Teacher / Part Timer

NTXlawnteacher

LawnSite Member
Location
North Texas
Good afternoon.
I am currently a high school special ed teacher in a northern suburb of Dallas, TX. I am entering the lawn care business as a way to supplement my income. I have a son that is starting college next year and then 4 other children that will follow suit. I will be 65 by the time the last child will have spent her 4th year in college so retirement is not an option. I have too much time vested in my teacher retirement but not enough time in to take out full retirement without getting heavily penalized.
I love working outside and look forward to growing my business.
My question is if anyone has had any experience with having a full time job and had success ( or not so successful) at having a part time lawn job. How did you manage it? Did it grow faster than you thought? Did you hire a couple of people to do lawns while you held down your day job? What would you do differently?
I would be thrilled just to make 1000-1500/mo. If the business grows too big to ignore, I wouldn't say no to early retirement and grow the business full time. Thank you for your thoughts and comments.
 

Mac-s Lawn & Snow

LawnSite Bronze Member
Welcome to Lawnsite and I've known a few teachers in the landscaping industry over the years. I think in a larger suburb like Dallas you could work with some apps or website platform to only get work in the summer months when school is out. This type of work is usually a per time cut so once school starts up you wouldn't have to do it. It would get your foot in the door so to speak.
 

CGros31

LawnSite Bronze Member
I am a PE teacher in my 16th year. I am in my 14th season of my lawn business. I started with the intention of doing like 5 yards routinely but over time my business has grown to where I gross more than my teaching job. I actually turn down more work than I take on. What time do you get out of school? Understand this... if you take on several yards you will be working all the time during the months of March-May and August-October. So those 6 months of the year I basically have no life other than work. Summers and winter are great however.
 

wakeeps

LawnSite Member
Location
Aurora, il
Although I am not a teacher, I do work in a correctional center from 7am to 3pm Sunday through Thursday. I cut grasses from 345pm to 630pm Monday trough Thursday and Friday (my off day) from 7am to 6pm. I pull in an extra $5000 to $6000 a month (50 yards total). I would say go for it! I have a friend's son help me out once he gets out of school and we usually knock out 8 yards a night. It keeps me sane and clears my head from being in a jail all day. Once i got close to 30 or 40 yards, I would pick and choose which customers i wanted in order to tighten my routes out. I also got ride of customers that were a pain or took too long to pay me. I am currently 37 and have been doing this since I was 15. With a pension from the jail when i turn 55, i can still cut grasses on the side if I desire.
 
OP
NTXlawnteacher

NTXlawnteacher

LawnSite Member
Location
North Texas
Thank you both for your input.
CGros31- just curious as to the number of lawns that you service to maintain a balance and maintain your teaching position as well without being overwhelmed?
 
OP
NTXlawnteacher

NTXlawnteacher

LawnSite Member
Location
North Texas
wakeeps..i was a correctional officer here in Texas back in the 90's. I was telling a teacher about it just this morning. People have no idea what goes on behind the gates.
Thank you for your input. It makes it seem more plausible to handle that kind of work load and still pull down that much extra a month. good for you!
my question to you is...what is your average per man hr rate? what are your main services? advertisement/marketing? thank you.
 

CGros31

LawnSite Bronze Member
Thank you both for your input.
CGros31- just curious as to the number of lawns that you service to maintain a balance and maintain your teaching position as well without being overwhelmed?
Thank you both for your input.
CGros31- just curious as to the number of lawns that you service to maintain a balance and maintain your teaching position as well without being overwhelmed?
I usually carry between 25-30 properties. Some of them are commercial and I make significantly more with those properties. I do have a helper and my gross per hour averages about $100 an hour. You have to keep the route as tight and possible. With the limited daylight in the afternoons I am always fighting the clock. I’ll be honest, with this much work I am pretty frazzled by this time of the year. I am looking forward to Fall and the slowdown. I have even toyed around with the idea of streamlining my business some. I’ve already started getting rid of bi-weekly cuts and problem customers. Between both jobs I make over 100k but I pay the price. I don’t need to make that much and the older I get the more I realize that more time off is priceless. Basically what I’m trying to say is that you can make good money doing it, but don’t overextend yourself. You don’t want to short change your teaching job either.
 

wakeeps

LawnSite Member
Location
Aurora, il
wakeeps..i was a correctional officer here in Texas back in the 90's. I was telling a teacher about it just this morning. People have no idea what goes on behind the gates.
Thank you for your input. It makes it seem more plausible to handle that kind of work load and still pull down that much extra a month. good for you!
my question to you is...what is your average per man hr rate? what are your main services? advertisement/marketing? thank you.
As far as working by myself I usually get 2 or 3 yards done in an hour ($50-$65)per hour or 3-4 ($65-$75) per hour with the help of the teenager. As far as types of jobs: Mulching/Painting/Bush Trimming/Gutter Cleaning/Car Detailing/Spring & Fall Cleanups (Anything that pays for Daycare and my wife's Amazon addiction)
 

gdguth

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Midwest
Good afternoon.
I am currently a high school special ed teacher in a northern suburb of Dallas, TX. I am entering the lawn care business as a way to supplement my income. I have a son that is starting college next year and then 4 other children that will follow suit. I will be 65 by the time the last child will have spent her 4th year in college so retirement is not an option. I have too much time vested in my teacher retirement but not enough time in to take out full retirement without getting heavily penalized.
I love working outside and look forward to growing my business.
My question is if anyone has had any experience with having a full time job and had success ( or not so successful) at having a part time lawn job. How did you manage it? Did it grow faster than you thought? Did you hire a couple of people to do lawns while you held down your day job? What would you do differently?
I would be thrilled just to make 1000-1500/mo. If the business grows too big to ignore, I wouldn't say no to early retirement and grow the business full time. Thank you for your thoughts and comments.

I just had posted in a similar thread about a guy wanting to quit teaching and just go full-time. Let me kinda start by answering your last question about the business growing to full time. I am in a similar situation. I have theses same thoughts all the time. Should I quit teaching and go full time or should I cut back some on the business and not be so over whelmed. Well what has happened for me, is the business has grown like crazy and i turn away more work than I take on. It didn't necessarily grow crazy fast, but I have been at it for about 20 years and the last 5 or so have really taken off.
I am similar to you. I have a wife and 4 kids, have been a PE teacher for 13 years and have the lawn business on the side. It is stressful managing both. I mow about 40 weekly properties and right now is the worst because the days are getting short of daylight. I feel it is a strain on my family, but it does make ends meet. It is sad though when you net more mowing than you gross teaching. I think you could easily make $1500 a month. The scariest part for me about going full time is giving up my health insurance. My wife currently only works part time and doesn't have the health insurance.
I have always been solo, with just a little help from time to time. I feel it is kinda difficult to get employees who will work from 3:30 to 7:30 everyday. I do hope to get my kids helping in a few years, but they are a little too young yet. Hopefully you can get yours kids as well.
If I had to do something different, which i am contemplating at the moment, I would maybe try and do more one time jobs or jobs that dont require a consistent routine like mowing. I would maybe do like bush trimming or aeration, fertilizing, etc where you can schedule it in when you want. Right now I mostly just do mowing and it kind sucks having to keep to such a schedule with the mowing. The mowing has to be done when it needs done and you cant wait like you could with other services. Hopefully this will help some.
 

landscaper22

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
South Carolina
Welcome! When I got out of this business full time one time, I kept about 7 or 8 residential yards on the side. It worked out pretty well. My biggest problem was when it started getting dark early, it was difficult to get home and get my truck and have time to get 2 yards done before dark hit. In the summer it wasn't an issue. And since you will have summers off, that will be even better. I do think you will find that you will grow faster than what you think. I don't know if you should grow too big and have to depend on other people. I can tell you now, you will be let down and be stuck with mad customers. $1000-1500 per month would be easy on the side working by yourself though. You should still have a little time to spend with the family and do some things you want to do. You can just stop taking on customers when you feel you are at your limit.
 

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