Your first year of business tends to be so full of new experiences and surprises that you don’t have much time for planning. Every step you take forwards is difficult because you don’t have the benefit of years of experience behind you. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one entrepreneur who put together a plan to help himself find success. Some of the ideas he shares may help you in the creation of your own plans.
One new lawn care business owner wrote “I’ve been working in the lawn care industry for the last 7 years. I graduated college with a degree in horticulture a few years ago. This year I had the opportunity to to move out of state and start a franchise lawn care company. We do fertilizer sprays/weed control/insect/disease controls, fungicides, and a few odds and ends like aeration and small pruning. I have my chemical applicator’s license to perform this. We don’t offer mowing, irrigation, or installs.
My first season just finished up (all rounds completed). It’s just me here right now doing all the work and this will probably stay the same for the next year or two. This season I grossed $ 25,000 and have around 100 customers. It’s not bad but I was hoping for more my first year. I did get started late though. When I got setup and finally started going it was around March/April. Next year will be my first official ‘FULL’ season.
When it come to customer service and technical stuff like chemical mixing I’m 100% confident. I have my rounds and season scheduled for next year. I want to go bigger though. I need to be making more money.
In order to do this, I have created some expansion plans that I would like to share. I sent out a bid proposal letter to local property management companies and apartments. This involved around 100 letters. The mailing included a professional letter which promoted my services, a business card, and one of my commercial brochures. I used a mailing list site to target the the top grossing members of this group.
Next February I’m going to use the same strategy to reach out to local landscaping companies to see if I can get some subcontract work. I am planning on distributing around 20,000-25,000 door hangers next spring between March-June. In between all that I am going to try and service the local AAA baseball field in exchange for advertising (sign on the outfield wall, maybe some radio mentions too).
For my current customers, I am going to mail a timed postcard for spring services ex: 2 weeks before I end aeration for the year, I will send customers w/o aeration a postcard. I’ll do the same for tree fertilization, fungicide, insect/disease control, and vegetation control application customers.
I will also make cold calls in the spring (early March) mostly following up on old leads and call back current customers to try and make upsells. I will probably be calling new resident as well, pending the amount of available time I have. I will be joining the chamber of commerce who will be sending me a monthly list of new residents.
I’ve tried to meet as many people as I can. I want to attend more local meet and greet events and pass out business cards. I joined my state’s Landscape Contractors Assoc. and have gotten to know quite a few members in the group.
Last season and this coming year I will participate in the local annual Home and Garden Show. The previous year’s show paid for itself by about 5x times! Plus it’s a good way for a new company to showcase my product and it let’s me introduce myself to tons of people.
As far as the franchise setup that I got involved with, it is the type you buy into. Basically you purchase the franchise and then you have the rights to use the name/products/services in your area. The franchise gives you access to marketing/sales materials…training…business structure…etc. There is a 6% royalty I pay. That fee to the franchise gives me access to discounts on trucks, products (our brand name weed control/chemicals cost less than what most people can buy generics for) it also includes TV spots in the spring, local advertising, and a huge marketing database. I have a database of over 60,000 (names, addresses, phone #’s) in my area. Plus there is a huge level of support from other franchisees.
I am on a first name basis with most of the owners in my geographic region. They are like a family, which is awesome. It’s great to have a support structure like these guys.
With all these marketing ideas and business plans in place I really hope next year will take me to a new level and make all this effort worthwhile.”
Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.