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Keys to a Successful Lawn Care Business

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by clallen03, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. clallen03

    clallen03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 511

    Im going full time this year and have already picked up a couple more accounts this. Im trying to not only make good money, Im trying to be great at this.

    I know I have a long ways to go before I get to that point but I have my goals written down and Im staying focused.

    I was just wondering if I could get some opinions on what it takes to run a successful lawn care company and what it takes to be great at this.

    Thanks for everyones response:)
  2. matt spinniken

    matt spinniken LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 298

    I, by no means am great at this....yet. But in my opinion the key areas are:1. doing a REALLY good job.

    2. charging enough.

    3. sell, sell, sell
  3. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    #1 on the post above is the most important in my opinion.

    #2 is second most important, and also included is know your costs. Know how much it costs to run your mower per hour, your trimmers, etc...

    get out and advertise as much as you can, send emails to realtors and property managers, make phone calls, put an ad on craigslist.... etc. etc. Do anything and everything you can to get your name in front of people repeatedly.
  4. grassaholic

    grassaholic LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 369

    Knowing how to do a good job is the key. You got to make sure your mower is cutting at the right height for the type of grass your cutting. Make sure you keep your blades sharp and decks cleaned out.
    You need to know how to edge sidewalks and beds efficiently so your accounts look sharp when your done. There are many different methods to do this. My favorite is my trimmer with an Edgit attachment. http://www.edgit.com/
    I always try to put a pattern on the lawn by striping in different directions from week to week. During the spring and early summer double cutting is a necessary evil. If the lawn just doesn't look good after the first cut go over it again in another direction.
    When your done make sure you give that account a good blow job!!:laugh: If you get grass in any landscape beds make sure to blow it out.
    All the small details of mowing a lawn add up to a good job. If you skip things often then it will show. The Quality of your work is the only thing you have in this business.
  5. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    You don't have to do a really good job to be great at this. ALL you have to do is SATISFY the customer. The key is finding out what the customer's expectations are and go from there.

    So doing a really good job making it look perfect, spiffy, and downright outstanding is NOT the first thing that you have to do, because the customer might not even want that. So the first thing you want to do is sit down and figure out what TYPE of customer you are going to market to.

    Then you have to know what your Cost of Doing Business is. You just can't throw out a ballpark figure, place a bid and not know the exact profit you'll be pulling from the job. Sit down and figure out what it costs you to run your business, all the way down to the postage stamps you use to mail out your invoices.

    Next you need to know how to talk to customers. There is one person that is in charge and that's you... but you let the customer think they are in charge. You make them feel comfortable, you make them trust you so that they are satisfied that they are in good hands.

    Whether you want to be big or small, know your numbers, and then work on name recognition. Get your truck(s) lettered, the more your name is seen, the better chance you'll have of someone calling you.
  6. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,933

    At your stage , one key is patience. Getting customers is the hardest part of the initial phase of a start up business. We'll assume you already know to do the BEST job you can for the time you bill for. This business is like city farming in that the seeds you plant now will grow you a future. Plan for the long run and the success you desire will come. You can buy a customer list from another lawn service and jump in to accelerate your growth but then there is the cost of that. You can put out thousands of flyer's and get only a few customers. Patience, will keep you plugging along providing good service at rates that give you a profit. I know guys with $45,000 trucks and $20,000 of equipment struggling to make payments. they may look good as they pull up to a lawn but the guy in the pickup with 1 mower is probably more PROFITABLE after expenses. Get the work first then upgrade your equipment. You can buy equipment almost any day of the week but customers at good prices are harder to find. 1major tom hit on the one single factor that is present in many successful lawn businesses. Good Customer relations . Build trust , respect , and confidence with your customers and sales will come easy. Become indispensable to your customers and they will find new customers for you. They will brag to their friends and neighbors about the great lawn service they hired. You'll know when the time comes in your business to start milking the profit from goodwill. You'll know when you can get away with a $35 or $40 price on a lawn that others get $25 for. Thats when the "SUCCESS" kicks in. Just be PATIENT Rome was not built in a day!
  7. JayD

    JayD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,060

    Can you explain a little more on this edgit trimer thing. I watched the video and not really sure about it. What is it that you are getting for the $59?
    Is it just an attachment? You use this insted of a real trimer?
  8. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,218

    Some good advice above, I also want to add that you should pick up Marty Grunder's "9 Super Simple Steps to Entrepreneurial Success" I wish I had that book to read 12 years ago when I was starting. I just read it this winter and I got a lot out of it. Try it.
  9. toac

    toac LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 350


    GSPHUNTER LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 310

    It is a steel disk you attach to the end of any straight shaft trimmer. It spins, and works as a guide for edging. My local dealer said they are pretty sweet. He said they also create a small vaccum, if you have to cut a small area with the trimmer it makes it look better. Also, for wood fence posts, you can get your line worn down to the edge of that disk and it won't chew into the post.

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