Neighbors have always complimented you on your perfectly manicured lawn. So, you’ve decided to share your talents with the community — and make some money — by starting a yard care or landscaping service. Here are five tips for cultivating your business.
- Start with the basics. Many people are willing to hire others to mow their lawns, and that’s the simplest place to start if you don’t have much landscaping experience or the proper equipment to take on larger jobs. Invest in an edger and a trimmer to handle areas that your mower can’t reach, and clean all of your equipment regularly to keep it in mint condition. You’ll also need a good pick-up truck or trailer to carry your equipment from house to house. As your business grows, consider purchasing additional gear, but don’t get too ambitious until you’ve established a solid client base.
- Provide accurate estimates. If you hire employees, you’ll likely pay them by the hour — but your customers won’t want to pay you an hourly rate if they don’t know how long the job could take. Based on a yard’s square footage and level of difficulty, give your potential customer a firm estimate. At first, you may spend more time on certain jobs than you’ve budgeted, but through trial and error you’ll quickly learn to come up with reliable quotes.
- Price your services fairly. Price your work based on what the local market will bear. If you’re doing simple mowing jobs in a middle-class neighborhood, you may not be able to command more than $20 or $25 an hour. If you’re landscaping a multimillionaire’s garden, however, the sky’s the limit. Regardless of where you’re working, try to find out what other companies in the area serving the same market are charging to keep your rates competitive.
- Advertise locally. If you’re serving a small geographic area, don’t rely on social media. Consider placing ads in the local newspaper and distribute flyers in the neighborhoods you aim to serve. A coupon for discounted services could help you score more sales.
- Plan for the off-season. In many places, yard care and landscaping are seasonal services: You can’t cut grass when it’s buried beneath two feet of snow. Be prepared for a loss of income during the winter, and use the time to focus on your marketing and business strategy. Or consider offering other services, such as driveway plowing, to keep the cash flowing.