A teen reflects on the mistakes he made with his lawn care business.

It is quite easy to get overwhelmed when running your business. This is especially true in the first year. But as we will see from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, it’s very important when things get frustrating, to take a step back, cool down and think things through. Otherwise, you may find yourself making a rash decision in a moment that you might later regret.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I started a lawn care company this past spring with my friend. Things weren’t going to good initially with him so I let him go and things slowly seemed to improve.

After a while all my temporary mowing accounts seemed to fall through. I lost one account because they moved and another received a riding mower as a fathers day gift. At that point, I became disillusioned just didn’t see the point in continuing. I was tired, my weed wacker had died for the last and final time, and my external hard drive crashed that held ALL of my company information.

Everything was lost. My customer records, invoice records, check copies,  receipt copies, expenses / payments, templates, general agreements etc. It was mid-summer and I just wasn’t thinking. Instead of saying ‘hey it’s the middle of summer and there are a ton of people out there tired of mowing and will be wanting someone to take over for them, never ran through my head.

So what did I do? I dropped all the rest of the accounts that I had. What a horrible mistake. I am now broke and hoping to restart for fall and next summer. I have no money for fall equipment so I’m stuck with a consumer grade leaf vac/blower and the push mower I’ve been using all year plus some rakes and a tarp. I am thinking I better not push this off any further and start advertising for fall.

I have had a great opportunity so far to learn a lot about the lawn care business that I want to share with others. Here are some that stand out.

  • Be as professional as possible. I did this and people were surprised when I showed up at their door, yet they had absolutely no problem with me being young since I was respectful and to the point.
  • Advertisement - you can make cheap company t-shirts from your computer that you can iron on. Print two flyers out with black text on 1 piece of colored paper and cut them in half. It’s cheap and very effective.
  • Tell your extended family and friends about your business. Make cheap business cards and hand out as many as possible.
  • Set aside a portion of your earnings for equipment etc. THIS IS A LIFE SAVER! Many teens get into this business to make money but when they have a job to perform and can’t because their equipment is broke down they won’t get very far.
  • Don’t lowball. Even though you can go lower than competitors because you are a teen and don’t have much overhead costs like rent bills etc. keep your prices competitive with what others in your area are charging and provide better service.
  • Start small so you’ll have more time to focus on a customer’s yard spending more time than a competitor who will rush through to the next.
  • Get a general agreement set in place. This way the customer knows what is required of them and they know what is required of you. They feel like you’re more professional when you use a contract.
  • Keep a back up of all your business data. Sure having one hard drive full of your documents is importand and extremely useful but if that crashes, so long business. You’ll lose everything.
  • Have a simple logo and a catchy name. A quick catchphrase never hurt anyone either.
  • Send out monthly questionnaires about how your service is and you will get great feedback harsh or not, it all helps a great deal.
  • If a customer leaves, send them a survey with the confirmation of his cancellation and ask if there was a problem and if it’s why he left. Then see if you can fix it. (I had one customer quit because he didn’t like the way I was in a hurry. I explained I had so many accounts in a day and I felt rushed as he was in the middle of my route. I asked if I could put him at the end of my day and I said I would slow my pace if he’d consider keeping me and he jumped right on it.) Little things make a big difference.
  • Create a website and put the address on your ads and cards.

And what ever you do, don’t give up! Think things through and don’t quit!”

Order the book “The Lawn Care Business Can Get Dirty, Ugly, And Mean.: Stories Of Survival And Success To Get You Through The Rough Times” today.

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success