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Thinking of starting up on my own

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Jason_S, May 3, 2004.

  1. Jason_S

    Jason_S LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    Well, I've been working for a landscaper for 5 years now. I'm the foreman and am only bringing in 12/hour, no bennies. As I keep working my butt off, I think more and more that I could easily be doing this on my own and making good money that I feel I deserve.

    The company I work for does landscaping and lawn care. I myself, think that lawncare only would be a lot easier on the body over the long run and probably cheaper to start out with since I could get away with a HD pickup instead of having to buy a dumper.

    So I guess my big question is.....can I make a good dollar working solo and doing just lawns? I know there are some guys on here that do this, but how difficult would it be?

    I really enjoy cutting grass above the typical plant, mulch, and hardscape type jobs.....however, I do know there is a decent markup for such projects.

    Do you suggest I try to get work going on the side first, then expand? Is there any way to aquire customers in a discreet enough manner not to raise a red flag with my boss? I don't plan on stealing his accounts but I'd rather keep things private until I can break away. (if I go the part time route, that is)

    I'm at one of those points in my life that I really need to jump out of the mediocre paying, going nowhere job so I can buy a house, be able to afford a family, and not live check to check.

    Any insight to my ideas and questions would be greatly appreciated, and I am open to suggestions as well.
  2. allstar

    allstar LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    After being in this business for a little over a year I've come to the conclusion that in order to make it in this business you almost have to do something to separate you from the rest of the pack in order to do really well:installs,design,even tree removal are some things I'm looking into.I guess if you're in a really good area and work extra hard you might do OK with just maintenance.
    I don't see anything wrong with your trying to get some customers in your spare as long as you don't actively solicit your employers accounts while on the job.It's quite possible,though,that he/she will eventually find out about it and let you go so be prepared for that.Good luck.
  3. DJL

    DJL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    I'm not sure if you rely on your current 12/hr job...but I would caution you about doing jobs on "the side". I would talk to your current employer and speak to him/her about your intentions. That way when he sees you doing a job one saturday in town he doesn't assume you are soliciting your work on his dime. You never now, maybe he'll throw you some accounts, knowing you would give major wokr back to his business (work that a solo can't do b/c of size??) Just my two cents.
  4. Trevors Lawn Care

    Trevors Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,180

    Def. talk to your current employer because he will find out. He will assume you are using his $$ to get your accounts. You will be fired. Talk to him, tell him it is your equip., jobs found on your time, and in no way associated with his business. It will work out well because, if he is a good boss he will be greatful you had the balls to tell him, and may throw some biz your way. Also, when you go on your own keep close ties with him, because you can always throw biz his way, and have a "partnership" for lack of a better term.

  5. kathyu

    kathyu LawnSite Senior Member
    from 05851
    Messages: 460

    Ok, from a business standpoint, before going out on your own, you definetely need to have a plan. A well thought out business plan is invaluable and worth the time and effort it takes. Some of the key points to think about and address are: what happens if I get injured? how will my bills be paid? what will happen to my business? You don't have bennies now, but you are also not carrying the sole responsiblity of the business' survival.
    Secondly, definetely talk with your current employer before you make any move. You don't want to burn any bridges as you embark on a solo enterprise. There's lots of little things to think about....my suggestion would be to start with your local small business association. Most towns have one, or know how to contact them. They are a very valuable source of info for small business. Good Luck!

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