Is it too late to get lawn care customers?

New lawn care business owners seem to always worry if it is too late to get started and to get lawn care customers. If you put off getting started now, you may find that there is never an ideal time and you end up doing nothing. As we will see from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, it’s always best to get started now than it is to put it off, no matter what time of year it is.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I just started a little lawn care company and was wondering if it was too late to get lawn care customers being that it is late in the season. I already have my lawn care flyers and business cards made, I just didn’t know if it would be worth it to start this year or wait until the next. Please give me some advice on what to do. I really want to succeed with this business!”

A second lawn care business owner shared “your focus now should be going around and seeing where the yards look like they need to be mowed. Solicit those properties. I’ll be willing to bet you will get some of them. Every first year is always slow. The second year gets better and each year will increase from there on.

Let this year be your slow year. Show the ones you get this year the quality you’ll provide and you will get referals to help increase next year. It’s important to establish a presence. Get your name out there. The sooner you do that the better.

Get your company name listed on google maps. Get a website up for your business. With the customers you do get, put flyers on homes around them to expand while tightening up your routes. Do this more than once. Once a month is usually good. When mowing a yard, if you see a neighbor out, stop to introduce yourself, make small talk, become friendly with them and down the line they may use you for business. Be sure to get magnets for your truck and shirts to advertise your business.

You would not believe the number of lawn care customers I have gotten because their lawn care guy just quit showing up. I hear customers tell me all the time ‘I’ve called and called and called my old lawn guy and got no response.’ Many start up lawn care businesses fail relatively quickly, so show your customers you are going to be hear for the long haul and answer your phone whenever they call you.

My advice is start your business now. Show up when you say you will, call back anybody who calls just as soon as possible. AND SHOW UP EVERY TIME. You will be amazed at how many people will call you. Also advertise in those throw away newspapers. It’s low cost and everybody gets one. Lawn signs are also good advertising. Put them up at corners, stop signs, anywhere that people will stop for a minute while driving.

Just today I got a call to bid on a lake property. The owner’s son mowed the grass but more often than not, the family had to pitch in and their lake property that was purchased for weekend get-a-ways had become their lake property for weekend work.

After they accepted my bid I asked them about their residence. It was a similar scenario and soon both properties were under a year lawn care contract with me. I also learned they own two office buildings in town so there is even more potential for future work. This just goes to show you how important it is to ask questions.

I should add that my website mixed with craigslist is what got me that job call. The home owner actually told me that she chose to contact me over all the other ads on craigslist because I had a website and there she saw I was insured. Security was a concern to her and knowing I was licensed and insured, put her mind at ease.

Another thing to consider is that by mid year some (not all!) lawn care business owners get a little lazy or ‘comfortable’ and their service quality begins to slide. Because of this, you need to keep an eye out for ill-kept properties.

On the way home from the estimates above, we stopped to fill up the tanks and the newish station’s grass was looking bad… mowed trash… no debris clearing… so I inquired and will be returning for a bid tomorrow with the manager. The assistant manager was there and happy to recommend my¬† service.

The point is… cash in your pocket, mid year, is still money on the books and you have to start somewhere. Do good work and you will be prime for next spring when all the low-baller operations start knocking on doors.

I do recommend getting contract or service agreements in place for 365 days of service so you know you have the property till at least mid season next year. This will help you avoid competing  with the early season price cutters.

One positive note about taking on new clients mid year when their property is in disarray, is that more than likely they are ready to pay a slight premium to have quality service.

Most of all I recommend you be vigilant in providing service (great service) when you say you will and this IS part of my marketing pitch. This business is about reputation and quality service. Once you build it, you don’t have to compete as much with everyone else with a push mower and you can demand your price.

Pitfall to avoid: (residential) properties who’s owners typically service and due to summer activities and the heat, let their lawn slide. Basically you work hard to bring their property back to a decent condition then they cancel service and pick back up mowing themselves. This happened to me recently… Thankfully I charged a premium for the first cut so it was not too bad. The property was suspect but came on referral so I took her word.

Again, providing a service agreement can avoid some of this. You have to be careful not to upgrade/buy new equipment based on one new customer and then find yourself left without the property and still have to pay off that equipment.

Good luck! Focus on the basics and you will do well.”

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success