It’s always a nice thing to have a family member teach you the secrets of running a lawn care business, especially when they are doing well with running their own business. If you aren’t lucky enough to have such guidance, the next best thing is to read advice from those that do. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum we see how one lawn care business owner found success by promoting niche services to gain a foothold in the lawn care business and then upsell his way to success.
He wrote “I got a little lawn care business advice from my father in law that has served me well and I want to share with you. For 40 years he ran a lawn care and landscaping business. He was the one who suggested to me that I should start my own. In the beginning he said don’t just promote a service everyone else offers or you will have to battle it out with them on price. Instead find a niche service that fewer provide. That niche service he started with and taught me to start with was hedge trimming. My father in law would promote hedge trimming in the local penny saver throw away newspaper and at his ‘height’ he was taking home $150,000 per year.
When I decided to follow his lead I marketed only in the local penny saver with a display ad that read ’shrub trimming, lawn mowing.’ It cost me about $48 a month for 4 weekly papers and in my first year it had gotten me 15 customers. These started off as hedge trimming jobs but I upsold them on weekly lawn cuts.
On my first hedge trimming job, I was thinking there was no way I would really make any money at this, but boy was I wrong. From the time I got out of my truck, until I left, the entire job took me 61 minutes. That included trimming 160 feet of 10 shrubs, clean up, and dump the clippings into the customer’s burn pile. In that 1 hour of time, I made $65. Wow after that job I thought this business could make me feel a lot better. I went from being an unemployed construction worker to lawn care business owner with 15 customers, bringing in $2,000 a month in regular billing and thought to myself, WHY DIDN’T I START THIS YEARS AGO?
Getting paid for running my own business and being my own boss is a feeling of ‘being complete.’ Finishing a job has a similar feel, but it is not as rewarding as getting paid. When I get paid, I feel as if I just lost 100 pounds & I’m floating.
If I didn’t have the guidance of my father in law for my lawn care marketing and figuring out how much to bid my hedge jobs, I would have bid this job for about $40 max and would have walked away feeling it wasn’t worth my time.
If there is a lesson to be learned by all this, it’s market niche services, such as hedge trimming, and then upsell the customers on weekly lawn care services. While you are doing this, make sure you bid enough so when the job is over, you are feeling good and have made a healthy profit from it.”
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