My humble beginnings.....

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Carolina Cutter, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. Carolina Cutter

    Carolina Cutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    OK since I have read some of the posts here and the age range seems to be quite young......I thought I would chime in.

    How did I start my lawncare adventure? Well, it never really dawned on me at the time but I guess I started doing lawns when I was about 10 years old. Never thought of it as a business....just as spending cash. My first "customer" was actually an aunt. I used to walk about a quarter of a mile pushing my father's Murray 22" cut and carrying a gas can. I would cut the yard and make my $5 and go home. I really hated to cut grass back then but it always seemed as though times were tough and if I wanted money I had to get it somehow. I never, ever thought this simple childhood "chore" would lead to my own business.

    Many years went by and I was no longer involved in lawncare. I held many jobs from working at a retail sales store to being an assistant manager of an auto parts store all while still being in High School. I also discovered the Fire Department while I was high school and could not get enough. I signed on at the age of 17 and have been doing that every since making that my career as I got older.

    Once I bought my house, I soon rediscovered my own yard. But, what once was a chore had become a pleasure. Maybe because I was a brand new proud homeowner and I HAD to have the best looking yard in the neighborhood. My neighbor across the street actually used to make the comment that "I loved to cut the grass". Yes, I would cut it several times a week.....usually when it didn't need it but it was sharp.

    Well, then it dawned on me. If I like to do this soo much then maybe I should look into doing it as a part-time business, after all the FD scheduale does allow a lot of time off. An idea was born......

    I struggled for a while trying to decide on a name for the business. I wanted to make my father proud of me and I thought well then.....Prevatte's Lawn Service would fill the bill. You have to understand my father came from a very poor family and fought his way through life. I wanted to show him that I too could "make it" and this was going to be the way I did it.

    I talked it over with my girlfriend and parents and got the usual support but also a lot of apprehension. BUT my mind was made up. I was going to give it a go. I did some research and found a 5 x 10 tilt trailer new for $595. I found a Craftsman Rider on sale and bought that too. I bought a Ryobi split shaft trimmer and a Weedeater brand blower from Wal-Mart. I figured....if I don't make anything of the business idea I could always use these items on my own property so there was no real loss.

    I began my advertising by using the local paper and flyers. Got a couple of accounts. The business was up and running. My first yard I priced at $60 and looking back I did good on pricing that one. Had no idea how to price just knew what I wanted and told the guy. He became one of my best customers and used to tip me $10 everytime he paid me. I miss that guy.

    I worked really hard for the next few years so hard I wore that poor craftsman out. The Ryobi lasted about 4 months and the Weedeater blower....well, lets just say that was a wasted $100. Been thruough all of the Homelite and JD stuff from Home Depot too........LOL

    About 2 years ago decided that I wanted a "custom" trailer. Built to my needs. Being a guy that can kinda do everything I knew how to weld and began drawing up the plans. That trailer has been one of the things that has increased my productivity come to think about it. Sold the 5 x 10 tilt, which I had a gate built for about two years earlier....resulting in the "tail wagging the dog" syndrome. Sold it for $500....not bad considering I bought it for $595 just a few years earlier.....LOL

    Now, getting ready to start my 7th year in business.....I am what I think to be a professional. Uniforms, taxes, permit, nice commercial equipment, lots of work, and several other things have come to pass. Now looking for a new enclosed trailer and truck to replace the truck I have now. All of this WOULD NOT have been possible if it had not been for the hard work that I threw into the business.

    If you believe you can succeed you can. If you think you will start out and will. This business takes a lot of DETERMINATION. I read lawnsite EVERYDAY. I subscribe to every magazine I can get my hands on. I go to the Library when I can and look for new educational items there. I ALWAYS protect my company image by being aware that now people know who I am and identify my truck and trailer and any actions I might be doing. If you want to succeed remember that. What you do in your off time can affect GREATLY in how your business succeed's or fails.

    Anyway...thats a little background on me.......hope you enjoyed!
  2. ruiztreelandscape

    ruiztreelandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks that was a great story glad u shared that ,im sure u will inspire many.

    Thanks SR
  3. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,265

    i really like your story. it reminds me of me. bought a house, enjoy cutting grass, talked to the wife about ways to get more money. i had the idea and we started it. this was my first year, but i really, really enjoyed it. how many lawns do you cut? are you alone? do you do only lawns or installs too?
  4. spray guy

    spray guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    I left Michigan in 1978, I was working for Ford Motor in Dearborn. I took a job with Chemlawn and had a great time learning the business. I found an apartment in Dallas in 1978 and worked for chemlawn for a couple of years. Been on my own for quite a long time and am still excited about waking up the next day and doing it all over again. I have met a ton of good hardworking people in this business. some have got out and some like myself have stayed. Hope to enjoy working hard for a long time more.
  5. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,265

    spray guy,

    what did you do for ford? where in dearborn? assembly line?

    do ou regret that you quit?
  6. spray guy

    spray guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    I worked in the scientific research laboratory and was going to school at the same time. I worked in the dyno wing. That was in Dearborn Michigan. I wento to college at Merch College of Detroit, Henry Ford Community college and also did a semester at The U.of M. university in Dearborn. That was a long time ago but I still have very vivid memories of it all.
  7. spray guy

    spray guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    Nothing like being outdoors and growing a business. Met alot of great people, customers and associates. I was just a small number at Ford.
  8. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,265

    i know wherethe SRL is. i work at ford too. that's why i am asking you all these things.

    so you went to college and got your degree? i can't imagine dropping a "secure" and high paying job to do something like that.

    Boy, i know what you are saying about being a "number" at ford. even that is understatement.

    if you had to do it all over again, would you do it?
    You worked there a long time ago....they have made a lot of changes to the place. i work in building 1.
  9. spray guy

    spray guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    I worked hard as a kid, loved sports and the outdoors, really couldn't see working indoors. I have done alot of sweating playing sports and working outdoors in the heat. That is more me than corporate life at Ford. I really have done well on my own and at Ford without getting probably a masters
    degree I dont think I would have attained what I have today. If I would have stayed at Ford I would have been there 29 years this year. I have stayed in good shape physically working outdoors, thats another plus of working outdoors.
  10. kwelch

    kwelch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 115

    Great story. Well written. I was curious if you still work at the FD?

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