For every ten lawn care businesses that fail, a few will succeed. Those few successful lawn care business will have persevered and pushed through rough spots other lawn care businesses might not have had the strength, know how, or funding to get past. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one of those successful lawn care business owners as he shares some tips with us on how he found success.
He wrote “my lawn care company is relatively small but it keeps me busy. I work with one crew member to perform the daily mowing. When the season is going, we got a lot of work on our plate. We have 42 regular lawn care customers (10 of which are commercial accounts) and we are also doing HUD properties in a 4 county area on a bi-weekly schedule. Right now we are taking care of 15 properties for HUD.
None of this just happened over night because I wished it to happen, it came about thanks to hard work and persistence. I often hear the struggles many new lawn care business owners go through and I would venture to guess a lot of those struggling, give up before they even get started. For those that push onwards, I wanted to share some of the business lessons I learned that helped me push through and find success.
Believe it or not the majority of our lawn care customers came from us keeping fliers up around town at the grocery stores and about 70% came from us keeping an ad on CraigsList every week. We did experiment with other lawn care marketing by running ads in our local papers but I think that we only got 2 customers that said they saw our ad in the paper. (I ALWAYS ASK HOW THEY FOUND OUT ABOUT US).
Lawn Care Business lessons that I have learned so far:
1. You do not need brand new equipment.
Don’t waste your money going out spending big bucks on equipment you don’t need. We started the first year with a used and beat up 42″ cut 22 HP Husquvarna mower and a 42″ cut 20 HP Craftsman. (I already had the Husquvarna rider and we purchased the Craftsman rider from a friend of mine who works at our locale Stihl Dealership here. It was traded in by a lady who bought it new and she wanted a ZTR mower instead.
The only equipment I did purchase new was 2 FS45 trimmers and a FS80 Brush Cutter. I already had a Stihl Hand Held Blower and a Craftsman Back Pack Blower. I plan on using them until they fall apart on me.
2. DO NOT UNDER BID!!!!!!!!!!!!
We have a lot of competition here during the lawn mowing season. We advertise that we don’t just mow your yard “WE CARE FOR YOUR YARD”. We do a lot more than just mow grass. As far as I am concerned the name of the game is SERVICE. With better service, you can charge more per service.
3. Watch how far you travel to do jobs.
If you have to travel 30 miles to do one job, you are probably going to lose money (unless it is a big commercial job). Having said that, always try to pick up more work in that same area on the same day to make it worth your while.
4. Love what you do.
I love doing this kind of work and so does my employee. Because I am so into this, I spend a lot of time thinking about where I want to take my lawn care business. With the time I spend I already have revised my business plan ahead well into next year. I have my ads designed and out for the fall lawnÂ care clean ups and to help sign up customers for next year.
5. Work your social network.
If you sit down and list the people you know, I bet you would be amazed to find how big your social network is. Each one of those people either live or work somewhere lawn care is needed or know someone that needs it. Through friends of mine, I was able to learn about a bunch of commercial properties out for bid. I now have bid sheets from three big commercial lawn care jobs for next year. These bids have to be turned in by November 1, for all three of these and I think we have a really good shot at getting 2 of them. If we get these commercial jobs I will expand over the winter and probably set up another 2 man crew to help us.
I am looking forward to next year, but am also keeping focused on the rest of this year as well. We have had a GREAT past year so far, and I am expecting next season to be even better.
Try implementing these lawn care business tips and see if they help you improve your lawn care business as well.”
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