Marketing to your social network is a great way to find new lawn care jobs. All too often, new lawn care business owners spend a ton of money trying to reach out to people they don’t know when they could spend a lot less to gain customers from people they do know. Here is a great example of that from a discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
One lawn care business owner rote “I am just starting up a small lawn care business around my neighborhood as a side job while I go to college. I’m studying to be an engineer and figured this would be a very flexible job considering I can make my own hours. I had cut lawns in the past when I was a little younger and made some good money as a high school student. This time around though, I am looking to take it to a higher level.
The other day, I got an insider tip about a local bid that is needed. I found out through my sister who is a member of a home owner’s association board, that they are looking to replace their current lawn care service provider due to shoddy workmanship. She suggested that I submit a formal proposal to the HOA but I’m not entirely sure how to do that. I’d assume they would want grass cutting, edging, and small landscaping. This my first time submitting a commercial lawn care proposal so I am completely lost.”
A second lawn care business owner suggested “with your sister being on the board it would be wrong for her to tell you what price they are shooting for. This would most likely be a violation of their convents and bylaws. Now on the other hand, being that your sister lives in the HOA neighborhood, she will receive monthly, quarterly, bi yearly or yearly balance sheets or profit & loss budget. You can visit her as a brother and ask to see those sheets and review them. Look for categories like landscape maintenance, irrigation repair/maintenance, fertilization/pest/weed control, tree trimming and mulch landscape. This will give you a break down of what the costs were for the association during those times.
Before you go about attempting to put together a proposal you should first ask and take a tour of the property with the president of the board. Find out the locations of every job that is going to be required of you. If you are behind houses, ask how close they expect you to cut to the owners property lines. If there are waterways or retention ponds, are you to mow to the water line and would you need to line trim around the entire water? Are you expected to replace dead or damaged sod at cost plus labor? In maintenance of the sprinkler system, do you run it monthly and fix what needs to be fixed or can you sub-contract that out? This can be a costly service and a great money maker.
How often and where will you have to mulch? Will they be requiring new mulch at entrance ways, parks, around trees, shrubs, beds, signs etc.? What about how often would you need to replant flowers/plants? How often to trim trees, remove dead limbs or whole trees? Would you need to plant annuals or perennials? Can you sub out fertilization as part of the proposal?
I have been burned by this before when I was first making that jump to commercial customers so I have a better idea now where you can get stuck. You need to make sure that you are on the same page with the HOA and fully understand what is expected of you and what you expect from them. Also ask if there is a management company that helps the HOA. Networking with them could bring you more jobs in the future. Bring a note pad to takes a lot of notes and a camera/video device to assist you in ensuring that you have it documented.
Be organized and look professional. You may not get the job but this will be a great experience for you. Be prepared and donâ€™t bite off more then you can chew. If it seems like too much for you to handle, walk away and go for smaller, more easily manageable lawn care accounts.”