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Paineless Creations
12-04-2010, 10:19 AM
Hi guys. Need some help. As some of you may know I started a lawn care business this year. So the problem is how are you guys going on vacation? We really had no vacations this summer as I was mowing lawns. It was hard for the wife to accept this so she has been patiently waiting for winter to do some sort of vacation. Well, we want to go on a Christmas vacation, an 11 day road trip which includes Reno, Vegas, see my mom in Arizona and back up the California coastline to home in Washington.
The last two weeks it has really been snowing so I went out and bought a 2 stage snow blower, threw it in my trailer and contacted my lawn care customers to do their driveways. I have since picked up 2 commercial parking lots (everything is by word of mouth-no advertising) and these people count on me that if it snows their parking lot will be cleaned off before their business opens that day.
Now the wife is pissed because last night she said now we cannot go on a vacation in the summer or the winter so that means “NEVER!” and we should probably cancel the Christmas trip. What if it snows? These people are counting on you. So my question to you guys is, how do you get away with your spouse’s to spend family time or whatever? I was thinking I would just let my customers know that “if” (big if) it snows for those 11 days I will be closed for the holidays. Mind you, there are only 4 business days during this 11 day period. But is that fair to my new customers as I build my business to just say if it snows during this time your driveways and parking lots will not get done? The wife wants me to drop snow removal altogether. Since it is too late this year, next year do I drop snow removal altogether? So I can be free in the winter to plan vacations and spend general spouse time. What do you guys think?

So in summary:
1. How do you guys take vacation?
2. Do I tell my customers that I am closed and chance it will not snow and go on vacation?
3. Do I can cancel all vacations till my business is bigger and I have employees? (In my business plan that may take 2-3 years)

CHEESE2009
12-04-2010, 10:56 AM
By continuing with your business, you are opening up doors for bigger vacations.

Become established, hire someone = vacation all you like.

Regardless if this makes sense, your wife is still going to kill you.


If you are to do snow this year, make it count.

Make this winter in town special for your wife, hand her a shovel and keep telling her, "The harder you work, the faster we get to vacation forever".

^^LOL


In all seriousness, this is a HUGE debate. If you didn't land those commercial jobs, I would have done what the wife wanted. Unfortunately you struck gold, and I wouldn't advise you to back out now.

ALSO, what's wrong with early April for vacationing? Down here it's not quite spring and is usually when I get to relax.


You could vacation during the summer, lawn maintenance isn't as strict as snow removal. If you let a lawn grow a week or so, no one should really hold it against you if you are to warn them in advance (customers).

Steve
12-04-2010, 12:32 PM
This is a great question.

Here is my view:

Running a business and claiming you are going to make time in the future for your wife or family is a lot like an alcoholic saying I can quit drinking anytime I want. Just a few more drinks and THEN I will quit.

From what I have seen, that almost never happens. Each year you tend to get sucked in more and more.

Guys that run their own businesses tend to like getting sucked into it more and more because the monster they are creating is coming to life and getting bigger and bigger.

But what we fail to realize is that if we don't pay attention to the other things in life, they all pass us by and all we get out of it is being older and older.

If you want to keep your family together and stay married, I would think either find someone else to do the work when you are gone, or don't take the winter jobs and make that the time you can take time off.

Any thoughts on this?

mark123
12-04-2010, 01:06 PM
Priorities man. Looks like you've got them in order but the wife doesn't. If all else fails send her on vacation without you.

Paineless Creations
12-04-2010, 01:18 PM
By continuing with your business, you are opening up doors for bigger vacations.

Become established, hire someone = vacation all you like.

Regardless if this makes sense, your wife is still going to kill you.


If you are to do snow this year, make it count.

Make this winter in town special for your wife, hand her a shovel and keep telling her, "The harder you work, the faster we get to vacation forever".

^^LOL


In all seriousness, this is a HUGE debate. If you didn't land those commercial jobs, I would have done what the wife wanted. Unfortunately you struck gold, and I wouldn't advise you to back out now.

ALSO, what's wrong with early April for vacationing? Down here it's not quite spring and is usually when I get to relax.


You could vacation during the summer, lawn maintenance isn't as strict as snow removal. If you let a lawn grow a week or so, no one should really hold it against you if you are to warn them in advance (customers).

Great reply I do really like your humor. That is good to know about April beeing new I do not really know what to expect thoughout the year.

Paineless Creations
12-04-2010, 01:20 PM
Priorities man. Looks like you've got them in order but the wife doesn't. If all else fails send her on vacation without you.

Great one I will make sure she does not read this thread now!!! LOL

Paineless Creations
12-04-2010, 01:32 PM
Guys that run their own businesses tend to like getting sucked into it more and more because the monster they are creating is coming to life and getting bigger and bigger.

But what we fail to realize is that if we don't pay attention to the other things in life, they all pass us by and all we get out of it is being older and older.



Quote 1. I completely agree with the above two quotes. This is so exciting to me to watch this grow it is like a monster to me that I am feeding. It is such a adrenaline rush to start a job for a brand new customer and see the smile on there face when I am done.

Quote 2. Something about my wife and I is that she is older then I am. She is "my sexy cougar" some people may judge but we are happy as hell with each other no matter what the age is. but her outlook is different than mine as she does not want life to "pass us by". Don't get me wrong she does support and she does talk to customers for me allot of times and does enjoy it.

Great reply Steve

mark123
12-04-2010, 01:35 PM
Great one I will make sure she does not read this thread now!!! LOL HAHA. I'm good at stirring up trouble. You can blame me. :D

When I worked for someone else the boss just made sure we had everything we needed to keep things running and he took his wife and split for a week. You just have to wait until you get someone you can trust to not burn your garage down while you're away. :p

Paineless Creations
12-04-2010, 01:55 PM
One piece of information I forgot to mention, the wife and I work together M-F at a 40+ hr. a week job. We run a busy, growing, non-profit organization. We’re basically a warehouse organization that serves school districts around the country, so our work schedule revolves around school schedules (slower in summer, and the two weeks at Christmas). The remainder of the year we are very busy. My wife has been supportive and we’ve been able to work around my regular schedule to allow me to get off an hour early, go mow lawns and get home before dark during the lawn care months. One of the reasons I ended up starting THIS business is that we are a bit slower in summer which allows me to do lawn care.

We’ve discussed how to slowly grow the business next year. I have a crew that works for me in the warehouse, so as long as they have good direction, I can take one day off a week, blast through the majority of my existing customers (which were spread out all week this year) and have extra time to spend together. I may still do a few quick mows after work in the evening-which allows for additional new customer growth.

So, you see it’s not just figuring out when a slow time for my lawn care or snow removal will be, but also balancing that with the slower times at our regular jobs. The vacation we are planning for this month is one of the ONLY times we can be gone, which is really at the heart of the matter.

So, as you can tell, my wife and I have given this a lot of thought and are trying to have some of that work-life balance you all talk about.

One more question: if I did “hire” someone to do the snow removal (if it even snows) while I’m gone, what is the best way to go about that? Look for a small company that would be willing to “sub” out the jobs? My main concern is trusting someone with my trailer and/or snow removal equipment while I’m gone.

picframer
12-04-2010, 02:58 PM
I am with Steve 100% on this, your marriage should come first, the business will always be there, you need, deserve and should take a brake and spend some time with your better half, you HAVE to have a balance in life and that means taking a brake.

I run a larger operation so for me it is no problem, I just assign the task to a staff member. I do this every summer while my daughter (now 17) and I take off for 10 days, last year was Costa Rica, this past summer we went to Brazil, in February we go to the Mayan Rivera for 10 days also. For Christmas I go wherever the kids want to go, my son who is 20 will be home for Christmas (went through a divorce many years ago, I had legal custody) anyhow last year we went to Copper Mountain Skiing, this year we are headed to Whistler for Christmas.

So to answer your question, IMHO your wife has priorities in check, just hire someone to look after the accounts while you are gone or sub it out but explain to the property owners what you are doing.

mark123
12-04-2010, 04:05 PM
I am with Steve 100% on this, your marriage should come first ... While I agree with this completely I do believe it is leaving out an important fact. A marriage isn't doing what the wife says only. Marriage that caters to either party at the expense of the other is no marriage at all. He did say 2-3 years until employees is in the business plan so unless that decision was made without the wife's input then she may be a bit out of line to be angry.

Having a responsible husband should be celebrated in this day and age. I just know too many guys that would take that vacation without worrying about if the business fails. I don't think PC is that type of guy or he wouldn't be concerned enough to ask about it here.

I just don't know that a first year business has earned time off yet; it's just not fair to the customers unless you have someone trustful to handle it while you're away. I do understand that priorities can change over time but when you start a business it weighs heavily on the priority scale unless of course you don't need the money and if that's the case you'd have to be nuts to start a lawn care business. :p

Also, life has to be balanced. A workaholic is as bad as an irresponsible person. I know both types. I'll never be either. It hurts too many people.

Paineless Creations
12-04-2010, 05:30 PM
I really enjoy reading both post from Picframer and mark123 and also Steve. You guys really give a person alot to think about. Your right mark I truly am thinking about my customers big time, in this first year I have learned communcation is key. All of my business has been from word of mouth what a amazing ripple effect. I should do a short write of my year of how i got my customers this first year. Wow the monster (business) just side tracked me again..LOL. But the more I read this thread I think I might cut out snow removal for the upcoming years. I dont know??

Paineless Creations
12-04-2010, 05:34 PM
Also, life has to be balanced. A workaholic is as bad as an irresponsible person. I know both types. I'll never be either. It hurts too many people.

Thank you for writing that truly. I have never thought of myself as a workaholic but I think if you ask my wife she would say yes I am.

Paineless Creations
12-04-2010, 05:41 PM
So to answer your question, IMHO your wife has priorities in check, just hire someone to look after the accounts while you are gone or sub it out but explain to the property owners what you are doing.


So I think you are right on this answer, It might not even snow while I am gone but if it does my customers need to be covered. Also I am a little behind on the short hand LOL. What does IMHO mean?

The Cleaning Doctor
12-04-2010, 06:20 PM
IMHO = In My Humble Opinion

Take it from someone that recently lost a marriage. Even if they say they support what you are doing, they secretly resent it.

mark123
12-04-2010, 06:33 PM
Thank you for writing that truly. I have never thought of myself as a workaholic but I think if you ask my wife she would say yes I am. Well, you very well could be wrong. :) It may be worth looking into. Ask for an objective view from someone that knows both of you.

CHEESE2009
12-04-2010, 07:00 PM
Back in the day when we all worked for other people, we would have to ask our boss when and if we can take a vacation, lol.


Weigh in what you have to gain, and what you have to lose.


I honestly don't think you'll lose your wife over this, that's way too dramatic.
I say stick with the business, you just started and it requires the attention now.

You could get these properties for lawn maintenance too, no? If you don't do the snow, your chances of doing the grass are out the window.

You can then be the guy who says, "Hey, I do these properties" as you hand stunning photographs of your work to other property owners.........

The next person who hires you (commercial) could possibly give you more money then you thought possible in order to have work done - but only if you take this chance now. <** sounds like an Ad... "CALL NOW AND RECEIVE...


Also;

Never sub out at early stages of your business, that's literally giving your business away. Subbing out is good for when your at the greedy stage of your business, I can't wait to get there. When you have enough work for yourself, take on more and let other companies have at it' - beautiful! lollll

jymie
12-04-2010, 07:19 PM
These two new commercial accounts could be gold. If you don't cover the work while you want to be away, that will kill any chance you have to do the maintenance work during the summer months which could be pretty good money.

MrLank
12-04-2010, 07:59 PM
One more question: if I did “hire” someone to do the snow removal (if it even snows) while I’m gone, what is the best way to go about that? Look for a small company that would be willing to “sub” out the jobs? My main concern is trusting someone with my trailer and/or snow removal equipment while I’m gone.

You don't have to let them use your equipment. Just find a sub that has all his own. The "monster" in me, has made for a few good fights with the wife. Not that I spend all my time into the business, but that all my extra time I spend with my kids and she doesn't get "her time." I just tell her that business will slow down and we'll get our time. That doesn't work because any free time I'm always doing work to pick up more customers. Maybe some day....

picframer
12-05-2010, 06:34 AM
IMHO = In My Humble Opinion

Take it from someone that recently lost a marriage. Even if they say they support what you are doing, they secretly resent it.

A lot of truth in your comment, regardless of how close we are, how long we may have been together and how much we share, few are 100% honest 100% of the time.

I base this on financial counselling I have done with couples, for free, for 20 years.

Marriage and life is all about balance, give and take. To me it doesn't matter if I have been in business 1 or 10 years, there are needs that have to be met, spouse, children, pets, our own property and it is critical to take time to breathe.

There are people out there that we could hire or sub to, in this case how many storms would we get in 10 days, this time of the year. To me it's a simple answer, he has pounded the hours in during peak season, a sweet commercial account comes along for snow removal, I personally have a relationship with my clients I would simply tell them "It's been a very good year for my company and I have made a commitment to my spouse to visit family from .......... to ........, I appreciate your business and have hired/subbed the snow removal of your property while I am gone to ........." I will resume looking after your lot/driveway when I return, while gone, if there are any issues, please call my cell at......"

Anyhow that is my opinion based on my experience.

TheGoat
12-05-2010, 09:32 AM
Blow off the road trip and book something in Leavenworth around the middle of January.

Paineless Creations
12-05-2010, 11:45 AM
To answer some questions as I read through:

Do I think my marriage is on the rocks? I don’t think so; she just very firmly expresses her opinion to me as I build this business and is very clear that she wants to be with her man. We have worked on our business plan together and she does think I should have an employee, maybe even sooner than 2-3 years, but we want to take it slow and not build too fast.

Was this snow thing unexpected as to how busy I would be? Yes, this has also been a shock as she had been waiting all summer for me to spend time with her and BAM! we had a very early big snow fall. I ran out, bought a machine (with her blessings-see? She’s supportive!) and was gone for hours. Yes, I’ve done the math – with the machine I bought I will have my (ROI) in 2 snow falls.

The first commercial account I have is an employee’s husband (at the reg. job). He is a lawyer and needed me to clear the parking lot of snow before opening, as he is very concerned people will fall. I did notice he has a fairly small to medium lawn area that looks very easy to manage so I am going to go after that after the snow fall. I also do snow removal at his house and his wife (who I work with) said I will be doing their lawn this upcoming year. I couldn’t do it this year as they were in a contract.

Then the secretary of the lawyer’s office (who pays the invoice and has my info.) told someone who runs another office with a medium sized parking lot and they called me to come clear off the snow. At this account there really is not any lawn care needed as they are attached to the side of a strip mall. But the lady that runs the account ALSO asked me if I could go to her house and clean off her driveway. So, of course I did and I mentioned my specialty is lawn care, so there’s a chance I will land her house just from the way the conversation flowed. Also while I was at her house cleaning off her driveway, a neighbor ran over and asked if I could do his driveway! I did it right on the spot and gave my info. I mentioned I do lawn care. Both have nice medium sized lawns.

As far as the trip, the wife and I discussed it last night and we are going no matter what. It is just now a matter of what do I do for the business and my customers. The good thing is, the lawyer’s wife works with us and knows how hard we’ve worked in the last two and half years at the non-profit (tons of hours, hard work and no time off ‘cuz we run the place) and she would be HAPPY for us to take a vacation.

As far as snowfall-do I think it will snow while I am gone? “Maybe” I have lived in this area for 3 years; it has never snowed this early or this much so it is a sign of a harsh winter this year. We mostly get snow snowfall from January on. So this year is different. I am not very comfortable with subbing my work out and I don’t know who I would sub out to or how I would start. So I think I am just going to tell them I am closed for the holidays for family time. I am gone for 11 days but the two commercial accounts are open for only 4 days since my trip falls between Christmas and New Years. And how both of these commercial accounts work is if it snows Friday night, I don’t touch their parking lot till Sunday night or Monday morning. Just in case it melts off before open hours. I appreciated hearing everyone’s thoughts as it helps me make decisions about my own business and life choices.

Paineless Creations
12-05-2010, 11:49 AM
Blow off the road trip and book something in Leavenworth around the middle of January.

leavenworth is pretty cool we have been there a couple of times never for the tree lighting festival. Hey check out this video I found about leavenworth

http://www.youtube.com/user/WoodyTheNutcracker

MrLank
12-05-2010, 01:27 PM
As far as the trip, the wife and I discussed it last night and we are going no matter what. It is just now a matter of what do I do for the business and my customers.

I don't know what your snow is like or whether you even need the money coming in, but do you think if a big storm hits and they contact someone else to come clear it that you'll lose them? If you want the money, then I'd suggest getting a sub for the "just in case" factor. I'd post an add on the General labor section of craigslist in your area. Something simple like "Looking for a sub for snow removal. Must have plow/blower/shovels." I know that I don't pass on any income. Depending on what you get the sub for, you probably will still make money from him clearing it while your gone. Just a thought.

Paineless Creations
12-05-2010, 02:09 PM
I don't know what your snow is like or whether you even need the money coming in, but do you think if a big storm hits and they contact someone else to come clear it that you'll lose them? If you want the money, then I'd suggest getting a sub for the "just in case" factor. I'd post an add on the General labor section of craigslist in your area. Something simple like "Looking for a sub for snow removal. Must have plow/blower/shovels." I know that I don't pass on any income. Depending on what you get the sub for, you probably will still make money from him clearing it while your gone. Just a thought.


You make all very good valid points!! Hmm decisions

Steve
12-05-2010, 04:54 PM
What is fascinating to me about this topic is how one side can see things one way and the other side can see it in another. You may think your significant other is on board for this or that and be totally 100% wrong.

I am not directing this comment at anyone, it's just a reflection on it for all to consider.

I can't tell you now how many of my friends have gone through a divorce because they didn't have time to be around.

They would work their butts off to give their family what they considered to be the very best, yet because they weren't around, their marriage failed.

We tend to grow up thinking, if we provide our wife or family with the bigger house or the better car or more money to spend, they will be happier, but that seems to not be the case.

If small course corrections aren't made over time, they tend to allow things to really get off track and then one day we wake up and wonder, what the heck went wrong? How did this happen? I thought I was doing the right thing.

Creagers Lawns
12-05-2010, 06:19 PM
Back in the day when we all worked for other people, we would have to ask our boss when and if we can take a vacation, lol.


Weigh in what you have to gain, and what you have to lose.


I honestly don't think you'll lose your wife over this, that's way too dramatic.
I say stick with the business, you just started and it requires the attention now.

You could get these properties for lawn maintenance too, no? If you don't do the snow, your chances of doing the grass are out the window.

You can then be the guy who says, "Hey, I do these properties" as you hand stunning photographs of your work to other property owners.........

The next person who hires you (commercial) could possibly give you more money then you thought possible in order to have work done - but only if you take this chance now. <- sounds like an Ad... "CALL NOW AND RECEIVE...


Also;

Never sub out at early stages of your business, that's literally giving your business away. Subbing out is good for when your at the greedy stage of your business, I can't wait to get there. When you have enough work for yourself, take on more and let other companies have at it' - beautiful! lollll

I agree building a business takes time and dedication I started 7 years ago and i'm thankful for a supportive wife who knows if she dont she goes back to Walmart slaving away for a company who doesnt care about its employees, so when she gets the "Need to be with her MAN" she gets on a mower and works with me. We found that vacation time for us comes all year long. We both love the outdoors and hunt and fish so when we want to enjoy those things we simply just work harder get what we need to get done and we take a little break do what we want when we want. We know if we don't take care of the business and our customers we both go back to working for someone else making them rich having to wonder who has more senority and going to bump us out of our vacation. Suggestion get wife involved with your business build it up she can quit her job (if she has one) then you both can hustle get it done enjoy life not have to bust your humps for someone else who could care less about you and your family and remember "Don't LOWBALL" our future depends on it

Hedgemaster
12-05-2010, 10:10 PM
Just be thankful that you even have this "dilemma".

We haven't taken a vacation in at least six years. It's either no money, or a health issue that has prevented us from doing anything more than a day trip.


I'm glad to hear that you are going to make it work. Enjoy yourselves!

tjgray
01-06-2011, 06:02 PM
Just be thankful that you even have this "dilemma".

We haven't taken a vacation in at least six years. It's either no money, or a health issue that has prevented us from doing anything more than a day trip.


I'm glad to hear that you are going to make it work. Enjoy yourselves!

I hear ya Hedgemaster lol I was wondering myself ...what's a vacation:confused:

My husband and I both work in our company and while we do take several smaller trips through out the year we haven't taken a real vacation since we started our business 7 years ago...

In fact, both of us have been so super busy this year, that we were looking forward to some down time this month *no snow in TX* but all the leaves haven't fallen completely from the trees yet and we are still knee deep in clean-ups...

I just keep telling myself that in such an unstable economy it is good to be working :D

tjgray
01-06-2011, 06:06 PM
I agree building a business takes time and dedication I started 7 years ago and i'm thankful for a supportive wife who knows if she dont she goes back to Walmart slaving away for a company who doesnt care about its employees, so when she gets the "Need to be with her MAN" she gets on a mower and works with me. We found that vacation time for us comes all year long. We both love the outdoors and hunt and fish so when we want to enjoy those things we simply just work harder get what we need to get done and we take a little break do what we want when we want. We know if we don't take care of the business and our customers we both go back to working for someone else making them rich having to wonder who has more senority and going to bump us out of our vacation. Suggestion get wife involved with your business build it up she can quit her job (if she has one) then you both can hustle get it done enjoy life not have to bust your humps for someone else who could care less about you and your family and remember "Don't LOWBALL" our future depends on it

I had to read this twice to make sure I didn't write it:D

Paineless Creations
01-06-2011, 11:35 PM
Update...

Wife and I had a wonderful trip and it never snowed at home!!!! So Win win for me.

Steve
01-09-2011, 02:19 PM
I am very glad to hear it. What advise would you give now to a newer lawn care business owner that found themselves in a similar situation?

dforbes
02-15-2011, 08:41 AM
I realize this is an old post and the trip has already happened. First let me say that I am glad it all went off without a hitch. I have been in business since 1994 and we have had 2 real vacations since I started the business. What seems to work, at least in my case is to take some mini vacations throughout the year. A long weekend at the lake is always a relaxing vacation, a trip to the zoo, museums, ect. Also Friday night is family night. No matter what, short of a family member being sick or in need of help. My wife has supported me in all that I do. She completes me and I would not have what I have without her. We just celibrated our 31st annerversary so she knows how I am and that I will not change. I like to think she wouldn't have it any other way.

Steve
02-15-2011, 11:15 AM
As you reflect on this, do you have any thoughts on how it could be improved upon? Are there other ways you would like to handle this yet you just haven't been able to pull it off yet?