Should you work for an ex boss to improve cash flow?

Getting your own lawn care business up and rolling can take time and money. Sometimes you have both. Then there are also times when you don’t and you need more cash to help you through a slow time. But if you find yourself in such a situation, should you go back and work part time for a former employer? That is what one member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum was considering doing when he wrote and asked for advice.


He wrote “so I received a call from the company I previously worked for. They asked if I was able to work for them starting next week.  I planned it out over the phone on my availabilities, and everything is set. I just feel like crap wondering what’s going on right now.

I’m my own boss and have my own lawn care company. But now I’ll be going in there using their tools and what not, under his orders. I feel as if things have been awkward with that previous company ever since I left. I do like the guys, I just feel like they want a chance to take a shot at me and ruin what I have built. It almost feels like a trap. I’ve worked with all the crew, we all had gotten along really well. Recently things have become weird when we pass each other on the street.

They seem to have found a love in mocking my company name, …

So do I take the chance and work with them for a bit while maintaining my lawns, possibly regaining a friendship and tying up loose ends. Or do I just avoid them entirely, let them burn and take my chances without them. Knowing we can never truly be friends, only competitors? Getting this call has just warped my mind.

What would you do as a lawn service owner, having to go work for someone else… How would you feel? How would you feel about being judged on your performance? I feel as if I’ll be watched like a hawk, as they wait to catch me make ONE… LITTLE… MISTAKE. Argggg this is strange!”

A second lawn care business owner said “I got an offer from my ex-boss a while back. I just couldn’t do it. They are doing just fine without me and I still wave to them when I pass them on the road but I could never go back to working for someone else. Freedom is worth more than money.”

A third added “I had an offer similar just when I started my company, only thing different was that I had never worked for them before. I just couldn’t do it, and it got me thinking how short of employees they must be to be calling another company for workers.

The way I looked at it was that I needed to ensure the success of my company and I was not about to get distracted by the offer. I believe that remaining focused on my own company has been super beneficial to me. I’m sure in the long run it will be for you as well.”

A fourth shared “my first suggestion is to stay on the task of building the best mowing company in your area. That is why you are getting calls from your old boss. Your one step away from being on top.

Stay the course. You can only trust yourself. With all that being said, if you still have any inkling to go back, you would have to set up some ground rules first.

  1. Payment is expected at the end of the job or day.
  2. Know exactly what is expected of you. Do you only edge, line trim, mow, blow off hardscapes, do weeding, pick up things or are they going to treat you like a dog and tell you what to do?
  3. Sign an agreement with the owner stating that he can’t use in any advertisement or word of mouth, any defamation of character or business against you or your lawn care business name now or in the future. Example - Joe Shmo Lawn Service has now hired Bill XXXX from Bill’s Lawn Service to help us service your accounts. Now we have the BEST so give us a call us to arrange for an estimate or appointment.
  4. Agree with the owner in a written schedule to when, where, time, and duration.

This is something I would do if I was to help out a friend. But an old boss would be hard to do. The only way I would is if he told his clients that I would be servicing them from my own company for said time and payment is due at completion of service.

I hope this helps and doesn’t sound too legal.

A ton of money is great, but you know if it sounds too good to be true then………”

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