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No work, I'm still waiting!
You have no work & your waiting on what?

Your lawn service business & your equipment is ready but you are waiting. You are waiting on some of those bids that you gave out a while back & some of your old customers to contact you about doing some odd jobs around the house. Please don't put your life on hold waiting for others. Your waiting on work & you have been in business a little while. Think about what's going on right now.

You need to do more planning to stay busy in the slow times & the only way to do that is quit waiting & go to work. Later when you've made enough money, you will be taking a break & you won't be waiting on work. 

Think of services that you can provide besides cutting, mowing, hedging, trimming & blowing off surfaces. Did you know that cutting grass with a mower is the most costly & least profitable work performed in the lawn service business. Yes it's very true!

Lets wait a minute first before we go any further what all services do you provide. I hope you do more than cutting, mowing, hedging, trimming & blowing off surfaces. That's what most of the other guys are doing & someone comes along providing more or almost all services that can be done to the lawn. Guess who is going to wind up with the account? 

That's right it's the company that can provide the most or all the lawn services. It's easier on the customer. Get in on this total service package & let your customers know about it. Put it in all of your advertising. You say you don't know how to do it all. This is OK nobody does. Just work on it a little at the time.

Lets think of things that you can slowly get into & after doing it a few times you will be good at it. There is plenty more I'm just going to name a few.  

Clean Ups:  This is something that a lot of companies stay away from but very profitable.

That is OK if your a big company & can afford to turn down good profitable work. Cleanups can be very profitable. The reason most people want someone else to do it, is very simple it is just to overwhelming. Most of this is physical work & your not running much equipment. So the profit margin is very high. This is a service that can be provided when the grass is growing or not growing.

Think about it this way, average lawn is you know how much. On a regular cut you use all of your equipment except the hedge clippers. The average cleanup is at least 5 times as much & up. Yes I'm figuring the regular cut at $30 & the average clean up at $150. These are very modest figures. Yes I've cut a home owner lawn on a  regular basis for $450 a cut & I've did cleanups for over $2000  but these are very rare but I will take every one I can get. I'm just giving you averages.

How many times can you sit in one place & make the equivalent of 5 or more lawn cuttings. Not to many unless you are doing cleanups or landscaping. Some people are lucky & have 5 lawns in a row & is only one stop. Think like this look at the travel time & moving place to place. Lots of times you will have other people stop & ask you for work. Make sure you take before & after pictures. Have business cards & fliers to hand out. Good luck you are now working smarter.

Fertilizing:  Why do a lot of companies do this & nothing else?

You can go to that same lawn say 10,000 sq. ft. that lets say you get $45 to cut. You get about $15 worth of fertilizer & spend say 30 min give or take a little broadcasting fertilizer. You have ran nothing but a push fertilizer spreader & you might run a blower. Get one of them expensive spreaders that has a control flap on them & you can go up next to surfaces with out getting any fertilizer on there & you don't have to blow. Watch the guys that do it for a living. No blowing saves more time & profit goes up.

You can do the same putting out other lawn applications & make more money. Lime, ant poison, pesticides & herbicides. There is plenty of money in this & it just takes a little know how. You can also work up a lawn treatment program for all of you regular customers. Always try to provide as many services to your established customers & it will be harder for them to let you go. Because you have spoiled them with all the services that you can provide.

When you get it down to a science you can run a Zero Turn Rider with a fertilizer spreader on the front. If you could ever get to this point you could be making some serious money. Other people do it & you can to.

Aeration & Dethatching:  This is another great service in high demand.

When I aerated lawns I charged close to 2-3 times what I charged to cut it. I would try to get them to let me fertilize it too. Go at least 3 times the cut if fertilizing & aerating. Use the ones that actually takes plugs of dirt out of the ground. When starting out you will want to line up at least 3 to 5 to make it profitable. The more the better. Later on when you see that you can get plenty of this type of work, you can think about buying a self propel or if the lawns are big enough get one that can be pulled behind a big mower.  

Dethatching would run a little more be careful because depending on the amount of thatch will determine how long it will take you. This can be a time consuming job be careful on these until you get a few under your belt & you feel confident about it.

Landscaping:  Another add on service for your customers.

You can start out small with your regulars & work your way up. You can start by refurbishing flower beds, weeding them & replacing the mulch. While your at it fertilize them too. They have dead plants you can replace them & make suggestions on what to put in their beds. Later in time you can start designing & installing flower beds yourself. This is a great add on to your existing business & something that can be done most anytime of year if weather permits.

Firewood:  This is some good extra winter money.

Your customers are already in place now you just need the firewood. You don't want to get in the tree business but maybe pick your jobs & leave the others to the pros. Find someone you can trust & get them the big jobs. Have them give you a referral fee. You might even be able to get them to drop the tree & let you do the clean up. Get paid to cut it down & clean up. Later sell the wood.

You don't have that much time you can load the logs on your trailer & cut up when you have more time. Still looking for wood talk to your customers & others trying to find lots they have & need cleaned up. Talk to development companies about letting you come in & haul off the wood most of them would be glad for you to haul it off. Some of your different utility companies have to do something with this wood. You might get it for free or pay a small fee for it. Think hard you can find some wood easy & its something that when it is needed you are at your slow time of the year.

Pressure Washing:  Very profitable & you already have customers!

If you have customers that pay you to do their lawn maintenance then you can clean their houses & concrete surfaces. All you have to do is get a little practice. Start with your friends & family. Then go out and find your own customers. You can make more money washing houses than you can cutting grass. At this rate you will have everything covered when it comes to outdoor maintenance. The rental companies can give you some good advice about pressure washing. It just takes a while. Start out cleaning concrete surfaces. It really quite simple.

Light Hauling:  Everybody at one time or another needs something hauled.

You already have the truck & trailer you just have to get the work. Think of all the things you can haul. Equipment for others back & forth to the repair shop. People moving from one side of town to another. People that don't have a truck & trailer are needing this service several times a year. Be creative you can find some work.

Real Estate Companies:  They need the services you have to offer.

If you can cut grass & perform some of the services above you can get plenty of work from them. Go around to the different offices, leave them some cards & fliers. You will be surprised at the work you can get from them. They might even pay you to haul off some firewood. I have been paid to haul off firewood then I resold it with out even having to reload.

Plenty more services you can offer:  Just think about it & be creative!

If you want work & try hard you can find all kinds of things to do. Sometimes it's right there in front of your face, you just have to think about it.

Still waiting on work:  You can do some of the above & no work.

Well, there is only one thing left that I can think of & that's you are not advertising your services. You should have business cards & fliers. Are you handing out cards & distributing fliers. You need to target your areas that you want to work in & saturate the area with fliers. Do not put them inside mail boxes, some places you can't even put them taped on the mail boxes or folded under the flag check with your post office. Look at how the others do it.

Talk to your competition & see if they can send you some work if they are to busy. There is a lot of landscaping companies that don't do lawn maintenance talk to them. Be able to let them see some of your work so they can feel confident that they are giving these people good referrals. Watch the smaller guys mainly 1 man shows, lot of them can't handle more work. If need be offer them a fee & to be on the safe side tell them you will give them a small fee or percentage after 4 or more cuts. Always listen first you might not need to offer anything more than a good job & a good business relationship.

More to come!

 


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