If you could restart your lawn care business again from the ground up, what would you do differently? Do any lessons stand out? They did for this entrepreneur who shared with us on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, how his 2nd attempt at getting started, differed a lot from his first attempt. The lessons he learned should benefit you as well.
He wrote “I owned a lawn and landscape company part time for many years over a decade ago. The reason I got out of it was I felt I never was going to be able to grow large enough for me to support my family. I was also missing my kid growing up because I was working so much, so I shut it all down and sold it off.
Fast forward 10 years and here I find myself being laid off from yet another sales job (mortgages go figure) so I decided to jump back in. So far I have been able to gather 10 new lawn care customers in a short period of time thanks to the great tips on this site as well as the podcast.
The big difference I find in my business now versus in the past is that I have a lot more focus! That really makes a big difference. This time around I am not working a full time job and worried about time to find new customers. In less than 1 month, I have been able to get 12 ( after the 2 new customers I just got today ) customers just from my free internet classified ad and word of mouth.
This time I find it’s a lot easier to avoid the other pitfalls that effected me the first time. For instance, instead of going out and buying $10k in new lawn mowing equipment, I instead just watched craigslist and the local swap meet for good deals. This has allowed me to pick up great used commercial mowing equipment, very very cheap. I got an enclosed trailer and a 48″ walk behind for $1,500. I also found a great used power rake for $150, and a self propelled commercial grade vac for $200 which looks brand new and has all the extras already. So far everything is well on it’s way of paying for itself already.
I had some business cards printed up, a few card caddies, some yard signs, vinyl lettering for the trailer as well as the truck. Things are looking much better than the first PART TIME try I made.
I have found it can be a benefit to have a part time job when trying to get your business started. It helps take the pressure off needing to build up too quickly. But that can also be a hindrance too. Yes the extra money coming in from a part time job takes the pressure off but that in turn removes the push to keep people motivated. I think it just depends on the person. Me personally, I work much better when under pressure. Having the time to focus my energy and time toward my mowing and getting this started has really driven me to grow a lot quicker than I had in the past.
Another pitfall I have been able to avoid, besides spending a ton of money on unnecessary stuff at first when you just need to get a lower priced rig, is that I am focusing more on getting customers. I think a lot of new business owners just don’t know what to do. They don’t know how to get customers, but they do know how to spend money. So then in their minds, if they spend money, they feel like they are doing something for their business when they are actually hurting it.
This time around I am focusing on residential customers at first. Last time I was under the haze of ‘if I can land a few massive commercial accounts I can make a ton of cash.’ Instead of wasting my time chasing after large jobs I couldn’t bid and couldn’t get, I am just going to go after residential bread and butter customers. These are the type of customers I can easily bid on their properties and they will pay me enough to keep me moving forwards. Residential customers help a new lawn care business owner get their feet wet until they have a good amount of business that will support them until the bigger jobs come their way.
I feel I am working smarter now than ever before. My first time getting started, I was so focused on large commercial accounts. But there are so many problems that go along with trying to do that. With commercial properties, you are going from nothing to a/multiple LARGE account. Sounds good, right???? Well the real answer is no. Not only do you not NORMALLY have the correct equipment to handle these such accounts but it is also a little different from mowing your neighbors yard. 99% of the time they will have you bill monthly and on top of that, they may take 30, 60, or even 90 days to pay. Let’s do the math here. 30 days to bill, average 45 days to pay, that is 2 1/2 months in total. My suggestion is to start with residential accounts and maybe a few small commercial accounts. Then learn how to manage those.
Once your comfortable, move up to bidding on larger commercial account. Just don’t try to take too big of steps when you are just getting started.”
Order the bookÂ 90% Of Lawn Care Businesses Fail In Their First Year. Learn How To Survive With These Tips! today.
Use these lawn care and snow plow estimators for your Android phone.