should i quit my job?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by rb3771, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. Smitty58

    Smitty58 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 531

    $27 per hour at 40 hrs for even 9 months with benefits is good money. Sure we all have jobs that can clear $510 for one day ,but how many of those days do you get in a year. I'm kind of in your same situation ,have a good full time job ($60,000 yr) ,benefits ,and a pension ,and I have a lawncare business. I would love to only do the lawncare ,but in reality it would be tough to match the total package of what I have now. I would advise you to do it part time if your schedule allows.
  2. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    Rb ... What is the turnover rate for LCO's in your area? That should help you with a decision. I agree with another post above, for $27/hr, with benefits, pension -- wow! I know some posts are made on LS stating big money. But, it surely does not happen in my area. I postulate, and others who are familiar with the biz in this area, that 8 of 10 are out of business every two years. In other words, for every 10 LCOs on the road today, only two of those will be still running in 2007.

    I have been doing lawn service for eight seasons. Only two of those have generated enough cash to hold us (my wife/I, we are emptynesters) through the Winter. We have no benefits, no health insurance, and have not put anything away for retirement. We live very frugally, with no travel, vacations, no eating out, etc. The seasons that didn't generate enough cash, we've had to draw out of retirement. This season, dry and hot weather has meant mowing revenues are off 50-60%, so I do not expect to earn enough to hold us through the Winter.

    My assessment is very few can make a living at the business in this area. But, from all the posts on LS, there is a huge variation in the business from location to location. Therefore, comments made from somebody elsewhere may or may not apply to your location. This is why I posed the initial question: What is the pattern of others who have started in YOUR area? If they are consistent year after year, that is one thing. If they are here this season, gone the next, that tells you a different story.

    You can easily ask me: They why do you continue? I'm 64 and do not believe it wise to make large investments into other services and expand the business to where it might be profitable year after year.
  3. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    Rb --- In thinking a bit more about your question, and my post: A basic question needs to be asked first. Do you want to have your own service business that provides services to residential and/or commercial customers? Do you want the sales, customer relations, and administrative tasks that accompany a service business?

    If the answer to that question is "no," then end of discussion.

    If "yes," then you can ask yourself what services do you wish to offer?

    Lawn maintenance services is one of many, many services you may wish to offer. If you approach the matter from the reverse end, that is, with a single focus on lawn maintenance work, and ignore the business perspective, the venture is destined to failure. Remember, first the exercise is a business, then it is following the lawn mower, trimming bushes, spreading mulch, etc. I'm afraid too many get into the work because they have an interest in mowers, cutting grass, etc, but fail to understand the other issues that are so necessary to make it work (selling themselves and their work, dealing with customer's demands and challenges, working for multiple employers who may/may not pay when you want, dealing with the tax consequences, ....).

    I'm sure some others will disagree with me, but I believe that difficulties posted in many, many threads are because of a failure to realize the nature of the a service business being offered to residential/commercial customers.
  4. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Im going to have to partially disagree with that, it once agains depends on your location. Here is a phone call I got friday night. "Me, hello, "client, yes, I wanted to let you know we are very happy with your work, best service we ever had, but we found someone 10 bucks cheaper than you and wanted to give them a try" Me" well, good luck to you and thank you for your patronage" The yard was a 2 hour 40 dollar yard and they are getting it done for 30. I do encourgage RB to go for it if his area will support him and I hope anyone who goes into this does great at it, but the AREA you are in is critical.As I said once before there was a job opening last year for 10 bucks an hour and folks were camping out the night before to apply the next morning! Good luck RB in your decision.If somone offered me a job tommorow making 27 bucks I would almost kiss them square on the lips! :D
  5. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,565

    Add to that the loco hours involved. The first couple of years you can count on keeping at least 55 hours a week on a regular basis.
  6. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    This is good advice.
  7. sinkum

    sinkum LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    one thing you have to remember... the failures are not on these websites. they probably gave it all up and don't talk about it anymore. but if you are going to start a business you have to start one you enjoy. the biggest mistake small business owners make is starting one they think is going to make money but don't really like doing. how many people do you know that have said "I would love to own a bar" that's because they like going to them. if they had to work every Friday and Saturday night they might not like it so well and wouldn't be good at it. if you love doing it you have a better chance at making it work. i have found that cutting grass is not all the work you have to do. there is a lot of office work involved. if you end up running a crew it gets way more complicated. you ware all the hats when you run your own business.

    good luck though

    p.s. i hope i can make it too. im just starting myself.
  8. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Many threads have been written on here regarding this sort of thing. Two main things to put HEAVY consideration into is 1. Benefits, and 2. Retirement. Now, you say that your wife's jpb carries benefits for you which is a big plus. Consider the cost over and above what it is costing you now through your work. It may break even, or perhaps it may even be cheaper for a comparable coverage.
    The other thing to consider is retirement. A good pension is hard to beat. How long have you worked for this company? How long do you have to go for your pension? When you are self employed, you have to consider you are NOT making all that money that you are supposedly "netting" after all your costs and exemptions. You have to consider the groceries and toilt paper you have to buy at 73. Now, unless you are planning (and I man a FULL plan) on going big, having the company work for you, and building something that is worth a value to sell, then you are heading for a big disappointment and a bad turn. You have to build a big enough comany that you actually have a net value to sell when you are done. This is not just a list of equipment and a list of accounts. I dare say that you are right on the edge as far as contiplation. It sounds like one safe position you are in, especially if it is a larger well established company. I CAN tell you this...Lansing is a tough market. I've talked and dealt with outfits from down that way. Alot of college students and others out cutting for a few bucks. How long do you have to retire? Maybe thuis is something you may want to consider in your more "laxed" days! If you are going into the green industry...learn it ALL. Mowing is by far the LEAST lucrative operation out of all the operations in the industry. You only use the mowing as a foot in the door to sell other services. Good luck with it, and if you DO decide to go into it, or if yu have any questions or anything, I am always willing and happy to help with any advice I can give. I've been in this business for just over 20 years, and while it has worked for me, I think I would have some trouble walking away from a position like that with the benefit package and retirement.
  9. rb3771

    rb3771 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    WOW! I'm blown away by the response this generated. I appreciate the time and thought you guys have given me (a complete stranger). Your advice and knowledge on the subject is truly impressive and a huge help toward my decision. Roger asked about the LCO turnover in my area. I assume that stands for lawn care something. Honestly i have not researched it to that extent yet. I thought i would learn as much as i could here before actually going ' out in the field.' Thanks Roger, you gave some great info. And Runner has definitely given me a lot to think about. And QualityLawnCare has reminded me of when i would have kissed someone to make $27 an hour. Thanks guys for keeping me up all night thinking about it lol.
  10. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    Don't do it.

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