Beginner lawn care business mistakes to avoid.

Here are a few tips from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on how to improve your mowing operation by streamlining the time spent at each customer’s property. As a business owner, you need to be as productive as possible and knowing which services yield the biggest bang for the buck and which don’t can help you on your pathway towards maximizing your profits.

One lawn care business owner said “I’d like to point out a beginner mistake most new mowing companies make that I made too. It’s bagging grass. Time is money, so to save time and streamline your operation, you don’t want t0 bag grass clippings. Instead you should be mulching your clippings. If the customer requests that you do bag the clippings, make sure you are charging a premium to cover the cost of all that extra work.

Bagging lawns takes a lot more time than is required to get a good looking lawn. The only people that need to be bagging are golf courses. Almost all my mowers have been converted to dedicated mulchers. Any new mower I purchase are mulchers right off the line. A lawn looks better when the clippings are mulched and it is easier to do. Also mulching grass clippings is better for the turf.

When you remove grass clippings you are actually taking away a natural fertilizer from your customer’s lawn. Grass clippings return nutrients into the lawn. So when you leave them it’s better for the lawn as long as you only cut about a quarter of the blade!”

A second lawn care business owner added “I have a few rich customers who think it is ok to grow 7 inches of grass every week. I mow them on Friday and bag most of their lawns. It has helped me grow in this one area. I now have 8 customers and am looking to add another 3-4 from ones who talked to me last year but were already committed to another mowing company. I do charge extra for bagging, but it only comes out to about $5 per week. For me, it really doesn’t take any longer to bag because I can single cut instead of double cut. This area I am servicing borders up against a private golf course. I worked out a deal with the superintendent to get permission to dump my grass in an area right there. This gives me the best of both worlds. I have a dump insert in my truck, so I just fill it up and dump it nearby. If dumping wasn’t a problem everywhere else I think I would do it more often.”

A third shared “homeowners love bagging for some reason here in my area. Most of my mowing customers want it done, but if I can dump it on their property, I don’t charge extra. Only with a couple of customers do I have to haul it off.

At the start of the season I will bag everybody the first couple of times anyway just to collect the extra junk that accumulated from late fall through the winter. I’m going to make an effort at steering my customers away from it this season. I’ll be experimenting with mulch blades this year and see what the results are. ”

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