Pros and Cons of owning a Business

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by rusty_keg_3, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    no doubt about that.

    also remember doing the work is the easiest part of the business.. running the business is the beaytch
  2. bladesnshades

    bladesnshades LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    Pros and cons to every job, had a few, bottom line, if you like what you do you'll probably do it well. Maybe you don't notice the cons so much! JMO

    RECESSION PROOF MOWING LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 376

    One of the all-time best pieces of advice I can give anyone wanting to own a business, any business: IF it does not make you money, give it up and look elsewhere. There is no shame in giving it all you have and failing. Everybody does fail, whether they want to lie about it or not. I drop things in life that don't make money for me and keep what does. Sometimes a business will gush money for years, then dry up. That's when you have to really understand your market and either bail or change things up. It must be profitable to get up in the morning or do something else. You only have so many good years, then you're dead and buried. Don't waste 15 of 'em on a business that only made money 3 out of 15 years. That's being stupid. All businesses have an expiration date. Every one of them. I don't care what industry or technology you believe is forever. In 2100, gasoline vehicles will be a thing of the past, but you couldn't convince any GM worker today that's on the horizon. No way. I'll bet in 2100, there will be no or limited post office delivery to homes. See where I'm going with this? Make money now while you can, and ride it out strong. Remember, Circuit City thought they'd be selling stereos forever, now, look where they're at? In bankruptcy...
  4. kilgoja

    kilgoja LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 944

    good point...i'll be honest...i've never had a job i liked in my life's a fact of life lol...but working for yourself is alot better because you don't have to answer to anyone but make the control what types of services you want to offer...most jobs have that one or two things about them that you just dred doing but your are forced to do any job there are good and bad days...but i'm happier doing lawncare than i ever was at any other job so even with the not so good part of it it's worth it to me..more flexibility in your schedule to some degree but requires more legwork on your part..especially in the beginning with things like getting customers and such...doing the actual job is simple, easy, and a others have said it's all the redtape that sux...taxes, insurances, licenses, etc.
  5. grass4gas

    grass4gas LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 558

    Only if you have employees. If your solo I don't see where you would have problems unless your totally clueless in what your doing.:dizzy:

    I had employees when I first started and had more headaches. I have been solo for 6 years and would not have it any other way. My business is 95% lawn and shrub this is a great one person operation. If you're doing labor intensive work, then yes you would want/need employees, but then you open yourself up to "problems".

    Heck, I get up, get my stuff ready for the day if I did'nt feel like doing it the night before. I then head off to one of my favorite restaurants for breakfast everyday. I have had friends in the biz ask me if I ever go to work, since they see my truck every morning at the restaurant. :cool2:

    Yes you do work more. But I enjoy it. I'm not working slave hours mind you, but I do "all" of the behind the scenes paper work as well as doing the apps. I truly am a "one man wreaking crew". It is all about having a system that you can follow, and tweak it as needed. This is easier once you have established yourself, then it is when just starting out in business.


    can't tell the boss to go jump in the lake since your the boss.

    Your know the wife/girlfriend is the real boss:cry:
  6. gasracer

    gasracer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,049

    If I ever get the phone call from my boss saying I am"fired". I have a lot bigger issues.
  7. BrunoT

    BrunoT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    The biggest misconception I'm seeing in some of the new startup guys recently is the scenario that goes like this:

    1. You buy yourself a business by signing your name to pieces of paper called finance contracts. You don't have to have forgone consumption in the past to save first.

    2. You get to have fun with things like shopping for mowers and other gear, which is of course paid for with pieces of paper promising part of your future revenues to a bank or finance company. You sacrifice nothing, still. Boy, this is cool. It's great to be the boss for a change.

    3. More fun ensues with things like grandiose "marketing plans" and girlishly excited trips to pick out uniform colors and such, in which countless hours are spent pouring over crucial decisions such as whether or not to spring for the burgundy piping on the sleeves or not. You know, to look more "professional" than those idiots with the plainer shirts. Much more time is spent on picking out one's business card logo (see the movie "American Psycho") than learning basic accounting and how to estimate costs and do a basic cash flow statement. Needless to say, taking courses on how lawns grow and perhaps working a few part time shifts for a real lawn company to learn the ropes is out of the question, as that would be for losers who lack your entrepreneurial knack. Those are "minor details" in the "big picture".

    4. Then the "real work" is expected to start. You head out in your new macho shiny fully financed pickup truck, attired in your natty Khakis and professional looking uniform shirt, to dazzle the populace with your sales presentation, planning on signing dozens of customers each day to long term contracts where they agree to pay you to not come when it rains and weekly even when you can't see the lawn or shrubs for all the snow. Because that's how pros do it. You're a pro, even though you have yet to even mow a lawn commercially in your life. It says so, right on your letterhead. You have, however, driven your new mower over your uncle's dormant lawn at least twice. And what idiot can't spread fertilizer, right? I mean it's right on the bag what to do! You should easily reach your goal of 500 accounts by the end of spring. Everyone needs lawn service, right? How hard could it be?

    You put out 5,000 flyers knowing that at least half should be calling you shortly, I mean hey, who doesn't rush in and call the family around to look at a flyer when it arrives in the mail or on the door? Right? Who would chance missing the deal of a lifetime by tossing it out with the other stack of flyers that arrive daily?

    You savor the thought that by winter you should be busy planning how to expand and franchise your operation as you sit by the fire opening checks from those on annual payment plans. You will then probably just turn the biz over to your employees and sit on the beach somewhere collecting royalties and cashing checks while your noble workers plug away by year three.

    5. Holding your nose, you venture out on the first day of the growing season, to handle the first few accounts which you have managed to obtain. You don't yet have enough business to justify paying employees, so you bite the bullet and head out there yourself. You aren't too nervous about the work however as your initial customers are likely friends, relatives, and former co-workers. After your third lawn of the day, you retreat to your former favorite lunchtime haunt, Applebee's, for a long siesta, sore and tired, but relaxed in the assurance that soon you will be able to find plenty of cheap but highly motivated and experienced help at $7.60/hour as soon as your employment ad runs. You'd better, because you've made $85 so far today and you're really not in the mood to go out again, it's getting hot out. And this "edging" that they hire morons to do is harder than it looks. Your teeth are full of dirt. You've also got a very unprofessional looking sweat stain all over your stomach, back, and pits. And your smartphone needs charging. Someone might call.

    6. Fast forward to September. Well, your last mower sold on ebay for 2/3 what you paid for it. It should have done better, since it barely had any hours on it! But since it's not a titled piece of machinery the bank is going to have to come after you personally for the deficiency and it was probably legal to sell it with a lien on it. Anyway, you were smart and did all this under a corporation, so maybe you aren't on the hook after all.

    You can't get over how stupid consumers are. Why would they want a guy dumb enough to have been doing this for 10 years w/o getting huge when they could have had you and your perfect marketing plan? Do they realize they could have been having their lawn maintained by one of the biggest operations in the state 5 years from now? Who wouldn't want that? Everyone knows big companies give better service. And what's with those employees? Half of them never showed up! Ingrates, you'd think they had better things to do with their time. You can live like a king in a trailer park on what you paid them! It's not like they need health insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, or hey, even a smartphone like you! (those are for movers and shakers like us) Those customers expect you to get out there and mow their lawn AND do marketing all day?

    You did the math based on what you learned here from lawnsite guys about prices and employee productivity! Hey, they don't drop the ramp for under $40, man! 2 employees equals 20 lawns a day at $40/lawn x 5 days a week x 52 weeks a year equals $208,000 of revenue per crew. You of course lay em off in the winter, pay cash, so payroll is just $36,000 year, and other expenses are $10,000. That's $162,000 in your pocket PER CREW PER YEAR!

    What happened?

    (the above is intended as satire and is not intended to leave anyone butt hurt or offended. It is understood that each example given can be individually defended as a legitimate business decision)
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011
    Mitty87 likes this.

    RECESSION PROOF MOWING LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 376

    Haven't we ALL been there? Yeah...boy, can I relate. Man if this isn't the truth! Put down on paper at the kitchen table, we're all millionaires in five years, aren't we? Then reality snuck in. Those mowers broke down more often than thought. Those employee hires weren't as productive as you thought. The flyers didn't return real customers as much as you thought. Everybody...especially you new this post and take it in.
  9. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 26,430

    Bruno, thanks for a good laugh , that was great.
    That being said, a word of advice to the youngsters here. Invest your money and I dont mean back into your buss. I mean real investments. Mutual funds , real estate ect.
    That is the differance between making money and aquiring wealth.
  10. duffys

    duffys LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    It's not all gloom and doom. My father-in-law told me that if you love what you do, you will never work another day in your life and I can say he is right. This is my fourth year and we just bought a small engine repair shop and are getting ready to sell Hustlers. Would I do it all over again?? In a heartbeat !!!!

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