What I have learned in my lawn care business part 3.

Continuing on from part 2 of my previous blog article on lawn care business lessons I have learned, here are more insights one lawn care business owner learned from his experience of getting his lawn care business started. In the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, he shared with us service, pricing, and employee tips you may find useful.

“I think that in the beginning, when you get your lawn care business started,¬† you need to concentrate on what you do best. Over time you can then add other services on top of what you can handle without stretching yourself too thin. I have a lot of lawn care customers that don’t want to hire someone else, or they ask if I know someone who can do whatever it is they want done. Since I’m there mowing the lawn, I can aerate, de-thatch, spray, without any additional advertising or travel costs, which can keep my prices for additional services, lower than calling another company in.

I would suggest, once you feel your business is stable and you have a firm grasp on your operations, offer as many services as you can handle. It assures work if another aspect of your business lags. But don’t go stray from what you do best.

As for the future, I want to start spraying lawns. The biggest problem I have is that I started without a proper business plan and to survive I had to buy new equipment to meet my customer’s service demands. So for my future, I need to concentrate on getting out of debt. I’m to the point now that I have as many yards as I want, but I need to get concentrated into a smaller area. Right now, my lawn care customers are scattered all across town and it costs me a lot to go from one customer to the next.

The way to make money in the lawn care industry is to keep your yards close and ideally have them in the same neighborhood. If you have one yard on one end of town and one on the other and you have to jump around between them all week long, you’re wasting fuel, employee pay, wear and tear on a vehicle, and wasting your own time.

I suggest keeping a log to keep track of your start and end times so you can see when you spending more time in the truck than mowing. You can do this with Gopher Lawn Care Software. My next goal is to make a list of my best and worst customers, look around for more yards in the good neighborhoods and weed out the bad ones.

This last summer I took a notebook and put a start and an end time on all of my yards, mow times were between 18-30 min and drive time seemed to be another 20min. So knocking out that drive time adds half a day plus gas and truck use.

Use these lawn care business calculators for Android.

My advertising plans for getting a full neighborhood is pretty simple. If I have a lawn care customer or 2 in an area I want more in, I will talk to the customer about getting neighbors to join, and offer some sort of deal to them for every new account I get. After that I will look for lawns that are obviously mowed commercially and ask the home owner if they are satisfied with their current lawn care provider. I will tell them that if they get a neighbor to sign up with me too I will give them a great deal. I am a strong believer that YOU are your best advertisement, but a neighbor is a trusted person and not a random guy telling you that he is good. I will also go door to door, and talk to a few people on the block.

When it comes to making the sale, don’t try to be the cheapest. As a small business with a one or 2 person crew, when yo go out, you may have a tendency to want to bid a little lower, because you think that’s what it will take to get the job. But before you do that, take a look at other small business in your area and you may notice it’s not the little hardware stores or grocery stores selling the cheapest. If you can’t do it that cheap, DON’T. If you try to be known as the cheapest, you will quickly find there will always be others willing to go cheaper than you.

When you figure your bid price you may think, I will use my mower this long, and gas will cost this much and maybe advertising costs and insurance, etc but there are things you need to account for. Don’t forget your HOUSE PAYMENT, GAS, ELECTRIC, PROP. TAX, GARBAGE, WATER, INTERNET, TV, PHONE. This is your job, if you went out and had to get a job somewhere you would add all of these things up and if they offer $8 an hr you would say no because it’s not enough especially when you know you need at least $12 to survive.

So when you are out doing your estimates, know your costs, and don’t go below or you are going to hurt yourself. It doesn’t pay to work just to break even.

Also a problem I had this year was equipmnet break down. In the past, things were under warranty, now that I’m a little ways into this, I have to make repairs on my own. So consider taking a class on small engine repair. If you ever hire a worker, make sure they are mechanical, because its’ not just the cost of the repairs, it’s the down time that gets you too. It’s better to have an employee be able to quickly fix an issue in the field than sit there and wait as they call you for help.”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Check out the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum for great prices on new and used lawn care equipment:

Chain Saw

Dethatcher

Garden Tools

Hedge Trimmer

Lawn Aerator

Leaf Blower

Leaf Vacuum

Mower Blades

Mower Ride On

Mower Walk Behind

Multi Attachment Trimmers

Pole Saw

Pressure Washer

Salt Sand Spreader

Shop Tools

Snow Blower

Snow Plow

Stick Edger

String Trimmer

Stump Grinder

Sulky

Tractor Attachment

Trailers

Trailer Landscape Racks

Trencher
Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success