How to quickly scale up for a larger commercial lawn care job.

At times you may find your lawn care business presented with a growth opportunity that really challenge your current infrastructure. Either they require a large financial commitment to upgrade equipment or they need a lot more man power to perform that you currently are able to offer. The decisions you make on such jobs can mean the difference between quick growth or years of slow building. Here is a great example of one such situation from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and some insights as how best to handle such unique opportunities.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I have a unique situation here. I have been in lawn care for 4 years total on and off. I am going into business this spring and was planning on running a one man show and servicing residential lawns. Eventually expanding into commercial accounts. Specializing in weekly lawn maintenance.

Before I had a chance to get my feet wet I was asked by a friend, to bid on 7 manufactured home facilities. This would include mowing, trimming, edging, mulching, and fertilizing twice a year, all common areas and vacant lots.

I looked at one of the larger properties with one of my associates (5+ years solid commercial mowing experience but no knowledgeable about the business side of things) and we estimated it $24k for 7 months of service. I was told that with my contacts it would be likely I would get the contract as long as my bids were not outrageous. I have about a week to decide what to do. This would be a lot of money.

At this point I’m not structured to do this magnitude of work at all, and am in need of direction if I should take this on or not. If I did take this job on, I feel like I would be sprinting before I learned to crawl. But it is what I want in the long run and feels like a great opportunity to make some serious money. I just am not sure what to do.”

A second lawn care business owner said “if it were me, I would go to my local commercial lawn care equipment dealer and see if I qualify for credit. If I did, I would buy a commercial grade zero turn and get busy. They are good starter machines.

Don’t walk away from such an opportunity. Do what ever you have to get rolling and if you do, give it effort like no other can. It is very important to appear to be busy even when you are not. I used to haul my mower around town in the beginning telling everyone I was swamped with work when I was not.

Have a smiling pleasant caring personality no matter what you are doing or where you are and it will also pay off. Keep yourself neat and well groomed with clean clothes and clean boots. Look far more professional than your competitors and you will draw the best clients over time.”

A third added “I wouldn’t buy new, I would try to buy used, either a walk behind, ztr, or stand-on. Try to keep your overhead low and you’ll make more money for yourself. I’d go for it though, especially if you have a contract for the year, you’ll at least be able to make enough not to go out of business.

Remember to act professional and try to please all of your customers and you’ll do fine.”

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The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
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