Next year, increase customer base or gain experience with professionals?

Pizpoppa

LawnSite Member
Location
Langhorne, PA
Ok, here is my situation and I am debating between two choices. Quick note, my long-term goal is to own a professional landscaping business and will be majoring in landscape architecture at Temple starting Sept 2001. (I am 18)

Alrighty, I am debating whether or not for next year if I should attempt to increase my customer base (I have 20 right now) and soley work on my lawn mowing business. Or, if I should get a labor-type job with a professional landscaping company where I could gain knowledge from hands-on experience, as well as continue to mow my current customers.

Any advice would be appreciated, thanks.
 

thelawnguy

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Central CT
Well, under both scenarios you will be gaining hands-on experience, and in light of the fact you already have equipment, I would stick with it and increase my customer base.

When you start school hire a couple guys to run your route, get the degree then go full-bore.
 

65hoss

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Memphis, TN
Stay on you own. You can pick up landscaping jobs as you go. Nothing better in the long run than to tell a customer you've been in buz for x number of years. They will be more comfortable down the road giving you big $$$ jobs to do.
 

paul

Lawnsite Addict
Location
Chicago,Ill.
Sorry I have to say work for someone else, you want to be a LA and you need to see how other people do the work plus you can find little secrets on seling, design and installation.
I see too many LA's that have never worked in the field and don't know how to correct problems, or cause more problems.
 

lbmd1

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Coastal NH
I agree with Paul. You would probably be picking up more mowing accounts anyway which I assume you already know how to do. There are many secrets and experience to learn from professionals already in the field. I worked for a landscape firm for a short period of time installing $40,000 japanese gardens and learned the fine art of pruning which has helped me tremendousely now. I also worked for another LCO in Newport, RI, working on some of the mansions that line the famous cliffwalk in Newport. Then I followed that with a small LCO performing landscape construction in Cape Cod, Ma. This background carries alot of weight with potential clients when listing your background. You can not learn all that from a book. Keep the 20 mowing accounts for your part time income and find an LCO that you want to emulate and get PAID to learn from him. Just don't mention your current mowing accounts if at all possible. Yes you can make more bottom line dollars mowing for yourself, but hands on experience taught by experienced LCO owners can be an invaluable lesson.


Mike
 

geogunn

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
TN
PIZ--I suggest that you investigate working for a major landscape operation but not in their labor department. you should try to present yourself as someone who can learn the operations, design, management and sales end of the operation.

anybody can learn to dig the hole and put the plant there, but managing operations, servicing accounts and new client sales...those are the skills you will need to stay in buisness.

good luck.

GEO
 

Scraper

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
SE Pennsylvania
Hey Stone...Temple has a very good program at their Ambler campus for Landscape Architecture. Not to mention a good horticulture program. And Temple has great tuitoin rates for residents of PA. Comparable to those at Penn State. Although at Penn State he'd probably have a better college experience.
 

little green guy

LawnSite Senior Member
I would work for someone else. I have worked for anther landscape company in town for 3 years now and it has DEFINITLY helped me alot. I have 30 of my own customers and I also work for the other company when I am not doing my stuff. I started out as a labor and now I run crews and all the equipment. The company I work for does alot of landscpe work and by learning that stuff I have been able to do it on my own and make alot of money on landcspe. By working with another company I have learned alot about plants, hardscapeing, water gardens, walls ect..., Also I have a good relation ship with the owner, we always borrow each others equipment and crews, it's all good. I would say DEFINITLY go work for someone.
 

Nathan

LawnSite Member
Location
Seattle WA
I was in the exact same situation. I went to work for somone else and it paid off well. The only thing I would have done differently would be less time more questions.
 

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