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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Recon Scapes, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. Recon Scapes

    Recon Scapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    My career started much like yalls probably did. You pushed, or rode if you were lucky, a lawn mower through your neighborhood cutting yards for $20 and you were 15. You built up your client base, bought new equipment, bought your first car or truck and studied your trade as your skills grew around you. I was that kid once pushing the lawn mower up an down the street and only 3 years later and still a senior in highschool I was competing with all the other major landscape companies in the atlanta area. I owned your own company, I had money, everyone gave me respect and I was basically the s h i t, but I was never never happy....why?.. May 2006 I graduated from Lassiter Highschool with a 3.0 gpa, honors club entreprenuer of the year, and to Atlanta, ACG's (association for corporate growth) Youth Entreprenuer of the Year. http://www.acg.org/atlanta/awards/youth/. I'm posting this post to show you share with you a few things i learned about the business and to show you how I almost lost everything I owned.

    I started landscaping to make money for my rock band. Usual story parents didnt have much money, scrounging to pay the bills and I happened to live in East Cobb, the rich side of town. My friend were all driving tahoes at 16 and the futureof me behind the wheel of a motor vehicle seemed light years away. But then of course theres a willingness and dedication we develop to achieve the things we dream for. All i wanted was a Dodge ram pick up. Needless to say after hard work and a lil bit of labor I was the next jo shmo landscaper. Im going to jump forward quite a bit cause I doubt anyone really reads all this anyway. Pretty soon I was giving up time spending with friends to work. I was hanging out at lawn mower shops and researching on lawnsite.com. Landscaping was my life. Friends and family were amazed when after 1 year of serious business i was driving a 99 dodge 2500 riding a zmaster 2 trailers blah blah blah but a part of me still wasnt happy and thats when depression hit. end of senior year i win $5,000 cash along with the ACG youth award, multiple awards from school and i was graduating. Where had all my high school life gone? It was like yea i got my business and some money but what happend to my life. everyone says highschol was the best time of there life, sex drugs and partying and music right? I could count on one hand all the friends i had left when i started school out with way more. People saw me and were inspired and thought I had it all, but no one knew tha I would have traded it to be in their position. anyway i got depresssed. i did win a $34,450 bid however. ill post the pictures on the next post. i started drinking heavily. no sooner had all this happened then i get a DUI and i guess heres the worst part, i was sitting in jail with no one to call. i bailed my self out $2700, got a lawyer $2,500, did 60 hours community service, paid a total of $800 for evaluations, dui school, and driving school, and lost my license for 1 year. $6,000 later i owned a business wtih no license and 2 illegal mexicans and an ass load of equipment. i fired my workers, i sold my company with over 50 clients and all equipment for $10,000 and enlisted in the marines but i wasnt accpeted because of a medical condition leaving me still at my parents house with nothing left, not in school, no business, no lawn mowers, nothing. thats when the fight began. its been almost 5 months since all of this and i've learned many many invaluable lessons. Since then I started back up a new company, watched the company i sold fall apart due to a lack in quality control and currently today stand still with no license but a dedicated partner, equip for 1 crew and most of my clients back. I've been working 10 hour days 7 days a week since my depression and its starting to wear off especially since i got my new puppy! i was able to move out from my parents house and now im finally on my own and stable.

    Theres a few things I want all you new entreprenuers to think abut before starting your new company. Think about what makes you happy and what people surround ur life right nwo that really mean a lot to you. NEVER let business get in teh way of friends or family, EVER. Money is great but family lasts forever. and second landscaping is NOT a competitive business. It's an artisitic business in which us landscapers get the chance to be a force of nature and change the way our earth was originally shaped. If you want to grow in this industry, make a friend. I researched other companies work while building my company and idolized their leaders. Those are hte people you need to work with they can teach you so much from experience alone.

    thats all i have to say for now. just work your ass off, TREAT YOUR EMPLOYEES happy and work WITH others rather tahn against. Theres always going to be work for landscapers and theres enough to go around.
  2. parkeeee

    parkeeee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 227

    Some people never learn what the real priorities are in life. You are absolutely right, there is a ton of money to be made out there but having the most is not the greatest measure of success.

    Good luck to you on staying focused.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Not going against you but, It sounds like you worked you butt off and became depressed about it and fell apart,
    and yet it sounds like you are going right back---

    I've been working 10 hour days 7 days a week
    thats all i have to say for now. just work your a$$ off

    Just wondering where you are changing:)
  4. Total.Lawn.Care

    Total.Lawn.Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 840

    PM, I see what you are sawing about this young man's story, however I think I can see his view on this. It is like another post I recently saw about "Loosing the Drive". I think it all comes down to "Why are we doing this in the first place?" I think this young man's depression started when he realized that he started his business for the wrong reasons.

    I understand alot of what he is saying and I have to evaluate his experience to my own desires. I have a 4 Year college degree, had a really good career and have a nice home, not fancy but nice. After comming back from a National Guard Deployment to Iraq, I realized that no matter what I do, I will never get ahead in the corporate world because someone else always has the final determination on your success. I was tired of working 60 hour weeks for no more money. Getting home after my kids were in bed and having to ask for permission to take 1/2 day off work to get an early start on a family trip. The corporate world controlled my life.

    In an attempt to help make extra money to pay off some debt that accumulated while I was in Iraq, I started this Lawn Care/Landscaping Business. I started seeing alot of potential and now it has become my desire to build it so that I can eventually have the freedom to set my own work schedule without having to ask a boss for permission to see my family. And hopefully for once, not have to live paycheck to paycheck hoping to run out of month before running out of money.

    That is my drive and my desire. As long as I focus on that, I will do what it takes to get there.
  5. Prestige-Lawncare

    Prestige-Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 753

    And exactly my reasons for leaving my career of 31 years, locking in my retirement from them, and doing what I want, and having control of not only what I make, but when and what times I choose to make it.

    I too, am tired of having 5 weeks vacation a year, yet not really being able to take it when I want because it's up to others in the corporate world as to when I can and can not take my time for my family. When you have a position in a company that only one other person can do, and it is something that has to be done each day for business to continue ... you are locked. Many call it job security ... I call it locked in and controlled. I already give up evenings and at least one day of the weekend ... and I need that back to enjoy my family life. I've given it up for way to many years ... and going full time next spring is going to allow me to do that. If I still work 60 hours a week ... and least it will be on my own scheduling ... and on days of the week better then what I do now.

    I guess my point here is like others ... you have to take care of your life ... and not give it all up for work.

  6. adaptivehomeservices

    adaptivehomeservices LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 59

    Thanks for sharing your story. Its best that you learned this lesson so soon in life. I grew up a wealthy, spoiled kid...parents then got divorced, house burned down with no insurance and we lived in a hotel for 3 months. After that glorious phase in life my dad eventually worked his way back to the lower-middle class.

    I have had the chance to live with and to live without. You now can really appreciate the hard work of your past and will benefit & appreciate the rewards of your future hard work. I am not sure what it is in people but we just about have to lose everything before we appreciate the small things.

    My goal is to earn enough to support our lifestyle and future. Thats it. I will never trade time with my wife and daughter to make extra money I really don't need.
  7. JJLandscapes

    JJLandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    good read.... Balance in your life and certain sacrifices need to be made but to an extent if you want to be successful

    bottom line in this world no one can disagree about is you need money in this world to survive. Some people can be happy with a family and 50k income... The others need a million a year

    Others have financial reasons they cant control

    I started doing what you did by dropping everything but work... Didnt go out at all with friends( since we where kids we would all chill 7 days a week) now i wont go to local bars 5-7 days a week l and smoke blunts everynight like usual i made a small sacrifice and go out weekends now and special events

    some sort of small balance buts its a start to keep my head in check
  8. JJLandscapes

    JJLandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    completely off topic and none of my business but im curious if u would like share... WHY would your parents who where im assuming financially stable if you where spoiled not have insurance..
  9. adaptivehomeservices

    adaptivehomeservices LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 59

    If you remembered by my post...there was wealth, then divorce and that changed everything. My dad owned a bunch of Sonic Drive-In restaurants and bailed because he was in business with my moms family. About a few years later we sent to S. Carolina to, what I later found out, was to get his last small restaurant venture sold...had a rental house and then an electrical fire and lost everything...dad didn't have renters insurance and we lost everything in our fire. He took what little money he got out of selling the restaurant and moved us to Colorado where it was very expensive.

    My dad was like a lot of young business owners...take on as much as possible and family last. Ask him now and he would just tell you to stay solo and love your family.
  10. huh

    huh LawnSite Senior Member
    from Lubbock
    Messages: 251

    well hate to give you some bad news

    you were on a roll when you got depressed...if you had fought through it for a bit longer you would have seen things a lot different......some of the best times can be OUT of highschool.....I had a great time in HS but an even better time after.....you would have had a nice business....cash....and something you made for yourself......sounds to me like you got out of HS and instead of you making a change you expected your "friends" to change...or their preception of you to change.....you should have ditched most of those chumps like a hot rock....built your business and then gone to a class or 2 at night at the local community college where all the cute girls are and met a new click.....instead of that you waited around for your old click, where you seam to have not fit in, change.....they didn't....they won't....move on.....see them at the reunion!

    good luck :)

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