It is nothing like I expected it to be.

One quality every new business owner has in common with others, is that they bring themselves to the table when they are getting started. What I mean by that is, they bring all their good, their bad, and their ugly. If you want to have a good time with your business and grow, you will bring that to the table when you get started. If you do, chances are you will enjoy your experience. If on the other hand, you are unsure of why you are getting started, you will most likely carry that uneasiness with you as well and you will constantly find yourself questioning and second guessing everything you do. Here is a story from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum from one new entrepreneurs who is struggling to figure out why he got started in the first place and what he is going to do about it.

He wrote “I just got done with my taxes and I’m a little disappointed with what I found. A lot of things I thought I could get away with I have now learned I can not. My numbers were rather sad as well. I went in Saturday to talk with my accountant and learned I was almost $200 in the red. This was my first year in business, so this much was expected but after making the adjustments I ended up just under $800 in the black.

That seemed to be a bad move because now I owe the state $207 of money I don’t have to part with. Now it is decision making time. Was it really all worth it? I am not really sure. I am a bit lost on it right now. Do I continue this year in hopes my lawn care business will improve or do I just cave in and keep my 9-5 job? I mean $800 revenue for the year won’t even pay my headlight replacement bill!

I am not sure if I really enjoy the work but I think I do enjoy working for myself. As far as pushing through this slow time I feel that economic recessions tend to make millionaires for those who are able to hold on, invest their money, and stay the course. A problem I have, is knowing how things work and I know, at least in this area, lawn care is not a million dollar business and I wonder if it’s worth it to continue investing my own private funds into something that may not make it anyway. We all know its anyone’s guess and a business can fold in the blink of an eye in this environment. Should mine fold, I would be out everything I put in.

Sure I have purchased some nice equipment to care for my own yard but having money interests me more than having nice equipment for my yard. Under normal circumstances things should start to improve as I am approaching my one year anniversary with my business. Maybe just maybe, I will give this until the end of the year and then jump ship if my numbers don’t significantly improve.

My lawn care business is nothing like I expected it to be. It is no way near as profitable as I thought it would be and there is way way WAY more competition than I could have imagined!

When you factor in I have now spent $3,000 for a used truck, about $8,000 in lawn care equipment and am competing against everyone and their grandmother for lawn care work, it’s is so very difficult to put a dent in those initial $11,000 or so I spent to get started.

Spending that much on lawn care equipment early on was not necessary but it’s the route I decided to take. I am now starting to wish I had stayed more conservative with my spending until I better knew where I stood.

Now if I decide to close shop, I have $11K invested in a truck and equipment I will most likely never use. This is not my first rodeo so I know how the business world works but I was amazed at how many things can just blind side you in this business. You gotta watch yourself at all times and never underestimate the importance of an organization office and a good filing system.

As far as the things that blind sighted me last year, first off was my truck. When my first truck started dieing on me I had to do something. I had to have something to haul my lawn care equipment with so it was ether lose all my lawn care clients and toss away all that hard work or go shopping. $3K later I got another used truck. That was a huge unexpected expense a short time after I got started.

Another issue would have to be the jackass clients I initially signed up. We all get them. If you haven’t yet you will. I will be damned if I am going to mow a lawn for $5, it’s just not happening and the fixed income old timers kinda run you into the ground when they here it will cost them $100 per month or more.

I almost jumped ship because one of them alone. Now back to the equipment expenses. Most of us start out with the equipment we already have at home and use on our yards. Those old mowers work great but once you start over heating them on tall lawns several times a day, they will begin to fail and fast. I had two lawn mowers die on me, back to back so that sucked up another $400. If you don’t have the cash to replace the equipment then you are out of business.

Lucky for me, at that point, I had a great client who allowed the use of there mower when mine broke to finish my lawns. This was good thing for me but it happened on their very first lawn service so it ended up looking way bad for me as a business owner.

Another problem I ran into was when I was hired to cut a fire break along a customer’s yard. The client had piles of limbs all over his property. He needed them shredded and I gave an estimate which he agreed to and said he would call me before the weekend to schedule it. After that, I rushed out and spent a small fortune on a shredder and equipment to perform the job. The problem was, I never got the call. I purchased the shredder used and it only worked one time in my yard and still sits out in the bone yard broken. So now I have a broken shredder and never made a dime from it.

The best advice I can give is just sit and think of anything that can go wrong and bet your butt it will go wrong. Plan for it all to go wrong and be thankful when it doesn’t. I didn’t plan on anything going wrong but thank god I had some money saved up to handle emergencies and get me out of these situations. If I didn’t, I would have been dead in the water early on.

With all that said, I need to sit and think if I am just doing this to be my own boss or not. There are many other things I can do besides this kind of work. If I am going to get truly serious about being a lawn care business owner, then I think I need to step it up and do it. At the point I am now, maybe I might just have to change and tweak a few settings to get my business right where I want it to be. The real question is how far do I really want to go with all of this and where do I want to be in 5 years? Once I clear all this up in my mind and commit to it I think I will find my groove and be able to push forwards. I need to either commit and build it or close it down.”

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success