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Five Quick Tips For New Lawn Care Businesses

Are you looking to start a lawn care business? Did you just start one? Here is a list of 5 quick tips that I wish I had known before starting my business.

Last updated on
June 14, 2022

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5 Quick Tips For New Lawn Care Businesses

Are you looking to start a lawn care business? Did you just start one? Here is a list of 5 quick tips that I wish I had known before starting my business. If I had followed these tips from the beginning, I would have saved myself a lot of stress and heartache. We have a complete guide to starting a lawn care business from scratch over HERE, but this is the guide for you if you’re short on time.

Know your numbers

Take the time to figure out how much you need to earn from your new lawn care business and how much it will cost to run it.  A common pitfall for new operators is pricing jobs too low.  They land new clients easily but run out of money because they don’t account for all of the expenses of running a business.  Use this handy calculator we created to help you figure out what your target hourly rate (THR) should be. (Check THR Calculator) After you know your THR, you can use our pricing sheet to price jobs confidently (Check Job Pricing Sheet).

Stay Organized

You might think you can keep track of all of your clients, scheduling, invoicing, and expenses without any software or tools. However, I can tell you from personal experience trying to do it all with pencil and paper is a recipe for forgetting things and disappointing customers. Instead, using a business management app like Check will keep you organized and help you look incredibly professional 💪.

For as low as $5 per month (with a Check Starter annual plan), Check lets you manage recurring jobs, track expenses, send invoices, receive credit card payments, and more. Check Starter is perfect for people who have only a few clients or are just starting out.  We put your business management on auto-pilot with Check Pro for $25 per month on an annual plan.  Check Pro will send out the invoices automatically, we’ll figure out the best route for the day, and we’ll send out notifications to your clients for you as well. Check Pro is clutch for anyone with 10 or more clients. The best time to get organized was last season.  The second best time is today.  See the pricing and complete features list here.

@hellocheckco Honestly, software that makes you use a computer to set up is 🐕💦 and not built with small operators in mind. Check let’s you get set up as you go 👏 Try our challenge of completing a job and let us know your thoughts! #lawncarebusiness #lawncarebusinessowner #homeservicebusiness ♬ NOTHING - Westover

Be professional

Let’s be honest; lawn care operators don’t always have the best reputation for professionalism. However, you can stand out from the crowd in a few ways:

  • Over communication is not a bad thing. Keep your client informed. Tell them you are on your way. Tell them you’ve finished their yard.  Let them know you sent an invoice.
  • Dress professionally. Wear a uniform. Even if you don’t spend the money to get a branded uniform, you can buy the same color shirts to make your own uniform.  I often keep a couple of extra clean shirts in the truck so that I don’t look super nasty by the end of the day.
  • Communicate professionally.  You can stay casual and be yourself, but please use spell check on your text and email messages.
  • Clean your stuff.  Most customers don’t care what you drive or mow with, but if it looks super dirty and unmaintained, they will assume that’s the way you will take care of their lawn.

Don’t sleep on marketing

If you have reasonable prices, are organized, and are professional, your company will grow through word of mouth.  However, if you want to grow quickly and go after higher-paying clients, you will need to spend time and money on marketing.  A little bit goes a long way, and considering that most clients will spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars with you over the life of doing business with you, spending money to land that client is well worth it.  If you’re not sure where to start, check out our article on digital marketing, or six easy marketing ideas, or another about showing up online for free.

Plan for mishaps, rain days, and hard times

If you ask any lawn care business veteran, they will tell you all the war stories about how things went wrong.  My point is that your stuff will break. You will break your other people’s stuff. You will lose big clients. You will get rained out. But, if you give yourself margins and have backup plans, the mishaps and hard times won’t take you out.  You’ll be able to take it in stride.  Here are some ways you can plan to weather difficult seasons and events:

  • Make sure you have savings. The ultimate goal is to have 3-6 months of savings, but start somewhere attainable.  For example, start with trying to save up a few hundred dollars and then move up to one thousand and so on.  From personal experience I can tell you that paying for a repair bill out of my emergency savings is way less stressful than scrambling come up with the cash.
  • As you upgrade, keep your old equipment for backup.  I always had a backup residential push mower and a residential zero-turn so that when one of my main mowers went down, I didn’t have to stop cutting.
  • Make a list of people willing to help you out of a jam. For example, when the water pump on my truck blew up, AAA towed it to the mechanic, and I had a friend to call who was able to come to pick up my trailer and get it home.
  • Give yourself a cushion for rain. We get a ton of rain where I live, so I never scheduled clients on Fridays. I left it open as a makeup day. If we didn’t need it, I cleaned the truck (see the professionalism tip above)
  • When the temperature gets above 90-95 degrees, you and your crew are going to move slower. Plan to get a little less done on these days.

You CAN do this!

Running a lawn maintenance business is not easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Our advice is to learn from those who have gone before you. Success is not guaranteed, but if you keep these tips in the forefront of your mind while getting your business off the ground, you can make success a lot more likely. 

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