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20 Insider Tips on Starting a Lawn Care Business [What they DON'T tell you]

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Look, there are a lot of you out there looking to get into the lawn care business. Or are just getting started.

If that's you, here are 20 insider tips that lawn care vets rarely share

So at the risk of upsetting the lawn care industry vets out there. We are going to share these little-known insider tips with you so that you can get a leg up in the lawn care industry

Seriously, whether you just started your lawn care company yesterday, or you have been at it a few seasons. You need want to check out these tips. 

They can save you a lot of headaches down the road. 

20 Lawn Care Pro Insider Tips

Below you will find 20 insider tips that all lawn care pros know, or eventually learn. 

In my experience tip #3 was one of the toughest lessons I had to learn. 

Always carry a digger bar on your truck

1) Carry a digger bar.

An old-timer once told me: ”A digger bar is for digging, and a shovel is for shoveling”. 

It's true, sand or loamy soil may be easy to dig up with a shovel. But, the moment you have to deal with rocks or clay, it's a different story.

And that's only the beginning. 

Most people don’t know this, but a digger bar can be used for leverage if you get into a pinch. 

Digger bars are useful for a lot of situations from removing trees or removing your lawn mower from the mud. 

2) Don't work for friends!

Seriously, if you haven’t experienced this one yet, consider yourself lucky. 

Trust me on this one, while it may seem like a great way to start up your company. It's nearly impossible to maintain a business relationship with your friends. 

And it's likely that the business will get in the way of your friendship, or is versa.  

Either way working for friends can be a huge drag on your business and personal life. 

If your friend or family NEEDS your help and you want to, do it for free.

When a client is always watching while you mow

3) Don’t be afraid to fire a customer!

Some customers are straight-up toxic for your business. 

Maybe they are never happy with your work, maybe they always want you to do extra work, maybe they call you way too often to talk to you about their problems, or maybe they...Reasons to fire a customer

Whatever the case, you HAVE to cut clients from time to time. 

It's an important lesson that will save you a lot of time in the long run. 

Undercutter lawn care

4) Don’t get discouraged if a cheap company takes your lawn. 

And don’t lower your rates to compete.

There is always someone willing to do the job for less. But reliability is more important. 

And if you can learn how to cut lawns sharper than anyone else, while remaining reliable. It will be nearly impossible to out-compete you once you are embedded. 

In my experience, the type of client that would take the cheaper guy isn't the sort of client you want to work with anyway. 

5) DO NOT work for the 80 yr old woman whose 60 yr old daughter is in the passenger seat of a Crown Vick.

Don't ask me why… Just trust me on this one.

Wet lawn

6) If you think the grass is too wet... Circle. Don't Stripe

It’s inevitable, there are going to be days when your lawns are wet. 

If this is the case, you can circle the lawn like you did when you were an amateur. 

While it won’t look as good as those nice alternating stripes, you will put fewer ruts in the lawn

Don't get me wrong, there will be times when lawns are simply too wet to mow. 

Especially if you live in a swampy or low-lying area. 

Determining whether or not it's too wet to mow will only come from experience.

Answer your clients calls

7) Answer EVERY call or text back.

It’s true, especially in the age of the internet. People want immediate results. 

And if you fail to answer a call or text, they may just move on in a flash. 

Show your customers you care and be responsive to their texts and calls. 

But, tip #9 is important too.

Underbid a lawn care job? Do it immediatly

8) If you lowball a job don’t put it off.

Look there is only one way to learn, and that is through experience. 

And as such, you may make some mistakes along the way. 

If you find yourself in a position where you underbid a job, it's important to suck it up and get the job done anyhow. 

Things will work out if you persevere. 

Answer calls from your clients

9) Text or call your customers often (Weekly if possible)

Talking to your clients regularly is another great way to show them that you care about the job. 

Best of all, if you reach out to them regularly. They may remember a landscaping project they want done. Say install that new garden bed in the corner of the yard. 

The more you remind them you exist, the more they think of you, and they may begin to think of more work they can offer you. 

Additionally, they will be more likely to recommend you to friends and family, which can land you more clients. 

Communication with your clients is not only a great way to keep existing clients but also to get more work from them too. 

Pro Tip! Continue communication in the off-season too, stay on their radar so they take you on next season too. 

small jobs in lawn care can pay more

10) Small jobs are often more lucrative than big ones. 

Think about it, 3 jobs that land you $300 in a day are worth more than one large one that lands you $1000 over the course of 2 days

While it’s true that big jobs can provide you with steady work in the beginning. As your business grows, you may find that larger projects simply aren’t worth the time. And smaller contracts are where it's at.

But this one can vary depending on the pricing models for your lawn care business.

11) Reinvest In your company. Constantly!

Seriously, don’t be the guy that blows all of his money on the weekend. 

Reinvest in your company and grow your business. Aside from marketing your lawn care company, think about what you can do in the off-season to keep the money rolling in. 

Some good winter side hustles include:

The list of equipment you can invest in goes on and on. A new lawn mower, leaf blower, or even a new truck. 

Whatever the case, reinvest the money into your company and do it wisely. 

Lawn care is not a get rich quick scheme

12. This isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme! 

In my experience, the biggest mistake new guys make whether it's the lawn care industry. Or starting any small business for that matter. Is the get rich quick mentality. 

Look, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and perseverance to make the big bucks. 

But if you put in the hours, invest your money wisely, and save a portion of your income. You can make a solid living and pretty much cultivate any lifestyle you want to live. 

However, you need to be patient! 

13) “Bad luck” no advice given…

Just kidding, there is no such thing as bad luck! 

If you hit a roadblock KEEP GOING. When you grow your company you WILL face challenges, and it may seem like the world is working against you. 

Don’t take it personally!

Simply put, things fall apart sometimes. And you will likely face days where you think you have made a huge mistake getting into the lawn care business. 

Be thankful for what you have in these moments and move on NO MATTER WHAT. 

Setbacks are more often than not lessons that will make you stronger. 

Dont be afraid to get in over your head in the lawn care business

14) Do not be afraid to get in over your head.

With tip 13 in mind, don’t be afraid to o a little too far sometimes. 

Risk is like a fertilizer for business. 

If you find yourself in over your head, remember tip #13, keep calm and carry through. 

While it may cause some uncertainty in your growing lawn care business, taking chances is often the best way to grow.

Local supply yard

15) Cultivate good business relationships with supply yards and nurseries!

Build relationships with local material supply and disposal yards, as well as a local nursery or two. 

While it may seem cheaper to shop at Lowes or Home Depot for some supplies. Nothing beats a solid relationship with a local nursery.

One of the nurseries in my area offers a 40% discount on all trees and shrubs to landscapers, all I had to do was show them my DBA. 

Working with local nurseries is a great way to get superior plants, service, and even advice. 

Better yet you can keep money in your community and even save some. Allowing you to be more competitive with your pricing and make more on the backend. 

16) Plan your route effectively to save time.

One of the best ways to squeeze more lawns into your day is efficient route planning.

Group your lawns by service area and schedule them accordingly. 

You can waste a lot of time driving extra miles that you didn’t have to. Not to mention the cost of wasted fuel to get there. 

There are a lot of great route planning apps that you can use to help you plan efficiently. Don't hesitate to use them.

No grass on hard surfaces

17) No grass on hard surfaces!

That's right! 

No grass on hard surfaces, take the extra minute to start up that leaf blower and dust off the sidewalks and driveways. 

It's simple, just taking this little bit of extra time will show your clients that you mean business!. 

Looking for the right leaf blower to invest in? Here is the most powerful backpack leaf blower on the market

That being said, if you learn how to keep the grass off of the hard surfaces, you will have much less to clean up afterward!

18) Always buy cash. 

Cash is king as they say! And debt is well, not great...

When you can pay in cash or with a debit card. But be sure to get a receipt. 

While some debt is ok, like getting a VA Business Loan to start your lawn care company. You can save a lot in the long run by always paying cash. 

In my opinion, credit cards are for emergencies only and should be paid off in full each billing cycle. 

Of course, others argue that leveraging debt can be a good thing. 

Mow the lawn, no excuses!

19) You are your greatest obstacle.

The toughest part about the lawn care business is facing down that little voice in your head that is loaded with endless excuses. 

The “reasons” (excuses) for not getting out and working are endless:

  • “It’s too wet outside to mow” 

  • “The weather is calling for rain today, I’ll just do it tomorrow”’ 

  • “You worked hard yesterday, just sleep in for a bit”

  • “Gas is too expensive”

The excuses are literally endless, and you will have to navigate through them to succeed. 

If you plan your route out for the week, STICK TO IT! 

Do your route on time!

One of the biggest reasons lawn care businesses fall through is not following through!

20) Enjoy yourself and have a great year!

Keep a good attitude about yourself, and take the challenges you face in stride and you will have a great year!

Insider Lawn Care Tips in a Nutshell

With these 20 tips, you can get a leg up on the competition, and avoid a lot of the career-ending mistakes beginners in the industry often make.

Take it from me, as a 20-year veteran of the industry. I wish I had learned a few of these earlier on in my career. My job would have been a lot easier!

If you are looking for more great ways to grow your lawn care business, jump over to our lawn care pro blog. You will find a lot of great resources there. 

Also, be sure to check out our Guide to Starting a Lawn Care Company.  

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