A very interesting question that came up on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum was does your lawn care company have a signature service? Now you may take a moment and think to yourself, what does that mean? It’s a service your company provides that it excels at and does an outstanding job with. If you don’t have one, after reading this discussion, you may want to review all the services you provide and work on being known for your own signature service.
One lawn care business owner wrote “I am curious as we all do a host of yard care type work, what is it you do that you love to do and when you look at the results you smile? And hopefully quite often the client does as well.
What I enjoy and look forward to doing other than the usual is hedge trimming and mulch jobs. I know a lot of you say WHAT, how can that be??? But I take pride when I finish a hedge job and it looks great. I mean the edges are sharp and the height is matching. If they have entrance ways in the hedge I like shaping it to look like it belongs with the entrance. With one of my jobs I use different heights to make it look like it has towers at the ends.
As for the mulch jobs, I try to go over board. I tend to use 4ā€¯ of mulch so it is deep and rich looking. I build an edge along the grass that stands up and when you lay down the mulch it blends into the scenery and stands out. I try to match the color of the mulch to go along with the color scheme of the house. I use natural, dark red and hardwood bark. Hardwood bark gives it a rich look and is easy to use.
The reward for me, other than pride, is the fact that my clients love the end product and I can make good money doing these jobs. I charge by the hour for my trimming jobs and each job takes on average about 5 hours. Mulch I try to charge @ $60 per hour plus materials. I buy the mulch in bulk and pick it up. That saves money. I get mulch for $20 per yard and half. My mark up is 25% on all goods. I quote the client a total job price and not by the hour. My good friend owns the mulch company and I refer other lawn care business owners to him for a good price. If I need more than 3 yards he will deliver it to me for $20 for any amount.
I know it labor intensive and sometimes back breaking but if you have been doing it as long as I have it comes easy.”
A second lawn care business owner wrote “for me, my signature service is grading driveways. It’s something I seem to have down pat and love to do. Tomorrow I have to rent a drive on compactor to do five driveways that I have done in the past week with grades that require a piece of equipment I do not have. It’s a 6,000 pound vibration compactor. It’s not something we would need very often so I booked multiple jobs together so we could do them all in one day as the rate is $400.00 a day for rental.
To me, this kind of work is interesting and I love to sell it to clients and develop relationships with them. That is the key to success in our business.
I use a box blade on the back of my tractor to grade the driveway, make it level and crown it. However after you do this, you still have to compact it. On a recent job I took on, 6 previous landscape companies in four years have tried to fix this customer’s road and all have failed. The grade is very, very steep. I worked yesterday making ditches along the edge of the road and will install 8″ drains in these ditches and cover with landscape fabric & 2″ rock. This will stop the road from washing out. Then I will grade the crushed granite on top, which is being delivered. It is expensive at around $750.00 a load, however if you compact it properly it becomes like concrete. Afterwards I will roll, the entire driveway to compact it.
Of all the driveways I have done this year I have only used crushed granite three times due to the cost. I could get away with using Class A gravel I think, however the homeowners said price is not an issue, and that they wanted it fixed the right way at any costs. Hearing that is magic to my ears as it means I can go overkill on the process and give them results that they will tell others about. In a years time, this driveway will still look just as good as it does when we finish today.
Having a signature service you can perform at a higher level than other competitors in your area, either due to artistic skill or knowledge, is a sure fire way to make your company stand out. It’s also a great way to charge a premium and make a higher profit margin than others. So look around you and find a service others have a difficult time performing and perfect the process to be great at it. Word of mouth will spread on your skills and new customers will beat a pathway to your door.”