Hilliard, Ohio: “I am wondering what other jobs do you all do other than lawns? How do you manage to do them both, and when do you fit the lawns in? I am currently a kitchen manager as well and cook at night with weekends off, but was applying for other jobs that may be more daytime, and still wanted to have my lawns. Is it appropriate to do them in the evening, or would it all be weekend work?”
Ragland, Ala.: “I’m a mechanic from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and do a few lawns in the afternoon. I have seen some LCOs do yards in the evening. Daytime is better, less time talking to the owners.”
Bellville, Texas: “How right you are. Ya can really eat up some time when customers come out and want to chit-chat about the weather and such.
“When getting a contract, don’t give a time to be there, just a day, and inform the customer that due to unforeseen issues you may stray off for a day or two. List or tell them things like weather, breakdowns, this gives them the feeling that you’re not working another job.
“Of course, some don’t care.”
Louisville, Ky.: “I cook at night myself and do not ever tell them I do something else. And, I love night work. Won’t do breakfast because days belong to my company and that chit-chatting thing can be a pain in the azz. I hope not to cook sooner or later.”
Sanford, N.C.: “I’m a tech for a wireless phone company. Four 10-hour shifts, 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., leaves my days free for lawns. Who needs sleep, right?”
Kentucky: “Before I got into the lawn biz full time, I was a long-haul truck driver/owner. Being gone for many days at a time was a little rough on a new family (28 years old, married four years, son 2 years old). I sold out in March, bought a bunch of new lawn equipment and became legit. Now that things are drying up a bit here in Kentucky, I’m beginning to go back trucking a few days a week, and that is my plan to get through the winter, only more than just a few days a week. My dad owns the truck, is set up with a local coal company to haul their product; I just drive. That’s a lot simpler than owning the trucking outfit … it was way worse than being a legit LCO … way more regulation and rules.”
Plainfield, Conn.: “I’m a telecommunications tech, Sunday through Wednesday, 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Leaves me nights during the summer and Thursday to Saturday to cut.”
Connecticut: “I go to school five days a week and have sports practices so I don’t get out until 5 or 5:30 p.m., and I mow after that and on weekends.”
Clarksville, Tenn.: “Parts man for Ford L/M.”
Novi, Mich.: “I [mow at night after school], and in the winter I fix iPods.”
Canyon, Texas: “Farm. Just getting started in this.”
Georgia: “EMT, Firefighter.”
Connecticut: “Full-time student and during the winter I try to buy and resell equipment to keep busy.”
West Plains, Mo.: “Police officer.”
Loganville, Ga.: “I work for a county municipality from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday in grounds and facilities maintenance. I do my lawn and landscaping business after that. Hope to be full-time lawn business one day.”
Florida: “I work for CSX as a freight conductor.”
Hutsonville, Ill.: “I work at a local factory from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Fridays, and take care of cemeteries and lawns after hours all week and weekends a lot of the time. I have help on some of the cemeteries and lawns. It keeps me busy all summer.”
Jacksonville, Fla.: “I’m also a full-time police officer. I cut grass during the day and do police work at night. Sleep is hard to come by during the summer. Both jobs get busy.”
South Texas: “I am a lab technician at a plastic plant (Formosa Plastics). I am also a certified industrial firefighter, and am also state-certified in confined space rescue. I work a split shift, which gives me half the month off. I work seven 12-hour days, and seven 12-hour nights.”
Upstate New York: “Postal electronic tech, midnight shift. Have days to landscape and mow, Monday through Thursday only. Friday, Saturday and Sunday home doing my own work.”
Connecticut: “I worked for a large fortune 100 insurance company for eight years doing desktop support. I was a top performer, received awards and was the go-to guy for some of the technologies.
“Long story short, three of us were terminated for not reporting five questionable pictures that were found on a high-level executive’s PC. So, I kiss $70,000-plus goodbye plus benefits, and 32 days off plus holiday pay; I am out just like that.
“Now the company is fighting my unemployment.
“Needless to say, I am not going back to that world. So, I am starting up in a week or so. Got everything in place, just need a trailer and a zero-turn.”
Pennsylvania: “Full-time police officer, as well. I cut in the evenings, or depends on what shift I am on that month.”
Winter Springs, Fla.: “Full-time firefighter/paramedic. One day of work and two days to mow.”
Richmond, Va.: “What other job?”
Louisiana: “Twenty years old; part-time lawn care business and full-time student. Main job is trying to make this business grow.”
Morganville, N.J.: “Two full-time paramedic jobs at night. Work 12-hour shifts to keep the days for the biz and family. Some nights we get punished with nonstop volume and all you can do is collapse when you get home. So, it’s important to have that flexibility built in where you’re not tied to a specific date/time.
“Hoping to build the biz to a point where I can work as a medic because I love the job, not because I have to.”
Indianapolis: “Lawn business and some Internet businesses, which are taking off at the perfect time—winter!”
Alabama: “Full-time engineer for aerospace, cut on weekends and Monday afternoons.”
Oakdale, Minn.: “Currently burning both ends of the candle. Full-time job is an insurance agent. Have been able to build clients and purchase equipment as I go with profits, rather than go out on my own, $20,000-plus in debt. Doing it all legit with insurance from the start. Can’t afford not to. Next spring will be going all out, hopefully, with a great marketing plan.”
Henderson, Nev.: “IT guy along with service routes.”
Upstate New York: “I work in a factory, two 12-hour days, two 12-hour nights, then I get four days off to mow lawns. The factory runs 24/7.”
Mattxb: “Based on what I have read here, we have a lot of highly skilled and educated people who cut grass on the side or are starting a GI business part time. That’s very interesting. Not trying to toot my own horn, just using myself as an example:
“I have a five-year college degree in architecture, a minor in construction management, I design houses as a side business and I build high-rise buildings in Atlanta as a full-time day job, and yet I still look forward to hooking up and going to cut grass.
“It’s a funny thing really, how personally rewarding it is when you self-perform and own the business end of things.”
Alabama: “I have to agree with you. I never thought I would enjoy getting out and cutting lawns until I started it this summer. I am currently working with a friend who has been in the business for around 14 years. I told him I was looking for some extra work to help with putting my kids through college. He invited me out to see if I would like it, and man I was hooked. I am planning on continuing working and helping him out, plus take on a few accounts of my own next year.”
“In Your Own Words” is contributed from the lawn and landscape forum at www.lawnsite.com. Visit them, and join in the discussions.