If you get your lawn care business started up later in the season, your first obstacle may be accurately bidding leaf removal jobs. As we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, such jobs can really catch you off guard and require a lot more time than you may initially expect. A second obstacle can end up being not enough lawns to mow, but being called for a leaf removal job can easily be upsold into an annual lawn care contract for the upcoming year. Let’s have a look at some of the lessons learned in a business owner’s first week on the job.
One new lawn care business owner wrote “it feels so good to work hard. I finished my first official day of work as owner/operator of my lawn care business. Completed one gutter cleaning, one mowing, and one leaf cleanup. I will be getting a frame for my first dollar on the way back from tomorrow’s scheduled leaf removal.
This customer wants me to mow his lawn next season, plus perform a spring cleanup and he wants a sidewalk poured from his back porch around to his driveway. All of that is going to be a great added bonus.
Then a lady called me from Craigslist for snow removal. When I went to bid the job, I asked her about her leaf problem as her yard was covered in leaves. After a short talk, I got the job, plus she signed a service agreement for lawn care next season, and she will be wanting mulch, trimming of her shrubs and low branches on her trees.
The 2nd leaf job ended up being a larger job than I initially predicted. I didn’t even get a chance to mow the lawn as I had to finish dumping the leaves in the dark. I offered to come back the next day, but she said I don’t have to since ‘mowing it now would be like putting ketchup on a burnt steak’… I don’t quite get that but I laughed. I think she wants a good overhaul of her lawn and landscape since she brought up mulching, replacement of decorative rocks, and redoing her railroad tie wall. I’ll know more at the beginning of February when she wants to go over everything. This one is going to be a good before and after advertising lawn.
These upsell jobs have really been helping with an initial cash infusion for me. I really didn’t have to do anything out of the ordinary to get them either. I’m just being myself and the jobs really sold themselves. After each quote I gave for the initial job, I also suggested other services I felt the property needed. I offered my business cards and explained the services on the card and they asked about each.
I didn’t really do anything but explain my services. So really, just being polite, informative, smiling, and being friendly helped me make more money than if I just showed up and did the single job they asked for.
It’s been two years since I worked in lawn care with another company, and back then I didn’t do the estimating, I just did the job so estimating leaf cleanups is pretty tricky for me.
This last leaf job hit me hard. I was pretty low on my estimated price.
The previous jobs I estimated relatively accurately and after my first leaf clean up job, I ended up making $60 an hour minus expenses. With this last leaf clean up job, I ended up making $30 an hour minus expenses. I thought I was having an optical illusion when I bid it compared to when I cleaned it up. It was like the blower was blowing out leaves. By the time I got them in a pile I was thinking ‘how can there be this many leaves?’ This was like a Twilight Zone lawn…
I talked to my ex boss about this and he laughed and told me it happens. He said he’s done the same thing many times. He has 25 years experience and once in awhile a lawn slaps him in the face with more leaves than he thought and takes a longer amount of time. His advice to me was…do it, whistle while you work and smile because you never know who is watching.
Experience doesn’t mean you’re always going to do things right, it only teaches you how to react when you are wrong.
In the future, when I bid on leaf removal jobs, I may rake up a 5 ft square area to get an idea of the leaf volume and see how that helps me better estimate the entire job. What I have been doing so far is walking the property and kicking random areas to see how deep the leaves were.
Living and learning!”
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.