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Just curious......

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by BLakin01, Jul 30, 2001.

  1. BLakin01

    BLakin01 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    I know alot of you have probably already this question in another post, but I am just curious, seeing as how I am still in college and weighing all of my options. (And besides, I just used the search feature, and couldn't get any results.) I'm wanting to know how many of you worked for "the man", and then decided to go into this field, or how many of you just started out in it, and out of you, how many of you just started your own business instead of working under somebody for a few years? I currently have a lot of options that I am weighing, so any input could be very beneficial.

    Brandon Lakin
    B & H Mowing Service
    Rensselaer, IN
  2. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    My husband and I both worked for someone else before we decided to start this business.

    My husband was a store manager for a large tire dealership. He was totally wrapped up into tires. We could be going down the road, and he would tell me what kind of tires the car had in front of us just by glancing at the tread. He put in a lot of hours. The money should have been better, but he was getting some nice spifs from Firestone and Michelin, but in the end, the long hours just weren't worth it.
    Plus he was spending all of his time indoors, and he really missed being outside.

    I was in sales. Worked for a company called Intercraft. I was totally bored, and ready to move on.

    The first year we were in business, we were able to buy our first house. Next year we are planning to buy another house if we can find one that meets Matt's standards , and one with more land. (He picks apart every house I show him :)

    We made some mistakes our first year of business, but now the mistakes are getting fewer and fewer. It's all a learning process.
    Our cut&trim customers are almost at the level we want them to be. Now it's time to move up to another level if all works out as talked about.
  3. George777

    George777 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 305

    My partner and I got layed off from our job and opened our business. this first season has been a learning experience and I would not trade it for anything. We have paid off all our eqipment and are running about a 40% profit margine. I don't know if that is good or bad, but for our first year I think it is alright.

    Things I've learned-
    1. Never give estimate over the phone
    2. Have a well defined contract
    3. get the best equipment you can afford
    4. Try to keep your debt low
    5. Re-invest
    6. keep books up each day
    7. Seek out the education
    8. set goals
    9. Explain why your program is for then and explain what they get for thier money.
    10. Pace yourself, drink water, and don't handle more then you can.
  4. AltaLawnCare

    AltaLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 961

    I've always worked for someone,.. and now it's getting old. I think some people may need to work for someone to get used to being on a work "schedule", and save some money.

    Thats a great story Jodi, an inspiration to all ....
    just curious - how long have you been in business, if you don't mind me askin'. :)
  5. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    Well Billy, believe me, we still have a long way to go.

    I was scared to death buying our house the first year, our first year we were in business. Was really scared to see if we would qualify for the loan.

    Our biggest mistake we made our first year was our equipment purchases.
    If only we would have had Lawnsite back then. And that's not BS about the lawnsite thing. I believe one of Lawnsite's biggest attributes is all the information one can learn about different types of equipment.

    The best thing one can do is to set goals for your business. We have so much more to do and so far yet we need to go to be exactly where we want to be. But the opportunity is here for us. That's what I like about this business.

    This is our 3rd year in business. We won't be able to go back to working for someone else. We are too spoiled at this point.
  6. Currier

    Currier LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 564

    George 777, Excellent list! I've copied it and will be posting it in my truck!
    Jodi, you are fortunate that you both enjoy this type of work AND can stand to work together:) I'll bet you will grow larger than you planned. Just think what it will be like in 10 years when you look back...
  7. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

  8. GreenQuest Lawn

    GreenQuest Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822

    I worked for ten yrs in the lawn & landscape profession before starting my own. Three different places, the last one I was at for 6 yrs.

    The expirience I gained was priceless.

    When I started working for the last place he had 2 crews we did everything from mowing to landscaping .

    By the time I left the company had grown to:

    5 mowing crews
    2 landscape crews
    1 full time fert
    1 irrigation crew
    There was also a full time weeding crew

    It was great to see the changes, and see the mistakes.

    I knew all I needed to know when I started to make this business work. I have been in business since Jan 1 2000.

    Things couldn't be better (well I could win the lotto that would be better:D )
  9. trimmasters

    trimmasters LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 264

    I have been in this business since highschool and all in all it has been a varry good experince, all though sometimes i do wish i had a regular job to get away from the day to day problems that seem to come up.
  10. TJLC

    TJLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,308

    Down here the general labor wages are very low. That was my main motivation to start my own business. I can't honestly say that I "love" what I'm doing, but it sure beats working for "the man" at pitiful wages. I started my business in Jan 99. Lawnsite for me has also been a very helpful tool.

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