The barrier of entry into the lawn care industry is pretty low. This is good and bad. Good because you can get into the business with little money, but bad because your competitors can get into the business with little money. The more competitors you have in your market, the tougher it is to get jobs and charge livable prices. A lot of these new lawn care businesses tend to flame out quickly because they simply have no clue when it comes to operating a successful business. But how can you learn the skills you need? One member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum shared with us his secret. He worked for a lawn care business first before buying it and becoming the owner. Here are some tips he learned from that experience.
He wrote “I have been mowing lawns since I was a teenager. For a number of years I worked for another local lawn care company and it was an education. The owner had about 60 residential, city contracts, apartment contracts, condo contracts and a few other commercial properties to mow. I attribute most of my success today to this experience.
A short time after hiring me, the owner wasn’t around a whole lot so I had to take what he taught me and expand on it. I learned how to talk to customers and take care of the customer’s needs. I also learned to take care of equipment issues such as break downs/repairs and general maintenance. I think everyone should work in a business before they start one, that way they can learn the ins and outs of the business.You need to learn what it really takes to make money.
I learned a lot about speed versus quality in my 1st year. If you try to mow jobs too fast so you can get to the next job, you’ll spend more time fixing mistakes later and risk losing customers. If you take your time and have some pride in what your doing, the money will come because the customers will be satisfied and recommend you to friends, neighbors and relatives.
Now that I have years of experience behind me, I can more easily see the problems most new lawn care business owners have.
1. Getting customers. New lawn care business owners always think once mowing season kicks into high gear that customers willÂ come a lot quicker, but they won’t unless you work hard to get them and then work harder to keep them.
2. Estimating jobs. Your initial inclination, when you first get started, is to underbid a job so you can get it. The thing you need to learn is, it’s not all about price. It’s about your presentation, your plan for their yard and your follow through.
3. Lastly you will find some costs are going to be a lot higher than you expected. Some may be lower but when planning your business, you are going to need to have wiggle room in your lawn care business plan and budget if you hope to survive.
Just trying to sort through the chaos of becoming a legitimate business is tough enough! There is just tons of paper work and research involved. If you are planning on starting a business, be prepared to spend a lot of time filling out a lot of paper work! Don’t slack off on it either or your invoices won’t get out and you won’t be getting paid.
Networking is so important too. My ex-boss knew a lot of people and I feel that helped him land many accounts. You need to keep your feelers out with everyone you meet. Just recently, I bought a used mower. The guy I bought my mower from owns a lawn care business and said that he was swamped with work this year and said that he would give me some yards. Also, after talking to another landscape business owner in my area, he sent me a bunch of gutter cleaning jobs. He too said he is was over his head with mowing and that he will be sending me yards he couldn’t fit into his schedule.
If you are unsure of yourself and don’t want to spend a few seasons trying to figure out how to get your lawn care business started, you too may want to consider working for another lawn care business at first. Ask as many questions as possible and be helpful. You will be learning skills that improve your future chances of success in the business world, when you set off on your own.”