According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are about 1.3 million people employed as grounds maintenance workers. Even better, projected job growth through 2028 is about 9% – or double the national average. This means there is definitely a market for new lawn maintenance businesses.
Starting and growing your own lawn care business is never easy. Here are a few things that are often overlooked:
1. Create a Mission Statement
Identify exactly what you want to accomplish with your new business. Your mission statement should help give a purpose to your business.
- What differentiates you from the competition?
- How big do you want to grow?
- Year 1 financial goals? Year 5? Year 10?
It may sound like corporate nonsense, but every time you make a decision, you can look at your mission statement and ask, “Does this align with my mission?”
2. Identify Your Target Market
Who is your ideal customer? Commercial? Residential? Both? Are you going to focus on premium service or do you plan on discount pricing?
This is where most new businesses fail – not having a plan for how to acquire (and keep) customers. A lot of new business owners focus on the part of the business the know and enjoy, and neglect things like marketing and social media.
3. Buy Quality Equipment
How do you choose the tools you need to run your business? Consider your goals and the types of services you plan to provide, then buy equipment that:
- Can help you work faster – so you can do more jobs.
- Is professional grade – so you can provide a quality product.
- Requires minimal maintenance – to limit your downtime and repair expenses.
Think about total cost of ownership as opposed to the initial price. Cheap spray equipment may mean less cash outlay at first, but over time, repairs and early replacement can prove to be more costly.
4. Know Your Numbers
You can’t improve your business unless you have solid metrics in place to keep track of your numbers. This includes everything from website visitors to sales and billing to field service.
How many jobs per day can you perform? Are you providing accurate quotes to remain profitable? Are your service routes optimized to save time and money?
Lawn care and landscape maintenance is a service business. You can spend a small fortune on marketing, or you can focus on word-of-mouth (which is far cheaper). The #1 reason why small businesses don’t get referrals? They don’t ask.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a testimonial or shout out on Facebook. Most clients will take time to recommend you if they’re happy with your work – but you have to ask! Having a referral program is also a big plus. Run contests and giveaways to help generate new referrals.