Every lawn care business owner wants to find a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors. The goal is, if you can differentiate yourself, you will increase your value and can ultimately charge more because of it. People will pay a premium for lawn care if you meet their needs. If you do good work. If you are reliable. Many new lawn care business owners either don’t see this or they feel they don’t have the skill set yet to differentiate themselves based on skill, so instead they turn to price. By trying to lowball their price, they figure it will get them many new customers. There are other better ways to go about standing out, as discussed in the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
A new lawn care business owner wrote “I am brand new to the lawn care business world as I have just started up my own company. I decided to start my business because of a 4 month layoff that I just went through. I experienced one of the most helpless feelings that I have ever felt going through that process. I’m pretty sure if any of you have gone through a layoff you can identify with me on that. So, to turn my life around, I decided that I never again wanted to work my butt off for someone else, only to be laid off so the high brass could get their bonuses. I decided to start my own business and take charge of my life and my future.
Right now I’m just doing the normal things to market my lawn care business. I am running ads in local newspapers, passing out business cards, and I’ve ordered door magnets for my truck. Just things like that. I’m going to have flyers printed up also.
One thing I was considering doing was to run an ad on craigslist that offered a special price. I was thinking about offering to cut any lawn for say $15-20. This would be for a one time only mowing, just to see if that might drum up some business. Do you think that is a good idea?”
One of the most important things you need to do early on is work your social network. Both online and in person. Are you a member of any social organizations you can network market through? Do you have family members in the area? Friends in the area? Are you friendly with your neighbors? Think about everyone you know and make a list of these people. Make it a point to get them on the phone or go and visit them. Hand out cards to everyone and ask them to get the word out about your new business. See if they would hire you do mow their lawn or do some other property work.
Some of the big points that help sell lawn care service are being personable and being reliable. If you offer those two things, you are going to be set. You just gotta get the word out that you have those traits and that you follow through.
The first inclination we all have, early on, is to compete on price. But what happens when you do that is you don’t stay in business long. You need to make a profit on all the work you do. If you bid too low on your jobs, you ultimately will find yourself actually paying the customer to work on their property because your expenses will be greater than your income! Customers HATE having to find a new lawn care company every week because every new start up is so unreliable. The reason they are unreliable is because they aren’t taking their business seriously and charging enough to survive and grow.
You don’t need to be the cheapest. You need to be consistent and reliable. Be there to help them resolve their property issues and charge enough to live on.
He responded by saying “after talking with you, I spoke with a couple of guys who have been in the business for a few years and they said the same thing, being reliable is the key. I ran the idea of offering to cut someones lawn for $15-$20 bucks by my wife, and she said hell no, lol. She said it would cause a lot of problems later when I try to raise the price and have to explain this to the customers. Also, having no limit on the size of lawn I would cut that price for could open me up for a lot of problems as well. Which are all good points.
I’m not a member of any social organization at the moment but maybe I should look into joining some. As I think about it more, I actually do interact with a lot of people everyday and through my different hobbies and interests. I will definatley give them business cards. I will start tomorrow visiting with my neighbors too!”