How long did it take your lawn care business to make a profit?

Before you get started in any new business venture, you probable should be concerned with how long it will take you to make a profit. That is what one new lawn care business owner asked on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and she got quite a few varied responses. I hope these responses help you compare and contrast where you are with your business.

She wrote “How long does it generally take to get started really good? I have gone door to door with my marketing, mailed out post cards to several neighborhoods and passed out flyers. I have a total of 4 homes so far. I know it takes patience and word of mouth advertising to grow, but I am ready for the growth now! Fall is around the corner and I have already started on Fall cleanup flyers and etc. to keep me going in my advertising. I do not have the manpower or equipment to handle anything commercial, just keeping it residential at this time. So please help me and let me know how I am doing. I am needing some piece of mind that I am not spinning my wheels.”

We got some varied responses on how long it took different lawn care business owners to make a profit. Here is some of what they wrote.

- “It took me 18 months before I had a profitable month.”

- “You and I are at about the same level. I started out this past spring and picked up 5 clients relatively quickly. I was filled with optimism, thinking this was going to be easy.

Since then I have slipped to 3 full time mowing clients with no new leads coming in. I too have done heavy door-to-door, newspaper ads, craigslist, flyers at grocery store.

In this area it seems people are more interested in their lawns in the spring. I plan to start early next year ( mid March ) and focus more of my marketing $’s then.

I have kept detailed records of all quotes and one-time-jobs this year. These addresses will be receiving flyers throughout the season, fall clean ups and spring time flyers. My thought ( hope) is next spring will be bigger then my first.

Don’t give up and be proactive.”

- “I also started this spring. As of now I have about 20 weekly lawn clients and cut two days a week. The other 2-3 days I fill with landscaping jobs (mulch, weeding, hedge trimming, etc).

Website advertising has brought me the most clients. I also run an ad in the services section of the local paper which keeps the phone ringing with clean-ups, mulch jobs, etc. I handed out flyers, networked, had a craigslist ad, but these were not very productive.

I am planning to do a big push with door hangers in a few weeks for fall clean ups in a local area I want to expand into. Also working on some postcards for direct mail campaign…

It took me about 10 weeks to really fill up my time (starting the end of March). After that I have picked up @ 2-3 lawn accounts a month. Lawn estimates really slow down the end of June.

Now the phone is starting to ring again as some of the fly by night companies are going out of business or dropping the ball on quality.

I would say keep up the good work and keep advertising and talking to people. Let your current clients know what services you offer besides lawn cutting. You will be surprised at how many might not know that you do weeding, or hedge trimming. Always follow up on your estimates and always send a thank you to current clients after you complete the job.”

- “This is our second year in business and we’ve doubled our first year client count, but we only have about 45 weekly customers. My husband mows 4 full days a week during week A, 5 days during week B. I hope in the next two years we’ll be able to bring someone on to help out. We don’t have any commercial accounts, yet. Most of our clients have found us through Craigslist. We send postcards out to neighborhoods we want to work in for fall clean-ups. We also advertised on the back of our kids’ school carpool signs this year. We’ll see how that goes.

Another thing we did was to make a website. We just did a freebie one. We’re not ready to pay for one just yet. Google Ads sent us a $100 voucher to use their service. It brought in a few more clients. We’re listed on Google places, as well. I blog monthly, partly to help us rank better in search engine crawls.

Hang in there. We have up and down weeks all the time.”

- “I started in the spring of this year. Spent most of the money on help, equipment, and adverting.I do not plan on making any profit this season and this is why I kept my other job until I get things going. It has been hard working both.

In the long run it will pay off with my current business plan. I plan on making about $9,000 with three crews, maybe a little more depending on what the cost wind up being at the end of season. It takes time and planing to run a business so maybe it is time to sit down and write up a plan. Include what your goals are and what needs to be done to meet them.

I have about 20 active clients and about 20 off and on clients that call me from time to time. I had one commercial account but because of things outside my control that fell through.I expect to take my advertising that worked and try new things for the next season. I want to take those 20 customers and turn that number into 60 next season. Keep in mind I started with little investment and am adding as I go so I have no loans. I plan on doing this debit free.

The key is to have a plan and know what you should be doing to get there. Think of what you want to get out of it and what has to be done to do it. Then write it down on paper and think of things that can be done to get there.”

- “I started back in June. So far I have 14 properties and 5 customers. I have found a good way to get the ball rolling here is to get in touch with anyone you know in the real estate field. That is how I got 10 of my properties.”

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The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
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