Nothing helps us learn how to be successful than to hear stories from those who have found success and then ask them how they did it. A new lawn care business owner shared with us his story on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on how he went from 3 to 20 lawn care customers in all of 3 months. I was able to talk with him and get some insights as to how he did it. I hope this discussion really helps you grow your lawn care business.
He wrote “I just opened up my very own lawn business. I am very fortunate to have opened it when I did, because my first few months I have seen a jump in clientele. I first got started in the lawn care business by working with my father doing property maintenance at his home building company. My job included mowing all of his model homes and properties. I serviced 25 properties for 3 years. As I worked for him, together we set up a lawn trailer including a Toro 52″ z-turn, John Deere 48″ walk behind and assorted sticks edgers and trimmers, and back pack blowers. So having all of this equipment in my hands I decided to start my own company and expand it past his properties. At the same time I started leasing his equipment from him.
This made it very easy to start since I did not have to go out and purchase most of this equipment in one lump sum. I have the experience of cutting grass, but it’s with the buisness side I need to become an expert on to make lots of money. That is what has brought me to this forum. I have learned a lot just by reading others comments. I have a few ideas of my own and have a lot of motivation to make my company prosperous.”
You sound like you have a fantastic foundation and are off to a great start, can you tell us a little about your view on growing your lawn care business?
He responded “A lot of people have different philosophies about how to run there company and here are just some of mine.
1. My start up phase -
The first thing I did other than put numbers together and get my licensing and insurance was to start spreading the word. I told every person (and still do) about the services I provide (spelled out below). From my parents to the grocery store clerk, I told every person I came in contact with. The first month I opened with 3 accounts, now in my 3rd month I have 20. ALL WORD OF MOUTH.
I had a buddy of mine meet with me to go over logos and flyers and so forth, low budget marketing items, such as business cards. Business cards are probably the number one item ANY business person should never leave the shop without. I spread the word EVERYWHERE I GO. WORD OF MOUTH IS MY NUMBER 1 MARKETING TECHNIQUE. It goes much further than a piece of paper.
2. Professional Image -
This item I think gets over looked because of the common excuse that it’s a dirty job. My state is littered with lawn care companies and you can’t go down the road with out seeing at least 3 rigs. Even though 10 passed me, I remembered only 3 because they looked good. But I think it’s very important to BE and look professional.
I went to Target and bought these Champion duo dry shirts (one they are cheap, two they are pleasant to work in, and three they look very professional.) I got my logo and and phone number put on them, and you would be surprised how a property owner reacts (especially in high end neighborhoods) when they see a professional looking company making there lawn look PROFESSIONALLY done.
3. Foundation -
Since I am a one man show (right now) I am using this short time to allow myself to build my foundation. And what I mean by that is my systems, from the first phone call to the last blade of grass getting blown off at the end of the month. I am learning ways to keep the business organized. Right now I have put together an estimating form that includes questions of for the property so I have them right there on paper instead of in my head.
Questions like, dimensions, objects, what I call supporting events, like do I have to weed eat a ditch? (time consuming items). This form is the first thing that goes into the property file. One just in case I get sick or something happened to me that someone else had to run it, they would have ALL the information there to go out and do our daily routes. Right now my foundation is still being built and once established I can start building my business.
4. Estimating and Service -
I am very flexible right now with my estimating, but I have a bottom line. And I don’t go below it, nobody should. Now since I am starting this company I have been very low on my estimates just to get it off the ground. I’m still making a profit, but not what I should. If some one asks me to go lower, I kindly tell them that I would be basically paying them to do there work and I wont do that, that is not why I work. So STICK TO YOUR GUNS. And honestly once I explain that I still get the job.”
I think a lot of new business owners dont realize how important word of mouth marketing is. What advice do you have for others who haven’t been able to get into self promoting themselves yet?
“I like catching neighbors when they are outside and say to them, “see how nice I keep your neighbor’s lawn? I can do the same for you.” I then give them a business card in hand.”
He shared with us some very fascinating insights. I hope these thoughts and concepts help you grow.
Watch GopherHaul 38 Lawn Care Business Marketing Show - How to get 20 new lawn care customers.
Listen to the GopherHaul 38 Podcast