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Should I Start a Biz? Solo or with a partner?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by PastyWhite, May 15, 2006.

  1. PastyWhite

    PastyWhite LawnSite Member
    from Jax, FL
    Messages: 56

    Let me start by telling a little about myself. I've been lurking here for a while and I know that there is a lot of great info here. I'm 27 and I am a cube dwelling desk jockey. I absolutely hate sitting in a crummy office all day when the beautiful Florida sun is staring at me all day. Not to mention the fact that I hate working for "The Man" and am willing to work as hard as necessary to make something for myself, my wife, and our future kids.

    I am thinking about starting a biz with my nephew as a 50/50 partner. My goal is to start small on the weekends with my '94 Suzuki Sidekick, a small utility trailer and gas powered blowers, edgers, and weedwackers that I already own. I will probably borrow my father in laws riding mower until I feel confident in purchasing a big mower. From there I would like to go part time and then eventually quit my big corporate job which of course would require me to give up my health benefits, paid vacation, 401K and salary (around 35-40g a year).

    Although I like the security of my current job I really like the idea of the freedom of my own business, the sense of accomplishment, and the outdoors.

    My basic question is do you guys/girls think this is something I should pursue or am I risking too much by having a partner and potentially leaving a good job? Is it possible to have a partner and still make good net profits. (We would probably venture into other businesses later eg: Pool Care, Fertilizing, Pressure Washing etc. ) Also does my cheap set up sound ok for just doing a couple of lawns a week while I get used to the biz? I already have some family members that have agreed to let me work for them.

    Thanks in advance! :waving:
  2. rmarkham

    rmarkham LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    I to am here in Jax Fl. and just started my business. My plan is to keep working my corporate job until next cutting season and then jump in head first. I just put out 500 door hangers last Tuesday and have 5 accounts. I will continue to put out 500 hangers a week until I get to where I cannot take on any more lawns and still work for "The Man" The best advice I can tell you is you are going to need commercial equipment. The home stuff just will not hold up. You of course can use it until it is destroyed and see if you want to then continue. I paid cash for all of my equipment up front so as not to have any payments. My goal is to just get 20 accounts this year and then go full time next cutting season. After reading the advice of the good people here on Lawnsite I have learned alot. Go for it and good luck. BTW keep reading here and all your questions will be answered.
  3. ClayMcC

    ClayMcC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    I could go on for days on this one! Let me start by saying that I went through a life changing experience before finding "the green industry." I've never been in a "cube," but I was in a totally and completely different industry for many, many years...
    Jumping ahead... one of my customers owns (depending on the count on any particular day) between 20 and 40 rental properties that I cut for him, plus I cut his yard (8 acres all of it landscaped). I also have about 20 customers that I acquired on my own. No matter what... when I'm cutting his yard or any one of his properties... I'm working FOR him. I do JUST as good a job as I do on any of my own, but my point is that I will always think of mine as the ones that I care most about. Side by Side you can't tell a difference in the finished look between one of his and one of mine, but mine will always be mine, and no-one will ever be able to take that away from me. For example, if I lose one of his, so be it. If I lose one of mine, I want to know why and I take it personally. My advice: Don't quit a job working for somebody just to end up working for somebody.
    After 49 years of life I have begun to realize that I need to somehow meld together the things I love to do with a way to make a living. Gardening, working the yard, meeting people, and doing things my way, are just some of the things I find most enjoyable. So, I left a former life and started a new one in the hope of doing just that.
    Arguably, one of the hardest things to do is get out of bed at first light knowing that I'm going to be cutting grass all day... but once I'm out there... all the hestation goes away. It's relaxing. It's therapy. It's something that gives you instant gratification for a job well done.
    Yes, the problems are many, and the challenges are great, but nothing less then that is anything that I want.
  4. brjohnso

    brjohnso LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    I have to agree with ClayMcC... I have been working for my father who builds homes and handled all of the A/P work. Anyways, I have always been cutting his model homes to make money on the side. Back then, it was more of a chore... loading all the equipment up to cut one or two yards then head back home and unload it all. Now, when you get a full day in of doing landscaping work or cutting grass, it really is therapy. You feel better about yourself because you see the success of your work instantly. You are exercising and getting energy flow all day instead of sitting behind a desk. This is my first year of providing lawn care and landscaping services and has been getting off to a slow start (like any new business). But, the "therapy" has been instant and it really makes you enjoy it.
  5. Freddy_Kruger

    Freddy_Kruger LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,064

    Go solo. I don't know of a single successful partnership in either window cleaning or lawn care (not that I know much about lawn care and not including husband wife teams) in my area. I have know quite a few (including myself) who tried partnership and are now solo. If my ex biz partner came around and asked to get back into business with me I would say, why would I pay you 50% when I could get a guy to do your job for $10 an hour.
  6. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,633

    I think that you are on the right track by trying it out first. You can use your experience to learn how long it takes to get work done, load/unload, drive to accounts, set up billing, etc.

    I would advise against the partnership...I'll just leave it at that.

    I agree with rmarkham, I would at least try to get a commercial mower. Use this year to pay for it if you have to. Don't be afraid to buy used, but get good used, just a couple years old, not old junk.
  7. lazerslicer05

    lazerslicer05 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    I have my own bus now for........ this is my fourth yearthe first year i had 15-20 second year had 20-30 third year had 50 and this year i have 64 cuts a week i do them all primarily by myself with time to spare but i did pick up a friend of mine who need some "side cash" in my third year i made somewheres 35-40k this year i hope to make 50-60k.....
  8. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,460

    I gues you have noticed the thread on the comericial lawn section on about the same subject....might go take a look.
  9. LawnScapers of Dayton

    LawnScapers of Dayton LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Dayton, OH
    Messages: 2,572

    having a partner will end in problems.....is always does......go solo and hire him as a supervisor or something.....then both of you know who is in charge.....

  10. howardsells2000

    howardsells2000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 355

    Arguably, one of the hardest things to do is get out of bed at first light knowing that I'm going to be cutting grass all day... but once I'm out there... all the hesitation goes away. It's relaxing. It's therapy. It's something that gives you instant gratification for a job well done.
    Yes, the problems are many, and the challenges are great, but nothing less then that is anything that I want.

    ClayMcC said it best, it's hard for me to get out of bed also but once I'm going I love my job. Being outside and working for your self is a great feeling.

    I wouldn't start with a partner. You don't need one. If you have a partner your defeating the purpose. You want to be your own boss. Plus this is a great business for a person to work for himself. It is a tough business. Lots of hard work. You have to deal with the weather. Then you have no benefits. Try it out on your own part time, then decide what you want to do.

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