Are you mowing angry?

Are you ‘mowing angry’ during the day? Is your mowing schedule full and yet you find you are not making the profit you thought you would be? In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from entrepreneurs who have gone through multiple phases in their business and came to the realization on what they had to do to actually hit their profit goals and stop mowing angry.

One lawn care business owner wrote “when you first started your lawn maintenance company, you probably took any job that came your way. Regardless of how minimal the payoff was, you were proud to have been hired. You believed that obtaining any client meant success.

This false feeling of success had driven you into a trap. Your mowing schedule is finally booked and yet you are now feeling: exhausted, stressed, anxious, and even guilty. You have too much work for yourself, but not enough money to hire a helper. This doesn’t make sense to you.

You are beginning to think that you will need to obtain more clients, but you’ve now become too discouraged to even bother. The thought of how happy your clients are with you is the only thing that keeps you going. You take pride in the idea of being liked by your clients, and that makes you feel as though you are doing the right thing.

Over time, you finally begin to realize that you aren’t achieving anything. You started your company in order to make good money, but now it feels as though you would be better off working for someone else. You have even let the quality of your work slip because you felt the passion to provide quality slip away.

You start to question yourself, “where did I go wrong?”.

The truth…

  • You have a lot of work, because you are cheap.
  • You have no money, because you are cheap.
  • Your clients only like you, because you are cheap.
  • Your willingness to provide quality work has vanished, because you are cheap.

Once you figure this out, you realize that you are going to have to start fresh. You are going to have to confront your clients and let them know that your price has gone up, and this time, they wont even bother hiring you again.

You have most likely wasted a season or more waiting for this business related life lesson to come out of hiding, but at least you now know what needs to be done.

When running your business you now know the following…

  1. You are a business man, not a savior.
  2. It is not a loss if you are too expensive for some people.
  3. Most favors will now cost your clients extra, you are not a charity – and you need to eat!
  4. You choose to avoid offering service for those who will burden you with guilt or cause you any amount of stress. You really don’t need them!
  5. You call the shots, not your clients.

You now have good paying customers, and more time to provide quality work for them. The passion for what you do has come back, and you are feeling a lot more confident. You are FINALLY getting what you deserve. It takes a little bit longer to obtain clients, but it’s WORTH THE WAIT!!!”

A second lawn care business owner added “you make very good points. I’d rather work one day a week and make $500 profit than burn myself out working everyday for $1,000 profit.

When I look at my gross numbers from year 1 and 2. The business grew about 25% but my profit was 50% higher. I also worked less on year 2 and had more help.

It wasn’t hard to figure out I was getting better jobs at better prices. I turn down as much work as I take now. Some don’t understand that but you know a **** job when you see it.”

A third shared “I figured this out in my first season. (last year) I saw that my mowing schedule was filled with low-paying jobs and that if I were to make more money, I’d need to work longer hours, or drop the low-pays and replace them with better jobs.

That process has begun this year. I haven’t dropped anyone yet, but any of the slots that have opened due to a client moving, or things of that nature have been ‘reserved’ for jobs that pay more. I’ve passed on a lot of crappy properties this season. Sure, I could use the money, but it does me no good to lock myself into a commitment where I’m ‘mowing angry’ because I (a) hate the property, or (b) know I could be making more elsewhere.
I’ve also successfully added clients that DO pay more. It takes longer, but it’s SO much nicer to know you are being paid what you are worth.

Some of the problems related to getting ’stuck’ with low-pay jobs when starting out is dictated by the equipment you use. I started with a 21″ push mower and there is a threshold that you hit when you realize you can’t make ANY profit by taking on a lawn that eats up too much of your time.

You can get $40 for a lawn that takes you 45 minutes to an hour to cut and someone with better equipment can get that same lawn finished in 15-20 minutes and still get paid the $40. There are only so many hours in a day and your equipment dictates how much you can do and what types of lawns you can take on.

I’ve added a 36″ walk behind mower this year. It hasn’t improved my time as much as I had hoped, but this is partially due to the fact that my lawns are better suited for push mowing. Hilly, uneven, obstacle-ridden… you need to take on properties that allow you to work efficiently with the equipment you use.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.”

If you need help estimating lawn care or snow plowing jobs, get these lawn care and snow plowing estimation calculators.

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The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
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