Installing mulch beds and lawn mowing.

It’s not an easy step to take going from simply lawn mowing to providing landscaping services. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from multiple business owners on how they handle the difficulty of scheduling landscaping jobs around their weekly mowing customers. With the right time management strategy, you can set yourself up for future growth.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I started my business out just mowing lawns and now after two years it is moving into mulch bed work. How many of you do both? I am a small company and it just seems like confusion for me to try and do both. I feel like it gets me off track from my day to day business. Most of what my customers are wanting is weed pulling and mulch. Not sure if I can make money doing this. These mulch beds, as you know are not a one time job. They want me out during the month to keep them weed free. Of course they will pay for the service but again are any of you making money doing this or have done this in the past and found it does not produce profit.”

Mulch Installation

Mulch Installation

A second lawn care business owner answered “I do my lawn mowing on two days of the week. The rest of the week I do other things like mulch or hardscape projects. For mulch I charge $35 per yard for materials and then $35 per yard to install it. You should be able to install one yard of mulch in 1 hour with one guy. For the weeding and such I charge per hour and guess how long it should take. If you are putting weed killer down, I charge $10 per sprayer full.

Yes it does get more confusing and a little stressful at times, as you grow, but providing more services will help you gain customers. Most customers are looking for 1 company to maintain everything on their property, they don’t want to have to write checks for multiple companies. I have 10 customers that ask for bed maintenance, so I schedule time for this on a bi weekly schedule and charge them $35 a month extra on top of mowing, this is if the beds are in decent shape.

If they’re out of control at first, I figure it out at an hourly rate and charge them accordingly. Once the mulch beds are under control you can do the bi weekly maintenance. I charge my customers $1.50 a ft for edging. But this varies in each area. My area that I work has an average household income of $90,000.

It can be  tough expanding out into different kinds of work. When it rains, you have to re adjust your schedule and it can become chaotic but I feel it’s the only way you can get ahead. Plus it helps get your name out too. Remember to stay organized!! Take care of the customers who called first. And always return calls. I hear it all the time how customers just want a call back, that’s half their battle.”

A third added “flower bed care with the exception of mulch should already be included in your lawn care program and if you charged accordingly you would put down a pre-emergence in the beds in the late winter / early spring and then periodically do touch ups throughout the year.

You better learn to cope with the extra work and fit it in your schedule because regardless of where you live, that is how you make money in this business, by doing the extras.”

A fourth said “if it helps, I too have a hard time handling the extra side jobs.

I try to keep one weekday and Saturdays light/free for landscape projects and for the most part it allows me time to do extras as they pop up, but in the early spring I was overwhelmed because 50 people (my regular customers) are all looking to have cleanups done at the same time, on top of any calls from new clients looking for the same.

For the most part, I try not to do extras on the day I’m mowing unless it’s to my advantage to do so. Like small hedge trims where cleanup can be incorporated into the mowing.

If you do extras on your mow days, clients assume you always have the time to do so and will pop things on you at the last minute expecting it will be done while you are there to mow. Surely this isn’t as much of an issue for a crew, but when working alone, you have to be aware of how you manage your time, and set your schedule.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.”

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