Is It Worth Starting A Lawn Mowing Business
A lawn care business has much to offer and can morph into something much bigger if thats what you choose to pursue. Stable and Repeat Business: Lawn care accounts are perpetual, meaning ongoing and consistent. Your customer base will need their lawns mowed once a week, making for a stable book of business.
Different Care For Each Season
Northeast Ohio is blessed to have four seasons, and each requires a different approach based on how it will affect your landscape.
Some of our clients get the bulk of their care during the spring, whereas others will get more care in the summer and fall. Each property has different needs, and the following is a basic summary of what we do throughout the year.
Late spring is generally when we do the bulk of our annual planting, although fall is another time of year when certain types of flowers bloom and thrive.
Throughout the spring and summer, our crews are out mowing turf about 11,000 times per year as well as fertilizing and detailing landscapes. Throughout the fall were busy blowing the leaves that fall from the deciduous trees on our clients properties, though we do some autumn planting during this time as well.
In winter we focus on snow and ice removal services, and we classify those contracts differently. To learn more about the three main types of commercial snow and ice removal contracts, read our article outlining the differences.
Calculate The Cost Of The Materials
As long as you offer only essential lawn care services, such as mowing, edging, trimming, and blowing, your main materials cost might be fuel.
Your bids need to include seeds and aeration, fertilizing, and shrub care if you provide these services to your commercial clients and you want to charge them.
As you go about your accounting, you may include your expenses for spark plugs, air filters, blades, equipment maintenance and repairs, and any other items you may need to purchase in your materials costs.
For example, say you estimate you will have $900 in expenses for $300 jobs in a year, and you would have to add $3 to each job to compensate for these expenses.
Depending on your formula, you may charge a higher percentage on large projects than on small projects.
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Where: Spell Out The Location
Sure, your property address is quite clear on the contract, but is it obvious where the seasonal color should be installed? The location-specific services will be performed on your property should be drawn out. In fact, some contracts literally include drawings for clarity.
Are there certain areas of your property you dont want included in your contract? Perhaps you have native wetlands or an employee-maintained vegetable garden that should be left untouched. Or maybe you have water features or ponds that require specialized service. This should also be spelled out within your contract to avoid misunderstandings.
Likewise, if certain areas require additional attention or out-of-the-ordinary requests, those should be detailed as well. While you may have discussed these items in detail with your landscape provider and feel confident everyone is on the same page, its best practice and protects all parties to put it in writing.
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What To Do If One Party Fails To Deliver
It is possible for a lawn maintenance contract to be signed and one party fails to deliver. The service provider may fail to do the work as agreed. They can do all the work perfectly but the property owner fails to make the payment as agreed.
The lawn maintenance contract should have provisions on what should be done if one party fails to meet its role. The service provider should protect themselves by including clauses of non-payment claims and the possibility of use of lien.
Commercial Mowing Contracts: How To Price Bid And Win Them
If youre in the landscaping or lawn care business, you know that commercial mowing contracts can be a great source of revenue. But how do you price them? Bid them? Win them? Today, well teach you the basics of commercial contracts so that you can start landing more jobs and boosting your bottom line.
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Charging By The Square Footage
Consider charging by the square foot if you offer more comprehensive services, such as edging, fertilizing, and weed control.
This is in addition to your basic services. As a result of this method, it may take a little longer than charging by the hour, but there are a lot of advantages associated with it.
It is not difficult to calculate how much lawn care should cost in the first place. If you know the size of the yard, then all you need to do is multiply it by the rate you are charging per square foot.
In addition, you can also use this method to determine the price of your services based on the level of service you provide. Last but not least, it encourages your customers to use more of your services, which can, in turn, lead to higher profit margins.
Determine Your Desired Profit
How much do you want to make from your business each year personally? Run the numbers to see what you need to cover your living expenses. You can download an Excel budget spreadsheet at My F.I.R.E. Facts to help you plan your expenses.
If that number comes to $50,000, you need to earn more than a $50,000 profit this year. Remember, you have to pay taxes on your total profits. Talk to a tax professional to find out what you can expect to pay in taxes in your state.
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Heres The Dark Side Of Commercial Lawn Care
The commercial world is focused on the bottom line. They will try to skim you. Businesses only care about the price unless you can sell them on better service. Your goal is to differentiate yourself. Look better than the other lawn care companies bidding on the property.
Here are other strategies you can use to win a commercial contract:
- Show them the values of a great-looking property. Be visual with descriptions: What if your lawns were emerald green, and your sidewalks sparkled in the sun? Would this make your customers more likely to buy here?
- Please work with your clients, not for them. Get them to collaborate on landscape design. Ask them what they think a perfect yard looks like.
- Listen to your client. Listen to their problems and their expectations. They will tell you what they want.
- Teach them about the pitfalls of bad landscaping. Unskilled labor, lousy work, and dead lawns will make anyone think twice. Explain why they should never allow uninsured workers near their land.
- Walk-in with a professional proposal. If you hand a business owner a clean, well-formatted step-by-step proposal, you will make a great first impression.
To win Commercial lawn care Contracts, you will need a good deal of salesmanship. Books, YouTube, and other B2B sales resources will help you nail the sale.
Education Requirements For Landscaping Jobs
The great thing about the landscaping industry is the variety of jobs availablesome requiring horticultural experience and landscaping knowledge, others demanding sales background, and plenty that are open to someone who is finishing school and/or does not have formal landscape training. Education requirements for landscaping jobs depend entirely on the job title and role.
Heres an overview of the education requirements you can expect for common landscaping jobs.
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Be More Specific About Your Lawn Maintenance And Care Services
Dont just write, You will maintain the grounds.
Instead, you can break down the services and give clear details.
Here are some examples:
- Summer pruning of various trees and shrubs
- Border ending for walkways, patios, and driveways
- Watering and weeding regularly
When your services are crystal clear, your client will better understand what you do and will be happy to sign the contract.
Get Your Foot In The Door
The First Way: In-Person. You need to go shake hands and actually meet peopleevery single property management company in your local market. Do a Google search, property management, with your city and youll receive a ton of area management companies. At my lawn care business, we purchased cookies and marketing material, then went to every single property management company in the area to introduce ourselves and drop off the gifts. People buy from others they know, like, and trust. Having an in-per-son handshake and offering cookies can go a long way to getting your foot in the door.
The goal is to create relationships where property managers dont even look for other bids. They just know youll do a good job at a fair price. They might say, Look, we know youre going to take care of it. Can you just get me a bid and get this taken care of?
Property managers are not going to make more money by going out, getting 20 bids, and trying to save a few dollars. Again, their personal salary is not necessarily dictated by the net profit of their properties, but is rather usually based on gross rents. They want companies that are going to provide estimates quickly and get work done quickly. They want companies they dont have to micromanage.
Bring your A-game. Be in professional clothes. Have a company brand and marketing materials. Ensure when they think about landscaping, they think about you and their positive experience when you visited.
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Types Of Lawn Care Jobs: Residential And Commercial
Residential Lawn Care
When you are new to the lawn care services and do not have much experience, it is wiser to start with residential lawn care jobs. Residential lawn mowing is the easiest to get started within this business.
In this case, you will work with individual homeowners so you might face different special requests sometimes.
First, you need to figure out what others are charging for lawn mowing in your neighborhood, and then you will select a midpoint.
Commercial lawn care
Commercial lawn care services are more abundant in scale. They require more experience and also generate higher payouts. In this case, you will work with property managers and real estate boards.
Most commercial clients are straightforward and outline their expectations in their contracts. You will have explicit knowledge of what your responsibilities are and what isnt.
How Do I Write A Landscaping Contract
Typically, the landscaping professional writes the contract, much like plumbers would writeplumbing contracts for a client. However, yourlandscaping service contract should be as detailed as necessary to ensure that it is enforceable and reduces the chance of the possibility of future disputes from arising.
If you need legal advice regardinghow to write a landscaping contract , speak with a contract attorney in your state to help you get started.
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State Licensing Can Be Required
Before entering into any agreement, a company owner should understand that many services pertaining to lawn maintenance require licensure at the state level. Florida has statues that are described in section 482 of the state code that help inform the public of their rights. Licensing from the Department of Agriculture might be required for some local companies due to using commercial chemical treatments.
Compliance with regulations can be checked by a company owner who performs research on a particular landscaping company in Duval or St. Johns Counties. Getting customized services is an important part of all Florida commercial lawn care contracts. Safety in use of chemical and organic treatments is equally important.
Determine The Profit Margin Needed
There has already been a mention of overheads and the importance of having a monthly figure at the forefront of your mind. This is something that you need to attain each month.
Following the discovery of this number, the next step is to determine the appropriate profit margin for your business.
In business, profit is what remains after overhead costs, materials, and labor costs have been deducted from the businesss profits.
Getting a clearer picture of the standards in your area can be accomplished by contacting trade associations. In addition, it can also be accomplished by evaluating your competition to determine what type of pricing model will be profitable for your business.
Regardless of whether you need a lawn care estimate calculator that works for everybody, it is not an easy task. Thats why it is often a wise idea to consult with an accountant if you want to get your pricing and profit margins right. In addition, dont be afraid to revisit pricing every quarter or year, and ask for feedback from your clients regularly.
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Small Business Service Contracts At Tlc
Depending on the needs of a company, a shorter or longer duration of a contract could be the right component of achieving a great-looking lawn. The installation of a new irrigation system or repair of an existing one could be on inclusion of a contract. A quote for all services can be obtained directly from this website. Terms of contracts can be explored after contact is made to the customer service department.
Commercial Lawn Care Contracts: How To Price Bid And Win Them
Every lawn care service provider needs to choose between residential or commercial clients at some point. While many choose to go the residential route, commercial clients can offer a lot of awesome benefits of their own.
Aside from generating larger jobs , commercial clients often outline their exact expectations in a contract, making the work relatively straightforward.
Their contracts also cover longer periods of time, which means guaranteed ongoing work.
If you decide to go into commercial work, youll be working with property managers and real estate boards.
So, you can expect less special individual requeststypical of working with individual homeowner accounts.
We spoke with lawn care expert Ed Ramsden of Enviromasters Lawn Care to get the low down on commercial contracts.
In this article well cover:
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Pros Of Commercial Lawn Mowing Contracts:
- Consistent Cash Flow Commercial projects are generally based on a contract with terms that stipulate a monthly payment. This can be preferable from an income and budgeting perspective, allowing you to predict and plan your financial outlook months in advance.
- Scheduling One of the biggest advantages of commercial lawn mowing is the predictable schedules. The routine of commercial lawn maintenance is usually the same every week or month, with some seasonal variation. This means your team can learn the routines and manage other weekly bookings around these reserved slots, making your business more predictable and efficient.
- Multi-year Contracts In the landscaping industry, a majority of the clients are willing to sign multi-year contracts. This means that during seasons with low or no new clients, your business is still guaranteed to make revenue. This makes it easier to grow or maintain the business and enables you to predict your revenue a few years ahead.
- Year-round Work If youre looking to generate more winter income as a landscaping maintenance business, you may benefit from having commercial contracts in your portfolio. This is because clients prefer to have one provider locked in for the entire year, regardless of the weather, giving you predictable work even through cold and rainy periods.
This Is How To Get Commercial Lawn Accounts
So if you want commercial landscaping accounts to be a significant part of your business you have to approach them. Some will approach you but most are already being approached by your competitors so they dont need to seek you out. That means you have to go to them. And that means networking and building relationships.
So in order to go to them you have to discover where the property managers hang out. What groups are they apart of? What networking events do they attend? BNI, chamber of commerce? Who do you know at the HOAs? Is there someone that can introduce you? Who do you know that can introduce you. You may also want to research custom home builders and track home companies. You have to discover who controls the property. Who the decision maker is, build a relationship. Shmoooze And approach them to bid. All of this means leg work. Knocking on doors, asking questions, making your company known and putting your bids in.
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Tips For More Profitable Commercial Mowing Contracts
There are a number of factors that go into creating the best commercial mowing contracts and all of them must be in line in order to have success. In fact, even if you have just one item askew, it can eat away at your profitability.
As a commercial mower, your goal is for all of your jobs to be profitable. With the cost of doing business not getting any cheaper, you need to be able to make more money and build up more profitable commercial mowing contracts in the pipeline.
This doesnt just happen by chance. There is a lot of legwork that goes into improving your success. Bruce Birdsong, founder, and CEO of Precision Landscape Management, a full-service commercial landscape management firm employing over 300 employees, knows this very well. Hes been in business for nearly four decades and has learned from his mistakesand his many successesabout what it takes to produce more profitable commercial mowing contracts.
Bruce recently shared 5 of his best tips that he says can make all the difference between a profitable contract and one that falls short of helping your bottom line.
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