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Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life. It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.

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Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life.

It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.
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  #1  
Old 10-08-2010, 01:30 PM
MAKLawnCutter MAKLawnCutter is offline
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Unhappy Going full time

So, i have been doing this landscaping and lawn maintenance thing since the end of January this year. I have done the count and i have cut a total of 137 (47 regular customers) different lawns, done over 3700$ in upsell work (mostly tree and clean up services). It is nearing the end of the cutting season and my mother (the outside/cold-call sales woman) is offering assistance so i can get this business in full swing for next year. My pregnant fiance and mom have been talking and they know i can put 100% of my work ethic into this. I KNOW I CAN DO IT TOO. I have picked up a applicators license and expanded to; two other counties (covering three) with one truck. I have 47 customers to end the season, which tie up three solid days. I have been working a day job 3-4days a week for some reason.
The anxiety of working two jobs and not putting all 100% into the lawn business has brought me to a near break down. I have let it all pile up and fall behind. I missed dropping billing to 22 customers this week because i didnt leave myself enough time to write them up.
I am going in tonight to the day job to talk to the owner/operator to go different ways on a good note. So i can still use his little bit of business knowledge and graphic designing in the future (maybe). I will give him a 30day warning so that November first, M.A.K. Landscaping is my dedication job.
Listed below are my routes:

Monday - 7am - 2pm - 13 cuts (two of which are single acre lots)
Tuesday - 7am - 2pm - 8 Cuts (basic service, two sprays)
Wednesday - 8am - 6pm - 15 Cuts (2x3acre lots)
Thursday - 8am - 4pm - 11cuts (continuing a clear out job that is 2/3acre)
Friday - Service Calls Book Work
Saturday - Equipment Cleaning and Repairs as needed

Monday & Tuesdays i work 3pm-11pm at my day job
Friday - 4pm - 1am

Sunday i relax usually, which is entailed doing my yard, dished, laundry and letting my Fiance relax alittle... Did i mention i have a 4yr old daughter too - we end up at the park or my mothers for a little bit. My mother watches the daughter sometimes to give me and Mindy time together. Which usually ends in sleeping for hours lately, she is 6months pregnant and having a hell of a time with my son...

Work and sleep is all i seem to do. I wish i could purchase an 8th day of the week or a few hours more of daylight. I pushing to pick up 5 commercial accounts next year another truck trailer and equipment so i can atleast breath on the weekends. I have two friends that help me on the occasional day and i drop them 8$ a lawn i get help on... Still, overwhelmed!

Anyone else feel like they do too much?

Matt
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  #2  
Old 10-08-2010, 08:48 PM
mortonslawn mortonslawn is offline
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Hi Matt,

Hang in there. Maybe you just need to quit your regular job and go full swing into landscaping. The stress is always going to be there.

I too, have kids (6 yrs & 12 yrs old). My husband and I started our company about 3 years ago. Well, 2 years ago, he was working somewhere else, and got hurt really bad. Lost a finger and most of the usage of his right (dominant) hand. We've been through a lot since then. I am doing all my jobs alone, with help only when jobs are too big for me to handle by myself.

My billing gets backed up too. I hate paper work. I am not an office person. I can do it because I'm literate with all that, but it's overwhelming when everything has to be done and you're the only one doing it. I feel ya!

I have worked in landscaping for many years before starting my own business. I love being outside! It's a fun job, and physical.

There's no better way to spend your days than with your kids. Since I've started my business, I've had a lot more time to spend with my kids as well. I love it.

Hang in there, you're not alone when things happen. Just think - There's someone else out there worse off than you. I always tell myself that when things don't go my way. Having your own business is WAY better than standing in the unemployment line! You'll do okay! Good luck with your family.
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  #3  
Old 10-09-2010, 01:11 PM
MAKLawnCutter MAKLawnCutter is offline
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I kept the day job for now since it is getting into the slow time of the year but, by Spring 2011, i will be in full time landscaping. I will no longer be slapping pizzas out. I cleaned all of my equipment, tuned up my pressure washer and chain saws.

Matt
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:28 PM
Jack Rabbit Jack Rabbit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mortonslawn View Post
There's someone else out there worse off than you.
I was driving along thinking that if my truck needs any major repair then I'm out of business. I'm just barely making it so any major expense and I'm sunk.

Then I saw a guy walking along the sidewalk pulling a kid's wagon with a line trimmer and some tools. There are people worse off than us but we can learn from them too. I learned how much determination it can take to make it in tough times from seeing that guy.
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Old 10-10-2010, 12:13 AM
mortonslawn mortonslawn is offline
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I'm in the same boat too. I have a 92 Tahoe that has over 240,000 miles on it, and it's been a blessing to me so far. If I had to have a major repair, I'd be riding my mower to where I had to cut.

Lots of people have determination. It's amazing what people will do to make a buck. I remember when I was only 10 years old, I would cut people's grass for $7 per lawn with a push mower.

To Matt: Good Luck in your decisions. You sound like you're really determined to get into full swing next year. Maybe it's a good idea to keep the job for now. You'll be fine.
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
I was driving along thinking that if my truck needs any major repair then I'm out of business. I'm just barely making it so any major expense and I'm sunk.
I think this is true of the vast majority of people whether they own their own business or work for someone else.

The thing I wonder is this. Here you are driving and this thought pops into your head. What is your view on what you can do to change this situation? How can you make it better? What steps would need to be taken?


Quote:
The anxiety of working two jobs and not putting all 100% into the lawn business has brought me to a near break down. I have let it all pile up and fall behind. I missed dropping billing to 22 customers this week because i didnt leave myself enough time to write them up.
Matt,

What is your view on why you hadn't made this jump yet? A lot of members are in the same boat and I think it scares the hell out of them. What's your advice on when it is time to make the jump and how best to do it to minimize any problems that may come from it?
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:41 AM
Jack Rabbit Jack Rabbit is offline
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
What is your view on what you can do to change this situation? How can you make it better? What steps would need to be taken?
I think the main things to do are really more like things to be. Be determined, be adaptable, be practical, be thrifty, be creative, be effective and efficient, and be willing and disciplined enough to accept the hardships necessary.

That's business as usual for me. I've had better times too but now it is back to survival mode.

Mostly I need to get non mowing season work for my business, get a regular job (almost impossible) for the winter, try another business that I hope to start, spend on necessities only.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:11 AM
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try another business that I hope to start, spend on necessities only.
What other kind of business are you interested in? Could you sell to the same customer base as your lawn care business?
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Old 10-12-2010, 02:24 PM
MAKLawnCutter MAKLawnCutter is offline
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Steve and EVERYONE ELSE!

I made the decision to finally come out of my _choice word insert here_ trance due to the fact i do have my son due in January and i DONT want to be working two jobs by March of next year. I have spent 37hours in the past 4days working on new marketing, talking to my bank to make sure i dont lose my equipment. I have till the end of the month to catch up on 800$ in back payments i have missed in the last 6 months (i figured i was 1700$ behind, SCORE!). They know i am in a financial hard ship right now trying to get my life in order. Being 26, working two job and owning one of them, little more than most! I am about to pull a large loan, so i dont have three bank payments to pay for my equipment. Not so easy with a dropping credit score.

We all will make it through this crap time we are having, being scared out of our witz.
IF you are located in FLORIDA and want to join a meeting, let me know, organizing now for a first "Meeting of the Lawns" Lawn Maintenance and Landscapers meeting. We can all vent and relax knowing what one another is dealing with.

Matt
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:56 AM
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Matt,

What is your advice for others when it comes to taking out loans to buy equipment? What lessons do you feel you learned from the process and would you do anything differently if you could do it again? What would you advise others to do?
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