I work as a EMT Paramedic in Charlotte, I have 6 years (God willing) until I retire. I started my business 4 years ago to prepair for my post-medic plans. I enjoy working outside, have never worked at a desk, have always been my own boss (even in EMS), so this is perfect!
I went to college for four years with a major in Criminal Justice and planned to look for a police job after college. I worked every summer running a mower for a local lawn and landscape companies and really liked the work, but the paycheck was another story. I always had thoughts of starting my own lawn care biz, since the work was enjoyable and the owners of both companies I worked for were making good money. After graduation I looked for some police officer jobs with little luck, then I took an office job which I hated. So oncethe spring of 1999 came around I decide I would give the lawn care biz a whirl. I was a definate scrub at first with my 21" Craftsman in the back of my Ranger, but I worked my a$$ off and have moved up the ladder pretty fast. Starting this business was the best thing I ever did, I love it
I started out working for a lawncare/landscaping company 7 years ago as a summer job, worked there for 6 years, learned the ins & outs. & early this spring I quit my job & went on my own.(My old boss & I are still friends & help each other out.)
I have never had any other job besides Lawn Care. I started when I was 14 because I told my dad that I wasn't going to get an inside job(like at McDonalds or something stupid like that). So he lined up a few jobs and I have grown greatly since then. I also did dock and lift installation for 3 years. Got a lot of clients for that through my mowing business, this last spring we(3 man crew) put in 154 docks, and about 280 boat lifts. Have any of you done this work? Very hard, but definately the best paying you will ever run into. I dont think that I ever made less than $60 and hour personaly, usually averaging around $80. Now I am 19 and heading off to college, but my dad keeps cutting my 45 lawns for me in the fall until the snow flys and in the spring until I come back. As far as dock work, I sold out. All my equipment: winch, several hundread yards of logging chain, and lift dolley. I also sold my name list for $1,100.
Been the bus. for about 12yrs. before that I worked for a large computer company int the design engineering group working on layout of printed circuit boards. I started cutting lawns with my then future brother in-law on saturdays and evenings. It was something I always wanted to do. When I turned 16 I wanted to get a truck and a mower and start then. But Mom and Dad sent me to college to get a big job with a computer company. That was in 1980. 20years and 2 degrees later. The second in bus. mgmt. I'm doing what I always wanted. Don't get me wrong college was very worth while. But I think where would I be now had I skipped college and gone into business at age 16 when I was already making more money than most of my friends. Oh well thats water over the damn thanks to my brother in-law I'm back in the bus. and he went into financial planning.
This is all I have ever done. I started mowing lawns in high school, for extra money. A friend and I did them together, everything 50/50. He wasn't too interested in working, and our schedules were starting to conflict. We decided to split up. We split the accounts, each used our own equipment. By the time I was a senior, my grades were failing. Why did I need to study when I could make $75 every day after school(late 80's). My buddied had to work all week at a minumum wage job to get that kind of money.
I was addicted to money, (still am). My grades were very poor. I was never a great student to begin with, but this lawn mowing thing really pushed me over the edge.
I decided to take a year and work, to get my act together, and had planned on attending college the next fall. I was going to do the lawn thing, and find a part time job to hold me through the winter.
Well, I went full speed ahead that summer, to see what I could do. After all was said and done, I made as much that summer as my cousin that had just graduated from college and was working as a chemist.
I thought that I would hold off college another year, to continue working, and stockpile some money. Well, each and every year I made more and more, and college never happened.
I am happy with what I am doing, although I have my bad days. This has been the only job I have ever had. Never worked for anyone else. Never filled out a job appication, What is a job interview?
All in all, at times I wish that I had gone to college. It is an experience that can never be taken away from you. It would be nice to have something to fall back on, just in case.
One thing that is not particularly related to the topic, but bothers me. Many people seem to look down upon me, I am still the neighborhood kid that cuts grass. I have had people offer me jobs, and think that I am lazy when I turn them down. They think that I am the dumb kis that couldn't make it to college, and just cuts grass. What they don't know, is how wonderful it is to be your own boss, not to have to punch a time clock. They don't realize that I decide how much I want to make, not a penny pincher.
A friend that is in another unrelated business sees things like I do. While the college grads think we are the dumb ones for not getting an eduication, we think that they are the dumb ones for working for the man.