We all wonder what are those successful lawn care business owners doing that makes them so successful? Sometimes a little tip here or there can really help get your business on the right track to make good money. A member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, shared with us some of his secrets and tips that have brought him so much success over his past two decades in business. He wrote us and said “I have been an entrepreneur all my life. For the past 19 years I have owned and operated my lawn care and landscaping business. My main focus for the past few years has been on expanding my landscaping division. I focus on patios, walls, irrigation and plant installs. I have learned many things over those years.¬† One lesson that is important to know is mowing is always a great business to be in, even when the economy slows because the grass will continue to grow. Landscaping tends to be profitable in good economic times and drops off when times are tough. Having a good base of lawn care customers is important to feed your landscaping jobs. Not only because your lawn care customers are great people to upsell landscape projects too, but they live in communities where their neighbors will see you out working and want you to improve their property as well.
I have had up to three hundred lawn maintenance accounts in my area. Marketing was never much of a challenge, because I knew everybody. That is very important. The more people you know, the more you can sell too. So you gotta get out there and meet people on a daily basis. Because of my networking, I haven’t had to do any further print advertising for the last 3 years to attract new clients. I do send out mailers & emails to my client base though, to keep in touch with them and offer seasonal services and upsells.
When you are looking to offer new services, such as hardscaping you need to be vigilant about taking before and after pictures of your hardscape projects. Over time, I developed a slideshow CD that I gave to all of my customers. Then I transitioned into having this portfolio uploaded onto a photo storage site, and I email it to customers upon first contact so that before I even meet them, they have seen my work. I also a national web marketing service that customers go to, to get a list of contractors in their area. This computer service charges you by the lead and it is well spent marketing money if you know how to sell once you get onto the property.
In the past I have found flyers are also a very effective to reach out into new communities. I had flyered one subdivision I live in and got three clients for $45,000.00 worth of work. The key to success with flyers is I will only use a full color flyer with pictures of our work on it. I believe this separates us from companies with cheaper looking flyers.
Ive had a lot of success bidding irrigation systems as well. I try to keep my billing simple and I charge $180 for rotars and $150 for sprays. On the jobs I’ve bid I have yet to lose one. I know that it is obvious that I need to look into raising my prices if I am landing every single job. I know I do a quality job with installing rain sensors, back flow preventers, etc. because I never get call backs. The job is done right the first time.
On irrigation repairs I charge $90 to replace a rotar and $75 to replace a spray. That is half of what I charge for an install. On pipe repair I charge minimum 2 hours labor at $35 an hour plus parts. My profit margins are good but at the same time I want to avoid being that company that overcharges.
It usually takes me three days to complete a new irrigation system regardless of size. I spend one day to trench and boar under sidwalks etc. The second day to pipe it out, attach heads wire up etc. The third day is spent filling trenches back in.
The way I charge it usually comes out close to $1,000 a zone. With the average irrigation system being 3 or 4 zones.
Most lawn care business owners don’t realize repair can be very easy work. You basically unscrew a faulty head, screw in the new one, and adjust it to spray properly. If you have the heads in your truck all you have to do is run a 2 min test per zone mark the faulty heads and replace which make take 15 minutes to replace and adjust the new one. It’s quick cash!”