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caseyshields
12-11-2007, 10:36 AM
I am just finishing up my 1st full-time year as owner of Shields Lawn Care. It's definitely been a learning experience. Lesson number 1: Save some money for winter, even if you live in Florida!
Even though it has been a mild winter here in the Florida panhandle so far, the grass has pretty much quit growing. Well, all I can say is, lesson learned!
Anyway, I really enjoy everything about the lawn care industry. I like being able to work outside, I like being around all the nice equipment that we get to use. Most other LCO's are friendly, especially on the different forums. Most will bend over backwards to help someone that they have never seen before. That is just plain cool. Oh well, IDK what else to ramble about so I am outta here. Gopher It!

pmblair
12-11-2007, 12:24 PM
Welcome to our little home away from home, Casey! I think you'll find that we're all anxious to help newcomers, too! Feel free to search through past posts... take advantage of all the free marketing material we have posted here... and show us LOTS of pics of your equipment and such!

Steve
12-11-2007, 11:42 PM
Casey,

What got you started in business? If you could be running any kind of business now, what would it be?

caseyshields
12-12-2007, 10:45 AM
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Dec. 11 2007,11:42)]Casey,

What got you started in business? If you could be running any kind of business now, what would it be?
What got me started in the business?
Well.....this might sound strange, but, ever since I was about 15, I wanted to do this. When I was 16, this guy that ran a solo op got in a car wreck. For a short time he was unable to get out there and do the work. He asked me if I would be interested in running things for him, only because I happened to have a truck.....so I could pull the trailer. I jumped a the chance. It was only over the summer. But I loved every minute of it. He had crap equipment that was always breaking down, but I still loved it. I was able to try out what I thought I wanted to do. Ever since then, it has always been in my mind that this is what I wanted to do. Now I am 31 years old. I started part time when I was 29. I was in a position to be able to afford what was needed to start. I got a handful of accounts whn I first started. At the time I was a cable contractor for the cable company here. It got to the point where I knew I had to just take the plunge and go for it. I quit cable contracting and went full-time. It was scary to say the least. But I was able to get about 35 mowing accounts and about every 2 weeks, I would get a decent little landscape job. I made decent money for a first year. But more importantly, I learned a lot. Looking back on this past season (my first full-time season), I can see what I could have done different and better. The first thing I should have done is saved money for the slow season. But, live and learn. I can guarantee that next year will be even better. I look forward to what the future holds for my company. It's kind of like an adventure. I love it.

Steve
12-12-2007, 10:51 PM
Great story Casey!

Quite a bit we talk with new lawn care business owners on the forum and they often wonder how to make the jump from running your business part time to going full time.

Do you have advice on how to best make that jump and what part of the year you would suggest doing it?

How many clients did you have when you were part time before you made the jump?

caseyshields
12-25-2007, 03:34 AM
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Dec. 12 2007,10:51)]Great story Casey!

Quite a bit we talk with new lawn care business owners on the forum and they often wonder how to make the jump from running your business part time to going full time.

Do you have advice on how to best make that jump and what part of the year you would suggest doing it?

How many clients did you have when you were part time before you made the jump?
I think the best way to make the jump to full time is to just do it. Of course, be sure to have a little money set aside. But for the most part, you just have to get the nerve up to do it. This sounds crazy or stupid, I am not sure which, maybe both....but I only had about 10 mowing customers when I went full time. I was getting enough landscape jobs that my "real" job was starting to interfere. So at the beginning of 2007, I quit my job and went full time. I advertised like a madman during the winter, sending out postcards mainly. I didn't get a lot of calls, but it kept my name in front of them. When the grass starting growing, the calls started coming in. By the middle of the year I had enough work, between the mowing routes and landscape jobs that I had to hire some part time help.
It was definitely scary quitting my job and going full time, especially since my son was recently born, but I did it and I am doing fine. I think a person has to have a lot of confidence in himself and you have to ignore the negative people. Going full time is one of the best choices I have ever made.

Steve
12-26-2007, 09:24 AM
Casey,

Thank you for your insight!

Could you tell us how much would you suggest others who want to make this jump have saved up or does it not matter?

Also, what was your family's reaction to this? Were they supportive or did they not want you to do this and how did that factor into your decision?