What should i do

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by sodgod, Oct 29, 2004.

  1. jim dailey

    jim dailey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 614

    Dog245, I couldn't agree more. Your story sounds so familiar. I have 5 children, and then 6 grandchildren. I went into this on my own. I had retired from the government at age 39. That lasted for 3 months. I was bored to death. I went into the residential construction business. That lasted 18 months, then I got hurt severely. Came out of that after 3 1/2 years. There was my golden oppurtunity. A guy that I had grew-up with was getting out of the residential end of the lawn maintenance business and going into the commercial end of it. He gave me a list of 14 customers...I landed 13. I was on my way, with a p/u, 21 incher, weedwacker, 2 barrels and a rake. I was king of the hill !!! Now, 14 years later, I have 71 accounts: 68 residential and 3 commercial. I have an 18 year old nephew working for me full time, and another part time. I am "up to my eyeballs", and loving it. The only complaint I have is that I have no time to myself. BUT, I don't know as I would change it. I love everyone of the customers that I have. I couldn't ask for better ones, and I am certain they would say the same about me. I actually look forward to going out and working for these people each and everyday. But, then there are the problems:
    I am 55 years old and have an artificial left ankle from my construction days. It gets sore real early and is heck to try and use first thing in the morning. I can always tell you 2 days ahead of time when it is going to rain or snow. It has put extra stress on my right leg, which tires even sooner.
    I have to spend bad weather days away from work. I hate to work in the pouring rain. Drizzle is OK. I am ambitious and hate for wasted days.
    I look around me and see those that I grew up with, who have college degrees, and I definitely see the difference. It has taken a few years for it to show up, but it is there. YES, they are members of the corporate world, and YES I have it "made in the shade" with my own business, BUT, I am always conscious of"the difference a degree makes".
    IF I had it to do all over again, yes, I would have gone to college. I grew up in a time when the DRAFT was in effect. I didn't move fast enough, and GOT drafted. Off to combat, and then travels all over the world, in a green uniform. BUT, I enjoyed the most of it, got to see places that most other people will never experience and made friends from several different cultures. Now that I am older, I often wonder what it would be like to do a days work without all of the physical aspects...BUT...then...all of my peers always comliment me on my physical stature. Something that I have always been proud of. I would personally be very disapointed in myself if I had gone the route of the overweight desk-jockey. Sorry, didn't mean to offend anyone with that comment.
    I hpe to cash in on my business in the next couple of years, but to always keep a hand into it. Plan on only calling in sick the night before I pass away. What a hoot that would be.
  2. John B Laidlaw

    John B Laidlaw LawnSite Member
    Messages: 95

    While the College of Hard Knocks is good for some, especially those that have the resilience to take disappointment, college is the way to go. You can be a very good technician in your vocation, but what you need to be is a business man that can wear many hats. Do you know marketing? Accounting? Law? Human Resource? College will teach you to, at least, have a working knowledge of these areas. Knowing how to read a balance sheet, Guerilla Marketing, contracting law, state and local regulations, employee relations, and on and on... Listen to the wise men here. You wouldn't go out to a job without the right tools, right? Knowledge is the best tool there is bar none! Good luck!
  3. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,641

    Though the Thompson school is fine, get a four year degree in Plant Biology from UNH (Durham), you also have to minor in Agribusiness managment or finance. Better that that I would suggest a BA in Business Management/finance from UNH Whittemore school of business and a BS in Plant Biology or a minor in landscape management from T-School and your horizons will be greatly expanded. Go to school, enjoy, study hard and you never know where your path will lead...

    UNH '89 BS Plant Science
    minor Agribusiness Finance
  4. Jamesgateslandscaping

    Jamesgateslandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 421

    I plan on doing the 2 years at thompson and transfer to UNH manchester for business, I dont want to run a business into the ground because I did not know what I was doing. I have a solid start now and don't want to mess it up, I will get a business background no matter what.
  5. Carolina Cutter

    Carolina Cutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    I kick my self sometimes............but I will say that everything that I know about running my business I have self taught......seemed as though I took an interest in reading and studying after school but thank God I did.
  6. Markf

    Markf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 406

    Listen to the crowd that says get an education first. It is very difficult to go back to school at night when you are older. (Your tired, children and wife need your attention, repairs on the equipment and house, etc.) My own son, sgoalie23, is like you, same age, hard worker and good work ethic. He knows that he may not want to do this the rest of his life. He'll be attending Fairfield University, School of Business and get his degree. Luckily for him, he can commute to the school and keep his business growing. My suggestion is to double major. Get your main degree in the area of horticulture and perhaps a teaching certificate so that when you have built up your business and sell it (only if you get tired of it or, God forbid, get injured) you can teach at a public school and get benefits and summers off. I speak from experience. I have a mechanical engineering degree and a law degree. I made hip and knee implants and then help run the factory. I got tired of it all and now I teach math at a public school. This allows me to dabble with investment properties which I'll sell when I am ready to retire. Good Luck. :waving:
  7. get a turf or hort degree with a business minor or double major!

    You need to experienct the college life, greatest time of my life!
    The time consisted of some work, classes, studying, and enjoying life!
  8. ff279

    ff279 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    Im just starting off with my business, NO Machinery, or Truck, Im 18 and starting with nothing. Work to me is FUN!!!! At least your parents are supporting your biz. MINE could care less and think it's a dumb idea.. Be happy and Do what YOU want todo. C-ya Around, Ryan
  9. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,398

    College is good - no doubt about that. But is it the best? Well, that depends.

    I have been to college - two years in trade school, one year in bible college, and have a commercial pilot's license with an associates degree. I can honestly say that I have learned more outside of college than I did in college.

    What you really need is knowledge. You can get that from college, you can also get that from a book or online.

    Do you want to become an investor? There are a lot of good books on that. Or you could go to a seminar.

    Do you want to run your own business? Books on that too. Or better yet, find a successful business man and get him to mentor you.

    Do you want to be an expert landscaper? Experience is a good teacher along with a good book or two.

    There are some doors that are closed to you if you do not have a college degree though. If you want to work in the corporate world, get a degree. If you want to do something better, maybe there is something better than college.
  10. I'll agree that alot can be learned from experience and books. In some fields, the college education you receive will help you decide how things work better for your application! I found in turf it gives you a very good scientific background, so you can determine how to apply your knowledge to each application!

    When young adults would ask my advice on education in turfgrass field ( specifically for gc superintendent ) I would recomend a good two year turf program, then transfer and get 4 year degee with a business background!

    A sucessful person, who is very knowledgeable in turf , usually has some formal education, but it isn't necessary!

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