What to do when you are interested in starting your own lawn care business but you are driving around in a car with no money to buy a truck any time in the near future. If you think you have no options though, think again. Here are a couple great ideas, from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, on how you can harness the power of your car to become part of your mowing business.
As your lawn care business grows, you will invariably take on employees. Along with employees comes new challenges that you will need to manage. There are a lot of issues you won’t see coming until they happen, but there are others you can try and nip in the bud to avoid the issue in the first place. Here is one example of that from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on how you should handle an employee who wants to take on their own clients.
The desire to beat your competitors on price is the greatest when you are just getting started because you really have no other variables to play with. Your skills early on won’t be that good so it is difficult to compete on skill level. It is also difficult to offer a variety of services because more than likely, you don’t know how to perform them. But before you get yourself set on a race to the cheapest price for mowing, consider these lessons from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
If you ever get a phone call from a customer asking you to trim some of their landscaping, it is important to do a little research on the type of plant before you just go ahead and break out your hedge trimmers. Sometimes there is a better way to handle things than by simply hacking something back. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we get a chance to learn about the best way to deal with overgrown Daylilies.
When trying to learn how to properly estimate hedge trimming jobs, it is quite useful to review what others have done. How they bid on different hedge trimming jobs. What they charged and how much time the job took. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum we hear some great insight on lessons learned after working on a large overgrown hedge trimming job. These lessons should help you improve your estimating in the future.
When you are used to bidding lawn mowing jobs, you can find yourself caught off guard when a customer asks you for a bid to perform another service. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one contractor who way underbid his mulch bed weeding job and ultimately spend double the time he initially thought it would take him. After reading through this, you will see the importance of realistically bidding such jobs so you don’t find yourself in a bad spot.
Many of the first lawn care customers you get may be in lower to middle class neighborhoods and after dealing with a few of them, you will figure out what kind of price range they are willing to pay for lawn care. But what should you do when you start to make inroads into wealthier areas? Should you charge wealthier clients more and cheaper clients less? That is the question which came up on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
Once in a while, you may get a phone call from a national property preservation company that is working for a bank and has a local property in your area they need mowed. Should you work with them? Is it worthwhile taking on the extra tasks they demand, like submitting multiple photos as proof of service? Depending on your situation, such jobs may help you fill out your mowing route as we will see from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
It can be tough enough trying to estimate what to charge to mow an average sized yard, but what should you do when you are called in to estimate a 15 acre camp ground? That is what this one business owner was called to do and he asked for help on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. As you will see from the discussion below, quite a few elements are involved in creating a price you can make a profit on and the customer will accept.
Here are a few tips from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on how to improve your mowing operation by streamlining the time spent at each customer’s property. As a business owner, you need to be as productive as possible and knowing which services yield the biggest bang for the buck and which don’t can help you on your pathway towards maximizing your profits.
There is a constant desire and drive by new entrepreneurs to go out and explore. The boundary of how far they are willing to explore seems to forever be pushed further forwards. If you find yourself doing this with your own lawn care business, here is a cautionary tale from someone who has been there about the downside to exploring the unknown, on a customer’s dime. In this story, from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear how one project mess up had cost a landscaper $10,000.
Here is a landscape job request you won’t get everyday. It’s from a customer who posted the job on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. She needs a hole filled in that was dug under a trampoline so that the trampoline was level with the ground. The catch on this job is that it is difficult to get around to the backyard so large equipment won’t be able to be used. A couple of interesting points came up about this job that can really effect the job price. As you are reading the job description, think about how you would handle this request and come up with your own price before you see how these other landscapers would bid this dirt fill job.
Estimating hedge trimming jobs can be tough for those who are unfamiliar with the process. The amount of time it will take to perform the job, from the moment you arrive until the moment you leave, is almost always under-estimated. The biggest element missed in most bids is the amount of time your clean up will take you. It only takes a few hedge trimming jobs under your belt to learn that under-estimating your cleanup will dramatically eat into any profit you think you will make. So before you bid on any future hedge trimming jobs, consider the lessons learned from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and learn how to improve your estimates which reflect a realistic amount of time needed to be spent on each job.
Starting a new business can involve a lot of frustration. When you come up with a business idea and a plan, it is up to you to breathe life into your creation. No one else is going to do it for you. If you are not accustomed to being a self starter, you are going to be in for a difficult experience. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one new entrepreneur who just can’t seem to get his footing and he wonders what should he be doing to improve his current situation.
There is nothing more frustrating than spending a lot of time designing, printing, and distributing your lawn care marketing material only to find later that no one returns your calls from them. When this happens, it makes you question everything. Are you doing the right marketing? Are you in the right business? Should you just throw your hands up in the air and surrender? Before you get too crazy over this, take a moment and see what other entrepreneurs have gone through and shared with us on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. I am sure some of these insights will get you headed in a better direction.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you bid a lawn for mowing at one price, only to find out after you mow it that it took a lot longer than you expected and you underbid the job? What should you do if this happens and you bid the job for an entire year? Should you suck it up and just deal with it or should you immediately contact the customer to reprice the job? That is what one entrepreneur wondered when he shared his story with us on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
Most every lawn care business owner is always looking for more ways to attract customers. Sure you can hand out flyers or door hangers, they will take some time out of your schedule. But have considered using lawn signs on the yards you are actively mowing? That is what this entrepreneur did and he shared his story with us on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. It seems the idea worked quite well and helped him get more customers that fit into his mowing route.
Two students looking to start a summer mowing company are curious to find out more what steps to take to begin. It is amazing how much regulation is involved to simply try and get a small business going for a few months. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, one veteran shares his thoughts on how a newbie should go about doing this and if it is financially worthwhile to attempt.
There are times when you may get a new lawn care customer who lives in a neighborhood controlled by a home owner’s association. Such areas may be gated communities or they may be tightly regulated by the association as far as what you can do with marketing. If you’d like to get more customers in such neighborhoods, you may want to consider what this entrepreneur did to market his business. He shared his guerrilla marketing method, on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, that was effective for him and might work for you.
Was your first year in business a good one or a bad one? How did you know either way? Did you compare your situation to others or did you simply set goals to achieve and hoped you hit your benchmarks? In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, one entrepreneur shared with us his updates after hitting the mid-season point of his first year. How does his first year in business compare to yours?
Having ground rules set before you hire any lawn care employees can go a long way in preventing issues from popping up later. If you aren’t sure what kind of ground rules you should set, do a quick internet search for lawn care employee handbooks to find some ideas from others who have dealt with similar issues and consider the problems this member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum ran into.
Planning out a business and doing the hard work yourself is tough. It is that which filters out the entrepreneurs from those who would be better suited as employees. Thinking you don’t have to take those long hard learning steps other successful entrepreneurs have taken because you know more or feeling that you are prepared to lead others to perform tasks when you don’t know how to perform those same tasks yourself is foolish. As we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, you need to really have your act together before you can expand your business. If you try to take shortcuts you will more than likely fail.
You get a call about a potential job that includes some plant installs. So you stop by the potential customer’s house. You walk the property, find out what the homeowner wants, and present a bid. Great news, the customer accepts and you are off to the nursery to purchase a trailer full of shrubs. The next day, you show up to the property and spend the entire day planting the shrubs. When you are finished, the customer smiles and shakes your hand saying thank you. Then he wants to know what kind of warranty will be included on his new shrubs? You do have a warranty don’t you? If you don’t or haven’t thought about it yet, consider this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and figure out which warranty method would be bested suited to you and your company.
Once in a while, lawn care jobs bigger than you can handle will appear. When they do, you need to think about what it would take to service such properties. Do you have the man power to perform the work? Do you have the mowing equipment? If not, do you have the money to be able to scale up to take on the job? Here is a discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum in which one entrepreneur ponders if he should take on a much larger job than he is used to.
The longer you are in business, the more you learn the importance of being able to handle those weeks. You know which weeks I am talking about. The ones where everything goes wrong. The weather turns foul. Your equipment dies. Repair bills are through the roof. Customers drop you. Sometimes it seems like it just keeps on getting worse and worse. But if you are prepared, you should be able to make it through unscathed where others might just quit and go back to having a day job. Here is a great discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on how to handle those weeks.
Expanding your lawn care company from a one man / crew operation to a two man crew or more, is a delicate process. Human nature needs to be taken into account once you start paying employees you aren’t able to immediately supervise and send them off in their own landscape truck. You need to have a firm grasp of what you are doing before you do it, otherwise you will create an inefficient and potentially destructive mess. Here is a discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum that explains in more detail which steps needs to be taken and how to take them in order to make this process flow smoothly.
Here is a situation that not every new lawn care business owner will run into. However, the lesson learned in this story can be applied to everyone. The importance of communication and holding firm to your price of performing a job, is the cornerstone to running a successful company. As we will see from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, you need to solve pricing problems sooner than later. If there is a miscommunication, it needs to be addressed before a small problem becomes a big one.
Big box stores are seem to be everywhere you go. They offer a wide variety of products too. But as a landscape professional, should you be buying your materials and plant products from them? Are their prices the best you can get or are there other, better alternatives? That is what one entrepreneur wondered when he asked his question on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. He wanted to find out if he was on the right path or if he could be saving himself more time and money by purchasing materials in bulk from other locations.
Licenses are created to regulate industries, to train and educated people to operate under the current legal guidelines, and to raise revenue for the state. Regulating too much can lead to over-regulation. When that happens, people either decide not to t comply with the laws or they just avoid getting into industries that they feel are over regulated. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum we hear from one entrepreneur that learns he needs license to perform the jobs he is already selling and that forces him to reconsider what he is doing.
Depending on your skill set, time available, and the tools you have at your disposal, you may find building your own landscape trailer to be more fun and cheaper than going out and buying one already made. That is what this one entrepreneur did on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. He shared with us a little about the process, the time it took, and the amount of money he spent. In the end, he got exactly what he wanted at half the price he would have paid retail for such a trailer.