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Running Business While Working Full Time Elsewhere

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Utah Lawn Care, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. Utah Lawn Care

    Utah Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,551

    A little background: I currently work 40/hours each week doing maintenance for the local school district. I get insurance, benefits etc. The pay isn't great, but the benefits are something my wife refuses to go without. As a result she cringes every time I suggest something about doing lawn care full time. I must keep her happy so that's just how it is.

    This is my first year in the business. I have 20 weekly clients, and have pretty good profit margins. Probably 45/hour after expenses. I have been working 15 hours/week doing my lawn care which is busy, but is fine. Looking forward I can see this business continuing to grow to the point there is no way I can do it myself while working elsewhere 40 hours/week. I don't want to turn down the clients, and I want the extra income.

    Here is where I want your input. Do any of you work a full time job and hire another person or two to take care of your lawns for you? What are the pros and cons? Should I stay in the field and do as much as I can myself? I certainly want my employee to do a good job and know what he's doing. I imagine I could work with him/them once/week or so. Let me know your thoughts on the whole situation, what has worked for you etc.

    Thanks a lot!
  2. jlbf0786

    jlbf0786 LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Charlotte, NC
    Messages: 619

    I would weight the pro's and con's of your full time employment (growth in the company going forward, potential for them to increase your pay, job security?)
    Are all of these things important to you, I would say "yes" .. Just sit down with your wife and get her input on these things. If you think that your full time job will be good to you and possibly bump up your pay or give you movement inside the company then I wouldn't quit for anything less than a $60,000/yr NET PROFIT from your lawn care service.
    You have to take into consideration the cost of Health Ins, Dental, overhead of running your company (obviously you know these things)

    It's a tough decision to make, but when the time comes to really make a move you'll know what to do!!
  3. Pietro

    Pietro LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 855


    Keep it simple stupid. I have a full time gig. 40 hours a week with good pay, pension and benefits. Lawns are on the side for gravy. I had a crew of 3 working for me and we were doing 110 lawns a week. It was too much to deal with. Now I do 45 lawns a week myself...and it's so much better off. At the end of the day no one will care about your business as much as you do. Remember, you can rely on yourself and that's about it.
  4. TML

    TML LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 871

    What about getting another part time job with less hours just for the health benefits, possibly in the evening, so you could work during most of the day? Is your wife able to get a job that would provide family benefits? I have never employed anybody but that is a whole different level to do it legally, workman comp, SS, taxes, added insurance ect ect. Too much complication for me, never mind finding someone that does quality work and is reliable. Many do it and do it well, many do it and it leads to more problems and $ than its worth. Many do it "illegally" off the books, which to me is more of a risk than trying to fly under the radar just yourself.
  5. Eric's Lawnservice

    Eric's Lawnservice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 173

    I'm in the same boat. I try to keep up with everything on my own. Every now and then I use a helper for big jobs. I have found it very hard to find someone who puts forth the effort that I do on every lawn. I thought the same thing about hiring someone to run it completely but if I'm making enough to pay a full-time worker it will be me that I'm paying. I have been building my business the past two years with the goal of going full-time in the spring of 2014. So far I'm on track actually a little ahead of my goals. My goal is to have enough clients signed to a 12 month contract that would bring in close to what I need to gross to cover the basic bills by February. I figure that if I have somewhat of a life raft of solid customers making the jump to full-time won't be so stressful. The tough part is to gain enough customers to provide the "life raft" I end up working 12-14hr days all week.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. skorum03

    skorum03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 354

    All summer I worked 40+ hours a week and had 12 lawns I was doing. 8 of them weekly. I am a foreman with a larger landscape company in town and just started the mowing last summer for some added income. I'm 21 and trying to stay out of debt while getting through college. I had a buddy of mine do some mowing for me once a week all summer. He would knock out 6 or so places one day a week and that made it manageable for me to work and then do some of the mowing (not all) on the side. I was happy to pay him $12 to work one day a week and he enjoyed the extra cash income and working outside. If you know someone who is reliable and has time to do a little work, get them trained in and have them put in a day or two per week for you. I went with my guy the first few times to get him used to it, and by the end of the summer when I went with him again I think he was doing a better job mowing than I was haha it worked out.

    YardBros Outdoors
  7. Southern Lawn Care  LLC

    Southern Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 314

    I work a full time job and also work running my business full time also. It's hard to keep up with though and is literally wearing me out. My wife holds our insurance because she has a job at the sheriffs office so insurance is all with her. You n should check into finding insurance for your family and present it to your wife that way. I can almost bet it won't be better nor cheaper than the school district. Another thing to think about is retirement. Sure your business can still operate when you decide to sit at home but passing it down to your children would be beneficial so at least you know you didn't work your tail off and then your company get pissed away in the wind.
  8. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    Running a business requires a mindset opposite of that which is required while working for someone else so you're either working for someone else or you're running a business, one or the other but so long you're working for someone else most folks in that situation put on an awful good show of pretending to run a business, I don't see too many folks being able to do both, what usually happens is one supports the other.
  9. monoshock

    monoshock LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,325

    You know, I tried to have a new Section started here for "part timmers only", and the thread got locked. Go figure.
  10. monoshock

    monoshock LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,325

    Be prepaired to have very little free time during mowing season. And when delays happen,(which they will, rain,broke equipment etc...) even less free time.

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