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.

You MUST read (for new business owners)


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 06-09-2012, 12:15 PM
CHEESE2009's Avatar
CHEESE2009 CHEESE2009 is offline
Dr. Scott - Ruler of the Underworld
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Switzerland, Grindelwald
Age: 73
Posts: 4,475
Rep Power: 10
CHEESE2009 is on a distinguished road
Exclamation You MUST read (for new business owners)

I had written an example of how someone could set themselves up for failure. Enjoy!

-

When you first started your lawn maintenance company, you probably took any job that came your way. Regardless of how minimal the payoff was, you were proud to have been hired. You believed that obtaining any client meant success.

This false feeling of success had driven you into a trap. Your schedule is finally booked and yet you are now feeling: exhausted, stressed, anxious, and even guilty. You have too much work for yourself, but not enough money to hire a helper. This doesn't make sense to you.

You are beginning to think that you will need to obtain more clients, but you've now become too discouraged to even bother. The thought of how happy your clients are with you is the only thing that keeps you going. You take pride in the idea of being liked by your clients, and that makes you feel as though you are doing the right thing.

Over time, you finally begin to realize that you aren't achieving anything. You started your company in order to make good money, but now it feels as though you would be better off working for someone else. You have even let the quality of your work slip because you felt the passion to provide quality slip away.

You start to question yourself, “where did I go wrong?”.

The truth...

You have a lot of work, because you are cheap.
You have no money, because you are cheap.
Your clients only like you, because you are cheap.
Your willingness to provide quality work has vanished, because you are cheap.

Once you figure this out, you realize that you are going to have to start fresh. You are going to have to confront your clients and let them know that your price has gone up, and this time, they wont even bother hiring you again.

You have most likely wasted a season or more waiting for this business related life lesson to come out of hiding, but at least you now know what needs to be done.

When running your business you now know the following...

1. You are a business man, not a savior.
2. It is not a loss if you are too expensive for some people.
3. Most favors will now cost your clients extra, you are not a charity – and you need to eat!
4. You choose to avoid offering service for those who will burden you with guilt or cause you any amount of stress. You really don't need them!
5. You call the shots, not your clients.

You now have good paying customers, and more time to provide quality work for them. The passion for what you do has come back, and you are feeling a lot more confident. You are FINALLY getting what you deserve. It takes a little bit longer to obtain clients, but it's WORTH THE WAIT!!!
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 06-09-2012, 12:44 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
You make very good points. I rather work one day a week and make $500 profit then burn myself out working everyday for $1000 profit.

When I look at my gross numbers from year 1 and 2. The business grew about 25% but my profit was 50% higher. I also worked less year 2 and had more help.

It wasnt hard to figure out I was getting better jobs at better prices. I turn down as much work as I take now. Some dont understand that but you know a **** job when you see it.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-10-2012, 09:18 AM
PineHillLawn PineHillLawn is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Nixa, MO
Posts: 117
Rep Power: 3
PineHillLawn is on a distinguished road
Default

I used to work construction (and still do if the moneys right) and we always had a saying when trying to get a new job.

You can pick two of the following: Fast, Cheap, or Quality

You can have Fast and Cheap but you won't get Quality!

You can have Cheap and Quality but you won't get if Fast!

You can have Fast and Quality but it won't be Cheap!

I think this kind of pertains to Lawn Care too.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-10-2012, 11:14 AM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
new member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 2,772
Rep Power: 0
Hedgemaster is on a distinguished road
Default

Absolutely.

I figured this out in my first season. (last year)
I saw that my schedule was filled with low-paying jobs and that if I were to make more money, I'd need to work longer hours, or drop the low-pays and replace them with better jobs.

That process has begun this year. I haven't dropped anyone yet, but any of the slots that have opened due to a client moving, or things of that nature have been "reserved" for jobs that pay more. I've passed on a lot of crappy properties this season. Sure, I could use the money, but it does me no good to lock myself into a commitment where I'm "mowing angry" because I (a) hate the property, or (b) know I could be making more elsewhere.
I've also successfully added clients that DO pay more. It takes longer, but it's SO much nicer to know you are being paid what you are worth.

Some of the problems related to getting "stuck" with low-pay jobs when starting out is dictated by the equipment you use. I started with a 21" push mower and there is a threshold that you hit when you realize you can't make ANY profit by taking on a lawn that eats up too much of your time.
You can get $40 for a lawn that takes you 45 minutes to an hour to cut and someone with better equipment can get that same lawn finished in 15-20 minutes and still get paid the $40. There are only so many hours in a day and your equipment dictates how much you can do and what types of lawns you can take on.

I've added a 36" walk behind this year.
It hasn't improved my time as much as I had hoped, but this is partially due to the fact that my lawns are better suited for push mowing. Hilly, uneven, obstacle-ridden... you need to take on properties that allow you to work efficiently with the equipment you use.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-10-2012, 05:19 PM
stevef1201 stevef1201 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 947
Rep Power: 4
stevef1201 is on a distinguished road
Default

I did the sme thing, but as I got more better jobs, I dropped poor jobs. Now have about 20 customers, make just under 2K a week. Work about 30 hrs a week unless I get caught up in the yak yak with customer
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-10-2012, 06:37 PM
CHEESE2009's Avatar
CHEESE2009 CHEESE2009 is offline
Dr. Scott - Ruler of the Underworld
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Switzerland, Grindelwald
Age: 73
Posts: 4,475
Rep Power: 10
CHEESE2009 is on a distinguished road
Default

I can totally understand if someone fills up their work week with minimal paying customers, some people have no choice but to become desperate, but the consequences for doing so can hurt your morale.

I have to constantly argue with my guy, as we have a lot more free time this year due to only accepting high paying customers - and he would like to fill up our time with low paying customers just for 'more money'... sad.

For some strange reason, he had forgotten how he felt when we were completely booked with work and hardly made anything in return, and now he's whining to go down the same path?!?!

I say, "Be patient, we are basically re-starting and already doing extremely well, why do you want to ruin that? Why would you want to waste an entire hour on a lawn full of hills and obstacles for peanuts, only to complain to me about it to me when it gets hot outside? Just be patient, and we will find an easier property that pays more."

Working with someone can become very annoying, note that this person is not a partner, he is an employee with concerns and believes he knows best when he doesn't. I'm not entirely sure why I put up with it, but I do want him to feel apart of this company, and for his voice to be heard.

For example, we missed our Friday lawns due to rain (weekend too). I really want to do our Friday lawns on Monday, before we actually even touch our Monday lawns.

Why? Because our Mondays are low paying, and they will not receive the same price next year, meaning there is a good chance that we will lose them - aka temporary clients vs permanent high paying clients. Also, our Friday lawns may risk 2 weeks without service as this week is full of rain, and I do not want to lose our GOOD clients.

Yet, my guy wants to throw a hissy fit and believes Mondays should be done first. He just doesn't understand the financial aspect of my decision.

I will not sacrifice golden clients for slums, regardless of what my website says, "no client has priority over another", high paying clients come first, they have to - there is no choice!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-11-2012, 02:56 PM
Steve's Avatar
Steve Steve is online now
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 35,729
Rep Power: 10
Steve has disabled reputation
Default

Quote:
Your schedule is finally booked and yet you are now feeling: exhausted, stressed, anxious, and even guilty.
Scott, can you tell us a little about how the guilty feeling plays in here? What causes that guilt and how does one get past it?
__________________
- Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-11-2012, 04:55 PM
CHEESE2009's Avatar
CHEESE2009 CHEESE2009 is offline
Dr. Scott - Ruler of the Underworld
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Switzerland, Grindelwald
Age: 73
Posts: 4,475
Rep Power: 10
CHEESE2009 is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Scott, can you tell us a little about how the guilty feeling plays in here? What causes that guilt and how does one get past it?
Great question!

Personally, I am the type of person who wont tolerate anything unless it's completely subtle, and clients can be very subtle when it comes to making us go out of our way for them.

Here are some mock examples;

Client a: "You are doing a lovely job, but may I ask for you to mow the lawn again just a little bit shorter? Please, if it's not too much trouble for you? I would really appreciate it. Would you like some water?"

Response: "Sure, not a problem" - you basically have no choice.

vs

Client b: "I'm not too happy about your service. I had left a pile of branches that I figured you would remove for me, but you never did. Please come and take them."

Responce: "I'm sorry but removing branches is not what we do. If you would like for us to take the branches, I'm going to have to charge you $80."

-

As you can see, when a client makes a negative assumption/attack, you are able to retaliate with ease by reestablishing your pride and defending yourself. It'll come naturally.

Unfortunately, a lot of clients play the 'good character/client a' more often, and you can find yourself getting stuck doing additional work for nothing all season long. Eventually it will take its toll on you. You provide the additional work only because the client was just so sweet about the situation and you would feel guilty if you had said, "No" or requested payment. This nice client is actually the worst client imaginable, because you can't justify firing him/her, and that's what needs to be done unless you figure out a safe way to charge them more!

There are times where you can even tell these clients you must get paid, but in practice, it's never just that easy. Keep your guard up!!!!

Last edited by CHEESE2009; 06-11-2012 at 04:58 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-12-2012, 12:20 PM
Steve's Avatar
Steve Steve is online now
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 35,729
Rep Power: 10
Steve has disabled reputation
Default

Does that feeling change over time or does the way you handle these situations change over time as you have been running your business longer?
__________________
- Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-12-2012, 01:09 PM
CHEESE2009's Avatar
CHEESE2009 CHEESE2009 is offline
Dr. Scott - Ruler of the Underworld
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Switzerland, Grindelwald
Age: 73
Posts: 4,475
Rep Power: 10
CHEESE2009 is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Does that feeling change over time or does the way you handle these situations change over time as you have been running your business longer?
It never changes. There will always be an odd job that you would love to refuse doing, but the risk of losing the client is all we can think about.

We have to keep a steady relationship with a client, we can't get out of unfortunate situations like this if we really can't justify it.

Let's say you spent an hour maintaining a lawn, and you have everything loaded up and strapped down. Imagine if the very nice client comes out as you are about to leave and says, "Sorry to bother you, can you take just 2 seconds to trim the weeds in my garden, I'm having a get together with my family this weekend".

While we're standing there, all we can think is "GOD DAMMIT!" - we really just want to move on, but no, we must do the job.

The reason we hate sparing even a second of our time, is because we do scheduled work, and we need that feeling of progress throughout the day and HATE interruptions.

How many of you regret taking a lunch break? All of us. All we think about is, "I hope I'm able to finish all my lawns for the day, I just wasted 30 minutes and now I put myself behind"

or even, "I would have been finished by now if I didn't have to trim out that garden".
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
FREE Professional Website For New Business Owners Simpkins Promote your products or services 14 03-25-2011 04:30 PM
ATTN: East coast business owners..how soon.... outerelements General Talk 2 03-30-2009 11:21 PM
Tips for new business owners Steve General Business Discussions 3 07-17-2007 06:50 PM
Do younger business owners lose more money? Steve General Business Discussions 3 09-18-2006 07:06 PM
Obstacles young business owners face? Steve General Business Discussions 0 08-17-2006 11:45 AM

» Recent Threads
  RatingTitle, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views
leaf removal
tlf59263
Today 10:00 PM
Today 10:00 PM
by tlf59263
0 14
Trimec
acrajchel
Today 08:24 PM
Today 09:18 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
1 23
What Fertilizer to Use?
acrajchel
04-07-2014 01:56 PM
Today 08:27 PM
by acrajchel
4 175
Nationwide lawn care...
Billy Goat
Today 05:21 PM
Today 08:25 PM
by Dan Tanner
1 51
Looking for advice on a...
Tekeda1
04-13-2014 09:53 AM
Today 06:58 PM
by Tekeda1
10 181
There has to be an...
CDLAWNCARE
Yesterday 12:59 PM
Today 04:06 PM
by Dan Tanner
6 117
Gopher Forum Discount!
BlackRain75
04-12-2014 10:44 PM
Today 02:31 PM
by kslawn
8 192
hello
NFrailey
Today 01:39 PM
Today 01:39 PM
by NFrailey
0 30
These are the days on...
ExtremeLawncareServices
03-22-2014 09:12 AM
Today 12:40 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
24 823
Any greenhouse operators...
GoGreenerKS
Today 11:21 AM
Today 11:55 AM
by GoGreenerKS
2 63
Help with weed liability!
Prolawnofchatt
Today 09:10 AM
Today 11:32 AM
by Steve
2 79
First Day Back!
BelleCityLawn1
04-09-2014 09:13 PM
Today 11:16 AM
by Steve
11 263
Mow America
stevegredler
04-13-2014 01:02 PM
Yesterday 09:53 PM
by kslawn
5 151
Power Broom
acrajchel
Yesterday 07:46 AM
Yesterday 12:47 PM
by CDLAWNCARE
2 73
google earth
CDLAWNCARE
04-12-2014 03:24 PM
Yesterday 11:37 AM
by Steve
7 163
Say Hello !!!
Steve
03-19-2007 11:18 AM
Yesterday 11:34 AM
by Steve
1,176 283,867
Pricing a Mulch Job
dmcalpi
04-07-2014 02:16 PM
Yesterday 11:32 AM
by Steve
20 485
Equipment reviews
Greg'slawnandlandscape
04-09-2014 07:17 AM
Yesterday 11:27 AM
by Greg'slawnandlandscape
13 342
Sulky and Turf Tracer
acrajchel
04-07-2014 01:44 PM
Yesterday 10:51 AM
by Steve
8 250
Aerating Prices?
Dan Tanner
04-08-2014 03:16 PM
Yesterday 10:31 AM
by Steve
13 356
Estimating help
acrajchel
04-11-2014 06:06 PM
Yesterday 10:20 AM
by Steve
3 125
Lawn Renovation
stevef1201
04-11-2014 12:00 PM
Yesterday 10:03 AM
by Steve
5 143
Need help bidding church...
GreenRidge Lawn&Landscape
04-07-2014 08:01 PM
Yesterday 09:49 AM
by Steve
12 342
Hello all
Griff20114
04-12-2014 05:08 PM
Yesterday 09:46 AM
by Steve
1 78
Step by Step Spring Lawn...
WarriorLawnscaping
04-10-2014 07:01 AM
Yesterday 09:43 AM
by Steve
5 194
Jeff Cowden
jcowden
04-11-2014 07:27 PM
Yesterday 09:39 AM
by Steve
1 83
Exmark Commercial 30...
Dan Tanner
04-11-2014 05:35 AM
Yesterday 09:37 AM
by Steve
4 147
What Was Your Setup When...
superrman77
02-11-2014 10:53 AM
Yesterday 08:04 AM
by acrajchel
21 1,510
Accepting credit cards,...
Darksteel
03-17-2014 08:01 PM
04-13-2014 10:31 PM
by AkersLawn
12 612
Small guy time to get a...
googus
04-08-2014 08:16 AM
04-13-2014 07:18 PM
by A. Kulak Landscaping
9 273
Weekly vs. Bi-weekly
CDLAWNCARE
04-12-2014 01:48 PM
04-13-2014 06:03 PM
by kslawn
9 266
Weed ID help
TwinBrosLC
04-12-2014 10:39 AM
04-13-2014 07:40 AM
by stevef1201
4 118
Lexington, KY
acrajchel
04-07-2014 01:06 PM
04-11-2014 09:49 PM
by acrajchel
1 97
Food Plot Management
BlackRain75
04-11-2014 10:20 AM
04-11-2014 03:51 PM
by Steve
4 105
Estimating a job
acrajchel
04-08-2014 11:07 AM
04-11-2014 03:32 PM
by Steve
6 244
New Boomless Sprayer!
BlackRain75
01-03-2014 01:01 PM
04-11-2014 03:25 PM
by Steve
11 969
Hello....
SWFloridaLawns
04-10-2014 06:15 PM
04-11-2014 02:28 PM
by Steve
2 104
Truck, Trailer,...
hawthornelawncare
12-23-2011 12:01 AM
04-10-2014 10:33 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
78 24,922
Trading Accounts
goodtimez
04-09-2014 05:42 PM
04-10-2014 01:55 PM
by Steve
2 127
Grass that has...
erock289
04-09-2014 10:21 AM
04-10-2014 01:52 PM
by Steve
3 147
Prowrap Trimmer Engine...
Steve
05-24-2006 07:05 PM
04-10-2014 01:09 PM
by Steve
10 2,181
1st annual Easter egg...
Greg'slawnandlandscape
04-09-2014 06:58 AM
04-10-2014 01:07 PM
by Steve
1 95
Hello everyone
aceslawnandgarden
04-03-2014 06:54 PM
04-10-2014 01:06 PM
by Steve
9 329
Weed control programs
Mallard91
04-02-2014 12:25 PM
04-10-2014 12:56 PM
by Steve
6 309
homeowner vs...
GoGreenerKS
04-07-2014 10:54 AM
04-10-2014 12:52 PM
by Steve
8 246
Hello
smgibson
04-07-2014 10:06 PM
04-10-2014 12:39 PM
by Steve
2 102
33" Cub Cadet Walk...
Dan Tanner
04-07-2014 08:49 AM
04-10-2014 12:35 PM
by Steve
5 169
They may never even see...
Darksteel
04-05-2014 11:40 AM
04-09-2014 05:13 PM
by goodtimez
7 304
$300 and counting
acrajchel
04-04-2014 10:03 AM
04-07-2014 10:34 PM
by Steve
12 475
Hello From North Texas
stanleylawncare
04-07-2014 01:14 PM
04-07-2014 10:15 PM
by Steve
1 95
» Popular Tags
2wd 4x4 advertisement article marketing birdscaping blower care charge christmas light service collections subcontractor customers echo ecosymbiosis exmark fall ferris financing flower bed for sale four wheel drive franchise fs90r gopherhaul gravely gravely 34" zero turn holiday holiday decorating how much to charge installation invoice labor cost late lawn lawn care lawn care business lawn care business show lawn clarksville lawn service lawn service clarksville tn leaf cleanup lesco llc marketing monthly mowing mulch mulch price new and restored landscapes new buisness new business oil podcast promotion scag seo snow sole proprietorship starting a business steve stihl story subcontractor taxes theft of services tips turfgrass consulting walker winter yard clarksville zero turn
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.1.0

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:15 PM.


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

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:15 PM.

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