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Should I give my full time accounting job to do lawn service full time?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tsh1773, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. tsh1773

    tsh1773 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    First of all I have a college degree in Accounting. Since college I have had a full time job in the accounting field although with many different companies. My last accounting job ended on June 8 with the plant closing where I was earning almost 45k in a salaried position. I knew the plant was gonna close for some time and during that time I couldn't decide if I should expand my lawn care business and do it full time. I have no problem getting additional business. At the moment I am turning down several residential accounts since I only have Saturday and Sunday to maintain the accounts I currently have.

    I was offered a job in another city about 45 minutes away making 48k in a salaried position. This position currently has no 401k. I took the position with doubts in mind and began last Wednesday, June 9.

    I would love to do lawn care/maintenance full time and be my own boss. I have the equipment to run full time. I keep going back and forth with this and wanted other opinions.

    I'm sure this has come up on this site before.

    What would you do? What would you suggest?
  2. Acute Cut

    Acute Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 980

    What are your financial obligations at this time? Got family? Kids? Can you afford to be "poor" until this picks up more full time? Do you think THIS is the right time to try and grow? in my area the window for the big rush of new calls is almost over. If it were me i would at least wait till next spring before doing it. Then you can advertise and grow as needed vs now the main advertising avenues are pretty much done for the year. (phone book) JMO though.
  3. tsh1773

    tsh1773 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    I have a wife and 2 kids. I can't afford a decrease in incoming money at this time. The company that closed on June 8 that I worked for I also did their grounds keeping. The land owner wants alot of extra landscaping items done before the facility is put on the market for lease. I will definetly get that. Maybe a grand worth of work.

    Also there is still of lot of business to be picked up around here if I want it.
  4. Aproct

    Aproct LawnSite Member
    Messages: 61

    Hey, I am an accountant too...sucks, doesn't it....anyway, I have to say I am kinda in the same boat. I work full time as a tax accountant and part-time lawn/landscaping...This year has been a pretty fast pace for me so far. I have just about 30 accounts, a few are every other week cuts, but my goal is 40 by the end of the season to carry into next year (will probable be closer to 55). I am state certified in pesticides and working towards my irrigation license. Like may people discuss, you need to make a business plan. What are your goals, what is your 5 year plan?, can your area support another lawncare business?

    I figure you are like me, you already have a head start on the business mind. You know how to apply the margin calculations to determine what you need, you know taxes, and you know how to keep your books. So that is less of an expense than what the other 2/3 of the members on this forum have to pay.

    Now, as for me, I am trying to go slow with this. It is really tough though. Constantly getting calls. The only thing is that I can demand what my charges are, since the other landscapers are either booked or just don't show up! Not that I rape the people in prices, just want what my time is worth. The only thing that is holding me back is the concentration of other businesses in my area. I have a lot of trucks running around with mowers and trying with them is tough. I can go to a new customer and offer a full package cut, mulch, fert and soon the irrigation.

    So always set yourself above everyone else. Take your time with growth. I wouldn't recomend going full time this year. Get yourselff together first, Inc or LLC first, get the proper insurance, get all the tax and legal stuff set up over the winter, get what ever licenses that you may need to offer full services, and then see how things pan out.

    The only other problem that I see that you may have this year is your commute. 45 min one way, may affect your ability to get out on the properties for servicing.

    Good luck!

    SERRICO LawnSite Member
    from TX
    Messages: 94

    well find out what is your monthly expense to live. If you think you can cover your expense and save some for off season with lawn care bz, y not.

    Don't forget the med. insurance for your family.
    I'm in the same boat as you are.
    For me, next year I will be the proud owner of my own bz.
    I think it is too late to get more customers to become full time.
    Good luck with your decision.
  6. Turf Medic

    Turf Medic LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    Like it was said in an earlier post, you have some advantage over a lot of us as far as keeping up with the bookwork. You should know down to the nickel what your costs of doing business are. Is there any chance that the company you are currently working for would be willing to let you go to a shorter week. It seems around here any way that qualified people are so hard to find, that most of the companies are willing to accommodate some flexibility. If you can handle it, might use the commute as reasoning to allow you to work 4 ten hour days. Good Luck
  7. Lombardi

    Lombardi LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 538

    I left the corporate world about 4 years ago and went full time in lawn/landscaping. I used a lot of my retirement money to start, but it has been very well worth it. Business has increased substantially each year.
    I work 6-7 days a week for about 9 months and have the winters off. You will never know unless you try. Good luck.
  8. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 456

    Also, keep in mind that doing lawn care full time will eventually take a toll on your body. If you don't have some one to back you up, you need to consider that. I've been involved in this kind of work one way or another, for over 30 years and wouldn't trade a minute of it (well, maybe the time I fell out of a tree and ruptured 2 discs). But its never been my own business so I never had that part of it to consider. Just some thoughts.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    CPA? MBA? what kind of acct. do you do. Mid 40's seems low. Wife just hired 4 Acct.s in the 60's. (Charlotte) I believe only 2 had their MBA but all had their CPA. Is relocating a option for you.
    My first cut this year was about March 15th which is one month to early to do taxes and than lawncare. You might be a week or so before us.
    If you need the money, and it sounds like you do, than no I would not start up at this time. It will take at least a year to get going to the point where you can be making 40K. How much equipment do you have and how much do you need to buy. To work full time and cut every day will take good stuff and ongoing maint.
    You say that there is work to be had but is it good profit work. It might cost 10-15K to run for a year so look at doing 50-60K in work and try to do that from the start. A lot of guys talk about working 60-80 hours a week to do it. Are you ready to do that? Are you ready to not see you kids much? Your wife? And don't forget to buy a large suppy of t-shirts because you will go through a bunch each day as you sweat you butt off in this heat.
    Lots to think about. Comfy desk job in the A/C with a steady check. Well????

    Now I love this work and I love being outside. I enjoy running a business. I do make good money at it but it took a little time to get there. I also had other scorces of income going on and my wife works so that helps, but I would do this as my only income if I had to because I know that I could pay the bills. I have many toys that all get payed for through this work and even with gas as high as it is I still play with the toys because of the income from this business. (Now if you can figure out how to deduct $200+ a week on gas for the boat I might hire you).
    Lots of things to ponder. Good luck in your decision.
    Maybe try being an independent Acct. and a part time LOC.
  10. lawnjockey51

    lawnjockey51 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    Do I know this dilema!!! I make about 95K as an Operations Manager in telecommunications. Quite frankly, I am sick of the politics and BS ... any day, they can decide to say see ya, then I'm making ZERO K.

    I am trying to get my ducks in a row and head back to Florida to cut lawns. I did it a long time ago, so I know about the heat and the rest of it. I told my wife that I think it will add ten years to my life ... if my whiny-assed boss calls me one more time today ... I could get ten to life.

    GO FOR IT ....

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