Learning from this year’s lawn care business mistakes.

For every year we are in business, I hope we are all able to reflect back and learn from what we had problems with so we don’t recreate the same issues next year. I asked the members of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum what they were able to learn from the previous year when I wrote “when you reflect back on the year and think of the mistakes, what stands out in your mind? Do you have advice for all of us on the issues you had to deal with that were problems that you were able to overcome?

Lawn care business mistakes

Lawn care business mistakes

It seems the first year of business is the biggest killer and the issues you ran into could be issues others run into but can’t figure out how to get around them.”

A lawn care business owner had this great response when he said “well I thought my research was sound and I had the lawn care end of my business nailed, I never intended to expand into what I have now. I neglected the number one rule, what are the customers needs? You see, the lawn being mowed needs were being met by low rate service providers. I am in this to make money not just mow lawns so I had to go to the customers and ask what they were doing that they would rather hire someone to do? Once I did that and advertised the services they suggested, everything changed.

I overlooked that it takes time to show staff the ropes to get the results I and the customer want. We did get there ultimately, however it was a stressful trip. Now I have the staff in place so that part of it is taken care of.

Another thing, don’t buy equipment until the demand is there, I have a $12,000 ZTR I thought I would need, to be honest my X749 All Wheel Steer Tractor out performs a ZTR in every way. This is just my experience and I should have bought this tractor long ago.

On the excavation side the 17D I purchased has paid for itself. I sold myself short though. I should have bought at least a 35, although the 17 has done jobs where space is an issue and the 35 could not have.

Trucks, I really screwed up here, I should have bought either a 350 or a small dump truck. Currently I have two rangers and a F150. I just wasn’t thinking.

Most companies fail due to a host of reasons, managing cash and cash flow has to be number one along with receivables. I knew this going in and it has never been an issue.

The old saying it takes money to make money is ringing loud and clear, if I didn’t have access to my own capital, I would never be where I am today. In short I invested in myself and kept the company out of debt, it has pretty much paid me off.

Take the risks, I would stew over making large financial investments in commercial gear, just do it, most of my companies gear is paid for and I haven’t been in business that long and it all looks new.

I need to do more research and the research has to be on going. Stay ahead of the competition by looking and testing new products. I should be doing more of this in lawn care and I have started.

Pretty much everything else I had in place and it saved my butt. I went at this in February doing research, business plan etc. all of that saved me when the flood gates opened in May when I started offering services that had nothing to do with mowing lawns.

I screwed up on storage. I could have and should have made the time to have a building built and ready to store all my equipment for Winter. Anyhow the rent isn’t that bad and I have a place at a local self garage storage booked. It’s 24 X 20 with a 9 foot ceiling, I can fit 60% of the gear in there which is fine I have enough room at home for the rest in other buildings.

One last thing I learned, DON’T sub-contract out. Either take control and do it or pass on the job. When there is a problem with a sub-contractor, it’s your problem with a customer. I got burnt once and that was the end of it.

There are probably other things but that covers the things that come to mind.”

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The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
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