Starting over 55

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by george delcos, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    I'm 48 and do around 40 yards/week about 50 over a two week period, this year for some reason was the worse for employees it started out good but went down hill about mid season guess when it got hot they all went to crap. I'm back cutting by myself for the rest of this season anyway, I advise a helper also, at least part time. Good luck. Your two top priorities should be marketing and proper bidding, sit down and really get close with the calculator. You'll quickly see why you can't cut for $25/yard, like some of these guys are trying to do.
  2. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    I'd say you've got a tough road up ahead, I don't know what to tell you, only you can know the true story... Perhaps there is a difference... When I started my business I had some money saved too, but it was all money that I started saving years ago for the explicit purpose of starting my own business. You have to know for yourself where this money comes from, don't tell me, I don't care but I can tell you if the money just so happens to be there, it may not be the right kind of money.

    The other thing that concerns me...
    Is you've been working for someone else for 32 years and you have just enough saved at 55 for a trailer, a truck, and a walk-behind? Again I don't know but you're 14 years from retiring and that's all you have, or is that money you put away specifically for this purpose, I don't know, only you do.

    It's a tough, competitive market, don't kid yourself, you're competing against guys who don't mind working for 5 bucks an hour and you might think the cheap guys do cheap work but the fact is some of the cheapest do some of the best... A lot of us were here before the recession, guys like myself, I don't mean to come down hard or to brag but I can tackle some work for little money, there isn't much out there that scares me too bad... The customers didn't wake up yesterday either, just saying, and I know you think you can tackle that but again don't think they haven't dealt with the first shrewd landscaper, a lot of your first 4-5 year customers are used to tough cookies and that's not all bad because at least they're willing to give the new guy a chance but it is a hard road up ahead.

    Good luck
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  3. kebrowns

    kebrowns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    I do lawn care part time to help make ends meet and based on my experience there is a lot of potential in it and you will most likely succeed at it. But because I am part time I lose customers and the amount of customers I have lost I could have be doing this full time and be making the same I am making at my regular job. My biggest advice is don't let people dictate your price, trust me they will test you and lie on top of it. As you grow you will know how much to charge and stick to your price. Also have somebody very reliable on hand who can help you on larger properties if needed.
  4. george delcos

    george delcos LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Thanks Herler for some good advice, The money I have set aside was basically money set aside for a rainy day. I have other funds set aside for retirement The plastics business was good to me for a lot of years, it will allow me to retire at 65, but only if I do not have to start using it ten years early, the penalties for early with drawl are quite severe.
    I know this area has a lot of competition from both solo guys such as myself, and some large corporations, my operation would be mowing trimming, and primarily the basic stuff involved in routine lawn service, also hiring someone does not seem feasible as people don't work for fun they work for money and I don't know if I would be able to generate enough money to pay anyone in the first years. Thanks I really appreciate the input from everybody.
  5. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    I started at 57. Third season and I am 59. I do not regret going into business. Though there has been growth every year. The growth has been slow. I do not have a full schedule.

    Some people have been lucky and they get more work then they can handle solo after 1 or 2 years after starting out. So not to discourage you but to make you aware. They say most businesses take 3 years to take off.

  6. chuacro

    chuacro LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 601

    I started 6 years ago fulltime and run about $35000 a year now solo. My best year was $50000 in year 2. I have turned down enough new customers this year that would almost double my income because I can not do it solo. I wished I could find a good worker or partner that would make us both money and make my life easier.
  7. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    He's gonna want half your money, LOL
  8. chuacro

    chuacro LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 601

    Yeah I know. It is hard to find a person that will work hard at a good salary and take over my lawn service in the next few years.
  9. Slimreynolds

    Slimreynolds LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    Why is it so hard to find good help???? I'm solo in my first year doing it part time and need the help but every kid I've hired is late, sloppy, on the phone, etc. I can't find a quality guy that does quality work even when I pay $15 per hour!

    My advice is to stay within your means and stay solo...grow slowly so you can learn the business and little tricks as you go. Also, buy good will make it easier on your older frame

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