I enjoy the work.

    Why? Because in Landscape when you have a lot of competition growth is slow. I need to make enough money so I do not need to collect SS when I hit 62.

    I am running out of time and options. You , OP have plenty of both do not waste them. US Park Rangers (LEO) get paid $75,000. With your back ground you would get hired.

    Many are here because we lack options. The reasons do not matter. Do not squander yours. Every year new people join LS. Most never come back. Because the statistic that most businesses fail in the first year. Yes they got in because they needed very little money. They did not make enough money with essentially no overhead.

    They had no business rent because they worked out of their garage or mom's garage. Had no car payments. No rent because they lived in mom's basement. Just had to buy line, gas, 2 stroke oil. And they could not make it. Because it is not that easy to get customers that will pay well.

    This is why along with your attitude is why people are telling you to forget about it.

  2. johnslandscapingservice

    johnslandscapingservice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    Just thought I would throw in some encouragement and advice as I was in a similar situation as you. I just started my business this year and it is part time with my business school. I mow 10 lawns a week, they take me about an hour each. Definitely keep in mind in the beginning it will consume a lot of your time but after a month or so it gets manageable. A couple tips on equipment if you didnt buy already-- Look on Craigslist! I bought a commercial exmark zero turn for $2,500 and it works pretty much the same as a brand new one. Just get a trimmer and backpack blower from lowes they work fine too. Since I mow 2 acre lawns, the ztr was practical, but I have looked on craigslist and see plenty of top line walk behinds for around $1500. Also if you eventually want to cut down time for larger properties, you could buy a sulky for about 100 bucks to turn it into a stand on mower. They're surprisingly very easy to maneuver. Granted, I did have 3 years of experience before starting my business, but browse around on here and on youtube for specifically how to do certain things. You will eventually figure it out after a month or so of experience. Most guys on here get offended if you want to start up a business and plan to not work too much. But the reality is that its not that hard to keep time under control. 10 houses a week takes me 10 hours + about 5 hours at home for management and equipment maintenance, that kind of stuff. I make about 80 bucks a lawn, have minimal expenses, do a few odd jobs like mulching, cleanups, etc (Theyre easy and pay well) and will make $25k for basically 10 easy hours a week. So far its not very time consuming or difficult...honestly you should be fine. Another tip would be if you have a friend who would help out (For me its easy because my college friends will do any work for 10 bucks an hour) Thats only $2500 for the year... not that much in the big picture hope this helps
  3. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,592

  4. D. R. Martin

    D. R. Martin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    I had NO idea that I was still getting feedback because I was somehow unsubscribed. At first AI was getting an email notification every time someone posted on this thread. I've no idea how or why I stopped receiving those. I want to thank everyone for their continued input. I'll try to respond to everyone individually.
  5. D. R. Martin

    D. R. Martin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    Thank you for the advice. I appreciate your help. But, what exactly do you mean concerning my attitude?
  6. D. R. Martin

    D. R. Martin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    I realize that it isn't all about money. Thanks to you guys I now understand that cutting and maintenance is only a small piece of the pie. However, it is the only place I feel comfortable starting due to my lack of experience. I don't anticipate cutting, trimming, hedge shaping, edging, etc. will be easy, but the install stuff I find to be intimidating because of the artistic element of design. Also, I assumed that an apprenticeship and some even more expensive equipment would be necessary to become certified to chemically treat lawns with pesticides and fertilizers.
  7. D. R. Martin

    D. R. Martin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    Proud to have been a part of it!

    "I'd like to thank the Academy, without whom none of this would have been possible!"

  8. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 27,060

    Do you enjoy being a cop? If so , get more education and go for your gold shield.
  9. oak branch

    oak branch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. D. R. Martin

    D. R. Martin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    I see you're in New Hampshire. That's worth low to mid 40's here in Georgia. Less in departments serving rural areas.
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