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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was 10 when we moved to Texas, out of apartment living and into a house. At 1st my dad mowed the lawn until summertime, then he made me do it. When I was 13 my mom got a job as a real estate agent and had a property down our street that needed lawn maintenance, guess who got that job? $10.00 every other week all summer long till it sold. I had a lemonade stand that summer too, guess the entrepreneurial spirit hit early. Gramma would hire me to do her lawn too, using her old Briggs & Stratton 20" which always needed some sort of magic to get started. God, this thing was ancient, probably new back in WW2. you had to hand wind the rip cord on top every time you pulled on it. I became proficient at rebuilding the carb, overhauling and rebuilding it every month.

Over the years my mom hired me out for occasional jobs mowing, painting, repairing fences, that sort of thing.

In the years following high school I drifted from 1 job to the next, Higher education wasn't a desirable option to me. A buddy I used to hang out with would rope me into going along with him, hunting down shaggy lawns in our town, then knocking on doors, asking them if they wanted their lawns cut(for beer money of course). I never considered it a vocation, just a means to an end.

I did work for a friend of my fiance's 1 summer, who's dad had a lawn care business. They also did landscaping too, and he told me I had an eye for it, an ability to place and stagger the plants for aesthetic appeal, picking out which color flowers and shrubs to complement the home. They called me a natural.

My desire was hot rods, souping up my old beater for maximum speed and output. I eventually went to a trade school for auto mechanics and got a job in a small shop in town. At 25 I married my wife, moving into a small apartment with her. I found a relatively decent used mower at a garage sale, a Murrey 20" 3-n-1 for $15 bucks, which took residency on our porch under a garbage bag. A curved shaft Ryobi weed eater and an Black and Decker hedge trimmer rounded out the equipment list. Momma still occasionally had a job for me and I would go do lawns for her and maybe some of her Realtor buddies on evenings and weekends out of the back of my tweaked out Chevette. Still I did not consider it a job, just a part time hobby that netted me with some spending cash. By this time my 5 horse Murrey sported a few "modifications" such as a bicycle brake handle as a Governor override to rev the motor to insane speeds to handle high weeds, modified carb and hobby airplane nitro fuel added to the gas for extra power and easy 1 pull starting. :D

We moved into a mobile home with the birth of our 1st son, and I later got tired of coming home every night with grease under my fingernails, transmission fluid in my hair and antifreeze in my eyes, so I got out from under the hood and behind the wheel driving wreckers. Still I would do the occasional side jobs for mad money. After a really nasty accident that totaled 5 cars(including the tow truck) and sending 9 people to the hospital I walked away from the wrecker business, and got a full time job delivering pizza.

Seeing as how most of my work was evenings, my mom suggested I work up a flyer on her computer and print out a few hundred to hang around town to mow lawns during the day. I wasn't making as much money driving anymore and needed to supplement my income for my growing family, now 2 sons larger. By the end of the summer I was mowing about 20 lawns or more per week and was making more money at that than I was with my full time job.

The following spring I quit my job, went to the county and got me a DBA certificate, bought me a second push mower and an edger, and a used '84 3/4 ton Chevy pickup with our income tax return, along with a flyer in the local Super Saver Coupon Pack. I also found out 1 of my neighbors had came out of retirement to do small engine repair to keep his sanity. He would be found on trash days to scour the local neighborhoods looking for broken mowers, weed eaters and whatnot set out for the garbage man to fix up and sell at his monthly garage sales. I have been using him to maintain my equipment ever since, not to mention purchasing a few units out of him along the way.

Today I have 3 push mowers, a 21" Commercial Toro purchased used for $200.00, a 20" Murrey and a 20" MTD, all self propelled rear baggers powered by 6hp Briggs. Someday I hope to have a riding mower and a trailer, but 1st I need to find a place to park it(trailer park rules prohibit actual trailers, go figure). My fleet also includes 4 weed eaters(2 Ryobi's, 1 Homelite & 1 Weed eater brand), 2 blowers(Weedeater and Homelite handhelds) and a Homelight chainsaw. And of course 20 or so shovels, rakes, axes, picks, hoes, etc... I used to have a Craftsman roto tiller until this spring when the rod launched through the block while digging thru some clay soil prepping for a sod job. Guess I used too much nitro, heh heh heh :D

My growth this year wasn't as good as it was last year, I find way too many low-balling scabs competing with me. But I wouldn't trade this for anything. I have plenty of free time with my family, no time clock to punch and enough money to keep me happy. Plus despite the heat, I truly enjoy this kind of work. There is a genuine sense of accomplishment when the job is done, walking the property surveying my work.
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