There are many ways to grow your lawn care business. Should you do it by buying more lawn care equipment? What about by hiring more lawn care employees. Or how about by increasing your lawn care marketing budget and working as many customers as you can by yourself? That is what one lawn care business owner was wondering when he wrote to us about his situation on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
He said “I want to continue to grow my lawn care business. So far this year, I have mowed some of my client’s properties but not all. Some of their lawns have yet grow any grass. The thing I am wondering is at what point do I hire some lawn care employees and at one point do I start buying more lawn care equipment? I am sure that I can handle the mowing in the summer, myself. However, I have seasonal work that I need help with. I am thinking that it would be nice to have a lawn care employee to call if I got sick to pick up my slack. My business is sound and I have a good reputation around town, but I am not sure on my next step for growth. What do you guys think?”
A second lawn care business owner said “now is a great time depending on where you are to add extra lawn care services if you can afford it. Fertilization, seeding etc. will get the lawns growing faster and get you back mowing.
As far as the lawn care equipment goes, if you have something that is working for you now and getting the job done then use it. I had the money when I started out and spent lots of money on equipment that I am not using. I am sure that as I grow I will use it but that money could have been better spent on lawn care marketing and what not. Also if you have seasonal work that you need a certain piece of equipment for, why not see about renting it? It can get expensive to rent but if you buy it for $3,000 to $5,000 dollars and use it only 2 or 3 times what good is that?
It would be nice to have someone else to call if you are sick. I have always worried about that since I started. But if I can’t make it, I simply reschedule the job. Most of my lawn care customers are on contracts and so it doesn’t matter if I am there on Monday or Friday as long as sometime during the week it gets done. As I add more clients I sometimes change their schedules around to make it convenient for me but I always leave them a note or send them an email to let them know what day their lawn will be done. Some of them look forward to coming home on a certain day and seeing their lawn shine.
I have been doing lawn care and landscaping for a long time and I feel that you should hire someone to help you out first if you have the work. One can mow while the other trims and blows. This way you can see how they work and if you like working with them. With 2 of you doing the job it will go quicker and you can make room in your schedule for more yards. If you find someone you like then I would potentially scale up and get more equipment and potentially send them out on their own while you are out getting more clients. But you have to make sure you are actively doing things to gain new lawn care clients then.
I have seen plenty of lawn care businesses falter at this stage. What happens is the expansion faze turns into a lazy faze. You run the risk at this point of hiring help to do everything you don’t want to do and it becomes a huge mistake because you just unplug from your business.
Looking back, I now see that what I would have done differently. First I would wait to see what type of work I was getting from all my lawn care marketing. I bought a lot of tools thinking that I would be able to do anything and everything. However I have been doing mostly lawn maintenance for years now and don’t need the other tools. If I had that money still in my savings account, it would be earning interest for me until I needed it to buy tools, or some opportunity came along that I could jump on if I had cash in hand.
So think twice about your expansion plans before you put them into action. There may be upside to your plan but there may be downsides as well. Think them through.”
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