part time ownership approach


LawnSite Member
Have any of you (or know of someone) ever started their business part time-actually performed the work yourself- while working another full time job.......... and then built the business up to hire someone and then actually allow them to perform a majority of the work while you were at your full time job. Consequently you then just sell and manage that one "crew".


LawnSite Bronze Member
Thats risky considering you would be putting all your trust in one guy, who could at any time walk out on you...and kapoot you are screwed.


LawnSite Member
I tried it in '94-'95 and it didn't work out. Ofcourse the obvious problem is finding the right employee. That person has to be:

1. Motivated- to show up for work on time without someone waiting there to scold him if he doesn't and to work the whole day through unsupervised without slacking.

2. Dedicated- to perfection or else you loose clients quickly.

3. Trustworthy- not to steal your equipment, take your trucks on joy rides, loose or break your equip., handle some of your finances to buy supplies (fuel, parts, green stuff etc.)

4. Honest- to tell you the truth about how many hours he worked and what work was done.

5. Personable- to handle your clients in a way that will impress them and keep them happy.

6. Hardworking- to make sure that all the work gets done each day.

7. Resourcefull- so that when a belt breaks he has the wits to improvise and go to an auto parts store for a replacement after the lawn equip dealer tells him he'll have to order it and he won't have it for 5 days.

8. Intelligent- so when he discovers a hornets nest in the lawn the hard way he doesn't dump a half gallon of gas on it and torch it (customers generally don't like this approach).

9. Reliable- so he doesn't cut the grass at say 2205 Elm St. instead of 2204 Elm St. and then you find out about it 3 days later with an angry call from a good client.

10. Dumb- enough to do hard physical work and put in rediculous hours working outdoors in the frigid cold, pouring rain or sweltering heat all the while making someone else rich while he gets very little pay.

I can go on and on but I think you get the point. If you can find someone with all of these traits he's probably running his own succesful business. Actually, you can eventually find someone with these traits, but odds are he'll stay for 3-6 mos before quitting and starting his own co. Also, unless you have a job where you are almost literally expected to do nothing, your constant calls to and from this person will certainly interfere with your work and cause resentment among your coworkers and supervisor.


LawnSite Senior Member
Charleroi P.a
I did it and it did not work, Now I hire 1 employee and whats nice about it is,he also works a full time job. We work 25 hours a week and manage 31 propertys 10 commercial and 21 res. and this is full service. Landscape installation, maintenance, mowing, and Im in the process of getting my pesticide licence. and if that works out i will be hopeful for my employee to follow suit next year. To keep your business, and if you work full time dont send somebody else out to make you money because it wont work out.


LawnSite Silver Member
VLM - You missed the big one on what you need if someone else is going to run your operation. PAY SCALE - If anyone wants to run a business from their computer, without stepping outside, they had be ready to pay big bucks for the foreman that VLM is talking about.


LawnSite Senior Member
Northern Indiana
My advice for you would be to start the business and do all the work yourself. You will most likely not have a large customer your first few years, but your employee might come within three years. You better have your game together if you are gonna play that game though. That is a lot of trust but it can be done.

Good luck



LawnSite Member
Pines I will be honest I am in the same boat as you are. I have my business built up to the point that I can make it without the other job but for some reason won't leave it behind. I hope I can find someone but don't think that is going to happen. Let me know how your search goes.


Yardley, PA.
There was a great article in one of the trade mags last year.
A kid in high shcool started his lawn biz. Had grown it to a pretty good size, but then was going away for college.

He kept a crew (may have been more then one, can't remember) working full time while he was away at school.
It said that he would fax his schedule and/or route sheet to his mom in the morning and she would give it to his crew.
He ran the whole biz this way through college. And now has a well established company that he runs full time.

So if someone can run a biz while away at school, I'd say you could do it. It may not be easy, but do-able.


LawnSite Member
I agree it is do-able but the question and the key is where do you find the help the guy you can trust? If anyone has any ides let me know on that. That is where I am running into a wall.

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