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jasonw
06-18-2010, 01:35 PM
Ok so I quit, shut the doors, closed shop about a month ago. I was so tired of running 20 hours a day 7 days a week and having nothing to show for it. The business was self sustaining but I could not yet pay myself for the work I did so every penny I made went right into the bank, I never reaped the fruits of my labor. One day I just said that's it. I quit rather abruptly with no real notice to my clients. I kept one client as its a monthly job and a friend. Now for the past month I have sat at home. I must be honest it was nice, you may remember I do have a well paying day job so I dont need the money really but now I am ripping my hair out. I hate sitting at home and doing nothing. I did a lot of work out on our urban farm as well as our ranch but its not enough. Today I said that's it I am going back out to mow lawns. Here is my problem though. I now have the one job and the next time I do it will be the last time for the year. I have some questions.
1- How bad did I screw myself
2- How will this effect my business in the future
3- Will there be a bad taste in my business forever now as being unreliable?

Thanks for the help. Depending on how screwed I am I may not go back into it if the fight will be harder trying to reclaim my name.

jasonw
06-18-2010, 01:37 PM
Ok so I quit, shut the doors, closed shop about a month ago. I was so tired of running 20 hours a day 7 days a week and having nothing to show for it. The business was self sustaining but I could not yet pay myself for the work I did so every penny I made went right into the bank, I never reaped the fruits of my labor. One day I just said that's it. I quit rather abruptly with no real notice to my clients. I kept one client as its a monthly job and a friend. Now for the past month I have sat at home. I must be honest it was nice, you may remember I do have a well paying day job so I dont need the money really but now I am ripping my hair out. I hate sitting at home and doing nothing. I did a lot of work out on our urban farm as well as our ranch but its not enough. Today I said that's it I am going back out to mow lawns. Here is my problem though. I now have the one job and the next time I do it will be the last time for the year. I have some questions.
1- How bad did I screw myself
2- How will this effect my business in the future
3- Will there be a bad taste in my business forever now as being unreliable?

Thanks for the help. Depending on how screwed I am I may not go back into it if the fight will be harder trying to reclaim my name.

P.S. I have kept my license and accounts in good standing so if possible I can go back into it without the red tape like in the beginning with applying for licenses and what not.

NewLeafca
06-18-2010, 11:57 PM
I quit rather abruptly with no real notice to my clients.

How abruptly is rather abruptly? Did you at least let them know that you were not cutting lawns anymore or did you just stop? I have picked up several clients that were upset because the person who was doing their lawn just never showed up again. They tried to call them but no response. Then a month latter they show up and want to do the lawn. So if you just left the clients with nothing and no explanation it will be almost impossible to get them back. If you at least communicated with them some before leaving then it will be hard but you got a better chance.

I'm just wondering if you didn't like the work before what will be different this time? You still are going to have to work hard, now probably twice as hard, to get it going again. Good luck hope you find what you want.

JP Landscaping
06-19-2010, 12:00 AM
I don't get how you would not be making any money for your pay... were you charging so low that you were only breaking even?

did you have too high of expenses as apposed to the number of lawns?
Did you have too much equipment that had to be paid therefore your overhead was too high?

jasonw
06-19-2010, 02:47 AM
I was charging 40-50 per lawn but didn't have many. I am not worried about getting clients back. I speak to them and know they already have new people they are pleased with. My worry is I am sure it left some less than pleased to just say I am done and word of mouth being what it is will this destroy my chances locally in the future.

robgee05
06-19-2010, 08:02 AM
Why no not turn the customers over to another reliable service.
40-50 a pc seems like a decent price unless they were all 5 acres.

DO you have a job?
If not any $$ made would seem like a bonus.


Bottom line is, if you dont like the work dont do it.
Many people drag themselves in to jobs they despise. Im sure its even worse surrounding yourself in a business you hate.

jasonw
06-19-2010, 11:47 AM
Why no not turn the customers over to another reliable service.
40-50 a pc seems like a decent price unless they were all 5 acres.

DO you have a job?
If not any $$ made would seem like a bonus.


Bottom line is, if you dont like the work dont do it.
Many people drag themselves in to jobs they despise. Im sure its even worse surrounding yourself in a business you hate.

I do have a job "other than lawn care" I enjoyed the work I was however getting tired of late payers. Everyone paid eventually but first its a week late then its a month late. Maybe I should give it one more shot. Only this time really crack down on late payers.

CHEESE2009
06-19-2010, 12:01 PM
Denial "my business will do great!"

Anger "damn business isn't doing great!"

Bargaining "I'll lower my prices, get flooded with customers"

Depression "I mind as well quit, I can't even pay myself anymore & I'm doing twice the work"

Acceptance "I did bad, though I can always start over & make things right because I know what mistakes to avoid"


??????????????????????? :D

jasonw
06-19-2010, 12:26 PM
Denial "my business will do great!"

Anger "damn business isn't doing great!"

Bargaining "I'll lower my prices, get flooded with customers"

Depression "I mind as well quit, I can't even pay myself anymore & I'm doing twice the work"

Acceptance "I did bad, though I can always start over & make things right because I know what mistakes to avoid"


??????????????????????? :D

I never hit the bargaining part. I never once lowered my prices. If anything I bumped them up. As far as trying again and avoiding mistakes. Thats the question at hand. It seems to me walking away shows unreliability. Reliability was one of my strong points but by quitting I have become unreliable. As I said I am not even considering getting clients back, at least not now but if one tells a friend who tells a friend who tells there brother who tells his kid how I just quit that can spell disaster for a business in an already challenging market. My question is would it even be worth putting any effort into it or have a burned my bridges. I did not just stop showing up but I did pretty much say "this is the last time I am doing your lawn, good luck"

Steve
06-19-2010, 05:07 PM
The thing I am wondering is first off, what would you like to do with your business? What would be the goal? Also what would you do differently this time around so as not to get burned out with it all?

jasonw
06-20-2010, 02:48 AM
The thing I am wondering is first off, what would you like to do with your business? What would be the goal? Also what would you do differently this time around so as not to get burned out with it all?

Honestly I am not sure I can really answer those. I would like to be successful enough to not worry about money and be able to quit my day job. I am not 100% sure what set this off so I have no clue what I can do differently to make it not happen again. On that same note. If I really screwed myself then IO am looking at another year of hard work to make a profit again. That is something I am not sure I am prepared to do.

CHEESE2009
06-20-2010, 12:58 PM
People who don't cut grass, or could never cut grass properly assume that our jobs are more difficult than they really are. Which could mean many customers would be forgiving by understanding it is very stressful.

The hardest part is collecting & budgeting, the mowing is the vacation.

I'm trying to think of ways you could turn this around & make it work to your advantage.

You could say something, a lie or not in order to gain your customers back.

Depending on what you exactly told your clients, you may be able to write a letter explaining what brought on the scare of you not being able to maintain their properties - but now explain to them why you are back on board.

Maybe you were creating a new policy ;) which required you to take X amount of time away from the properties.

Your new policy should be towards your benefit, with many changes to the way your business is operated.

New payment due dates... bla bla, very thorough explanations on how you want the business to run.


"Business has come to a halt as we are enforcing a new policy which must be followed by customers starting on XX/XX/2010 after payment has been received. The new payment due date will be on the X of every month. We have expanded gracefully & faster than expected, we sorry for the inconvenience"

Steve
06-20-2010, 01:26 PM
I am not 100% sure what set this off so I have no clue what I can do differently to make it not happen again.

I think this is great that you pointed this out. I feel this is the key to the whole issue.

I know you say you are not 100% sure but can you tell us some of the reasons you are thinking that might have contributed to set this off?

jasonw
06-20-2010, 02:01 PM
I know one thing was not getting paid properly. There were times when they6 would forget to get a check from there trust fund or something, my answer would be "No problem I will get it next time" Well after a few of these the people are a couple months behind. I give them lots of notice and reminders that I will be there on Xday and get all excited "WOOHOO I am looking at getting $400 today" then I show up and only get a check for the single service. That and I was barely making enough to cover my expenses. I got a good amount per lawn but didn't have to many clients and at 12MPG in the truck its expensive to operate. Even the tractor only gets about 4.5HPG but anyway there is way to much competition with minimum wage Mexicans around here "Nothing agents Mexicans" and very very hard to get clients. After doing this for 1 year I still had yet to be able to pay myself for all the work. I would work my day job and then mow lawns it was 20 hours a day 7 days a week of nothing but working my butt off for nothing. As far as making up a story to get old clients back forget it. I have already counted out getting them back and figure I would have to start fresh.

CHEESE2009
06-20-2010, 02:16 PM
anyway there is way to much competition with minimum wage Mexicans around here "Nothing agents Mexicans" and very very hard to get clients.

If you can't beat em', hire them???? LOL

Might sound horrible, but you could use it to your advantage until you get back on your feet & replace them.

You'd need a cowboy hat though, & a shiny belt buckle.

jasonw
06-20-2010, 02:21 PM
If you can't beat em', hire them???? LOL

Might sound horrible, but you could use it to your advantage until you get back on your feet & replace them.

You'd need a cowboy hat though, & a shiny belt buckle.

I have both, Also a big loud dodge truck but it only site 3 and the back gets filled up with equipment so I may not be able to transport them.

jasonw
06-20-2010, 02:56 PM
Here is another thing I just thought of. I think it was the blow that broke the camels back. On my last day I did a job. They always have a large hose running across the half acre lawn. Its a pain to move so I just leave it there. I dont cut very low so for over a year is was no problem. Well that day I hit it and cut it in half. There were other workers there so I didn't want to leave a note and the homeowner was not home so I called and left a message on the machine explaining I hit it and ether let me know and I will buy a new one or we would take it off the bill. The bill was $50 and the hose was almost $100. It was a 300' 2" hose like the others they use in the ranch. That really hurt but oh well I will replace it no problem. Then I went to the next job to do the regular work and install the new irrigation timer I had been fighting with. All I's were dotted and T's were crossed and I can finally be done with it. When I got the job done and went to install the new timer I found one thing I overlooked. The old timer was built into the box and there was no way I could use the box for the new timer. This means another 2 weeks as I have to go get a new box and it didn't pay enough to justify going and getting it and going back to install it. That is pretty much the point I through my arms up and said that's it. So I guess what it comes down to is late payments for a struggling business and a day riddled with lost money and problems was what broke the camels back.

Jack Rabbit
06-20-2010, 05:56 PM
JasonW,

Downside:

You don't like the job (much of it anyway)
You can't be picky about which customers you accept (you wrote they are hard to get)
You made no profit
You worked too much


Upside:
Well that was a short list.

I'd say don't try this again right now. Either just focus on your day job and build it up or advance your position there, or wait a couple of years before trying again, or try something else.

Why wait? Let the bad reputation fade away. Time to decide what you really want to do. Time to prepare and plan how to to lawn service if you try again. Time to learn from this experience.

Since you are burned out it really seems time to try something else. Your enthusiasm would return with a new project.

jasonw
06-21-2010, 02:24 AM
I JUST FIGURED IT OUT!!!!!! Ok so work announced big changes coming soon including maybe schedule changes and some other stuff but they are being very hush hush about it. They always do this. They will give like 5 minutes notice if they re laying you off and I always hated that chicken $hit stuff. Noiw I remembered the whole reason I got into lawn care was because of hating stuff like this. Everything calmed down for a while and I must have gotten comfortable with my steady 40 hour shifts which must have hidden the "I hate this place" idea.

Steve
06-21-2010, 02:23 PM
Ok so work announced big changes coming soon including maybe schedule changes and some other stuff but they are being very hush hush about it. They always do this. They will give like 5 minutes notice if they re laying you off and I always hated that chicken $hit stuff. Noiw I remembered the whole reason I got into lawn care was because of hating stuff like this. Everything calmed down for a while and I must have gotten comfortable with my steady 40 hour shifts which must have hidden the "I hate this place" idea.

That makes sense. So now this feeling resurfaces and it makes you want to have your own business again.

Have you thought of other services you could offer that could make your experiences better in the future?

What about light excavation like Andy offers? Or maybe other services?

jasonw
06-21-2010, 04:50 PM
I would like that Steve but I am pretty much taped right now. The wify and I wont let me use any more money on this. We decided the 1st of this year that if the business didn't start supporting itself it would be over.

Steve
06-22-2010, 12:08 PM
Are there thoughts in your minds of ideas you would like to work on next? Maybe this is an opportunity to experiment with something you haven't allowed yourself to experiment with in the past.

jasonw
06-22-2010, 04:16 PM
Are there thoughts in your minds of ideas you would like to work on next? Maybe this is an opportunity to experiment with something you haven't allowed yourself to experiment with in the past.

One thing I was really thinking about is focusing on larger jobs. If I had my way I would only have to move once per day. In my area where there are large lots such as the one yesterday that takes me 4 hours it would seem ideal but I wont want to count out small yards as well. Its just another part of the industry that I think I will try to aim for a little harder.

Steve
06-23-2010, 01:08 PM
That sounds like a good plan!

jasonw
06-23-2010, 02:41 PM
That sounds like a good plan!

I am still trying to figure out how to stay busy year round. About 30 minutes up the hill they get snow but I am really not into plowing in winter. Where can I look to get ideas for property maintenance services in the winter time? I am really not interested in straying to far from yard work I just dont know what I can do in winter in peoples yards.