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  • Help rookie with upset wife.

    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)
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  • #2
    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).

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    • #3
      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?
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      • #4
        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.
        Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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        • #5
          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.
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          • #6
            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
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            • #7

              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
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              • #8
                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.

                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.
                Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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                • #9
                  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.
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                  • #10
                    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.
                    Andy
                    Halifax, Nova Scotia

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                    • #11
                      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.

                      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.
                      Last edited by mark123; 12-04-2010, 05:12 PM.
                      Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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                      • #12
                        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??
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                        • #13
                          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.
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                          • #14
                            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?
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                            • #15
                              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.
                              Pat

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