After running a lawn and landscape business for the past 43 years, we have seen just about everything you can imagine, heard all the crazy customer stories, and tried a million different techniques and strategies when it comes to trying to become more profitable and more successful. Along the way we have come up with what works best for us and what doesn’t work so well.
We have created a list of 10 things to know as a lawn and landscape business owner. This isn’t the all inclusive list, but certainly things to keep in mind to stay in business and thrive in your lawn and landscaping business! Enjoy these 10 and remember, for more information on running a successful lawn and landscape business, check out our group business coaching group called The Profit Circle (link on home page).
1. The Basics of the Lawn and Landscape Industry
Mastering Lawn and Landscape Fundamentals
When I started my business, I had very little knowledge of grasses, weeds, equipment, when and why to do things. However, as each year passed, I learned more and more about this great industry and what it takes to have a successful business and do the job the right way. It’s important that you take the time to educate yourself, go to seminars, and remember, consider the source of the information you’re looking at.
Understanding Seasonality in Lawn and Landscape Services
The lawn and landscape business is highly seasonal, with various tasks to be performed at different times of the year. Understanding the correct times for planting, pruning, and fertilizing is crucial to ensure the health and beauty of your clients’ lawns.
2. Bidding for Lawn and Landscaping Jobs Successfully and Profitably
Pricing Your Lawn and Landscaping Services Effectively
This could be the MOST important thing you take away from this article, so PLEASE pay attention. Successful bidding for lawn and landscaping jobs requires a knowledge of labor costs, material costs, and overhead costs. Understanding these expenses for YOUR business will set you up for success beyond a majority of lawn and landscape businesses.
3. Crafting a Business Plan for Your Lawn and Landscape Business
The Blueprint to Lawn and Landscape Success
Creating a business plan is an important step when starting a lawn and landscape business. This plan should outline your business structure, marketing strategies, financial forecasts, and expansion plan.
Keeping Your Business Plan for Your Lawn and Landscape Business Updated
When I started my lawn service in 1979, I didn’t quite think one day I would have 10 trucks, numerous crew leaders, a shop full of tools and parts, office staff and more. With that being said, it’s important to keep in mind that your business will change, your needs will change, and your goals will change, so keep going back and reeveluating your plan!
4. Investing in Quality Equipment for Your Lawn and Landscaping Business
Selecting the Right Lawn and Landscaping Tools
With over 40 years of being in the industry, we’ve learned that spending a little money up front for a quality piece of equipment can save thousands of dollars in repairs, new parts, and downtime. It also allows you to increase efficiency when you have equipment that gets the job done faster and can improve quality of the job which makes customers happy!
Maintaining Your Lawn and Landscape Equipment
Consistent maintenance of your tools can prolong their lifespan and avert potential delays brought on by equipment breakdown. Maintenance should be done on a regular and scheduled basis, not just when it’s easy. Taking care of your mowers and other equipment will help you be more profitable!
5. Developing a Marketing Strategy for Your Lawn and Landscape Business
Identifying Your Lawn and Landscape Niche
Your niche can help you carve out a space in the competitive lawn and landscape industry. It helps you determine who you’re going to target and therefore determines in a big way your business model, your marketing plans, and how you sell your services. My advice on this would be, go after a group of people who WANT your work, not those who NEED your work. For example, the old lady on social security NEEDS you to cut her lawn because she can’t. She also won’t have (in most cases) as much extra income to spend on her lawn service. We found that going after a smaller number of clients who are willing to pay a premium price was a model we preferred. That being said, this higher-end client does require a higher-end, professional service- so be that service!
Utilizing Digital Marketing for Your Lawn and Landscaping Business
In today’s day and age, digital marketing is almost not optional. People are on their phones as many hours a week as they are at their jobs, so if you want to be in front of your customers and potential customers, you have to have an online presence. Digital marketing strategies, including search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and email marketing, can significantly boost your business’s visibility. Maintaining an online presence can attract potential clients and create customer loyalty. Remember, it’s not all about selling either. Become a go to resource for people and when they need something, they already know and trust you!
6. Ensuring Legal Compliance for Your Lawn and Landscape Business
Securing Necessary Licenses and Permits
Too many times I hear about companies trying to get away with something. They think the best way to run a business is shady and under the table. Why? This only leads to opening yourself up to HUGE risk. Operating a lawn and landscape business involves securing relevant licenses and permits. This could include a business license, pesticide applicator certification, or a permit to transport green waste, depending on your jurisdiction. Make sure when you decide to play the game, you play by the rules. It makes us all better and makes the industry much more professional.
7. Hiring and Retaining a Skilled Team for Your Lawn and Landscaping Business
Hiring the Right People
When I first started in 1979, it was just me. In those 40 plus years of being in business we have hired A LOT of people. That includes great employees and TERRIBLE employees. We’ve learned a lot about the value of a good team, red flags for bad employees, and how to keep good people around. A big factor to keep in mind is attitude. A good attitude and an okay skill set can be trained to be a great employee. An all-star who has a terrible attitude can end up turning your business upside down.
Retaining Your Staff
Retaining employees is a huge issue for our industry because for some reason a lot of business owners want to treat their employees like trash. They don’t respect them, their time, their family, they don’t show them appreciation and they even hold an employee’s check because they can’t afford to pay them. With all due respect, it is not your employees fault if you can’t pay them. You figure it out one way or another. In regards to retention, keep in mind it’s more than just about their pay per hour. Offering benefits like holiday pay, retirement matching, vacation time, and insurance can be a great way to keep a good employee around for years or even decades. These may sound like out of reach benefits for you, but when you run them through a cost calculator, you realize how affordable it can be!
8. Streamlining Operations in Your Lawn and Landscape Business
Implementing Efficient Processes
Efficiency is a key to profitability. When you are efficient on things like creating invoices, paying bills, communications, and even getting the actual work done, it lowers the time you spend or pay someone else to spend doing it. Standard processes and procedures can also create a standard of service that ensures a client knows what to expect every time.
Technology is a huge tool for modern business and that means YOUR business! It can be a great way to streamline tasks and become more efficient. It can take a lot of stress off your plate as well which is a huge benefit. Today’s technology can provide tools to help manage scheduling, billing, and customer relationship management. Leveraging these tools can save time, reduce errors, and improve customer satisfaction.
9. Providing Exceptional Customer Service in Your Lawn and Landscape Business
Understanding Your Customers’ Needs
Listening to your customers and understanding their needs is key to providing a service that meets their expectations. Regularly seek feedback and be responsive to their concerns to build strong, long-lasting relationships. We ask for customer feedback at the end of each year via a mailed and emailed questionnaire. Don’t assume every customer is going to call if they have a problem. Many customers are uncomfortable sharing what they aren’t happy with but if you give them a chance to do it in a written format, it’s easier for some to be honest. That means you have the ability to fix the issue before it turns into a lost customer. It also shows you care about your customer’s experience.
Going the Extra Mile
Providing exceptional service can differentiate your business in a competitive market. This could involve exceeding expectations, resolving issues promptly, or adding personal touches to show your appreciation.
10. Planning for Growth in Your Lawn and Landscape Business
Setting Clear Goals
Having a clear vision for your business’s future can help guide your decisions and motivate your team. Whether it’s expanding your service area, adding new services, or increasing your revenue, having clear goals can help keep your business on track.
Managing Finances Wisely
Smart financial management is key to your business’s long-term sustainability. This could involve budgeting carefully, monitoring cash flow, and making wise investment decisions. Don’t get caught up in all the dinners out with clients, golfing with clients, etc. It’s fun to do this kind of thing occasionally and when necessary, but be mindful of how you’re spending your business’ money.
Running a successful lawn and landscape business involves mastering various aspects, from technical knowledge to business knowledge. As the owner, continuous learning and adaptation are key to navigating the challenges and enjoying the rewards this industry offers. We offer 1 on 1 consulting as well as group business coaching called The Profit Circle which you can find on the homepage of our website to help you grow the lawn and landscape business of your dreams!