What I learned about the lawn care business this year.

I asked the members of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, what they learned this year about business as they reflected back. The fall and winter are great times to take a moment and sit back to think about the lessons you learned over the past year. What have these lessons taught you and how can you make next year better. Here is what some of them had to say.

One lawn care business owner said “this was a learning year. I found that door hangers, flyers, posters, and door to door had less than desirable results. As far as marketing results, newspaper ads and having a blog that I got listed on my local city web site was by far the most productive.

I found competing with the competition didn’t work. Offering the same services and products they had just left me spinning my wheels.

Differentiating myself from them was the key. I found organic lawn care is much more profitable than mowing. I won’t turn down mowing contracts but I don’t seek them out anymore. Organic lawn treatments, sod, tilling and re-seeding are what I will concentrate after organic lawn treatments.”

A second business owner shared “This past year was a year of learning and revamping the business plan.I wish I knew then and had the equipment I do now when I started.

I was performing various cost brake downs, every job we do landscaping at takes four trips, two delivery and two pick up. I average 10 mpg tops pulling gear so it really added up. So I bought a 14,000 pound trailer that is 19 feet long, I can now transport everything in one shot.

I learned there is a limited market for me in mowing which is fine. I have many private divisions and a few residential in my area. They are basically enough to keep one crew going, I have no plans to expand my mowing next year unless it falls on my lap. Instead I have found there is big money in pressure washing, organic spraying, wood cutting, chipping, post hole digging, excavation, and landscaping.

I also determined that using a tractor with a chipper was a very poor choice so I traded them all in for pull units to free the tractors up where they make a lot more money. Now I simply use one of my ATV’s to pull the chipper around the clients site instead of a tractor.

A chipper that attached to the tractor runs around $8,000. The issue is, the most I could get for a tractor and chipper per hour was $45.00, but the tractor on a job site doing loader work or whatever brings in $75.00 an hour. The cost of the tow unit chippers is not cheap as I wanted diesel with auto feed so they run close to $22,000 each. There is a very big demand for such chippers as the rental places rent them with a manual feed for $240.00 a day. The problem with a manual feed is that it kills your arms within an hour. With my automatic feeder I simply feed the entire tree. I only chip up to 5″ however it will do 8″ but that should be cut into firewood which we do for $35.00 an hour and split it with a splitter we have for $45.00 an hour.

The tractor is cheap to run however it could and does bring in a lot more money elsewhere so I now simply load the chipper attached to one of the ATV’s on a trailer and take it to the site, staff can then pull it where ever it’s required.

Next year I also plan on building septic fields. I am told offering such services is a license to print money and I start my training course on that next week.”

A third member said “I learned I needed to invest in more equipment to make more money per man hour. I just recently bought a new Bobcat Toolcat 5600 today from a dealer for snow removal this winter and commericial work this summer. This machine has the potential to utilize over 50 attachments! Without a doubt this machine will work out just perfect and will be the talk at the all important coffee shops in town, which is sure to bring me in more business.”

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Chain Saw

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Leaf Blower

Leaf Vacuum

Mower Blades

Mower Ride On

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Multi Attachment Trimmers

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Snow Blower

Snow Plow

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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