Lawn care business startup mistakes and solutions.

Most every new lawn care business owner is going to mess up on a few things. The way they handle mistakes can make the difference between being able to stay in business for the long haul or losing your customers too soon. One new lawn care business owner got on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and shared with us some of the early mistakes he made and how he was able to resolve them.

He wrote “early on I tended to underbid my lawn mowing jobs, but things got better once I figured I wanted to get $25.00 per hour for my labor on any odd jobs plus cover my operating expenses. As far as materials such as fertilizers, sprinkler hardware I try to keep a 30% markup (to cover my time and gas money). If I’m not sure of how long a job will take, I just add an extra hour or two on and then if I get done quicker, I charge less and look like a hero. Since I started handling my estimates this way, everything got easier. Now I just try to keep it simple and follow this basic rule, ‘don’t be greedy….the greedy become the needy.’”

What advice do you have for other new lawn care business owners when they are looking to figure out how to price the average lawn mowing job?

Also what suggestions do you have on how best to upsell to the customer other services?

“My only advice is for a new lawn care business owner is to remember that you are going to make mistakes. You are going to underprice some jobs. You are going to tear up some spots on a lawn. The trimmer is going to get away from you and leave a big half moon dead spot near someones side of house. It happens. What you need to do is figure how to rectify those stuations.

I totally spaced out one time and mowed my first pass on a lawn way too low. I mean low, to the thatch! It looked horrible. I was lucky the way it turned out because I told the customer exactly what happened. Then I went back with some fertilizer that had iron in it to quick bring back the green. I asked the customer to set the irrigation to heavy watering. A week later we were all good.

Remember to BE HONEST and don’t penalize the customer for your mistakes!

As far as upselling a job I first look to see what needs to be done. A while back I learned one great trick that always seems to work. Don’t act like you are trying to sell a job. Get a hold of the customer and show them what you see that needs attention. Tell them what could happen if it doesn’t get fixed. Give them some breathing space by saying something to the effect of ‘it doesn’t need to be done right away, but you should attend to it in the near future. When you are ready, let me know and we’ll figure out the best course of action.’

THIS ALWAYS WORKS. Why? Because it makes them feel as if you are not trying to sell them the work for your personal gain only. Instead it comes across as just you looking out for their property and their best interest. I’d say 80% of the time you have that job before you leave their property because you didn’t try rushing or pressuring the customer. They tend to feel more comfortable in your approach. 15% of the time you’ll get the job within a couple weeks. Only with the last 5% will you feel you can’t win them all.

Be honest and don’t try to force or pressure something on a customer. Fess up to your mistakes. The customer may not like what you did, but at least they know you are fixing your mistake and grass always grows back.”

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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