Keep Your Lawn Care Company Profitable in Winter
A 2015 survey by the global market research company Mintel revealed that 90% of homeowners believed that an attractive lawn and garden increased not only that appeal of their home, but its market value as well. This belief drives a multi-billion dollar national industry, with nearly $100 spent per capita annually.
For a person with an entrepreneurial mindset and a desire to spend time outdoors, owning a lawn care business is an opportunity to combine independence with excellent profits. It’s such a popular option for potential business owners that, in 2021, there were more than 600,000 lawn care businesses in the United States, representing an increase of more than 5% over the prior year, yet experts believe that the market is not yet saturated..
What are the pros and cons of owning a lawn care company?
Caring for lawns requires neither formal training nor specialized testing or licensure. Lawn care professionals enjoy stable and ongoing work with flexible hours. It’s easy for profits to grow year after year if you can transition from an owner-operated business to one with numerous employees and a fleet of vehicles and when you expand your business from only mowing, weeding, and fertilizing into gardening, tree trimming, sod installation, and other landscaping and beautification services.
Like any business, there can be negatives to owning a lawn care company. Competition can be tough. Initial investment costs can be high, as can budget lines for fuel, vehicle maintenance, and insurance. Income can fluctuate with the economy – when customers feel the need to tighten their belts, they may choose to end their contract with a professional organization and manage their lawn care on their own. Worst of all, in areas such as the northeast where the winter months are long, cold, and snowy, income from a lawn care business can vary wildly from season to season.
A smart manager knows to budget in order to allow for those lean times of year, but what can you do to boost income from your lawn care company between the time that the leaves fall from the trees and the moment that lawns awake from their dormancy?
How do lawn care companies make money?
In America, a beautifully-manicured lawn is a symbol of success. The best, most-envied lawns are lush and green, free from weeds, frequently mowed, and custom-edged. Creating and maintaining this status symbol requires either a great deal of time and effort or a significant financial investment on the part of a homeowner.
Early American homes were built right at the edge of the road. Eventually, preferences changed and American homes began to be built set back from the street and with front yards and lawns. Most of these initial homeowners managed their own lawn care. Soon, however, enterprising teenagers realized that neighbors would be willing to pay them to mow their lawns. They borrowed Dad’s lawn mower and pushed or rode it to a few extra dollars. Some forward thinkers even used their profits to purchase an extra mower or two and hired their friends as subcontractors. But homeowners soon came to realize that maintenance was not enough to create the look they wanted and the professional lawn care industry was born.
Today’s lawn care businesses offer not only mowing and edging, but also services including:
- aeration and thatching
- pest control
- weed prevention and control
- seasonal clean up
- bush, shrub, and tree pruning and trimming
- installation and maintenance of irrigation systems
In most areas, some companies even offer homeowners organic and non-toxic options for their lawn care.
What do lawn care companies do in the winter?
If your business is located in a part of the country where winter means snow, ice, and cold, your customers won’t need most of the services in winter that you offer in the spring, summer, and fall. This is true even if you’re in a community where the weather cools down and lawns grow slowly if at all. But that doesn’t mean you should give up and take the season off. There’s still plenty that you can do to earn income and boost your bottom line.
First, take some time to make sure that your vehicles and equipment are in great working order. Now is the moment for the scheduled maintenance that you may have put off while you were busy. Change oil. Fill tires that may be low on air. Check filters and hoses and replace any that seems worn. Inspect ladders for safety issues. Sharpen the blades on mowers and other equipment. Once those things are done, get ready to start earning! How? Here are ten ideas:
- Beginning early in the fall, help customers prepare for the winter. Schedule yard clean ups and leaf removal. Suggest gutter cleaning. Fall leaves in gutters can create clogs that lead to ice dams.
- Talk to your clients about winterizing delicate plants. Cover those that need extra care for the season.
- If you live in an area where temperatures will remain above freezing in the winter, power washing is a great option. Decks, patios, even siding can probably use a sprucing up. You can even power wash and seal driveways when there’s no snow in the forecast.
- If you can dig, you can plant. Now is the time to sell your customers new trees and bushes that will bloom and beautify their homes in the spring.
- Offer snow removal. Your customers will need plowing, shoveling, roof raking, and sanding in order to keep their homes safe for residents and visitors.
- ‘Tis the season. Install and remove holiday lighting. If you have funds to invest, you can earn year after year by purchasing decorations and renting them out seasonally.
- Everyone loves to sit by a cozy winter fire. Cut and deliver cords of wood.
- What about local businesses such as malls and hotels that have indoor landscaping? You are more qualified to care for those investments than the custodial staff is. Talk to the managers and set up an agreement.
- Are this year’s customers ready to come back for more? Get them signed up. Consider discounts for existing customers who prepay for next year. It might mean a little bit less in hand in the long run, but it will keep the cash flowing right now.
- If you find yourself with an off day, use the time to hustle. Now is the time to solicit local residents and business owners and get contracts in place for the new year. Be sure to take note of any positive online reviews and leverage them.
If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.
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