How to Start a Lawn Care Business – A Complete Guide
Are you thinking about starting your own lawn care business?
There are a lot of good reasons to start your own lawn care business. You can be your own boss, get healthy and ditch that commute. I can help you avoid the pitfalls and build a successful business that will give you a great income for years to come.
A lawn care business is exactly that. A business. You cannot stumble into a successful lawn care business. It takes planning and trial and error. A lawn care business set up correctly can shave years off your starting time and get you to the making money phase a lot sooner. I have done all the trial and error in the last thirty years so I am going to help you avoid making the same mistakes I have made so you can get your business profitable a lot sooner. Sounds good? Then read on.
There are simple things like planning your route in the opposite direction to that traffic that will save you hours of time spent sitting in your truck.
Believe it or not, when you start a business you can have so many things going on in your head it can sometimes take you years to figure out all the little things that will save you time and equate to extra income.
If you are going to start your first business then a lawn care business is a good place to start.
You will be building a business with consistent recurring income through regular bookings of lawns and this is something that most businesses do not have. You don’t have to spend heaps of money marketing for one-off sales. Your one sale can be a recurring job for years to come. I know of lawn care operators who have had the same customer for over a decade or more.
You will also find the business is recession-proof and covid-proof (to a point) or at least more recession-proof than 90% of the business out there. The grass is going to keep growing no matter what the economic climate does. Instead of acting like a small boat on a choppy sea, your business will be more like an ocean liner. You are not going to notice small changes at all and that is a good place for a business to be.
Have you ever heard the saying about computers that go “rubbish in = rubbish out”. It is the same with your lawn care business. If you run it badly you will get bad results. You will get back exactly what you put in.
Keeping this in mind you need to start as you mean to continue. Do things right, don’t cut corners and you will be building the foundations of a great business.
What do you do if you are working full-time and are concerned about the risk of changing careers?
If you are working a full-time job at the moment then it may be too much of a leap of faith right now to quit your job and put your money into a lawn care business. You may feel that there is too much to risk. Your partner may (understandably) be not 100% behind the idea. I know where you are coming from.
You don’t want your pay packet to stop and you definitely don’t want to quit your job for a business that may or may not succeed.
If that is the way that you feel then why not try both things at the same time?
Keep your job and pick up a lawn or two after work.
Then another, then another. Start working Saturdays mowing lawns. When you find yourself not having time to take on any more work because your job interferes with your lawn mowing work, it is time to quit your job and go full-time.
This may not be the best way to start a lawn care business but it does have its benefits.
- You will earn extra income while you do this – You can save the extra income to get you through the first few months when you quit your job and go full time.
- You will know that your idea works – You will feel much better about going full time and so will your partner because you have proved to yourself that the business works.
I have done the same thing myself. I am setting up another business after thirty years in the lawn care industry. I was tempted to sell my business entirely, but I didn’t. I sold over 350 lawn mowing customers in 2019. I still have a lawn care business where my wife and I work 20 hours a week each. I could always sell my entire company (in fact I had an offer the day before I wrote this) but I am not interested.
I like the security of having my living costs met every week, so I do not depend on my new business to cover those costs. When the new business income equals what I earn now, then I may sell my existing lawn care business.
You can do the same thing with your job. (apart from the “selling it” bit)
You don’t need to jump in at the deep end if you don’t feel comfortable. You can put a toe in the water and see how it goes. There is nothing wrong with being cautious.
Buying a Lawn care business
This post does not cover franchising or buying a lawn care business privately.
Although If you are intreated in buying a lawn care business I have written a buyers guide that can be found here.
Setting a budget for starting up your business.
You will need to decide how much you can budget to start your business. Are you going to use savings or finance?
You are going to need to figure out how much this business is going to cost to start.
When you go through and set your budget you can use the income chart on the last link to give you an idea of how much you will need in the way of savings to get you through that start-up period. You really should allow for a 25% buffer on your budget. You need to be prepared for things that can go wrong. A lot of businesses can get into trouble when they start up because something happens and they are already financially stretched so they cannot access any more money to get them through the tight spot.
Unless you live in an area where you can work all year round you will need to put money aside for Winter. You could also look at alternative ways of generating income in that period such as Christmas lights or snow removal.
Talk to people in the industry
Something that can really help is getting free advice from other lawn care operators. You figure out that nobody local is going to give you any advice and you could be right. However, if you go to a place like the lawnmowing101 community you will find plenty of lawn care business owners who are willing to help you with your questions.
Do be aware that not all the advice you receive will be good advice. I would do a little research on who gave the advice before I go ahead and do it. You don’t want to end up taking advice from someone who doesn’t have a business but they think they are full of good ideas.
I do a lot of online training or read a book (usually a dummies book) when I need information. I would recommend that you consider making this a habit too. This is a link to the latest version of the Dummies guide to starting a business. I have a copy of an older version of this book in my library. It is well worth reading if you want to build a profitable business.
Now the fun begins. It’s time to bring your business to life.
Name your business – I don’t know how it works with most people but I need a name for my new business before I do anything. I feel I need a good name before I can go forward. Take your time here as a good business name can help drive success whereas a badly named business can be a hindrance to the growth of the business.
The first step is to name your business. I always find that this helps with bringing everything together going forward. A few suggestions on naming your business.
- Keep the name simple
- Try to include what you do in your name
- Make the name easy to spell and search for.
Do you need a Business license? – Some countries need this and some don’t. You may have to contact the local city hall or chamber of commerce to see if you need to do this. While you are there check out the local bylaws to see if there are any laws regarding local noise restriction times. This will give you an idea of how early you can start if you have lots of work booked for a day.
You will need to open a bank account
You need to keep your personal and business accounts separate. Do not use your personal account and do not use your business account as a personal account. All money from the business goes into the business account and for your income, you will be making withdrawals once a week for your personal drawings. This will keep everything above board from the start.
on a business structure
You do not need to decide this immediately. You can start with one structure and then change it later on, and that will not be a problem — most small businesses start as sole traders or partnerships. These are simple and do not require much in the way of setting up. You may decide to change to a limited liability company at a late date to protect your assets.
Watch what you pay yourself
Do be aware that you will have to be vigilant about drawings and only use the business account for business expenses. If there are problems and a company or person claiming from you can prove that you were using the business account as a personal piggy bank, then you could be found liable and lose your assets anyway.
If you are not sure what business structure to use then I would suggest you seek advice when you are talking to your accountant.
This is some information from IRD explaining how to set up that part of your business.
Now it is time to write a business plan
I am not going to go into a lot of details here as there is plenty of information out there on this subject and a business plan is the same regardless of what kind of business you are going into.
What image are you presenting – You need to think about how you are going to present yourself as a business. There are really only a few choices here.
- Up Market – Going for the more expensive work. This can be very lucrative work but you do need to keep up appearances. The truck is always clean, you are dressed well and you have good signwriting and equipment. If you are going for this look then you want your company to appear to be bigger than it actually is and you want to try for more of a corporate look with your branding.
- Mid Market – Somewhere in the middle. This is the easiest image to aim for and can produce a good income for your business.
- Budget – I would not recommend going down this route. It means a lot more work for your money. It also means that if you ever decide to change to a mid-range business it will be nearly impossible if you have created a budget image for your brand.
Start with the end in mind – This might sound a bit counterproductive but it is important. I have seen a lot of lawn care businesses simply run out of steam when the owner passes sixty or loses interest. These guys walk away from a business and let it die when they could have sold it for tens of thousands. This is because they were in the business of mowing lawns not selling businesses so they had no idea what to do.
Sometimes I would go around to quote on a lawn and the customer would tell me that their lawn mowing guy just stopped turning up. I would get a contact number and try ringing the guy to see when he stopped and if the business could be salvaged and sold. 90% of the time I was too late but sometimes I did get a customer list off them that I could contact to build my own business.
Think of your exit when you start
When starting a business that is the best time to think about your exit strategy. If you eventually want to sell your business that should be reflected in the way that you run your business. When I sold my first lawn care business, I thought I had everything in place, but I turned out to be very wrong for the following reasons.
I didn’t have surnames for a lot of my customers. I also had some of the addresses written down wrong. I knew which lawns I was mowing, but the new buyer did not and mowed the wrong yard. I had to help them sort everything out, and I learned a lesson. Always be prepared and keep your customer list current with notes on any job that requires them. This will also help if you are off sick and need someone to help you with your business.
What size business do you want?
- Are you going to be happy working by yourself or working with your partner?
- Do you want to employ someone to work with you?
- Do you want to put a few vehicles on the road?
- Or are you planning on world domination?
Seriously though, the size you want your business to grow will affect the way you build the business. If you are happy working by your self you may develop systems for doing things but there is no need to write them down. You already know what you are doing so what is the point? If you hire someone to help you you can train them on the job. No drama there.
Remember that it’s not just when you start a lawn care business that you need to pay attention to. You also need to move with the times to stay relevant for the best chances of success. Adapt or Perish: Why Your Mowing Business Needs to Stay Competitive.
However, if you are going to ever send someone out in another vehicle you are going to have to write everything down. You are going to have to systemize everything in order to have your business running optimally. You will need to have a written manual that you can give a worker to read before they go out. You will need a way for employees to give you feedback and suggestions if they find a more efficient way of doing something and then you will have to update the manual. I could write a whole post on this and maybe one day I will but for now, if you have an interest in business systems for growth I would suggest you read Michael E. Gerber’s book called The E-Myth. You can listen to the audiobook or read it for free here
What services are you going to offer?
You could decide you just want to mow lawns or you may decide to offer a full-service business. A full-service lawn care business offers a lot more to its customers with things such as.
- Mowing and edging.
- Gutter cleaning.
- House washing.
- Tree trimming.
- Hardscaping or soft scaping.
- Fall clean-ups.
There are also extra services you can sell in the offseason if you cannot mow lawns in the Winter such as things like.
- Snow removal.
- Holiday lights.
Please do a bit of research here as I am writing generally here, so some of these things may require licenses or permits where you live.
I would also like to say that as far as offering other services goes. It is a good thing to do when starting if you can do something extra that does not really require a significant investment in equipment such as gardening. However, do think carefully before investing serious money in offering another service. There is a saying that you should keep in mind “Scattered force lacks direction.” In other words, If you try to do too many things at once, you may end up doing none of them well. I always think long and hard before offering a new service.
What is your target market?
Who are you going to target with your services? You may think that the answer is simple but it’s not. You can’t be all things to all people. If you decide to specialize in large lawns and have a big trailer and big mowers then you do not want to find yourself doing a lot of small lawns in a narrow street. However, if you have a small mower and trailer that could be your ideal customer. Have a look at these different kinds of business and decide what suits you the best.
- Small to medium domestic.
- Medium to large domestic.
- Large domestic lawns only.
- Small commercial.
- Medium to large Commercial.
- Large commercial.
You are going to need different equipment for small, medium, or large lawns. If you take on work that is the wrong fit then it will cost you money. You could end up having big equipment sitting idle while you mow a medium lawn with a smaller mower because the big mower won’t fit through the gate or using a small mower to do a big job and being underpaid because the market value price of the job assumes you have a larger mower.
Find your niche and try not to deviate.
If you decide to go for small to medium domestic lawns (as I have done) then gear your marketing and advertising towards that end of the market. Speak to this person with your advertising. I have an arrangement with a local contractor who only does large ride-on work and no small residential work. I pass him any lead that fits his business and he does the same with me. In fact, I got a referral quote from him yesterday. You could possibly make this kind of arrangement with a local operator.
if you are going to go commercial then you are going to have to get the correct paperwork and insurance. These could be totally different than you might need for domestic business. Your start-up costs are also going to be a lot higher. You will need to budget for that. Also, cash flow is going to be a major issue as some large companies consistently pay their accounts in the third month. You are going to need enough starting capital to get you through the first three to four months as it could take that long to get cash flow happening.
Think about the kind of business you want now and keep that in mind when quoting.
Every time I read about writing a business plan I always see something about evaluating the competition. I’m not that sure the competition is relevant in the lawn care industry. As far as I go with the competition would be to get half a dozen quotes on your lawn before starting your business to give you an idea of local pricing. I do look at what they are doing on Google Ads when I am advertising but apart from that, I don’t pay much attention. It is easy to become obsessed with the competition and why would you bother studying them when you could spend that time making your own business better?
Please note that this is my personal opinion and I am talking about the lawn care industry only. Spend as much time looking at the competition as you feel you need to but remember that you need to change your focus at some point towards your own business.
Write one, two, five, and ten-year goals – You do not need to spend a lot of time doing this but it does help to have an idea of where you are heading. Also comparing the results from your goals to actual every year can be enlightening. It can be of great assistance in planning your next year.
Keep track of the accounts.
Keep track of your income for taxes and accident levies. If you feel that you might struggle with this then you can use a service like Hnry. They will keep track of all that for you for just 1% of turnover.
I am a great believer in having a very basic knowledge of accounting at least when running your business as you are going to need to keep on top of things like invoicing, handling accounts, etc. You are going to need to know if you are growing your business in a profitable way.
I know that most people find accounting to be a very dry and unsexy topic (I feel this way too) but you need to take at least a passing interest. I suggest you take a course or read a book on the subject to at least learn the basics.
You don’t need to run out and sign up for university but you do need to know enough to understand your accountant and have an option on what they are saying. Remember accountants are numbers people which means although they may be able to reduce your taxes they may know nothing about how you should be spending your marketing budget or how to value a business.
You also need to know enough to keep your accountant honest. Business owners have lost thousands of dollars by not having a basic understanding of accounting so they don’t even know if their accountant or bookkeeper is being deceptive. Keeping Track of Where the Money Goes in Your Lawn Mowing Business.
You can pick up the basics easy enough by reading something like Accounting for Non-Accountants by Wayne Label or if you are more of a visual learner take a course like Accounting: From Beginner to Advanced by Stefan Ignatovski on Udemy.
You will need to use some sort of accounting software.
When you start your business you will need to know what your running costs are. This is the amount it is going to cost you to run your business. Some costs will be fixed like truck repayments and some will fluctuate with the growth of your business such as fuel.
You are going to have to know this figure so you can work out the hourly rate you will need to cover expenses and make a profit. One simple way of doing this is to work out what you need to cover all your living expenses for a year. Add 50% to allow for running costs. Then divide that by the hours you intend to work that year. I will give you an example.
- $50,000 = Amount needed to cover personal living costs for a year
- $10,000 = Taxes Personal
- $25,000 = 50% on 60,000 to cover business running costs.
- $85,000 = Turnover needed.
Breaking down the 85,000 into 52 weeks = $1634 a week needed as total business income. Then divide that by 40 hours = $40.86. Now you know that in order for your lawn care business to be profitable you need to earn $40+ an hour.
Accounting software will help you with that.
What equipment will I need to start a lawn care business?
This is a basic list of what you would need to start off.
The first thing you will need is a vehicle.
The first thing you will need is a pickup, a truck, a van, or a car with a tow bar. If you already have this then this is great you have just saved yourself some money. If you have not yet bought a vehicle then you are going to have to do this
I have been supplying lawn care leads to a guy who is starting off in my area in the last week. He has been operating out of a station wagon with a mower and line trimmer in the back. He has secured nine new accounts this week and this weekend he is off to pick up a van.
It is better you sort out the vehicle sooner rather than later as it can become a bottleneck for your business and you could find your vehicle holding back your growth.
You don’t have to buy something really expensive. In fact, I would recommend that you buy something that looks tidy and has low miles if possible.
If you need to start with a wreck, then do that. Just make sure you park it on the street when you quote. You don’t want the potential customers to see it, and you do not want to leave oil stains on their driveways. If you need to do this to start then plan to get into a half-decent-looking vehicle as soon as possible.
Are you going to use a trailer?
It is possible to operate a successful lawn care business without using a tailor. I have been doing that for years. However, there will be limits to the size of the jobs you can take on.
Lawnmowers, line trimmers and blowers.
The equipment you start with again depends on what kind of business you want to build and your budget. Suggest that you start with high-end domestic gear.
You should be looking for
- A mower (Around $1000)
- A straight shaft weed eater (Around $650)
- A Blower (Around $500)
Lastly, I would like to remind you that you do not have to start with the latest and greatest gear. You can start modestly and work your way up. Do not start with second-hand gear unless you can fix it yourself.
If you need more help selecting your equipment. This course will walk you through the equipment you will need in more depth.
Now that you have bought the equipment you will need insurance.
You may see insurance as an unwanted extra cost so you may decide to skip it. This is a bad idea. You may have enough money to replace your equipment if it is stolen or you are involved in an accident but what about the other car? If you accidentally burn down a customer’s house you could lose your house.
That would seem to me to be too much of a price to pay to save a little bit of money on insurance premiums. You may want to self-insure your gear and vehicle but you need at least third-party insurance on your truck. If you hit an expensive car you could be paying it off forever.
My rule of thumb is that since my excess is $500 on my equipment I only insure it if the value is over $1000. This strategy saves me paying premiums on the small stuff but it could backfire if more than one piece of equipment is stolen. However, I do have a 120-pound (55kg) German Shepard that keeps unwanted visitors out of my property so I have taken a calculated risk there.
One other thing I should mention here is that if you are going to run this business using your personal vehicle then do check out if your insurance covers it. Some personal car insurance is no longer valid if you signwrite your vehicle or start using your vehicle for business purposes.
Business liability insurance.
Do not start trading without getting some public liability insurance. You will probably never need it but if you ever do it could send you bankrupt if you are not covered. Liability insurance is not expensive and will give you peace of mind so get it now and you will never have to deal with something that costs you your house.
The usual amount for liability is between 1-3 million. However, you may need more for some commercial contracts. I do some work for a private hospital that requires 10 million in coverage, but this is not common for small lawn care businesses.
Marketing your business.
Now you have everything in place it is time to let the world know you are open for business. The first thing you should do is let everyone in your circle know that you are looking for customers.
Now it is time to order your business cards some signwriting and your uniforms. You will need to look at the part to be taken seriously.
Marketing is essential for any business, and there are plenty of low-cost options available. You can start by spreading the word to family and friends or by using online platforms such as social media and flyers. Additionally, consider using word-of-mouth marketing to get people talking about your business.
No matter what marketing methods you use, be sure to be consistent and creative in order to reach your target audience. With a little effort, you can get the word out about your new business and bring in new customers.
Creating a good reputation for yourself is one of the best ways to earn more business. People are more likely to want to work with someone who they know is reliable and does high-quality work. While it can take some time to develop a good reputation, it doesn’t have to be expensive. There are a few simple things you can do to get your name out there and start building a positive reputation.
First, always do your best work and meet or exceed your client’s expectations. Second, be responsive to communications and follow through on commitments. Third, be active in your professional community and share your expert knowledge. By following these simple tips, you can start developing a strong reputation as someone who does great work. How A Successful lawn mowing Marketing Plan Can Quadruple Your Customer Growth
Contact local businesses.
Here are a few businesses you could contact to drum up work.
- A Gardening company – If you do not do gardens and they do not do lawns
- Your local lawn mowing shops – You could leave discount flyers at repair shops and offer to mow the lawn while their mowers are being fixed.
- An Arborist and a Tree Surgeon – You will not be doing the work they want so why not refer work to each other?
Answering the phone correctly is vital.
When your calls start coming in do not let them go to the answerphone. You will lose over two-thirds of your leads. You need to answer the phone politely and promptly. I have spent time in the advertising industry and one major problem that marketing companies have is getting the owner-operators to actually answer the phone and deal with the incoming call correctly.
You can be miles ahead of the competition by simply doing this well. I feel that this subject is overlooked by a lot of businesses.
How to quote on a lawn mowing job
The fine art of quoting. It’s a bit like Goldilocks porridge not too cold, not too hot it needs to be just right. You need to be in the sweet spot when you quote as the last thing you want is to be losing every quote because your prices are too high. Worse still you could be getting every quote because your prices are too cheap. Now you are making a rod for your own back.
The first thing you are going to need to do is to be aware of what is being charged locally. This is not hard to do and can give you some really valuable information.
Ring a local lawn care business every day for ten days. Ask for a quote on your lawn. Start with the biggest advertisement and work your way down the list. Then take some notes.
- How did they answer the phone?
- What did they ask?
- How much did they quote?
- Who didn’t turn up?
- How did they approach the quote – Can you learn anything here?
- Did they offer extras?
- Did they follow up?
You most likely won’t feel too good about doing this but you need to bite the bullet and make those calls if you are serious. I am sure that I have had people call me around for research purposes something and I feel that comes with the territory. Make those ten calls and your business will be the better for it.
Verbal agreements are good enough to start.
Another thing you could try is casual verbal agreements instead of contracts. I have never used contracts and I have had customers stay for years. It is a lot easier to get a customer to agree to a weekly or biweekly cut without a contract than it is to get them to sign on the dotted line. You can tell them that they can leave at any time but the fact is that a contract is not going to stop them if they want to go anyway. It’s not like you are going to take them to court and force them to use you.
I have sold hundreds of lawn care accounts without contracts. I have simply visited the customers with the buyer when selling or offered warranties with accounts.
If you do want to write up contracts for your customers you can find a free one at template.net.
How to mow a lawn in a professional manner.
As soon as you turn up to mow a lawn you should try to park in an area that is out of the way. Don’t block the driveway if you can help it and definitely do not block a shared driveway.
Line Trimming – Pull your line trimmer off and use this first. Tilt it on a 45-degree angle and head around the property in an anticlockwise direction. Try to only touch every edge once and slow down the revs when you are around stones or stop the machine if people walk past. Always focus on throwing the grass onto the grass, not the concrete. If you find yourself throwing grass onto the paths and driveways you are going in the wrong direction.
Here is a short tutorial on using a line trimmer.
When you start a lawn, you can mow around in circles, mow across or up and down, you will not notice much difference timewise. If you are bagging the grass, you could try mowing out to the far end of the section and mowing there until the catcher is just about full. Then mow your way back to the trailer. This can save a bit of time.
If you are mulching then it is better to mow around the lawn rather than mowing in stripes. A mower blade spins clockwise so mows around the lawn in a clockwise direction. This helps to make sure the cut grass that can clump on the right-hand side of the mower gets double cut.
Changing directions often.
With lawns that need to be kept in a really nice condition, I change direction. It took me a while to figure out a good way to do this without having to keep notes on what I did last time. Now I have a simple system.
- 1-9th of the month – I mow the lawn in circles
- 10-19th of the month – I stripe up and down (vertical)
- 20-end of the month – I stripe across the lawn
Do not cut a lawn too low.
Around two to two and a half inches is a good height. Some customers keep on asking you to cut lower and lower. Don’t do this as it will damage the lawn. Usually, the reason the customer is asking for a lower cut is that they believe the grass will not grow as long if you do that. This belief is not correct.
If you mow a lawn on a 1 and the difference between a 1 and a 2 on your mower is a quarter of an inch then it is not going to make any visible difference if the grass grows three inches in a week.
Do not mow without weed eating.
Sometimes a customer will ask for a quote without a line trimmer. The reason they want this is usually to save money. Do not take this kind of work. One reason is you do not want a customer who wants a cheap cut and another reason is that if anyone sees your business leaving a job without doing the edges they are going to assume that your business does sub-standard work.
How much do I pay myself?
As a general rule, if you pay yourself approximately 50% of turnover, you should be fine. Once the year has ended and you have paid all your taxes etc. then you can pay yourself a bonus of whatever is left over.
Payment of incoming accounts
Make sure that your customers are paying their accounts on time. I usually text customers that were serviced that day as soon as I get home. I sent a text saying something like “Hi Stuart here from Gecko Lawns. Your lawn was cut today. Please deposit payment in (account details) today. Thanks.” Sending your customers a text like this helps to keep those payments coming in.
If I have not received payment after three days I send them a reminder text. I normally say something like “Hi Stuart here from Gecko Lawns. Payment has not shown on my end for the last cut. Could you please check that for me?. Thanks”. This second text usually works.
Another method I have heard works well is charging the customer’s credit cards. I cannot go into that too much here as this is something I have not tried. Charging your customer’s cards once a month can help with cash flow and reduce (or eliminate) overdue debit but it can be expensive. You could end up paying anything from $50-$150 in credit card fees monthly.
Always head in the opposite direction to the traffic – Plan your days and be aware of the traffic flow around the areas you will be working. If it gets built up with traffic where you live then mow a lawn or two locally before heading onto the main roads.
Start early if possible – There may be noise restrictions where you live so check these if you want to be out at the crack of dawn. If you have any commercial lawns, you can start them early.
Start keeping track of your lawns on Google Calendar to start with. This is easy to use and free.
Always ask for a Google review if a one-off job went well. You will want to build up your reviews as soon as possible as this is becoming more important with your presence on Google Maps.
This could bring you a huge amount of leads through Google Maps and you will have an advantage as a lot of other lawn care businesses are not doing this. Having lots of good reviews will also help with Google’s paid advertising results.
Keep your equipment in good condition.
Find a local lawn mower repair business to use. The best time to do this is when you buy your equipment. If you find a good dealer who will give you same-day service on repairs then it could be worth buying your equipment through them.
I have one shop that I buy all my gear from, and if I have a breakdown, they will drop everything and repair my piece of equipment. I have had this relationship for years, and it has worked out well. You may be thinking that the shop must have heaps of lawn care companies using it so how will do you get priority service? I will tell you what I do.
My simple trick is to pay my account on time every time. I have never been late with a bill since we started working together. It may be a sad fact but this makes me different. They are always pleased to see me and usually fix my breakdown on the spot.
Learn how to service your own equipment – Spend time learning how to maintain your equipment. I attach small engine timers to all my push mowers, and I service them every 33 mower hours. That may sound like a lot but remember that is only when the engine is running so it usually only does around 12 mower hours a week.
The video below shows you how to install an hour meter.
This hour meter only requires one cylinder to function. Do be aware that some of these are solely made for two or four strokes if you are getting your hour meters somewhere else do make sure you get the right one for your mower.
I will cover this in more detail in a later post as I do things like wheel bearing and lube the cables as well.
However, this video should be a good starting point.
I usually change the air filter every 150 mower hours and write the hours done on the new filter.
Breakdowns – You are going to have to deal with breakdowns at some stage. The best piece of advice I can give you there is to carry spear spark plugs. when a piece of equipment will not start 90% of the time it is the spark plug.
I wish that someone had told me that when I started mowing lawns. Every time I couldn’t start a piece of equipment I would pack up and take it to the mower shop. After doing this more times than I can remember I noticed that the first thing they did was replace the plug. I started doing this myself and now I hardly ever go into the shop on a workday.
One thing I should mention is that if the spark plug does not work, do let the shop know you have replaced it when you get in. The first thing they will do is throw your new plug away and fit another one.
Always be educating yourself – never stop
Do lawn care and turf management courses.
There are places like the lawnmowing101 membership that specialise in training for the lawn care industry.
You could also study new subjects like lawn treatments or irrigation and offer these new services to customers once you are qualified.
You can also subscribe to Lawn and Landscape magazine for free. You will find this really helpful.
I would also recommend doing small business courses and marketing courses. Also, try reading audiobooks or listening to podcasts while you are working
If you focus on consistently growing yourself and your business you will be one of the many lawn care business companies that succeed and prosper.
I would like to wish you all the best with your new business.
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