When you are new to the lawn care business, you think you can come up with a few angles to get yourself started that no one ever thought of before. Chances are though, it has been thought of, tried, and the results have been noted. So before you experiment with any new strategies, it would benefit you greatly to review such discussions on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. As we will see below, there are certain strategies you should use and others you should avoid in order to get yourself profitable, quicker.
One lawn care business owner wrote “I’m starting a lawn care business but I only have a push mower, weed eater, handheld blower and a few hand tools. I hope this will be enough for at least a little while until I can make some money to upgrade.
I have a lot of questions as I don’t know what I am doing. I hope I can get some answers. What kind of lawn care customers should I target? Should I only get customers with small yards to start out or should I target everyone? Can I shovel snow in driveways until I can afford a snowplow? What would be a fair price to offer? Should I offer a discount to get my first customers?”
A second lawn care business owner said “you can’t make any money if it takes you half a day to mow a single property with your push mower, so yes, start with the smaller lawns.
You can shovel snow all you want. Eventually, you’ll get tired of that and buy a snow blower. I shovel some and use a snow blower on others. It depends on the amount of snow and size of driveway.
Pricing is a tough one. It’s like some sort of ultra-secret information that nobody is willing to share. It also varies by location. Even within my own service area I have pricing variations, since there are different income levels, etc within a few miles of each other. After you underbid yourself a few times you’ll start to figure out what is ‘right’ for you.
I did offer a discount for a first cut once or twice when I started. It helped me ‘hook’ the client and gave me a chance to get a feel for how long it would actually take to mow the lawn in order to give an accurate quote. Don’t do this in mid-spring though. That is when you have to watch out for people who have let their lawn get too high before calling someone. Those people need to get charged a lot more.”
A third shared “the best customer to target, is the one willing to give you his money.
Some other tips that I learned my first year were, avoid corner lots, they tend to always be the biggest. Or make sure you charge more for them. Any lawn can be good as long as it has a minimal amount of obstacles for you to maneuver around.
You have all the equipment you need to run a successful start up operation. I would only advertise lawn maintenance though. Keep your minimum price in the average to high range. The reason being, is because if you want to sell your service on the cheap just to get yourself started, it becomes very difficult to raise your prices later.
If you plan on selling yourself for less than the competition, only offer those prices to simple lawns, nothing more - ever!
As for snow, I’m not sure how the weather is where you are. After one driveway from where I am, you’d need a power nap (100 hours) before you ever thought of doing another one with a shovel OR even a decent snow blower again.
Snow removal is hell, and there isn’t much profit to make for the limited amount of time/energy you will have to spare. Stick to walkways if you have a lot of snow.
When I first did driveways, being a business owner I really pushed myself for any stupid reason. I’d break my back and do 10 or so driveways with snow up to my waist, with just a shovel. PAIN PAIN PAIN. My commercial snow blower couldn’t even make the snow flinch because it got so solid.
Nothing sucks more than being wet, frozen, exhausted, and being rushed to satisfy the demand. Those with tractors will have you beat, there is no way to compete with them, no way!”
Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.