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Solo operators supporting family, future, etc...

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by AuburnHort2005, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. AuburnHort2005

    AuburnHort2005 LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Messages: 147

    How many of you solo operators out there are supporting your family, have retirement accounts (IRA, Roth IRA) and pretty much know that you can be comfortable in your future by the way you are handling the important things if things go the way as planned?

    What is/was your back up plan if you get sick or hurt and have to be out of work for a while?

    I had a long conversation tonight with my girlfriend about our future and the topic of growing my business and not just being the only person doing all the work. I have thought about growing it anyways, but I also do like the personal touch I can give to my customers the larger companies can't give.

    I have landed so many accounts this year, and years past by just doing that. The homeowner/customer was sick and tired of the big companies, and even the smaller companies that still may have 5 -10 and even more trucks out running every day.

    I have been doing maintenance since I was a little kid in the neighborhood and just stuck with it through the years. I went to school and got a degree in landscape horticulture and then worked with a landscape company for two and a half years as an account manager and still did my accounts on the side.

    I am thinking about getting out of maintenance and doing nothing but turf care because I have seen how much larger the profit margin is.

    Do any of you guys that have been doing this for any length of time think you could support a family, send kids to school/college, have a good quality of life and still be able to retire at a decent age? I am 29 years old and still hope to have a good many years ahead of me in this industry and would like to know from the veterans on here.

    Any information is appreciated.

    Thank you.
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,727

    Yup--sent my kids to college, and just retired. I have a little nest-egg plus social security. I don't own a boat--or summer cottage. Have an IRA. However my wife worked in an office for many years. And I was very fortunate--in that I had no major medical problems, (except for that dog bite and sprained ankle when I fell off my truck). Solo operators have a big problem if they break their leg or have a heart attack. I hope you have insurance and a contingency plan, in case of injury or major car accident.
  3. AuburnHort2005

    AuburnHort2005 LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Messages: 147

    Thanks for the info. I actually own a boat that I would sale tomorrow if I could, haha. Anyways, I do have an IRA, but not too happy with it or the company it's with and plan to change to another one soon. Like I said, I am only 29 and no major medical problems and hopes it stays that way. I get plenty of exercise, as we all do in this industry, kind of sort of a health nut, so I eat right for the most part, (I do go outside the lines every now and then). I actually do have health insurance and a contingency plan if I do get hurt and can't work.

    Can you PM me and tell me who you have your IRA through?

    Thanks a lot
  4. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,968

    Hey buddy. Sent you a PM

    I'm in the same boat although apps/aeration/seeding are only 40% of my business. I'm a little older and just engaged. I've always been tight with my money, but in preparing for the future you have to. I would look into disability insurance, especially if you and your girlfriend are serious. It gives you some security if you get hurt or out a while. I also have a "secret" savings account that I fund when my checking account gets high. Not to be deciving but it gives me something if I get in a pinch. Also even if your girlfriend/wife didn't want to work, a few years of working for insurance is a plus. Even if it is part time.

    IRA's, insurance, etc are expenses we often don't think about when figuring out overhead. we have to prepare. As much as I dread April 15, I always try to make myself ready to fund my IRA payment, any prior year taxes, and current year 1st quarter taxes. I take a big hit, but get it all out of the way.

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