1. Can’t make it to the GIE+EXPO 2017?
    LawnSite brings the trade show floor to your fingertips with our new GIE+EXPO 2017 Sneak Peek video series debuting now in the Lawn Mowing forum.

    Dismiss Notice

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 lawncare.....in 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 fail.....you 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?

Share This Page