should i do this

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by poconorudylawncare, Aug 4, 2003.

  1. poconorudylawncare

    poconorudylawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I would like to no if anyone could advise me. ive been working for a well known lawn care company for a couple of yearsand wouldlike to go out in my own. The area i'm living in seems to be booming and getting customers is not a problem but i am 42 years old and some people say that in a couple of years you won't want to do that kind of work.
    So my question is to you guys .Do you think it is to late for a guy my age to start a landscaping business?
    If I do this i'm going all out so the answer to this question is real important to me. Also how did you guys get the start up money to do this, Like equipment, accountants,high maintenance girlfriends and lawyers or licences and insurance.
  2. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833

    What do you do for the 'well known' lawn care company?

    Sales manager, mower chaser, foreman, mechanic, or what?

    I for one do not want to be humpin a mower for 30 years. For a long-range business-- the plan has to include growing into employees and then managing the operation in the elder years.

    But even at that one finds that you no longer are doing "lawns and landscapes" as much as you are either baby-sitting or learning Spanish.

    And THEN when you have all the normal business expenses you find you are often competing against the solo operators with instant pension windfall start-up, part-timers with other incomes, the migrant solo operators, operators not paying their taxes or other expenses, teenagers, and price killers. That is just the nature of the beast that dwells in this kingdom!

    It's tough to win at any age...

    Where for the money? See above paragraph.
    High-maintenance girlfriends leave soon after they realize you'll be working more hours, so don't worry about that one.
    License/Insurance? See above paragraph again.

    My bottom line, if it's your dream business- do it!
  3. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    I started when I was 39. I am now 48. I forget how much money I invested in my business initially...maybe 30k or so. I do know that I put money back into it year after have to.

    You can email me at if you have questions. BTW, I am not far from you in Hunterdon County, NJ, about 15 miles due east of the ABE area of PA.

    Good Luck!
  4. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

    Hey Poconorudylawncare,

    This is the greatest country in the world. We have the greatest opportunities in the world. If you have a dream, go for it. You can always change your path as you go but you can't change your path unless you have started on your journey.

    Consider what Green in Idaho said as well :)
  5. Mike Bradbury

    Mike Bradbury LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    that you LIKE to do and doesn't hurt you. Get good equipment that makes it easy on your body. Get enough work to hire someone to do the heavy work for you.
    I'm 44 and just on my own. Go for it.
  6. twins_lawn_care

    twins_lawn_care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 932

    Being fairly young still here (27) I regret not starting any earlier myself. I am just begining, but I have always remembered one thing in life.

    There will always be someone below you, and always above you, so don't ever judge yourself by others.

    I guess what I mean is if this is what you really want to do, do it! There are going to be people younger than you starting their own business, and people older than you too. The thing that matters is how you run the business, not how old you are. Customers don't care if the guy mowing their lawn is 50 years old or 20 years old, they care how their lawn looks.
    Just my advice, hope it helps you get going.
    TWINS Lawn Care
  7. Lombardi

    Lombardi LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 538

    I am 39 and have had my lawn/landscape business for 3 years now. Here are some tips:

    1. I would start by getting a couple large commercial/residential mowing contracts. These will provide a more steady income than landscaping does, although landscaping is much more profitable.

    2.It will be slow the first year, so make sure you have plenty of operating capital saved up.

    3.Go slow on equipment purchases. You will be able to assess your needs as time goes on. I still rent equipment and sub out skidsteer work.

    4. Landscaping is very physically demanding. If you aren't in shape now, you soon will be. I still do 95% of the labor. I have part-timers that help on certain jobs. It has been easy for me to find help when I need it.

    5. If you can, do most of the labor yourself at first and always stay on the job site. I have found that many of my customers have went with me due to the fact that I am an owner/operator and I don't just drop people off at a site and leave for the day.

    Good Luck.
  8. dougmartin2003

    dougmartin2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 337

    go for it man, if you dont you will always ask yourself why you didnt
  9. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,194

    Your physical age is not the point, how YOU feel is. What other people tell you about what you can/can't do isn't important, unless it's doctor, or your wife.

    If you feel that you're fit enough (mentally & physically) to go through the grinds of starting your own LCO, go for it. Sounds like you've already got a leg up on a lot of other 'starters'.
  10. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    I'm even older than the Rodfather....and we do a lot of landscape work. I find mowing to be a piece of cake compared to planting trees, installing stone, etc. Our revenue is now 50% mowing 50% landscaping. You might not want to do just mowing, because even if you have annual contracts, you can't mow grass that's brown and dormant, any more than you can plow snow that isn't there.But, you can do landscape related work for 9 months of the year regardless of the weather. And, you will find there is far less competition in the land work and the profit margins are much higher as well.

    And as far as too old for the landscape work, there are machines that are made for nearly every tough job facing us. For me, the toughest work is planting multiple large trees in 90 degree weather. I now rent a Dingo with the big auger...makes it a piece of cake.

    The part though that not many guys don't talk about here and that I find tiresome, is all of the planning, marketing, paperwork, accounting, supply ordering, employee issues, etc etc. When you just put in a 70 hour work week, its sometimes hard to keep all the other stuff current as it needs to be.

    All that being said, would I start the business again after 2 years of being in it full time?? a heartbeat!

    If you really love this kind of work, it truly wont feel like a job. But if you dont, do yourself a favor and get into something else. Just my opinion...good luck

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