Lawn Care Business Forum Lawn Care Business Book Lawn Care Business Blog Lawn Care Software
Home Forum Contract & Flyer Templates Blog Software Videos Podcast Calculators / Estimators Store Mower Review Design It Yourself Lawn Business School

Go Back   GopherHaul Landscaping & Lawn Care Business Marketing Forum > Just starting your lawn care or landscaping business? > Starting a lawn care business.

Starting a lawn care business. How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.

How to compete?


Starting a lawn care business.

How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
  #1  
Old 02-19-2013, 06:50 PM
smallstripeslawncare smallstripeslawncare is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 32
Rep Power: 3
smallstripeslawncare is on a distinguished road
Default How to compete?

I'm located in Charlotte, NC and have been in business two years now. The competition is getting worse every year. I constantly see mini vans pulling walk behinds with signs saying "$20 lawn service", etc...So I know they're all lawn care business's and I even see tons that are probably lawn business's but just don't have a sign on their vehicle.

After talking to a few guys I've ran into filling up at the gas station I can clearly see the reasons so many people start up a lawn care business. Its a relatively low cost business to start. A used walk behind, trimmer, blower and even use the wifes SUV to haul it all is pretty easy on the wallet. Getting a DBA doesn't run that high and its overall a simple business to start.

With gas prices on the rise and the crazy amount of competition how can I compete?
Reply With Quote

Stop guess-timating. Learn how to estimate and make money! $$$
Mow Time Estimator Lawn Care Price Estimator Mulch and Topsoil Calculator Snow Plow Estimate Calculator


  #2  
Old 02-19-2013, 07:35 PM
SECTLANDSCAPING SECTLANDSCAPING is offline
new member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: CT
Posts: 1,912
Rep Power: 0
SECTLANDSCAPING is on a distinguished road
Default

Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
These types come and go. As soon as the equipment starts to break or theres a drought, blizzard, to weed them out.

You just have to be firm with your price and service. Youll win some and you lose some. I get calls for services that Im told Im twice as high other but came highly recommended.

The blizzard we just had I was charging people 4xs my normal price and only 3 out of 25 said no. A few months before I only closed about a 1/4 of my quotes for driveways. The storm was to big for the hacks. They shut off their phones and went to sleep, leaving their customers stuck in their homes.

Theres people on here all the time that brag about 20,30,40 customers when they just started but since their charging $20-$25 a cut. I end up making more with less. Its easier on my equipment and I always invest back into the business.

It happens with every service. I have people around here doing 3 yards of mulch for $180. I lose these quotes but get 15 yards for $1800 all day. They dont have the equipment or even the money for materials. I just quoted a 120 yard mulch install. Theres only a handful people in this area that have the capital and equipment to pull that off.

You just have to separate yourself from the rest.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-19-2013, 08:43 PM
smallstripeslawncare smallstripeslawncare is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 32
Rep Power: 3
smallstripeslawncare is on a distinguished road
Default

It would seem that they come and go but it also seems tons more are popping up. Last year I marketed heavily and was at $25 a cut for anything less than 1/2 acre. The majority of the lawns in my area aren't even close to 1/2 acre so in my opinion its profitable to get $25 for a 20 minute lawn.

This year I'm at $30 a cut (1/2 acre or under) and even with staying firm at that price it seems I'm not getting no where near the amount of calls/emails as I was last year. I already have 10 at $25 from last year and 5 at $30 and one at $35 from last season that have already confirmed for this season.

I need a goal of 50 lawns to make ends meet and be able to support my family. This is with the current lawns at their prices and the lawns I need at $30 a cut. Last year I didn't get a lot of calls until the season had already started and the spring growth has kicked in but I still got plenty of calls/emails from people in February and this year I haven't gotten many at all.

Fuel prices will be a big hit in the wallet this season especially if the prices keep climbing.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-19-2013, 08:51 PM
JeffK26
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

The types you're talking about are not competition. They're competing with themselves. They're one broken window from going under, one car or mower breakdown from shutting up shop, one heatwave from sitting in the AC and thinking about going to work for someone else and one drought from not bringing in money and having to close down.

It's a waste of time to think about these guys. The types of clients these guys are picking up are the ones you don't want anyway, they're shopping on price, they don't care if the guy misses the grass around a gutter, they don't care the guy uses the mower to shove open a gate, or puts the trimmer up to the house and tears the siding, marks up the wooden fence. they don't care about their property and don't want to mow it.

Focus on the people that want quality. The people that notice not one blade is missed, notice there is no damage to their property from a mower or a trimmer.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-19-2013, 09:01 PM
SECTLANDSCAPING SECTLANDSCAPING is offline
new member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: CT
Posts: 1,912
Rep Power: 0
SECTLANDSCAPING is on a distinguished road
Default

Thats why I say target 20 $50 lawns. Its a lot easier to do then 40 $25 lawns. If your advertising on price. You already lost. Go after the big upscale houses that have acres. I rather cut one yard for $200 then 5 for $40 each.

This is why I have a $35 min. I would rather not get the calls for all the little yards in the first place. If they dont even have grass, how can I up sell mulch, plowing, pressure washing?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-19-2013, 09:02 PM
smallstripeslawncare smallstripeslawncare is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 32
Rep Power: 3
smallstripeslawncare is on a distinguished road
Default

You do have a valid point but how to target these clients is the hard part. Of course door hangars and fliers. I do a lot of advertisement on craigslist and I'm not sure if many high end residential clients dont even check craigslist.

In my area it seems like a lot of high end clients go with big company's probably for the reasons you've stated above. I do have quite a few out of the 16 lawns I currently have that are high end and do care about their property. Surprisingly the ones that are the best clients are the ones that have nice lawns (because they'll spend the money) and want me to stripe it perfectly, edge everything the correct way, and want me to cut the grass the right height for the grass type. I dropped a lot of accounts at the beginning of last year because they simply wanted bi-weekly service only and we all know during the spring it will get super high and on top of it all they wanted me to cut it to the dirt. I'll argue that it will invite weeds, damage the plant, and will look horrible and just isn't the right height for the grass type. I don't even mention about the strain on my equipment.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-20-2013, 05:48 AM
LawnBoy0311 LawnBoy0311 is offline
new member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: East Coast
Posts: 1,169
Rep Power: 0
LawnBoy0311 is on a distinguished road
Default

I ran into this same problem. I saw TONS of these guys driving around at the start of last year. I remember seeing them and waving to them, some would stop and talk for a little while. The end of the year....they were gone. Like the other guys say, their biggest competition is themselves.

I stuck with my cost and it worked out for me. Granted I've haven't been on my own for too long, and I'm only a part timer, my tactics worked great for me. I noticed a whole bunch were using push mowers with a crew of 2 to 3 guys. I went after properties that were a bit bigger....ones I know they couldn't do.

It was also mid summer when the weather here gets very humid. Thats when I got a few more phone calls...all of them saying "My lawn guy stopped showing up".

I know it can be frustrating, and hopefully it will all work out. Theres no reason to try and undercut them, but offer something they can't do. Or go after properties too big for them. Side projects are the big ticket item, more $$ with less equipment.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-20-2013, 10:02 AM
smallstripeslawncare smallstripeslawncare is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 32
Rep Power: 3
smallstripeslawncare is on a distinguished road
Default

I love when I see people selling their whole rig on craigslist after the season starts and it gets a little warm outside. It did seem I got the most calls around the beginning of April last year. Most guys started March 1st so I'm guessing I got the calls because people weren't showing up and went out of business or because some people wait until last minute to get a lawn care service when the HOA starts to send notice's about the lawn being too high.

I did see a lot of guys with push mowers and 4 guys packed in a pick up truck and some even riding in the back with the mowers. I just don't see how they can charge $20 a cut and all of them actually get paid.

I'm hoping things will pick up for me this year. I definitely won't go out bidding lawns for $15-$20.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-20-2013, 10:17 AM
BelleCityLawn1's Avatar
BelleCityLawn1 BelleCityLawn1 is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 189
Rep Power: 2
BelleCityLawn1 is on a distinguished road
Default

These little guys drive me crazy. I am located between Milwaukee and Chicago. They come from everywhere advertising $10-$20 cuts. I have come up with ways to get around them. I only advertise on yards too big to mow with a push mower which is what most of them use. Craigslist is amazing for advertising but most of the people are too cheap, however, I have picked up some very good accounts through Craigslist. The best way to advertise is to do quality work. I picked up a supper small rental property for like $30 a mow last year. The property manager contacted me and thanked more for doing such a wonderful job with snow/lawn maintenance and for my on time billing and such. Through that one house I have picked up another 5 houses for different property managers in the area that heard of my good work and they keep coming! Just do good work, keep advertising, and you will be rewarded.


Thank you,
Tim Oezer
Belle City Lawn Care, LLC
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-20-2013, 10:51 AM
smallstripeslawncare smallstripeslawncare is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 32
Rep Power: 3
smallstripeslawncare is on a distinguished road
Default

I'm not going to lie I'm a solo business and plan to stay that way because I like doing it all myself and I like being able to provide the best quality of work possible. I do have much better equipment than the guys that are just starting out. 1996 Cummins 12v ram2500, gravely pro turn 152, gravely 36in hydro wb, etc...All commercial equipment because I learned my lesson with trying to use residential grade stuff last year.

The majority of lawns in my immediate area are less than 15,000 sq ft and that's probably why I see tons of guys with walk behinds and push mowers. I don't do contracts because it seems a lot of people in my area are scared to even sign one because of the guys who are unreliable and just do a horrible job and then they're stuck with them. Plus its easier on me not to offer contracts. I do flat rate pricing which really worked last year so people know what to expect to pay when they contact me. Any lawns under 1/2 acre (most are 15,000 sq ft or under) $30. Which isn't really low balling when most are small and don't take long but I have gotten burned on one or two that were right at 1/2 acre which I know $30 is too low.

Surprising I love lawn care and love working outside but I do have a family to support.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
No Compete Agreement Predator General Talk 5 03-08-2011 08:40 PM
No compete contract choicelandscapes General Business Discussions 1 12-15-2008 10:41 PM
non-compete clause Steve General Business Discussions 2 09-09-2007 07:19 PM
Non Compete Contract for Employees PremierLand GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show, Video, Book & Podcast Discussions. 2 04-06-2007 09:42 PM
I would not want to compete against them! Steve Search Engine Optimization and Website Design Discussions. 0 05-15-2006 10:16 PM

» Recent Threads
  RatingTitle, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views
Need help determining...
Jbss861
07-20-2014 02:33 PM
Yesterday 11:18 PM
by SGL1
8 182
Got my first lawn job...
SGL1
06-11-2014 09:19 PM
Yesterday 11:15 PM
by SGL1
25 1,065
Scag new "Eliminator"......
ExtremeLawncareServices
07-20-2014 10:45 AM
Yesterday 10:11 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
7 160
new to me box truck
jrayb39667
03-06-2014 10:20 PM
Yesterday 08:31 PM
by jrayb39667
13 1,265
Lawn Service back in...
LawnCareMan280
07-18-2014 09:00 PM
Yesterday 07:18 PM
by LawnCareMan280
3 146
Should I ?
googus
Yesterday 04:06 PM
Yesterday 04:06 PM
by googus
0 47
Overspray?
stevef1201
07-21-2014 04:20 PM
Yesterday 03:59 PM
by stevef1201
2 64
My First Apartment...
SSLCtn
05-26-2014 10:17 PM
Yesterday 03:37 PM
by jrs.landscaping
12 771
Hello Everyone! Newbie...
SLKlawn
07-17-2014 06:22 PM
Yesterday 01:53 PM
by Steve
6 194
Proper height for lawn
rob lederhilger
05-26-2014 08:01 AM
07-21-2014 02:53 PM
by LawnDoctor
9 596
need professional advice...
Fiddlers_green
07-20-2014 07:21 PM
07-21-2014 02:29 PM
by Steve
1 100
Blade sharpener
Just for Cuts
07-04-2014 12:31 PM
07-21-2014 01:48 PM
by Steve
9 425
What's my business worth?
Chaz
07-16-2014 01:35 PM
07-21-2014 01:45 PM
by Steve
4 205
Single tree, mow customer
WesleySnips
06-27-2014 10:12 AM
07-21-2014 01:04 PM
by Steve
12 488
1.5 Acre Jungle
WesleySnips
07-15-2014 05:57 PM
07-20-2014 11:31 AM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
21 499
Selling lawns like...
eastsidelandcare
07-17-2014 03:51 PM
07-20-2014 08:03 AM
by kslawn
1 140
Crop Rotation Techniques...
eastsidelandcare
07-17-2014 03:47 PM
07-19-2014 05:40 PM
by kslawn
1 104
Gopher schedule software
Ray
07-18-2014 04:13 PM
07-18-2014 04:13 PM
by Ray
0 107
2006 Chevy fuel pump...
KevinsLawns
07-17-2014 08:39 PM
07-18-2014 11:51 AM
by Steve
1 105
Halfway point of year!
Steve
07-01-2014 12:08 PM
07-18-2014 11:38 AM
by Steve
14 643
I got told to leave and...
gwilson98
06-16-2014 02:07 PM
07-17-2014 11:43 AM
by Steve
16 955
These are the days on...
ExtremeLawncareServices
03-22-2014 09:12 AM
07-16-2014 08:38 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
73 4,215
Hey guys this is the...
prmenter@gmail.com
07-07-2014 08:23 PM
07-16-2014 08:10 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
28 686
Mowing the hills
prmenter@gmail.com
07-08-2014 12:22 PM
07-16-2014 05:00 PM
by Just for Cuts
18 620
Say Hello !!!
Steve
03-19-2007 11:18 AM
07-15-2014 05:38 PM
by icon2000
1,184 318,279
need some help geting...
dalvan0
07-13-2014 09:28 PM
07-15-2014 11:56 AM
by Steve
5 211
new trailer help
mattthelawnguy
07-11-2014 08:21 PM
07-15-2014 11:42 AM
by Steve
9 310
Classified Ad Template...
bcfb
06-05-2013 02:40 AM
07-15-2014 11:16 AM
by Steve
15 3,640
Husqvarna pz 60
CDLAWNCARE
07-06-2014 06:50 PM
07-15-2014 08:53 AM
by kslawn
10 384
Lowballers
Chaz
07-11-2014 03:55 PM
07-14-2014 12:27 PM
by Steve
5 315
My new side job
Sprinkler Buddy
05-10-2014 05:23 AM
07-14-2014 12:15 PM
by Steve
10 777
Illegal spraying
GoGreenerKS
07-04-2014 09:11 AM
07-13-2014 10:36 PM
by GoGreenerKS
10 492
New Mower and Trailer
Chaz
06-25-2014 12:04 PM
07-13-2014 06:25 PM
by SGL1
7 495
What Fertilizer to Use?
acrajchel
04-07-2014 01:56 PM
07-12-2014 07:36 PM
by SGL1
21 1,813
Fuel and fuel additives
SGL1
07-06-2014 10:23 AM
07-11-2014 07:53 PM
by SGL1
15 486
Questions for a patchy...
jumcgee
07-09-2014 08:42 AM
07-11-2014 12:34 PM
by Steve
1 168
toro proline blades wont...
boog
06-25-2014 06:26 PM
07-11-2014 05:28 AM
by kslawn
18 601
Contents of Marketing to...
prmenter@gmail.com
07-09-2014 05:25 PM
07-10-2014 03:23 PM
by Steve
3 253
Shindaiwa
CLB454
05-13-2014 09:04 PM
07-10-2014 03:04 PM
by Steve
14 733
Starting New in FL
mmcuttrim
08-06-2010 09:22 AM
07-10-2014 02:44 PM
by Steve
48 11,179
Bid help 45 on acre...
Priggan
06-26-2014 12:56 PM
07-09-2014 08:38 AM
by kslawn
7 476
need help bidding fence...
veteranslawncaresystems
07-03-2014 10:33 AM
07-08-2014 12:00 PM
by Steve
5 337
Trimmer or Knife?
gwilson98
07-04-2014 09:56 PM
07-07-2014 02:41 PM
by Steve
6 304
Started a New Solar Lawn...
Solar Lawn Care
06-08-2013 01:40 AM
07-07-2014 01:55 PM
by Steve
37 7,359
New Canadian Member
coppervalley
07-04-2014 02:15 PM
07-07-2014 01:12 PM
by Steve
1 200
Happy Independance...
stevef1201
07-04-2014 07:05 AM
07-07-2014 01:01 PM
by Steve
2 203
Echo PE 266 edger
stevef1201
07-01-2014 01:28 PM
07-07-2014 12:47 PM
by Steve
4 286
30 Inch Push Mowers Pros...
Billy Goat
06-27-2013 08:07 PM
07-06-2014 01:50 PM
by SGL1
21 5,169
Poulan Pro trimmers
SGL1
06-30-2014 11:16 PM
07-05-2014 09:32 PM
by SGL1
20 479
Timber!
Clays Landscape
11-28-2011 09:48 PM
07-05-2014 07:31 PM
by jhinton
22 5,712
» Popular Tags
4wd advertisement article marketing auger bid butterfly gardens charge christmas lighting christmas light service courtesy call customers decorating estimate exmark ferris first truck fundraiser gopherhaul grass gravely hills holiday holiday decorating holiday lighting how much to charge introduction john deere quik trac lawn lawn care lawn care business book lawn care business seo lawn care business show lawn care business website lawn care business website seo lawn care website leaf lighting marketing monthly mow mulch mulch price new buisness new mower organize outdoor environments payment podcast property management company pto reo scag schedule scripts seo snow starting a business starting a lawn care business start up lawn care business steve stihl theft toro toro grand stand trailer trimmer rack walker winter winter services zero turn
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.1.0

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:34 AM.


(C) 2011 Riggs Publications - Terms of use & Privacy Policy

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:34 AM.

(C) 2011 Riggs Publications - Terms of use & Privacy Policy