Phil Nilsson's Books


LawnSite Member
Chesapeake, VA
I am thinking about buying some books for education purposes. I've performed a search and read various threads on books but not specific information to warrant making a decision. Most comments state his books suck or they were good, but had no comments on content, although I did find great comments on the Labor Time Data Handbook.

I would like to know if anyone bought any of the books I have cited below and whether or not you were satisfied with the content and if they were worth the investment. Specific comments to each book would be appreciated.

Phil Nilsson's Books:
Book #A-7 Labor Time Data Handbook $69.50
Book #B-1 Advertising And Marketing Your Services $42.50
Book #B-2 Pricing Your Services $39.50
Book #B-8 How To Write Effective Sales Letter $24.50
Book #C-1 Grounds Maintenance Manual $49.50
Book #C-2 Writing The Maintenance Specifications $34.50
Book #C-21 Maintenance Estimating Kit $32.50
Book #ET-4 Training In Pruning And Planting $34.50

Eric ELM

Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
Chicago, IL USA
I'm not much help on this, because I have never bought any books on this. I would bet that if you read everypost in here that is informative and subscribe to all the free lawn magazines, that you will learn a whole lot more. You will be learning from the ones that actually are out there doing this for a living and all this information is FREE. :D

1st impressions

LawnSite Member

Last year I bought 5 manuals from Phil Nilsson. I believe
I paid $111 with shipping.The more you buy the bigger the
discount. Of the titles you mentioned, I have the Labor
Time Data Handbook and the Grounds Maintenance Estimating
Kit. By far the best is the Labor Time Data Handbook. It
covers everything :lawn maintenance,landscaping,pruning,
snow removal, etc. I purchased these books because I
wanted to bid on larger condo/apartment properties. This
book definitely helped to get my numbers where they should
be to be competitive.
The Grounds Maintenance Estimating Kit is basically a smaller version of the other book. This book concentrates
only on grounds maintenance but does not include any new
The other books I have basically speak of the importance
of knowing your costs and pricing accordingly. If you are new to the business they will be helpful. Much of it is common sense though sometimes it helps seeing it in writing.
The other books I have are Maximizing Profits In Mowing,
Selling to Commercial Customers, and The Art of Selling.
Hope this info helps.


LawnSite Member
Chesapeake, VA
1st Impressions: You stated: "The Grounds Maintenance Estimating Kit is basically a smaller version of the other book." Does this mean you would not recommend spending money on both books because the material content in the Labor Time Data Handbook already covers the info in The Grounds Maintenance Estimating Kit? This is exactly the type of info I'm looking for. Thank you for your post.

Shelton's Lawn

LawnSite Member
I have the labor data handbook and the maximizing profits in mowing. The labor handbook is a very good guideline for knowing the times you should shoot for. It covers everything dealing with landscaping and maintenance. Good investment.


LawnSite Member
Ontario, Canada
Most of the members of this forum can't spell. Are you going to look to them for financial and business information? I think I'd spend some money on people who's opinions you value. I'll spend the $75 to spend a day listening to vanderkoii or Phil,(by the way, wonder why he wasn't at Congress 2001?), rather than some guy who has no idea how to price his work. After 15 years I have found that most of us could use some EXPERT help. I still run into guys who think they are geniuses because they charge 2x material costs for planting. Remember you get what you pay for,(generally), so take free info for what it's worth.

Hardy Enterprises

LawnSite Member
Vicksburg, MS

I broke down about a year ago and bought the whole set. There were a few that I didn't really want, but when compared to the ones I wanted it was cheaper to buy the whole set. Their are people on this forum that will disagree with me and I am sure that there are other people that have books that are just as good, but I feel like the information that I have gain from his books is just as valueable as my mowers. Most anybody can run a lawnmower the people who will suceed in this business are the people who can run a business. I would have to disagree with Eric's statement about trade magazines and this site. I subscribe to approximately 10 traded magazines and have been at this site since it was called Lawnicure, which is getting close to being 2 years ago now. I feel like all three sources of information compliment each other, but none of them can replace the others. I have read about half of them so far and have found the information very useful. It is actully funny that this post came up today, I was writing a letter this morning to hopefully seal the deal on a large industrial site. I got stuck in writing the letter and picked up the stack of Phil's books wondering if there was a book that could help me. As I thumbed through them I found the book "How to Write Effective Sales Letters", that gave me some unique idea to spruce up my letter. You never know when you need a good reference book.


1st impressions

LawnSite Member

My personal opinion is that the Grounds Maintenance book
is not necessary if all you need is info. on how long it takes to perform a particular task. Take your money and get
some of his other books.


LawnSite Silver Member
Central CT
Originally posted by kermit
Most of the members of this forum can't spell
Stating from personal experience, its more a lack of keyboard skills than spelling aptitude.


Moderator, Friend, Angel
South East
There volumes of expert advice on this forum from sucessful experienced full time lawncare professionals on this forum. And just like Phils or someone elses books, some of it is useful to you and some of it is not. Phil is just a book writer and far as I know not a full time lawn care man. And you should have seen some of his spelling while he was on this forum. I believe the experts are people who have spent many years at their craft and are sucessful at it. I agree with lawnguy, its more typing skills and people just not taking the time to spell correctly. After reading many things Phil said on this forum I sure wouldn't want him to have the benefit of my money.