Lawn Care Owners: Do What You Want


I want to read you a comment from YouTube that is a question. So, I’m going to read it to you. “What if I don’t want to get out of the field? I got into this business, because I enjoy the work. Being outdoors and not having to deal with employees, equipment, payroll. I like being me and making a living doing what I love.”

So, the point of the question is, what if I don’t want to build a bigger business like you talk about? What if I don’t want to build a team? My answer would be, you need to do what you want to do. That’s the entire point of business. That’s the beauty of going out on your own and building your own company is you get to craft a lifestyle and your future around what you want. Versus going to work and potentially working in an environment or at a company that does not allow you to do exactly what it is you want to do. Now, clearly, there are a lot of jobs out there that will let individuals do what they want to do. And build their ideal life as well. However, I agree with you completely. And I do come from the standpoint of, you should build a bigger business and I’ll speak to why in a moment.

But, in your case, if that’s what you want, then I would encourage you to build exactly what you want. That’s the awesome thing about getting to build a business. The only thing I would challenge you on, when you tell yourself that I don’t want any employees. I don’t want to deal with payroll or equipment, is that because of a bad experience? Is it because you’ve heard too many naysayers on forums or on the website? There are no good employees. And as a result you’ve become negative to it. Have you ever tried having someone on the truck with you? And maybe you have and it didn’t go well. I’d encourage you to give it another try.

So, maybe there’s a compromise. And the compromise is not about building a bigger business. One that has lots and lots of crews and has a leadership team and has an office and all that. Maybe there’s a in between. Where rather what you do is you build up a business where it’s you as a foreman and a helper. Or maybe it’s you and someone helping you on your truck and then you have another truck that has one or two individuals on that truck. The reason I would at least advocate for this, if you’d consider it, and again, let’s be clear … if that is not what you want. Great. Build what you want. You should. The reason I’d advocate for that is, having been in the business for a long time, having gotten to know a whole lot of people, having come from other industries and had a lot of experiences. The data says, that if you are a one man operation in a truck, your longevity is not nearly what it could be if you built a bigger business. And by longevity I mean it generally leads to burning out.

And these are generalizations. It does not mean they will apply to you. Just saying. The data says, you are more likely to burn out. Or let’s say you get injured. Something happens. You can’t take care of. If you have a family, can’t take care of your family. Or maybe it’s as simple as you are unable to take vacations. You’re unable to get time off. In another video I’ve talked about … I believe I’ve talked about this. How I ended up getting into the lawn care industry. I mowed lawns in the early days. Through high school I had a couple people working with me. And then my freshman year of college I got out of the business. And I was out for a period of time. And the way I ended up back in the business is we bought a small lawn care company for $7000 that was doing $50,000 in gross revenue. And with that, or for that $7000 we also got an Old Dutch truck, a trailer and a Cushmman. A big riding lawnmower that was pretty much at the end of its life.

The individual I bought that company from was, I believe in his 50’s. Latter 50’s. And he was worn out. It was his sole income. The reason he was getting out of the business was he couldn’t do it anymore for health reasons. He was just … he’d been doing it his whole life. And he couldn’t sell his company. That’s why I ended up buying it for $7000. So, after his entire lifetime of doing this type of work, his body could literally no longer take it and his exit plan, his retirement was $7000.

That’s why I get concerned about the long term of being me and a truck. If I’m in my 30’s, tons of energy, tons of capability, what does my future look like in 10 or 20 years? 10 or 20 years from now as we move into a new world for technology, in technology and all types of other things if we’re predominantly still mowing laws or trimming bushes or killing weeds or killing bugs … whatever the case may be, as the world continues to evolve on us, as we get older, do we find ourselves in a position of not knowing what to do next in life? And not really having any retirement. Not having a backup plan.

Again, I want to be clear, I’m not saying that is your situation. I’m telling you the context from which I come when I say might you consider building something a little bit bigger. Building something a little bit bigger does not mean you need to build a $5 million business. It may mean nothing more than building out a number of crews, so that you have some freedom. So that you can go have vacations. You can attend your kids baseball games. So, that if you’re sick, your team can keep running the business. So, if you ever had a bad experience with a team member, and that is why you say, “I would never want to have an employee”, try again. There are some awesome people out there. Fantastic people.

When you find the right person, you’ll enjoy working with them. When you find the right person, you’ll find that they help move the company forward and they just take things off your plate. So, the summary is, if this isn’t for you. If all you want is you and a truck, that’s the most awesome thing about being your own boss. You can do that. And I would not, in any way, discourage you from it. I’d only ask that you consider your options just to give yourself a bigger backup plan in life. Your call.

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