Trying to generate positive cash flow is very difficult for any new business early on. Offering many additional services can be a way to prime the pump and get all the gears of your business working. But there is a point that some believe you need to stop offering those additional services that are not yard related and focus more on what you know. Stick with what you are good at because that is where you will make the most profits.
A member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum shared with us his view on this point. “When I first started out I would do what ever I could to make a dollar. I don’t need to do that now though. I now have a reputation as a very good landscaper and that was the goal. If you can show me just one landscape company that brings in $5 million a year that’s willing to do just any kind of additional service then I might change my mind. They may have subsidiaries but you won’t see the big boys offering to side your home. I like to specialize in my trade and not everyone elses trade, that’s where the money is at for me.
At first I would build decks, fences, dig up plants, pressure wash, or anything I could get my hands on. The key is putting yourself out there. Let all your clients know how you could improve their property. They probably don’t know you can do what you can do. If a client needs landscaping then draw up something and let them know how you can make it look. I don’t ask but I enjoy designing so I just do it then give it to them. Make sure that you do this for clients not customers.
A client trusts you and will use you for any thing they can. A customer is someone your doing work for but they have no problem using someone else. If your clients love your work they will tell their friends.”
Do you ever find yourself creating a landscape design and presenting to your clients if they don’t ask for anything, just if you are inspired to do it? If so, does that ever work? Can you land jobs that way? Or should you first wait for them to ask you to offer them a design idea?
“That’s exactly what I do. That is why I said they have to be clients not customers. If you do that for a customer you run the risk of them taking bids on your design. But a good client will keep it and if they decide to go forward then it’s your job. Yes I have landed jobs this way. Even if they don’t want it right then they always have that design in their mind every time they come home or have guest over. They know it looks bad and you can fix it. I would do something basic and then try to up sell them on a better job. You know just the bones at first and the frills when they want to talk.”
How much of a difference have you found you can charge a client from a basic design to a more elaborate one?
“Well I like to work with what they have in mind for a budget. I’ve started a job at $1,200 and ended up at $3,200. That job was done in 2 days and $1,200 in material.
If you lay out just a single hedge row in smaller hedges then show the client what it would look like with larger hedges as an upsell it isn’t that hard to make more money. The bulk of the money is in the hedges so when they see how much nicer it is for just a few hundred more they usually go for it.”
Focusing more on lawn care and landscaping services as you grow can really help you improve your bottom line. Keep your eye out for ways you could improve a client’s property. Create some sort of design and share with your client how their yard could look if only they hired you to create this new landscape design.