Some light reading material

Hurryupelectric

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Charleston
I’m liking how this year went for me as far as the “extras” I did to supplement my mowing accounts. During the spring I did a few mulch beds and a modest slate back patio towards the beginning of summer. Then I stopped taking the laborious digging and hauling heavy materials type jobs during summer.

The game plan worked wonderfully well for reasons beyond just laboring in the southern heat. The rain would have left me scrambling to meet project deadlines and maintain my mowing accounts, likely resulting in some inevitably unhappy customers. But fall is here and while I’ll still be busy with mowing and handling leaf duties I’m gonna to be preparing for some winter projects I’ve pushed back with relaxed customers.

Someone mentioned landscapers needing to learn to sell. I think I’m going to have good results with potential landscape jobs because I’m genuinely excited about creating artistic things. I can see myself verbally painting a picture for people and having them ready to sign. Best of all, I’m actually going to have a clue about how to properly construct these effects lol. I suppose after an install with various plants needing specific care, I can command appropriate money for the ability moving forward.

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Mac-s Lawn & Snow

LawnSite Bronze Member
Start learning your plant identification. Selling softscaping almost always turns into quiz the landscaper on plant types. A app that identifies plant types will be helpful starting out and its okay to say I don't know. In my area the markup on plants was pretty low with what everyone else was charging. On a slaes call I would teel the customer that I charged more for plantings than others but people were hiring me more for my hardscaping skills and plantings went with the package usually.. Learn the plants that do well for your area and if someone wants a plant type that they had at their childhood home back in Oregon do not offer any warranty.
 

phasthound

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Mt. Laurel, NJ

Mitty87

LawnSite Silver Member
Start learning your plant identification. Selling softscaping almost always turns into quiz the landscaper on plant types. A app that identifies plant types will be helpful starting out and its okay to say I don't know. In my area the markup on plants was pretty low with what everyone else was charging. On a slaes call I would teel the customer that I charged more for plantings than others but people were hiring me more for my hardscaping skills and plantings went with the package usually.. Learn the plants that do well for your area and if someone wants a plant type that they had at their childhood home back in Oregon do not offer any warranty.
I notice this, I don't mind looking at an area and throwing someone a plant list on my estimate that takes us 10 minutes to figure out. When someone starts to get more picky, wants to know exact placement, doesn't like our ideas, then it starts to get into design fees. We do get a lot of jobs where the clients just trust our initial list, if its $800 in plants and a $2500 job that 2 people can do in a day, its pretty good money. Another thing is the people who only want a few plants, I have made the mistake of not charging an initial 1 hour nursery trip fee.
 

grass man 11

LawnSite Bronze Member
Just learn a few things as you go. Generally mowing has very low margins. In fact the lowest in the industry. A lot of guys do the mowing in order to upsell more profitable work.

landscaping and maintenance are two very different animals. Most small companies struggle with being good at both. They often conflict with each other. Set personal rules for each and divide up your time. Keep them separate. “Squeezing” something in, never works out in the long run. Pushing back mowing customers to finish a landscape job results in loosing maintenance clients. 3 days of rain suspending landscape jobs, next day is sunny… that landscape customer won’t care that you need to mow. So your best bet is divide up time and communicate with clients before you take on a project.

always charge for EVERYTHING you do. No meeting is free, no design is free, no time spent going to the nursery or store is free. Mark up all your materials so that you make money on them and your labor. If your charging the same labor rate to pull weeds as you do to install a bush, your leaving money on the table. You should be able to make $20-30 more per labor hour.

the biggest problem where one guy will succeed and one will not is the ability to plan in advance and make smart choices. It’s the non-billable time that kills maintenance and landscape crews. You can’t be unprepared or running to the store all the time.
 

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