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Having trouble keeping busy past August

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by DAVELAWN, Aug 20, 2005.


    DAVELAWN LawnSite Member
    from MASS
    Messages: 73

    I have a 3 man operation, that has been around for about 10 years. We have a good reputation and keep very busy for april, may,june and july. However once August 1 rolls around we have a dramatic slowdown, until November. Normally all 3 get 40-45 hrs.....then the slowdown continues and I don't work and my other 2 guys barely get 35......I have tried different avenues of advertising, and nothing seems to have worked. My company handles mostly high end residentials......kinda unsure of how to improve myself except to sell more in the beginning of the season...thoughts?
  2. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,398

    Mostly, I don't have a problem with this sort of thing but there are a few customers that are always trying to skimp on the mowings so that they can save money.

    I will be sending out a letter shortly to some of those explaining that they will be charged for service every week if they cancel for that week or not. I am in the position that I cannot physically handle more properties (it is too late to add another crew this year) and I am turning away customers on almost a daily basis. If you are not yet in this position, I would recommend advertising heavily next year so that you can take the ones that you want and get rid of the rest. It is good to have that sort of thing to back you up when you lay down the law for those who are trying to cut back.
  3. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,398

    Something else that I would be likely to try if I lived where we had snow would be a yearly contract. Something like this:

    "We will mow your lawn and clear your driveway for the cost of $X per month all year long. This includes the times when the grass is not growing and the snow is not falling as well as the busy times."
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    This is the reason I push Core Aeration ( Lime / Fertilize / Seed ) throughout September right after school starts everybody is in this mad rush right up until Xmas and ppls DO like to spend money but it is funny money they will only spend on SOME things and it took only ONE year for me to figure out that Core Aeration was it!!! Then by the time October comes around the leaves are falling and I have no problem with work thou it isn't as busy as spring one of the other reasons is please remember the days get shorter so the problem is not 100% avoidable.

    DAVELAWN LawnSite Member
    from MASS
    Messages: 73

    How do u push the aeration? Newspaper ads?
  6. J Hisch

    J Hisch LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 952

    Aeration, work your customer base first, then work any one time job you did for someone. then use other methods. Yard signs, newpaper ads.
  7. scraper69

    scraper69 LawnSite Senior Member
    from mi
    Messages: 477

    Dave ,, im in the same position.. mid august and getting slow. Not just the lawn care, but landscape installs. I too , am looking for ways to get going agian before the leaves even fall. Here cleanups dont start until, mid NOV. ADS only get the shoppers. and the lowballer will win that one.
  8. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    The first way and probably best way, around this in the future will to be servicing weekly accounts with a service agreement/contract to provide service through the entire growing season. Control fert and water and there should never be any kind of dropoff in growth and the need to maintain it. For the install folks out there, this becomes a great time to pitch design and install of bulb planted beds, renovations timed as the temps get cooler to have plants establish this fall and many, many nurseries will be offering deals on plant materials to avoid carrying them another winter. Use some of the bargains to be had to convince clients to buy now instead of waiting for prices to rise next spring. The enthusiasm for yards may fade for many folks after a long hot summer, but getting a deal does not. The key is to getting them to think about the continuing landscape and not just big pushes in the spring.
  9. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    GreenUtah is correct,I start my Fall planting season in one month,still to hot here yet.Then I plant until it's too wet or there is snow on the ground.

    It is pretty much a common and accepted method of contracting mowing jobs here in Ca,that the customer signs up for the whole year with a weekly charge that is low enough so you get paid no matter what .
    Other words most guys make it a yearly rate not by the mow but by the month so they are paid if it's raining or not.
    That way the customer sees a low monthly rate,but you still make money
    when you can't mow. Did I explain that right?

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