Im thinking about going full mowing.


LawnSite Bronze Member
Im 31 have a wife and two kids. Ive been a full time teacher for the last 8 years and the last 8 years ive also had my business. My wife works but I am the one who pays for almost everything.

In 2017 I grossed 59k, 2018 it was 93k and this year ill break 100k.

I havent mowed grass in two years (besides my own) and this year I gave up doing apps (im a licesensed pesticide applicator). So the 100k from this year is all installs and dirtwork. I have one part time guy who helps me. He is also a teacher and does construction on his own so I paid him 20/hour and will 1099 him again this year.

The thing that bothers me about my current situation is that I turn away sooooo much work. I advertise in march/april and fill out my schedule until the end of august. This year I finished my projects early (two weeks early) so I advertised some more and quickly filled up my fall schedule and now im turning people away until next year.

I work weekends and a few evenings in the spring/fall and then I work june/july/august full time.

I have all my equipment paid for. f550 truck, 14 foot dump trailer, ditch witch skid steer with all attachments, john deere zero turn with sprayer/spreader. I basically dont need any equipment.

I havent been netting a huge amount from those numbers because Ive been growing my business but I really think I can gross 300k if I go full time.

What am I waiting for? What am I not thinking about?
The economy worries me...because install slow down alot if there is a huge crash but im not gonna live my life in fear and we are pretty much debt free besides our house and our sweet boat. Any advice? Im meeting with an accountant next thursday to talk it over.


LawnSite Senior Member
Hilo, HI
As a full time teacher I assume that you will, some day, be able to retire and recieve a traditional pension. While at age 31 that likely seems like a day that will never come, once you get there you will find it surprising how quickly it arrived.

Having a pension from military retirement has given me the financial safety net that allows me to do what I really want to do with less concern about whether I have the income I need. I am pretty immune to downturns in the economy, but I agree with you that one is coming and people will be hurt.

But perhaps the question really should be how you feel about teaching. I assume that you would give that up if going full time with lawn care, or perhaps cut back to working as a substitute teacher in winter months. Some people have a passion for teaching youths and find it the most fulfilling thing they might do -- better than receiving a decent wage. I have a sister-in-law who started out like that, but burned out and during her last several years as a teacher she was all too anxious to become eligible to take her retirement.


LawnSite Bronze Member
I'm in a similar boat but don't have summers off to work.
I reccomend hiring to meet the increased demand and stay at the day job. I've got about a decade on you and will say while I am still strong i get tired of being the one responsible for all physical aspects of the work. You'll be there too in due time.
When you are running the business and the time demand becomes so great from that you go full time I'd jump. But until then I wouldn't jump ship just yet.
Flip side teachers are in demand so you could give it a go for a year and see how it works. Insurance is a big consideration. Retirement is no problem just make sure your investing 15% in ROTH AND SEP. Make sure to get long term disability insurance!
Physical abilities and burnout are the two biggest concerns I'd have.

No gloves

LawnSite Senior Member
my wife's a teacher and I know she doesn't care for it much but it has a strong union,retirement and summers off.i look at it this way-you can retire as a teacher.if you think you can make more money,invest it.imvest in stock or real estate for father in law has/had a buttload in different stocks,but not sure he's living within his family invested heavily in real estate and has income in their rental properties.ive done both and keep it not have real estate at moment,but it got me ahead and allows me to have more freedom in my life.but sounds like too much will burn out and miss your kids growing up or lose family.your body will also start falling apart rapidly so be careful.


LawnSite Bronze Member
I live in illinois. So its a toss up if my pension will be there when i 67...36 years from now. Im working on the numbers but contributing to a sep will not be a problem. Also i now have long term disability insurance.

As far as missing my kids... thats why i want to go full time. Working two jobs is a stain


LawnSite Member
One thing to consider is how easily you can find good full time help. I’m in kind of the same boat as you, wife and 2 kids. I’ve been doing this 11 years now full time. I do love it but it’s so time consuming doing everything. The better the help you can find to help ease your burden and give more time for estimates and paperwork the better. I’ve got 2 good full time guys now that are very good that allow me to stay at home or even in the truck to work on designs/estimates.

If you really enjoy the landscaping especially more than teaching then no reason not to jump in fully. Just be prepare for it to possibly take up even more time than it already does. Just depends how much work you want/need to do to earn what you want or to grow to a certain size. Like I said though, finding good reliable help is the key. Unfortunately there seems to be a lack of it from what I’m hearing.

Hope that helps

Marshall's Yard Service

LawnSite Senior Member
My opinion would be to fill time with your business. Do you have enough years in as a teacher to get your pension? I understand that that might not be available anymore when you can draw on it.

Delmarva Keith

LawnSite Senior Member
Maybe a contrary view but I’d discount the pension as a big plus. All it is really is a type of savings over the years that they provide because the pay ain’t great and when you get there, it’s just not a lot of money compared to what you can put away from running a successful business. I’ve known many folks over the years who work for government peanuts in a job they almost hate so they can get their government pension which amounts to just same peanuts and crumbs. Never understood the upside of that. If you love the job, great, stick with it, but if you don’t, the crappy pay followed by a crappy pension is for the birds.

If you think you can make it, go for it. If for whatever reason you find it’s not working for you, you can always go back to teaching.