There are up sides and down sides to every choice you make as you run your business. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we get a chance to look into the ups and downs of focusing solely on lawn care versus focusing on hardscaping. Which services you choose to offer can have a big impact on how your business operates.
What is going to be more profitable within 30 days, based on residential contracts? A $25 shovel or a $25 lawn cut? Take a moment and think about this.
One landscape business owner wrote “when I was first talking about getting a lawn care business started, I was poking around and asking other people questions about the business. One landscaper I knew asked me that question about which tool would make me more money and I think my response to him was like huh? He told me a his story on how he got started and how he had invested in a zero turn mower. This wasn’t small change either, he spent big money on it. Then when he got this mower he found that he was only servicing these $25 lawn cuts in subdivisions around his area.
Frustrated with the limited amount of profit he was making mowing lawns, he knew he had to make a change, so he started marketing and then taking calls for landscape services. Next he went to his local hardware store and bought a shovel for $25. With this $25 investment he was able to do his first landscape job for $300, which only took about 2.5 hours to perform. Seeing that he could make more money digging into grass than mowing it, he ended up going into hardscapes full time and selling his zero turn mower.
After thinking about this for a while and talking my business plan over with my wife, I decided to follow in his foot steps. Now I find myself in the landscape construction end of things since 1988. As I look back I can safely say that I never cared for mowing. I’ve seen my share of guys thinking they were going to get rich by mowing lawns for $15. My view on that is it’s impossible to under bid others when you are cutting your own throat.
A second lawn care business owner said “I agree that there is more money to be made in landscaping, but mowing provides you with stability and is a guaranteed pay check, week to week month to month.
The downside to landscaping is that you need to constantly be marketing yourself and staying on the hunt more for landscape jobs to work on in order to be able to pay your bills. There is also big money to be spent on landscape equipment too you know, you can’t do everything with a $25 shovel.
When you have a large lawn care customer base for lawn care, you can upsell and get all their landscaping work as well.
I think it is good to do both, but I lean more towards mowing for it’s steady pay check.
As far as a $15 cut goes I don’t do it period. I charge what I feel I’m worth and not a penny less. If it means not winning all my bids than so be it. I learned long ago that if you’re winning them all you’re not charging enough.
The majority of my landscape work comes from my existing lawn customers. I have a few that have me do mulch and replace dead plants every year. This is a nice income boost over my normal pay. Plus with a customer base, I know that if I need extra money, I can send out an e-mail offering different seasonal services. This will almost a 100% of the time result in side work.
Most of my lawn care customers will come to me first for anything they need around their property, I even painted a house one year.”
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