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Some of you guys are scaring the heck out of me!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by CLT Bluesman, Feb 11, 2020.

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  1. CLT Bluesman

    CLT Bluesman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 233

    I’m basically a start-up full time guy. I was part time for 4 years one or two days a week. I retired from my job that paid great money. I was just burned out after 30 years. 28 in management. I just couldn’t do it anymore. Burned slap out.

    I have to keep working until my wife is 65. I’m 65 now. So I have to keep at it. I’m not taking Social Security until then. 20 months.

    I hired a guy that has 12 years of experience in lawns and landscaping. He is very knowledgeable. I am working like crazy trying to get the word out that I’m full time now with more services. This guy seems to be loyal and willing to help us grow. I’ve got good equipment, most paid for.

    I got signs made up for along the road. Working on flyers or door hangers, Networking everywhere I can. I figure one referral will pay for each program. I even landed a small commercial account on a very busy road that I’m going to make look as best I can. The owner is allowing me to put up a sign advertising my business. So I’m working hard.

    Then I read on here most guys fail in 1, 2, or three years.

    I am working harder now than I did at my job. But I like it more. I just pray I don’t fail. I don’t need much to live on. My house is paid for. Don’t owe that much on the family car.

    But it’s a big leap into the deep end for sure. I do want to be legit. I am trying to follow advice like get a bookkeeper to set up Quickbooks. Etc. I am not touching my 401K for this.

    Anyway I read how low the success rate is and it scares me. Bad!
  2. JFGLN

    JFGLN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,170

    Where you located?
    hort101 and Cam15 like this.
  3. OP
    CLT Bluesman

    CLT Bluesman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 233

    North Carolina. Charlotte area. Lots of low ballers and competition
    hort101, Cam15 and Mark Stark like this.
  4. Matthews Lawn Care

    Matthews Lawn Care LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,154

    Most people fail cuz they aren’t willing to put in the work it takes in order to succeed.
  5. JFGLN

    JFGLN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,170

    Well it sounds like your getting pretty organized and making plans. I’m thinking those guys that failed don’t have the drive to get things done that you have.
  6. RussellB

    RussellB LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,889

    The Charlotte market is HUGE. If you're timid you'll fail. Stay positive.
  7. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,303

    I started in 2008 and made it, you're gonna be OK.
    hort101, JFGLN, Cam15 and 2 others like this.
  8. OP
    CLT Bluesman

    CLT Bluesman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 233

    Thanks guys, I’m staying positive. I for my family (just two) only need to take out 40k a year to survive good. The responsibility is keeping my employee and his family afloat while we grow this. We agreed he would work for $14 an hour to start. I want to pay him as W2 employee. He deserves his Social Security benefits kept up.

    The only equipment I owe on is a Z2 62” that my dealer had a deal on. $6500 with a $500 rebate from Ferris. I also have a 2100Z (350 hours) in 52” and a FW25 WB (30 hours)in 36”. I have an old JD737 as a spare. My truck is paid for. I think I have the right equipment.

    I am even forcing myself to lose some weight. I’m 6’2. I did weigh 265. I’m down to 240. I figured I need to drop the weight off at my age to do physical work. Otherwise I’m not going to be able to do anything except ride the mower. As a manager at my old job, I watched people work. Now I have to actually do the work. In actuality this venture might extend my life. Lol

    Anyway. I’m trying. Pendergast scares hell out of me on other threads, but he is very realistic, and I appreciate that. I also appreciate the positive words that Knox, Russ, JFG and Matthews dropped.

    Yeah, it was all fun and games when I made 85k at my old job and just mowed one day a week. Now my cajones are in the vice.
  9. Mark Stark

    Mark Stark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,038

    This is your motivation. This is what will push you to find your success. You worked for "the man" for long time. Worked hard. Paid your dues. This is something different for you so it seems scarier than it really is.

    Not everyone who succeeded before you was smarter than you, more experienced, and luckier. If they did it, you can too. Biggest thing in my mind is you've GOT TO put the time in. The fact that your thinking about this, nervous about it, etc., is a good sign that you'll likely meet your goals.
    Cam15, sjessen, CLT Bluesman and 6 others like this.

    GRANTSKI LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,025

    Failure rate is the same as any business. But still a lot less risky vs opening a restaurant or a store.
    Imo here’s a few reasons a lot fail :
    - “I don’t have any overhead” : then 3 -4 years in you need all new equipment and maybe even a new truck ...but you set up your whole pricing structure on having “no overhead” so now you are in trouble. Also around the same time you start paying a more taxes since you are finally turning a good profit. So your hourly rate that used to make you $, is now break even. 1-2 punch .
    - Unrealistic Expectations : self explanatory. Ex: Thinking the business will be easier / more profitable than it really is.
    - Quitting when you fail : Gotta be willing to stick it out and keep going when things seem hopeless or pointless.
    - Focusing on growth or $ per lawn , without focusing on $ per hour : I know a few owners that can’t even give a direct answer on their target / charge per man hour. Per man hour is what you need to look at constantly and always be trying to improve.
    - Getting Overwhelmed : Running a business and doing everything legit is time consuming and takes patience / research / a lot of pro active effort. Some days it’d be nice to just punch a clock and have the day be over. Have to always be friendly to customers regardless of your mood or personal problems. I think some just get burned out all around.
    Cam15, Markusinky, sjessen and 5 others like this.
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