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The Saga of a Green Shoe

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Toroguy, Jun 25, 2003.

  1. Toroguy

    Toroguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    Chapter One


    I was born. Looking back I feel this was very important.

    Growing up as a child, my parents would require some form of "help around the house" from me. I mowed our lawn. It was far from the pride of the neighborhood, composed of many exotic varieties of thistle.

    I was in the 6th grade of a local suburban Elementary School. The Year was 1977. My friends were nicknamed: Wadley, Q, and Rockhead.

    My equipment:

    1970's Zayre 22" push mower.
    A battery operated rechargable scissor action trimmer on wheels, I do not recall the brand...Im leaning towards JC Penney? or Penneys as it was called then.

    My sixth grade results and thoughts:

    I did the mowing, my Mom did the trimming. My Dad supervised. Between the three of us, we had one of the poorest looking pieces of turf in our neighborhood. Rarely watered, with no weed control.

    What I didn't realize is what it took to keep a lawn looking nice. However, I did notice that I admired the lawns that were maintained. I also had a mental rating system and ranking for the lawns in the neighborhood. I ranked which lawn that I thought looked the nicest. My friend Rockheads home was always near the top.

    My ranking of neighborhood lawns in the 6th grade did not seem like a revelation to me at the time, but would play a major part in my life 20 years later.

    Chapter 2...WADLEY THE ENTREPRENUER...next
  2. Toroguy

    Toroguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    My neighbor "Wadley" was always trying to make a buck. During the snowy Minnesota Winters he dragged me out to shovel driveways. His technique was for us each to take a shovel and walk the neighborhood after a snowfall. We would knock on the doors of the homes that had yet to be shovelled. I dont recall what we charged but I think it was a dollar each. Those driveways during sixth grade were my first taste of money, and work.

    Wadley coninued his quest for the dollar. He would buy candy and gum from the store, then sell it by the piece at the elementary school. It was actually pretty genius. He continued his little enterprise through Junior High. He always had money, I occasionally had money.

    During the Summers he came up with another idea I became interested in. Aluminum cans. We found the mother load at the local Holiday Inn. We would climb into the dumpster and remove every aluminum can, crush it and haul it back home in bags on our bicycles. We also had the largest collection of adult magazines in the County! We collected the aluminum for three Summers, probably earning around $100 each per Summer. We ended our dumpster diving once we entered High School and could land real jobs.
  3. Toroguy

    Toroguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    Wine, Women and Song

    The next phase in any mans life is the Wine, Women and Song period. My phase was more like...Bud Dry, Women and Crue.

    During this period I held many jobs unrelated to the Green Industry. But business is business for the most part. I tried the Dark Side.

    In every industry criminals lurk to steal what you have worked hard for. I worked to deter and apprehend those who failed to make payment.

    I worked in the industry of what was called "Loss Prevention". Thwarting theft at retailers was not just a job, it was an adventure. It is amazing how people will lie and the incredible effort they will expend to steal from a place that pays them to work there. Or the effort from those who claimed to be shopping.

    I could go on and on about all the idiots I tackled in the parking lots stealing radios, lobsters, baby formula, etc.. It was truly depressing.

    I spent six years in this game. It was a great lesson.

    I would have to express this lesson as a lesson of distrust. Do not see things as they appear, see them as a Hollywood feature. A sham.

    I see it here at Lawnsite, there are liars and snake oil salesman. Its a talent, or a curse.

    Well Toroguy what about the Wine, Women and Crue?

    Yes, being a young man, relegated to the duty of internal and external theft detection also led to the observation of many lovely...ladies. Opportunities...business and life is an opportunity. I now realize the extent of blown opportunities! Business and personal satisfaction. I regret both blown opportunities...not equally.

    No, I didn't fail...I should have, could have done better - in both arenas.

    Blown opportunities: I never blew a opportunity for Beer...

    I have some regrets with the ladies...but,

    this is a business forum and I will focus on the financial regrets. I blew the opportunity to invest in a company I was employed by: "The Sound of Music".

    The Sound of Music was a small retail chain of Electronics Stores here in MN. When I started with them they had nine stores. I blew it big time, when I was finally fired for being an idiot the company had grown to 26 stores. They are now known as...Best Buy Co.... had I invested a months pay back then it would have made me a millionaire.

    My idiotic lesson learned was that of opportunity...see it, seek it, seize it...it may only come once...I plan not to miss the next one, or more proactively, create one for myself?

    Coming soon Chapter 4....
  4. Toroguy

    Toroguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    Discontent with many employers was beginning to become old. It seemed I would get a job, find that the managers were afraid to make a decision on their own. At 30 years of age, this was not going very well.

    I began to think I could make some extra money mowing a few lawns around the neighborhood. The first Summer I picked up 7 lawns. I doubled it the next year and realized I could make a decent living if I continued to double. I used a Target brand mower, Homelite trimmer and blower, all tossed into a 1984 Ford Tempo acquired from an auction for $125.00. A $400 operation!

    After continuing to add more customers, my made for a homeowner equipment began to fail. I replaced my Target mower with a Craftsman mower. Well the craftsman lasted about 6 weeks. I then opted for a commercial lawn boy 21". I pushed that lawn boy for an entire season, doing 40 lawns per week.

    After five years I have reached the point where I have maximized my efficiency, minimized my costs, and am now looking for another challenge. This season is my last fulltime season, I expect next season to be the final season.

    Cars are my passion, and like the lawn business, I will go for it alone! Good luck to everyone, follow your dreams.
  5. maple city

    maple city LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    You need to look into a career as a writer, very good reading here. I want to hear more about Wadley - where is he now??

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