A new business owner is going to have a lot of questions about getting themselves up and running. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we cover 5 of the top questions asked about getting started. From what grade of equipment should be purchased to if you should be performing small tasks for free to build up good will. Let’s take a look at some of the answers a veteran business owner offered up.
One lawn care business owner wrote “I am planning on starting my own lawn care company next season and while doing some research I came across the Gopher Forum. I need all the help I can get so I guess I am at the right place. I have some questions that I hope you can help me with.
1) Would you recommend investing money into consumer grade lawn care equipment for the first year? Or should I not even bother doing that and instead buy commercial grade mowing equipment right away?
2) Is it cheaper to buy equipment for the summer during the off winter season? Or is there not much of a discount?
3) Should I invest my own money into equipment even if I don’t have any customers yet?
4) What should I do to advertise?
5) What should I be charging?”
A second lawn care business owner responded “if you can, purchase a commercial self propelled walk behind lawn mower to start. Because I bought mine the first year, I saved myself a lot of trouble. Those cheaper lawn mowers from the big box stores won’t last a week without something going wrong on them. They are designed for once a week or once every two week usage by a home owner not for every day all day long usage.
I wouldn’t worry too much about buying commercial grade trimmers or blowers, you can buy them cheap for now. Consumer grade models should work for a good part of your first season without trouble.
As for when to buy equipment, every once in a while, the local dealers will mark down last year’s models that haven’t sold during the winter time. But all in all, I don’t find too much in the way of discounts. The shops in my area at least store the summer equipment during the winter. They do offer deals during the summer season, you have to keep your eyes on the look out for them.
You need a commercial lawn mower because that is the thing you will need to rely on to get things done, and to save you money in the long run by avoiding repairs. Commercial grade mowers are heavy, so lifting them into a truck isn’t easy. You can seriously hurt yourself as they weigh a lot. From my experience, using ramps on the back of your pickup to load your mower really sucks. They quickly become a hassle so if you can get a simple trailer for your equipment, you will be much better off.
The mowing pricing in my area is awful. It’s rare that we are able to charge more than $75/month, and the average price is no less than $65/month. $100 for leaf removal is pretty standard for just about every property.
Advertising is simple. If you can design something nice on a computer (flier, 8.5/11 inches), get it printed and start handing them out in your area. Get business cards and make some nifty looking uniform too.
Hand out your fliers by foot, but make sure to create a proper route first so you can cross off which streets you’ve delivered them to. The best time to advertise hard is during the middle of March up until the end of April. That is exactly when every company goes nuts and we all get extremely angry looking through our mail.
Never under any circumstances do work for free, even small favors if you can help it. I have found a lot of my lawn care customers, especially early on, to be manipulative bastards who would do whatever it took to get work for free. Trusting a client that their promise for future work if I did something free first is not an option under any circumstance.
I hope these answers give you a basic grasp of what I struggled with when I was getting started and what you have to look forwards to. A little foresight in this industry can help you out a lot.”
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.