When winter comes, the lawn care and landscaping industry jobs tend to slow down. Which leads me to this great question that was asked on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. “It’s winter time and work is becoming scarce. So when a customer calls me and I go out to give them a bid I’ve been sticking to my regular prices for cleanups or whatever it might be.
Does anyone raise prices because it’s winter because of less work around?
Lower prices because it’s winter to make sure they get the job?
Or just stay the same.
I been staying at my prices but not to many are accepting my bids. I can’t really be too picky with jobs now so I try to keep it a little on the conservative side.
When I was busy it didn’t really matter if they didn’t accept because I had a month long waiting list.
What are your thoughts on this?
Tim: “Here is my 2 cents worth on it.
1). I NEVER change pricing from season to season as a general rule.
(Why? because customers talk if you have customer 1 that you did in November and now a customer 2 in December for the same job like leaf clean up and your rate for the customer 1 was say $45 an hour and now customer 2 is now $65 this may cause conflicts, because customer 1 may have referred customer 2. We don’t always remember to ask “How they heard about us?” but we should make it a habit to ask, and most of the time new customer don’t offer to tell us that they were referred by a previous customer.) Does that make sense?
NOTE: I know every job is different. One may have more leaves than another or want some extra work done but when comparing apples to apples, keep the pricing close.
2). Now this also depends on the status of you and your families well being, if you haven’t worked very much and bills are piling up then by all means raise or lower your rates as you see fit. When I first stated my security contractors business I went through hard times as do most new business men and women. So this is called “FEAST or FAMINE” and we all go through these times it is the nature of the beast.
3). The Holiday season is here and almost over so things are going to be tight for everyone for a few months, so to get more jobs you can offer lower rate for the Holidays as a selling point and this will excuse rule #1 and bring you to rule #2. Basically only you know what would be acceptable for doing a certain job, this is all about how much is your time worth? If a job is presented to you and you have a bill to pay and you only charge enough to pay that bill then fine do it, as long as it keeps your head above water.
4). It is hard to do this sometimes but everyone in business especially this industry needs to save for “Rainy Days”. With the majority of this industry being seasonal “Feast and Famine” always comes and sits on us for a longer period of time then with other business. My Grand-father told me this and I didn’t learn what “RAINY DAYS” were until I was like 30 something. I always had jobs and money so I didn’t save and found myself in hard times scratching and scraping for work. Just bare with it and hang on tight maybe try some new services to offer to generate some work that may not have been there. Fortunately for me, my wife works seasonal at the IRS and it runs parallel with our lawn care and landscaping season, so we bank her money to live on through the off season months.
I want to also mention, this is good general business advice for everyone. Most of us have gone through this situation or are going through this so the boat is getting full. I commend Rob for bring this topic to light.
One idea we use is a Christmas fund at the bank. Start one and put money in it to cover seasonal living expenses. These accounts draw little to no interest but the money is there in late October for you to move into another account to live from. It works only if you stick to putting the amounts in it each month you set up. If your short one month and can make it up the next then do it, don’t spend the extra money on something else, you have to be disciplined in this. If you want to continue to be in the lawn care or landscaping business and survive the “Feast and Famine” or “Rainy Days”, you need to do this.”
Great advice on how do deal with the lawn care or landscaping business when the season slows down. If you would like to join in on this discussion further, visit the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum here.