Get Obsessed With Marketing
If you want to make money and grow a successful lawn care business, youll have to become obsessed with marketing.
A common misconception among lawn care professionals is that they cant start marketing until they can afford to hire a marketing professional.
While hiring a marketing professional has its perks This is a commitment best made when your business reaches a larger scale – so for now, you can do it yourself.
Feel free to save this infographic, which includes helpful beginners basics for marketing your lawn care business:
Here are some other ways you can begin marketing:
- Get more online reviews
- Hand out business cards
Bottom line: It doesnt matter where you start marketing, so long as you start marketing.
Network With Others In Related Fields
If you want your lawn care business to grow and expand, you also have to develop chops to network with others in related fields.
For instance, dont miss an opportunity to attend local gardening trade shows or nearby landscaping events. You never know what kind of treasure you would unlock by simply being in the company of professionals from a crossover domain such as construction, architectural engineering, real estate, or tree cutting and lumber service providers.
Networking with business owners from these overlapping domains will help you get more customers and gain an advantage over your competition. Of course, you should return the favor by referring your existing clients to these businesses if theres a match.
If you already have business cards printed to market your lawn care services, carry a spare of 50100 cards to hand over to people you come across in these events.
Oftentimes, the organizers of such events set up booths with fish bowls where you can simply drop your business cards that they will draw from later for a contest or general networking purpose.
You can also take your business fliers with you and post on the push-pin boards that might have been set up there.
For instance, look at this Quora thread:
Decide What Services You Want To Offer And Whether You Want To Rent Or Buy Equipment
The first step to starting a landscaping business is to acquire your arsenal of landscaping equipment. Once you decide which actual services you want your landscaping business to offer, you’ll know what equipment you need. Then it’ll be time to decide whether you want to buy it outright or opt for the cheaper option of renting.
Starting out, you have the option to rent your equipment or to buy lower-grade equipment. But as your landscaping business grows, so will equipment needs and costs and you could easily spend the same amount on maintaining cheap equipment as the price of purchasing higher-grade machines.
Most landscape contractors will need to spend five to 10 hours a week maintaining their equipment at first by sharpening blades or changing oil, spark plugs, air filters, fuel filters, and so on, says Clayton.
So what are the basics of good landscaping equipment you’ll need to know when starting a landscaping business?
There are a handful of manual tools any good landscaper should have at their disposal: shovels , wheelbarrows, tillers , and more powerful items like chainsaws and drills. But this isnt where the real expenses lie. The cost of larger equipment might surprise you.
Most people don’t know this, but the riding lawnmowers that you see commercial landscape operators running cost over $12,000 themselves, says Clayton.
Landscape contractors need to make even bigger investments, according to Clayton:
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What Machinery Are You Intending To Use
It stands to reason that you will get more area covered if you use larger machines. This does not always mean you will be making more money. The larger the machine and the more moving parts it has the more it will cost to run.
I have a lawn care business that is currently buying domestic leads off me and they run a tractor and service seven local schools. The owner bought that business a couple of years ago and tells me the turnover is terrible. This business is slowly but surely moving in smaller lawns with smaller machines. He tells me that he will be selling the tractors and school contracts soon.
You could say that the mistake here, was made when buying the business and you will probably be right. Even if I had known him when he was buying I would not have been much help as that is not the kind of business that I any real knowledge of.
When you use smaller machines to do smaller yards your running costs can drop dramatically.
I dont even bother with self-propelled mowers these days as the last one I had had ongoing issues with the drive on the back wheels breaking down. I paid over $2000 for the machine and traded it in after 6 months. When a self-propelled or zero turn breaks down and wont drive then you cannot finish the job. Using a push mower at least I am not going to have any issues with the self-drive part (unless I am not feeling so good that day.
Pesticide Control Certification Or License
A certification in pesticide applicator is great for you if you want to earn a specialization in using chemical fertilizers and government-approved pesticides.
Your local state, territorial, or tribal authority issues the pesticide applicator license. Once you are licensed, you can supervise pesticide operations or register yourself as a pest control dealer in your region.
The duration and nature of the course varies from one state to another. Some states grant you the certification once you score 70 or above on the tests. In most cases, the license lasts for 34 years, after which you have to pay a small fee and appear for a re-test to get yourself recertified.
A few states like Delaware might require you to have at least two-years of experience working under a certified applicator in the past three years.
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Protect Animals And Insects
It is important to protect birds, beneficial insects, earthworms, and other organisms that play an important role in keeping your lawn healthy.
- Birds and predatory insects feed on grubs and other pests.
- Insects, earthworms, beneficial fungi, and other micro-organisms break down thatch and aerate the soil.
The best way to protect these beneficial animals and insects is to only use insecticides and fungicides when absolutely needed. See Understanding your lawn’s lifecycle for more information.
Are Lawn Care Businesses Profitable
Whether your lawn care business is successful depends on what you put into it. To have a successful lawn care business, you should focus on:
- Targeting certain customers
- Marketing through advertisements, social media, referral programs, etc.
- Providing accurate quotes to clients
- Tracking your revenue and profit accurately
Aside from making an effort with marketing, youll also need to keep an eye on your numbers, like the cost of goods, overhead, and cashflow.
A key aspect of your potential success is to strike a healthy balance between growth and profit.
In other words, if you can scale and grow your business strategically and carefully, then you can run a profitable lawn care business.
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If This Might Be What You Are Looking For Read On
This new way of working is simply cutting out the middle man, your employer, and working for yourself, on your terms. Running your own business providing a useful and needed service for a massive and rapidly growing market.
Initially, some people can find this idea a little daunting, which is understandable. Most people have never worked for themselves before. However, there are hundreds of people, just like you, who have discovered this is a better way of working.
Is it for you? Business ownership is not for everyone, it does involve work! We carefully vet potential colleagues to make sure that they have the drive and aptitude to succeed.
How Do You Price Lawn Mowing Jobs
You can try pricing a lawn care job by square footage or by how long it takes you to get the work done. Try a few practice jobs first. Bring a timer with you and see how long it takes. For example, if it takes you 3 hours to mow a large property, youll want to make sure youre compensated for that time.
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Step : Create Your Business Website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that its out of their reach because they dont have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldnt delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites – full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You dont need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldnt take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
Bonus Tips And Advanced Concepts
Templates and Documents
Get downloadable templates for marketing materials like postcards, flyers, and Facebook ads. Also, receive templates and examples of paperwork you need in your business, such as: employee contracts, landscape maintenance contracts, landscape estimate forms, project management paperwork, our 32-page employee handbook, and much more!
Advanced Marketing Tips and Strategy Videos
Access to P4Psystem.com
P4P will make your Team more efficient and think like owners. You wont need to micromanage them anymore! Our software helps calculate the Pay-For-Performance system.
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Calculate Your Hourly Labor Rate
How much are you going to charge per person, per hour for the average job? This number should be based on things like the going rate in your area, how much money you want to earn per hour, and how much youre paying your employees.
If youre just starting off, look at the work and estimate the time it will take you to complete the job. Then consider how much you want to make per hour.
Pricing by the hour makes sense because lot size isnt always an accurate pricing metric. For example, garden homes might take you half an hour to complete, even if they are the same size as a quarter-acre lot, which could take you 45 minutes to complete.
Jason Creel explains that your hourly rate is important, but you shouldnt communicate it to your clients.
Lets just say that your hourly rate is $60 per hour. Now, youre not going to speak to the customer and say, hey, I charge $60 an hour, so Im going to time myself when I cut your grass, and then multiply that by 60. Youll quickly learn how to estimate and then multiply that in your mind.
Pro tip: if youre just starting out and not sure about how long a lawn will take, keep track of the time it takes you to complete the job using time tracking software or a stopwatch. From there, find the average of your labor hours over time before figuring out exactly what speed you work at.
Prefer watching a video? Jason Creel talks about pricing out lawn care services below:
Focus On What Makes You Different
Have you ever heard this marketing quote?
Often times, lawn care owners focus so much on being the best lawn care business, they ignore the most important part of finding new clients
How the heck are you supposed to find more clients if no one can find you?!
Youve got to make yourself stand out in the crowd to remain visible.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, lets preface this by saying While its SUPER important to be unique, this doesnt negate that you should always strive to put forth your best work and constantly aspire to get better.
With that said, you can offer the best services and still struggle to find new clients. If that happens to you, more than likely you arent making your business unique enough.
These are a few examples of ways to create a unique lawn care business:
- Choose a unique name for your lawn care business
- Place for the local areas youre trying to target
- Place based on your local keywords and your top competitors names
- Make your trucks BOLD with color
- Create a unique selling proposition
There are a MILLION ways for you to make your lawn business stand out against your competitors – just find somewhere to start!
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Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Technician
The National Association of Landscape Professionals offers a host of landscape certifications.
Out of all the courses it offers, the Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Technician is one of the most sought-after trainings because of its scope of wide area of application in the lawn care industry.
The course teaches you to identify the different types of turfgrass, the best way to water plants, the best ways to fertilize and lime the soil, how to set up irrigation, and so on.
Its a self-paced course that you can complete without any timeline restrictions. At the end of the course, you can take an online test and get certified as an LIC Lawn Care Training if you score 70% on the exam.
Theres no course fee for the LIC Lawn Care Technician course. But you have to buy the study material on your own and pay $300 or $400 to take the test. There are additional costs per section for retaking the test.
Alternatively, you can also get certified in the degree program from one of the many NALP-accredited colleges.
Sod Or Turf Installation
For obvious reasons, turf installation is an expensive process. Whether you are installing sod, or artifical turf, its a labor-intensive process which requires expensive materials to complete.
You should expect to pay as much as $4,800 for this to be done professionally.
Before the company gives you a quote for a flat rate, it will need to visit your property to determine its size.
Some companies can do the estimate remotely via satellite images.
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How To Save: Buy Used Or In A Bundle
Our research has found that used lawn care equipment, or commercial equipment bundles from independent equipment dealers, can save you thousands of dollars as you start your business. Full packages including trailers, mowers, blowers, and trimmers are the most cost-effective way to start a commercial lawn care business.
Whats It Really Like To Work In A Lawn Care Business
Working in a lawn care business means spending the bulk of your time outside doing manual labor. But, as the business owner, a lot of your time will be spent networking and marketing, too. As your business grows roots, more and more of your clients will become repeat customers, and youâll be able to spend less time searching for work and more time doing the outside work you love.
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Choose How To Structure Your Business
Youll need to choose how you want your business structured. There are four main types:
- Sole proprietorship: a business run by a single individual
- Partnership: An agreement between two or more persons who run the business together
- Limited liability company: a hybrid of partnership and corporation
- Corporation: a group of people authorized to act as a single entity
If youre just starting out, youll probably want to be a sole proprietorship. Most small businesses are sole proprietorships because this is the easiest and cheapest way to start a business.
In a sole proprietorship, you and the business are one and the same. A sole proprietorship is unique among business entities because its the only one that doesnt have to register with a state.
Starting one is easy.
All you have to do is:
- Come up with a name for your lawn company and decide where you want to be located
- File for a business license with city hall
- Set up a business checking account so theres a separation between your business and personal cash
If you plan to sell taxable things, youll need to register with your local taxing authority.
Sole proprietorship advantages include:
- Easy startupno complicated business structure
- Controlsince youre the only owner, youll have total power over every aspect of your company
- Use of lossesbecause youre including your business income and losses on your personal tax return, you can use them to offset personal income
Gasoline Prices And Lawn Care Business
Lawn Care Business and the Price of Gasoline. Do you own a Lawn Care / Landscaping Business? Gas prices do not have to take a bite out of your bottom line. As the price of gasoline soars, so do the costs of running many small businesses. LAWN CARE and LANDSCAPING businesses are also greatly affected by the cost of gasoline.
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