Keeping your lawn care business busy during the winter months can be tough depending on the area you live. One thing that can help though is having a plan in place where your services change with the different seasons. Finding different services to offer that are suitable for the different seasons can be as simple as looking around to see what others are doing. One thing to keep in mind as you create this plan is that it gets more difficult to implement when the colder seasons arrive, as we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
One lawn care business owner wrote “where I live in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t really get snow. Sure, some areas do, but for the most part, we don’t. It just seems to rain.
This fall, as the mowing season slowed, I started to panic because I was looking at a bleak winter. I was having some of my lawn care customers call up and wanting me to mow bi-weekly a little earlier than I had planned. To counter their request, I told them my bi-weekly mowing prices were slightly higher, and that helped keep some with weekly mowing, while others went bi-weekly. Then my lawn care customers, were curious what services I would be performing during the winter to make it worth having me show up.
This got me to look around at other lawn care companies in the area, and see what services they perform in the winter months. What I found out was liming, insecticides, and a winter fertilizer, were the main services performed. I think adding Christmas tree disposal is a nice touch too.
Because I am in this awkward in between growth phase of business, I have thought about using an annual lawn care contract this year, but I was afraid I might scare some lawn care customers away actually by using them. Most of the lawn care customers that I have are good customers and I think that they might understand my business is growing beyond just trying to make a few bucks off of Craigslist jobs, and into a decent enterprise. To do this though, I need to be performing some kind of services all year long and making money in the winter months too.
So, that got me to thinking now was the time to implement an annual lawn care program and set it up so I get paid the same amount every month. I figure my lawn care customers might actually go with it too if I handle it properly.
With some thinking and tweaking, I decided to send out the following letter to either attempt to ‘upgrade’ their account to an annual lawn care program versus just a pay per mow. To do this I wanted to educate them on the benefits of an annual lawn care program and give them the details of it.
After some questions from customers about the coming winter months and the benefits of an annual complete lawn care package, I have listed below the details for full-service lawn care. I understand that there might be additional services needed, but we can discuses that as the time comes.
The price for your lawn would still be $XXX per month.
During the high growth season (Mid-March to Mid-October) you get:
- Weekly mowing
- Weekly blowing
- Control weeds and moss in the lawn
- Bi-weekly edging
- Fertilization every 6 weeks
- Periodic soil tests
During the slow growth season (Mid-October to Mid-March) you get:
- Two visits every month (barring extreme weather)
- Mowing at least once per month but as often as needed
- Blowing every visit
- Edging once per month
- A top quality winter fertilizer applied every two months
- Insecticide applied as needed to treat for European crane fly
- Free disposal and hauling of your Christmas tree, wreaths, etc
- Lime applied up to twice a year, as needed to balance the soil PH
Thank you very much for using me for your lawn maintenance needs.
[My Contact Info]
After sending this letter out a week ago, it seems to be working. I got one customer to ‘upgrade’ his account, and I feel confident that others with continue with my property care services into the winter. This will make it a lot easier on me to have these lawn care customers serviced monthly when spring rolls around, so I don’t have to chase them down to start up their services again. I wish I had done this sooner and not waited until the last minute to throw it all together and hope they go along with it. If I had sold my customers on this during the spring and had them sign an agreement, I wouldn’t be so concerned right now.”
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