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View Full Version : How do I run my part time lawn biz while I'm at my full time job?


cmpenn67
03-24-2011, 10:21 AM
I've got to the point that I would like to take on more work. I have a full time job so I've been mowing yards after work when i get off at 2:30. I would like to employee a crew and have them work during the day. Has anyone done this? If so can you give me any insight on how you made this possible. What complications I may face and so on?

Thanks

Liberty Landscaping LLC
03-24-2011, 10:22 AM
At this point do you have work to keep a crew busy all week?

cmpenn67
03-24-2011, 08:35 PM
I've got enough work to keep them busy for 2 full days. I don't think i understand what this would have to do with anything. I can still have them work part time hours while i'm at work.

Liberty Landscaping LLC
03-25-2011, 12:35 AM
My point was if you don't have work to keep them busy for "a full week" you might have trouble keeping someone that would be reliable.

Steve
03-26-2011, 09:07 AM
I would like to employee a crew and have them work during the day. Has anyone done this? If so can you give me any insight on how you made this possible. What complications I may face and so on?

We rarely ever see this actually work. I know a lot of members talk about trying to get this going but it seems very tough.

The thing is, how do you you keep tabs on them to know the work is getting done? How do you know they are doing a quality job?

What will stop them from going off on their own and doing side jobs for your customers or mowing additional lawns with your equipment without you knowing?

USA Lawn Care
03-26-2011, 04:04 PM
How many actual hours / week are you up to right now with the business?
Many moons ago I began my business while working full time also. I worked from 5pm-1:30am and mowed grass all day and then went into work and built my business up that way. Fill me in on the # of hours you are putting into the business and I can help with this question. Been there, done that, and I commend you for working your tail off......it helps keep the recession away!
I look back at photos from that era and I have some nasty bags under my tired eyes!

Shark1611
03-26-2011, 08:56 PM
I've got enough work to keep them busy for 2 full days. I don't think i understand what this would have to do with anything. I can still have them work part time hours while i'm at work.

I have a full time job too but there is no way I will let anyone work if for me. My name means too much to me. When we get off a job it is better than the one before us who use to do it. In fact just last week I had three of my customers tell us how good a job we do.

My wife and I work the jobs almost every day and on our days off. Right now I have 6 commercial accounts and 12 homes.

The main reason I cut lawns is because I LOVE EVERY SECOND OF IT. Yep the money is good too but for me passion is everything. We are also fully licensed and insured. I am finding many who are not.

jsslawncare
03-26-2011, 10:41 PM
Sounds like you need to either work full time or cut grass. I have 48 yards. Sometimes I would like to hire a helper but, In order for that to happen I would need about 75 yards. That growth doesn't happen over night. And you're thinking a "crew"?

cmpenn67
03-26-2011, 11:10 PM
I opened a business to run and manage and grow the business. I didn't open it and start it to do the all the labor. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy getting out there and doing the labor but thats not what I want to do the whole time. As in Crew two guys for now. I am at 20 hrs a week wowing with 2 people right now. As far as billing, maintanence and marketing many many more hourse. My plan for the business is to grow it so that I can step away from the field and manage the business and during my time that I spend working will be meeting with business owners, marketing, accounting, all of the other stuff. As far as seeing the work. I figured I would come up with something. I've got a College kid that works for me now and he knows that I am wanting to grow it and appreciates the work and wants to end up getting more hours of work. As long as you describe the job to prospective employees there shouldn't be any problem with it. Also he Does a fantastic job. I spent alot of time teaching him the right way to do the yards. But to say you can't let someone else do the work mowing is ludicrus.

I've thought of a few ways to do keep tabs on everything.
1. I can gps put on truck. That way I know how long they are at a jobsite.
2. I hire good people. Honest people and pay them well. If you treat them right they will be less likely to take advantage of you.
3. Have them take pictures of each yard they do. You can see the quality in a picture. I use to work for a guy in college where we would have to do this on forclose homes we would go in and mow and clean up.

Those are just some of the things I have thought about. I've started from the beginning paying people so hiring people to do the work for me doesn't matter hurt. Look at all the business around....Tell me how many people that actually own their own business does the actual labor part of it? If your going to do all the work yourself and your content with that then fine that is your perogative...but don't give me your opinion why not to do it.

Liberty Landscaping LLC
03-27-2011, 12:23 AM
I understand your view point. I don't think they are telling you not to do it. I think they are telling you some issues that might arise from doing it via their expierences. I myself work full time and cut about 25 yards a week. Some are bi weekly. I have two days off from my full time job. I use one of those to cut lawns. Sometimes it doesn't work due to weather. I have brought people on to help me when I am really busy or in a time crunch on a job. I also hire people during plow season. I get "stuck" at work because I am an essential employee for the state. This happens alot during snow storms this year I lucked out. I learned very quickly no one does the same job you will expect of yourself and also no one will know your equipment like you will. Case in point first snow storm in NJ dropped 30 inches of snow might not be alot by you but last time that happened here it took two days and was like 22 inches in 96 this happened in less then 12 hours. Anyway two of my trucks never left the lot because of "break-downs" with the four wheel drive. One was not engaged properly and the other he activated the shifter but not the locking hubs. I highly recommend the GPS but I also recommend going with the crew once a week "suprising" them different days each week to make sure the jobs are done right. Let them do it and then critque them at the end. You still want your customers to know your involved. I know a painting company that gets a job and then subs all his work out to fly by night people and that makes his name look bad. Alot of companies have issues with employees using the company equipment to make side money with neighbors of your customers and what not. Just be careful. Stealing gas can be an issue too. GPS will solve most of this but one day a week with the crew and spot checks on job sites should eliminate that. I too hope to set this up as a massive landscaping company where I work when I want and do the paperwork/ estimate part. I will still do fieldwork for call-outs and vacations as well to spot check employees. I plan on doing it when I retire also as I will retire young. It's not easy but I smile all the way to the bank, I like being outside, and best off I have no BOSSS! Good Luck!

Shark1611
03-27-2011, 11:29 AM
I opened a business to run and manage and grow the business. I didn't open it and start it to do the all the labor. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy getting out there and doing the labor but thats not what I want to do the whole time. As in Crew two guys for now. I am at 20 hrs a week wowing with 2 people right now. As far as billing, maintanence and marketing many many more hourse. My plan for the business is to grow it so that I can step away from the field and manage the business and during my time that I spend working will be meeting with business owners, marketing, accounting, all of the other stuff. As far as seeing the work. I figured I would come up with something. I've got a College kid that works for me now and he knows that I am wanting to grow it and appreciates the work and wants to end up getting more hours of work. As long as you describe the job to prospective employees there shouldn't be any problem with it. Also he Does a fantastic job. I spent alot of time teaching him the right way to do the yards. But to say you can't let someone else do the work mowing is ludicrus.

I've thought of a few ways to do keep tabs on everything.
1. I can gps put on truck. That way I know how long they are at a jobsite.
2. I hire good people. Honest people and pay them well. If you treat them right they will be less likely to take advantage of you.
3. Have them take pictures of each yard they do. You can see the quality in a picture. I use to work for a guy in college where we would have to do this on forclose homes we would go in and mow and clean up.

Those are just some of the things I have thought about. I've started from the beginning paying people so hiring people to do the work for me doesn't matter hurt. Look at all the business around....Tell me how many people that actually own their own business does the actual labor part of it? If your going to do all the work yourself and your content with that then fine that is your perogative...but don't give me your opinion why not to do it.

Go for it. We all have our ways of running business. Good luck.

USA Lawn Care
04-01-2011, 02:18 AM
20 hrs / week running w/2 guys.....working full time....yep, you're about maxed out. Knowing what I know now, and looking at the fact that you are looking toward running the biz and not being the labor here is probably what I would do.
First, if you aren't 'official' with insurance and some sort of corporation, you might as well go ahead and do that. You already have 2 guys working with you, if you trust them, take the leap and let them do the actual work themselves and stay in the background as much as possible. Keep a close eye on everything.....just try to run it and start slowly. Use this season to wean your way out, keep picking up accounts, keep your day job, still come in if needed at 2:30pm and help out here and there but I would just keep doing what you are doing. I don't think you will pick up a ton of business overnight and the biggest problem I had was finding reliable help (which you have already) so keep the day job, grow slow, make the business 'tax official', get an accountant.....all this will eat up some profit but don't rush. Slow and steady always wins the race. Stay in the black. Start collecting from customers as you cut (if you're not already) and you should be able to stay profitable.
That transition period is a tough one for anyone who has been in your shoes but keep the day job (unless you seriously don't need it) until your business is paying you adequately after all those lovely expenses that come from hiring people.
Best of luck to you.