Top 10 Ways Lawn & Landscape Business Owners Should Spend Their Winter "Vacation"

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Sean Adams, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    So many lawn and landscape business owners take the months of December, January and February "off" because they may not have much work to do or they cannot rely upon seasonal services like snow removal. But these winter months are a great time to be very productive and get a lot of things done for your business. Below is a list of the top 10 things I recommend for every lawn and landscape business owner I work with:

    1.) Clean every truck and every piece of equipment you have from top to bottom. Really make it shine. But first, perform every single needed type of maintenance or repair that needs done. Be thorough. Any equipment that has been sitting idle, get it fixed so you have it ready for the spring. If you can't fix it, take it to someone who can. Well maintained equipment makes your employees operate that much better.

    2.) Pull out that dusty business plan and update it. If you don't have a business plan, now is the time to create one. Figure out where your business is, where you want it to be and determine very clear and concise goals for the upcoming season.

    3.) Go over your numbers with a fine tooth comb. Obviously, on a regular basis you should be keeping a close eye on your expenses, your prices, etc... Where did you make money? Where did you lose money? Where did you have to spend money you weren't planning for? How could you be more efficient moving forward so the numbers are better? Get out the calculator and really break things down and you will be surprised at what you learn.

    4.) If you have employees or you are going to hire employees, create an employee manual. If you already have one, update it. Include all the things you expect from your employees. Make it as detailed as possible. Define your expectations, rules and protocol. Make it clear how things should be done, how they should do the work, how they should behave, how equipment should be handled and maintained, etc...

    5.) Start scoping out new clients. Determine areas you want to penetrate or dominate. Look at the areas, look at the types of homes and commercial properties in this area. Does it make sense for you to advertise your services there? Is it already saturated with other service providers?

    6.) Create a marketing plan and marketing calendar for the upcoming season. When and how will you advertise? Will it be a consistent effort utilizing all different forms of promotion like flyers, newspaper ads, radio, TV, billboards, road signs, email, local search, social media, co-op advertising, etc...? How much will you spend? what has worked best for you in the past?

    7.) Spend no less that one hour per day learning something new that will help you grow and improve your business - whether online, a book, speaking to other business owners, working with a consultant, etc...

    8.) Communicate with your clients. Send them a letter or even give them a call. Let them know you are thinking about them and you are looking forward to working with them in the upcoming season. Ask them what they like about your service or what they think you should improve. Ask them to refer you to friends and neighbors.

    9.) Start looking for lawn and landscape business owners that are going out of business. Go on Craigslist, talk to local dealers - there is always someone in this industry hanging it up and this means opportunity for you.

    10.) Take care of yourself. Relax. Spend time with family. Try and develop a regular and healthy lifestyle when it comes to sleep, diet and exercise.

    To read this blog post and more like it go HERE
  2. CutterCutter

    CutterCutter LawnSite Member
    from WV
    Messages: 76

    Couldn't agree more on number 10. Can't say I'm into any of the other items except for the equipment maintenance but that's a given if you're going to be an LCO.

    Being an established one person operation I couldn't handle more than two or three additional customers. My "business plan" is taking supplements to keep the body from falling apart around August. Employees? I may have to deal with that at some point in the future but I'm certainly not looking forward to it.

    I usually try to get as far away from anything that reminds me of lawn care as possible during the winter. It'll be back soon enough.
  3. Toro 455

    Toro 455 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 238

    I'm solo too. What's number 10 on the list is number 1 for me as well.
  4. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,379

    Good post, Iv been doing these things for a few years and it usually seems to get slightly eaiser each year. My truck has been challenging, Ive done alot to it in the past week and still need to give it a good detail.

    This past year Ive kept a log of everything I spent both business and personal, I didnt think I would keep up with it but I did and its been a huge help in estabilishing a realistic budjet. I plan on slowing down quite abit this year so I will have to become a little frugil.

    Spending 1 hour a day learning sounds like a good idea, I do plan on taking some computer classes next month, I dont think I have the discipline to read 1 hour per day.

    Im off to napa to get one more truck part, thanks for the thred.
  5. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,395

    play in the snow if it does snow. build a snowman or something lol.

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