Winter $income?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by rowdyz92, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. Blades Lawn Maintenance

    Blades Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Montague, NJ
    Messages: 1,233

    I workerd enough during the summer to take the writer off
  2. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,327

    Thats right.
  3. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    Other possibilities for winter work:

    1. Firewood. Sometimes your raw ingredient is free. We've got an arborist who advertises free wood for pickup. He precuts it into 4 foot lengths. Saves him running it all through the chipper.

    2. If the ground doesn't freeze hard fall can be good time to work on irrigation systems. Doing routine fall maintenance on irrigation systems can be a partial bridge too.

    3. While it doesn't produce income, if you have heated space, and the knowledge, this is the time you can do big service on your equipment. This includes both mechanical stuff, and things like repainting equipment so that it looks sharp on the job.

    4. If you are good with small engines, visit the neighbors of all your clients and offer a $50 lawnmower full service. Clean it up, change the oil, sharpen the blade. Get a bunch of decals made: "This mower serviced by Acme Mowers & Lawn Services" and put a small decal where he will see it whenever he pulls the starter cord. Point it out and ask him to call if he needs other landscape services.

    5. Here there is a big business short term for dog crap cleanup in spring. I'm betting that a power rake run a bit high would make fast work of crap cleanup. Or set normally, and do the dethatch and cleanup in one pass.

    6. In spring here there is a pause between snow gone, and lawn mowing. Another activity for this period is regrading if you have acreages with gravel driveways.

    7. Once you have frost free ground, either fall after leaf drop or spring after snow melt, there are tons of gardens that can use rototilling.

    8. If your climate isn't too severe, this is a good time to do decks and patios.
  4. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    Winter projects, and this one takes a little bit of doing because most people are not in the right frame of mind for it but ask around because you'd be surprised how many people have a broken down lawn mower or the like... The trick here is to convince them to get it fixed in January-February instead of waiting until spring like everybody else because come spring the repair shops are stock full and swamped with work it can take 3 weeks to get a lawn mower fixed but worse still is in spring you need your mower like yesterday!

    Money wise, it's all right due to it's not my regular thing and I'm working on machines I'm not intimately familiar with so I sure won't get rich anytime soon, the parts take longer to find, the machine takes more doing to fix, everything seems to take longer.
    But that's fine by me, at least it keeps me busy.

    If you work on your own such as I do it's not that far out to work on someone else's, does take some practice and the parts, you need to watch how you do that so you don't pay too much but you have more than three days time on your side so that helps and then don't charge them more than a repair shop would...

    Usually, for the same price a repair shop would charge, I pick up the unit from them, fix it AND deliver it back, they really seem to like that, sometimes I even can do it for less than a repair shop or else I clean the whole mower make it look new or some other kind of bone I like to throw in there.

    Just make sure you get into it and find out, if you can't fix it, you need to fess up and let them know so they can make alternate arrangements, don't hold on to their unit for more than a few days without you getting into it and finding out, can you take care of it, you know, a week at the most, don't hold on to it and then come spring oh crap lol.

    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
  5. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    Sometimes just giving the starter cord a good pull can tell you a lot. You don't have to take it to the shop to find out that it has a broken connecting rod. Or pulling the plug and a bright penlight can reveal severe piston scoring in a 2 stroke. A 3 minute check on site may save you a round trip. At that point give him the best advice you can.

    If you have a good supplier, work out a referal fee with him, give the man a preprinted coupon for your supplier.
  6. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    8. Another service you can offer is tool sharpening. Set up a portable rig, and offer to clean and sharpen all of their tools. If you are set up right, you can do their scissors and kitchen knives too.
  7. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,763

    My guys aren't allowed to play with sharp objects :nono:
  8. mowcrazy

    mowcrazy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 896

    I live in Southern Ohio and you never know if your gonna get snow or not. I do plow but NEVER depend on that money. I always look at it like if it snows, may as well get out and make money at it.......

    Im not rich, just a fella with a route and one employee (cut approx 70 accts per week) but for the past 10 years even in the droubts ive put away 20-25K bucks to get me through the winter. normally start the season with 4-5K left...... Lots of flolks say not smart but it works for me.

    When work stops daddy plays!!!!!! Im one of those fellas that works hard but plays harder. My boat is on the water 3-4 times per week in the winter unless we have ice..... Fishing that much costs lots of money feeding large boat motor.

    Anyways, what Im getting at is I have always said to all the other lcos around here penny pinch during the mowing/landscaping season and put as much back as possible. My wife hates the idea........ I sit on my ass every day without a care in the world except "where am i gonna fish tomarrow"....

    best thing to do imo is put back "x" amount of money per month NO MATTER WEATHER IT PUTS YOU IN A BIND. Works for me......... :rolleyes:
  9. lkendall

    lkendall LawnSite Member
    Messages: 157

    I agree with him^ even if you have a job in the winter put away money while you can and if something happens in the winter you have a backup plan.. no snow here so im heading to florida!
  10. Magna-Matic

    Magna-Matic Sponsor
    Messages: 839

    Hello All,

    sgbotsford mentioned tool sharpening. I thought I'd give you guys a link to a good resource if anyone wants to get into sharpening tools.

    The Sharpener's Report is the main newsletter or publication for people who offer sharpening of everything from lawnmower blades, clipper blades, chef knives, to cold cutoff circular saws. We advertise our lawnmower blade sharpeners there, and have exhibited at their conference.

    Thank you,

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