Realistic to leave my job

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by TwoGuyswithMowers, Jul 5, 2014.

  1. TwoGuyswithMowers

    TwoGuyswithMowers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 137

    I've always been one of those guys that loved the idea of having a business and working for myself, even though I have worked for an employer most of my working life. Last year I started the lawn care business, but only part-time. I work at least 50 hours per week at my job, so I have only really had 15-20 yards per weekend.

    So here is what I'm wondering... Is it realistic for me to replace what I have now with a solo lawn care business.

    My yearly gross is somewhere in the mid-$80's at work. My wife stays at home with the kids right now, but they will both be in school starting in August, and she likes the idea of doing lawn care with me. I have a 401k that matches 6% right now, and will go up a percent when I reach the 10 year mark, and another when I hit the 15 year mark. I have dental and vision insurance, and health insurance in which my employer will put $2,000 into my HSA every year.

    My job is pretty secure, which is a plus. But, I can't ever shake this feeling that I would rather work in my own business full-time. I don't LOVE mowing lawns, but I do love running the business. I like tracking the times that it takes me to mow the lawns and figuring out how to make it more efficient. I like tracking expenses and figuring out ways to cut back. I like finding ways to attract new customers and working on keeping the existing ones happy.

    I'm 32 right now, and I'd probably be nearly 40 before I could even really consider switching. I have plenty of debt to pay off (which is why I even wanted to start the part-time business in the first place) and I'd like to have at least a years worth of living expenses set aside before leaving the job. By the time I'm 40 my 401k should be up to around $230k, according to the online calculators.

    Is it realistic to come close to replacing what I'm getting from my job, salary plus benefits, as a solo operator (actually husband and wife)?
  2. RussellB

    RussellB LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,750

    Stay with your current job. You have a young family and you are doing pretty well. Why upset the apple cart? That said, I am thankful that I stayed and retired from a job I held for 32 years while working part time lawn business and restoring/flipping homes.
  3. Efficiency

    Efficiency LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 6
    Messages: 1,857

    If you love doing the business end, then break out the spreadsheet and decide yourself. As an aside, my dad left a similar corporate job to start his own business. He struggled financially forever. My mom ended up supporting our family, divorcing him, and now we all hate him. Don't be that guy who throws away his life to chase a dream.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. ringahding

    ringahding LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    Keep your job. Find the right people to run your side gig & let it grow naturally, but smart.

    If you are approaching 40 accounts, this is around the time you would quit your job. Unless you are able to get off at a decent time to go and handle these accounts.

    But as much as you want to keep it small, it just will not happen.

    This is our 12th season and we have ONLY 130 accounts. I have grown our biz LOCALLY & Slowly = Smart. My goal has been to be 100% serviceable and not take on more than I can chew.

    What I usually tell guys when they ask me when did I know to quit my job is --- When the BELLS start ringing in your head. And that also goes for BUYING equipment.

    Some that read this post will laugh, others will be envious. But for me to go from being HOMELESS, Making poverty wages to owning my own Biz---UNREAL. I mean doing something you love to do & make a good living at it--PRICELESS.

    Started out with a mini-van, boat trailer & a John Deere older than I was at the time (32) 5 trucks, 4 commercial mowers, 4 employees (we have ACREAGE), shop, etc...Any business is a risk, but those that make it must have DRIVE....I use Michael Jordan's work ethic...1st on court & Last one OFF. Someone out there is trying to TOP me.
  5. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,101


    harsh much?

    "do what everyone expects of you, so they can have what they want, don't be fulfilled, don't be happy yourself, just make sure the kiddies are spoiled and the wife has an easy life"

    Do YOU think you'd be an entrepreneur if YOUR dad hand't done with he did?

    Some ideas are get rich quick schemes, I call them "fred flintstone syndrome"

    Fred spends nearly every episode chasing after some new scheme that's going to be a big game changerÂ….only to end up back at the quarry on his dinosaur at the end of the half hour.

    The Flintstones was a cartoon parody of "The honeymooners"
    Jackie Gleasons character, Ralph Kramden, was a bus driver.

    In the era which these characters lived (Which I believe was the 1920s USA) being a bus driver was a steady normal job that could support a family. Not like it is today.
    But Ralph always wanted more, and he couldn't listen to his wife, who said "Ralph put your nose to the grind stone, do a good job and just get promoted at work"

    Here's the deal for you, Ralph.
    You've already been promoted a few times.
    You make way more than the average 32 year old, you have benefits and a good life.

    WHY did you chose LAWN CARE as the target of your business thirst?
    Have you thought this out really good.
    This sounds a bit like an early midlife crisis for you.

    Why not run it on the side for a while, see if it goes anywhere, and if It does you can just hire some employees?
  6. Altair

    Altair LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    If you don't love the mowing, but love running the business. Then hire someone to do the mowing. And run your business. You could potentially keep your full time job with the benefits and still run your business. Just my thoughts on the topic.

    Do what you love. Otherwise you will hate what you do.
  7. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    ^^^ +1

    I'll trade you jobs. Mowing solo is a hassle with any real account load solo due to weather and mowing condtions. Lack of spouse/significant other family support will make or break it.

    If it wasn't for the pin hole of light on the applications side of the market I would already quit this line of work.

    On a more positive note...It does sound like you have an aptitude for running the business side. If you really don't like or enjoy will get old quick.

    Don't take this the wrong way but if I had a job where I was making $65k+ year with benefits, good working hours, vacation time etc. I'd get a small used fishing boat and lightly used pop up camper and sell off all my lawn equipment and hire a lawn service.

    Enjoy my time off.

    Sometimes driving yourself crazy trying to make a business work when family is pulling the other direction is clearly not worth the stress or hassle. Some wives or significant others have a mentality for it...many don't.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. pythons37

    pythons37 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 134

    This is a Clown Post, right?
  9. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,650

    The answer is NO.
  10. TwoGuyswithMowers

    TwoGuyswithMowers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 137

    My average yard right now is $40-$50 per cut.

    $45 per cut x 60 weekly accounts = $2,700 per week
    $2,700 per week x 35 weeks = $94,500 per year with a lot of time off

    If I'm debt free except for my house with a very large emergency fund, I can't see having any problem contributing to my retirement and buying my own insurance.

    These numbers looks about right?

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