Starting a Lawn Cut Business – PRO’s and CON’s.
If you are thinking about starting a lawn cut business, it’s a great idea. But, I will try to stay objective by giving you the PRO’s and CON's so that you can make a more informed decision.
PRO's of Starting a Lawn Cut Business
- Winters off. It would be nicer to have summers off like teachers.
- Part time income. Some cops, firemen, and teachers make more money cutting lawns part time than they do working full time at their primary job.
- Recession proof. Grass continues to grow and needs to be cut regardless of the economy.
- Steady work. Steady workers. Steady profits.
- Yearly maintenance contracts. This means you don’t have to keep soliciting business all year to keep things rolling.
- Low advertising costs. The bulk of advertising is done once a year--in the spring.
- Low start up costs. More on financing.
- Low overhead. If you don’t have work, then you don’t pay workers. You can run the business out of your home.
- Little or no commute. This assumes you work in your own area. So, stay local.
- Lawn cut business outlook is bright. This industry is exploding.
- Stepping stone into more profitable work. Having a solid lawn customer base is an easy sell for more profitable work such as landscape installation, fences, patios, walkways and sprinklers. I think of cutting lawns as fast nickels and the other work as slow dollars.
CON's of Starting a Lawn Cut Business
- Barrier to entry is low. This means more competition.
- Standards keep going up, but prices aren’t. There is a lot of competition from all the other people who think starting a lawn cut business is a great idea.
- Very labor intensive. Labor is not cheap and can give you an attitude.
- Expect to be accused of breaking anything outdoors. Customers will argue that it must have been you because you were the last person in their yard. I shudder at the thought of having a business that does work INSIDE someone’s house for this reason.
- Friends, family, and neighbors will ask to borrow your equipment. They look at all the cool stuff in your garage like they are little kids in a Toys ‘R Us.
- Customers can have unrealistic expectations. They want grass to grow where there is no sun, but refuse to cut down some tree branches to let some sunlight in.
- Customers get mad when you work quickly. You will try to explain that you are only charging them $30 per cut for three men on their property with equipment worth $20,000. You consider asking if they would prefer their lawn cut with a scissors, which should take one man three days.
- Customers can be delusional. They will tell you that you were never there when the bill comes. You will be told that the lawn looked better when they cut it themselves back in the day with a 21” push mower.
- Customers with early stages of Alzheimers. The elderly will be a large percent of your customer base. Your phone conversations will not make any sense. It’s unfortunate when you realize that no one in their family has intervened that they aren’t capable of living by themselves anymore, much less discussing their property with the landscaper.
- Customers asking you for favors. Cut down this one little branch. Throw this away in your dump truck. Removing air conditioners. Moving furniture. Each little favor in itself is not a big deal, but they add up and slow you down.
- Customers’ sob stories about why they can’t pay, but still need the service. I remember when having a lawn service used to be a luxury. Now, they talk to you as if it is a bare necessity. Maybe when UNICEF goes into the lawn care business, they can give them a call.
- Fights with customers’ neighbors. Fights about property lines. Fights about blowing grass clippings and leaves toward the neighbor’s property. Fights about neighbors not wanting your truck and trailer parked in front of their house. Don’t take it personally because most of your customers already fight with their neighbors to begin with. When the neighbors can’t afford a lawn service, they tend to be envious of the ones who can. That envy turns to anger, which is directed at the landscaper.
If you still want to start a lawn cut business, read on for more tips and articles.
How to Succeed in Lawn Care.
These tips for the lawn cut business can be applied to any business.
Work Smart, not Hard. Build a System.
This is a great analogy of how you want to run your business.
Dealing with Difficult Lawn Customers.
When I hear other landscapers talk about how certain customers make their lives miserable, yet refuse to drop them, I think of this story…
Create a Prototype Lawn Care Business.
Your business should be built as if it is the prototype for a future franchise.
Be a Lawn Business Owner, Not Self Employed.
Learn the difference between being a lawn business owner versus being self employed.
Starting Your Own Lawn Mowing Business
When I first started out 15 years ago, I got some really bad advice. For example, don't take advice from landscapers in your area. They do not want your competition and will purposely steer you in the wrong direction.
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