How Long Have You Had The Business
This can make a big difference. If you have purchased the business within the last twelve months it is going to be a hard sell and you will probably not get all of your investment back.
A lot of customers will not be happy changing lawn care operators yet again and some will go elsewhere. I know this doesnt make sense as if the customers are going to call someone else that will still have a new guy.
I personally think it may be that the customer was not in charge of the first change and that was ok but when it happens a second time around they themselves .
If you have had your business for two years or more it will be easier to sell. Two to five years seems to be an optimal time. Not young enough to fail but not old enough to have out of date practices.
You may be wondering what I mean by that. I will give an example. If I was looking at a sole operator lawn care business that was ten years or older my number one question would be
Step : Get Business Insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your companys financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If youre unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so its a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, its a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers’ Compensation Coverage.
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How You Can Get Grass Cutting Clients
Now that you have everything set to start your business, the final and the most crucial thing you should know is how to bring in customers. This requires coming up with some lawn care marketing ideas. First of all, you can print out some lawn care flyers or door hangers, pass them to your friends or even with your family that would somehow let them do the promotion for you. Those fliers should contain your contact details, of course, so that customers will be able to inquire about your service right away. It would also be best to offer discounts to the very first 20 or so clients so that they will be hyped to avail your services. When starting, the two things you have to have for efficient advertising is a phone and phone number committed only to your business and landscaping business cards printed for dispersing to present and prospective customers. Do this since having a dedicated business phone and business cards assist to identify your service company as a genuine and professional lawn care company in the minds of your clients. I recommend Vista print for your business cards due to the fact that they have easy to use software and are very cost effective.
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Unlimited Users With Their Own Logins
Have employees? Whether it is someone in the office, or a crew in the field, everyone needs access to the lawn care software your company uses.With LawnPro you can easily create unlimited user accounts. Each user gets their own login and password.If you want to create an account just for your accountant, but dont want them to see anything except reports, you can do that!Create an account for a crew member so they can see their mowing route? You can do that too!
This is another feature we include to all LawnPro users at NO additional cost.
A Combination Of Diy And Pay
Its hard to do everything yourself, so most lawn mowers tend to work with a combination of the DIY approach and the get-my-customers-for-me approach. Theres no right or wrong option. It just depends on how you much you enjoy chasing customers versus how much youd rather be mowing lawns versus how much you like juggling the two marketing options. Its your lawn mowing business, so its totally up to you!
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Offer Package Discounts For Scheduled Lawn Maintenance
Fertilization, aeration, dethatching, mulching and tree trimming, rather than mowing, tend to be your money makers in the lawn care industry. The trouble is, many homeowners want a nice lawn, but not if it costs a lot. Paying to have your lawn mowed is one thing it removes a strenuous, time-consuming and often unpleasant chore from the homeowners honey-do list but many homeowners will simply fertilize their own grass, or skip fertilization and other less regular maintenance chores altogether.
Take some of the sticker shock out of lawn fertilization. Offer package discounts for homeowners who sign up for lawn fertilization, aeration and dethatching package. Youll get more customers willing to shell out for the extra service, and thatll be more money in your pocket.
How To Get Walmart Lawn Care Accounts
Has your lawn care business been growing over the years and you feel like you finally are at the point where you want to take on some commercial lawn care customers? Maybe you have even had your eyes on some of the big box stores in your area but werent sure how to go about bidding on their property maintenance. Well here is a discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, where one business owner was interested in finding out more about the bid process and what was explained to him should really help get you headed in the right direction.
He wrote I would like to bid on a local Walmart lawn mowing account. Does anyone know how much insurance coverage they would require, like 100,000-1 million etc Also do they require you to have workmans comp? Or any other type of coverage that I might not know about?
The lawn care bid proposal has not come out yet but I wanted to get all my stuff together and up my insurance if I needed to. The only thing I was really concerned about was the amount of commercial liability insurance I needed. This will be the first commercial lawn care account that I will be bidding on, so I was not sure what the requirements were and how much to bid it for. I was thinking of offering a free mow to see how much time would be involved to perform the job but did not know if that was practical or not being that it is a bid.
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Heres How Ed Prices His Commercial Jobs:
After a walk around, I might decide that a property will take an hour and a half with three people. I will need one truck and one trailer, so Ill build out the quote like that. So three people on the site means Ill bill them out at $45 an hour, $45 per employee. There are three employees, so thats $135 for the job to start.
Then I consider what equipment Ill have on site. I charge two times the hourly rate of labor just to have the staff on the site. About $5 of my price ends up going to my equipment overhead.If you have little experience with pricing commercial contracts, take Eds advice and follow the same approach you would with residential clients:
Figure out how much time it will take you to do a commercial job, and then think about much money youd make on a residential job. Say its an hour and a half. If you normally do three residential jobs and bill them at $50 per job, you should be making $150 an hour to do that commercial job, or very close to that.
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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Have A Written System For Running Your Business
This is more for the larger businesses then the smaller one but having binders that discuss how you run the day to day operations of your business will be extremely attractive to a buyer. This may also allow you to ask a bit more for your business. Most businesses dont do this but there are major benefits.
Did you know that franchises have more chance of success than traditional business? The biggest reason is that they have systems and manuals for everything.
Bidding On Commercial Lawn Maintenance And Landscaping Jobs
After youve laid the groundwork, its time to turn your attention to the bidding process.
If youre bidding commercial maintenance and landscaping jobs like you bid residential, you wont get the work, Schill says. Most commercial accounts are chasing the bottom dollar. Thats why its so important to have a good grasp on every aspect and expense of your business.Youre better off trying to take the scientific approach, Durden says. That includes taking good field measurements and knowing the number of man-hours the task will require.It costs time and money to put a bid in on a property, so make sure you truly understand the specs and the clients expectations, Schill says.When working on a contract, Delany says to add a clause giving you the right to pause work until you get paid. If you dont have that in your contract and you stop working, youve breached it first.One of the main numbers to look at when bidding commercial lawn maintenance and landscaping jobs is your profit. Since all landscape contractors are paying approximately the same amount for trucks, mowers, labor, overhead and fuel, the deciding factor is often how much profit do you want/need to make on this job, Delany says. Here are some questions Delany suggests asking yourself when deciding how much profit to add to your bid:
You may not be able to answer all of these, but the more you think about these, the better chance you have of winning the account, he says.
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Start Timing Your Lawns
If you are not already doing this then you need to start timing your lawns.
I know the times for all my lawns and the average amount of time that I spend driving between them. . This allows me to sell the lifestyle and not the job.
I will say something like eight hours a day including driving time turning over $400 based on my average times
This line will sound a lot better to a buyer then you need to go out and mow 10-12 lawns a day for $400, and they both mean the same thing.
Pricing Your Landscaping Services
The average cost of lawn services varies depending on a number of things. For instance, typical services include prices for services such as regular lawn maintenance which includes edging, mowing and blowing, fertilization, weeding beds, hedge trimming, shrub removal, replacement or moving, grass replacement, landscaping, irrigation among other lawn services. These services in most cases are priced separately however sometimes they might be priced together into one monthly service price. It is always advisable to go for a package service price because the packages come at discounted prices. Below are the average prices of different lawn service packages offered
1) Weekly lawn cut
2) Weeding Beds
The average price charged for weed beds monthly is between $25 and $50. The price can however vary depending on factors such as how many weeding sessions are required and also how big the garden is. The bigger the beds are, the higher the cost of maintaining them. There are cheaper ways of eliminating weeds on your beds through mulching which is effective and capable of eliminating the cost of weeding beds completely.
3) Spring Cleanup
4) Trimming Landscaping
5) Fall Cleanup
6) Chemical Program
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Buying Lawn Care Accounts
Wye Oak Tree said:Possibly Craigslist, but the ads I have seen are for guys selling the whole business. Accounts and equipment.There are many people vehemently against buying lawn care accounts, but it can work out in some circumstances.The place to go is to other local lawn care services and speak with the owner. Not the young bucks so much, but older folks who may be on the verge of retirement.Spread the word you are looking for accounts. Friends, family, Facebook, ect.I take it your having difficulty getting accounts without buying them?
Focus On Your Reputation
For small lawn care companies, reputation is everything. Like other contractors, small lawn care businesses can suffer from bad word of mouth, especially when homeowners are already inclined to distrust contractors.
Besides, good recommendations from existing customers represent the easiest and cheapest way to increase business. However, satisfied customers are much more likely than dissatisfied ones to keep quiet about their experience. They post fewer online reviews and speak less about your company to their friends unless, of course, the friends happen to ask, Hey, who does your lawn?
Boost your reputation by soliciting feedback from customers. Offer customers a simple form for comments, negative or positive. Positive comments can be shared online to boost your reputation. Negative comments and complaints can be mined for data to help you improve your business. Offer points, discounts or other bonuses to customers who refer others, and make it easy for them to do so. Prioritize great customer service and work to offer the best lawn care you can.
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Gotomeeting Video Conferencing & Online Meetings
Host meetings for up to 250 participants, free during the 14-day trial period, and join any GoToMeeting session without signing up. This app allows you to share your screen, hand off control to other attendees, and video conference with up to six shared webcams. Its a professional, reliable choice that has been around for years before the pandemic.
Microsoft Teams group chat and video conferencing software replaces the Skype for Business app. Teams gives users voice and video over wireless, instant messaging, conferencing, and calling features in one easy-to-use, classic interface that integrates with Outlook. Hosts require a valid licensed copy of Microsoft Office 365while anyone invited to a meeting can attend without an account.
Used by more than 500,000 organizations and with a focus on customer satisfaction, ZOOM makes online meetings and group messaging with up to 100 people easy with this free video conferencing app. You can do interactive calls or view-only webinars. Joining and hosting meetings is free, but free group meetings get limited to 40 minutes.
Are You Selling A Franchised Or Non
I dont know how it is worldwide, but in my neck of the woods, franchises take longer to sell. I think the main reason for this is because you will need to sell the business and the franchise. Someone may like your business, but they are not comfortable handing 5% of their turnover over to the franchise. There is also the fact that the franchise may be offering greenfield franchises in your area for half the price. This can make for a hard sell which can take months.
Generally from what I have seen privately owned lawn care businesses sell a lot quicker. This is most likely because the buyers view them as a no strings attached business.
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How To Start Lawn Care Business
Do you ever think about starting your own lawn care business?
Russell Jeffcoat, owner of Legends Lawn Care in Blaine, Washington, did more than just dream about owning a business someday. He took decisive action by starting the lawn care business of his dreams, and then, earned $100,000 in his very first year!
Today, he rakes in between $500 and $6000 every time he takes his machines out and works on peoples lawns. Although he started his lawn care business with only $2,000 when he was a senior in high school, its a six-figure business now.
In fact, hes so busy, he often has to turn down work!
In this article, well go through the exact steps youll need to follow to start your own highly lucrative lawn care business. Lawn care is a $102 billion a year industry, and is expected to grow phenomenally with each passing year.
Youll discover everything you need to know on how to run a successful lawn care business. This includes tips like innovative ways to craft a business plan, getting your website ranked on Google, building long-lasting relationships with your customers, and a lot more!
If youre not interested in starting the business from scratch, consider buying an already established business here on UpFlip.
You can watch our two part interview with him here and here.
Without further ado, lets jump right into it.