Mid Season Lull

Discussion in 'Lawn Care Business Management' started by Budget Cuts Lawn Service, Jul 24, 2019.

  1. Budget Cuts Lawn Service

    Budget Cuts Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    Hey guys,
    Just have a question on what you all do to prevent mid season slowness. At the beginning of this season we were so busy that me and one employee were both working 50hrs and another employee was working 20 hrs. We were able to maintain these hours with both mowing and landscaping up until about now (mid season). Calls have really trailed off and we had a little bit of a dry spell for a couple weeks resulting in hours that are around 20-25 for me and one employee. I’ve been doing this for years but never experienced such a drastic change in hours as we were more of a lawn company previously. This season we branched out a lot more into full landscapes but the leads for those have really slowed down. Does this tend to be normal for anyone else once you hit mid season? Also what have you done to prevent this and guarantee more hours? Thanks.
     
  2. agm

    agm LawnSite Senior Member
    from NM
    Messages: 329

    We do 99% full service maintenance which keeps us busy year round. Maybe try switching to that? With us doing that, there is always somwthing for my guys to do, even when the lawn slow down in the summer heat.
     
    sjessen likes this.
  3. oqueoque

    oqueoque LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Jersey
    Messages: 4,543

    Seeding starts in a couple of weeks.
     
    sjessen likes this.
  4. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 11,789

    Just do lawn maintenance.. Rarely do we not go through dried up slow downs here at any point in the Season. Part of my route is burned up, dried up now. Several times this year it has slowed down. Even when it rains the 96+ zaps it. I have had non stop cutting only for it to dry up in September and October
     
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,925

    Mid-summer is crabgrass and weed season. In theory, there should be no shortage of weeds and crabgrass.
    Perhaps you could experiment with passing out brochures or flyers--soliciting weed and crabgrass control--you are having a summer sale--right? Or maybe your flower beds do not have weeds. Learn how to use Roundup and Snapshot in beds for summer annuals. The summer annuals are prominent around here. Spurge, oxalis, purslane. Also the tough perennials like wild violets and ground ivy.
    Do what every store does--have a big sale!

    It is also grub control season--early July is better. Plus it is a good time to apply surface insect control. Mosquitoes if you are licensed for 'em. Fungicides if there is a need--brown patch? Red thread? Dollarspot?

    Tree fert? Why not?

    And it is time to prepare lawns for late summer seed, (dense-type, top quality, disease-resistant seed, only available from you). Kill weeds, power rake or verti-cut, and plan to apply seeds plus starter fert about August 15. Stretch the date to August 10 if you need to. If the lawn is irrigated--you could start even earlier. This takes advantage of rapid germination due to warm soil temperatures. Have a promotion and a big sale for this ideal seeding time.
    Remember non-spreading grasses need to be planted so the seeds are close together--as they have little ability to spread or fill-in. For instance:
    http://www.seedland.com/mm5/merchan...nd&Product_Code=KBG-ELITE-25&Category_Code=BG
    And also, fall is chrysanthemum season. Put one man on the job of selling mum plantings in beds for fall--let customers choose the colors. Plant mum plants beginning about Sept first. Dig the holes with an electric drill--you can do about 6 holes per minute.
    https://www.meijergardens.org/calendar/chrysanthemums-and-more/

    And be sure to sell your customers on planting lots of tulip and other kinds of bulbs, earlibird sale. October planting.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
  6. Hayduke

    Hayduke LawnSite Member
    from Oregon
    Messages: 95

    We are a strictly landscape install company with many years under our belt and what you speak of is very typical for installation companies I know. Summer hits and it dries up, literally. People are off on vacation, thinking of other ways to spend their money besides a new landscape.
    This usually changes at the end of summer and beginning of fall, when the calls start coming back in. That is when I focus hard on getting booked up through the fall and winter. We are luck to be able to do installs most of the winter here.
    I think one key to having an install company is knowing your seasons-and I'm not talking about the weather, but the seasonal ebb and flow of leads and inquiries and what types of work people want at different times of the year. It will usually follow a fairly predictable pattern that you'll start to notice after a few years, and it doesn't always make sense. Knowing when you need to book your schedule solid, and when you need to leave it open a bit to allow time for call backs, warranties, etc....ths all takes time. And weathering the dry spells can be uncomfortable for sure.....
     
    hort101 and Mac-s Lawn & Snow like this.
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,925

    Good suggestions. Yes, try to have "Early-bird" and "Off -season sales". Increase your regular prices so your average revenue is the same.
    Roofers, siding installers, and window installers do this all the time. Keep careful records so you can be ready for slumps.

    Try to have some flexible advertising and promotions ready. Double up on the advertising when needed. Cut it off when your schedule is nearly full. Mail or hand pass sale flyers when you need work. Or double up on the number of radio commercials. "Call within five days!"
    The radio and TV people will be happy to help you--if you want to buy some commercials.

    It ain't easy being green!
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Budget Cuts Lawn Service

    Budget Cuts Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    Good ideas guys. Slowly picking up now but mainly window shoppers just looking for the cheapest guy. We’re fine on hours for now but definitely going to hit up advertising hard again in the spring
     
    Cam15 likes this.
  9. fivestarlandscapes

    fivestarlandscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 89

    Very normal situation. I'm in MA and in Late July/August the faucet usually shuts off for landscaping work. After about 5 years I chose to go full service maintenance versus the landscaping and have been very happy.
     
    Cam15 and hort101 like this.

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