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View Full Version : Lawn Care business advice for the UK market...


skennard
10-25-2009, 01:12 PM
I have only recently joined the forums and have been reading with interest and on another post I mention I am from England.

From the little I know about the states everything is a lot bigger than here in England this includes houses, gardens and just about everything else and there seems to be a huge living to be made out of lawn care and garden maintenance as you cut the grass, carry out seasonal treatments etc.

The lawn season is drawing to a close this time of year where I am but I want to plan for next year and was looking for some advice and guidance.

This year has been my 1st year in the Garden Maintenance business and I have gained some regular customers doing grass cutting but it is just that, cutting the grass. I suggest things like lawn weed and feed or top dressing, scarifying etc and have got very little interest as they think cutting the grass is all there is to it and they believe they are paying enough already.

I see that a lot of people on the forum offer packages throughout the year which cover the lawn cutting and the treatments. I'd like some advice as to how I would go about replicating this in the UK considering peoples gardens are quite often smaller than in the states and also how I go about raising awareness as to the importnace of a combined lawn care and treatment program that seems to be so popular in the US.
Is it just a question of customer education and awareness or do I need a whole different approach to this kind of business in the UK?

I get a lot one off work like hedge-cutting, garden clearances or tidy-ups but I don't seem to be that great in up-selling at the moment, but I guess it comes with practice and experience.

I've invested quite a bit of money in the getting the business started like getting a VW van, Hayter mower, combi Stihl Strimmer and attachments, Karcher pressure washer and other tools of the trade, also the insurance, diesel, tipping licenses etc.

I've also got to get it all serviced soon and I've worked out my break even cost from my projections are about 9.97 an hour and I base my charges on 15.00 an hour at the moment! in fact my projections were based on a minimum of 100 day 5 days a weeks 7 hours a day at lest but it is very rare to get my diary even to this level yet.

This being my 1st year I seem to be spending money as fast as it comes in and just as well my wife is earning decent salary that takes the pressure off a bit at the mo.

I'm looking forward to next year but would appreciate any tips or advice I could apply to running the business in the UK. After all you can't beat seeing how good a job you've done from arriving and leaving a customer site, makes the whole thing worthwhile, but at the end of the day it's go to pay the bills.

StartALawnCareBusiness
10-25-2009, 03:55 PM
Skennard:

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was lucky enough to pay a quick visit to England earlier this month. I stayed with my aunt and cousins in the greater Liverpool area.

Bristol may be different than Liverpool in that Liverpool had tremendous growth through council housing during the late '20's through the 1950's. Council housing was built when the majority of families used public transport primarily and each family either had no cars or 1 car max for the entire family to use.

Times have changed greatly and many families now have several cars per family. This puts a strain on street parking and available parking lots. Each house hold is allowed, after receiving proper permits, to turn their front garden into a hardscaped parking area.

The front shrubs and front walk-in gate are replaced with a larger gate. The sod is replaced with hard scaping on which to park. Certain code regulations must be met such as for ground penetration of run-off as well as aesthetic appeal.

Have you looked into providing such services? Practically every home is gradually undergoing this change and I think there is an outstanding opportunity to provide such services.

From what I saw, homeowners still want an aesthetically pleasing front garden. There is just much less space to make it look pretty.

Have you thought about offering such services. If your hardscaped parking areas look professionally designed and installed, I think you will have all the customers you can possibly imagine.

I have some other ideas inspired from my visit...will share more with you later.

Good luck:

Keith
PS: Be sure to check out my blog...
Start A Lawn Care Business (http://www.StartALawnCareBusiness.com/blog)

skennard
10-25-2009, 05:20 PM
Skennard:

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was lucky enough to pay a quick visit to England earlier this month. I stayed with my aunt and cousins in the greater Liverpool area.

Bristol may be different than Liverpool in that Liverpool had tremendous growth through council housing during the late '20's through the 1950's. Council housing was built when the majority of families used public transport primarily and each family either had no cars or 1 car max for the entire family to use.

Times have changed greatly and many families now have several cars per family. This puts a strain on street parking and available parking lots. Each house hold is allowed, after receiving proper permits, to turn their front garden into a hardscaped parking area.

The front shrubs and front walk-in gate are replaced with a larger gate. The sod is replaced with hard scaping on which to park. Certain code regulations must be met such as for ground penetration of run-off as well as aesthetic appeal.

Have you looked into providing such services? Practically every home is gradually undergoing this change and I think there is an outstanding opportunity to provide such services.

From what I saw, homeowners still want an aesthetically pleasing front garden. There is just much less space to make it look pretty.

Have you thought about offering such services. If your hardscaped parking areas look professionally designed and installed, I think you will have all the customers you can possibly imagine.

I have some other ideas inspired from my visit...will share more with you later.

Good luck:

Keith
PS: Be sure to check out my blog...
Start A Lawn Care Business (http://www.StartALawnCareBusiness.com/blog)

Hi Keith, thanks for your reply. I hadn't thought of that approach and your right; parking is very much becoming a premium on the roads nowadays and yes people are starting to turn their front garden's into parking lots. I've also walked past a good number of them in Bristol and and am very sad to see how uninteresting the areas are. In fact when I was looking to buy our current house in Bristol 3 years ago I did look at quite a lot of property that had the front garden ripped out and replaced by some hard-standing and this immediately turned me off as the appearance of the property and grounds is quite important for me and many others as you point out.
Not quite sure how to go about your idea yet but I know the front of the house we bought has a really small area of about 1 metre between the bay window and the small wall next to the pavement/sidewalk. I suppose design the area at the front of the house with some container plants or whatever and make a feature of the area which I guess would generate interest from passers-by and help market my business :)
I'd be very interested on hearing some more thoughts on this idea.
Thanks
Steve