Are you looking to offer your lawn care customers more services this spring? Well here is a great idea one member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum shared with us. The idea is creating and planting a vegetable garden for your current customer base. I think it’s going to be a big seller as more and more people are concerned about where their food is coming from and what it is being treated with. There is also a bigger green / self sustainable movement now than ever before to help you sell this concept. Let’s take a look at how this business owner plans on marketing, packaging, and selling this service.
He wrote “I have a new lawn care business service idea for the spring. My idea is that I will install and plant a ‘Vegetable and Herb Garden’ for people who don’t have a green thumb or don’t have the time or energy etc. This is ideal for people who like fresh veggies! Here’s the pitch: If I charge you $600 for the garden,you will harvest at least $1,200 worth of fresh veggies for your family and friends to enjoy during the season. A $1,000 size garden will yield you over $2,000 worth of veggies etc.
If you didn’t have a garden, you most likely will pay more for the food anyway somewhere else. To do this, I will have an installation service window of about 6 weeks in the spring. I’m thinking about building a first come, first serve list for this service. The ‘Your springtime garden’ service will include a free consultation with site selection to determine the size garden on your property. Determine what veggies you like then get back to you with a price and send you a blueprint of your new proposed garden. I will also include a soil test to find the soil’s ph and adjust if needed. Then once approved I will rototill the garden area and add soil conditioners (manure, perlite, etc). Install plant support structures such as stakes, wire fencing, poles for beans etc. Supply and plant all plants. Come back 1 time in 4 weeks and give your garden a fertilizer application and 1 good weeding! The home owner will be given a print-out sheet of recommended care instructions that will include a watering and fertilizing schedule, etc. With that, you have most of the work done! Besides some basic care, the rest is for you to enjoy!!
The garden will be planted with plants that have already been started. Planting seeds is more complicated and takes too long to show results. I will let the big greenhouse starter guys start them, because they can do it cheaper. I have talked to some growers in my area and have gotten price breaks for certain number of plants. I can get most vegetable plants from bigger green house suppliers for around 75 cents each. If I buy from the local nursery it will cost me about $1.50 per plant.
Here is a very small scale working example. I will use tomatoes for example because I know first hand the yield. If I create a garden that is 6′x4′ (this may mean renting a sod cutter) I can plant 2 small rows of 3 tomato plants. These 6 plants will yield about 40 lbs each. Multiply that by 6 and that is 240 lbs of tomatoes. If tomatoes go for about $2.00 A lb at the grocery store, that is around $480 worth of tomatoes! I will also work on a larger scale garden to give to my customers as an example. To prepare that much space, I will need about an hour of labor plus soil conditioners, $9 for the plants, $20 worth of wire, stakes etc.
Now,what to charge? Well the customer is going to get $480 worth of tomatoes they wouldn’t have had and all of her family together would of buy anyway right?. So even 1/3 of $480, ($160) that ain’t bad considering it’s saving the customer 2/3 what they would pay at the grocery store. Of course package deals can be presented to a client like: A garden will have 6 tomatoes (heirloom mix), 6 pepper plants, a row of swiss chard, 1 cucumber mound, a small row of basil (you know what fresh basil is worth!?) etc,etc.
So it’s all about letting the customer know, based on U.S.D.A. plant yield and spacing data, how much in U.S. dollars worth of veg/herbs they can have set up per size area. I will have to research some more plant yield data. I think it is a good idea to present different size garden packages with certain types of veg/herbs. I think it’s important to choose certain type vegs/herbs to present to the customer as well. People like choice when they are ready to buy.
I feel this is a great extra upsell service to sell to your current lawn care customers. Since you are going to be on their property weekly, you might as well try to offer additional services. That’s where you will make your bigger profits.”
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