There are so many ways you can go wrong when you are first getting your business started. You can run out of money. You can get frustrated on the response from your marketing. Then you can just find yourself giving up because what you perceive as a lack of interest in your business, but before you consider giving up, you may want to hold fast. Consider these top 3 early mistakes discussed on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and see what you can learn from them.
One lawn care business owner wrote “I’m starting off my lawn care business very new here and I have a bunch of questions. I am currently cutting with a push mower and using my own personal lawn equipment. I am concerned about buying all the equipment needed and not being able to maintain a customer base to at a minimum pay for said equipment.
Right now, I’m really only interested in residential lawns and would be happy if I could get 12 lawns a week this year. Currently this is a side job for me but would I would like to see it blossom so I could go at it full time.
- Why No Signs On Trucks? I see a lot of landscapers driving around with their equipment but no signs on their trucks at all. No name, number, nothing. I can’t figure out why. Is it because they have a customer base built up already and don’t need any more customers? I would think it would make sense to at least have a name and number listed?
- Am I Doing My Marketing Correctly? - I have put a lot of door hangers out. They are black and white generic looking. Out of about 300 I have hung on doors I got about 5 leads with three being landed. I have lost one of those. So I’m not sure if this is good or bad or how better to market myself. I have magnets on my vehicle with name, number, and email. They are very specific to show I am a lawn service via the graphics. I posted some flyers in the local stores that would allow it, with pull off tabs including my name and number. I would like to create a influx of calls but I am just not sure how to make that happen.
- Am I Pricing Lawns Properly? - I would like to stay competitive with my prices but obviously being the only person working within my business I cannot buzz through a lawn in 15-20 minutes. So it seems I am always $10-15 dollars higher than most services in my neighborhood. I can adjust this price a bit if I were to get enough lawns to support buying better equipment which would allow me to work faster. But I just don’t understand why my prices seem to be higher than average and I am just starting out?
I’m realistic about the economy so that could be a reason why it’s been so difficult for me to get new customers. I ‘m not looking to scoop up a huge market share but I understand when you are new you need to market hard. Any ideas where I could improve? Would it be smart to take the plunge and buy the bigger lawn care equipment and have it ‘on show’ when I’m working? Thanks for any input.”
A second lawn care business owner said “I’m not going to lie to ya, the better equipment is nice, but you don’t want to ruin your credit, or go into debt to buy equipment only to lose it all later when you can’t afford to make the payments anymore.
My best suggestions would be to SAVE every penny you can. Work extra hours here and there. Work extra yards anytime you can, and get you a few extra yards, save save save, and hope you can run across a deal on a decent used commercial grade walk behind mower, for around $500-1000. If you would get something like that, your mowing would speed up. Faster lawn cuts will help you price better and profit better.
Why do you see so many landscapers out there without signs on their vehicle? It’s because either they don’t get the importance of it, or they are not sure if they are really into running this business and don’t want to put any permanent signs on their truck for fear their business will fail and then they will have to peal all those signs off. I think it is foolish. If you are in this, be in it and promote yourself.
Getting lawn care customers early on is tough until you get that momentum built. When I got started, I found a 1% to 3% response rate on my flyers. Knowing that the response is so low, you really gotta get out there and hand out A LOT of them to improve your results. Also CRAIGSLIST.COM has been fantastic for me. I went from 4 customers to 32 customers thanks to the ads I put on Craigslist. Those 28 customers then referred me to 16 more! It’s the best and cheapest way, early on, to sell yourself.”
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