How do I start a successful lawn care business?
The typical startup lawn care company serves 20 to 30 private customers per week and offers up to three types of services: mowing, fertilizing and chemical application. For the turf section of this book, we focus on mowing and fertilizing, as chemical applications are a whole industry apart. It’s also a tightly regulated industry where practitioners need to earn certifications that enable them to handle these dangerous compounds.
Most turf service owners prefer to start with simple mowing and add other services as they become more experienced and acquire more equipment.
Basic lawn care consists of mowing, edging and trimming. Shrub and hedge trimming is often offered as an additional service, but this is more time consuming and requires more manual skill than mowing. Lawn care seo businesses sometimes send two people to a job site for one person to mow, while the other kills and cuts the areas the mower can not reach. But if you’re a one-man band, you only need to spend extra time on each site to complete both jobs. Fortunately, you do not have to surround every lawn with every mowing. Sometimes only minor repairs are required, which you can do with a hand cutter.
It is vital for your business to keep all your equipment in perfect condition. This means cleaning the mower blades at the end of each day and keeping them sharp with a grinding wheel on a regular basis. You should also use a balancing weight to extend the life of the engine and prevent the white finger, a form of Raynaud’s disease, from being caused by constant vibration from equipment such as lawnmowers. Periodically clean the oil and air filters to minimize engine wear and improve performance. The oil should also be changed often – as often as once a week, as the high heat of the mower causes lubricants to degrade quickly.
It goes without saying that you should take all possible precautions to protect yourself while working. Always wear goggles and hearing protection and always remember to allow your mower to cool completely before refueling. Since the cutting blade can rotate at a speed of up to 300 km / h, never place your hand in the chute or turn the mower while the blade is rotating. In addition to the obvious injuries it can cause, the razor-sharp blade can catapult projectiles like rocks, metal or even compacted grass that can seriously damage the body.
Estimate your value:
Another important part of the job is to provide estimates to potential customers. Unfortunately, this is at best an inaccurate science. Most of the owners we’ve talked to have “estimated” how much time they need to mow a homeowner’s property and multiply that by an hourly rate. The problem with this method is that land features such as slopes and decorative landscaping can affect the time.
Experts recommend pricing based on lawn size. It is less arbitrary to set up a pricing structure this way, and you appear more professional to your prospects if you have an established, formal pricing structure. You can compensate for unusual land features by adding an extra amount to your price – say 10 percent.
Before you can make an estimate, you need to know how much to calculate per square foot. As the turf industry is so competitive, it is important that you do not overvalue your services. The professional associations and publications serving the lawn care industry may be able to help as many of them conduct annual membership studies. In particular, the State of the Industry Report of the magazine Lawn & Landscape, which appears in the October issue, seems particularly revealing.
But you can also figure out how much the market will carry by calculating the size of your own property and asking some of the Yellow Pages’ lawn care companies for an estimate. Then recruit a few family members and friends to catch up on their lawns so you can get a feel for the prices of many different sizes. In this way, you can determine the acceptable price range in your community and then easily find out where the prices of your services are.
There is another weather phenomenon that you may even welcome, at least in the northern plains of the country. Snow removal can be a very lucrative prop to improve your lawn or landscaping. The introduction of a snow removal service does not cost much. All you need is a snow blade for your mower or truck and some additional advertising.