Why I decided to not expand to two lawn care crews.

It seems like it is the dream of most lawn care business owners to scale up from one lawn mowing crew to two lawn care crews as quickly as possible. There are upsides to it. You should make more money, your business will be bigger, but there are also downsides to scaling up that should be considered as well. Here is a great discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on why one lawn care business owner decided to stay with only one lawn care crew. After reading this, you might want to take a moment and think about your future business plans and consider this point of view.

He wrote “I recently realized that I have reached a plateau with my lawn care business. I am currently running a 3 man crew at full steam, 5-6 days a week. I have worked 7 days a week for over a month now and am absolutely exhausted.

You might think it’s time for me to scale up and add a second lawn care crew but I have crunched the numbers and have decided not to do it at this time. Instead I created another option I am going to follow. What I decided to do is use any new customers I get from now on, to filter out the bad ones, slow payers & pain in the butt customers from my mowing schedule.

You should try it sometime. It feels really good to do it by the way. To be able to fire customers that I have had to put up with for years because I ‘needed’ their business. It feels like I am taking my business back. It’s empowering! I am in good shape business wise and in a good position, if I wanted to, expand out next year, though I don’t know if I want the additional headaches of growing bigger than this.

I am doing 5 days of lawn maintenance a week and have been doing a ton of landscaping & clean up work over the weekends. I am not advertising, other than having a website, anymore and the phones keep ringing. I am turning new lawn care maintenance clients away unless they live 1 minute or less from my current routes. I just don’t have the damn time to be traveling. I could take a lawn care customer today who lives 5 minutes outside my route but I know that tommorrow I won’t have room in the schedule for my current client’s next door neighbor.

I now have a multitude of stops where we park the truck & do 3, 4, and 5 lawns from one stop, without having to load and unload everything. It’s pretty sweet to have stops where we can rock out $100+ worth of work in a hour, drive 2 minutes & do it again.

I am now figuring that if I expand out at all, it will be in other business directions. I mean if anything, I’d like to add other services & have a dedicated truck to do them and only them, not another lawn service truck.

Since I made this decision, I sold an extra mower I had, last week. That was sweet to unload & get some cash back as it was paid for.

All is well I guess, I just really need some time off. I started my lawn care business years ago and I found myself busy right away. I was working my butt off all summer, that first year, thinking ‘it’s ok I’ll relax in the winter.’ But I failed to secure enough annual lawn care clients to survive that 1st winter on this income alone. Because of that, I had to work another full time job through the winter, just to make ends meet.

The following year, I ramped up my marketing in the spring & blew the business up! Then I figured ‘it’s ok, I’ll relax over the winter….’ But wouldn’t you know it, I lost the employee I wanted to keep in November & ended up having to run solo while still working a full time job in the off season.

Which brings us to now. With work boiling over & out of the pot, I am trying to keep up with it all. I am working more hours & harder than I ever have & I still find myself thinking…….’it’s ok, … I’ll relax this winter….’

I love being my own boss & calling all the shots, but man, I also miss just working my 40 hrs & going home when you could just check all the work BS at the door & not think about it again til monday morning. I miss that summers no longer mean nice family days at the beach & barbeques out back anymore. Now it means working my butt off in the heat so many hours a week that the thought of going out on the weekend, to sit at the beach, sounds like a disgustingly vile idea.

My wife want’s to know why I don’t want to go with her and the kids to ‘enjoy’ the day. I told her ‘ya know how you are stuck in the house all week & want to get out to do something different like…. going to the beach? I am out there all week long…. The couch is my something different. I just wanna go to the couch on my weekends.’

It’s been a lot of work to get it here. It’s kind of a drag to put the brakes on the growth. The whole concept of slowing it down is kind of a turn off to me. I have enjoyed building a lawn care good business from nothing. The growth however is my challenge. I know myself and I know that if I put the business in a stagnant holding pattern it’s only a matter of time, probably a year or 2, before I will get bored and frustrated with it. I am already thinking of offering other services in the future under another name or division of the company. Maybe pool service, window cleaning, etc. I don’t know yet. The wheels in my head are always turning & looking for a new angle to work.

OK, done ranting for now. That’s where I am at.”

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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