Lawn care business start up strategy, lowballing vs giving it time..

The desire to beat your competitors on price is the greatest when you are just getting started because you really have no other variables to play with. Your skills early on won’t be that good so it is difficult to compete on skill level. It is also difficult to offer a variety of services because more than likely, you don’t know how to perform them. But before you get yourself set on a race to the cheapest price for mowing, consider these lessons from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I have been in business for almost 3 months and it’s been ok so far. Of course business can always be better. I currently only have four lawn care customers but it works for me cause it bring in some cash flow and I can manage them fairly easy. I have even collected payment every time.

I have been operating this by myself and feel that it’s too slow, with all the things I got going on there’s only a limited amount of time to market, cut lawns, and do everything else. Here is my question: How are you guys operating the business? Meaning, How are you getting clients? Are you marketing yourself monthly? Are you paying others to do it for you? If someone wouldn’t mind sharing with me their operation strategy on how their business runs in detail I would greatly appreciate it.

All these thoughts came to me today when I was eating at McDonald’s. I watched their operation and it is like a well oiled machine or factory line. I noticed my operation is purely me just going out flyering, closing the deal, mowing lawns. I would like to run my operation more smoothly and actually BUILD a business with employees.

I haven’t been out there every day promoting myself. Instead I have been kind of sitting back, and I recognize that. I got to get my butt out there! I have not seen any other lawn care marketing come through the mail for a couple months. It is like all the businesses that do lawn care already have all their clientele for the season. Should I still be marketing every month with flyers in July and the upcoming months still? Even though the grass is hardly growing?”

A second lawn care business owner said “the way I found to to gain clients quickly is to charge a cheap price. I know it’s called lowballing and frowned upon but it worked for me.

Make flyers and put them out for $25 a mow with free fertilizing. Yeah I know, fertilizing free!! Yes! It makes the grass grow more, therefore you will get your money back faster. Plus it shows that you have more to offer your clients than the other guy. Then save your money for the best lawn care equipment.

A lot of companies stay with crappy mowing equipment because they don’t want to spend money but they end up spending it anyway on repairs. I would say start with business cards (really good ones) get pricing for weekly and bi-wkly cuts. Make flyers and put out 200 in a neighborhood. Then go to another neighborhood and put out another 200. Put ads in craigslist also.

I offer free fertilizing 95% of the time. I do not use lawn maintenance contracts with residential clients because people get turned off by contracts or service agreement.

You will win some customers and lose some. Don’t stress yourself out over it. I used to stress out a lot if I was behind schedule, lost a client, or whatever. No more. It all works out in the end as long as you are true to your word on whatever you tell your customers. That’s the most important thing I can tell you. Keep your word and you will be respected as an owner, boss, person, etc. The first year is your learning year. You will make a lot of mistakes but learn from them.”

A third lawn care business owner said “I’d suggest you avoid lowballing at all costs. If you underbid your jobs, you simply won’t make any money and you will quit before you even give yourself a chance to get started. Also don’t take the route of offering free fertilizer unless you are licensed to do so and you have built the costs of that fertilizer into your mowing price.

When starting out, don’t expect to have a solid route for awhile, that is part of the growth process.

I know you are wondering how some lawn companies seem to know who to advertise to and when to advertise. Basically, veteran lawn care businesses advertise to their re-occurring clients from earlier seasons first to make sure they get them to sign up again. You won’t be able to do that just starting out as this is your first season. We all start small and once we start picking up clients that are profitably priced, we usually keep the same clients for years.

When I first started out, it was hard enough to fill at least one day up with work. Eventually it will come, it will feel slow but as soon as you get those calls coming in, things become hectic and so fast paced you’ll be turning your phone off!

When you start getting some clients, ask for referrals. See if they have family/friends and give them a little incentive for helping you grow. I have one client who’s given me 5 clients, it’s amazing!

As far as pricing goes, find out what your competition are charging in your area. if your expenses are not too high, charge around the same to gain interest from homeowners. A mix of pricing jobs right and asking for referrals from current clients should start you off nicely.

Eventually as you grow, you can up your price and it won’t matter if you lose the clients who didn’t want to pay the new price. However, this should be a slow process. Don’t up your price for every single client at the same time.

The basic mowing package a client should receive includes;

  • Mowing.
  • Line trimming.
  • Edging (possibly).
  • Blowing of debris.

You can offer just mowing, but your lawns will never look as good as those that have been trimmed. You can mow and trim a property, but if you don’t have a blower to tidy the place up before you leave, the client will think you are too messy compared to others, as the cleanup is crucial!

If a client asks you to do some additional service you don’t know how to perform, you may feel obliged to tell them you can do it, but you will be getting yourself into hours of trouble. What you know is Maintaining Lawns! Let the client hire someone else to do the extras.

This may sound crazy, but the truth is: STICK TO ONE SERVICE and only advertise other services when you know how to perform them and have someone else on your team to help where needed.”

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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