Biggest lawn care business start up mistakes.

When you get your lawn care business started there are plenty of things that can go wrong. Are you buying the wrong mower? What about your landscape trailer. How about your lawn care marketing plan? Consider the following problems other lawn care business owners went through and learn from their mistakes. I asked this question on the GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Forum. What were the biggest mistakes you made starting out and what do you wish you could have done differently?

lawn care business mistakes

lawn care business mistakes

Justin: “The first mistake I made was buying a crappy trailer. Second was not getting a zero turn mower.

The fact that I use a tractor at the moment to mow lawns, maybe if I would have borrowed the money for a zero turn, maybe I would be probably debt free now and making money with my lawn care business.”

Mike: “Here is one I can come up with. I purchased a Ram 1500 6 ft. bed for my lawn care business. It was doing fine until my lawn care customers started asking for other services. Landscaping, Hardscape and etc…

Next purchase will be a small dump truck.”

Chuck: “A commercial ZT lawn mower easily doubles (if not more) the productivity of a residential grade tractor mower. It does a better job, faster with a lot less driver fatigue. I’ve found with every upgrade that made me faster, I ended up with blank space in my schedule at 1st. You have time on your hands so you get creative on the advertising & marketing instead of just working. Every time, I’ve found ways to fill the schedule in again. More work = more money. Then I upgrade again, more equipment, more employees etc. This spring should be more everything. Time for a 2nd lawn mowing crew! I could just as easily still be a one man lawn care operation today running the residential tractor I had for my lawn prior to opening up the business. I’d be working my butt off on like 20 lawn care accounts for a little money. Instead I went big & grew big (Still growing at around 120 lawn care accounts currently.) The adage “takes money to make money” does to some extent apply here in this industry too.

Sorry to go off on a tangent but I think it accuratly explains the consequenses of working with inferior gear.”

Justin: “This is why I am looking to get a ZTR as fast as I can, but before that, I need to afford a truck that can pull my trailer so I can pull that ZTR. It takes money to spend money but my lawn care equipment is gonna have to be upgraded sometime in the near future.”

Chuck: “I understand the dilemma, Some may not have the financial means to do so right away & hey everyones gotta start somewhere right? But to build your lawn care business quickly it takes a little financial risk & investment. Ya know if I have to bet my hard earned money on something, betting on myself & my performance is a good bet for me anyday! So yeah I extended some money on the bet I could make the business fly, if it failed it would have been my fault & my fault alone so it was a safe bet for me. My family’s welfare was on the line, I don’t fail under pressure.”

Hoss: “I think one of the biggest mistakes for any new landscaping business is not advertising enough. The biggest advertising you can do is put your name on your trailer and truck. Every time you go out and do something whether it be a job or just take a drive you will be an advertising machine. Every new lawn care business has to take advantage of this.

You have to be in all your local phone books. The ad size is up to you and how much your willing to spend but at least get your number in there. As far as tracking where your customers come from. I normally ask the customer how did you hear about us or you can put codes on your advertising or get a couple phone lines. Have 1 line for the phone book 1 line for your vehicle ads and 1 line for any flyers you put out.”

Keith: “One mistake was spreading myself too thin both geographically and in the services offered.

My first year in the lawn care business I accepted clients all over town. I even had customers 25+ miles away. Travel time can kill a lawn care business. In addition to wasting time and gas, the downtime of being in your truck knocks you off your stride.

Also, I think lawn care business owners should focus on a small number of services offered. I am sure most people here have been asked to put up mailboxes and tighten outdoor light fixtures. There is nothing wrong with making extra money during winter with these add-ons but taking time away from your standard services can be time consuming. Have you ever agreed to install a mailbox not realizing you don’t have the right tools (two flat head screwdrivers and not a philips in sight) in your truck. A “quick” $25 job can turn into 90 minutes of frustration. During that time you could have done two residential lawns. If you’re going to offer these services, make sure you have all the tools and the know-how to complete the job efficiently.”

Richard: ” 1. Buying a 2WD truck (should have spent the extra money and got 4×4)
2. Buying a wider trailer. The max deck size I can put on my trailer is 52″
3. Not giving myself enough time for the office. I exhausted myself in the field and couldn’t concentrate in the office. This year I will be delegating more office work to my office manager (wifey).”

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Check out the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum for great prices on new and used lawn care equipment:

Chain Saw


Garden Tools

Hedge Trimmer

Lawn Aerator

Leaf Blower

Leaf Vacuum

Mower Blades

Mower Ride On

Mower Walk Behind

Multi Attachment Trimmers

Pole Saw

Pressure Washer

Salt Sand Spreader

Shop Tools

Snow Blower

Snow Plow

Stick Edger

String Trimmer

Stump Grinder


Tractor Attachment


Trailer Landscape Racks

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