A leaf job that just grew.

Knowledge is power and as we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, the more you know, the better you can sell. In this example, one entrepreneur was able to take a basic leaf cleanup on one yard, and turn it into a 3 yard job worth $469 all completed in 3.5 hours. From there he was able to sign up additional fertilizer treatments in the future. So is it worth while spending a little extra time each day reading able lawn care? I’d say so.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I did a job this morning where the homeowner wanted leaves removed. When I got there I found a yard covered with oak leaves. The temperature here has been in the 90’s for the last 4 days (supposed to be 95 today), so the leaves were dry.

After looking over the yard I suggested that it would be better to mulch the leaves and apply a liquid dethatcher and liquid sulfur. I explained that the leaves would put nutrients back into the lawn when they decomposed and that the biological dethatcher would hasten that. I then told him I could, at the same time, add a soil activator and liquid sulfur to lower his lawn’s pH.

The customer told me that he was told to raise his pH to 7.0 or above and asked me why I said he should lower it. I told him that he had Centipede grass and the ideal pH for it was 5.0, with a range of 4.0 to 6.0 and I showed him a chart that backed up what I was saying. He then told me that the local big box store garden department told him that all grasses grew best at 7.0 to 7.5 and asked what else I would do. Would I fertilize? Put an insecticide on it? A weed killer?

I told him that Centipede needed only minimal nitrogen and no phosphorous or potassium. The N-P-P on the fertilizer packages and that ‘Weed and Feed’ would do more harm than good. Most lawn weeds liked pH of 7.0 or above. Such a treatment would greatly reduce lawn weeds. The sulfur has a greening affect on the grass.

He said go ahead with my recommendation. I used a 40% fertilizer, 40% biological dethatcher, and 20% liquid sulfur after mowing with mulching blades on my tractor. The yard was about 5,000 sq. ft. I quoted him $25.00 for mulching and $140.00 for applying the chemicals for a total of $165.00 + tax.

While I was doing the yard he went to talk to two of his neighbors and I got both of them to sign up with my services too. To thank him for the referrals, I gave him the mulching for free and only charged him $140.00 + tax. I made $469 and my material (chemical) costs were less that $20.00, and got orders for further fertilizer / lawn treatment service every 5 weeks. For about what I would have had to charge for the leaf removal this customers got a lot healthier lawn.

The 3 jobs took me about 3.5 hours total and of course I left business cards and referral cards with each of them.

I think the garden center people he talked to weren’t trained properly. Until I really got into the business, I also thought that all turf grasses required a neutral pH. Like them, I thought grass was grass. I didn’t know that most lawn weeds preferred a pH above 7.0 and that lower soil pH inhibits weed growth without chemical herbicides.

A little knowledge goes a long way to your clients as long as your facts are correct. The more knowledgeable you are, the more credible you are, the better you can sell, and ultimately make more money.”

A second lawn care business owner said “that’s great news. The more new clients we pick up the bigger our network grows. I love it when new clients or even current ones are out selling our services, sure saves me a pile of time and if you note, when the client does the selling, you will get the job every time.

Today I went to do a spring clean up that starts at $35 then ended up doing the beds edged and cultivated. As I started talking to the customer, he was saying he felt his lawn was not that great. I told him about aeration and he was sold. Thicker greener lawn $50 more as well as some spring fertilizer with slow release. That was an additional $35 for the application and $15 for the bag of fertilizer.”

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