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Time frame to go full time?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Braxton, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. Braxton

    Braxton LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 81

    For a new company starting part-time, what would be a reasonable time-frame to go full time?

    Also, what is the real potential here?

    Anyone have a story to share?



    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    The timeframe is up to you. If you're working a full-time job and doing this on the side, you have to be realistic, there's only so many extra hours in the week to get stuff done. Most guys get to the point where they have to decide to take the plunge or keep turning work down.

    You'll find a wide range of LCOs on here, from the solo guys to those that gross over a million a year doing residentials, so the potential is certainly there.

    In some ways full-time mowing is easier, you have the whole week at your disposal. Of course you'll want to take into consideration that you'll need your own health ins., business ins, etc. Basically you'll be responsible for yourself 100%. Some guys enjoy the challenge, others prefer to keep it as a nice part-time venture.

    Good luck!
  3. Braxton

    Braxton LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 81

    I'll need to replace an income of about 30,000 plus insurance. I am currently a school teacher and feeling burned out on it.

    My eventual goal is to build from scratch to the point that I can run a few crews and manage them from home, doing little of the actual (physical) work myself; maybe a day or two a week. Is that doable? Or do most of you put in long hours behind a mower even after many years in business? Of course, I understand that I'll have to work quite hard until I get to that point.


  4. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Messages: 0


    The answer to your question about going full time is:
    When the income from your business exceeds all of your expences.

    If your operating costs are low and your living expences are reasonable then you should have no problem making the switch to full time your first year in business.

    The potential is out there.....its up to you how hard you pursue it.
  5. Braxton

    Braxton LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 81

    Thanks Wells and Hoolie.

    Anyone care to comment on how long to switch from being a laborer to being more a manager of employees?

    I like this sort of work, but I do want to get to the point that I have a choice whether to be at the mower or at the office, if possible.

  6. Gautreaux's LNG

    Gautreaux's LNG LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 379

    Hard numbers to come up with! Some have taken forever to get enough accounts to go full-time others can afford it with their first account (Large commercial). Just remember what full-time means, fully insured? licensed? rainouts? truck repairs? mower repairs? advertisement? FUEL? There's a great amount more expenses associated with full time. Not to mention payroll taxes?

    I pay payroll taxes on myself, this way I have a W2 at years end. This really helps if you wanna buy a house or auto! W2 gives you legitimacy!
  7. twwlawn

    twwlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    I have been mowing lawns part time for 10 years plus, I usually have between 25 to 30 accounts, this season the number has almost doubled. I'm looking at going full time next year with a crew or two. I have two other business that I have also. Making the choice when to go full time is really in your own hands or when you have enough contracts to make the income you currently have or more. Having all the expenses to run a business can be overwhelming if you do not plan right. Hope this help's.
  8. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,593

    I would have to say spring is the best time get your advertizing out before the reg cutting season begins and there are lots of lawns not under contract yet. It only gets harder the deeper into the year you go.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    As far as being able to just manage, and not be to involved in the physical work, mostly it would depend on how fast you can get to the point where you have a few crews working for you. If you have the money to advertise aggresively it might happen sooner than you think.

    The guy I used to work for accomplished this by his 3rd season, but his father lent him a ton of money for advertising/equipment. He was running 4 mowing crews (5 in the Spring)

    I think if you're willing to commit to the physical work for maybe 5 years or so, you could get into the office so long as you have a plan for expansion and the money to accomplish it. And of course, hopefully, you'll stumble upon some good employees you can trust.
  10. Braxton

    Braxton LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 81

    Five years was actually what I had in mind; maybe part time 2-3 years. As a teacher, I can work "part-time" and still hit the major portion of the season pretty hard. I hope I can get some temp help when the school year starts if need be.

    Does this sound doable?

    As far as good help, I most likely will have prospects in former students, and I already know their work ethic. Also, I've a cousin who works in the lawn care industry who would consider working for me (as an employee; he just doesn't have an entreprenuerial spirit) when I get large enough. I think he'd make a good crew leader.

    Thanks much for the replies.


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