Dealing with a late start in the year to get a lawn care business going.

No matter what time of year it is, new entrepreneurs are always concerned they may have missed out on some magical window of opportunity. As if once this opportunity is passed, they may not be able to get any customers at all. As we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, the best time to get your company started is always now, now, now. Sure there are some different marketing methods you may want to experiment with at different times of the year but it is always better to begin your journey as soon as possible.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I am new at this and looking at starting a landscape business for small-scale installs/renovations as well as single service items like planting, shrub trimming, leaf removal. I have experience in all this but I am sure not an established business in this field. So I have several questions/issues:

1) I know I am way late in the year but I am ready to make a go of it. I am designing flyers as I write this. Is it possible to get a solid start this late in the season? What, if any, is the best sure thing service to offer this time of the year? I do not want to do lawn maintenance as far as mowing/edging (not this year anyway) I am thinking leaf removal and fall/winter prep work.

2) Best way/place/avenue for securing via flyer delivery- residential and commercial contracts? I have read MANY of the marketing posts and viewed the flyers/hangers. My question is the nuts and bolts of success. Is it better to bag the flyer and hang and go OR knock and try to talk with potential clients at delivery? What about commercial customers? Should I just walk in and leave a flyer or try to speak with owner/manager??

3) The area I live in is full of upper middle class neighborhoods with homes priced at $250-$400K. As a result, there are many lawn care providers and many of them large. What edge beyond the obvious of superior service and excellent prices can be gained/used by a small operator to gain clients over the big guys…any ideas??”

A second lawn care business owner said “I would say why not experiment now and get a jump on next year. There are a bunch of free lawn care flyers you can use. One of them is the ‘make the switch’ flyer and around this time, people may be fed up with their current lawn care provider if they are doing a bad job and won’t switch until a better option comes along. So why not offer them a better option?

Why not jump in now and start mowing? It’s a great way to keep busy until fall when the leaves start coming down. You will then already have the customers to simply provide leaf cleanup for. It’s easier to sell more to your current customers than it is to find new customers. You can then also do gutter cleaning and potentially outdoor decorations. It is difficult to start up as a landscape installation/renovations business. The repeat business isn’t there with such work as it is with weekly lawn mowing. Those who offer installation/renovations have found a mixture of that with weekly lawn service to be ideal.

When it comes to marketing and sales, it’s better to go with quality than quantity when you have the time. The more people you meet and talk to as you hand out flyers, the better your chances are of landing jobs. If you simply put the flyer in the door, it will most likely be thrown out without a second thought.

If you get a chance to talk to people, you then have the opportunity to make an impression and make a sale. People would rather buy from others they know than those they don’t. Become someone they know and you improve your chances of making a sale.

I probably wouldn’t even bother with commercial right now until you get some residential jobs under your belt. Commercial jobs have a tendency to be larger and more involved.

What advantage can you go with to make yourself stand out? You are small and you can give personalized service. You can put your picture on your flyers and say something like get personalized lawn care service from me. I’m the owner. Then you sell yourself and that will make you stand out.”

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
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The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
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