What services do you provide?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mezammit, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. mezammit

    mezammit LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    What services do all of you guys do.
    Obviously we all cut lawns and the landscaping. Do any of you fertilize your customers lawns? Snow removal in the winter?
    My main real question is do any of you think providing more services to a client gives you the upper hand. Fertilizing, snow removal, sprinklers, lighting etc.
    I am looking to bid on some commercial properties this year and was curious if providing more services to the properties helps. Not just commercial but also residential customers too.
  2. A&R Enterprise

    A&R Enterprise LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    on my residentials I am a jack of ALL trades ,master of none.I will do just about anything the customer wants If I think I can do it.I hope this helps a little.:drinkup:
  3. mezammit

    mezammit LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    Yeah I help out my residents as much as possible too.
    I have been looking into getting licensed and certified with the state of Michigan as a fertilizer/pesticide applicator. The only problem with this is it takes 2 years and them 2 years you must work under someone that is already certified. Then after them 2 years you can apply for your certification. I understand that there are rules and regulations but 2 years under someone. Every year at least half of my customers ask if i can start fertilizing there lawn.
    I have the means to do it and all the products are readily available here my only problem is the whole 2 year thing.
    Any of you have this in your area if yes how have you dealt with the certification.
  4. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    no we all don't do landscaping.

    i for one won't ever do landscaping. i hate it and refuse to do it. i'd choose to close up shop before ever doing landscaping.

    i do mowing, string trimming, sidewalk/driveway edging, leaf removal in the spring and fall, small hedge pruning, small mulch jobs and snow removal.

    i've been known to do a little tilling and aeration but i don't advertise or offer those as services. just on an ask only basis.

    i do think offering your clients as many sevices as you can gives you the upper hand. but i also think you have to look at why you are in business.

    i'm in business because the services i don't offer are services i don't like or want to do. if i hired onto an existing company i would get stuck doing some of those things some of the time. by starting my own business i only do the work i want and like doing. but i also am aware most people like dealing with one person for all there lawn maintenance needs instead of multipul people.
  5. XLS

    XLS LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,038

    I agree with yardguy28 fully . We dont do a bit of landscaping installations at all . years back we did Installs ,hardscape, irrigation ,you name it we did it on some scale or another and you learn what you like and dont like as you go. Now we dont plant as many plants in a year as most companies will on any given week .
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,865

    When I started by co. 15 years ago, we just did regular weekly maintenance and related stuff like clean-ups, bark mulch applications, etc. Nothing more.

    I've slowly learned and taught myself pretty much all of the other trades related to this business to the point where we are now very proficient at paver patios, walkways, and driveways; natural stone patios and walks; natural rock walls; Block (SRW) retaining walls; Water Features, ponds, bubbler fountains, pondless waterfalls; landscape and architectural lighting; irrigation install and repair service; drainage; Fences; Decks; Seat Walls; Sod Lawns; Synthetic Turf Installation; Landscape Design and a few other things too. And yes, lawn and plant fertilization too.

    And yes, I believe it helps to be an all-phases company like that. We pick up maintenance accounts these days from customers purely because we are a full scale, all-phases company. In fact, we use that as a selling point every time we give a bid. We will tell potential customers something like, "We're not going to be the cheapest in terms of maintaining your lawn and beds. We're probably going to be a little more than most of the other companies you might be talking to. But where we differ is a lot of those guys are these mow-blow-go types who don't know much of anything about your plants, your irrigation system, what stains your pavement (like iron in fertilizer or moss killer) and what doesn't. They probably couldn't name most of the plants in your landscape and probably won't know how to prune them properly. If they break a sprinkler head they may not even know how to fix it or if they did it's very likely they'd install the wrong head or nozzle on the one they replaced. Whereas we'll know all those things and more. We've got a full time irrigation service technician. So if we ever break a head he can be out here to your property that same day fixing it, the right way. And we will know all your plants and how to take care of them properly so they don't end up looking like a bunch of balls and lollipops. If you ever need something on your landscape changed or added to, you can call on us to do that. If you wanted this old cracked concrete patio replaced with a nice paver patio, for instance, we do that. If you wanted a suggestion for a nice ornamental tree for this hole in your landscape over here, we'd know a great one for that purpose. If you wanted to ever upgrade your sprinkler system to a controller or heads that were way more efficient and would drastically cut down your water bill, we do that."

    And I think even when we don't say all this stuff, we are just known for doing all this and most of the time they've been to our website anyway. So they already know a lot of this. But yah, it makes a difference to clients. In more ways than you'd think. It makes a difference on who they hire, for one. But for two, it means we can get a higher rate than what the regular mow-blow-go guys in our area charge too.
  7. mezammit

    mezammit LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    I see where you guys are coming from with sticking with your forte, and I a firm believer in sticking to your forte get a good re-pore in your local community and then look into other services.
    Also for the record i did not mean to insult anyone when saying we all landscape.
    I can say I do enjoy cutting lawns quit ah bit. Not just my personal benefit but for my customers as well especially my elderly customers that are extremely appreciative of my services and are unable to do the work.
    This is the one thing that I like about the green industry is there are so many different branches that you can go into. I am not looking to go out and buy 100k in equipment just to say yeah i have the equipment to not pass up a job that comes my way. I am just asking if any of you offer more than a lawn service to your clients and if they ever ask for other services especially fertilizing?
  8. mezammit

    mezammit LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    Lewis you finally answered my question,
    I have slowly been picking up more jobs each year and it seems lately a lot of my customers are asking me to do all of there outdoor maintenance. Which is great but if it something over my head I explain there situation and give a recommended contractor that i know. Last year I put up a couple retaining walls 2-3 courses high with some nice lighting and the customers were appalled at the job i did.
    I hate to turn down work when it is something I am not familiar with but slowly I am taking classes and getting certified in the thing I am familiar with and later will get to the the thing I need to learn more on . It just seems lately my residential customers have been asking about the fertilization of there lawn. When it comes down to it I believe they would rather read one invoice and cut a single check per month for there outdoor needs rather than 2 or 3.
    Eventually that is where I see myself and how I will separate myself from others is being a full service provider. Rather than being a lawn cutter. Now don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with just cutting lawns I know plenty of companies that just cut lawn and they do quit well for themselves
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,865

    Really? They were appalled at the job you did? I'd love to see some photos of that job. Was it really that bad? Maybe PM me and we can talk about that more. You don't have to post photos here. But I'd be glad to help, if I can.

    Anyway, a lot of it has to do with knowing your limits and working your way up slowly. Don't take on a job unless you know you can do it right and do it well. I'll give an example About 5 or 6 years ago we didn't really do any paver work at all. If we did land a job that included a paver patio or something, we'd find a paver guy and sub-contract that part out to him. Well, after watching him do it 5 or 10 times on our jobs, my guys came to me and said they thought (with a little training) we could probably do pavers as good as that guy was doing them for us. So I got them some training and we started doing them in house. First paver job I took on was real basic. Just a 10' x 12' rectangle patio. Super small. Super easy. We did a good job and learned a few new things in the process. So then the next job we did was just a tad bigger. Over time, we started to put some curves and get better at making cuts and shapes with pavers. Then we started getting better at making different levels, steps, including lights in the steps, adding seat walls, etc. Our training continued too. But now, 6 years later, we do some pretty intricate paver jobs. But during that learning time, if we got a lead for a job I knew we wouldn't be able to do right, we'd either refer the customer to our old paver guy or sub it out to him. The main thing is the customer needs to always end up with a quality job. So don't make someone your guinea pig for a huge job. Start small with everything and work your way up. That way, if you do mess up a little, it's not too much to tear it down and start over and get it done right.

    It's like that with everything we do. I learned irrigation the same way. And lighting too. A lot of the lighting we learned just from the dozens of free classes I took from manufacturers and at expos over the years. And each of the forums here on Lawnsite are a huge help for learning these things too. I now spend more time over in the hardscape, lighting, and irrigation forum than I do here in the lawn care side. Just because I don't have much left to talk about or learn in lawn care. We got that down pretty well and it's a well oiled machine. Where I strive to always get better is in those other categories and there are some guys in those forums who are very helpful. I've learned a lot just by posting photos of my jobs over the years and then waiting for the (sometimes not positive) feedback. It hurts sometimes. But you learn a LOT!

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