What to do when the cost to mow in a new area is lower than you are used to?

Trying to start up a lawn care business in a new area can be tough because many of the variables you are used to, may be different. The mowing season may be shorter or longer. The socio-economic level may be different than you are used to as well. So what do you do when you set up shop in a new area and you find the average mowing price is a lot lower than what you were used to? How can you make up for that lost income? That is the situation one business owner found himself in when he asked for help on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

He wrote “since I moved to a new area some 5 months ago, I’ve had a real hard time getting a decent amount of lawn care customers. This is mainly due to my prices. My starting price for the standard yard maintenance was $85 per month in the old area I lived in. In the new area, that price is some $20 higher than the average around here! So I’ve ended up having to get a job and am considering dropping my lawn business.

I love the lawn business and always have, it’s the only thing I know well and am good at it. But in order for me to get enough clients to make decent money, I’m going to have to drop prices to compete with everyone else. YES price is a major thing in this area. I would love to venture away from this area, but with gas prices so high and my current income so low in, I just can’t afford to travel to far to work than the immediate area.

The bottom line is I’m having a hard time accepting that I have to lower prices. What should I do?”

A second lawn care business owner said “here is a suggestion to improve your profits. We have utilized this same strategy to get our foot in the door to many a new area. You can try to drop your price on the first few customers you sign up and do an outstanding job for them. Then ask the happy customer for referrals. I guess in a way it’s a cost of doing business however if other residents all of a sudden see you in the area and I assume you have signs on your truck and trailers, my experience is people will stop and want to talk with you or take a business card if you have a business card holder on the side of your vehicle.

In a few cases if I feel a prospect is testing the waters when I am giving an estimate, I cut to the chase. I will ask them ‘what is it you do not like about your current provider? May I ask what their ballpark rate is so that we do not waste each others time?’ I look for things that we can do that are not being done and the majority of the time the prospect has something, I hone in on, as a service we can offer them. Chances are the current provider doesn’t offer additional services so any added value you can offer will make your company stand out.

It seems for the most part, lawn care companies only offer one service, very few offer for example, lawn mowing, along with gutter cleaning and pressure washing. They may know of a company that offers such services but generally it’s not all provided by one of them.

So if you invite me to quote a service on your property and your body language tells me I might be high, I will quickly scope for a service we can do the others can’t and I find something every time. It could be those two large rocks sticking up through your lawn, a stump that needs to be removed, OMG your deck could use a cleaning! How about the moss in your pavers, that tree would be an issue for the power line in a big storm, do you know we can turn your lawn around using 100% certified organic products that are pet and family safe?

And the list goes on and on. I will find something you want done and I know who my competition is and what they can do, I am to be a one stop shop. Try this out yourself and see how it helps you gain more customers and still allows for you to keep a healthy profit.”

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